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  1. #1
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    This or That? 27.5 vs 29

    My riding style is mostly XC, but I tend to hold my own on the downhills, despite riding a 100mm 29er HT. I have some buddies who ride 130-140mm bikes and I tend to push the pace on the downhill. I'm a technical rider, preferring slow and steady climbs rather than racing speed. I like drops and jump, log rides, etc but tend to avoid them as my current bike doesn't have a dropper post.

    I've been to downhill parks, ridden the big bikes, done big jumps and drops, but I don't (or won't) do that more than 4-5 times a year.

    Local trails are a rocky mess. You're more likely to get a pinch flat than a broken wheel or frame.

    I've been following the 27.5 market for quite some time, settling on a few bikes in the $2000-$3500 range. That being said, I'd like to keep a 29er around for faster/smoother trails. My current 29er is old enough, however, that doing anything that is frame specific (like the seatpost, fork, or wheels) isn't worth it.

    Currently I've got my eye on a 2013 Stumpjumper FSR Comp. Non-Evo. All stock with the 32mm Fox Float CTD, which I've heard is quite noodley. $1500

    Or a 2014 Trance 27.5 3 for $1850.

    Both bikes would require me upgrading to a dropper seat post and I'd like to get the new Pike. Thing is, I could get shop discount doing it on the new Trance, and I could resell the used parts from the Stumpjumper.

    Suggestions/Advice?
    I do custom ArcGIS and Google Maps, including data collection and sustainable trail layout. Ride Welsh Mountain

  2. #2
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    I own a 2013 Stumpy FSR Comp with a set of Rovals on it and I can tell you that it rides awesome but yet it does not compare to my Bronson C when it comes to downhill stuff...just my opinion
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ouanlux View Post
    The bicycle manufacturers said that the quality of 650B is not good as 29er in technology, 29er had the better progress
    This just sounds odd to me.. Granted I could see how there could be a difference in exploited potential as the 27.5 frames we see now are more or less first generation ones, whereas 29ers have had a few more revisions to mature. (Chainstays on 29ers for example)

    In a few years 27.5 frames could be more dialed than they are now, who knows.

    But I don't for a second see how current 27.5 frames are lesser in quality than 29ers because that'd just put manufacturers in a bad light.

  4. #4
    dwt
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    This or That? 27.5 vs 29

    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    My riding style is mostly XC, but I tend to hold my own on the downhills, despite riding a 100mm 29er HT. I have some buddies who ride 130-140mm bikes and I tend to push the pace on the downhill. I'm a technical rider, preferring slow and steady climbs rather than racing speed. I like drops and jump, log rides, etc but tend to avoid them as my current bike doesn't have a dropper post.

    I've been to downhill parks, ridden the big bikes, done big jumps and drops, but I don't (or won't) do that more than 4-5 times a year.

    Local trails are a rocky mess. You're more likely to get a pinch flat than a broken wheel or frame.

    I've been following the 27.5 market for quite some time, settling on a few bikes in the $2000-$3500 range. That being said, I'd like to keep a 29er around for faster/smoother trails. My current 29er is old enough, however, that doing anything that is frame specific (like the seatpost, fork, or wheels) isn't worth it.

    Currently I've got my eye on a 2013 Stumpjumper FSR Comp. Non-Evo. All stock with the 32mm Fox Float CTD, which I've heard is quite noodley. $1500

    Or a 2014 Trance 27.5 3 for $1850.

    Both bikes would require me upgrading to a dropper seat post and I'd like to get the new Pike. Thing is, I could get shop discount doing it on the new Trance, and I could resell the used parts from the Stumpjumper.

    Suggestions/Advice?
    My vote is Trance. Price is right and you will like it much on the non-faster non-smoother trails you don't take the 29'er on. The smaller wheels make for a more maneuverable, easier lofting, playful bike IME.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  5. #5
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    From what I've read the 27.5 bikes are pretty dialed as it is. If you can get a good deal on the Trance do it up. It'l be more fun than a 29er.

  6. #6
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    I have ridden lots of 29ers and own a bronson. Get the trance.
    Check out my riding blog:

    http://onetrailatatime.blogspot.com

  7. #7
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    I've owned both a Bronson and 29'er. For my type of riding I enjoyed the 29er more, I felt that it was a better fit and overall really liked the bigger wheels. I wanted something more burly, more park capable, more chunk capable and overall a more AM worthy rig. I ended up on a Banshee Prime and I absolutely love the bike.

