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  1. #1
    more beers, lees gears.
    Reputation: mattKHS's Avatar
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    Dumb question: 26" wheels on a 29er frame?

    So I ride a 26 SS steel frame. I love it really. But I really like the 29ers.

    I want a Niner one9, or maybe a slasa. But I'm cheap, and need to buy parts a little at a time. I would be tearing most the parts off my 26SS.

    Can I run 26" wheels on a 29er frame till I can save up for some good 29er SS, UST wheels? It would just help to be able to sell my 26 frame to fund the 29er.

    Or am I an idiot.

    (I am aware that 26 wheels on a 29er wont give me the benefits of a 29er. Just trying to maintain a ridable SS on the cheap, but doing it right with quality parts.)
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  2. #2
    The Vandal strikes again
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    You say "rideable". Problem number one will be that your bottom bracket height, with 26" wheels on a 29er frame, will be really low; 1.5" lower than normal.
    Second problem will be wonky steering angles. You'll end up with really twitchy, over-responsive handling.
    Third consideration is tire clearance. The chainstay arch, just behind the bb, is often wider at the point where the tire is widest, maximizing tire and mud clearance. If your frame has this feature, a 26" tire will not sit far enough forward in the frame to sit in this widened area of the chainstay arch.
    If you're willing to accept these issues, then jump in with both feet.

  3. #3
    is buachail foighneach me
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    how would it affect steering? if both wheels drop the same 1.5 inches, aren't all the relative numbers the same?

  4. #4
    Gone Bamboo
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    the best bet (I would think) is to buy a 29er frame and a set of wheels online then just put your components on that. I don't know how expensive that is but its probably cheaper then another bike.
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  5. #5
    The Vandal strikes again
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    how would it affect steering? if both wheels drop the same 1.5 inches, aren't all the relative numbers the same?
    Yes, that's true, but for a given steerer tube angle, a smaller diameter wheel results in a shorter Trail measurement than a larger wheel.
    If you could sight a line down the center of the steerer tube to a spot on the ground, this spot on the ground would be some distance ahead of the point where the tire touches the ground. This measured distance is called "trail" because the tire trails behind the steering point.
    The function of trail is to make bicycle steering geometry self-correcting. Imagine a shopping cart's front wheel. It always lines up in the direction of travel because the little wheel touches the floor some distance behind the swivel bearing's axis of rotation.

    The longer the "trail", the more self-correcting your bike's steering is and thus, the more stable it is. The consequence of stable steering is that your bike's handling is less affected by external forces from lumps and bumps that try to push your bike off your intended line of travel.
    There's a range within which a bike's trail measurement should fall. Too much trail and the bike handles sluggishly and requires more rider effort to change directions. Too little trail and the rider is constantly having to micromanage the bike's behaviour just to keep it on line.

    Two things influence trail. First is head tube angle. The steeper the head tube angle, the shorter the trail will be and thus, the more responsive and "flickable" a bike's steering will be. The slacker the head tube angle, the more stable the steering will feel. If you've ever ridden a dedicated downhill bike with a 66 degree head angle around on your local xc trails, you'll understand what too much trail feels like in the handling department.

    Second is wheel diameter. A larger wheel results in greater trail, for a given head tube angle. This is why 29ers typically have steeper head tube angles than 26ers, with the exception being Gary Fisher. If 29ers used the same head tube angles as 26ers, the steering would feel sluggish. In fact, in the earlier days of the 29er movement, this was a common complaint that gave 29ers a reputation for not handling well in tight singletrack. (FYI Fisher has very slack head tube angles which would initially seem to make their trail very long and the steering stable to the point of being sluggish, but they compensate with suspension forks that have a much greater front axle offset, which compensates by re-shortening the trail. These custom-offset forks from Fox only work with Fisher's G2 geometry bikes and cannot be purchased aftermarket.)

    For a graphical example, visit Niner Bikes here.

  6. #6
    more beers, lees gears.
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmbrousSoul
    the best bet (I would think) is to buy a 29er frame and a set of wheels online then just put your components on that. I don't know how expensive that is but its probably cheaper then another bike.

    This is my plan. I just want to buy a sweet set of rims. Probably some ZTR rims with a nice high quality hub. I'd like to plan around $600 for the pair. + tires.

    I have descent parts on my SS now (as few parts as there are on a SS).

