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  1. #1
    offroader
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    Death of the 26" wheel bike?

    With all the talk revolving around 29ers and 27.5 bike in recent years is there any reason to even consider the 26er as an option any more?

    29er are great XC cross country bikes. They're great over long distances and handle well going up hills. And now that the 27.5 revolution has caught fire what's there to do with the 26" wheel? After contemplating my future plans I though about which bikes I'd like to build in the near future and my plan boils down to this this: I still plan to ride a FS 29er as my every day XC bike and eventually would like to build up a 27.5 as a long travel fun AM rig to huck around the trails. My current AM rig is a 26er Pivot Mach 5. Which is plenty capable but it's noticeable poor climber and harder to ride over long distances compared to it's bigger wheel brother. So what's going to happen to the 26er? Will 26er be reserved primarily for DH? Your thoughts?

  2. #2
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    26ers are still a lot of fun, and there is NO reason to ditch a good one just for the sake of upgrading. I only race 29er because they are so much faster for the groomed courses, but 26ers still have their use, and my Mach 4 is not going to be sold. That said, if you are in the market for a new bike, the latest designs for 27.5 ibis and santa cruz are outstanding, and a much better investment than a 26er all things considered. but that is only if you are buying new. jr

  3. #3
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    Aren't the top enduro racers on 26ers. I think they are still best for that type of riding or racing.

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    Given that the 27 rolls over things better/safer than 26, that is the major advantage, plus you can run a slightly thinner tire for the same real estate of traction. 26ers will make sense for far fewer people in the future when buying NEW. There are some great deals around right now for 26ers as people ditch them willy nilly in pursuit of the newer, better thing. Still doesn't mean 26ers aren't fun and shouldn't be kept. nuff said jr

  5. #5
    offroader
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    Quote Originally Posted by jredling View Post
    Aren't the top enduro racers on 26ers. I think they are still best for that type of riding or racing.
    I thought I read somewhere enduro racers are going to 27.5 and that Enduro is taking over DH racing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jredling View Post
    Aren't the top enduro racers on 26ers. I think they are still best for that type of riding or racing.
    A lot of new 27.5 bikes are aimed at the Enduro market, so likely many pro riders will be using them in 2014.

  7. #7
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    26" bikes turn better , weigh less, are easier to jump, and are stronger.

    The Enduro races prove that fast riders are fast on any size wheel. The 27.5 did not give a big enough advantage to overcome talent and skill.

    If I were you, I would get a bike like the Ibis mojo HDR. It can handle both sizes.

  8. #8
    offroader
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    Quote Originally Posted by saidrick View Post
    26" bikes turn better , weigh less, are easier to jump, and are stronger.

    The Enduro races prove that fast riders are fast on any size wheel. The 27.5 did not give a big enough advantage to overcome talent and skill.

    If I were you, I would get a bike like the Ibis mojo HDR. It can handle both sizes.
    What about climbing and long distances on the saddle?

  9. #9
    Zaf
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    Quote Originally Posted by CupOfJava View Post
    What about climbing and long distances on the saddle?
    Climbing efficiency will come down a bit more on Suspension design and setup, and gearing than wheelsize. There are compromises in all areas, 29'ers will roll over things a little more easily, but have a bigger front end and take a little bit more effort to manual/lift when it comes to larger objects. 26" might need a little bit more body language, but they are easier to move around in such a way.
    Go with what you feel comfortable on for the riding you're doing, because in the end, good bikes will go on being good bikes, bad bikes will be bad bikes and it's very rarely a result of the size hoops you're stick on them, but the bike itself.

    I feel more comfortable on a 29er, I like the way the wheel behaves, it generally feels more intuitive to me. But I wouldn't give up my 26" Fuel EX for the world, because it's such a rewarding bike to ride. Hard one to describe, because the 29er's not boring, but I'd compare it to poking a stick a loyal dog, he'll sort of look back at you as to say "What you just did there, that wasn't cool, lets try not doing that again even though you got out of it unscathed."
    The 26" though...more like a rabid hyena, in which it'll just bite you. The payoff is that when you do manage to clear lines on it, it is just THAT much more rewarding.

    I don't think the wheel is dead. If it is, it won't die overnight, but it has helped in making their components a lot cheaper, it might help bring more people into the hobby by driving costs down a bit simply because it's no longer "in vogue".
    Trek Fuel EX 9 (2012)
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CupOfJava View Post
    What about climbing and long distances on the saddle?
    I am not qualified to answer that question. I have never been a good climber. I don't put enough time in the saddle to be a good climber.

    29er's require more effort to climb with , but they reward you with faster climbing speeds.

    But in my opinion, climbing comes down to bike design more than wheel size.
    Any wheel size can be good or bad at climbing based on its geometry , weight , suspension design and how it fits the individual rider's body.

    The riders fitness level and skill level can also make a bad climbing bike look good.

  11. #11
    LCW
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    Death of the 26" wheel bike?

