Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Munich Germany (formerly Portland OR, Texas)
Bikes: '02 Specialized FSR, '03 RM Slayer, '99 Raleigh R700, '97 Norco hartail, '89 Stumpjumper
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as far as i know about the only way to REALLY know is to try it...
or at least hand-measure the bike and the tire, because the nominal widths on tires are SO different- i think some must measure with knobs and others just the sidewalls... actually i have no idea how they can be SO different. note that with really big tires you have to watch BOTH the width and the heigth!
as Raiyn says above, i have often found tires rated bigger than others to actually be narrower.
i just replaced a Ritchey z-max 2.35 with a Specialized Roller 2.5 and the difference is not much (i have a '02 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR XC). i was actually disappointed b/c i THINK the total air volume may be less and my goal was to be able to run lower tire pressure so i'm not sure if i gained much (maybe b/c i think the sidewalls are stiffer)
i wanted to get a real 2.6 DOWNHILL tire (uh, schwalbe something Jr i think? the non-Jr is a 3.0 tire i think) but i am pretty sure it won't fit b/c
a) i think the 2.6 is MUCH wider than the Speciallized 2.5
b) b/c it's a downhill tire the sidewalls are stiffer and the tire itself "taller" so my vertical clearance will not be as much
c) the tire is more square rather than round which means the corners/knobs have less clearance.
but i'm probably going to go to the bike shop and try it out anyway...