I've recently bought a hardtail, just an entry-level bike, but I've only got entry-level skills. The tyres it came with are WTB Nano 2.1". They aren't exactly ideal for the sort of conditions we have in the UK in winter (lots of deep mud, wet tree roots, muddy rocks etc.) and I'd like to fit something (i) knobblier and (ii) a little wider.
At the front this is easy, something like a Maxxis Shorty 2.3" or Magic Mary would easily fit. At the back, there's also plenty of room except behind the front derailleur
where there's about 3 mm (and that filled up with mud today)
There are 2" tyres for mud, but they're reputed to have a harsh ride on anything else, and not grip well on wet rock/tree roots -- something I need at my skill level as my lines aren't up to much and I don't always carry enough speed.
This is the only bike I've owned with a top-pull FD. And I can see why they've used one rather than have cables under the BB getting coated in mud and even bashed. But it takes up much more room than any of the bottom-pull FD's I've got. Is it because it's a cheap FD? Because it's a triple? It's an Altus 3×9 drivetrain.
Is there an upgrade that would gain me a few mm?
As an aside: I picked it up in a hurry, lightly used/ex-rental and without a test ride, for around half the shop price. I'm happy with it apart from this, and assumed that I might upgrade consumables (perhaps as they wear out). I looked at the specs in detail to be sure the fundamentals were there, but is there any way I could have spotted this?