Being part of the Bike Black Ribbon crew has it´s benefits. Not only did I have the opportunity to ride an awesome fat bike from MAXX this winter. This bad girl was also equipped with a pair of, hard to find, Schwalbe Jumbo Jim 4.8” tires. These babies are as rare as a worm in a tequila bottle in Sweden.
I´ve been running Jumbo Jims mostly on snow, but managed to take some early spring dirt rides. The 120 tpi tires were tubeless mounted on 80 mm rims, perhaps not the most common rim for 4.8”. But I think it worked like a charm. The smaller rim provides a rounder profile of the tire. This makes for better corner traction. The tread pattern is pretty wide and gives very good grip even on icy surfaces. I´ve read some opinions about these tires that claims they have lack of traction due to wider thread pattern. I do not agree on that.
On my own fat-bike, I´ve been riding Larrys and Snowshoes for the last few years. I have never been that keen on going all the way to 4.8” since I think the 3.8” have been quite enough.
The times I have tried 4.8” it was on clown shoes and I think handling dropped more than float gained. In my opinion it felt clumsy and heavy at least for my type of riding.
This is not the feeling I got with the Jumbo Jims. Schwalbes fat bike tires feel light and incredible well done. When my local trails dried up a bit I gave Jimbo a heavy beating up and down and was very impressed by the performance. These are some of the lightest tires on the market. I did not have a chance to remove them for weight control. But they feel light and you most defiantly feel it when riding. Of course going tubeless also has to be considered in the equation.
Tires is hard to review. We all have different references. but still, tires are what connect us to the ground and are very important in how you and your bike perform. Since fat bikes have become more common, tires have been one of the most discussed topics in the world of mountain bikes, fat or non-fat. Just take the whole 29+, 27.5+, 26+ topic. Loads of brands coming with regular trail bikes with +size tires. People ranting about the industry creating them to sell bikes. I see it as evolution. For decades we never looked at tires. All of the focus was on travel and shocks. It was like, when suspension came, that would be the thing that improves a bike. No one ever thought about tires and rims. Now when we know what wider rims and tires do for traction and handling, my prediction is that we will have fat bikes and the plus-size bikes. Plus-size will become the new standard. I bet we´ll be calling a the old skinny tires for 29-minus in a few years. Especially when we got tires like the Jumbo Jim out on the market. If I can get my hands on these I sure will fit them on my Muk. Jumbo Jims are awesome for all-round riding and rolls like a charm on 80 mm rims. Bike Black Ribbons European headquarters approve! The Jimbos get the full house – 5out of 5
happy forest gnomes.