    Interesting thoughts on the lower BB, and the steering. Dont 29ers generally have a higher Bb anyway?
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  7. #7
    Baton Rouge, LA
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattKHS
    This is my plan. I just want to buy a sweet set of rims. Probably some ZTR rims with a nice high quality hub. I'd like to plan around $600 for the pair. + tires.

    I have descent parts on my SS now (as few parts as there are on a SS).

    Interesting thoughts on the lower BB, and the steering. Dont 29ers generally have a higher Bb anyway?

    The BB is still at the bottom of the bike 29er BBs are higher, in that the wheels jack it up higher.

    This is a 'rideable' project, however do not expect to get anywhere near normal handling, climbing, speed, etc. The frame geometry is designed for the big wheels, and will be all out of whack.

    Personally, I would buy a set of cheap wheels, with the intent to upgrade. That's what I just did with my Bandersnatch build. I got some rugged, cheap (but heavy) wheels. Will ride them til I save up for better, then sell them lightly used for a decent price.

  8. #8
    Recovering Weight Weenie
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    I love MTBR.

  9. #9
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    Uh...

    Quote Originally Posted by StompinStu
    The BB is still at the bottom of the bike 29er BBs are higher, in that the wheels jack it up higher.

    ...
    ...don't be too sure about that.

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  10. #10
    more beers, lees gears.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padre
    I love MTBR.


    thanks erik. You know my cheap ways when it comes to making a change Thanks for holding my hand on my first SS project, I read the crap out of that bike. But I am now ready for the 29er.

    Maybe if Idid more work for a certain bike shop Id be set.

    I will probably go the route of a good frame, and maybe some cheap 29er wheels. I dont think I realized 29er wheels have come down so far in price. I see I can grab up some WTB or Alex wheels for around $150.

    i just know someday I want a light, tubeless set.


    Thanks for entertaining my idea guys. I was also just really wondering what it would do to the bike.
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  11. #11
    Recovering couch patato
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    I'd ride that 29" frame with 26" for 2 years first to make sure that's not a better solution in the end. You never know, till you try really hard, or think on your own for a whole second. Try the FAQ and some searches before you spend another dime...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by barticus
    Yes, that's true, but for a given steerer tube angle, a smaller diameter wheel results in a shorter Trail measurement than a larger wheel.
    If you could sight a line down the center of the steerer tube to a spot on the ground, this spot on the ground would be some distance ahead of the point where the tire touches the ground. This measured distance is called "trail" because the tire trails behind the steering point.
    The function of trail is to make bicycle steering geometry self-correcting. Imagine a shopping cart's front wheel. It always lines up in the direction of travel because the little wheel touches the floor some distance behind the swivel bearing's axis of rotation.

    The longer the "trail", the more self-correcting your bike's steering is and thus, the more stable it is. The consequence of stable steering is that your bike's handling is less affected by external forces from lumps and bumps that try to push your bike off your intended line of travel.
    There's a range within which a bike's trail measurement should fall. Too much trail and the bike handles sluggishly and requires more rider effort to change directions. Too little trail and the rider is constantly having to micromanage the bike's behaviour just to keep it on line.

    Two things influence trail. First is head tube angle. The steeper the head tube angle, the shorter the trail will be and thus, the more responsive and "flickable" a bike's steering will be. The slacker the head tube angle, the more stable the steering will feel. If you've ever ridden a dedicated downhill bike with a 66 degree head angle around on your local xc trails, you'll understand what too much trail feels like in the handling department.

    Second is wheel diameter. A larger wheel results in greater trail, for a given head tube angle. This is why 29ers typically have steeper head tube angles than 26ers, with the exception being Gary Fisher. If 29ers used the same head tube angles as 26ers, the steering would feel sluggish. In fact, in the earlier days of the 29er movement, this was a common complaint that gave 29ers a reputation for not handling well in tight singletrack. (FYI Fisher has very slack head tube angles which would initially seem to make their trail very long and the steering stable to the point of being sluggish, but they compensate with suspension forks that have a much greater front axle offset, which compensates by re-shortening the trail. These custom-offset forks from Fox only work with Fisher's G2 geometry bikes and cannot be purchased aftermarket.)

    For a graphical example, visit Niner Bikes here.
    Great post- very informative and well-thought - such ecxplanations ought to be a on 29er front page
    Two threads on fork offsets:
    1. Fork offsets 38-51mm or more and Head Angle issues, let's get it sorted out.
    2. What is the point?

  13. #13
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    OK since we're all adding to this, I'll add my $0.02...............

    On the original question the answer is yes & no - No it will matter if it's a rim brake frame you're using, Yes if it's a disc frame, since rim diameter doesn't matter one iotta there.

