The new KH 47mm Freeride rim seems to have opened up a new world of off road riding on the KH 29’er. But can 9mm really make that much difference?
I’ve been riding the 38mm and 47mm fitted with the Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.4 and WTB Stout 2.3 on separate rides, but I thought a back to back test where the trail would be broken into sections and each section ridden with both the 38mm and 47mm rims during a ride would be fun and hopefully making any difference obvious.
(So you’re thinking… this clown has two 29’ers? In my defense I never intended to. I ended up with a spare 29″ frame due to a Schlumpf compatibility problem with my original 29″ last December, and have since gathered enough spare bits and pieces since to build up a second 29’er to sell/loan)
After a week or so of cold drizzly rain, the rain clouds finally parted and I headed out with the two 29’ers to one of my favorite parts of the forest which includes dirt road, bush track and single track set in hilly terrain. The slippery tracks would just add to the fun! I warmed up soon enough, riding sections of trail, running back and forth swapping uni’s, and stopping now and then for photos.
The Bottom Line?
The short version is there wasn’t one situation where I preferred the feel of the 38mm rim over the 47mm. Climb or descent, single track or fire trail, smooth or rough. The 47mm comes with a dumb grin that gets plastered over your face as you roll along.
The 47mm feels much more stable than the 38mm. The 47mm seems able to eat rough terrain, or ‘run over children’ as Eric the Red described it. It encourages you to ride the 29’er harder and attempt more difficult terrain.
Swapping back to the 38mm rim it always felt ‘tall and narrow’ in comparison, a hybrid uni feel, not as stable even with 2.3-2.4 tires fitted — leading to an approach of weaving your way through terrain versus ploughing on through with the wider rim.
If there is a downside to the 47mm rim it’s the reduced brake clearance. With the Magura’s set right back there isn’t a lot of room to spare.
However… the slippery conditions magnified the differences between the two rims — the 47mm gives the 29’er tractor properties through mud and slush… FUN.
Eric the Red and I comparing 29’er notes at ‘the office’ during an earlier ride.
The new 47mmFreeride rim makes the KH 29″ a better off road machine (It also gives the 29’er a much clear identity in the KH line up IMO). That doesn’t mean however that in technical/extreme terrain the Freeride 29’er magically replaces smaller MUni’s like the 24″ – it’s still a 29″ wheel. If you’re building up a new 29’er for off road use get the 47mm rim. 9mm does make a significant difference. It’s as clear as mud, IMO anyway! 🙂
ps. Second 29’er now sold