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  1. #1
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    Faster uphill with 27.5

    To me wheel size has a lot to do with your physical measurements. Smaller riders may fit a smaller wheel size and vice versus.

    Anybody faster climbing with the 27.5 than the 29? I recently got a 29er XC and seems tougher on the uphills than my longer travel, slacker 27.5 bike.

  2. #2
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    "Seems" means nothing. Power and time are the only metrics that matter. End of story.
    Death from Below.

  3. #3
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    Compare times, that's the only way. Feel can be BS.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    "Seems" means nothing. Power and time are the only metrics that matter. End of story.

    Let me rephrase that. My strava times are slower. 😂

  5. #5
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    Are you running the exact same saddle position? Reach and bar position? Tires? Weight?

    If not, I'd submit that your "results" are not very meaningful.
    Death from Below.

  6. #6
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    It depends on if the terrain was similar, your riding position, bike setup, etc. Contrary to popular believe, the 29er isnt the magic wheel size, or is any other wheel size
    I believe each to be faster in different situtions, I choose 27.5 because I really do believe it has the most to offer, with the least detrimental effects of too being too big or too small.
    Im 6 ' tall, ride mostly aggressive xc and trail, with some bigger stuff here and again

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Are you running the exact same saddle position? Reach and bar position? Tires? Weight?

    If not, I'd submit that your "results" are not very meaningful.
    Bike is lighter by 2.5lbs, steeper head angle, lighter faster tires, reach is same, bar position is lower due to steeper head angle, and saddle position is similar. Gearing is the same but gear ratios are taller for 29er than 27.5 solely based from wheel size. I meticulously set up my bikes because I always custom build all my setups and never buy stock off the shelf bikes.

    The two bikes in comparison is a Specialized Camber Carbon Expert and Intense Carbine 27.5 both built up from the frame.

    Also, a Giant manufacturer sales rep that was about my size also said he was faster with his 27.5 than his 29er on climbs and most rides.
    Last edited by aliikane; 05-31-2015 at 09:30 AM.

  8. #8
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    It is on the exact same rides. Drawing numbers off of Strava segment times.

    From the responses to the thread, I am guessing nobody responding has ever tested a 29er versus a 27.5 in speed and cabilities. ☺

  9. #9
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    Senior XC world championships on 29 -2
    Senior XC world championships on 27.5 -5

    The whole 29er is faster for XC myth needs to be reexamined.

    I have actually tested two nearly identical bikes (same manufacture, same model, same parts, same tires, only difference wheel size). For me the 27.5 was consistently faster everywhere.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  10. #10
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    As a matter of fact, I have done my testing and found the 27.5 to be just as fast, if not faster in most of MY( I capitalized "my" so people dont get all up in arms) riding situtions. The only place that I feel 29ers are faster are on climbs with "babyhead" sized rocks and when DH speeds reach over 35mph( rarely happens)
    I dont have any scientific proof to back my claims, but there are people who do apparently on this site to dispute my claims.
    I just ride, and pretty much everyone should too, ride what makes you feel better/ faster and avoid what this site, or any other, magazines and blogs tell you.

  11. #11
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    After two seasons working out hard on my HT 29er I stopped getting faster, It was like I hit a wall. Then I made the move to 27.5" and full suspension.
    From the very first ride, on every section and single track I ride, EVERY UP HILL, Bombing down hill, sand, gravel, wet, dusty,,every where and every ride there after I was again getting faster...

    Per Strava....

    I got my 27.5 late last summer, I am still getting faster and working at it less..
    I am Finding the, 'Flow' that Eluded me for two years on my Hard Tail 29er..
    Was It the wheel size ? the full squish ? You tell me..
    All I know Is I can climb things now that I could never complete on the 29er..
    Tight switch backs are mine now....
    I sit 'IN' my 650b,,,
    I sat 'ON TOP' of my 29er, at least that's how It felt to me...

    I agree with others,,It's a matter of fit,,this wheel size debate but I think many overlook the engines.. It ain't the bike remember ?

    Stronger riders can get more out of the larger heavier hoops, I could not.
    “I seek only the Flow”,
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    Bike is lighter by 2.5lbs, steeper head angle, lighter faster tires, reach is same, bar position is lower due to steeper head angle, and saddle position is similar. Gear ratios are taller for 29er than 27.5. I meticulously set up my bikes because I always custom build all my setups and never buy stock off the shelf bikes.
    Consider that the lower bar position may be affecting your power output, making the angle at your hips more acute, elongating & emphasizing hamstrings/glutes, and de-emphasizing quads. I experienced this to a significant degree years ago when setting up a new bike, and have always paid closer attention to it since then.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osco View Post
    After two seasons working out hard on my HT 29er I stopped getting faster, It was like I hit a wall. Then I made the move to 27.5" and full suspension.
    From the very first ride, on every section and single track I ride, EVERY UP HILL, Bombing down hill, sand, gravel, wet, dusty,,every where and every ride there after I was again getting faster...

    Per Strava....

    I got my 27.5 late last summer, I am still getting faster and working at it less..
    I am Finding the, 'Flow' that Eluded me for two years on my Hard Tail 29er..
    Was It the wheel size ? the full squish ? You tell me..
    All I know Is I can climb things now that I could never complete on the 29er..
    Tight switch backs are mine now....
    I sit 'IN' my 650b,,,
    I sat 'ON TOP' of my 29er, at least that's how It felt to me...

    I agree with others,,It's a matter of fit,,this wheel size debate but I think many overlook the engines.. It ain't the bike remember ?

    Stronger riders can get more out of the larger heavier hoops, I could not.

    I have a carbon 29er HT from China... and a Santa Cruz TR alloy 27.5. On the same day same trails my times are almost identical between the bikes. On the more rocky descents the Blur is faster, on the more flat stuff and uphill generally the 29er is faster. But its not a fair comparison since once bike is 22lb and one is 27lb. Either way the Santa Cruz can keep up with the 29er in any situation and when the going gets tough it gets down better than the wagon wheels do. My unscientific findings will surely piss off "Le Duke".
    2014 27.5" SC Blur TRa - 2014 IP-106 Chiner 29er - 2005 Fuji Team SL 16.2lbs -

  14. #14
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    I think it is a primarily personal physical thing more than anything else. There can be diminishing returns on how big of wheels you can have with your physical makeup and leg strength. For example, a guy who is 6'5" tall would be slower if he had 50" wheels as opposed to 29er. Not saying 29er is bad but just not made for everyone.

