It seems that mountain bike wheels are getting bigger and bigger all the time: 26in, 27.5in, 29in, plus-tyres and Wide Trail too. Could 36in wheels be the next ‘big’ thing? Truebikes is certainly getting ready for the next potential craze, with its 36in wheeled mountain bike.
Truebike has a number of 36in wheel bikes in its range, but this alloy mountain bike certainly grabbed our attention at Sea Otter Europe, not least for that understandable, yet still rather bonkers, bar set up.
Elevated chainstays — gonna make a comeback?! Tom Marvin
The bike has an alloy frame that’s neatly shaped to make sure that the huge wheels and 2×11 drivetrain all work together nicely, along with ensuring that the frame remains stiff and reliable.
Truebikes offers three sizes of frame across its range, and we were surprised to hear that its Small bikes are designed for riders ranging from 165cm and up!
The Truebikes 36in wheel MTB is rather unique Tom Marvin
Geometry on such a bike is hard to compare, given the wildly different wheel size compared to most bikes, but there’s a 70-degree head angle, 473mm reach and 1,255mm wheelbase on a size Large.
The wheels are built around carbon rims made by Alchemist for this bike.
Sticking carbon rims on such a bike clearly makes a lot of sense because they tend to be a little lighter and can be made stiffer too for the weight.
While Truebikes didn’t have a wheel weight to hand, it indicated that it was significantly lighter than the alloy rims used on some of its other bikes, which can weigh up to 10kg for the pair, apparently!
Carbon rims help keep weight low Tom Marvin
Tyres for such big wheels sound actually relatively simple to get hold of — a number of brands, including Vee Tire, Coker and Nimbus make 36in rubber, primarily for unicycles. These Vee Tire Co tyres don’t have the most aggressive tread, but given the epic contact patch they presumably have, we reckon they’re gonna be pretty darn sticky!
An air spring resides in the fork Tom Marvin
Up front there’s an MRP Groove fork. This is an inverted fork, originally with 200mm of travel, however, the fork fitted to the Truebike has been dropped to 100mm of travel to ensure the massive front wheel doesn’t interfere with the crown or frame.
The piggyback part of the upside down fork Tom Marvin
It’s the bars that offer some of the most interest though. There’s no single handlebar, rather two extensions bolted to the stanchion of the fork. This is done to keep the front end from being sky-high, though it’s fair to say that the view from the cockpit is far from normal.
Not the normal view from the saddle Tom Marvin
Truebikes says that the bike will be roughly priced at €4,900, and it has a claimed weight of 16kg.
As found with the jump from 26–29in wheels, the added roll-over capability of bigger wheels is noticeable — the wheels hit bumps with a lower angle of attack, which effectively makes them easier to get over.
This means a smoother ride with better carrying of momentum. There are downsides, of course, such as increased weight and gyroscopic effects on handling. Needless to say, we’d love to get our hands on a Truebikes mountain bike for testing.