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  1. #1
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    Good job! Transitioning from Road to 29er

    Hi all,

    Please don't be cranky about a first post that might seem like a 'which bike', celebrate my want to transition to a 29er please!

    Quick Background:
    So I'm riding on my roadie the other day, bloke on a 29er in another group with other roadies making a meal of them and he looked like he was having a ball. I then note his skinnier tyres. How damn interesting I thought ... some investigation follows.

    I have a 26er hanging up downstairs that I rarely get to use (together with another bike) for I'm always on my roadie. That 'wasted' aspect has always been a thorn in my side.

    So I get to thinking - could this be a terrific happy medium??

    Purpose / Scope:
    My outlook is to get a HT 29er with 'road orientated' tyres for that will be the bulk of my riding - on sealed road / path. Something that I can get on and still do my 50 > 200 klm rides. Something that I can still poke along on at say 28 kph plus average.
    But also something then I can take to the park with the kids and enjoy that part of life and riding also.

    And who knows, will it then entice me off road a bit? - who knows - but atleast I'll have the tools to try it out!

    So as you can see, I'm looking to consolidate my current hardware downstairs and find a nice fitting bike for each of these pockets.
    (Happy to swap to off road tyres as needed and perhaps later look at a 2nd wheelset with tyres.)

    Why do I ride?:
    Health, clearing the head, personal achievement, etc - no intentions of racing. Currently doing about 250 klm's per week. Goal is for 10,000 klm's this year and on track.

    Your pathway suggestions:
    I don't have $$ to burn and I'll be selling these other bikes to facilitate this purchase. Absolute ceiling would be $2k AUD.
    (I have (for example) looked at the Scott Scale 930 and have been recommended to look at the Trek Superfly AL and a Cotic Solaris.)

    But over to you please folks. I don't need to aim too high and nor do I want to buy too low. You've got more exposure to this than me and your input to me getting the best possible fit for a great 29er foundation would be much appreciated.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Short answer is, yes, you can do it but there are significant (IMO) compromises. We used to regularly ride mountain bikes (26ers) with slicks on the road in the winter in training once a week. Average speed for the group rides was around 30 kph (with drafting) for 60 - 70 km.

    You will work a LOT harder on the road to achieve that speed on any mountain bike.

    Mountain bikes don't have the aerodynamics of road bikes. Even in the lockout mode, you are still wasting a little energy in the fork. It doesn't have the solidity of a rigid fork. The riding position on the road is rotated more forward which calls more/different muscle groups into play. Given the rims on a mountain bike, you would probably run 700 x 35 tires at the narrowest, not 700 x 25 or 700 x 28. So you have more rolling resistance. Everything conspires to make the road workout harder. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it becomes more of a leg strength workout and less of an aerobic workout. Unlike mountain biking off road, it also does little for your upper body or your core strength.

    Depending on how tough the trails are, you might consider an all-roads bike or a cyclocross bike with a wide gearing range. You could set it up in a way that you would need just a little more energy on the road, but you could easily do gravel roads and flat/not super tight singletrack with the family.

    The first response in this thread: 29er road set up nails it.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the input and the thread link, some good reading there it seems.
    (gotta love it when you think you've searched what you can and *then you get shown a better thread )

    Further input and thoughts welcomed of course anyone.

  4. #4
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    A road bike is a 29'er.

    My experience has been that a road bike is a lot more fun on pavement than a bike designed for dirt and a mountain bike is the best tool for the job off road. Mountain bikes set up for road riding feel clunky and slow in comparison to a true road bike to me.

    I understand that you must not really like the (road) bike you have now but what's wrong with your 26 inch mtb that's collecting dust and spiderwebs? Seems like you might already have a perfectly good trail worthy bike and just need to concentrate on getting another bike that's more enjoyable for you on the road where you do most of your riding and forget about the dual purpose aspect.

  5. #5
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    Re: Transitioning from Road to 29er

    I'd say a cycle cross bike would be more fitting as well if you do a lot of road miles. Great on the road with 700x28 and decent on light trails with 700x35 with wider gearing.

    Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2

  6. #6
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    You ride for fitness right, so I don't quite get the people who say it'll be harder - that's a good thing DO IT! Get something rigid, maybe with horizontal sliding drop outs, with the ability to run flat or drop bars. To me there are a few bikes that would fit this bill, the Surly Karate Monkey, Singular Swift are two very good ones that spring to mind.

    I don't own a road bike, but I have a rigid KM and it is the most versatile bike I've owned....
    • I use it as a full blown roadies with 28mm slicks and have fun "playing" with the roadies on road rides (mainly when I'm in need of some consistent training for something, not much anymore).
    • As my commuter, sometimes with the 28mm slicks, or 38mm semi slicks or sometimes with faster knobbies if I'm using it both on and off road regularly.
    • Other times it's my full blown trail bike with the fattest rubber I have, running low pressures and rigid, othertimes I might put on a sus fork, always having a blast.



    Only have one wheelset for it right now, but did have 3 bikes, so could swap wheelsets between them, however in the process of building up a nice set of 35mm wide rimed wheels for off-road and have a dedicated set or narrower wheels for road/commuting. If you really want to have fun, 2 wheelsets with knobbies & slicks, 2 external BB cranksets with off-road double and on road double or triple and maybe a sus fork. My plan with the 35mm wheels is to get in a Surly Knard for the front and them run either a WW LT or 2.4" Ardent in the rear, think this'll give me more than enough cush when running rigid on the chunky trails I love.

    Few pics attached of my Monkey is all it's guises, first pic is in current build configuration.

    Transitioning from Road to 29er-img_1461.jpg

    Commuter Monkey with WTB Nanos and disc brakes
    Transitioning from Road to 29er-p1040656.jpg

    Roadie Monkey with 38mm semi slick and V-Brakes
    Transitioning from Road to 29er-roadie-monkey.jpg

    Trail Monkey with 120mm Minute and decent knobbies
    Transitioning from Road to 29er-p1050653.jpg
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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    My Phantom pics

  7. #7
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    You're on the riight track with the Scott Scale 930. Even better would be a 2012 Expert with the dual air Reba. Keep an eye out for a used or last years model. Another option is a Grand Canyon 29 CF SLX 7.9when or if it is available in your size.

  8. #8
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    What's wrong with that 26er collecting dust, why don't you just put some slicks on that puppy and go ride? You already own it, so if you're on a budget all you'll need are those slicks and maybe some lighter skinnier wheels. I like 29ers, but for road and light duty use you will see minimal if any advantage over the smaller wheels, don't get sucked into the hype. I've got an old 26er that has been through many transformations through the years, with some semi slicks on it it's a fine commuter and the price is right

  9. #9
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    Thanks to all that have chimed in, much appreciated and provokes much thought.

    To offer some 'global / general' reply:
    > The roadie I have (Felt F5) I do enjoy. It was a difficult birth at first coming from a Trek Madone but the F5 and I have since made friends very much so and a few tweaks & changes along the way have assisted this.

    > The 26er I have - '11 Trek 3700 - No I guess there's nothing technically wrong with it (I started my endeavors on this and was guided otherwise - so to be thinking about what I've posted is somewhat 'full circle' nearly) but if it doesn't entirely fit the bill then is there any point keeping it? - Noting that 'off road' riding isn't of any immediate scope.

    > As for CX bikes, I find this one hard personally. Being 'at the park with the kids' on a predominately 'roadie style bike' just doesn't click with me - and before anyone says it , yes I get I'm pursuing the flip opposite of that picture but it just seems to gel better with me.

    Again, the scope is to have a bike that will service the different pockets of life I'm trying to address. IF it's not practical to do so then that's cool, I'll can the idea.

    Even enquiring this morning at my LBS and talking at some length, the suggestion is the Specialized Carve Pro will suffice nicely (aided personally by the fact it's currently marked down some $400 AUD).