    I am short, 5'7" with short legs (28" inseam) and longer torso proportions so I think that bigger wheels are just tougher to push for me since the gear ratios are taller with same gearing of a smaller wheel. I am able to accelerate smaller wheels better, push them up steeper climbs, and am more efficient with 27.5.

  15. #15
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    I've recently found that going from my 127/140mm full suspension carbon trail 29er to a 140/160mm full suspension alloy 27.5 both running the same wheelset in their respective sizes with very similar rubber and I am consistently faster on the smaller wheels on all but the longest of climbs.

    There are so many different factors to, er, factor in though. Could it be that I'm fitter, having new bike stoke or something like that?

    Things worth noting are the new bike is 1lb heavier than the carbon, has the exact same cockpit and gears. The carbon bike weighed in at 28 when I last rode it and the new alloy one weighs 29.

    I also have a titanium 27.5 hard tail that only weighs 25lbs, has lighter wheels (by 1 pound per pair than the new full suspension), smaller tyres and a very short back end, yet I'm still faster on the fully. Weird eh?...

    I still think that my uphill times would improve on a dedicated xc 29er which is what I'll be choosing for the BC Bike Race so there are so many variables that there's probably no right or wrong answer to the op's question.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    I think it is a primarily personal physical thing more than anything else. There can be diminishing returns on how big of wheels you can have with your physical makeup and leg strength. For example, a guy who is 6'5" tall would be slower if he had 50" wheels as opposed to 29er. Not saying 29er is bad but just not made for everyone.

    I am short, 5'7" with short legs (28" inseam) and longer torso proportions so I think that bigger wheels are just tougher to push for me since the gear ratios are taller with same gearing of a smaller wheel. I am able to accelerate smaller wheels better, push them up steeper climbs, and am more efficient with 27.5.

    Im 6' 32" inseam, and standard torso length etc. I also on weigh 150 so I can usually climb really well on most anything because of my size and lightweight build. I think I like the way the 27.5 feels the most because it feels like it will accelerate faster, and even though the 29er has a steeper HT @ 69.5 vs 67 ( on the 27.5 ) the 27.5 handles tight turns better and you can also lean it more into berms. Overall the 27.5 platform is more fun and I do love my 29er but 27.5 is where the fun is and apparently is where the speed is too for me.
    2014 27.5" SC Blur TRa - 2014 IP-106 Chiner 29er - 2005 Fuji Team SL 16.2lbs -

  17. #17
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    I have both a 29 and 27.5 with the same tires and both on carbon wheels. No starve times but my heart rate is lower on the 27.5 on the same climb. I check my HR and the beginning and end of every hill to make sure I don't go into red zone. The feeling[ not scientific ] is that less effort especially when slowing and accelerating going up hill.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    Compare times, that's the only way. Feel can be BS.
    x2 riding rigid vs hardtail my rigid feels faster but my strava times on all but the smoothest of trails indicate other wise.

  19. #19
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by fruitafrank View Post
    No starve times but my heart rate is lower on the 27.5 on the same climb. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, The feeling[ not scientific ] is that less effort especially when slowing and accelerating going up hill.
    Yep a Pair of 27.5's should be about a pound less of unsprung spinning mass,
    Those 29er hoops are heavy,,all things being equal,,yeah Yeah I know,,
    money can by very light stiff wagon wheels..

    I also did not need wider bars to handle my 27.5's wheels.. That was a blessing as I ride in the woods,,tree;s all out to get me ya knows.:P
    “I seek only the Flow”,
    Climbing Is Supposed To Be Hard,
    Shut Up Legs :P

  20. #20
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    I have more fun on my 27.5, that has to count for something right?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    I have more fun on my 27.5, that has to count for something right?
    That ^
    Nice to see some love for the 27.5.
    I swear on some of these threads you'd think it was the worst thing that ever happened to mountain biking.

  22. #22
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    I think long steep climbs and drops are ideal for 650b. A new iteration of a trek fuel 100. The flowy stuff with short and shallow ups and downs is where the niner should shine.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    Senior XC world championships on 29 -2
    Senior XC world championships on 27.5 -5

    The whole 29er is faster for XC myth needs to be reexamined.

    I have actually tested two nearly identical bikes (same manufacture, same model, same parts, same tires, only difference wheel size). For me the 27.5 was consistently faster everywhere.
    A counterpoint from the men's race yesterday:

    1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th on 29ers on what most would call the most climbing intensive WC course.

    8 of the top 10 on them.

    But, that's just one race. We'll argue about it until we're blue in the face.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    A counterpoint from the men's race yesterday:

    1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th on 29ers on what most would call the most climbing intensive WC course.

    8 of the top 10 on them.

    But, that's just one race. We'll argue about it until we're blue in the face.
    I agree this could be argued forever and already has been previously. Both wheel sizes are good I own both and depending on the terrain I'll either take the 29er for the more smooth flowy stuff or the blur tr for the more Rocky and technical stuff.
    2014 27.5" SC Blur TRa - 2014 IP-106 Chiner 29er - 2005 Fuji Team SL 16.2lbs -

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    Let me rephrase that. My strava times are slower. 😂
    Mine were as well consistently. On long sustained climbs the additional rotational mass of the 29 probably outweighs the decreased approach angle benefits. All of my fastest times are set on my 275.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andyfloyd View Post
    Im 6' 32"
    Woah..... that's tall.

    As far as climbing speed for 29 vs 27.5, I think it can depend upon the terrain, as others have mentioned. 29 can have an advantage in certain situations.

    Veering slightly off topic.......
    With the popularity of 27.5, coupled with the rise of plus-size 3" tires, I wouldn't be surprised if we begin to see more 26+.
    The diameter would be roughly 27.5, and could probably be used in a lot of 27.5 / 650b frames. Question is, would there be a fork issue?
    Surly currently offers a 26" x 3" Knard.
    To ride this trail is completely free.
    Just show me a triangle..... make it three!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    Let me rephrase that. My strava times are slower. 😂
    Got an Anthem 27.5 SX three weeks ago. My strava climbing times are almost all across the board faster. Not by heaps, but they are faster. I am seeing improvement in all areas of my mountain biking. This size just seems to fit me like a glove.