    BB drop on 29ers is normally greater to take into account the increase in wheel size over 26" wheeled bikes - so whereas a 26" bike might have a 1.5-2" BB drop a 29er will use a 2-2.5" drop to conpensate.

    On the wheelbase, yes going to the smaller 26" wheels will shorten the wheelbase, but I don't think it will be anything really nasty and it'll get the OP started down the road.

    The wheels, if you already have a good set of SS wheels, why not consider buying a good set of 29er rims and lace your current hubs to them.
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  14. #14
    more beers, lees gears.
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    thanks Guys. I thought about rebuilding my Spot SS hubs to a 29er rim, but my hubs are Rim brake only, and part of my desire to switch in the first place, is Rim brakes dont slow a 215 lb + gear guy very well. So I want disc. So my thought is since I will need a new frame, I may as well move to the direction of the 29er.

    So my pretty rood salsa / spot rims would not work, and would not work on a 29er frame. Thanks for pointing out the rim brake comment. I didnt think about that.


    Sounds like in my case, a frame & wheels will be needed.
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  15. #15
    MTB B'dos
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    Could always check around for those super cheap Shimano 29er wheelsets that go for about $145 for the pair until you can afford something better.
    Quote Originally Posted by mattKHS
    thanks Guys. I thought about rebuilding my Spot SS hubs to a 29er rim, but my hubs are Rim brake only, and part of my desire to switch in the first place, is Rim brakes dont slow a 215 lb + gear guy very well. So I want disc. So my thought is since I will need a new frame, I may as well move to the direction of the 29er.

    So my pretty rood salsa / spot rims would not work, and would not work on a 29er frame. Thanks for pointing out the rim brake comment. I didnt think about that.


    Sounds like in my case, a frame & wheels will be needed.
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  16. #16
    bhc
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    26" wheels in a 29" frame

    Isn't this what Surly recommends on their website concerning the Karate Monkey.

    "Want a beefy touring/commuting/cyclocross/all-around bike? Just swap the tires for some 700c skinnies and go."

    You would be at 26.6 on diameter with road tires. Touring tires would still be under 27".

    Any KM owners out there that could comment that have tried this?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhc
    26" wheels in a 29" frame

    Isn't this what Surly recommends on their website concerning the Karate Monkey.

    "Want a beefy touring/commuting/cyclocross/all-around bike? Just swap the tires for some 700c skinnies and go."

    You would be at 26.6 on diameter with road tires. Touring tires would still be under 27".

    Any KM owners out there that could comment that have tried this?
    No, they don't.
    They suppose use of 29" knobbed tires as standard issue. Monkey's smart.

    BTW, and OT, I keep fighting against the idea that road use implies skinny tires.
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  18. #18
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    running skinnies on karate monkey

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki View Post
    No, they don't.
    They suppose use of 29" knobbed tires as standard issue. Monkey's smart.

    BTW, and OT, I keep fighting against the idea that road use implies skinny tires.
    (i know this is an old thread, time can be irrelevant on forums)
    I received the 35mm skinnies for a Christmas present,
    and honestly i was curious how much fast my commute would be on my
    karate monkey, well sure enough.....fast would be an understatement,
    the bike is too fast (i'm currently set up single speed/ unsure of gear ratios) I'm not a bicycle guru but I'm definately getting to work hella fast. however i'm having major problems spinning out, and this has got me dreaming of installing a gears set or an igh (internally geared hub) i test rode a gotham with a nuvinci hub and fell in love immediately, so for the guys reading this...yes you can run skinnies. Right now I am torn between staying skinny or going fat by either installing 2.5 in wide 29er tires that i know will fit or by installing 26 in wheels with 3 in wide tires, 95% percent of my riding is on pavement but the moment i want to to hit a hairy trail i just can't do it with skinnies. Seriously torn between the 2 tire sizes. Do I go back to commuting slowly with fatter tires or stick with skinnies and get a seperate fatbike all together, (decisions....decisions..) or another set of wheels to swap out?
    I will tell you that after running skinnies on the monkey i feel like i am experiencing over responsive self steer, it doesnt bother me at all... I just wont take my hands off the handlebars right now I've been dreaming of doing the 26 in wheel conversion w/ 3 inch tires and really achieving the "do it all" bike, i think deep down inside i just really want a 3 in. tire with an IGH hub. I love the karate monkey. Hopefully there are others out there who have done something of this nature that can chime in.

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