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  1. #1
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    Are 29ers just tall people bikes?

    Hi,

    I am 5' 7'' and wish to get into mountain biking. I am use to 26 inch wheel bikes, and these 29ers look like giganto mountain people bikes.

    How many are out there using 29ers that are 5' 8'' and under and weight less than 160 pounds?

  2. #2
    Carbon & Ti rule
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    Quote Originally Posted by elbowtko View Post
    Hi,

    I am 5' 7'' and wish to get into mountain biking. I am use to 26 inch wheel bikes, and these 29ers look like giganto mountain people bikes.

    How many are out there using 29ers that are 5' 8'' and under and weight less than 160 pounds?
    My wife likes her 29er & she is 5'3
    I have a 6 Berth Motorhome that I rent out . It is based in Tauranga, New Zealand

  3. #3
    WillWorkForTrail
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    My wife, and at least one other wife of one of the guys in the group I ride with both fit (easily) into your size category and ride 29ers. I don't think a 29er being the "right bike" has anything to do with size at all. I think it's all about what you are comfortable on, and what you can handle. I know a guy my size who rides a 26er because he can't make a 29er turn, but I can get on either of my 29ers and stick right with him. It's all about personal preference, and nothing to do with size.

  4. #4
    Dudette
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    I'm 5'4" and rock two 29ers! Misfit Dissent and Trance X 29er. I agree with Cotharyus 100% - I'm riding trails now that I had the worst time on my 26" bike but my 29er seems to take right to them. And I'm not just talking about going over stuff - I'm talking about twists and turns, too. The bikes just feel "right" to me. Not all of them are huge and there are more and more companies out there who are addressing the needs of smaller riders and making it possible for them to enjoy the benefits of 29ers, too. You won't know until you try, so get out there and demo some if you get the chance!

  5. #5
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    I.m 5'5" and built up a 29er last spring. I have only rode my 26er one time since then. I love the 29er and am glad I never bought into the hype 29ers are for taller people. I find a 29er to fit my needs so much better. Different strokes for different folks, try some out to see if you like them.

  6. #6
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    im 5'7" and i use a medium xtc 29er.

  7. #7
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    Noo! Im 5'8/9'' and have sold all the 26'' bikes and gone for 29ers.
    I will not be going back.. ever.

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  8. #8
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    5'9 with a 17.5" 29er that rides quite nicely if I may say so.

  9. #9
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    I'm a very tall guy at 6'5". I have both frame sizes. There is no difference in performance from one to the other just because 29ers 'supposedly' fit tall people better. The bigger wheels aestheically look better, no doubt about it, but that's about it.

    Very small folks will have issues with the 29er on several fronts.
    1: The front ends can only be made so low.
    2: Standover clearance can ony be made so low because of the high front end.
    3: TT length can be ony so short otherwise toe overlap issues occur.


    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Muddy Dawg View Post
    5'9 with a 17.5" 29er that rides quite nicely if I may say so.
    Same stats for me. I have the stock seat post at the lowest possible position and it fits perfect. So any smaller would probably have to go to a 15.5"

    I think once you get used to it, the 29er looking like mountain people bikes will quickly change to 26" looking like little people bikes. (not saying anything bad about either, just a perception change after getting used to my bike)

  11. #11
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    173cm and Medium 29er Anthem X, lovin' the big wheels!

  12. #12
    meh... whatever
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    5'7" is definitely not to short to rule out a 29er. just the opposite, in fact.

    people much shorter than you love and ride them too. speaking of which, a guy on here posted a picture of a blacksheep (iirc) frame some years ago that was either 12" or 13"!
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  13. #13
    meh... whatever
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    The bigger wheels aestheically look better, no doubt about it, but that's about it.
    i would respectfully disagree. there are many viable benefits to the 29" wheelsize over the 26". but as they've been covered ad infinitum on the board over several years there's no reason to repeat them here.
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  14. #14
    Custom Wheelbuilder
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    In the early days of 29ers, they really were a tall guys bike. Nowadays though, most companies are starting to get geometry and whatnot dialed even in the small and medium size frames.
    I would say go for it. The bigger wheels are advantageous on almost all terrain except for extremely tight switchbacks which hopefully you don't have to deal with too much.
    Check out www.zencyclery.com for fully customizable, handbuilt wheels.