  28. #28
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    So many racers were on 27.5? Nino rides 27.5 on the same exact courses as the riders on 29ers, and he is one of the top racers, probably was the 2nd place finisher. I believe it is a matter of preference on which wheel size you choose to ride, which one is faster uphill,t all things being equal, a smaller/ lighter wheel, should be faster on a good percentages of the climbs.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Jeff View Post
    So many racers were on 27.5? Nino rides 27.5 on the same exact courses as the riders on 29ers, and he is one of the top racers, probably was the 2nd place finisher. I believe it is a matter of preference on which wheel size you choose to ride, which one is faster uphill,t all things being equal, a smaller/ lighter wheel, should be faster on a good percentages of the climbs.
    No clue what the overall breakdown was, but 8 of the top 10 were on 29ers.

    Nino and one of the BH dudes were the guys on 27.5.

    Also of note: Fabian Geiger, arguably the fastest climber in the WC last year, is the only guy racing a custom bike. A lugged, carbon Colnago 29er. After racing last year on a 27.5 Giant.
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  30. #30
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    How many of those guys on 29ers race for a team that will provide them with 27.5? Still not a lot companies making 27.5 XC race bike, but more are appearing.

    Last year I was talking with the BH team manager about bikes and wheel sizes. BH made a bunch of test bikes in different wheel sizes and gave them to the riders to test. In the end all the riders but one (who is really tall) found the 27.5s to be the fastest bike.

    On the women's side, the poster child for small riders on 29ers, Emily Batty, is now racing a 27.5.

    There are a lot of world class riders who have tested 29ers and 27.5s and found the smaller wheel size to be faster. At the same time there are many who find 29ers to be quicker.




    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    No clue what the overall breakdown was, but 8 of the top 10 were on 29ers.

    Nino and one of the BH dudes were the guys on 27.5.

    Also of note: Fabian Geiger, arguably the fastest climber in the WC last year, is the only guy racing a custom bike. A lugged, carbon Colnago 29er. After racing last year on a 27.5 Giant.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  31. #31
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    I was wrong. It's 9 of out the top 10. Maximme Marotte and the BH team have switched from 27.5 to 29ers this year.
    Death from Below.

  32. #32
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    my $0.02... I went out riding with some serious veteran mtb'ers a few weeks back. It was the day after a 32km ride with pa-in-law and wifey (won't make that mistake again!) These elder statesmen were going hell for leather! My (tired) legs hadn't recovered and couldn't keep up =( anyway, halfway through a gnarly rock garden ascent, they paused and waited for my pa-in-law and I (he won't be making same mistake again either) after a wee respite there was a really techy up swing... all the other riders (4 in total, all on 29ers) had 3 or 4 goes at this piece and couldn't clean it... I did so on my 2nd attempt (650b steed). Also once the trail pointed down and we hit some really awesome rocky gnar (not a garden per se) I was buzzing the rear tire of the guy in front of me...

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  33. #33
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    All your anecdotal evidence suggests (at best), is that you're a better technical rider than the others.

    Regarding the downhill where you were on the guy in front of you: Maybe he felt bad for dropping you earlier in the ride?

  34. #34
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Giant went all In on 27.5 right ?

    Liv/Giant Goes to Only 27.5? for Mountain Bikes in 2014 | Bike Shop Girl

    "Lighter Weight
    1. More Efficient
    2. Better Control

    In comparison to 26 and 29-inch wheel size options, our research shows that 27.5 offers the ideal combination of light weight, efficiency, and control for female riders.

    People always said I ride like a girl :P

    Uh Oh,,,
    “I seek only the Flow”,
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    Shut Up Legs :P

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osco View Post
    Yep a Pair of 27.5's should be about a pound less of unsprung spinning mass,
    Those 29er hoops are heavy,,all things being equal,,yeah Yeah I know,,
    money can by very light stiff wagon wheels..

    I also did not need wider bars to handle my 27.5's wheels.. That was a blessing as I ride in the woods,,tree;s all out to get me ya knows.:P
    In this article (which has been thoroughly debated in other threads), using real weights of an example wheel and tire set up, the difference between the 27.5 and 29er total weight (both wheels combined) is 193 grams which is .4 pounds. (less than 5% heavier). I can not imagine any wheel and tire combo that would give you a 1 pound difference.

    Educating the Debate ? Part I - NSMB.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    Mine were as well consistently. On long sustained climbs the additional rotational mass of the 29 probably outweighs the decreased approach angle benefits. All of my fastest times are set on my 275.
    It depends on how rough the track is.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    "Seems" means nothing. Power and time are the only metrics that matter. End of story.
    Post number 2, absolutely true, yet didn't seem to deter any of the meaningless blather that followed....

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by briscoelab View Post
    All your anecdotal evidence suggests (at best), is that you're a better technical rider than the others.

    Regarding the downhill where you were on the guy in front of you: Maybe he felt bad for dropping you earlier in the ride?
    Pfft... If anecdotes aren't any good for drawing factual conclusions, how did you come up with 'you're a better technical climber'??

    What I was trying to point out... That despite my legs being weary from the days riding before, and the others (remember there was 3 of them) being fresh and all on hoolihoops - on a technical section with tired legs my 27.5" wheels got me up the technical rise and they having fresh legs (and 29er wheels) couldn't clean it...

    Plus, it was on their local trails, ones they've ridden for years... That particular trail I've ridden perhaps a handful of times.

    And, seriously!! Who races to the top and grabs a fistful of the anchors on the fun stuff going down!!

    Spandex warriors!?

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  39. #39
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    I feel so world cup when I'm on my 27.5 does that count? In my head I am passing everyone and having fun doing it. Screw the facts it's all about perceived fun and smiles.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    I feel so world cup when I'm on my 27.5 does that count? In my head I am passing everyone and having fun doing it. Screw the facts it's all about perceived fun and smiles.
    Lol!! I only ever pass people on the downs 0_o

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    I feel so world cup when I'm on my 27.5 does that count? In my head I am passing everyone and having fun doing it. Screw the facts it's all about perceived fun and smiles.
    Haha. I see the empirical side/necessity to this argument. Some real world numbers would back up or dismantle any feelings. As far as teams switching back and forth those can be both good and flawed indicators of the "fastest" bike.