    I've done everything from park riding, to xc slog fests, and everything in between. Its set up a little more burly than your normal XC type 29'er, with a 150 Pike on the front end, big meaty Minion 2.5 and Ardent 2.4 on the rear it's a super capable rig.

    It's a fun jumper, its super stable at speed, it destroys chunk, and is a fantastic climber.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by monty797 View Post
    I've owned both a Bronson and 29'er. For my type of riding I enjoyed the 29er more, I felt that it was a better fit and overall really liked the bigger wheels. I wanted something more burly, more park capable, more chunk capable and overall a more AM worthy rig. I ended up on a Banshee Prime and I absolutely love the bike.

    I've done everything from park riding, to xc slog fests, and everything in between. Its set up a little more burly than your normal XC type 29'er, with a 150 Pike on the front end, big meaty Minion 2.5 and Ardent 2.4 on the rear it's a super capable rig.

    It's a fun jumper, its super stable at speed, it destroys chunk, and is a fantastic climber.
    hate to disagree with what your saying but the bronson in probably one of if not the most burly am rig on the maket right now. it was built to ride the fast tech dh of the enduro world cup but still be capable to make it up the hill. you also said you wanted a bike that was good in the park. 29ers are not great on tight tech downhill single track and i wouldnt trust those wagon wheels on drops. i dont think the niner rim has caught up in strenght yet its just to big

  9. #9
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    Sorry to burst your bubble but that is not my experience at all. I'm not saying that the Bronson is a bad bike by any means, it and I just did not get along. That happens from time to time!

    Niners (The wheel size not the brand!) have zero issues in tight DH tech I'm not sure where you're getting that from. Wheel strength is also not an issue, I've pushed my Prime through everything that Whistler has to offer, everything that Northstar has to offer, it's gone to Moab and killed it there and also been to Highland in NH and killed it there.

    My home riding is in Norcal with trips down to SoCal for riding as well. Wheels have no been an issue what so ever. It's quite easy to build a strong 29'er wheel. I'm not a lightweight either at 220lbs and my riding style has been described as "hack". Hah!

    Also if you think that the Bronson is the burliest AM bike on the market, you should do a bit more digging!

    Either way, enjoy what you ride!

  10. #10
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    I just switched from 26 to a 29er. In all honesty, I don't miss the small wheels at all, and I'm a small guy at 5'7. I hardly feel any of the negative effects of the larger wheel on the down hills, but I can really feel the positives on the ups and flats. What I think it comes down to is what you like riding more. Is it the tech downs and jumps (27.5)? or the fast rolling single track and climbs (29)?

  11. #11
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    As someone who started on small wheels and went to 29er...sure I thought they were great. After a while the coolaid ran out, I hopped on the small wheels again and realized all the fun I was missing...or another way to put it: the tables turned and they became new and special.

    My 29er feels large, taller, and cumbersome at times... as well as heavier and slower to accelerate. It's still pretty enjoyable.

    27.5 is a really nice wheelsize. What i really liked about it is how invisible it felt...it's not small, it's not huge, it's just really nice.

    My next ultimate machine will be a fun-geo 27.5 FS rig...

  12. #12
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by monty797 View Post

    Niners (The wheel size not the brand!) have zero issues in tight DH tech
    Yep, the problem is making those turns at speed. With the 29er it's harder to make some of them and especially to recover from a loss of speed. Not everyone cares so much about just this, and my Enduro 29er does generally rip downhill, but older 29ers with obtuse long stays and high bottom brackets were poor weapons for slaying downhills. The shorter and lower 29ers that have recently come out from Lenz, Specialized, BMC, even 9er, are much better dialed to be whipped back and forth at a decent pace, make a tight chute-style switchback without scrubbing too much speed or being pushed to the outside, and so on. Yes, you could do these before with many 4-5" 29ers at lower speed, but they weren't nearly as confidence inspiring or as fun to ride in said terrain.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by monty797 View Post
    I've owned both a Bronson and 29'er. For my type of riding I enjoyed the 29er more, I felt that it was a better fit and overall really liked the bigger wheels. I wanted something more burly, more park capable, more chunk capable and overall a more AM worthy rig. I ended up on a Banshee Prime and I absolutely love the bike.

