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  1. #1
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    29er Travel vs 26er Travel

    I have heard many say that in general a 29er does not need as much travel as a 26er. That is, let's say if you currently have a 120 mm travel fork on your 26er, you can switch to a 100 m fork on a 29er and ride comparably. Anyone agree/disagree with that? Just curious more than anything.

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    The 29er rolls over objects easier and you feel less of the small stuff, BUT travel is travel and when you do a drop to flat there is no replacement for suspension travel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    I have heard many say that in general a 29er does not need as much travel as a 26er. That is, let's say if you currently have a 120 mm travel fork on your 26er, you can switch to a 100 m fork on a 29er and ride comparably. Anyone agree/disagree with that? Just curious more than anything.

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    Another lasting myth of the 29er cult. Go for the travel.

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    Thought I agree with what Tech420 said, some sources state that a 29er is comparable to a 26" with one extra inch of travel. Basically what you just said 120mm = 100mm for a 29er.

    ...but that extra travel on a 26" doesn't compensate when the trail goes up or rolling over square-edge sections where the 26" wheel will catch but the 29er will keep rolling. This is where the 29er has more of the advantage...you maintain momentum where a 26" will likely be slowed.

    A good example of this is climbing stairs...ie climbing square-edged features.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech420 View Post
    The 29er rolls over objects easier and you feel less of the small stuff, BUT travel is travel and when you do a drop to flat there is no replacement for suspension travel.
    Suspension is not for drops. Suspension is for smoothing the ride over bumps. Some bikes designed to take big hits to flat have very little suspension if none at all.
    Basically, all other variables equal - more travel=handling bigger bumps.

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    The angle of approach advantage of the 29er definitely makes the bike feel and ride like it has more suspension than an equivalent 26er. I think it makes up for about an inch of travel, or maybe a little more. In my opinion a good 4" 29er will handle rough stuff a little better than a good 5" 26" bike because of the approach angle, so in my opinion you can defintely get away with less travel with a 29er. Most reviews seem to confirm that, but of course opinions vary on it.

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    All I have to say on this matter.....



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    Yeah, see I got a Camber recently with 110 mm travel. I am coming off of a Stumpy 26er with 130 mm. Wondering if maybe I should have gone the route of a 130 mm Stumpy 29er. It's only 20mm but I feel the extra cush when I ride the new Stumpy 29ers. My trails are a mix of XC and faily technical AM-type trails. Curt Gowdy State Park near Cheyenne.

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    Is there ever a moment when 1 inch in travel will be enough to make you go/not go OTB? I stepped down a steep rock drop off (maybe 15 in) and endo'd pretty hard recently. I was not leaning back as much as I could have (got caught in seat) but I wondered if had I had an extra inch of travel to sink into, maybe I would not have wrecked? These are things I think about when I am daydreaming at work. haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    Is there ever a moment when 1 inch in travel will be enough to make you go/not go OTB? I stepped down a steep rock drop off (maybe 15 in) and endo'd pretty hard recently. I was not leaning back as much as I could have (got caught in seat) but I wondered if had I had an extra inch of travel to sink into, maybe I would not have wrecked? These are things I think about when I am daydreaming at work. haha.
    Nah, you would've wrecked still. Trust me, I know from experience.

    I just did a nice full speed downhill OTB on an Epic 29er and the landing was complete with a concussion, two cracked ribs, a broken rib, and some partially collapsed lungs. Amazingly, the 29er OTB experience was identical to the 26" version. LOL

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    Oddly enough I have the pic of the incident. haha
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 29er Travel vs 26er Travel-wreck.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by byrtch View Post
    Nah, you would've wrecked still. Trust me, I know from experience.

    I just did a nice full speed downhill OTB on an Epic 29er and the landing was complete with a concussion, two cracked ribs, a broken rib, and some partially collapsed lungs. Amazingly, the 29er OTB experience was identical to the 26" version. LOL
    but let's say you were ridng a longer travel bike than an Epic. You dont think the xtra cushion could have helped?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    but let's say you were ridng a longer travel bike than an Epic. You dont think the xtra cushion could have helped?
    Not at all. The only thing that could have helped was me watching the trail and not daydreaming. It was a relatively small rock I hit. Had I been in proper position and paying attention I would've went around it or pulled back to go over it. Unfortunately I was peddling and not paying any attention.

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    Yeah Im just trying to decide if I going to Stumpy from a Camber is worth it (130 mm to 110mm with the Camber). I am riding more technical stuff these days, but not much of it being jumping. Mostly technical rock gardens.

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    It's not just the travel, but also the slacker head angle. I can tell you my Stumpy FSR 29er would have more than likely handled that rock fine. I was out riding similar stuff last weekend (rocky New England) and the Stumpy took everything I threw at it. I love the Camber and have recommended it to a few of my friends, but when it comes to chunky technical stuff the Stumpy is hands down the winner. I myself have even thought about switching to the Evo model or swapping to a Fox34 shortened to 140mm.

