36er. Who has built one? I know Walt has. No buzz kills

So I am tall and want a 36er as my next project after the MYB I am building.
I know forks and tires are the issue until Walt gets his tires back in stock.

Any weird geometry I need to know about to but into my drawing. I have one in Bikecad and will add it here soon.

Forks Who makes them. I dont trust my welding for a fork just yet.

I know Walt and Meriwether both have made a few. Looking for the in’s and outs of a 36er

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Would love to build one. I poked around the internet today to do some background research:

I think the carbon 36in rim is a pretty big boost to the standard: https://www.nextie.com/premium-mountain-36-inch-NXT36XU42

I could only find two tires:

I did find this road bike… with a tire I can’t identify

Has anyone ever talked directly to vee about the 36in tires? Custom framebuilders are probably half that tire size’s market.

The carbon rims would save a lot of weight. I will do that for sure.
My bike cad model is on my work computer. Post it up tomorrow.

Walt has the best tire. Out of stock at the moment

Should I super boost it with 73mm BB?

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For spoke bracing purposes I usually recommend going 157/superboost at a minimum at the rear and just doing 150x15 at the front, because why not.

Vee says the tires will be back in March but that date has been repeatedly pushed back. It is possible (hopefully not, but possible) that the tire will never be made again. 36ers sort of had their “moment” about 10 years ago and I only very rarely get orders for them anymore (maybe one every couple of years). Something like 75% of the market for these tires is unicycles, not bikes.

It would make more sense to put effort into doing a 32" tire at this point IMO given that it’s also an existing unicycle standard and fits more people/could conceivably work with suspension to some extent.

That said, 36ers are super fun to ride.

I do forks for other builders for 36ers pretty regularly, if you need one. My recommendation is 85-95mm of offset and a head angle in the 66-68 degree range if you’re shooting for “normal” XC bike steering trail. The wheelbase and heavy wheels tend to make these feel like they steer slower than an equivalent trail number on a 27.5/29" bike.



Thanks Walt. I will message you on a fork once I get situated with my cad drawing and getting parts.

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That is an interesting thought. I always thought 36in was too big of a jump which brought a lot of technical limitations. You obviously lose some of the “I have the biggest tires” factor, but 32in could be a more realistic standard to support with normal tire and wheel construction methods.

Since the Vee tire is OSS, maybe it’s worth looking into a 32in standard? Framebuilders have always been the innovators of new stuff:

  • Gravel bikes
  • Disc brake road bikes
  • 29ers
  • 650b

This is just my opinion: that sort of innovation used to happen on message boards and email threads. I feel like in the last 5-10 years, IG has siloed everyone into their own worlds.

Globalization and the supply chain have changed since then as well. I found it very easy to work with manufacturers overseas (maybe because I am asian :rofl:). I hope framebuilders can band together to do the same cool stuff that was happening in the Early 2000’s - mid 2010’s.

Tires are a pretty big investment and MOQ so you would need some buy-in, but things like carbon wheels and forks are attainable for a small community.


Travis I think almost got Trek to do a 32" project. Almost. @Meriwether talks to him more often than I do and might know more but AFAIK it is dead at this point, especially now that the bike industry is in survival/recession mode.

Having done the 36" tire project I will say, “never again”. I won’t go into the gory details but Asian manufacturers have a very different idea of what IP means, to say the least. If you’re Specialized and have the money to have your reps constantly monitoring what’s going on, you can do ok, probably. As someone trying to do just a few runs of tires… expect to get screwed over.

But I’m disobeying the no buzzkills rule!

36ers are super fun and IMO we’ll have tires again this year. If you’re bored with your high-tech big travel trail bike a 36er can make an ride you’ve done 100 times fresh and fun again. Plus you can ride up stairs.



I haven’t had as much fun on a new bike as I did on a 36er! It’s crazy how fast they get up to speed and roll over stuff, I was expecting it to be super slow to get moving but nope. Everyone that test rode it said the same, that it was way funner and faster than they thought.
There was some “testing” of the various wheel sizes by a big brand but nothing came out of it (yet) other than possibly opening some product manager minds a bit. I agree the 32” has a higher likelihood of success at a greater scale. James at Blacksheep has been pushing that and even sent MBA a test bike:

The rims and tires are again from Unicycle.com and as you can see it’s not a MTB tire.
Walt did a great service for the community by making Vee produce the only MTB 36er tire, but at this point they are unavailable and not as good as current tires in other wheel sizes (being non-tubeless ready wire bead 1400g beasts). You can force them to be tubeless but it’s a pain and the casing and tread don’t provide the same feel as an actual tubeless tire. Now that there are two carbon rims available wheel weight has decreased but it would be so awesome to have tubeless ready 32 and 36er knobby tire in the 2.4 width! Maybe I’m high but I think it would increase the people drawn to them. But it’ll never happen unless a wealthy 36er fan has a connection to a tire company.

