I’ve had the chance to spend time on both the 29er wheelset and the 27.5″ wheelset.
The 29er wheelset is Sram Roam 30 with Schwalbe 29×2.3″ tires, tubeless. The 27.5+ wheelset is Stan’s Hugo with WTB Bridger tires, set up with tubes.
In 29er mode, the Thief is lithe and nimble. It climbs, it shreds, it descends, it jumps.
In plus mode, the Thief is a bit more terrestrial. At least in my incapable hands, it doesn’t like to get as airborne. On the other hand, on the ground, it plows through anything. I haven’t found the limits of the tires, because their limits are higher than my confidence level. In corners, you can just keep pushing harder and harder. Brake less and less. Pedal more. It just rails.
Surprisingly, the Thief feels more tail-happy with the plus tires in corners. By that, what I mean is that the Thief will pivot or slide the tail through a corner more readily with the plus tires. I’m not sure if it is the greater grip up front, or exactly what causes the sensation, but it’s very palpable.
I’m running about 15/15 in the plus tires, compared to about 26/27 in the 29er setup.
The plus setup is noticeably heavier to pedal–but that comes with the extra rubber and tubed setup. I’m looking forward to trying the plus size setup this winter, as well.
If I was doing a no-holds barred, top speed shredathon, I’d rock the 29er setup. If I was exploring a new area I hadn’t ridden, I’d ride the plus setup. I’d say that the plus setup is better at hiding my riding mistakes, but the 29er setup is faster on Illinois terrain.
One note on setup: the plus size wheelset weighs appreciably more than the 29er setup. From a suspension perspective, I run the same pressure, but I set the rebound dampening a bit slower–about 2 clicks. That makes a significant difference, particularly in the rear.
All in all, it’s amazing that the bike has both capabilities–and it’s a significant upgrade from my previous rides. The Boost spacing front and rear gives a lot of flexibility.