Big Apple in the rain?

I’ve done a bunch of reading about the Big Apple and am thinking of trying it on my 29’er but there are two things I wonder:

  1. how does it perform in the rain? I have heard that it doesn’t have much tread so do those of you who ride it find it to be slippery in the wet?

  2. would this fat tire fit on an Alex DM 18 rim or is that too small a rim for the tire?


I have the 2.0" version on a Sun CR18 rim, and I have ridden it on roads and light trails in the rain and wet nd I felt it held up ok. I didn’t want to really push it for the reasons you mentioned, but I never came close to slipping.

I think that for roads the less tread the better when it’s wet, and, for trails/mud, tread is necessary for grip.

My Contra muni tyre has been worn treadless for many months now- it’s grip is hopeless on a muddy trail, but fine on concrete in the wet.

I used to assume that tread=good on all wet surfaces, but for roads slick is best because it means more rubber is in contact with the ground.

I would argue that semi slick is best, a tyre that is actually slick would slip. It’s the channels in the tyres that let water in so the tyre can make proper contact with the ground.

Re: Big Apple in the rain?

I’ve got one on mine and like it a lot.

I think it would work just fine on the road in the rain, but I’ve never ridden it in the rain so I’m not sure.

On the road the lack of tread isn’t a problem. At high speeds tires move so fast that the water on the road doesn’t have time to get out of the way so it piles up under the tire and lifts it off the road. Tires with 2 atmospheres of pressure inside (30 psi), like car tires, can start to hydroplane at 44 mph. Reducing this effect is why car tires have deep channels and grooves. The naturally rounded shape of a unicycle tire does a similar job, so you’d have to be doing about 60 mph before you got your tire to hyroplane.

The other reason why tires slip in the rain is called loss of molecular adhesion. This kind of slipping is due to lubrication from the few water molecules that remain after the bulk of the water has been pushed aside. Since this is down at the molecular level the tread pattern doesn’t matter much. “Hydrophilic” rubber compounds bond well to water and “grab” the road through the water film. All good all-weather tires and rain tires use hydrophilic compounds. I don’t know if Swalbe uses hydrophilic compounds to make the the Big Apple, but I imagine they do. They’re a pretty savey tire manufacturer.

Tire treads also mechanically engage roughness in the road. On the road molecular adhesion is so high that the best tread pattern is a slick, wet or dry, since it puts the most rubber in contact with the road. Off road is a whole 'nother matter. If your riding trails are fairly clean and hard then IMHO the Big Apple has more than enough tread, and would continue to be a great tire after it goes bald.

IMHO, this setup is marginal. My setup is the same and I managed to blow the tire off the rim once while inflating it. It works just fine IF you check that the bead is properly seated before you put any significant (above 3psi) air in the tire, and IF you don’t ever inflate it past about 50 psi.

Thanks for your feedback and in particular, your detailed reply, cyberbellum.

It sounds like the Big Apple would be just the ticket for rainy Vancouver street riding. I currently have a Kenda Qwest 700X35…anyways a very narrow road tire on a narrow rim on my Bedford 29’er frame. This uni is light and very agile for road riding. I am pondering, perhaps unnecessarily… :thinking: but pondering all the same, what a Big Apple would be like for road riding. It sounds like the ride would be cushier and maybe a little faster than my current set up.

But it would require likely a wider rim and a bigger frame… a bit of an investment, in essence like buying another 29’er. I am not sure the Big Apple ride would be that big an improvement over my current set up to warrent shelling out the extra cash for another 29’er frame and wheel.

Any thoughts?

think Phil will agree with me lovely tyre definalty reccomend it

Thanks. Prattling on about technology is an occupational hazard.

Yes, much cushier. Probably not any faster, but you won’t even feel the pebbles and sidewalk cracks. VERY smooth ride.

It works fine on a narrow rim, you just have to be careful when inflating it. No need for a new wheel.

My tire measures 2 1/8" wide. If you’ve got 2 1/2" between the frame legs you’re ok. It’s also 2 1/8" from the rim edge to the outside of the tire, so if you’ve got 2 1/4" from the rim edge to the underside of the crown you’re ok.

Yup, I’ve got a good 2 1/2" between the frame legs so that shouldn’t be a problem. As for the underside of the crown, not much room to spare here; it does seem to be 2 1/4" with maybe a hair more from the rim edge to the lowest point on the crown.

Just my 2 cents.
I have the 2.35" BA on my brand new Yuni 29er, and I love it. Was riding in the rain the other day with good traction. Got overzealous and went off-road and slipped in the mud, but I was asking for it.

I have to say, my only previous uni was a Savage 24" which I deftly destroyed, and the differnce between that and my new Yuni 29er is too huge to describe. I love it, and the KH seat is like a dream after that savage Savage.