    Good options, good discussion, much to consider - but I'm not seeking / don't expect to get a bike that will 'nail' each function I'm wanting to fulfill - though to obviously get a bike that will be 'really bloody good' for each of those functions as a whole I'm cool with.

  10. #10
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    To add the comment also, for whatever value it has to the topic, I have previously had a Trek FX 7.3 for a short period also and after having rode it in a 75k charity event, I just felt like I 'didn't have enough stretch' ... felt congested? ... but perhaps it was just the wrong size (thought it felt appropriate), thus it was sold on *but this was WAY before the k's I've since done & learned on the roadies.

  11. #11
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    I've got a bike that fits into your idea...and it is fun, and practical...but I am always aware it is not great on road, or off. It does however allow me to do both to some degree when ever I like. I don't change tyres ever, and just use 40c hybrid tyres. If you are riding it with other people, unless they have a similar set up, you may find it a bit of a hindrance to your participation. With the kids, and commuting or riding on your own it'll probably work quite well. Are you in Brisbane by chance? I use it around gap creek single track a lot but mostly the easier stuff. Rigid fork and skinny tyres have limited appeal there...but it is great fun all the same. It's ample for riding with kids. On road a little slow but much better than riding knobby tyres out. The format is a rigid drop bar 29er.

    Transitioning from Road to 29er-dsc_0121_zps52330bf0.jpg

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by finch2 View Post
    Are you in Brisbane by chance?
    Yesm, s/w side and about 20 odd mins from Gap Creek (though I've never actually been there.)

    Riding with others on roadies would always be regular and being 'unique' within that doesn't bother me.
    I would expect, given the % of road riding I'd be perhaps riding with something a touch smoother than what you have fitted in your photo. How this would then stack up on the grass at the park with the kids remains to be seen but I'm happy to tweak accordingly as I progress (i.e. getting weekly tyre changing practice in the interim)

  13. #13
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    It's not the bike that dictates keeping up with other roadies, but the tyres of course. It may be worth getting two cheapish sets hooked up with different tyres. You can get wheels quite reasonably these days. The hubs on that bike in the picture cost me $70 inc skewers front and rear. If you get a bike like that I am sure you'll find yourself riding to the trails and exploring. There is heaps in there.

  14. #14
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    I guess the order of use / focus / importance to focus on is road > 'parklands and paths' (with kids) > off road ... at least in the immediate future.

    Happy to look at / setup with different wheelsets without going overboard.

    As for riding position / muscle groups / keeping up! - yes, no doubt there will be changes there to adjust to and style / position / cadence will too, no doubt be a part of it. If I have to ride 'harder' then I'm cool with that - more activity to aid better overall fitness.
    If too much, then I understand there's options of changing chain rings and the like.

  15. #15
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    Sooo....
    you are not planning to ride on trails anytime soon - but you want a bike that is designed for the trails.



    Local trails ala cx on Vimeo

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Sooo....
    you are not planning to ride on trails anytime soon - but you want a bike that is designed for the trails.
    In the same way as I want a comfortable car for cruising up the highway to the coast but for the moment, I have to drop the kids off at school and get the groceries - yes

  17. #17
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    Ah.... you also want the ability to carry some stuff.
    At least Surly and Salsa have some bikes that have - or are prepared for - that ability.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Ah.... you also want the ability to carry some stuff.
    No, not carrying anything .... my previous analogy has been misunderstood that's all.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonivteu View Post
    The riding position on the road is rotated more forward which calls more/different muscle groups into play.
    Nothing is "rotated". Seattube angle is nearly the same. Front is lower and because of the drop bar you have a more compact sitting which reaults in better aerodynamics. Because of this riding higher speeds above 30 km/h will be harder on a MTB with a more upright position.

    If one builts a 29er with rigid fork, fast XC tires and a low front he had an acceptable solution for a "do it all" bike.

  20. #20
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    im fast on a 29er on the road. But my road bike is way faster. keep the roadie and dust off the 26. 2 bike solution is best. save your money. If you are going to do some proper off roading get the 29er perhaps?

