It’s most likely time for another uni. I love my KH29 and my KH20 (my Nimbus 36 isn’t shabby either- oh, and there’s a Torker DX24 floating around but that is probably going to my wife), but I want to get something to round out the stable a bit more. I’m narrowed down to a KH24 (when they become available again?), or one of the two Conundras.
I searched the site before and it appears that there isn’t a whole lot of experience with the Conundrum, so I guess I’m hoping people have gathered some more experience with them since the postings a while ago.
Here’s what I’m wanting to do that the 29er isn’t 100% on: climbing, mud, snow and more technical bits than the 29er allows. I love the 29er, but the Stout is the only tire that seems to be working well for anything beyond some XC. I notice a big difference with a Duro 3.0 on the Torker DX 24. It absorbs hits better, but the smaller wheelsize doesn’t roll some things as well. The DX32 rim is good, but I’m just wondering how awesome a wider rim would be in the 24 format (KH or Marge) or if the 26 with the Endomorph would just be a bulldozer and crush the terrain.
Around here we don’t have extended downhills. Most everything is short and steep both up and down with a good share of east coast roots and rocks. I have to peck some stuff on the 29er so the Stout is about the only tire that is predictable, but doesn’t work exceptionally well at times due to it’s small volume in comparison to the 24x3 or 26x3.7. I really think something with larger volume and a wider rim would help in the quest to ride more. I know there is a skill factor involved, but it seems like the 29er with 150s is at its limit at times. I don’t want to go to longer cranks on it as I love the way it rides 90% of the time. As a side note, I’m about 6’1 160lbs and don’t really care about the weight of things as long as I can ride. I’ve been doing mtb races around here this fall on the KH 29 to give a rough fitness level benchmark.
So I guess the questions are: How large and how wide? What works better in mud? Should I just keep the Torker, or are the others (KH24 or Conundrum) different enough to warrant a purchase?
I’m a big fan of the Duro 3.0 tire but have no experience with the Marge. I believe that MuniAddict runs the Marge with 3.7 so hopefully he weighs in on this one or possible you could check his web site or profile for further info.
I think Terry (Muniaddict) runs a relatively stock KH24 for muni. His friend Jim (I can’t remember his username) had, but sold, a Conundrum with the 3.7 Endomorph tire on it. IIRC, he said it was just too heavy and unwieldy, and not an improvement in fun or efficiency over the KH24. Others, though, esp. in places with snow or sand, have said that fat tire floats a lot better.
I believe there are those on the fora who extol the LM rim with a Gazz for the KH24–some of the Santa Barbara group, maybe–and I suspect the LM/Conundrum might be a good combo for a 26er, but with a DH tire instead of the Endomorph.
I really like Surly’s stuff just from an aesthetic standpoint–if I had Bill Gates’ income, I’d have every bike and uni they make, just because they have a pretty high “cool” factor imo.
I ride a KH 24" with a large marge rim and duro 3" tire.
Unless you are riding in loose sand or deep deep snow more often than not I’d definitely pass on the endomorph 3.7" tire and also on the conundrum frame, the conundrum frame is steel and with how beefy that thing is it must weigh a ton.
I recommend the standard KH muni, I like the large marge rim a lot but I think I’d prefer the improved responsiveness of a slightly narrower rim. I wish there was something between the KH and the Large Marge rims as far as width.
I ride a conundrum 26er. The switch to a 3 inch tire from the 3.7 gave me a lot more control and precision. I don’t find the weight of the frame to be significant, but the tire weight from 24 to 26 is big. The first question you need to answer is 24 or 26 inch tire. I find my 26er significantly faster and able to absorb a lot more DH junk, but bulkier than I’d like for trialsy type riding or for pecking up hill.
When we have big snow or when I head to the sand dunes I put on the endo tire and love it. I ride stuff I couldn’t otherwise ride, especially in sand. But if that isn’t something you see yourself doing I would pass on the surly frame. The LM rim is amazing with a 3 inch tire.
Thanks all for posting so far. I’m still not sure on 24 vs. 26. Around here we have no sand (unless I hit up a volleyball court), but we do get a fair amount of snow in the winter- enough for my neighbor to warrant a snow bike. We’ve been fortunate to have almost no mud this year, but that is very atypical.
I see that trialsy stuff on the 26 can be a bit cumbersome, but does roll over off set things enough to make technical trail riding similar? I do like the thoughts of the faster 26, but if it doesn’t allow me much more technical stuff than the 29, I’m not sure if it’s that warranted. OTOH, if the 24 is a lot slower, it might not be a whole lot of fun. I raced the 29er on quite a technical course around here yesterday and some of the rock gardens definitely left me wanting more tire volume.
I guess the other “gazing into the crystal ball question” is: “What about tire availability?” The Gazz is gone, so what is available to run in the 26 size? What does the future for the 24 hold?
Looks like I can pretty much narrow things down to the KH 24 or the Conundrum 26. Without a 3.7 tire in the 24 format, I’m not sure the 24 Conundrum is that different enough to be a big option.
26x2.6 gazaloddis are still available in various flavours. Personally I think that’s wide enough. Whatever the number on the sidewall, the 26x2.6 gazz is a way way better tyre than any of the 29er tyres.
I’ve ridden a 26" with a surly rim and a 3" gazz, and it was horrible - I’m sure it is great on sand and snow, but it is horrible to ride uphill, and nasty when you want to turn corners. It weighed probably more than a coker. I can’t imagine how bad it’d be with the wider tyre. The surly also comes with a profile hub, which is an expensive hub, with more maintenance hassles than other hubs, and is non-standard, so you have to buy special cranks for it. Not to mention being super heavy. The 26 with surly rim is probably slower than a 24 because it just weighs so so much.
