Big Apple off-road

Howdy -

I’ve been riding a favorite local trail quit a bit this fall on both my 24” Gazz equipped MUni and one or the other of the three 29’ers I have. The trail is a combination of dished single track and double track that’s either smooth dirt or very rough with imbedded rocks of various sizes. There’s plenty of climbing too. Of the many different loops that can be ridden, the one I usually ride is a little over 5 miles with about 900 feet of climbing. Some of the rocky steeper sections can be quite a challenge.

I’m riding the trail pretty well these days – especially on the 24” MUni. The big Gazz at a low pressure floats over the rocks beautifully. The 29’ers are much more difficult to ride on this trail. There’s really no comparison between the 24” x 3.0 Gazz and any 29” tire when the trail gets rough and rocky. Still, a 29’er has it’s own charm … mainly speed!

I’ve been experimenting with the 29’ers – trying to determine which tire at what air pressure works best for riding this trail. The three 29” tires I have are a Schwalbe Big Apple, IRC Notos and WTB Motoraptor. The Big Apple is the largest of the three and the one I’d really like to ride off-road due to the large air volume. It seems like it should float through the rock gardens a lot like the big Gazz does. However, I tried the Big Apple early in the fall with disappointing results: It rode like a dream but was practically impossible to keep running down the center of the dished trail. It wanted to climb the sides of the trail.

Today I gave the Big Apple another try. This time I have it mounted on a wide Sun rim and 50 psi air pressure. The 29’er is a nice, light ride with 170mm cranks, Wellgo pedals, KH saddle and a stylin’ grey Ritchey seat post. The Big Apple looks really good on this 29’er.

I hit the trail and was immediately impressed with how smooth the Big Apple is. I made it through the first rocks in the trail but it was pretty obvious that 50psi is too much pressure. At that pressure the tire wants to come up against a rock and stop rather than keep rolling while the rock pushes into the tire. It’s really tough to ride through rocks when the tire isn’t “floating”. I also had trouble with traction in the rocks at the higher pressure. I let a little air out and immediately noticed a difference in how easily it rolled through the rocks.

It was also immediately obvious how hard it was to control to tire. It simply won’t track straight on a uneven trail. It wore me out just trying to stay on the trail since I had to constantly wrestle the tire to make it go where I wanted it to. When riding my Gazz or the other 29’ers I’m able to just pedal and not have to work too hard to keep going straight. I had hoped that the wider Sun rim would help or that maybe I was more skilled now and could ride the rocks with a higher air pressure in the tire. Not today …

I suppose riding the Big Apple at a low air pressure off road isn’t meant to be - for me at least. At 60psi it’s a great road tire though. I guess I’ll put short cranks back on this particular 29’er and just ride it on the road. Off road I can’t really tell a difference between the Notos and the Motoraptor. Both work well enough in the rocks at lower air pressures and are easy to control.

Steve Howard

red 29er with ba.jpg

Steve, you’ve got to quit teasing me with the pictures of your frames:D :smiley: Those things are truly a work of art!!!

Re: Big Apple off-road

Steve,

Thanks for the follow-up on your previous posts on this subject. It
not only confirms your earlier observations, but also that at high
pressure the Big Apple does track well. This is consistent with the
explanation for the bad tracking that we came up with earlier.
Although I don’t understand yet why the Notos and Motoraptor do so
much better in that respect.

I ride my Big Apple 90% of the time on roads, 10% on easy trails that
are hardly rutted. Pressure about 40 psi. Handling is OK there.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

Grizzly bear droppings have bells in them and smell like pepper spray. - UniBrier

How big is that tire?

Steve,

Could you do the IUF Rules Committee a favor and measure the outside diameter of your Big Apple tire? We’re trying to find a good maximum limit for tire size for a new racing category. This is the biggest tire I’m aware of that fits a 700c rim.

Thanks!