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  15. #15
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    I'm 5'8" 160 lbs and love my medium Anthem X 29er...haven't touched my old 26er since getting the big wheels

  16. #16
    dru
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    Quote Originally Posted by monogod View Post
    i would respectfully disagree. there are many viable benefits to the 29" wheelsize over the 26". but as they've been covered ad infinitum on the board over several years there's no reason to repeat them here.
    Mono, I meant specifically with respect to tall people. I certainly agree with the benefits of the big wheels for people of any height.

    Drew
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  17. #17
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    There is no interplay between height of rider and wheel size, within reason. Bottom bracket height, stand over height, and top tube length are the relevant measurements. All three are independent of wheel size, again within reason.

  18. #18
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    I`am 5` 6" and 145 lbs .. Use Scott Scale 950 small with no problem
    Scott scale 950 29er
    Cannondale F7 SS 32/18 26er

  19. #19
    Kitty! Kitty! Kitty!
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    5'7" 180lbs. Just got my 1st 29er. It felt way different to me. I felt like I had a lower center of gravity, more control and had to work less to make the bike do more. I always felt like I had to sit really far back on a 26" so I didn't feel like I was going over the bars. This bike feels SO comfortable and for $600 was a great introductory bike into the 29er arena. Couldn't be happier.

  20. #20
    meh... whatever
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    huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    Mono, I meant specifically with respect to tall people. I certainly agree with the benefits of the big wheels for people of any height.

    Drew
    so you're saying that specifically with respect to tall people the only advantage to 29er wheels is aesthetic while at the same time saying that big wheels benefit people of any height???

    i'm being confused here, not combative...
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  21. #21
    dru
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    Quote Originally Posted by monogod View Post
    so you're saying that specifically with respect to tall people the only advantage to 29er wheels is aesthetic while at the same time saying that big wheels benefit people of any height???

    i'm being confused here, not combative...
    Yes, aesthetics are the only specific benefit with respect to tallness.

    The 29er wheels help everyone regardless of height although smaller riders may have frame fit issues.

    I'm just trying to counteract B.S. statements like '29ers work better for taller riders', more than likely written by people who don't have a clue about being very tall and how that relates to fit and bike handling.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    Yes, aesthetics are the only specific benefit with respect to tallness.

    The 29er wheels help everyone regardless of height although smaller riders may have frame fit issues.

    I'm just trying to counteract B.S. statements like '29ers work better for taller riders', more than likely written by people who don't have a clue about being very tall and how that relates to fit and bike handling.

    Drew
    I don't think he's contradicting himself. My understanding of his statement is that the 29ers look a little more physically appealing under a taller guy, since the bike is more proportional. Which leads some people to think its a better choice for the taller rider. Not the case at all. I've seen riders of all sizes benefit from 29 inch wheels...as he also said. Good to hear from the taller guys. I'm 6'1 and the bike genuinely feels like it fits me better...but most of the benefits come from the actual wheel size...not the size of the rider. Especially with so many manfuactures dialing in the geometry for the shorter riders.

  23. #23
    dru
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    Thank you!
    occasional cyclist

  24. #24
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    5' 6" and 160 - i sure hope they arent just for tall people, or all the fun and best mtb riding of my life in the last year was all charade!!

    Own an Anthem 29, and have recently demoed the Yeti and Satori - longer travel 29's - all i can say is the new crop of bikes I've ridden are amazing - even at my height!!

