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  1. #1
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    Rear wheel grip with 27.5, as good?

    So I demo rode a 29er today. Hardtail. While it was indeed a very high level bike, carbon/SID/xt/29,
    I was very impressed with the level of rear wheel grip on standing climbs or on rocky climbs. Its like the bike was just a tractor. I purposefully was out of the saddle, mashing up and through anything and the darn thing was glued. I was able to sit and spin up grades that have made my 26er lose its cool.
    How is the rear wheel grip on the 27.5 rear on climbs? Does it give the same effect or slightly less? I loved that tractor pull feeling on climbs that have shamed my 26 or made it so uncomfortable to shift weight around on the saddle just to stay seated.

    How is the grip different between the three wheel sizes given the same tire and psi?
    I don't bomb downhills and stick to mainly XC till my skills improve.

  2. #2
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    It is hard to quantify how much climbing traction you gain from each size. All I know is that given the same tire on 26" and 27.5", the 27.5" allows me to climb some hills that I could not get enough traction to climb on 26". I would imagine that 29" would have much more traction that 27.5. However my opinion has always been that the extra weight and flex of 29er wheels and tires (unless you have some high end carbon rims) makes a 29er generally climb slower so the extra traction is not much of a benefit. In other words, if the hill is so steep that I need 29er traction to climb it, the wheels slow me down so much that I probably won't be able to climb it anyways.
    2012 On One Whippet 650b
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  3. #3
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    I didn't feel any flex in the wheels or feel they were extremely heavy. I do know that on the 26 the front wheel would start to bounce around/lift and the rear would slip causing me to stop. Not sure how much could have been helped by tire choice or better frame.

  4. #4
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    I can tell you my 27.5 converted blur, has tons more rear wheel traction then before when it was a 26er. I knew that there would be a difference, was astonished with how much more, I haven't ridden a Santa Cruz Tallboy(similar bike, but a 29er) to see the difference between it and my Blur, which I would imagine would even more. The reason I ride 27.5 over 29ers is that while I give I may give up some traction to them I gain in about every other category of my riding.

  5. #5
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    Is that in maneuverability, weight?

  6. #6
    jrm
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    given the same tire and psi the length of the tires contact patch increases with wheel diameter.

  7. #7
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    Having ridden both Crest and Enve wheels in both 650b and 29er, I would have to say the traction of a 650b is much closer to that of a 29er than a 26". Granted the test bikes were both carbon hardtails (Momsen SL650 and Niner Air 9 RDO) but I wouldn't say the weight of the wheels really plays much of a factor as long as you are comparing the same wheels and tires (Schwalbe Rocket Ron). The perceived difference in climbing ability is most likely attributed to the difference in gearing, or the lack there of.

    Most people aren't going to adjust their gearing for different wheel sizes so once you factor in the smaller 650b wheels the gearing ratio is going to be much easier on the smaller wheels. The result is a bike that feels much more snappy (quick to accelerate) on the climbs.

    When I first tested the Momsen SL650 I couldn't believe how nimble the bike was on climbs. I found myself sprinting out of the saddle on climbs that I would normally sit and spin up on my 29er. I had a similar experience when testing the Open Cycle 0-1.0 which I then realized was attributed to the 24-38t gearing on the Rotor 3D+ as apposed to the 26-39t on both the Momsen and my Air 9 RDO.

    My personal opinion is that 29ers are still going to be a faster platform for XC riding (hardtails and 80-120mm travel bikes) but 650b is a great option, with a comparable ride, for shorter riders or those looker for a slightly shorter wheelbase, tighter turning or more suspension (130-160mm). There will of course be bikes that prove me wrong but that is what drives the evolution of this sport.

  8. #8
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    Honestly, one motivating factor is that I have a bunch of 26" stuff sitting around and would like to build a frame I can convert with just a wheel build, then worry about upgrading other stuff later. I'm about to put one of my other bikes up for sale though so I may be looking at entering the new or used market instead of building from a frame.

  9. #9
    dwt
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    Rear wheel grip with 27.5, as good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Bike Supply View Post

    My personal opinion is that 29ers are still going to be a faster platform for XC riding (hardtails and 80-120mm travel bikes) but 650b is a great option, with a comparable ride, for shorter riders or those looker for a slightly shorter wheelbase, tighter turning or more suspension (130-160mm). There will of course be bikes that prove me wrong but that is what drives the evolution of this sport.
    +1

    Truth and Wisdom bro. This year and next will see a lot of incredible new product that will blow and change many minds as to what bike they prefer to ride. Examples: Tall Boy LT, Spec. Enduro 29 and the soon to be official SC Bronson 27.5 c.




