29+ vs 26+ (Hatchet), Minion/Lou/Dirt Wizzard

I’ve been thinking about getting a 29+ for about a year now but can never really decide which one or what exactly I would like. And I’ve read all the threads I can find on the Hatchet as well as a lot on the fat/plus tires.

I presently ride my 26" Nimbus with the heavy Duro tire for downhill and some XC, although it’s a little slow (I mean top speed the weight doesn’t bother me, at least as far as I know as I’ve never ridden a light muni/tire). I also ride the 36" Oracle a lot for XC, which is great and the Nightrider tire with its large volume actually does very well in everything except mud, which we unfortunately have frequently.

So my main motivation is something that is a little faster than the 26" Duro (larger diameter/height) with a good grippy off-road tire that can handle slippery/wet conditions.

I’m considering 3 different setups:

  1. Hatchet 29+ with 3" Dirt Wizzard
  2. KH 29+ with 3" Dirt Wizzard
  3. Hatcher 26+ with true fat tire (Minion/Lou/Nate?)

I like the idea and versatility of the Hatchet frame, although I’ve never really been so convinced that I really need a 4" or 5" tire as I don’t ride much snow or sand (just rode the Duro in about 10" of tracked-down snow and it was fine). In general I think the large volume 3" tire should be enough for most of what I ride.

Although I’ve heard great stuff about the Knard, I think the tread is a little lacking in mud (a buddy has the KH 29+ with Knard and he says he takes his 26 if it’s muddy as the Knard is no good in mud on our local trails). So I would probably go with the 29x3 Dirt Wizzard if I choose the 29+ (there don’t seem to be as many 29+ tires as 26+).

Unfortunately the 3" Dirt Wizzard is a bit smaller in diameter/height than the Knard (761 vs 775mm). And surprisingly the 26" Lou 4.8 is actually larger (778mm). So am I correct here that for top speed the 26+ Lou should be faster than the 29+ DW? Or am I missing something else about the true fat tires?

Tire height: For comparison I measured my Duro at 695mm. For the other comparison my 36" Nightrider 2.25 is 908mm and I think I’d ideally like something about 1/3 to 1/2 of the difference between the two, which would be a desired tire diameter of 766 to 800mm. Thus the 29" Dirt Wizzard at 761mm is just a little smaller than this desired range.

  1. Hatchet 29+ with 50mm Surly Rabbit Hole + Dirt Wizzard
  • versatile frame (could also run 26+ wheel)
  • moderate weight (roughly 500g more than KH but with more potential clearance for other tires)
  1. KH 29+ with 47mm KH Freeirde + Dirt Wizzard
  • lightest of the three options as I think the KH frame is about 500g less.
  • least versatile as a 3" tire is right at the max for the frame
  1. Hatcher 26+ with Minion/Lou/Nate
  • versatile frame (could also run 29+ wheel)
  • largest diameter possible (778mm with Lou)
  • best in snow/sand
  • largest selection of tires
  • smaller packed size for flying (see paragraph below)
  • heaviest, as the rim weighs more (850 instead of 699/700) and tire (Lou is 1585 instead of 1096 for the DW), so 605g more than Hatcher 29+ and 1.1kg more than KH
  • autosteer and potentially slow responsive tire?

And the last advantage I can think of for the 26+ is that it’s actually easier to fly with as the 26" rim packs smaller. I’ve flown previously with the 24" and 20" which is easy. I’ve flown 4 times in the last year-and-a-half with the 26" and managed to get it into regular luggage without extra fees. As the 29+ rim is over 11% larger it might make it difficult to fit into normal luggage (just doing the raw math and adding about 2cmx2 for the sidewalls: with the limit l+w+h=158, the rim alone only leaves 25.6cm for 2xpadding and height (158-(62.2+4)x2), which sounds pretty tight. I wanted to try and measure my bag but it feels right at the max size with the 26" rim which I have to squeeze my 26 in so I’m afraid the 29" rim won’t fit. I think the 26+ even though the rim is wide should still fit and the bigger tire should fold/bend into the bag (kevlar bead).

I’ve not really ridden either the 29+ or 26+ wheel (I’ve tested each for a few minutes in the parking lot). I’m not really so concerned about auto-steering of the super wide 26+, but how significant is the disadvantage of low agility/responsiveness (i.e. because the tire is large and heavy)?

If I get the 26+ Hatchet the obvious objective penalty would be more weight (1.1kg more than KH and 605g more than 29+ Hatchet). But with quite a few other advantages.

