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29er vs. 26er

Discussion in 'Cross Country, All Mountain & Trail Riding' started by 01tj, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. 01tj New Member

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    I know this has been covered and I appoligize for beating the dead horse but I want to get as much info and as many opinions as possible. I've searched and have found lots of info but I would like to get some more answers and have them all on one thread. Those of you who have made the switch can you give me some pros and cons of the 29er. Where does it shine and where does it leave you wishing you would have stuck with the 26er. I have read that they are not as good on tight trails but what is it that slows them down there? Is it harder to hop over logs? I know with cars and trucks when you go to a bigger tire it usualy means a slower take off but a higher top speed, is this the case with the niner? The trails around here tend to be rocky, rooty and very hilly. They also get pretty sloppy when it rains so traction is not always very good. If I would go with a 29er it would probubly be a hardtail as opposed to a 26" FS bike. I am hoping to stay around $1000 and from what I have read that won't get me much of a FS bike


    BTW I am 5'10" and about 185 if that matters

    And again sorry for posting something that has been covered but I wanted to get some fresh opinions instead of diging up fossels
    #1 Jun 19, 2008   
  2. MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    A few thoughts from me based on my time on 29ers. These are my opinions, some may agree, others may disagree, but I'm throwing it out there for ya - hope they help.

    1. In slow technical rock garden type situations - I prefer the 29er to the 26" wheel. The angle of attack is better with the 29er wheel and therefore you don't tend to get your front wheel "hung up " as easily and therefore you can often tackle slow techy stuff easier than on a 26" wheeled bike.

    2. I do find it a little harder to get a 29er accelerated compared to a 26er, but once rolling the 29er hauls ass and feels very stable to me. I like that.

    3. The 29" wheel helped me feel les Endo-prone.

    4. For muddy, sandy terrain, I think the "floatablility" for lack of a better term of the 29er wheel is a plus vs. a 26er

    5. With the right fork and right frame geometry, a 29er can be a nimble bike in tight stuff.

    With a $1,000 bike budget - it'll be really hard to find a FS 26er with decent components/fork on it. But for around a Grand you could get a hardtail 29er that would come well spec'd and maybe even feature a Reba up front. Have a look at the Redline D660 as an option, along with a Haro Mary XC, The RAleigh that features the Reba up front, The Jamis Dakota 29er, and don't rule out the higher of the two Specialized Rockhopper 29ers as good options.

    If you don't mind starting out with a Rigid fork - your options get even wider and more diverse.

    I'm 5'9" and 175-180 and I've been riding 29ers for a few years now. And one of the reasons for this is financial. I think the 29er offers a lot of bang for the buck when a rider's budget is limited.

    Hope you find this helpful.

    Best,

    Mark
    #2 Jun 19, 2008   
  3. 01tj New Member

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    Thanks, that is exactly what I am looking for. I was dead set on a FS 26" but the ones I have been looking at (FSR, Motobecane) put me above $1000. I have noticed that there are some riding some tuff terrain on comepletely rigid 29's which is what got me thinking about them. I would probubly want one with a good fork though.


    BTW how do the big wheels affect wheelies, manuals and other techniqual trail manurvers?
    #3 Jun 19, 2008   
  4. MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    It is more difficult in my opinion. But with practice and getting used to it you should be fine.

    You live in West Virginia right? In my humble opinion try to look into the 29ers that feature shorter chainstays - but that is just my humble opinion.

    You could always start out rigid and then look for a suspension fork at a later date.
    #4 Jun 19, 2008   
  5. douglas Chocolate Milk Doug

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    #5 Jun 19, 2008   
  6. MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    Good call on log crossings Doug.

    Some "issues" to consider with a 29er at your height - I consider them somewhat minor.

    A) standover clearance (for getting on and off the bike in technical terrain primarily)

    B) Front end height - sometimes the front end can beel a little "tall" on some frames/set ups but you get used to it and can compensate. The more travel you ad up front, the taller you risk having the front end go.
    #6 Jun 19, 2008   
  7. Guitar Ted New Member

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    Good pointers guys. Here's a couple of my thoughts...........

    The contact patch/traction thing goes to the 29"er everytime. Mark, you and I are on the same page there.

    Secondly, if you can learn to trust that contact patch, you will enjoy faster down hills, better turns, and less need for scrubbing speed over all.

    I will say that in extremely tight, slow speed situations the nod goes to the 26"er in that you can get from one tight spot to another a lot faster. (acceleration being easier on the 26"er) This makes it seem as though you are faster, (which counts for a lot) as long as you get through the tight spots!

    Something needs to be said for the 26"ers choices too. We've got a lot more choices than a few years ago, but we've got miles to go before we get to the level that 26"er folks enjoy.

    Stand over for shorter folks is a lot harder to come by in 29"ers too. It can be had, but it isn't like it is on a similarly sized small wheeled bike. I'm talking 5'6" and less here.

    Okay, that's some for one side and some for the other. Hope that helps!
    #7 Jun 19, 2008   
  8. 01tj New Member

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    Definitly, thanks!
    #8 Jun 19, 2008   
  9. ByStickel New Member

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    Most of the Pros have been covered, but I'll add this:

    The difference between 29 and 26 on slow, steep, extra-gnarly descents is surprising. I'd much rather be on 29 and even long travel doesn't bring 26 to 29er's ability to roll through crap.

    29ers may be better at rolling big logs, but they generally make hopping them more difficult. Wheelying and manualing are also made more difficult because the 29ers tend to have a more forward weight-bias. Less of an issue for big people, but still noticeable.

    29er reduces the need for rear suspension. Where you may have wanted an FS 26", you may be all right with a hardtail 29er.

    If all your trails are like Plantation, then you may need FS. I NEED to get back to WV...
    #9 Jun 20, 2008   
  10. 01tj New Member

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    This is exactly what I have been thinking. Some of the trails are pretty rocky but I manage them on my 26" hard tail with a 15 year old Rock Shox Q10
    #10 Jun 20, 2008   
  11. JewBagel New Member

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    I just took mine out for the first time on sunday over here in oregon. The trail was 25 miles of roots and lava fields and the 29er was really fast over the entire thing. I didn't notice the acceleration problems people mention but the bike(rigid) sure was faster than a 26" hardtail. I was even giving one of my friends with a Intense 5.5 FRO a tough time. It was a little bit more of a pain in the really tight areas and drops/wheelies are harder but the roll over was amazing. My arms got beat up and my hands cramped a few times as they aren't used to rigid. The only thing I think I'm going to change on mine is switching the front to a 24/36 w/bash (from 22/32/44) because of the terrain. I only stuck it in the 44t on the road and ended up destroying it on the trail that day. All in all, I couldn't be happier, the bike (Soma Juice, Salsa cromo fork, Atlas AM bars, 2.3/2.5 WTB tires) rides amazing.
    #11 Jun 24, 2008   
  12. blong New Member

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    Front suspension too.

    :-)
    #12 Jun 29, 2008   

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