    I just think it is really cool that the 27.5 wheel size doesn't give up anything substantial to a 29er, in certain areas can be faster and for me(what I ride and the trails I spend 97% of my time on) so much more darn fun!!

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyfloyd View Post
    Im 6' 32" inseam, and standard torso length etc. I also on weigh 150 so I can usually climb really well on most anything because of my size and lightweight build. I think I like the way the 27.5 feels the most because it feels like it will accelerate faster, and even though the 29er has a steeper HT @ 69.5 vs 67 ( on the 27.5 ) the 27.5 handles tight turns better and you can also lean it more into berms. Overall the 27.5 platform is more fun and I do love my 29er but 27.5 is where the fun is and apparently is where the speed is too for me.
    Im 6' 32" inseam, and standard torso length etc. I also on weigh 150

    You need a sandwich

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    Xxx

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    Quote Originally Posted by 29Inches View Post
    Im 6' 32" inseam, and standard torso length etc. I also on weigh 150

    You need a sandwich
    Yea, Im stretch armstrong over here.
    2014 27.5" SC Blur TRa - 2014 IP-106 Chiner 29er - 2005 Fuji Team SL 16.2lbs -

  45. #45
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    Here's what I have gotten from this thread so far;

    People have posted that their Strava times on 275 are faster than 29
    Multiple bike companies have posted that their testing shows 275 to be faster than 29
    29 riders shout it down saying that it can't be possible because xyz
    Nobody has posted that their Strava times are faster on 29

    At the end of the day ride what you like and makes you want to get on your bike. If you really care about what is faster, buy both and test them for yourself. I have and found that 29 was slower for me in several situation. The only place it was faster was on rolling terrain where the momentum of the heavier wheel helped.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    Here's what I have gotten from this thread so far;

    People have posted that their Strava times on 275 are faster than 29
    Multiple bike companies have posted that their testing shows 275 to be faster than 29
    29 riders shout it down saying that it can't be possible because xyz
    Nobody has posted that their Strava times are faster on 29

    At the end of the day ride what you like and makes you want to get on your bike. If you really care about what is faster, buy both and test them for yourself. I have and found that 29 was slower for me in several situation. The only place it was faster was on rolling terrain where the momentum of the heavier wheel helped.
    Not to open up another can of worms but ...
    Salespunk, as someone who has ridden many bikes, what do you say about the people who insist there's virtually no difference between 26 vs 27.5? Not so much in terms of speed but more in handling benefits.
    I know for me switching to 650b/27.5 was a big boost, but people continue to insist imagining any gains.
    Interested in your thoughts.

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    Find the bike that's right for you, and ride as many as possible before deciding what's right for you.

    I'm still on a 26 after riding a ton of bikes at outerbike a couple of years ago. I think that having the bike set up properly for me might be as important as the bike itself. I want my suspension a certain way, I want a dropper post, I want the cockpit set up a certain way - that's all far more important than a 26" or 27.2" wheel (or whatever size the 650b really is). I'm convinced that many people get faster when they get a new bike with a new wheel size because they bought a better bike than they had before - not because they changed wheel sizes.

    The biggest wheel size advantage in my view is the psychological edge of seeing a bigger wheel in front of you heading downhill. I have a few friends who are significantly faster downhill on their 29ers and I think much of it is because they feared going over the bars on their 26ers - seeing that big wheel in front can make a big difference if you are tentative while descending.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon123 View Post
    Not to open up another can of worms but ...
    Salespunk, as someone who has ridden many bikes, what do you say about the people who insist there's virtually no difference between 26 vs 27.5? Not so much in terms of speed but more in handling benefits.
    I know for me switching to 650b/27.5 was a big boost, but people continue to insist imagining any gains.
    Interested in your thoughts.
    I found that the biggest advantage for me with 275 was that it provided more stability than 26 but I could still throw it around. I don't think you are imagining things at all.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    I found that the biggest advantage for me with 275 was that it provided more stability than 26 but I could still throw it around. I don't think you are imagining things at all.
    Stability. 100%.
    And getting over things with so more much more confidence.
    I've been riding the same trails for years and I know - I swear - when I switched to 27.5 I was riding them all with so much more confidence and ease (and more fun than I've ever had on a bike).

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    A counterpoint from the men's race yesterday:

    1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th on 29ers on what most would call the most climbing intensive WC course.

    8 of the top 10 on them.

    But, that's just one race. We'll argue about it until we're blue in the face.
    A few things could affect this. First there could be way more 29ers than 27.5ers racing which is very likely. A lot of companies don't make a 27.5 XC rig (yet, haha). Also, I think the course can also be a factor as to which wheel size may be faster.

  51. #51
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    And they would all beat me if they were on strider bikes.

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    I think the bigger question is how many guys with a choice are picking one wheel size over the other. If a racer is sponsored by a company that's exclusively 29er or 650b in xc race bikes then the wheel size is not that telling IMO. Scott is a rarity in that they are making comparable bikes with both wheel sizes and it seems that they have different racers making different choices.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    "Seems" means nothing. Power and time are the only metrics that matter. End of story.
    "Seems" = Fun
    Fun > Metrics*


    *excludes racing

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    Here's what I have gotten from this thread so far;

    People have posted that their Strava times on 275 are faster than 29
    Multiple bike companies have posted that their testing shows 275 to be faster than 29
    29 riders shout it down saying that it can't be possible because xyz
    Nobody has posted that their Strava times are faster on 29

    At the end of the day ride what you like and makes you want to get on your bike. If you really care about what is faster, buy both and test them for yourself. I have and found that 29 was slower for me in several situation. The only place it was faster was on rolling terrain where the momentum of the heavier wheel helped.
    Ironically, all of the men that raced for the Giant pro team last year, on the XTC and Anthem 27.5 bikes, are back on 29" wheels this year.

    Fabian Giger has alluded to the fact that he's faster on a 29er (and he has 100% control over his wheelsize this year). As have the BMC guys.
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  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    Here's what I have gotten from this thread so far;

    People have posted that their Strava times on 275 are faster than 29
    Multiple bike companies have posted that their testing shows 275 to be faster than 29
    29 riders shout it down saying that it can't be possible because xyz
    Nobody has posted that their Strava times are faster on 29

    At the end of the day ride what you like and makes you want to get on your bike. If you really care about what is faster, buy both and test them for yourself. I have and found that 29 was slower for me in several situation. The only place it was faster was on rolling terrain where the momentum of the heavier wheel helped.
    It seems that what you have gotten from this thread is carefully filtered information to reinforce your preconceived notions. No one has posted that Strava times are better on 29??? You are wearing blinders.