    If you must, the giant xtc is good value if you want a 29er. You and pick up a carbon one for just under 2g now or alloy for 1500...or maybe go the talon for approx 1000$ au.

    I prefer the 2 bike solution myself. 1 road. 1 mountain. for 2k i reckon i could buy a road and mountain. Especially if i considered 2nd hand.

    If i was in your shoes id probably get the talon or something similar and keep the road bike

  21. #21
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    As a roadie, got just the setup for you.
    This is my ride to the trails bike, rail trail bike, double track bike and easier trails fun bike.
    Rode it in a spring gravel/off road race this spring with the cycle cross tires and it was brilliant, some bikes were so packed with mud the wheels wouldn't turn, with all that clearance I had no problem.

    Transitioning from Road to 29er-dsc_7681.jpgTransitioning from Road to 29er-dsc_7674.jpg

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by brinkerz128 View Post
    Hi all,

    Please don't be cranky about a first post that might seem like a 'which bike', celebrate my want to transition to a 29er please!

    Quick Background:
    So I'm riding on my roadie the other day, bloke on a 29er in another group with other roadies making a meal of them and he looked like he was having a ball. I then note his skinnier tyres. How damn interesting I thought ... some investigation follows.

    I have a 26er hanging up downstairs that I rarely get to use (together with another bike) for I'm always on my roadie. That 'wasted' aspect has always been a thorn in my side.

    So I get to thinking - could this be a terrific happy medium??

    Purpose / Scope:
    My outlook is to get a HT 29er with 'road orientated' tyres for that will be the bulk of my riding - on sealed road / path. Something that I can get on and still do my 50 > 200 klm rides. Something that I can still poke along on at say 28 kph plus average.
    But also something then I can take to the park with the kids and enjoy that part of life and riding also.

    And who knows, will it then entice me off road a bit? - who knows - but atleast I'll have the tools to try it out!

    So as you can see, I'm looking to consolidate my current hardware downstairs and find a nice fitting bike for each of these pockets.
    (Happy to swap to off road tyres as needed and perhaps later look at a 2nd wheelset with tyres.)

    Why do I ride?:
    Health, clearing the head, personal achievement, etc - no intentions of racing. Currently doing about 250 klm's per week. Goal is for 10,000 klm's this year and on track.

    Your pathway suggestions:
    I don't have $$ to burn and I'll be selling these other bikes to facilitate this purchase. Absolute ceiling would be $2k AUD.
    (I have (for example) looked at the Scott Scale 930 and have been recommended to look at the Trek Superfly AL and a Cotic Solaris.)

    But over to you please folks. I don't need to aim too high and nor do I want to buy too low. You've got more exposure to this than me and your input to me getting the best possible fit for a great 29er foundation would be much appreciated.

    Thank you!
    You pretty much already have the bikes you need for the purposes that you described. If you want to ride to the park with your kid then the 26 would work just fine. I wouldnt get a 29er unless I started riding the 26er first.

  23. #23
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodmojo View Post
    You pretty much already have the bikes you need for the purposes that you described. If you want to ride to the park with your kid then the 26 would work just fine. I wouldnt get a 29er unless I started riding the 26er first.
    I agree with this...unless you are doing both rides on the same bike you should keep what you have, especially if you don't have heaps to spend. There is nothing faster than a road bike with 25c tyres for the road. One other good thing about a drop bar 29er, if you do decide to go this way, besides the versatility, is that it is a nice ride on rough sealed road. I have a lot of steep crummy roads where I live (upper Brookfield) and it is much better for that than a dedicated road bike. I have mine geared close to a mtb for 20-25% grades. Lowest gear 24/30. I don't even bother tying to ride my driveway on my road bike...I drive and park at the bottom!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slash5 View Post
    As a roadie, got just the setup for you.
    This is my ride to the trails bike, rail trail bike, double track bike and easier trails fun bike.
    Rode it in a spring gravel/off road race this spring with the cycle cross tires and it was brilliant, some bikes were so packed with mud the wheels wouldn't turn, with all that clearance I had no problem.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yes, this...

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