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  1. #1
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    "Upgrade" questioned?

    Does anyone else not feel the need to "upgrade" to a 29er or 27.5? I have been looking at adding one to the fleet, but every time I ride my bike I wonder whats wrong with this? Currently not racing[had in the past on a 26"], if I do go to a race it would probably be on my SS 26". The newer geometry intrigues me, better descending down rock drops would be nice, but I would hate to give up my straight line climbing ability. The ones I have ridden feel slow[wheel weight] and I hate that, I like how the 26" wheels spin up quick. I know buying expensive wheels would solve that, just not interested in dropping the big coin. When looking at new bikes what I want is a bike like mine, which I already have and its not worn out yet. Don't want full suspension, disc's or any other new stuff, not sure I would gain much that I would appreciate with a new ride, mid price point that is.

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    I'm with you there...I keep thinking about it, but in the end, I have a 24 lb full suspension bike (2001 Ellsworth Truth) and it would cost $$$ to get something comparable. I get the new geometry stuff, but I'm not really looking for "long and low" for new England riding. I also like all the deals on high end but outdated components.

    Chris

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    I'd like to add a 27.5 suspension bike, but I don't like to use the word "upgrade" in connection with that. "Alternative" may be a better word.

  4. #4
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    I think people get too caught up in trying to justify their bike purchases, or justify what they're riding or why they're not changing. There's no need to justify any of this.

    Some of these new bikes are really cool, and I'd love to own a lot of them. A lot of them are pretty dumb and I'd much rather keep what im on!

    I certainly dont feel any need to buy anything bike related. Ill be buying a bike this month anyway, but theres no "need" involved.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctxcrossx View Post
    I'm with you there...I keep thinking about it, but in the end, I have a 24 lb full suspension bike (2001 Ellsworth Truth) and it would cost $$$ to get something comparable. I get the new geometry stuff, but I'm not really looking for "long and low" for new England riding. I also like all the deals on high end but outdated components.

    Chris
    I agree on the deals of outdated equipment, crazy how cheap you can buy stuff that was wonder components a few years ago.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    I'd like to add a 27.5 suspension bike, but I don't like to use the word "upgrade" in connection with that. "Alternative" may be a better word.
    I agree, alternate, kind of like the N+1 theory on bikes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    I think people get too caught up in trying to justify their bike purchases, or justify what they're riding or why they're not changing. There's no need to justify any of this.

    Some of these new bikes are really cool, and I'd love to own a lot of them. A lot of them are pretty dumb and I'd much rather keep what im on!

    I certainly dont feel any need to buy anything bike related. Ill be buying a bike this month anyway, but theres no "need" involved.
    There's alot of wisdom in this, mostly I think its internal justification of purchase before rolling out the cash, unless you're married then its external justification.

  8. #8
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    Have only had 26" (see sig) until recently. I had the opportunity to add a new bike to my stable and bought my first 27.5" in Dec. The geo and componentry were the biggest reasons I considered it (1X12, dropper, geo/longer reach). These items make it different from my 26'ers more than the wheel size.

    2018 Kona Process 153 (Gen 2)

    Awesome bike. I rode it 5 times before pulling a stick into rear derailleur and twisted cage. Now it's in basement awaiting parts...I don't blame bike, sh*t happens. Also in process of replacing tranny on my old #1 (Heckler) so I called on the 'backup-backup' 2007 Kona Dawg Supreme for the last couple of rides. The Dawg is a very capable, fun ride and I quickly re-discovered how great it is for New England riding. I was considering selling it but I won't get much for it. I'm lucky to have it as a sweet 3rd bike!

    As with anything, technology moves forward and there are improvements that can make a huge difference. But some improvements are superficial with limited value. Some of us have different filters to separate the hype from what really matters to us. It's up to you to determine what your filter is.
    07 Kona Dawg Supreme
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  9. #9
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    Still entirely on 26 except my CX. I have tied numerous 27.5 and 29ers. I'm not going to race again, I love the bikes I have, no reason to switch. I am considering a 29+, probably a ti frame like the moose knuckle, but I doubt it would become my go to bike.
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  10. #10
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    I'll likely upgrade next year mostly for convenience. I've noticed sourcing the tires and various parts I want/need at respectable prices is becoming much more a nuisance. In the long run, I'm thinking that dropping the $$$ on a new bike will be more cost effective than constantly upgrading my 26er.

  11. #11
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    I was a 26 hold-out for years. When the Stache hit the market, I finally found a reason to upgrade (sidegrade) to wagon wheels.