So I’m looking for opinions on riding characteristics of the 26+ for normal dirt/mud technical, as well as experience packing/flying with 29". From what I’ve read the Fatty is sbjective with some loving and some hating it. On the one hand I think the extra volume as suspension I would like, I tend to ride/roll obstacles instead of hop, I don’t mind the rolling resistance of the Duro (although I’ve never actually ridden a light tire) and I’m not a weight wennie. However, I do like to exactly pick my line instead of just roll over everything (which some seem to like about the Fatties).

How significant is the height/diameter difference of 17mm (2%) between the Dirt Wizzard (761mm) and the Lou (778)?

Opinions on the Dirt Wizzard tire compared to the 26x4/5" fat tires.

If it’s primarily for dirt/wet technical trails and not much snow/sand, would you get a 26+?

Should I choose the lightest weight KH (I’m generally not a weight wennie), middle of the road Hatcher 29+ or the monster 26+??

If I go with the 26+, then which tire? Minion/Lou? Or I’ve seen a bunch of threads here saying the Bud is preferable to the Lou. Why? (as the Bud is the bike front tire and the Lou the rear tire and the rear tire would seem better suited to unicycling). Just based on tread, the Minion looks the best for dirt/mud to me. Or the Minion FBR 26x4" is only 1360g (then 415g more than Hatchet DW, 915g more than KH). Anyone know the height of the Minion 4.8" and 4.0" as I haven’t found any. MTB posts say the 4.8 is exactly the same as the Lou, that should be similar. But is the 4.0" then more like the Nate 3.8" (only 745mm)?

You are mostly right about the diameter/height of the tires. However, the fatter tires have more rolling resistance, and have more rotational weight.

This really sounds like you are not looking for the KH29, you don’t care about the weight (it’s only positive point), and it’s the least versatile when one of your objectives is a versatile unicycle.

I don’t consider the slow response to be a massive disadvantage, as the cushion from the tire is very forgiving when you end up on the wrong track, allowing you to get onto the right line. The heavy wheelset also carries momentum really easily, allowing you to roll over more stuff.

I started MUni on a Torker LX 24" which was terrible for technical terrain, so I had to learn to choose a line to get through rock gardens, root sections, etc… My next/current MUni is a Nimbus Oregon, and my choose-a-line style of riding carried over to the fat tire. It is a little more challenging to stay really precisely on a line, but it just takes a little practice to learn to control the wheel.

Based on what you’ve said, you can go ahead and cross out the KH 29". It’s only advantage is weight, and you don’t seem to care about the unicycle’s weight. You are looking for a versatile frame, it doesn’t have that, it would be just as hard to travel with as the Hatchet 29". Furthermore, throughout your post it looks like you really want to get the Hatchet 26" but are holding back because you want a larger rim size.

The disadvantage you would get with either Hatchet that a KH29 wouldn’t is the internal rotor, which makes getting to the rotor more difficult. However the internal setup makes it harder to damage the rotor on assorted trail features (I have seen this happen before on a KH unicycle).

Regardless, I think you should get the Hatchet 26". Throughout your post you seem like you really want to get the 26" but also want to have a large rim diameter. The fat unicycles are the best of both worlds with a large external diameter and loads of suspension from the tire.

Thanks for all the opinions!

The rolling resistance is not important to me (the Duro has really high rolling resistance so I’m used to it). More rotational weight is also not such a big deal, as I’m also used to it with my 36" (haven’t looked up the numbers but I bet it’s still heavier)

That’s good info, as like I said I’ve never tried to fat tire off road.

Good point, but also not much of a consideration. I have the internal disc on my 36" Oracle and also already bought a bearing puller to access the disc (upgraded from 180 to 200mm on the 36" if I remember right).

That’s again good subjective info.

I think you’re pretty right on seeing my thoughts leading to the 26+. I guess the only thing is that I have never ridden/experienced a lightweight high-volume tire muni (e.g. the KH 29 Knard). I feel like I can imagine the 26+ pretty well as it like the Duro just bigger. Probably the most practical thing to do would be to borrow my friend’s KH29 for a ride and simply try it out…

On my muni ride today (it’s been below freezing going on 3 weeks here which is colder than usual, so enjoying nice frozen hardpack snow), I also thought of another disadvantage of the 29+ Hatchet: it has a 32 hole rim which is less strong/durable than the 36 hole, how much not sure, but it’s another small plus for the 26+.

I see you’re from Washington outside Seattle: were you by chance at the 2015 Seattle Muni Weekend? It was great, and I had a great time riding with everyone and Noli picked out some good routes.

I wasn’t at the 2015 weekend, but I was at the 2016 weekend and 2015 Harper Day ride.

