Surly Knard 29x3

Yesterday, two hours on Knard 26 x 3.8" super slimy conditions, running 10psi, had a blast riding with the pups and churning up the mud!

Today, three hours on Knard 29 x 3", the warm day dried up the slop, so it was a lot less slimy, which made for a super climb day, got a couple first ascents at the local riding area :smiley:

So I’m upgrading my Knard 29 x 3" 120tpi review: 1.5 thumbs up, 0.5 thumbs down

I still stand by all my previous comments, but I think I found a little more love at the lower pressures, riding at 17psi, provided just enough cushion and There was minimal sidewall folding/squirrelyness. If you don’t demand a hard edging tire and you like the way a fat tire rides, the 29" Knard is nice mix of flotation and edging. I wouldn’t call it a hardpack carver at 17psi, but it certainly hooks up on muddy ground and plows through slop like a fat tire should.

I think the 29" Knard needs a wider rim, I’m running a 42mm Dominator 2 and I have a fair amount of sidewall bulging, about as much as I had with a BFL on a large Marge. The KH is 47mm (10% larger) and the Surly Rabbit Hole is 50mm (20% larger). The Rabbit Hole is pricey at $150, but I’ll spend the cash to build one if the weights are accurate and I can build a 32 hole wheel.

I’ll post a comparison of the 120tpi vs the 27tpi next weekend…

The New Oregons arrive in April, start saving those pennies :slight_smile:

Based on this measurement, it looks like the Knard will clear the top of the KH29 crown by just 1/8" or so - thats cutting it pretty close. And I think you are using a narrower rim: I’m using the 47mm wide KH rim, so, hoping this additional width doesn’t use up any more of that remaining 1/8".

Thanks for measuring Ben.

And the tread doesn’t seem to pack with mud and rock, so it should be okay for all but the nastiest clay…do you even have clay out there?

A wider rim is going to be better, I think that’s part of why the Knard seems to have a little of that “Larry autopilot” thing going on, as well as the sidewall folding.

I’m hoping that the 27tpi is burlier as that would give the DH oriented folks a little more beef for drops and such.

I do find that the wide tire “envelopes” obstacles, so I am able to do the creep and climb over rocks and roots, just like a fat tire should :slight_smile:

I swapped back to my 36" wheel on my Triton today so took the opportunity to see how the Knard mounted on my KH Freeride rim fitted in my spare KH29 frame.

There have been a few photos floating round of someone who had done this before with a pre-production version of the Knard but unfortunately my 27tpi version did not fit in the frame with this setup. There is clearance on either side but the tire touches the top of the frame before you can tighten the bearing holders. Mine is inflated to about 20psi.



Is it close enough to fitting that you could put strips of beer can in your bearing holders to shim it?

Hi Aarons. You might be able to but it would take a few shims. The tire comes in contact before the bearings touch the frame and if you tightened the bearing holders the tire would be pushed down by 1-2mm. So even if you shimmed the frame up by 5mm you would only have 2-3mm clearance. I don’t know how much shimming people have done successfully in the past?.

This is just my experience though. You may get lucky and end up with a tire that does not stand so high with a different rim combo etc.

Hey Rawcyclist, I thought you had a 120tpi folding bead Knard…

So you have the 27tpi folding Knard? That’s wierd, like maybe there are three versions as the box for my 29 x 3 folding bead Knard was labeled ultralight.

Well that explains why our riding experiences are so different!

I just got my 27 tpi wire bead non folding Knard, and did some comparing between the two tires, and it’s like comparing a silk weight robe to a heavy flannel shirt, the 27tpi is way burlier.

The 29 x 3 27 tpi Knard appears to have the same casing as my 26 x 3.8 120 tpi Knard, so much stiffer in the casing and tread and significantly stiffer in the sidewall. I weighed the tire and it was 1270gm, so 300gm more than the 120 tpi 29er Knard, but also far burlier.

I haven’t ridden it yet, but I have played around on it some and even at 15psi, the 27tpi feels stiffer than the 120tpi at 17-18psi.