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    yeah the more I think about it the more the Camber seems okay for me. It has almost an identical head angle as the stumpy but seems faster on the open stuff and uphill. I can still ride more tech on it than I could on old 26 stumpy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    yeah the more I think about it the more the Camber seems okay for me. It has almost an identical head angle as the stumpy but seems faster on the open stuff and uphill. I can still ride more tech on it than I could on old 26 stumpy.
    I wouldn't call a 2 degree difference "almost identical". That will drastically change how a bike handles technical lines.

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    According to the Spechialized web site , Camber's head tube angle is 70 deg and the Stumpy 29er (base model) is 69, so 1 degree. I still might swap it for a Stumpy. The Stumpy is obviously better in the gnar, I just wonder if the Camber will be faster on the climbs and open trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    According to the Spechialized web site , Camber's head tube angle is 70 deg and the Stumpy 29er (base model) is 69, so 1 degree. I still might swap it for a Stumpy. The Stumpy is obviously better in the gnar, I just wonder if the Camber will be faster on the climbs and open trail.

    Ultimately its up to the rider which would be faster. The Camber is a XC/trail category where as the Stumpjumper is a trail bike that skirts the edge of being an all-mountain.
    The Camber should feel more nimble and put you in a slightly better position for climbing with a lower front end.
    The SJ FSR Expert compensates some with the lockout feature, but the front end is going to remain higher so your climbing stance on the bike will be slightly different/off. It will ultimately come down to riding style. Those who excel at doing more with less may and can really hammer may find the Camber to be better, but those use to big bikes may find the Camber to have shortcomings.
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    You know it's silly I think about 1 inch of travel so much. I look at my buddy with his $1,000 GF Mamba doing AM style riding with 80 mm of travel and smoking guys on bikes 4x as expensive. I am thinking about doing some local races next summer, I suppose a Camber would be a better race bike than a Stumpy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    According to the Spechialized web site , Camber's head tube angle is 70 deg and the Stumpy 29er (base model) is 69, so 1 degree. I still might swap it for a Stumpy. The Stumpy is obviously better in the gnar, I just wonder if the Camber will be faster on the climbs and open trail.
    You're comparing a 2013 Camber to a 2012 Stumpy. If you look at the same year they are 2 degrees apart.

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    I am comparing a 2013 Camber to a 2013 Stumpy, since I am talking about current models.
    Specialized Bicycle Components
    Specialized Bicycle Components

    Top link is stumpy, bottom camber.
    most stores are out of 2012 models at this point.

  23. #23
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    I don't know....it is your money, but $3800 for Comp Carbon and the wheels that come with it...I don't know. I think I may be tempted to go with a Tallboy Aluminum ($3100 MSRP)and take that extra money and invest it into wheels, better tires, carbon bars, carbon seatpost, and possibly a saddle. The Camber Carbon Comp is only marginally lighter than the Tallboy AL w/ RXC build, but the Tallboy will pedal better. Also the wheels that come on the Tallboy initially are better as well.
    I don't know if you have a Santa Cruz dealer near you, and that is a shop that you have a relationship with..but if you could get a discount with them...or get a coupon discount on the Tallboy online

    For that category, I would also look into and consider:
    2013 Salsa Spearfish 1 ($3999 ready to race)
    2013 Anthem X 29 1 ($2890, do a wheel upgrade)
    2013 Trek Superfly 100 SL Carbon $3898
    2013 Anthem X Advance 29 2 Carbon ($3200, do a wheel upgrade)
    or a Rocky Mountain 950/970 offerings.
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    Thanks for the advice. I live in Wyoming so we have only a few bike shops in the whole state! (lots of singletrack tho=)). I support all my LBS's so I am gonna see if I can trade this in for a Stumpy. I will end up taking a hit for doing this monetarily but since this will be the bike I ride for the next 5 years or so, it really should be perfect. I might get an alloy stumpy and upgrade to nice wheels. We shall see.

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    I think if you're riding more tech trails and not racing very much, the Stumpy is probably going to serve you better, but I wouldn't take anything away from the Camber..but in that situation, the Stumpjumper with better components is just going to be a better bike. My Friend had a Stumpjumper Comp 29, and recently upgraded to the EVO version and he loves it..but then again....nothing on the bike is original or stock, and the wheels/cassette were trashed in the first 3 months.
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    Yeah, if my LBS cannot work with me, I will just keep the Camber. Sucks though since I canot upgrade to a bigger fork without voiding warranty. Regardless, I am riding much more technical on my Camber than I could on my Stumpy 26 where I was getting hung up more. The handlebars were narrow too, something that feels very awkward after riding a 29er for a while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    I am comparing a 2013 Camber to a 2013 Stumpy, since I am talking about current models.
    Specialized Bicycle Components
    Specialized Bicycle Components