    I could link to dozens of posts saying the opposite of what you are saying, but I won't because those posts are just as meaningless as yours and the others of the visa versa perspective.

    There is also a well known "scientific study" by some real smart PhD types on youtube that showed 27.5 to be the slowest of the 3 sizes. I won't link to that either, because its also BS.

    The bottom line is that I have never seen any discussion of "fastest wheel" that isn't BS.

    For particular situations, there may be very slight advantages of 1 over the others, but for people who do a wide variety of stuff its all going to cancel out. In the end the difference in feel is way more significant than any actual speed advantage, which is probably close to zero, and for anyone other than racers, meaningless anyway.
    That's my BS.

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    Steve,
    I havent always agreed with you and for the most part, totally disagreed, but I think you're spot on with this post...2 thumbs up!
    Now we should all leave the "best, fastest" wheel size debate to ourselves, I'll try not to comment on this subject anymore, been guilty in the past, as I see that people are really passionate about this subject, what works for me, may not for someone else. Ride what you like!

  57. #57
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    My bike with 140mm of travel is faster than my bike with 150mm. Bikes with less travel are better, faster and funner on all trails for everyone.

    Silly?

    Wheel size is only one of many parameters that make a bike faster/slower, better/worse, fun/funner.
    Last edited by Miker J; 06-05-2015 at 03:36 AM.

  58. #58
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    I don't know about 27.5, but my 29er hits the cheater lines like no other.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    It seems that what you have gotten from this thread is carefully filtered information to reinforce your preconceived notions. No one has posted that Strava times are better on 29??? You are wearing blinders.

    I could link to dozens of posts saying the opposite of what you are saying, but I won't because those posts are just as meaningless as yours and the others of the visa versa perspective.

    There is also a well known "scientific study" by some real smart PhD types on youtube that showed 27.5 to be the slowest of the 3 sizes. I won't link to that either, because its also BS.

    The bottom line is that I have never seen any discussion of "fastest wheel" that isn't BS.

    For particular situations, there may be very slight advantages of 1 over the others, but for people who do a wide variety of stuff its all going to cancel out. In the end the difference in feel is way more significant than any actual speed advantage, which is probably close to zero, and for anyone other than racers, meaningless anyway.
    That's my BS.
    Steve, I completely agree with you that the speed difference is meaningless for everyone except racers. As I said above, ride whatever gets you out on the trails.

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    As others have said, mostly BS but I'll add I dusted off my 26er Giant single-speed with rim brakes & 32-20 gearing for first time in nearly a year. Put up a PR and top 5 strava time this year on a ball-buster trail (Kitsuma in NC).

    For what it's worth my main bike is a carbon hardtail 27.5 because I'm short & couldn't dial in a proper fit on 29er.

    Ride what feels best but it's still all about fitness and bike fit that determines mph.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    Steve, I completely agree with you that the speed difference is meaningless for everyone except racers. As I said above, ride whatever gets you out on the trails.
    I don't think the speed difference is totally meaningless. Generally faster means easier. When you are going faster on the uphills you are struggling less. Also, faster means more momentum to go over stuff and maintain a good line. If you are climbing a familiar ride in one gear taller that makes a big difference or a little bit faster/easier over the course of a 3-4 hour ride equates into a lot of extra energy. It could be a lot of factors but my 29er just seems that much tougher to push. I'm gonna experiment more.
    Last edited by aliikane; 06-12-2015 at 10:58 PM.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    I don't the the speed difference is totally meaningless. Generally faster means easier. When you are going faster on the uphills you are struggling less. It could be a lot of factors but my 29er just seems that much tougher to push. I'm gonna experiment more.
    The point is not that speed is always meaningless, it is that the differences are so small as to be virtually meaningless. People who claim some big speed advantage due to a wheel size are imagining things, in my opinion. On one particular type of track there may be a tiny difference, and averaged over all varieties of terrain, that difference is reduced to practically nothing.
    I'm talking in terms of speed. How a bike feels, how easy it can be manualed, hopped, etc are different issues.

    I don't know anything about your 29er or the bikes you are comparing it to, but it isn't harder to pedal uphill because of the wheel size. Larger wheels have less rolling resistance and a rollover advantage on rough terrain that make them easier to pedal. Weight difference is usually small enough to be un-noticable, or at least cancelled out by the improved rolling characteristics. If your 29er wheels are much heavier than than your others, that may be an explanation, but that is usually not the case. If you have very high rolling resistance tires, that can be an explanation, but that is independent of diameter.

    It is really amazing what your mind can make you believe if you are riding with a preconceived notion of what a bike will feel like. I don't say this as a criticism of anyone, as I am the same way and I also believed a lot of the myths about larger wheels. Understanding the physics of wheels and using objective methods of evaluating your bike and wheel performance, rather than "feel", will lead you to the truth!

  63. #63
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    Strava times are meaningless. Nobody seriously cares about them. What does matter is how much fun and enjoyment you have on your bike. The more you have, the more you will get out on your bike, and this will make you a better and probably faster rider. F**k strava. Pick the wheel size that feels best to you and get out and ride your bike.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skooks View Post
    Strava times are meaningless. Nobody seriously cares about them. What does matter is how much fun and enjoyment you have on your bike. The more you have, the more you will get out on your bike, and this will make you a better and probably faster rider. F**k strava. Pick the wheel size that feels best to you and get out and ride your bike.
    Read the title of this thread.

    This is like saying that comparing lap times of Supercar A vs Supercar B around the Nurburgring is pointless.

    Uh, no, it isn't. Short of a randomized scientific study, comparing times with a watch on a known track is the best thing we have.
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  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skooks View Post
    Strava times are meaningless. Nobody seriously cares about them. What does matter is how much fun and enjoyment you have on your bike. The more you have, the more you will get out on your bike, and this will make you a better and probably faster rider. F**k strava. Pick the wheel size that feels best to you and get out and ride your bike.
    LOL, i use Strava and love the app. Infact it actually makes my riding more fun for me. To be placed into leaderboards with segments has helped me improve my riding a lot, and it gives me a reason to push myself. The people who hate strava are probably really slow and I can understand not wanting to use the app as it would show how poor you are as a rider. I just love the app and a lot of others do as well.