If it rides as firm as it feels when bouncing around. but still has the supple ride that makes it a fat tire, I’ll probably stick with the 27tp for all around riding and sell the 120tpi, though I did have quite a nice ride last night on the 120tpi; it was a super saturated slime fest, powersliding galore :smiley:

I think the main differential is that the frame in those photos was a 2007; since then the KH29 crown has been lowered. Even in the 2007 frame the clearance was paper thin.

I just looked at my measurements from the folding 120tpi Knard and it is significantly smaller than the wire bead 27tpi Knard.

Tread 74mm x 68mm
Casing 70mm x 64mm

I suppose the stiffer sidewall makes the tire “stand up” more, but then the casing is also wider, and the above measurements are at a lower psi (15 vs 20).

My fatty just got fatter!

Hi Ben

Your right sorry! I have the 120tpi casing. I always get these confused (thinking less number should be lighter).

Looking forward to hearing how you like the 27tpi version.

Bummer. I just came here to post this pic as you can see, I came to the same conclusion you did: The 127 TPI 29er Knard is not even close to fitting the second generation KH29er frame when on the 47mm freeride rim. . . . . Bummed, but I guess this means that if I have to have the Knard, I’ll just have to fabricate my own frame . . . or get a Triton frame. I also measured teh 2007 KH 29 frame I have here and it wouldn’t fit in there either.
Also, the tire width from sidewall to sidewall was approx 3 1/8" leaving just under 1/16" of side clearance between the tire and frame leg at 20 PSI.



This makes me glad and sad. The 27tpi sounds like my kind of tire, just too bad I don’t get to buy a used one :stuck_out_tongue:

This is going to be my first uni purchase I am going to make when I get back, looking forward to trying it out.

g fat 29er

So there are two production frames that fit this tire, the Oregon which requires a super wide hub, and the new Oracle 29" which should be updated to clear the Knard and is arriving in April.

The Oracle 29" frame is the same quality as a KH, less expensive, and includes a disc brake mount (D Brake), so it might be a good time to upgrade both your tire and your brake, but then there’s the hub thing…

I love my Oregon frame, it’s stiff, light, and I never hit my knees, the wide hub gives me a more stable platform with Moments or I can choose to go narrower by changing to Venture cranks, also I can run the fattest tires I want!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I rode the Knard 27tp tonight … curious are we?


Knard 29 x 3": 120tpi vs 27tpi

The Knard is fat, fatter than a Duro Wildlife Leopard, more volume than a Gazz 3", Surly calls it a 29+ and you can believe it’s true! So how does a fat tired 29er ride? Well, as you’d expect, coming from a 2.4" tire (Hans Dampf), the Knard takes some adjusting, both in terms of technique and tire break in. The Knard is a flotation tire, so unlike more common three inch muni tires (Gazz, Leopard, Intense DH), it has a softer feel and responds more to tire pressure, it is less edgy, and it is more spongy than a typical mtb tire. The tire needs to be ridden a few times before it feels right, to stretch out the rubber and rub off the mold release compound.

Folks who already ride a 26" flotation tire will notice some similarities, but it is not a 4" flotation tire, the Knard is far more agile with charcteristics common to a high volume mountain bike tire. The high volume allows low pressure riding that is comfortable and smooth, so it works great for mud and snow, and feels comfortable rolling over rough terrain. Pump the Knard up and it firms up to provide a solid ride, though at high pressures it can get a bit bouncy; this is where finding the pressure sweet spot becomes key.

Knard ultralight, supple and smooth:
The 120tpi Knard uses an ultralight casing to keep the tire under a kilo, so the casing is very supple and feels thin. At 17-18psi it has a good all around ride feel and I was able to do some very nice uphill rock/root crawling as well as some amazing power slides in swampy conditions. However, I found that the 120tpi did not have a enough sidewall strength at lower pressures to maintain stability in hard carves/fast turns on firm surface and off drops. I rode the 120tpi Knard at pressure as high as 22psi and as low as 12psi, at the lowest pressures I had great traction but the tire was squirmy, all I got from the higher pressures was a harsh ride and a lot of bounce.