Then we missed each other. In 2016 I was at the Colorado Muni Weekend (Winter Park) and Elsbet (Lichtenstein, Europe).

Oh, and Summer 2016 I rode with Kenny in San Antonio, Texas (I think he lived in North Bend before he moved to San Antonio in 2016, so you probably know him too).

Unfortunately won’t be in North America at all summer 2017. Hopefully Elsbet will happen again, and I can make the dates work (and hopefully less cold and rainy than last year).

Hi MUCFreerider,

seems like you researched well on the topic already and AJ KJ gave already good advices.

A few comments left to add:

the wheel diameter is not the full story and a 5’’ tire is very different to ride compared to a 3’’. And on top of that, you considered the weight and convenience of 120tpi folding tires and again they ride differently than burly tires like the Duro.

The thing you can do to refine your selection is to ride one. You can borrow a friend ride or even get a second hand tire and use it instead of your Duro. This will be important because running a pressure as low as on a Duro will be more suction cup-like and riding with a bit more pressure feels different (but nice if you get used to it).

Do not forget also to account for the need for more torque with such a big wheel. As you are used to a Duro, your current cranks length should be fine. But you may end up going for one size longer for comfort (I had a lot of fun on a Lou with 165mm cranks where I usually ride 150mm on my 26).

That will be all for now :wink:

Sounds great in theory and it would be awesome to ride both, compare and then pick the one I like.

However, not looking good, as the one rider I know in the area has his KH 29+ disassembled for the winter as he’s rebuilding the wheel b/c of 2 broken spokes.

I was thinking maybe I could borrow the 29+ Knard from my friend, but I don’t have a frame that it’ll fit in (my 26 is too short and probably too narrow and my 36 is too narrow).

None of the other riders I know have Plus munis…

If you head down to Munich please let me know! (we should have snow on the ground another week and then it looks like it’ll be warmer and melt)

Good consideration, but I think I should be fine with 150s as I’ve been riding 150s and even 137s on my 36" for XC. Of course when I first started offroad with the 36 even 170s felt too short.

I’ve ridden comparable setups to most of those listed.

The 29+ is a big wheel. Not to say it’s not to be used, but it is big. Most of the locals here are finding for our terrain that the 27.5+ is ideal if you like going big. That being said, a few of us are really liking a 26x3 setup with the Knard. It’s not a favorite in the mud, but it’s a versatile nimble muni. We’ve also gone to 137s on our 26s. The 27.5+ folks are split with one liking 137s, and the other 150s. To be fair, the 150 rider hasn’t really spent time on 137s on a muni. I don’t have a 27.5+ wheel yet, but probably will build one at some point.

As far as 29+ tires go, the Dirt Wizard looks good on paper, but the sidewalls are weird for muni. I definitely prefer the Knard, except in mud, and prefer going with the 2.5 WTB Dissent over the Dirt Wizard. I think the Maxxis FBR and FBF hold promise for muni in 29+, but I’ve been liking the 26+ and…

I’ve been really liking the Nate 3.8 on an 80mm rim as of late. I’ve got it on a Flansberrium (Thanks Jakob!), and my frame won’t clear the 4.8 tires. The autosteer on a 3.8 seems like plenty enough. I run 4.8s on my fatbike and they are significantly heavier. I used to run 165s, but left 150s on as of late and I like it.

To give a bit of perspective, I enjoy 36er muni and cyclocross as well. On the trail I run 150s or 165s (again, liking the 150s as of late). On the road, it’s down to 110s or 100s.

I’m really wanting a big wheel so that sounds good. As about a third of my muni this year has been on my 36" mostly with 150s, I’ve gotten used to a big wheel. I tried 137s on my 36 for XC which was very fast (it’s keep riding and pedalling until you fall over - uphill crank, power crank, then downhill spin! until you collapse). On the other hand I did not like 125s or 137s on my 26 as I had trouble hopping and dropping (sprained my ankle landing funny).

Good to hear that the Dirt Wizzard is probably not the choice.

I’m thinking that it’s really the decision between a lightweight/nimble 29+ (probably with the Knard so just won’t be stellar in mud) or a true Fatty 26+ with the Minion 4.8 FBR. In general I do 2 types of riding: XC riding locally and then downhill riding in the Alps where the trails ae ultra steep and technical. On the one hand I’m thinking that I will stick with my 26-Duro for downhill as the 26+ will be really big for downhill, but then maybe I can handle it for some real fun (but then better with 26+ than 29+ Knard). On the other hand my local XC stuff is not so technical and pretty fast (think Wissahickon in Philadelphia, oh just looked and Butler is closer to Pittsburgh than Philadelphia) so the lighter 29+ would seem like the better choice and the 26+ probably overkill…

I did the weights again and the Hatchet-26+ with 4.8" Minion will be about 150g lighter than my steel Nimbus with the Duro (Duro at 1680g weighs over 100g more than the 4.8" Minion!). But the Hatchet-29+Knard would be almost 1kg lighter! (about 850g less than the 26+) and the KH-Knard another 400g lighter (so about 1300g lighter than the Hatchet-26+).