    26" will make a "comeback" when the hype of 27.5 dies down and bike manufacturers need something "new" to hock
    2011 Yeti 575 - Fox Float 36 RC2 160 - 31.5 lbs

  12. #12
    offroader
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    Quote Originally Posted by LCW View Post
    26" will make a "comeback" when the hype of 27.5 dies down and bike manufacturers need something "new" to hock
    haha yea

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrawie View Post
    Given that the 27 rolls over things better/safer than 26, that is the major advantage, plus you can run a slightly thinner tire for the same real estate of traction. 26ers will make sense for far fewer people in the future when buying NEW. There are some great deals around right now for 26ers as people ditch them willy nilly in pursuit of the newer, better thing. Still doesn't mean 26ers aren't fun and shouldn't be kept. nuff said jr
    I just started experimenting with larger volume tires (2.25 vs 2.1) on a 26er HT that I use for XC riding in the desert. I seriously think the 26er still has its place. The gearing is better and they spin up faster. You have less of a rotation weight penalty for going to a larger volume tire... and those larger volume tires really soak up the chatter on the trail. Will my next bike be a 27.5 or 29er? Yes, but I hope they keep making 26ers. Unless I am totally blown away by my next bike, I know that I will always want a 26er in the stable.
    Killing it with close inspection.

  14. #14
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    700C killed 27". But a few 650A designs persist. I think 26" is enough different from 650B to hang around, especially internationally. As the wheel size for adult bikes goes up, it may also generate a niche for another wheel size for children's bikes, or 26" bikes for smaller women who aren't Emily Batty.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    I just hope my 26er doesn't die while I'm riding it; that would hurt.

  16. #16
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    Just like there are quite a few people who don't fit on a 29er, there are a significant number of people who don't fit on 650b/27.5. Heck, I occasionally build 24" frames for really small people for whom 26" is too big.

    26 won't die. Neither will any of the other mainstream sizes.

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  17. #17
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    Yeah i think 2 to 3 years from now, 26" will be phaseout. so either get a 650b or 29er bike if you are upgrading. Personally I prefer to ride 650b than a 29er.

  18. #18
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    26ers will still exist in some fashion, but I'm not going to invest any serious $$$ in a new 26er. If you have a bling 26er now either plan to keep it and wear it out or sell it fast while you can still get a decent re-sale price....although it could already be too late for that.
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  19. #19
    offroader
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    Another thought related to this topic. But has anyone else noticed how much CHEAPER 26er parts are compared to 29er and 27.5? Right not the prices of 27.5 parts is approaching their weight in gold and 29er parts are still relatively high. I could probably put together a 26er FS for less that half of what it would cost to put a 27.5 together right now. (Average cost of a fully built 27.5 looks to be aroun $3k) Back a few years ago it was almost unheard of to see bikes priced above $2k except may a few high end Specialized S-Works and Scott Limited Edition bikes.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CupOfJava View Post
    Another thought related to this topic. But has anyone else noticed how much CHEAPER 26er parts are compared to 29er and 27.5? Right not the prices of 27.5 parts is approaching their weight in gold and 29er parts are still relatively high. I could probably put together a 26er FS for less that half of what it would cost to put a 27.5 together right now. (Average cost of a fully built 27.5 looks to be aroun $3k) Back a few years ago it was almost unheard of to see bikes priced above $2k except may a few high end Specialized S-Works and Scott Limited Edition bikes.
    No - I have not noticed that at all. The same type of wheels are the same price in 26 or 29 (or 27.5 if available). Same thing for forks. Tires maybe a few bucks more, but I just don't get how you claim to be able to build a 26 bike for "half" of the cost of a 27.5. Where are you shopping??

  21. #21
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    Check Craigslist or forum classifieds - decent 26" parts are (hyperbole warning!) practically free.

    -Walt
    Waltworks Custom Bicycles
    Park City, UT USA
    www.waltworks.com
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  22. #22
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    I haven't tried 27.5 yet and 29 doesn't suit the trails I ride. Its good for climbing fireroads though. My next race bike will be a 26 and will be built specifically for super d and enduro racing.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  23. #23
    DLd
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    Quote Originally Posted by CupOfJava View Post
    I thought I read somewhere enduro racers are going to 27.5 and that Enduro is taking over DH racing.
    Most companies are making their initial push into 27.5 in the exploding Enduro market, that's true, but the people actually winning the races at the highest levels, like Jerome Clementz are still on 26'er. Bike check: Cannondale Jekyll of EWS-Champion Jerome Clementz | Enduro Mountainbike Magazine
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  24. #24
    DLd
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    I think it's more likely that people are coming to the slow realization that 29 inches overshot the sweet spot for mountain biking and the 29'er fad is finally coming to a close. It might still be a good wheel size for noobs, for instance I might start my mom on a 29'er, but if you like to "ride" the bike, rather than just ride along with the bike, 26 or 27.5 is going to be where it's at.

    I wish I could make a bigger smiley
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  25. #25
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Road bikes seem to have stabilized on the biggest wheel that can fit in a bike fitting most adult men.

    I'm pretty happy with my 29er, but I've set it up with a -17 degree stem and it only has 100 mm of travel. So if I wanted more travel, I could see it being a problem.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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