  25. #25
    meh... whatever
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    Quote Originally Posted by drz400sm View Post
    My understanding of his statement is that the 29ers look a little more physically appealing under a taller guy, since the bike is more proportional. Which leads some people to think its a better choice for the taller rider.
    ah... yes indeed. that makes much more sense. trackin with ya now, drew.

    i'm 6'3" and have had people say "of course you think 29er's are better, look how tall you are. 29er's are made for tall people, but it wouldn't work for a short person like me". which, of course, is nonsense.

    Quote Originally Posted by drz400sm
    Especially with so many manfuactures dialing in the geometry for the shorter riders.
    james at blacksheep made either a 12" or 13" 29er for a customer. it was on the board a few years back but i couldn't locate it.
    "Knowledge is good." ~ Emil Faber

  26. #26
    dru
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    In the opposite vein, I get a fair bit of "shouldn't you get a 29er, because it would fit you better" despite the fact I am sitting on my custom framed 26er that fits identically to my 29er. (Actually, it fits just a bit better). I then tell the person that I have a 29er and like both sizes just fine.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  27. #27
    Ride On
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    5' 7" LOVE my small N9.
    Michael

    Ride on!

  28. #28
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    My daughter, who's 5'3" or 5'4" rides a 15" GF 29er.
    My sister in law, 5'6" rides a 15" hardtail, her friend, 5'5" with short legs rides a 13" and I'm currently building a Med Salsa Spearfish for my wife. 5'7" or 5'8" and we just checked standover tonight. It's perfect.
    I like turtles

  29. #29
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    I think the benefits of 29ers apply to most any sized person.

    But if you're tall, some of the benefits of moving from 26er to 29er are even greater than for shorter people (fewer endos on steep, technical downhills, anybody?).

    Although I was a fairly early adopter of 29ers, I try not to be too evangelical about them. When friends ask about new bikes and 29ers, I generally recommend demoing one of each, with all aspects of the two bikes as equal as possible except wheel size.

    Once they choose a wheel size, then its time to get down to evaluating the different bikes available in their category of interest.

    But when friends over 6 feet tall ask the same question, I recommend just looking at 29ers. If nothing else, it makes the shopping less confusing!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by monogod View Post

    i'm 6'3" and have had people say "of course you think 29er's are better, look how tall you are. 29er's are made for tall people, but it wouldn't work for a short person like me". which, of course, is
    It makes sense now riders get this idea embedded in their head...before I jumped on the 29er bandwagon I never once looked at a taller rider on a 26er and thought "those wheels look small" But after finally giving in and purchasing a 29er, i have seen some bigger guys ride past me and thought to myself that it looks unproportional. Of course, I understand the pro's and con's of each wheel size....but like dru said... It's a visual thing and can see why people assume its only for the 6 ft and up guys.

    Before I got a 29er I thought the same thing, and only because I had never actually ridden one. Now that I own both, it's obvious that each have their place in the mtb bike world. Ones not clearly better then the other. Some of my trails just handle a 26er better, and some favor the bigger wheels.

    I remember the exact situation about a year ago that totally changed my perception on the 29ers. One of our trails starts with a very steep and rooty climb, followed by a slow technical decent. I remember watching a shorter woman on a 29er start the climb before me and thought to myself...this lady is gonna have a hard time clearing the entire section. Boy did she prove me wrong. She kicked my @$$ from start to finish without taking a foot off the pedal...on my 5 inch trail bike I was constantly dealing with pedal strikes and "high centering" my frame (I guess that's what you'd call it?). She made this technical section look easy. After I got my 29er, I did the same section and was sold.

    Just goes to show that physical size makes no difference, and certain sections of a trail favor the bigger wheels for their ability to roll over obstacles with more confidence. Other sections favor the smaller more agile 26 inch wheels. I still rotate rotate between bikes depending on the actual trail...but I'm finding myself taking out my entry level 29er more often... And my $4,000 26incher is sitting collecting dust.

