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29 vs 26 pros and cons

Discussion in 'Cross Country, All Mountain & Trail Riding' started by shorty13, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. shorty13 New Member

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    Can anyone post a list of pros and cons for 29ers vs 26? I have always used 26 but everyone everywhere is talking about using 29ers for everything and I'm wondering what is better/worse about them. I am mostly wondering how they work in xcountry mtb'ing compared to each other. I figure I might as well ask before I buy brandy new 26 inch tires.
    #1
  2. I_Bike_Alone New Member

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  3. shorty13 New Member

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    hmm must have missed it somehow cuz i thought I looked through the forums. Oh well. I just read through it quickly and didn't see anyone talking about how 29er's climb steep and technical stuff vs. 26ers. any thoughts on that?
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  4. Guitar Ted New Member

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    Well, given that your technique is good, and your tire choice isn't rediculous, 29"ers will generally have the upper hand here. Longer, differently shaped contact patch allows for better traction. The angle of attack of the wheel allows for less chance to slip out on steeps too.

    Most 29"er newbies are amazed at what they can climb that was a frustration before with smaller wheels.
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  5. Uphiller New Member

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    That contact patch thing is true (qualified by tire choice, pressure, riding style).
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  6. ludovic New Member

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    It's been a week with my 29er... Aside from the already known pros and cons, and the fact that I love my new bike... here's some pros and cons of my own.
    1. I am 5'6", so that probably makes me one of the smallest riders on a 29er lefty. The bike feels just fine, just don't crash! LOL
    2. Small rocks, large rocks, sand, mud... faster and better ride for sure.
    3. Large boulders, larger rocks... more difficult riding condition, because it takes more for me to raise the front end (height / weight problem for me).
    4. Stability on and off road... excellent.
    5. Need for FS... not even on plantation. I aim straighter lines, thus have tried adapting my riding style a little.
    Overall, I had to make the bike lighter to feel lighter - because my first thought was that the bike felt heavy. That, on the other hand, could have been a psycological problem.

    Hope this helps.
    #6
  7. ByStickel New Member

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    Ludovic,

    You live in/near Davis, WV? I didn't ride there near enough when I lived in the area. Shame on me. I loved Plantation trail, though, and I got to ride it twice.


    The downsides of 29er are these:

    weaker wheels.

    Heavy front ends that resist wheelying/manualling/bunnyhopping. This doesn't affect most riders because most riders don't wheelie or manual or bunnyhop. If hopping around like Hans Rey is your thing (why do I have to refer to a trails guy from the '90s?! Isn't there a trials guy of more recent fame that I can mention in these examples?), you will probably HATE 29er.

    Sluggish handling in tight situations. Let's face it, a human being can adapt to almost anything, short of a cable-tv outage, so a little time behind the bars of a 29er will probably have you forgetting how much you appreciated nimble handling. MOST riders like a stable bike because it makes them feel invincible.

    Higher gearing. We 29er riders would like the same low gear that 26er folk have.
    #7
  8. ludovic New Member

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    Yeah... I am 6 miles South of Davis - pretty much right next to plantatation, and easy access to nearly everything.

    I put couple of Mavics on my 26 bike... their are light (not the lightest) but so super stiff. Don't listen to me! Just compare with another bike - I was blown away. Having said this, I will most likely wait until mavic makes complete lefty 29ers.

    That stiffness made such a difference on efficiency -
    #8
  9. tfree120 New Member

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    The only problem I noticed is that the 29er wheels are weaker. Its sorta given but I have to true my wheels a lot. I have yet to find anything close to my dtswiss 5.1 rims in strength.
    #9
  10. tozovr New Member

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    a 29er will get you b!tches
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  11. tozovr New Member

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    Depends on the build really. I had a set a friend laced up with Salsa rims and DT spokes and they sucked...Then I had him lace me a set of WTBs and have been stoked.

    The ol' "29er wheels are weak" thing is sort of a '03 thing LOL. Get rims that are a good width for what you do and build/retension them and you're good to go. If you run a 19mm rim and ride New England roots and rocks or do big drops you're screwed.
    #11