Koxx and Nimbus both make sensibly sized 26" munis, that come with a decent hub, don’t weigh quite so much, and as a bonus, are way cheaper. You’d be getting a better quality ride for less money. They now have brake mounts, so no worries there, and you can always upgrade the rim if you want it to ride like a truck.
Obviously, if you want to ride in deep snow all winter, it might be worth considering the endomorph thing, but given how much the 26" with the surly rim sucks compared to a normal one, I’d recommend considering it as a deep snow only muni, not as a fast muni for normal riding.
I have a 24x3.0" Duro (formerly a 24x2.6" Kenda), a 26x3.0" Gazz, and a 26x3.7" Large Marge/Endomorph.
The difference between the 24 and the 26 is pretty small. I have 170mm cranks on the 26 and 150mm cranks on the 24, so the speed is pretty comparable. The 26 is a little better at rolling over loose stuff, the 24 is easier to control and lighter. I can ride pretty much the same stuff on either uni. My personal choice is always the 24", mostly due to the lesser weight and shorter cranks. People are always borrowing my 26", and they do fine on it.
I set up the Endomorph specifically for sand riding. It is worlds better than the other tires on deep sand, and I presume on snow. On sand dunes that were completely unrideable on the 26x3.0", I can float over them on the Endomorph.
However, the Endomorph has by far the worst issues with camber of any tire I’ve ever ridden; if the road or the trail has any camber at all, the tire will fight you every inch of the way. Because of that, I find it pretty useless for general-purpose riding.
Thanks tholub for the “totally doable” advice. Off-camber describes almost all of the trails around here so the endomorph/marge combo doesn’t make much sense.
Joe’s comment about the climbing being horrible with the 26in/large marge/gazz makes me want to shy away from the 26 Conundrum altogether.
The 24 Conundum doesn’t make much sense without a big tire- which probably would be too much for the camber around here anyways.
Brian’s comment about the LM not having as much bounce but being a tractor leaves me wondering if it would be successful in the rock gardens around here. A lot of the rocks range in size from 3 to 6in and more. They eat bike wheels for sure so muni is definitely a challenge. I know trying to use the 29er as a tractor is ok, but I’d like a bit more help from the tire.
Not much in the 3.0 tire size is showing up for either 24 or 26 at the time. This seems a bit troubling, but hopefully things will stabilize.
It looks like things come back to pretty much a stock KH24 or a Nimbus 26. Neither are available now stateside (I’ll wait for the KH 08), so no matter what I have to wait.
Any opinions on the 24 vs 26 in the mud? Either one preferred at climbing short steep stuff with some roots and rocks thrown in for good measure? I’d rather motor up than spend a lot of time and energy pecking up stuff that my friends are climbing on their bikes.
Some of the SB trails are one big rock garden over a 5000’ descent. I prefer the LM 24x3" Duro combo for those situations (although the 29er works), but I also run it at about 30 psi, which probably changes the ride feel to something a bit bouncier.
I think the LM shines in rock gardens really, I don’t think what I mentioned really applies there. The LM absorbs impacts and the like very well, I think this is whats important in rock gardens. You don’t want to land or ride over a rock and have it bounce you into the air off your pedals. The only time I’ve sensed the lower bounce is during rolling hops and side hops.
I have ridden a 24 with a 2.6 and a 3.0 tire (on east coast rocks and roots, short and steep hills)
I have ridden a 26 with a 2.6 on east coast rocks and roots
My preference is the 26, albeit a larger tire to absorb more impact would be nice. In general I find it rolls better over most obstacles, and I maintain momentum better. I had roll over problems with the 3.0 on my alex DX 24inch rim so i find my precision hopping is better on the 26 with the 2.6… but agai i feel like i am going to bottom out and ruin the rim…
My best suggestion is to try some out at a muni meet up and then pick, i think personal preference goes a long way
Thanks again for all the input. It was a HUGE help. From what I gathered the 24 would be the most different from what I have now so I decided on that tire size rather than the 26. The endomorph looked so freakin’ cool, but also appeared to be quite impractical for the terrain.
I rode my Torker again the other night and then went ahead and ordered a KH 24 and a couple of Intense tires. I just couldn’t resist the urge any longer. After a woods light muni ride on the Torker I was hooked on the big volume tire. I got the '07 KH, as didn’t feel the price difference (for me) was really going to warrant the '08. I’m not into crazy drops or anything like that so my impatience suits me fine- I think I can do without the upgrades. I love my other KH unis and don’t expect this to be any different- just a bit better for more technical muni, snow, and mud. Some day maybe a truly high volume tire will be available for the 29er, but even then the wheel size gives a whole different feel.
I am looking forward to the wider rim on the KH as the DX32 has some side roll issues when pecking the off camber stuff around here. I’m sure the KH is significantly lighter than the Torker too. I can now put the 2.6 back on the Torker and give it to my wife (she’s only on a 20in now, but will move up soon and she probably will mainly cruise around a bit on it anyways). I figured I can also build a Large Marge wheel for the KH in the future if I need more width. Maybe Santa will bring me some parts…
I’m almost looking forward to the several months of crappy weather slated to set in soon…
I replaced my downhill S-works tire with an Endomorph ($50 on ebay for a brand new tire) today - I had to see what it was like. On my first ride I was pleasantly surprised, on the still dead (from winter) grass in my yard it rolled very smoothly and I am sure that on dirt paths it will roll like a dream. Turning on pavement was a little more work than before, but I am sure I will get used to it - and not use this one on pavement much anymore than I have to.
I highly recommend it - nothing looks cooler than an Endomorph tire - it is ridiculously cool and worth the $ I think.
I added a comparison shot of a normal 26" atb tire