    Top link is stumpy, bottom camber.
    most stores are out of 2012 models at this point.
    Not sure how you got to that link, but when I enter the Specialized site I'm seeing the 2013 Stumpy listed at 68*. My 2012 Stumpy I know has a 69*, but I'm fairly certain the 2012 Camber has a 70.5* or 71*.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech420 View Post
    Not sure how you got to that link, but when I enter the Specialized site I'm seeing the 2013 Stumpy listed at 68*. My 2012 Stumpy I know has a 69*, but I'm fairly certain the 2012 Camber has a 70.5* or 71*.
    The site says 70deg on the low setting.


    GnarBrah - That sucks, I have a 2010 Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon which typically comes with a 100mm, but like many, I built it up with a 120mm upfront, and it will even accept a 140mm w/o voiding the warranty! I think having that extra travel upfront really expands the capabilities of that bike and the way it rides through rough stuff and takes descents.
    For Specialized to say that you can't run a 120mm or 130mm on there w/o voiding the warranty is pretty silly in my opinion..it would really make that bike feel more capable!

    I know what you mean about transitioning from a 26" to a 29er back to a 26"..especially with narrow bars..yuk! All my bikes have 680s on them, and even jumping on a bike with narrow bars feels awkward..let alone the "sit on top" feeling of being on a 26" vs the "sit-in" feeling of being on a 29er.

    Another option...if you decide not to go with the LBS...Check out the Yeti SB-95, everyone has nothing but praise with the capabilities of that bike! That one is 120mm with a 130mm fork...kind of splitting the difference, but I know Yeti will let you go bigger on the fork if you so choose! Also the Yeti is well within your indicated budget with the Enduro and Enduro Rock package..and comes with decent wheels right out of the box.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    The site says 70deg on the low setting.


    GnarBrah - That sucks, I have a 2010 Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon which typically comes with a 100mm, but like many, I built it up with a 120mm upfront, and it will even accept a 140mm w/o voiding the warranty! I think having that extra travel upfront really expands the capabilities of that bike and the way it rides through rough stuff and takes descents.
    For Specialized to say that you can't run a 120mm or 130mm on there w/o voiding the warranty is pretty silly in my opinion..it would really make that bike feel more capable!

    I know what you mean about transitioning from a 26" to a 29er back to a 26"..especially with narrow bars..yuk! All my bikes have 680s on them, and even jumping on a bike with narrow bars feels awkward..let alone the "sit on top" feeling of being on a 26" vs the "sit-in" feeling of being on a 29er.

    Another option...if you decide not to go with the LBS...Check out the Yeti SB-95, everyone has nothing but praise with the capabilities of that bike! That one is 120mm with a 130mm fork...kind of splitting the difference, but I know Yeti will let you go bigger on the fork if you so choose! Also the Yeti is well within your indicated budget with the Enduro and Enduro Rock package..and comes with decent wheels right out of the box.
    Yeah riding a bike with narrow bars is like bench pressing with your hands 6 inches apart on the bar. What does "low setting" mean anyway?

  30. #30
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    Some FS bikes have 2 mounting points for the shock on the suspension linkage..typically a "High" and "Low" setting which raises or lowers the bottom bracket...gives a slightly different ride dynamic. I know the Scott Spark has this. So if I had to guess, this is what meant by "Low setting".
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    Huh, I didn't think the Camber would have that. I have seen that on Remedy's and other stout AM bikes but not a Camber. I could be wrong though. On my way to LBS to talk numbers! Maybe I will let you guys know how he can help me. He should, I have bought 4 bikes from him already!

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    Well, my LBS is gonna work with me. Gonna sell my Camber and get a Stumpy. Not sure of I wanna get the bottom-end FSR or get the Carbon model which is around $1k higher. I cannot find weight data on the 2013 Carbon Stumpy since it does not come out until Feb.

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    "Buy once, Cry once"
    You will never say "I should have spent less money on my bike" unless you run into a financial situation.

    Consider your budget, but if you can get a better bike...get a better bike, you won't regret it later.
    Now which is better for you, you'll have to decide.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    "Buy once, Cry once"
    You will never say "I should have spent less money on my bike" unless you run into a financial situation.

    Consider your budget, but if you can get a better bike...get a better bike, you won't regret it later.
    Now which is better for you, you'll have to decide.
    True that! I would gladly eat Ramen Noodles all winter if it means an awesome bike come spring. Thanks for the info, you all. Learned some stuff here. I swear this forum gets addicting.

  35. #35
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    I went from a 6" travel Specialized Enduro to a 2010 29r Specialized Stumpjumper with 4.7". The 29r is better in every way. I don't regret the loss of that travel.

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