So partially due to encouragement from people in this forum I purchased a '08 Redline D440 as my first 29er. It's pretty much stock except for the BB5 disc brakes and laserdisc rims. I took it out for a first ride on Thursday over some flat desert terrain just to get a feel for how it rides before I hit anything too technical. While out there I took a couple pics of my bike as well as a random cow that was hanging out in the desert. No action shots though since I was by myself.
This morning I went out and had a good ride on some rough, rocky desert terrain where the bike performed great. I love the steel frame. It may be a little heavier than some other materials but it rides great and by the end the ride I didn't feel nearly as beat up as I do on my 26er aluminum hardtail. The other thing that really surprised me was that with the 29 inch wheels I didn't even miss a suspension fork. When I bought the bike I assumed, because of my experience w/ 26 inch bikes, that I would really want a suspension fork but with the built in forgiveness of the 29 inch wheel it was a remarkably smooth ride. But since I already ordered a fork that's currently in the mail I'll give it a shot anyway just to compare.
I know there are some 29er haters out there (because I know some personally) that don't like the 29er because of things like additional weight, slower acceleration, climbing, gear ratios and whatever other reasons, real or perceived, that are out there. I don't really have the expertise or interest in arguing about the merits of 29ers but I will say that the reason I ride mountain bikes is to have fun and these first couple rides on a 29er have been the most fun I've had on a mountain bike in a long time. So ride whatever bike floats your boat but as for me, I'll be rolling the big wheels.
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