    Sorry for writing a book...im just sick of hearing guys talk down on 29ers before actually giving them a try. One ride will not convert you to the bigger wheels. I'd rather hear about the guy who dislikes his 29er after riding it for a few months or putting 100+ miles on it on several trails, and actually giving it a chance... Instead of the "Im too short for the wagon wheels" or "I demoed a 29er on a 5 mile loop and hated it." it's kinda like riding flats vs clipless.....you've gotta put in your time before making an honest unbiased opinions. There is a learning curve!

  31. #31
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    Nope

    I'm 5'6" riding an intense tracer 29 and enjoying every minute of it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are 29ers just tall people bikes?-tracer-29.jpg  

    Last edited by slowrider; 10-15-2012 at 02:53 PM.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by elbowtko View Post
    Hi,

    I am 5' 7'' and wish to get into mountain biking. I am use to 26 inch wheel bikes, and these 29ers look like giganto mountain people bikes.

    How many are out there using 29ers that are 5' 8'' and under and weight less than 160 pounds?
    ''

    Niner Bikes makes one of their frames the "EMD 9" in an extra small and has a standover height of 27".

    Niner's rule

    gnewcomer aka OldMtnGoat

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnewcomer View Post
    ''

    Niner Bikes makes one of their frames the "EMD 9" in an extra small and has a standover height of 27".

    Niner's rule

    gnewcomer aka OldMtnGoat
    I rattled off four up above^^^.
    I like turtles

  34. #34
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    Lot of short people on 29ers. To keep your front end down, flip the stem and go with a flat bar. Looks cooler/racier anyways. I like a long handle bar on my 29er, I'm not sure if it's just me but being up so high feels a little weird in corners. Dropping a long bar seems to help. Some of the really small 29ers have shorter than normal chainstays leaving little clearance between your rear tire, seat tube and FD. This is problematic if you like a big or tall knob tire. Take a peek back there before you buy the bike.

  35. #35
    see me rollin, they hatin
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    5'3. never thought i'd fit on one, but i fit the XS TranceX. big wheels, small wheels, doesnt matter. its more about the frame size as to whether it will fit you. Then again, it's challenging to get a frame size small enough to fit the wheels. people under 5'5 may struggle with top tube length or toe overlap, but it's not impossible. The trance geometry is a bit more slack, and thats why it fits (not so steep and squished inward)
    fap

  36. #36
    333
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    5'4 and I have a geared Niner and singlespeed s-works 29er.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    I'm a very tall guy at 6'5". I have both frame sizes. There is no difference in performance from one to the other just because 29ers 'supposedly' fit tall people better. The bigger wheels aestheically look better, no doubt about it, but that's about it.

    Very small folks will have issues with the 29er on several fronts.
    1: The front ends can only be made so low.
    2: Standover clearance can ony be made so low because of the high front end.
    3: TT length can be ony so short otherwise toe overlap issues occur.


    Drew
    Hi Drew,

    Good to hear from another tall guy on these forums. I am 6'7" myself and currently look into buying my first bike. So for sure I am looking into buying a 29er, including FS.
    For the frame size, would you agree that going with the biggest available is best? I see a lot of frame sizes being thrown around, what would you say is the minimum size I should go with?

  38. #38
    I like turtles
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    Me. 5'6" and around 160. 15.5" fits perfect.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  39. #39
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    My buddy is 5'6" tall and could ride my old medium 29er (I believe it was 18")
    It might not have been the perfect size for him, but he is sold on getting a 29er.

    Just go to the shop and start riding them and see how you feel.
    Also, look for demo days. You often get a better test ride.

    There or 2 types of mountain bikers.
    Those who have 29ers and those who wish they had 29ers.

  40. #40
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    I find some people under 5'7 either love it or don't. I am 5'10 and feel a perfect match for 29er.

    My friends GF is 5'5 and loved moving to a 29er from her 26. Riding a 29 is certainly more effort in the turns.

