29er slicks

I recently damaged my bike tire riding down some stairs, so I figured this was my chance to get some fat street tires that I had my eye on. I had heard many good things about the Schwalbe Big Apple tire, and since there were three 29″ sizes I figured one would be perfect for my rigid 29er. I wanted to see what the largest tire would be that would easily fit on my frame, so I made a few shims that were the correct width of the tire and height difference from my current 1.6″ tire.

Testing with the 2.15″ shim seemed to net the best fit, as it barely cleared my front derailleur, whereas the 2.35″ did not, and I didn’t really want to get a new derailleur.

Once my 2.15″ Big Apples arrived I went to work mounting them, which was fairly straight forward on my 18mm rims, except for thinking several times I had mounted them backwards, only to realize I was going insane. Mounting a 55mm tire on a 18mm rim actually falls outside of the ETRTO (European Tire and Rim Technical Organization) standards, however Schwalbe actually specifically states it’s okay for Big Apples as long as the pressure doesn’t exceed 55 psi, beyond that the rim likely blows apart as you ride.

The width difference between my old tires and the new Apples was pretty dramatic to finally see in person.

I reinstalled my wheels and was impressed just how tight the clearances where with the new tires, only a few millimeters in some places. I was glad I took the time to use the shim to make sure they would fit.

I am extremely pleased with the look of the new tires. They really add to the whole utilitarian/urban-assault-vehicle look I am going for. Compared to my old tires they look super beefy.

The ride is extremely flexible since the tires can accept such a wide pressure range, from 22-55 psi. At the lower pressures the ride is super plush and subtle, whereas at the higher end the bike rolls like it’s on a much narrower tire. Currently I am using 40 psi however I’m sure I will tweak this a lot in the future. Big Apples are advertised as a suspension in a tire, and I think that is pretty accurate, and perfect for my rigid bike. I expect to be jumping a lot of curbs with these rollers in the future.

This post contains a lot of the pictures I took during this process, however if you’d like to see all of them in bigger sizes, check out the matching Flickr set.