    Its a great tool to show mileage, average speed, etc as well.
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  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Read the title of this thread.

    This is like saying that comparing lap times of Supercar A vs Supercar B around the Nurburgring is pointless.

    Uh, no, it isn't. Short of a randomized scientific study, comparing times with a watch on a known track is the best thing we have.
    Why would you care about your lap times if you aren't racing? If you can not notice if you a few seconds faster without measuring your time then why does it matter?

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skooks View Post
    Why would you care about your lap times if you aren't racing? If you can not notice if you a few seconds faster without measuring your time then why does it matter?
    Because the OP is trying to compare two wheel sizes and see which is faster up a hill, for him.

    Strava, through GPS tracking, does this for him.

    I can't make this any less complicated.
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  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skooks View Post
    Why would you care about your lap times if you aren't racing? If you can not notice if you a few seconds faster without measuring your time then why does it matter?
    People derive enjoyment in various ways. Some people like timing themselves and noticing their improvements be it due to better conditioning or line choices or whatever.

    As long as you're having fun then it doesn't really matter what wheel size you choose, how much air you get, how fast you are etc. Everyone values different metrics.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyfloyd View Post
    The people who hate strava are probably really slow and I can understand not wanting to use the app as it would show how poor you are as a rider.
    I think its more about not caring than not wanting to know.

  70. #70
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    I am in the camp that feels trying to say one size is faster cannot be figured out by starva or any other app, beyond how that size applies to that person on that section of trail etc. on any given day the results can and will vary, but it can give an individual a base average to go off of.

    I use Endomondo to track my rides. Basically just as a base for mileage and overall time. However each ride I keep a written log, with as much detail as possible, just for reference. I end each log with how much fun I had that day, which for me is what really matters. However having this log to reference also allows me to enjoy the rides more, from giving me my best set ups I have found, to helping keep my fitness high, not necessarily by trying to beat my own times, but by pushing myself so I can ride longer, better technique etc.
    I am not always faster on 27.5" but looking back at my logs it is apparent to me that I almost always enjoy those rides the most. So Strava or any other app can be used by racers or recreational riders alike, for different purposes is the point I am trying to make.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    I think its more about not caring than not wanting to know.
    perhaps, dunno. I like to track all my rides and I dont race but I want to, just finding that time with a family and kids isnt easy.
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  72. #72
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    More power requires taller gearing so it's not surprising that pro racers prefer the larger wheel size.
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  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skooks View Post
    Why would you care about your lap times if you aren't racing? If you can not notice if you a few seconds faster without measuring your time then why does it matter?
    Because for a lot of us we enjoy that, you dont others do. Not everyone will agree with you.
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  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherwin24 View Post
    I am in the camp that feels trying to say one size is faster cannot be figured out by starva or any other app, beyond how that size applies to that person on that section of trail etc. on any given day the results can and will vary, but it can give an individual a base average to go off of.

    I use Endomondo to track my rides. Basically just as a base for mileage and overall time. However each ride I keep a written log, with as much detail as possible, just for reference. I end each log with how much fun I had that day, which for me is what really matters. However having this log to reference also allows me to enjoy the rides more, from giving me my best set ups I have found, to helping keep my fitness high, not necessarily by trying to beat my own times, but by pushing myself so I can ride longer, better technique etc.
    I am not always faster on 27.5" but looking back at my logs it is apparent to me that I almost always enjoy those rides the most. So Strava or any other app can be used by racers or recreational riders alike, for different purposes is the point I am trying to make.

    Just out of curiosity I ran the same 1.7mile trail on both my FS 27.5 and my hardtail carbon 29er. Both bikes are totally different. The trail has tight switchbacks, rocks, roots, short ups and downs, a little bit of everything. I ran it identical on both bikes @ 9:06.
    2014 27.5" SC Blur TRa - 2014 IP-106 Chiner 29er - 2005 Fuji Team SL 16.2lbs -

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Jeff View Post
    Steve,
    I havent always agreed with you and for the most part, totally disagreed, but I think you're spot on with this post...2 thumbs up!
    Now we should all leave the "best, fastest" wheel size debate to ourselves, I'll try not to comment on this subject anymore, been guilty in the past, as I see that people are really passionate about this subject, what works for me, may not for someone else. Ride what you like!
    I didn't start this thread to start a debate between 29ers and 27ers. I started it to see who has found their 27.5 to be faster than their 29er and to see what factors may of caused it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    I think its more about not caring than not wanting to know.
    The problem is that people who don't use Strava don't just say they don't want to use it, they fall back on some defense mechanism. Don't like it, don't do it...and don't worry about what (or why) other people do.

    It's just social media for athletes, FFS.

    Quote Originally Posted by andyfloyd View Post
    Just out of curiosity I ran the same 1.7mile trail on both my FS 27.5 and my hardtail carbon 29er. Both bikes are totally different. The trail has tight switchbacks, rocks, roots, short ups and downs, a little bit of everything. I ran it identical on both bikes @ 9:06.
    Sounds about right, the 650b had the advantage of suspension and the 9'er had the advantage of rolling resistance. I find it hard to believe that an XC 29'er would be slower than an XC 650b in an XC environment. I don't know why people who bought bikes with the newer wheels, partially for their improved roll over, would believe that the improved roll-over of 29'ers wouldn't be better.

  77. #77
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    Over the course of 2-4 hour rides or longer, that speed difference equates into a lot. Your legs will definitely be feeling the difference.

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    Here is another oddity to throw into the mix that has to do with downhill. I just ran my 29er Camber (110mm R/120mm RS SID) on a trail I ride all the time (Santa Teresa Rocky Ridge downhill). Set the RS SID suspension up better by adding some bottomless tokens.

    Had a good run the first half then made mistakes in the real rocky chop and near the end didn't push it because I knew I was slow, but got a PR (5:20). It beat my 27.5 Carbine (150mm R/150mm RS Pike) by 4 seconds (5:24). So, the 29er Camber with SID 120mm beat the 27.5 Carbine with Pike 150mm. I still haven't beat my Carbine on the uphills with my Camber. Go figure. Haha.

    Can't put too much emphasis on it, but it is a funny oddity.