    If you have fast and flowy trails a 29er is a great choice. If you have endless tight switch backs then perhaps a 26 would be a better choice (or just wait for 650b)

  41. #41
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    My enighbor is 5'4" and she loves em. Her 6'3" husband, howeve hates em, really weird to me.

  42. #42
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    5'6", and I even went for one size bigger (18" 2010 Kona Unit). With shorter stem (stock 100mm replaced with 60mm) and seat as low as it can go, it handles like any other 26" I've had.
    Ghisallo Wheels

    I'm really good looking.

  43. #43
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    I'm close at 5'9" and 155lbs,but after going 29"er back in 2008,I haven't looked back since (my Xtracycle being build out of an old TREK 26er I had not-with-standing)
    '11 Origin 8 700CX
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  44. #44
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    My wife is 5'5" and rides a 14.5in GF X-Cal WSD. She loves it. She had a 26in Tarpon for years as her commuter/knock-around bike. She hopped on the X-Cal and never looked back. Likes it MUCH more (although it is an exponentially nicer bike).

    The fork has an 80mm travel, which may make some difference (I have no idea).

  45. #45
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    for XC better small wheels, lightweight frame,
    29er for asphalt
    winter XC

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    I am the smallest person on my basketball team at 5 foot 11 inches and ride an 18.5" framed 29er. So we midgets don't have much of an issue with 29ers. If I was a micro-midget (say under 5 foot 4 inches) I wouldn't bother tho.
    Iohan is my hero.

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    I'm 5'8" (on a good day) and weigh 150#. I got a Diamondback Overdrive Sport 29er as a gift a few months ago. I don't think I could ever go back to my old 26" that I used to ride. They're still nimble enough for any of the technical trails I ride around here. And the manufacturers seem to be getting the geometry down great on these newer bikes.

  48. #48
    dru
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    Quote Originally Posted by a Villain
    Hi Drew,

    Good to hear from another tall guy on these forums. I am 6'7" myself and currently look into buying my first bike. So for sure I am looking into buying a 29er, including FS.
    For the frame size, would you agree that going with the biggest available is best? I see a lot of frame sizes being thrown around, what would you say is the minimum size I should go with?
    It would almost be a given that you'd want the biggest size, however, careful measurement of your body is a must. I've got very long legs and arms, you may not, so an XL might be fine for you instead of an XXL.

    For the record, my two bikes are really close dimensionally. The 26er has a 25 1/2" tt, the 29er is 25". Both have 23 1/4 " st lengths. I'm running 110 mm and 120 mm stems, and both bikes are typical xc with the seat 2" above the bars.

    6'5", 38" actual (taint to floor) inseam. This gives me about 8 1/2" of exposed seat post. I'm only 180 lbs and I've bent posts on smaller frames over the years.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  49. #49
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    29r response

    sketchy in tight turns?

  50. #50
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    29ers look big even the small ones....

  51. #51
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    I'm 6'3 and just recently switched over to a 29er after years of riding 26ers... I feel like I'm riding faster than I ever have before. I haven't noticed any issues with handling other than super tight stuff that I've never been fully comfortable in anyways.

    The only downside I've experienced is that the bigger wheels are slower to accelerate.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. ~ Albert Einstein

  52. #52
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    Matt page, pro racer uses a 29er and he aint no giant Im only 5'9 and love my 29er. Great bikes for any height

  53. #53
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    choose your terrain and style first: stay with 26ers if you pan to handle your XC bike like a DH or BMX bike or your trails have a lot of tight switchbacks.
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  54. #54
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    No, that's like saying Cake is only for fat people.

    It's all about the frame size. No matter what your height, there is a company out there with a 29er for you more than likely. I'm 5'10 and ride a 17 inch 29er.

  55. #55
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    i have ridden 26ers for a long time and just got a specialized 29er and LOVE it but i have noticed a couple of things with myself by no means am i saying this happens to everyone ...