Knard on the cheap or best for big boys?
The 27tpi Knard has a significantly thicker casing and a much stiffer feel in the tread. In comparing tires to known mtb tires, the 120tpi Knard is more like a Racing Ralph and the 27tpi Knard is more like an Ardent. Though I am still breaking in the 27tpi, so far it seems to be a better tire for bigger riders and more extreme terrain, it feels more “sincere” on firm surfaces and has less sidewall collapse off drops. I have not run the pressure up, so I don’t know if it will suffer from bounce. I started with 13-14psi, bumped to 15psi and left it there; unlike the 120tpi, the 27tpi seems to be less sensitive to changes in tire pressure.

Which one is best for you?
I am heavy, 200#, so keep that in mind when deciding on which version to buy. I would keep the 120tpi if it was the only version available, but for my weight it would be a three season tire. If I were lighter, say <160-180#, the 120tpi would be a nice all around tire. For me, at my weight and the varied terrain and conditions I ride, I prefer a tire with some structure (Hans Dampf, Ardent, The Todd, Devist8or), so I’m willing to pay the weight penalty, and so I would choose the 27tpi Knard for all around riding.

Choosing a rim:
The other thing to consider is rim choice. I’m riding a Nimbus Dominator2, it weighs a hefty 1000gm and is only 42mm wide. On the 120tpi it felt like the tire wanted to pop off the rim, both due to having a loose fit and having a very supple “ultralight” casing. On the 27tpi the tire was still loose on the rim, but when I aired it up to 30psi, it stayed on the rim just fine and did not require any bead adjustment.

The Surly Rabbit Hole rim is designed for this tire, at 50mm it is not that much wider than the KH Freeride, but it may fit the tire better and at 700gms it is a light rim. Sadly it is also a 32 hole rim, so unless Nimbus comes out with a 32hole hub or Surly makes a 36 hole rim (very unlikely), the Freeride is probably the best choice. The D2 is a good rim, it’s inexpensive and it works fine, but it’s also heavy and narrowish.

So, is it worth going to all the trouble of getting a frame to fit this tire?

Absolutely! First of all, if you are a 29er fan like me, this is the fat tire you dreamed of, light, soft riding, and fast. But more importantly, Surly has opened up a new genre of tire/wheel building that will likely lead to more 29+ tires by Surly and others, so having a wheel and frame to accomodate these tires is the price for playing.

Knard 120tpi, 970gm, $120 = lighter riders, cushy ride, more feel, squirmier
Knard 27tpi, 1270gm, $90 = heavier riders, soft ride, less feel, firmier

Great writeup, Ben. You’ve clearly put a lot of time and effort into this and it’s appreciated by those of us who like to wait until the dust clears before trying something new. :slight_smile:

Nimbus does have a 32 hole ISIS hub; I have one on a 26" muni and a 700c road wheel. Of course, you can’t use it on an Oregon or if you like hub mounted disc brakes but if you’re looking to run your Knard wheel in a custom frame (or maybe a KH36 frame?) with an external disc brake then the Nimbus 32 hole hub to rabbit hole would work for you.

Great writeup, Ben. You’ve clearly put a lot of time and effort into this and it’s appreciated by those of us who like to wait until the dust clears before trying something new. :slight_smile:

Nimbus does have a 32 hole ISIS hub; I have one on a 26" muni and a 700c road wheel. Of course, you can’t use it on an Oregon or if you like hub mounted disc brakes but for someone looking to run a Knard wheel in a custom/Triton frame (or maybe a KH36 frame?) with an external disc brake then the Nimbus 32 hole hub to rabbit hole would work.

Was there not also a mad 4 one hub with internal disc brake mounts
I may have dreamed this

The mad 4 one hubs seem to be available in 36 and 32 holes

But again yes would be standard width and not fit an Oregon

geez thats alot of reading…Will it work on a kh29 with a wide rim? yes or no lol

No, the Knard will not fit in a KH29.