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  1. #1
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    Converting a Santa Cruz Superlight 29'r to 27.5?

    I realize that I might be opening a Pandora's box of opinions here, and thus a few comments that I can expect, but there are economic reasons for thinking about this question. I'm looking to upgrade with a build or purchase of a new bike and sell my upgraded Santa Cruz Superlight 29'r. However, my wife also wants to upgrade from a entry level hard-tail with 26's. She enjoys all of the attributes that the 26's have to offer, but likes how the 29's rolls and the benefits of they offer with the exception of the slow turning, big feel (she's petite). But she feels like the 29'r handles like a truck compared to her 26's. After trying different wheel sizes, she feels the 27.5's are in her best interest, but her current budget can't support a new purchase. She decided to allocate her toy budget on something else besides a bike.

    So she started scheming how to have her cake and eat it too. Knowing necessity is the mother of invention...she asks me: "What if we put 27.5's on the Santa Cruz Superlight 29'r?" Hmmm...that doesn't sound right, but why not? Technically this will work, but what are the trade-offs, if any? What would change in handling and would that be significant or not? What are the issues here? A set of 27.5 wheels, shorter stem and a few minor changes would be cheap compared to a comparably equipped new bike (that she wants).

    From a size perspective, she's at the lower end of fitting this frame (medium) according to Santa Cruz as a 29'r. No stand-over problems with the 29's and better with 27.5's. So, frame size is acceptable. She has ridden this bike with no problems, but for her, she just isn't interested in the handling characteristics of the 29'r for her riding style. She has been riding a couple of years and has gained skills and confidence as an intermediate rider still pushing the comfort zone and her personal envelope.

    We fully understand some will arguably say, just buy a dedicated 27.5, but it's just not gonna happen now. So, share your thoughts on the pros and cons of this idea. Thanx!

  2. #2
    Biking Like Crazy!
    Reputation: blcman's Avatar
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    I'm going to try this with a Niner WFO and a 27.5 160mm fork, but the BB height is high by todays standards at 13.75 with a 140 mm 29er fork,
    What's the BB on the Santa Cruz? If it's low already, it'll be a lot lower with 27.5 wheels.
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  3. #3
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    The SC SL 29'r BB is at 13.1" OK, I thought of that. So the 27.5's drop the BB by 0.75" to 12.35" Still not too bad.

  4. #4
    Biking Like Crazy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    The SC SL 29'r BB is at 13.1" OK, I thought of that. So the 27.5's drop the BB by 0.75" to 12.35" Still not too bad.
    Depends on what trails you guys ride. That's pretty low for most "regular" type trails IMHO.
    Try it and see how it goes.
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  5. #5
    NedwannaB
    Reputation: JMac47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    So the 27.5's drop the BB by 0.75" to 12.35" Still not too bad.
    True, but the pedal strikes may come into play due to suspension and depending on trail conditions you ride.

    How bout selling yours and build up a 26" SL frame with the 650 wheels?

    Just a thought.
    Wait,who did he tell you that?....

  6. #6
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    Wouldn't it make more sense to sell her bike and your Superlight and buy her a used 26 inch wheeled full suspension bike that is better than what she has? That way you could get a bike that fit her better and you wouldn't have the compromises that putting smaller wheels on the Superlight would entail. In fact, if you did it right, you might end up with more money for your upgraded bike...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    The SC SL 29'r BB is at 13.1" OK, I thought of that. So the 27.5's drop the BB by 0.75" to 12.35" Still not too bad.
    BB height is a big drawback. The other is the steering[ HA too steep] is usually to quick for the smaller wheel. You can jack up the BB height about 10mm with two offset shock bushes but that steepens the head angle about 1/2 deg.the bushes also change the leverage ratio curve. Usually it makes it more linear so you will have to change the air pressure a bit and maybe add or remove air volume spacers to retune the ride. On most bikes you can bring the head angle back with a angle set or Works components headset[check headset fork compatiability] . unfortunately this will drop the BB back a bit. Howeverr the angleset for tapered forks also raises the Ac 10mm. Hopefully the result is higher BB. tall but narrow tires like a xking 2.4 s will also raise the BB by 5mm.I'd be tempted to get a 120mm 650B specific fork if your running a 100mm 29er fork. Raises Ac another 20mm[ higher BB and slow the steering down with the smaller wheel] and extra fork travel is a bonus on a 100mm travel bike.[especially dropping a wheelsize]


    It's achievable but ultimately i think a converted recent generation[ geometry] 26"[ which should be almost give aways now] and sell the 29er is probably the better opton. Even just a 650b front on a 26 bike is a very good option. Just gives that lift in cornering traction and rollover. Rolover on the rear is now where near as noticeable as on the front.

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