    I ride a ton of chunk, loose rock, loose chunk, and ledgy type of stuff. I'd say my bikes are fairly equal regarding their weight, build, geometry, and purpose. My 26'er is a 28.75# aggressive hardtail with a 150mm RS fork and custom Hope Pro 4 wheelset. My Stache is a 29# aggressive hardtail with a 140mm RS fork and custom Hope Pro 4 wheelset. Overall, I'm faster on my Stache. I'm able to keep momentum over chunkier terrain that I normally have to pick a line through. I get much more traction on technical climbs. I'm able to lean harder in the corners. I have cleaned terrain without even concentrating that I've failed 25% of the time on my 26er.

    I ride both bikes fairly equally still though. Just because I'm faster on my Stache doesn't mean I don't like riding my 26er. I love it. It's fun. I'll likely keep it forever...it's just one of those frames that fits right and feels good.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jestep View Post
    Still entirely on 26 except my CX. I have tied numerous 27.5 and 29ers. I'm not going to race again, I love the bikes I have, no reason to switch. I am considering a 29+, probably a ti frame like the moose knuckle, but I doubt it would become my go to bike.
    Just looked up the Mooseknuckle. Never heard of it. That thing is beautiful!! I love the lines and it takes a full 29x3" tire. Digg!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by chelboed View Post
    Just looked up the Mooseknuckle. Never heard of it. That thing is beautiful!! I love the lines and it takes a full 29x3" tire. Digg!!
    You think that's nice? You should see the 'Camel Toe'!
    07 Kona Dawg Supreme
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by chelboed View Post
    Just looked up the Mooseknuckle. Never heard of it. That thing is beautiful!! I love the lines and it takes a full 29x3" tire. Digg!!
    Yeah, I think it's a great and unique looking bike. Others I've looked at are the Titanium Gnarvester, Black Sheep Highlight, the Voodoo Cymbie.
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  15. #15
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    The only reason I will eventually get (probably) a 27.5 is because I won't be able to get 26 parts in the future. In particular I have always wanted a FS Stumpjumper.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPL65 View Post
    Does anyone else not feel the need to "upgrade" to a 29er or 27.5? I have been looking at adding one to the fleet, but every time I ride my bike I wonder whats wrong with this? Currently not racing[had in the past on a 26"], if I do go to a race it would probably be on my SS 26". The newer geometry intrigues me, better descending down rock drops would be nice, but I would hate to give up my straight line climbing ability. The ones I have ridden feel slow[wheel weight] and I hate that, I like how the 26" wheels spin up quick. I know buying expensive wheels would solve that, just not interested in dropping the big coin. When looking at new bikes what I want is a bike like mine, which I already have and its not worn out yet. Don't want full suspension, disc's or any other new stuff, not sure I would gain much that I would appreciate with a new ride, mid price point that is.
    You are not sure you'd gain much with going from rim brakes to disk brakes??? Almost every bike over $300 has disk brakes now, and almost every bike over $500 has hydraulic disk brakes, so a mid price point will get you that whether you like it or not. And it will 'gain much' on the trail, I'm sure 1000 other people will testify to that. Crashes will be a thing of the past, a rarity. It's a huge improvement, I don't know why people praise hydraulic brakes more than they do.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    Crashes will be a thing of the past, a rarity. It's a huge improvement, I don't know why people praise hydraulic brakes more than they do.
    I've ejected myself with my hydros more than all other brakes I've ever used combined times 5.
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  18. #18
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    Hydros are unquestionably better than rim brakes. Theres a reason they're on literally everything these days. Even road adapted over.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPL65 View Post
    I have been looking at adding one to the fleet, but every time I ride my bike I wonder whats wrong with this?
    You answered your own question!

    But...I would say disc brakes are by far the biggest 'upgrade' improvement you would see. Way less maintenance (pads last much longer and you won't wear out your rims, no cables to lube or replace), more reliable, quieter, better modulation, etc. Plus, in wet and/or freezing weather I swear when applying rim brakes sometimes they made me go FASTER!

    Everything else is open to discussion.
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  20. #20
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    I think many people have the same question is it worth upgrading from a 26 to a 27.5 or 29........Is it and upgrade? Or just a change in wheel size?

    You are getting much more than a larger diameter wheel, the whole frame is built differently, from being more aggressive, more slack, etc, etc.

    Why are we just mentioning wheel size at all time, including me, I'm no different.

    I just upgraded a year ago to 27.5 frame, keeping my 26" wheels on it.
    There is a difference, it feels perfect compared to my older frame that was built for 26" wheels, I feel free/loose when I'm riding the bike with the new frame and same wheels as before.

    All I'm trying to say is that's not just about wheel size the frame geometry on the 27.5 or 29 has lots to do with it too.