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    What is "proves" is that all the debate and hype and drama about bikes and components is just noise. Any given rider will be faster overall -- barring statistical oddities -- on the bike he/she is most comfortable on.

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    Faster uphill with 27.5

    I have two Pivots. One is the M429 carbon and the other is an M6 carbon. Same hubs. Same drive train (SRAM X01) same tires except M6 runs Nobby Nic back and front while M429 runs Racing Ralph in the rear. Same tire pressure. Same rim material (carbon hookless from light bicycle). Same spoke count. Same seat. Same brakes. Same seat height and seat to handlebar measurements. Same stems. Same handlebars. Same dropper post (KS LEV). Same grips. Same pedals. Frames are both ultra stiff carbon. Both are DW LINK. Only thing different is the wheel size and suspension. 29 has 120mm front 2016 Fox 32 and the back is 100mm 2014 Fox CTD. The 27.5 has 150mm front 2016 Fox 34 and 2014 Fox Float X CTD 155mm. The 429 is 25 pounds and the M6 is 27 pounds.

    The 429 carbon is by a significant margin faster climbing and faster on the straights. The only place the 27.5 is faster is in super gnarly sections going downhill where the extra fork travel and fork angle increase confidence.

    The 29 tires just roll over trail chatter much better without relying on the suspension. The 27.5 relies more on the suspension to achieve less deflection off rocks. Slower speed rock garden terrain easier on 29 due to less rolling resistance. High speed rock garden terrain easier on 27.5 due to more travel in suspension.

    Anything over 30 miles riding sees the 429 carbon.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDMTB'er View Post
    I have two Pivots. One is the M429 carbon and the other is an M6 carbon. Same hubs. Same drive train (SRAM X01) same tires except M6 runs Nobby Nic back and front while M429 runs Racing Ralph in the rear. Same tire pressure. Same rim material (carbon hookless from light bicycle). Same spoke count. Same seat. Same brakes. Same seat height and seat to handlebar measurements. Same stems. Same handlebars. Same dropper post (KS LEV). Same grips. Same pedals. Frames are both ultra stiff carbon. Both are DW LINK. Only thing different is the wheel size and suspension. 29 has 120mm front 2016 Fox 32 and the back is 100mm 2014 Fox CTD. The 27.5 has 150mm front 2016 Fox 34 and 2014 Fox Float X CTD 155mm. The 429 is 25 pounds and the M6 is 27 pounds.

    The 429 carbon is by a significant margin faster climbing and faster on the straights. The only place the 27.5 is faster is in super gnarly sections going downhill where the extra fork travel and fork angle increase confidence.

    The 29 tires just roll over trail chatter much better without relying on the suspension. The 27.5 relies more on the suspension to achieve less deflection off rocks. Slower speed rock garden terrain easier on 29 due to less rolling resistance. High speed rock garden terrain easier on 27.5 due to more travel in suspension.

    Anything over 30 miles riding sees the 429 carbon.
    SDMTB'er:

    Which is more fun to ride, and puts a bigger smile on your face (overall)?

    And if you could only keep one, which would it be?

  82. #82
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    Faster uphill with 27.5

    Quote Originally Posted by jon123 View Post
    SDMTB'er:

    Which is more fun to ride, and puts a bigger smile on your face (overall)?

    And if you could only keep one, which would it be?
    It really depends. The laser like feeling of the 429 makes me smile. The "destroyer of worlds" feeling of the M6 makes me smile.

    Going down steazy trails with the 429 makes me "concerned." Climbing with the M6 for thousands of feet makes me concerned. Both have their application.

    If I had to keep one for the majority of terrain I ride here in SoCal which is xc and light trail and because I am 44 and do not take high risks and get huge air, etc. I would keep the 429.

    If I was younger and routinely rode terrain with 2 foot plus drops and other technical features and spent more of my time going down I would keep the M6.

    When I am heading into new territory I generally take the Mach 6. But if I found once I am there that that the new place had a lot of climbing with only a few technical sections i would take the 429 the next time.

    I.e., Noble Canyon here in SoCal sees the M6 since it is some climbing but more time heading down with some larger rock features. My 60 mile ride around Hodges to Santa Luz to Black Mountain and to Penasquitos and back again sees the 429.

  83. #83
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    Good input SDMTB'er.

    Watching Absalon on a 29er and Schurter on 27.5" pretty much shows neither size is faster. Absalon has always been a strong climber, but Schurter can hang with him. Schurter is a better descender most would say. Is their choice in wheel size influenced by what their strength is, or their size, or just what they are more comfortable on? Either way I think that most of us could say we would be beat by them on a 20" bike.

    That doesn't mean that a certain rider won't be faster on one or the other, but a blanket statement can't be made for one being faster for everyone.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherwin24 View Post
    Good input SDMTB'er.

    Watching Absalon on a 29er and Schurter on 27.5" pretty much shows neither size is faster. Absalon has always been a strong climber, but Schurter can hang with him. Schurter is a better descender most would say. Is their choice in wheel size influenced by what their strength is, or their size, or just what they are more comfortable on? Either way I think that most of us could say we would be beat by them on a 20" bike.

    That doesn't mean that a certain rider won't be faster on one or the other, but a blanket statement can't be made for one being faster for everyone.
    Thread title is which is faster climbing, given the same rider.

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    Sorry, Didn't mean to try and go off topic. The thread has strayed off in different directions as usual and I lost what the original intent was. I was trying to show that it is possible for a 27.5" to be every bit as quick as any other wheel size by observation of those two elite riders.

    I personally don't track sections of trail close enough to know whether I am faster or not, so my input in that regard is useless, and probably just adds to the thread wavering.

    Was trying to show appreciation for your input. So far it is the most comprehensive considering same rider and very comparable bikes in the two sizes. What you have found is pretty much spot on how I feel as well. I have no actual numbers to back it though, so....

