What is a 36er?
The 36er is a Mountain bike which has 36 inch wheels which is best suited for the taller rider. The largest wheels usually used in bike building are 29inch. The 36 inch wheel is all-purpose, ideal for any kind of riding you can think of as it has the momentum to roll over any obstacle and gives better overall comfort, gliding over very rough terrain thanks to the additional air volume that the bigger tires have and making the tarmac as smooth as silk. The frame is hand built to accommodate the extra large wheels which offers a superior stability with bigger momentum and a bigger contact patch which comes with the longer wheelbase, better weight distribution, relaxed geometry and easy handling·
What size do I have to be?
This size of bike is ideally suited to riders 6’3” plus. The wheel and frame size will give a cycling experience which is superior to any other bike on the market.
Hubs, is there a choice?
There is a huge choice of hubs now. In the beginning 48hole tandem 6 bolt hubs were standard. Now with the changes to the rims and spokes I can now build them onto 36hole hubs, which is the standard for MTB hubs. As for hub gears, I can build them for the 36ers and some I think work amazingly well but unless the gearing is kept inside the manufacturers torque loadings there is no way of knowing if it may shorten its life.
Gears and Drivetrain?
I have found that running standard mountain bike gearing 3×9 (22, 32, 42 x 12-32) is ample and you will find that you will very rarely get into the 42t ring and will spend most of your time in the 32 around town and 22 mountain biking.
How about the brakes?
I use 203mm disks just to make sure you stop.
Is a 36er fast? And are they fun?
Like in all cycling you go as fast as you ride and the 36ers are no different but for most standard sized people meaning under 6’3” (in the UK) they do take a bit to get going. If you’re over 6’3” it becomes a lot easier. They do have heavy wheels and tires which do like to keep rolling so maintaining the speed is easy.
And YES! they are great fun to ride! I have not seen one face without a big grin when riding a 36er, They have great grip and traction and they make you feel safe as they don’t like to fall over so the sensation of ‘lean-steering’ or counter steering is amazing and a necessary skill to learn. Off road they are in a whole new world of Cross country (XC) riding but they are not light in comparison to a lot of XC bikes out there now but your fun factor will be 100% more than anyone else out there!