  21. #21
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    I ride 26er about 90% of the time, but both my race bikes are 29. I switched the 26 to avid bb7s after getting a good wheelset (mavic/ck) for cheap and wearing out more rims with rim brakes, - discs are SO much better, - xt and xtr discs on the other bikes. I still have cantis on the cx bike, but braking is not such a big deal in cx.
    I like my 26er and ride it a lot, but I am significantly faster on the 29ers (one hardtail one fs), I'm more comfortable on the fs but not really any faster than on the ht.
    This is not actual scientific testing, but I was pre-riding a race course last sunday with some guys I race with, and I couldn't quite keep up on the 26er, on race day on my 29er they couldn't keep up with me.
    There's a lot of advantages to 29, but I still like riding my 26er. If you're going to race again get a bigger wheel.
    carry clippers! cut something off the trail every time you ride.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    I ride 26er about 90% of the time, but both my race bikes are 29. I switched the 26 to avid bb7s after getting a good wheelset (mavic/ck) for cheap and wearing out more rims with rim brakes, - discs are SO much better, - xt and xtr discs on the other bikes. I still have cantis on the cx bike, but braking is not such a big deal in cx.
    I like my 26er and ride it a lot, but I am significantly faster on the 29ers (one hardtail one fs), I'm more comfortable on the fs but not really any faster than on the ht.
    This is not actual scientific testing, but I was pre-riding a race course last sunday with some guys I race with, and I couldn't quite keep up on the 26er, on race day on my 29er they couldn't keep up with me.
    There's a lot of advantages to 29, but I still like riding my 26er. If you're going to race again get a bigger wheel.
    I like how your answer is based on race testing vs time trialing a course by yourself, things are different in a mass start race and thats more of a practical test in my opinion.

  23. #23
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    That seems to be what I'm hearing quite a bit, Geo has evolved to mach the new more tech trails. Like my bikes quite a bit but the more tech the DH the less comfortable I feel, not all the bikes fault though.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    There's a lot of advantages to 29, but I still like riding my 26er. If you're going to race again get a bigger wheel.
    And be ready to replace rims more often.

  25. #25
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    I've been on the 26" for ages. I've got a buddy who is selling a Trek 29" Hardtail that I plan on snagging in the next couple months. I think it all comes down to what you are most comfortable on, and forget the naysayers. I always try and strike up conversation with other riders and I've seen some pretty old bikes still rocking hard, no judgement coming from me. My 2001 Kona Stinky is still out and about and that always makes a nice conversation starter.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jestep View Post
    I've ejected myself with my hydros more than all other brakes I've ever used combined times 5.
    Don't pull the trigger, squeeze the trigger.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Hydros are unquestionably better than rim brakes. Theres a reason they're on literally everything these days. Even road adapted over.
    You must spread some reputation around before giving it to One Pivot again.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Hydros are unquestionably better than rim brakes. Theres a reason they're on literally everything these days. Even road adapted over.
    Soon all roadies will know the joy of crap mech discs.
    So much schadenfreude....

    Oh, and before you go and think I'm disagreeing with you, I think good discs are undoubtedly superior for commuting, wet weather, and gravity riding.

    IMO good mechs > average hydros though, and bleeding... bleh.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos Vicente View Post
    I think many people have the same question is it worth upgrading from a 26 to a 27.5 or 29........Is it and upgrade? Or just a change in wheel size?

    You are getting much more than a larger diameter wheel, the whole frame is built differently, from being more aggressive, more slack, etc, etc.

    Why are we just mentioning wheel size at all time, including me, I'm no different.

    I just upgraded a year ago to 27.5 frame, keeping my 26" wheels on it.
    There is a difference, it feels perfect compared to my older frame that was built for 26" wheels, I feel free/loose when I'm riding the bike with the new frame and same wheels as before.

    All I'm trying to say is that's not just about wheel size the frame geometry on the 27.5 or 29 has lots to do with it too.
    There was another post (that I can't find now) where the guy said 27.5" tires are just a marketing scheme, and there is no performance difference compared to a 26". Well, I did an experiment and put a 26 x 2.4 on the front of a 27.5" bike frame (back tire still 27.5").

    Impressions: the smaller tire really does accelerate faster off the line. However, it seems more twitchy/flexy downhill, not as planted. It may be because the rim is a cheap Chinese knockoff wheel, where the 27.5" wheel is at least a Weinmann. So it may not be the tire size itself, but it doesn't hold a line as well in downhill chunky stuff. On lighter terrain no noticeable difference besides it feeling like you are on a 26" bike (when you aren't). But I also noticed that the limits of grip seem lower for the 26 x 2.4 compared with a 27.5 x 2.5, when swinging around dirt trail junctions on a downhill section (not a switchback, more of a C-shaped turn). Never crashed, but felt the limit coming up through the handlebars. The entire 13 mile course today was also finished about 12 minutes faster which was surprising. Was it the faster-rolling 26" wheel?