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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by theNomad View Post
    So I demo rode a 29er today. Hardtail. While it was indeed a very high level bike, carbon/SID/xt/29,
    I was very impressed with the level of rear wheel grip on standing climbs or on rocky climbs. Its like the bike was just a tractor. I purposefully was out of the saddle, mashing up and through anything and the darn thing was glued. I was able to sit and spin up grades that have made my 26er lose its cool.
    Same feeling I got when I had a 29'er Specialized Stumpjumper Test Bike for 3 days last year. It allowed me to ride up, over, and clear stuff I never dreamed of with my converted 650B Prophet. I was really stunned how good it was and so much so I opened a "climbing ability 26 vs 29" thread in the AM forum that's out to 11 pages now (with plenty of nasty comments). You were on a HT but in my case I was really wondering how different suspension designs also play into the ability of the bike to climb well. My (now sold) Jamis Dakar 650 B2 was a big improvement over the Prophet so that was very encouraging to me and I'm sticking with the 650B wheel size with a really great suspension design to hopefully get close to a 29'er climbing ability. I have to deal with tons of really rocky, rooty, technical climbs here in New England so for me a bike that climbs and pedals well is top priority. Gravity is the easy part.

    I'm not gonna rule out a 29'er but this quote from Hurricane Jeff pretty much sums up why I stick with the 650B size also.

    The reason I ride 27.5 over 29ers is that while I give I may give up some traction to them I gain in about every other category of my riding.
    2013 Banshee Spitfire V2 650b

  11. #11
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    I ride 650b, but I'll acknowledge that the best bikes I've ridden for simply having the traction and planted front wheel to clear the steepest, loosest rocky climbs with the least amount of drama have been short travel FS 29er's.... various Mach 429/429c's to be precise. IMO, it's not just the increased traction from the long contact patch, but also the longer chainstays that make those steep ups more of a no brainer.... you're less likely to loft the front wheel unintentionally, overcompensate, spin the rear wheel, etc... just sit and spin, and if you can turn the gear over then the odds are in your favor. That and the momentum holding, chatter leveling feel of the wagon wheels would make them my choice if I were racing.... but..... I'm not.
    By comparison, my 650b bike w/ 16.9" chainstays is really playful and responsive both descending and climbing... It's so much fun riding up chunk and being able to pick up and place the front wheel, do little mini-wheelies to tighten your line through tight uphill switchbacks, etc. And the traction both climbing and cornering is noticeably better than 26".
    IMO, 29 is the choice if you're focused on efficiency and results. 27.5 is more about fun and the rewards of nailing tough moves. Of course, I'm generalizing big time... these lines are getting more blurry everyday, and things like rider size and frame geometry will make for exceptions.

  12. #12
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    Great response.
    I'm not racing, probably never will and if I do I'll be racing for "Lantern Rouge" so I just want to have fun riding bikes. I'm no good on the downhills and need to work on my skills there, and I want to get a bike I can hit all the local trails with, that does all things "well" and gives me a little bit of buffer for my bonehead moves. The 29ers I've ridden seem like bulldozers sometimes as I can roll over anything, even accidental off trails are less issue.

    Cash is burning a hole in my pocket right now and I'm about to pull the trigger while I still haven't been able to test ride a 650b. I am enticed by a more "lively" ride but wonder if the prevanence of 29er parts (always a tight budget for me) may make my decision. Not sure if I can afford to be an early adopter.

  13. #13
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    Nomad, based on the momentum I've seen building, I imagine 27.5-specific stuff will be as common as 29 stuff in the near future. Additionally, there really are no short comings with respect to "parts" as, aside from wheels and possibly fork stanchion lengths, the parts on a 27.5 are the same as 26'er parts...

    Tire selection is also dramatically improving in the 650b area...


    And I'm sure you've seen this, but check out this sexy ht:

    Just In: Cysco Cycles 650b Ti Hardtail | Mountain Bike Review
    Last edited by Erwin8r; 04-08-2013 at 12:02 PM.

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