Oh, I can’t decide.

Same dilema

I think I may having the same tormenting choice.
Problem for me is that I’ve never tried any fat tire.

I have a 2.5 Minion DHR on my 29" Oracle and love it. I like to roll as much as possible and thought the increase to a 3" tire on the KH29 would be right up my alley.

The tease of the larger tire is there but I think I’ll pull the trigger on a KH29 and put the now available 3" Minion DHR on it.

I like to cover ground in all conditions and terrain so I think the KH fits my bill.
Without trying something I think the KH falls closer to my style of riding.

Does anybody do any distance with a fat tire?

My 2.5 Minion has a 29" diameter. What diameter (in inches) is the 3" Knard that comes with the KH29?
Would the 3" Minion be the same diameter?

Thanks for any help.

Good Surly info here: http://surlybikes.com/uploads/downloads/13827_Update_Tire_Geo_Chart_v2.pdf

The Knard has an effective diameter of 775mm, which is 30.51".

Don’t know about the 3" Minion but I would guess that it’s around 30" (only a rough guess).

From reading I know that a few unicyclists have chosen the fat tire for distance adventure riding, like in Nepal or something, where an indestructible tire that goes over anything ()road or no road) is very important.

I think I’m now leaning towards the 26+ Fatty, but I’m only concerned as then I will still not have a light muni (heavy 26" with Duro, and 36" Oracle with Nightrider is also not light at 7.5kg)

You can build a 29-wheel much cheaper than a 26+
If you are undecided, you could buy the 26+ hatchet complete, and assemble a new wheel onto a 125mm wide hub, £58 from UDC(UK)
£72 dirt wizard / £6 tube & tape / £40 rim / £12 spokes / £58hub / £40 cranks / £6 Ebay pedals / £4 Ebay disc = £228 (appx $275)
Then you can swap wheels when you need a change, or when it snows.

When Roger was road tested the Hatchet prototype he used a 29 rim.
And it was very light.

Thanks for all the replies.

Although I really like the design of the Hatchet I’ve been thinking and thinking and also reconsidered my original goals which were that I I would like a large-volume and large diameter plus tire with lots of grip that will be faster than my current 26" Duro, but I don’t think I really need anything wider than 3".

… and if I don’t need anything wider than 3", then the KH is sufficient and quite a bit lighter (as well as less expensive than the Hatchet 29+).

So I think I will get the KH29 with the new Maxxis DHR II 29x3.0" tire. It’s totally new so not so many reviews in the wild, but sounds like it measures out to to around 2.9" wide and an effective outer diameter significantly larger than the Dirt Wizzard and almost the same as the Knard (I’ve read two differing reports, one was 778mm and the other 764mm and the Knard is 775mm), so effective wheel size between 30" and 30.5". And should have tons of grip! 120tpi weighs in at 1110g and has a dual compound and side protection and the reports from mountain bikers is that the rolling resistance is not bad considering the huge knobs and soft rubber on the outer parts of the tire.

and I just ordered the KH29+ and the Maxxis Minion DHR II 29x3.0"!

Approximate weight should be 5.67kg! (with the knobby 3.0" Plus tire)

Very excited how it rides as my steel 26" Nimbus with the Duro weighs 7.2kg, so over 1.5kg less!

Dirty dog… you beat me to it.
I never got around to it today.


…but I did today!

Awesome! We’ll see but I’m hoping both tire and muni will arrive by the weekend (both are listed as 2-4 days so should work out but you never know with shipping).

However the fist few rides probably won’t be so spectacular as our weather just changed from 4 weeks below freezing with nice snow to thawing, so my local trails will be a mix of slush, old snow, ice and mud. I’m about to head out for a short ride right now in about 30 minutes on my 26 so I’ll see how the trails are (the last month was really great hard-packed snow).

Which version of the DHR did you order? the 120TPI 3C/MaxxTerra (1110g) or the 60TPI Dual (1160g).

I ordered the 120tpi. That’s the one I wanted and the only one I could find in Europe as it’s not officially released here yet: It’s not even listed on the Maxxis Europe website but only on the USA website.