    1. i feel like the 29er is not as nimble as my old 26 (looking at maybe changing bars and stem to possibly fix that or might just live with it and learn to handle it )
    2. 29 er is heavier but myself being 235 not really concerned
    3. it does seem to take it a little bit to get moving nothing that concerns me either
    4. 29er does handle roots and rougher trails much better than my 26

    with all that said i LOVE my specialized rockhoper 29er and havent realy gotten back on my old 26 Diamond back zetec,.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  56. #56
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    I think that if every bike part could be custom made for each rider and their riding style, then we'd see much more size variability then just frame and wheel sizes. The bike has only three touch points, but the differences in our muscular skeletal systems vary quite a bit. Crank length as a function of femur leg length continues to be controversial, saddle dimensions based on sits bones are finally being addressed by seat manufactures , brake levers and their reach are all one size but ideally would be customized based on hand size, and the list could go on and on IF cost was no object.

    Proper wheel size it more about center of gravity and the length of wheelbase matched with the height of the rider. (This can get even more complex when you consider the torso/leg ratio variability within riders of the same height.) To use an extreme example to illustrate my point, a previous comment that--bigger wheels are better for all riders, including small riders--should try a pair of size 13 shoes on their next ride and experience where the “bigger wheels are better” mantra gets silly.

    For full disclosure, I’m 6’3 and ride a XXL 23” Superfly full suspension with 29” wheels and feel that it’s the first mtn bike that actually fits me well… but not as well as my custom made road bike.

  57. #57
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    Small rider and a 29er bike

    I am 5'5", 150 lbs and ride a 2012 Trek Superfly 100 Pro 15.5" (small) with no problem.

    Choosing a 29er with the right geometry matters much more than the wheel size for small riders. I feel more sitting "in the bike" rather than on it with this 29er than I did with my previous bike of three years, S-works Stumpjumper FSR 26".

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by elbowtko View Post
    Hi,

    I am 5' 7'' and wish to get into mountain biking. I am use to 26 inch wheel bikes, and these 29ers look like giganto mountain people bikes.

    How many are out there using 29ers that are 5' 8'' and under and weight less than 160 pounds?
    Beats me. I am tall, so that means 29ers are my god-given right. Short people creep me out, and should stick to 26ers and middle management. Except women. I dig petite women.
    Mind your own religion.

  59. #59
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    I'm 5'11 and thinking about buying a 29er, is there a difference in frame sizes? I mean if I'm rocking an XL frame, will I need the same size frame when picking out a 29er? I plan to test fit before buying/ordering but figured I would ask.

    Also, is there a difference in ride clearance on a 29er vs a 26" bike? I'm talking about clearances between the cranks or chain rings and the ground?


    Thanks.

  60. #60
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    6'3 Riding a 29er Stumpjumper comp hardtail, large frame. Fits me perfect. Hopping back on my 26 feels like riding a bmx haha

  61. #61
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    I think you get the point already, 29ers aren't just for tall people. I will add that a proper fork will make a difference. I tried out the new Trek Stache with Fox forks and was sold. 2 weeks later, I bought a used specialized rockhopper. The stock fork (Suntour XCM I think) was brutal. I was bouncing around too much because I didn't weigh enough (150lbs). I'm upgrading to an air fork and am hoping that the adjustability of it will get me the ride that made me fall in love with 29ers in the first place.

  62. #62
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    Size S







    m

  63. #63
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    My wife is 5'2" and rides a 29er hartail that fits her perfect. Very short stem helped get the fit right.

  64. #64
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    A 29r is just larger tires. You can get a smaller frame than a 6'4" guy.

  65. #65
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    I am 5'6" and am more than likely buying a small 2013 scott scale 940. I have test riden the thing enough to call it a used bike at my LBS.

  66. #66
    Rep'n the 905
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    6'8" and I'm riding a XXL stumpy hardtail. Loving it. Comming off a XL 08 hardrock 26er. The 29er is amazing, even if the bike is a beast.

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