    The quantitative side: two different trails, one 0.55 miles almost all downhill, a lot of chunky rocks on the trail. Second trail 1.05 miles, more of an XC trail, about 30% downhill, embedded rocks but not many loose rocks at all on the trail like the 1st trail.

    Previous time with 27.5" wheels on the 0.55 mile downhill trail: 2 minutes 45 seconds. Same bike, 26" front tire: 3 minutes, 10 seconds, or 13% slower. I know exactly where that 25 seconds were lost, a few difficult sections that I had to slow down for more than normal because the 26" tire was starting to get to its limit and I really don't want to land on chipped rocks in shorts going 8-10 mph.

    2nd trail, 27.5" bike with correct tires did 1.05 miles in 7 minutes 15 seconds. The 27.5" bike with the front 26" tire did it in the same time! So on an XC course with only 30% real downhill in there (and minimal loose rocks) it does just as well.

    I still need to do a couple more trails to flesh out the data. One of them is a killer, 1.35 miles, rocks so large you can see them on the trail on Google Maps as small white specs. The 26" tire is punishing on there, very draining to my endurance to negotiate a smaller tire over monster rocks around 8-14 inches wide, but I'll try it on the 27.5" bike in the name of science lol.

    You can see the rock specs in the zoomed Google Maps (I can't screenshot it because it's 2x what's allowed on here, BUMMER). Location is 32.9117358,-116.987667.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sa...4d-116.9739167

    THE BEST BIKING IN THE COUNTY (and they even allow access now kinda sorta, bonus...).
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zowie View Post
    And be ready to replace rims more often.
    I'm generally pretty easy on equipment, and not a heavy guy anymore, that being said: I've got 4 cat1 masters race seasons on the stans 29er rims that came used on an '07 Kona I bought on ebay, I did have to replace all the nipples on the rear at one point, but the rim is still great. That frame broke and all the parts went on a newer carbon frame.
    Maybe it's because I do ride the 26er 90% of the time, but I'm not seeing much rim wear on the bigger wheels. - when I still had rim brakes on the 26er, and was using it for commuting and wet weather training, that's when I saw a lot of rim wear/failures. Keeping an eye on spoke tension is probably a larger factor, sometimes the spokes can work loose (happened to me recently on the 26er) and if you're riding it hard with really low tension you can do a lot of damage pretty easily. We should all probably improve our habits of regularly checking spoke tension.
    carry clippers! cut something off the trail every time you ride.

  31. #31
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    I went from a 24.5 pound Pivot 5.7c (with 2.25/2.4" tires) to a 25 pound Yeti SB5 (2.6" tires). My timed rides, in Utah are consistently faster on the Yeti. I'm not saying that they feel faster, they are faster. I'm 65 years old and have been riding for almost 30 years. I didn't get stronger in between bikes.
    Do you seriously believe that your zero to 6 MPH acceleration time is a factor with lighter tires?

  32. #32
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    True, and most people won't have the issues I have had with 700C wheels.
    Would sound frugal to train 26 and save the big hoops for racing.

    Really my only beef is just that I need 13/14 spokes, heavy rims, and high tension or they feel weird to me when I'm trying to load them heavily side to side over rocky terrain. Maybe I need an ultramegaboost upgrade.

  33. #33
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    I freely admit to being frugal. I did a long training ride in the rain on Friday (23 miles of dirt) on the 26er; got a thorn flat, bent a brake pad spring (that was a new one for me, but the pads are pretty worn), noticed my aluminum der pulleys were showing heavy wear. Race bike stayed tuned and clean ready for Sunday.
    carry clippers! cut something off the trail every time you ride.

  34. #34
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    I recently got back into riding and had a 26" Rocky Mountain Pipeline (FS with hydraulic brakes). I upgraded to a carbon Santa Cruz Tallboy and very different but better ride. Then more recently added a carbon fat bike to the stable and even rigid I'm in love. Just ordered a front fork to try it out. In hindsight I probably would have just gone for the fat bike due to fun factor but can't complain about a great FS at hand. Geometry and handlebar width was biggest change. I don't care about the dropper. I lived without for 20 years.


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  35. #35
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    Unless you're racing, there's no reason to "uprade" just for the bigger wheelsize. Unless of course you demoed something and you liked the way it rides.

    My reason for getting a new bike was the evolution is geometry. The wheelsize was what was availiable at the time, so I had to pick between 27.5 and 29. The new geo worked for me, but I appreciated the slightly bigger wheels as well. They do offer extra traction, but the main selling point for me is how they allow you to keep momentum - both going up and down. My 26" is still fun to ride (and I do, often back to back) but the 27.5 is faster and feels safer in any scenario (geo is key here). I'm keeping my old bike but I would never spend money on a new 26".

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