I’ve posted my geometry on the blog but that was directly influenced by Walt and James’ advice. I had to modify my Anvil frame fixture to get the BB drop and CS length I wanted, and the fork fixture was maxed out to say the least. I have only made two forks, one with 78mm trail and the other with 98mm and the later rode better overall, probably because the increased front center on a relatively short top tube frame.

I’d also go with 157 rear and 150 front. I actually used a normal singlespeed hub on rear of the first frame it wasn’t super obviously less stiff or strong since the flanges on the hub are wide. The next one used an Onyx 177 rear and 150 front with the Alchemist carbon rims and that wheelset is pretty bomber but probably overkill.

I’d plan on using a steeper head angle than you probably want to. You just want to avoid toe overlap to get it riding like a XC bike since the wheelbase will be so long naturally. You can always swap to an angleset to try out different HTA’s and trails and longer chainstays by using sliders. I recommend going as short as possible on chainstays. I got it down to 510 with the sliders forward, and that’s with 150mm of BB drop… so you’ll need a very bent seat tube. But if you’re super tall I guess that’s not as important and a frame like the Curve Titanosaur would be fine.


I agree. The 36er was conceived in the early 2000’s. Tire, wheel, and bike tech has changed a lot since then. I wonder what a modern 32x2.4 would look like?

If you are willing to share, I think this could be good knowledge for the future on how to approach a new 32 or 36in tire.

The Coker 36er dates from at least the 90s, though it’s not really the same kind of bike as what we’re talking about here. And it’s been a unicycle size since… who the heck knows. Probably a hundred plus years or something.

I don’t want to air a bunch of grievances here, since Festivus is long over, but the long and short of it is that we paid a lot of money to have an “exclusive” mold made that we supposedly owned outright, and then copies of the tires started popping up all over the world shortly thereafter (and probably still are). This was something I expected to happen if it had been a Chinese factory but it was depressing to have it happen with Vee.

They were also really not interested/willing to try to make something more modern, so we ended up being stuck with a tire that is still quite heavy and low TPI/rides like a brick (though if you’ve ridden the Nimbus tire it compares very, very well on both weight and ride quality). To be fair a big part of the market for these is/was for unicycles and for those you can’t get away with lightweight/supple tires because of the much higher side loads/camber steer problems. So that’s another potential hurdle - if you want to actually sell the tire, you either need a decent sized market on the bike side, or you have to design something that will work well for unicycles too which involves quite a few compromises.

I think if someone wanted to take this on they would need to have an existing relationship with a tire company and/or big name bike manufacturer who has enough clout that factories won’t risk screwing them over, because the business model seems to be to get the customer to take on all the upfront risk/capital expense, and then turn around and steal the product.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…



That’s something i hadn’t even thought of…that this was also getting marketed to the Unicycle crowd (which i thought couldn’t be bigger than the 36er MTB crowd but I am very wrong!)
I know it’s been pushed at Bontrager to make a good 36er tire but it’s just not going to happen unfortunately. I thought a 32" would be more likely but with how the supply of stuff is right now and companies shrinking their tire size offerings (less plus options every year) I’m not hopeful. I was hoping Surly would come out with something since that’s been their SOP for awhile but…

I’m pretty sure the 36" unicycle market is bigger than the 36" bike market. But of course they only need half as many tires, so there’s that…


So far here is my drawing. Need to tweek the rear end.

Whatcha think?
Guess I should wait to see if tires will be available before I dive into this.

That looks like it’ll work to me.

Keep in mind you don’t need a super steep seat angle on this sort of bike because of the length of the chainstays. If you like steep seat angles for other reasons then of course do it. But it’s not needed like on a bike with an 800mm+ front center and 43cm chainstays.


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Looks like fun! I will be interested how it rides being more of the long slack variety of current geometry trends, but you said you’re tall so maybe it’s not too far out there. It’s not like you can compare it to another bike though, that’s the funny thing about 36ers, unless you build a bunch and test ride them all…how to choose the best geometry?

It may be worth placing the bend on the seat tube higher up for more tire clearance and allowing a slacker effective STA, just in case you went with 76 to get enough tire clearance.
I know I like low BB’s but could always go with less BB drop than 150 and would give more room for 180 cranks. The bike I built Travis had 135 drop and he likes that add BB hight better than mine with 150.

You should have plenty of room to the tire for a long dropper, but it’s the one type of bike you need to check bottom of saddle clearance to the tire when fully dropped :joy:

When you get to the seatstays, make sure you bend them as close to the tire as possible. I don’t recommend a segmented style to achieve the quick bend back to the seat tube. Your leg may rub on that bend so a best to keep it as narrow as you can (and not sharp).

I would build it and use the Nimbus Nightrider tire in the meantime. The traction of this diameter tire on dirt is impressive even with no knobs. Some day another tire will become available. One thing I’ve wondered about, why hasn’t David of Dirty Sixer convinced one of his several pro basketball player customers to invest in a new 36” MTB tire?! They have got to have some funding there. He sold bikes to the entire Utah Jazz team!