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDMTB'er View Post
    It really depends. The laser like feeling of the 429 makes me smile. The "destroyer of worlds" feeling of the M6 makes me smile.
    I agree. Every bike excels in different areas. I really enjoy all different bikes in their ideal terrain. It sucks because I am so anal that I really want to use the ideal bike for each trail I ride. Haha. That would mean I would need like 5 bikes. Right now I am trying to get the perfect formula to have two bikes and it will cover most of my rides, but of course there is always a few trails that don't fit.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    What is "proves" is that all the debate and hype and drama about bikes and components is just noise. Any given rider will be faster overall -- barring statistical oddities -- on the bike he/she is most comfortable on.
    Indeed. IIRC, when Nino Schurter was moving up from 26" wheels, he said he loved the way 29ers roll, but he couldn't get comfortable on them, fit-wise, without some serious component modification. Couldn't get the amount of saddle-to-bar drop that he wanted on the 29er, thus, 27.5".
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  88. #88
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    This may help...The science with numbers

    26in/27.5in/29in - What's The Fastest MTB Wheel Size? - Part 1

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhS1HfvBeYA

    Part 2 on your right

    My take: Enjoy your ride!

  89. #89
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    Please don't call that science. That's not science. That's hogwash.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Please don't call that science. That's not science. That's hogwash.
    Right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Jeff View Post
    the 29er isnt the magic wheel size
    Wha, wha, whaaat?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Please don't call that science. That's not science. That's hogwash.
    @Le Duke

    Why is that hoggy washy? I thought it was pretty good with the Darth Vadar breathing apparatus to cover rider input consistency

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Indeed. IIRC, when Nino Schurter was moving up from 26" wheels, he said he loved the way 29ers roll, but he couldn't get comfortable on them, fit-wise, without some serious component modification. Couldn't get the amount of saddle-to-bar drop that he wanted on the 29er, thus, 27.5".
    That is a good point. A 29er will lift the bars a lot more in relation to the saddle height than a 27.5er. A shorter guy with shorter legs may fit 27.5er better because the increased saddle-to-bar drop is better to have a more aggressive stance for climbing.

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by rug View Post
    @Le Duke

    Why is that hoggy washy? I thought it was pretty good with the Darth Vadar breathing apparatus to cover rider input consistency
    A whole thread on this. Especially to the point is this comment by smilinsteve:

    Bikeradar's relatively thorough study on wheel size comparison.

  95. #95
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    ^^ Indeed.

    Also: "Statistical significance". Google it.
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    The "science" in there has 2 points of view.

    If we take it as the test was indeed scientific, we fall back upon the controls in the study as being inadequate.

    If we take the test as hoggywash, the numbers do not make sense as well.

    We bike in the real world where we ride different terrains, changing undulating sections, pieces of triangles with different geometry and movements. Magnify that with offroad conditions + nature applying its course.

    I would prefer the scientific approach when it comes to measurements. But in the real world, the sound of rubber on the trail brings me more joy than trying to measure the traction. In a race, the seconds on the clock takes over.

    Horses for courses, riders with preferences, the right tool for the purpose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    Mine were as well consistently. On long sustained climbs the additional rotational mass of the 29 probably outweighs the decreased approach angle benefits. All of my fastest times are set on my 275.
    Older thread, but I warm it up ;-)
    Agree with this. I am looking for a new bike and tested my old 26er XC bike (with platform, no lockout) against a new 29er hardtail, which is 2kg lighter on a 1 hour climb.
    Did the climb (ca 900m altitudechange; avg 8%, 1/4 asphalt, 3/4 good fireroad) on consecutive days, same temperature, same gel on same spot after 1/3rd of climb ;-) and the 29er was 40 seconds faster, but I had 2 beats per minute higher heartrate average on it. Unfortunately I had no powermeters to compare, but I would say the overall weight was a far bigger factor than wheelsize on the long steady climb at that speed. The faster you get the faster a 29er would be with the roational mass gaining momentum, but on MTB uphills (5-15km/h?) it must be marginal.

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    Agree with you on weight, I've long been convinced the lighter your wheel/tire combo is the better the bike will do everything, from acceleration to turning including maintaining speed. However the "decreased approach angle" makes a difference on rough (rocky/root covered) climbs. The 9er wheel deff smooth's out the trail, and on some trails that makes it easier to ride.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

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    Yes. The 29er for sure rolls easier over stuff. But on a Trek video I saw a graph where they rolled over a 4-inch (ca 10cm) object and the impact was almost identical between 27.5 and 29 and both far better than 26''.
    Now, in the course of a normal ride where you hit a mix of everything (from asphalt to root-carpets, flat bits and steep uphills) I´d say the advantage from one to the other becomes less than 5% in terms of time or effort. The exception: small people will have problems with 29er and when you ride a XC race and have the trail memorized you can hit everything at a higher speed.
    But on a trail you don´t know it comes down to the rider: do you like having a little less angle-of-attack or do you want the feeling of being more in control of the bike. Both get you home.
    So for me I decided for 27.5 (and 120mm suspension) also for marathon races, because the 29er never feels so snappy and is not faster at the end of the day.
    If I were in the market for a hardtail, that would be different and maybe even faster on most courses (lighter), but less fun on the non-race days.

    Nino Schurter has won the Cape Epic on 27.5 against strong competition on 29er. Than he did it on the 29er this year. The rider the average speed of the winner in 2014 on 27.5 was 24.4. In 2017 it was 24.08 and the route seems to always be about 24kph average for the leaders, although riders say it gets "faster and harder every year in terms of attacks". You can put these guys on any wheelsize and the results would hardly change, because the rider is more important than the bike in cycling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim c View Post
    Agree with you on weight, I've long been convinced the lighter your wheel/tire combo is the better the bike will do everything, from acceleration to turning including maintaining speed. However the "decreased approach angle" makes a difference on rough (rocky/root covered) climbs. The 9er wheel deff smooth's out the trail, and on some trails that makes it easier to ride.
    I'll chime in.

    I went from a 24.5 pound Pivot 5.7c to a 25.5 pound Yeti SB5. My times (on climbs in the 50 minute range) improved. But, it took most of a summer to become used to the bike, as there were some subtle riding differences.

    That experience made me think that you just might not be able to go from one size (27.5) to another (29) and be able to get real data on which is faster, as it might take quite a bit of time on the bike to tap into it's advantages.

    On the weight issue, again, it just depends. After getting used to the Yeti, I went from a wheelset that was about 200 grams lighter combined with a tire combo (2.25 rear/2.4 front) to a heavier wheelset with heavier 2.6" tires front and back and have set a dozen PR's this summer on the heavier wheel/tire combo. One of those was on a 7 minute climb (so it doesn't really count) but the others were on climbs in the 40 to 60 minute range. I really don't think I'm getting stronger at this point in my life....sadly.
    I guess the only takeaway: "All generalizations are false".

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