I changed out my seat as I’m not a fan of the Zero (I’ve got one lying around in the garage).

And I think some of the posted weights concerning the build-up KH were out of date on the German website, so I think the total weight will be more like 6.3-6.4kg, but still substantially lighter than my 7.2 26-Downhiller.

I think I’ll try mine first with a tube, but will consider setting it up tubeless later (probably ghetto-tubeless with split tube).

We’ll see who gets the first ride in!

End of the month I will be going to Tenerife (one of the Canary Islands that belong to Spain in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa) so will get to do some warm weather mountain riding! And I’ll get to see how the 29 packs up for flying (the 26 is easy as are the 24 and 19")

I couldn’t get the 3" Minion from Municycle.ca so I have my local bike shop sourcing it for me. No news yet.

I downgraded (upgraded) to a Fusion Freeride as well as I too have a Zero seat just hanging up in the shed.

Also added a nice shiny new muni handle too.

We have awesome conditions for riding as well. We have groups of people snowshoeing to pack fat bike trails at our local mountain bike park.
So you have this perfect 20" wide and level packed snowshoe trail. As long as you stay away from the edges you can fly!

This is with my 29" Oracle with a 2.5" Minion barely inflated.
Can’t wait for the KH and maybe an early Spring too!

Makes sense. As I said above, this was the ONLY retailer I could find in all of Europe and I was a little worried that maybe it was a misprint or mistake or something…
And I hadn’t heard anything except that delivery would be 5 days, so maybe up till next Tuesday. I was thinking of calling my friend with the disassembled KH29 and asking to borrow his Knard for the weekend, but just got word that the tire was sent to shipping a few hours ago, so should be here by Saturday I think! So still not quite confirmed, but looking good.

Yeah, I’m putting my Fusion Freeride from my 36er on it and ordered a Nimbus Stadium, which will go on the 36er (it’s a little flatter and harder).

Although I tried one on the road, I’m still not yet a handle convert. Maybe try it again some day, but it made me less comfortable that I would get caught on it on a UPD…

I did also order a Starfighter, as I’ve gotten used to mine on my 26er.

Wow, I just looked up where Burns Lake, B.C. is: Holy cow, that’s way up past Prince George! I guess you definitely have a winter to use the plus tire on the snow. Having lived in Portland for 3 years quite a while ago, I’ve been to far southwestern BC a lot. I also spent a week in Whistler summer of 2015 (awesome muni trails both in and out of the bike park). But you’re quite a ways further north. Very beautiful I imagine.

Sounds great with the snowshoe-packed trails! Even in the Alps around here I can’t really think of anything like that. Sure, there ae lots of backcountry skiers as well as alpine skiiers in ski areas, but nothing much good for winter biking/unicycling that I’ve seen. A few years ago I used to mountain bike in the sledding/taboggan courses with heavy-duty spiked tires. That is way fun but pretty much only works at off hours like near dusk or at night with lights, as otherwise there are too many conflicts with sledders…

Oh, on my ride yesterday (on my 26) the trails were awesome! Although many places were exposed there was no mud but more a ice/snow mix layer on the trail with pools of water on top of the ice. It was slick and I slid sideways a whole lot which was very fun and only wiped out on ice a few times (very challenging so pretty fun). Unfortunately today and tomorrow are +C temps with lots of sunshine, so I think it’ll all be water/mud by the weekend.

Muni should be here within the hour! (tire not yet but can still assemble it)

KH29 arrived and looks nice. Until the tire gets here the widest 700c I have is a 700c-40 (around 1 5/7" or so) in the Schwalbe Marathon. Looks like it would work on the rim, however the fat muni tube is HUGE and won’t work. I found a normal 700c tube but it is way smaller…

I halfway but up everything and it looks like I’m going to have to cut the 350mm seatpost down. My first measurement was by 10cm! And if I’m measuring correctly then the KH frame doesn’t have much seatpost range. I measured 13.5cm total insertion, where the seatpost is marked with “minimum insertion” of 9cm, so that’s only 4.5cm. But 4.5cm is less than the adjustment needed just to switch from 150 to 100mm cranks, so doesn’t leave room for lowering the saddle for muni (and I’d like to be able to run 165mm cranks too). I remember having this problem with my Nimbus 36 Oracle and I think UDC said that you could exceed the seatpost minimum insertion (but I forgot what the recomended minimum was: I think 2" which would be 6cm).

Haven’t weighed the huge muni tube but it is hefty and feels heavy. I think I will have to look into ghetto-tubeless for the KH rim as I think it would save a significant amount of weight (and of course also be tubeless).

Well, have to wait till later to continue…