    I've done everything from park riding, to xc slog fests, and everything in between. Its set up a little more burly than your normal XC type 29'er, with a 150 Pike on the front end, big meaty Minion 2.5 and Ardent 2.4 on the rear it's a super capable rig.

    It's a fun jumper, its super stable at speed, it destroys chunk, and is a fantastic climber.
    I would definitely rate the Prime for being as burly as anything you can get for AM use. The problem I have with it is the pig heavy weight penalty you pay for any of Keith's bikes (hoping to see some carbon out of that camp). Even my Spitty weighs in over 30 lbs and I can't imagine you can build up a Prime under 33 lbs with Dh/Park capable components/tires? That's weigh too much for a good climbing bike and the main reason I'm bailling on Banshee for the Bronson. I only go 175lbs tho so I don't need an "overbuilt" bike.

    Have FUN!

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  14. #14
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    I've tried both my 29er and 26er on the same trails on the Northshore and Sunpeaks. The 29er is waaaaay better at climbing than my 26er, but there really is no comparison when going downhill....the 26er just "feels better and lighter" going down (if that makes any sense at all). I still love going downhill on my 29er, but if the majority of your ride is technical downhill, I vote for the Trance. Again, just my personal opinion.

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  15. #15
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    That comes from manufactureres that don't produce 27.5 bikes, ala Specialized and others.
    The 27.5 bikes are the future, love it or hate it, they will dominate in all types of riding with maybe the exception on dj, your already seeing them in DH.

  16. #16
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    I'm not understanding the statement in regards to 29ers climbing better than 26ers, or even 27.5ers, unless maybe all your climbs are wide open wash board type climbs. Given the fact that rotational weight is the #1 cause for slowing climb Times, and comparing apples to apples( same wheel build, same tire) a 29er wheel will always be heavier, especially at the outer most part of the wheel. On technical climbs where quick acceleration is required, 29ers fall even further behind, so I totally disagree in most situations that a 29er is the fastest climber

  17. #17
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    From my experience, If you've got the horses (legs), 29ers excel on technical, steep, climbing sections to the extra contact patch and rollover-ability. Sections that are really nasty steep and rocky, you can stand, and grind up damn near anything. On a straight forward climb, without any serious technical features, I would think that the lightest overall bike/wheel tire combo would win.

  18. #18
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    i don't believe 29er climbs better in slow tech. having done a recent ride where a friend and i were switching mid ride back and forth from my 26enduro to his 29camberevo, the small wheel is easier to pick up and place and hop even with the 160 squish and slack front HA. yeah, unless you're talking washboard rut, rock, or root and open then yes 29 would do much better but stalling, standing, and hopping...nfw
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53119 View Post
    i don't believe 29er climbs better in slow tech. having done a recent ride where a friend and i were switching mid ride back and forth from my 26enduro to his 29camberevo, the small wheel is easier to pick up and place and hop even with the 160 squish and slack front HA. yeah, unless you're talking washboard rut, rock, or root and open then yes 29 would do much better but stalling, standing, and hopping...nfw
    This has always been my belief and I have been absolutely destroyed for stating it dozens of times... bring a 29er to somewhere in MA like Vietnam, The Promised Land, Leominster State forest, Lynn Woods, and prepare to walk a lot and go OTB a lot. There was a big group ride this past weekend at a really technical trail system called Harold Parker State Forest and I might have seen 100 people riding 29ers go tumbling over their bars, hilarious. Obviously there were people of all wheel sizes going OTB but the amount of 29er crashes was absurd.


    These are just three pictures I have lying around, but for stuff like this, I simply cannot rider a 29er very well at all, and I don't have fun.

    For reference, these pictures depict terrain that I would consider a 5.5-6/10 in terms of technicality. I can clear all the features in these three pictures in a various number of ways both up and down on my 26 slayer, and I don't wear pads or a full face helmet, ever. I wish I had some other pictures from areas like the promised land and vietnam, there is some really gnarly stuff. I don't stop to take pictures very often, mostly when Im riding with others I will take pictures while waiting.

    Also, I'm curious, what wheel size would you guys all prefer for what is shown in these pictures? Don't forget to include the very, very challenging climb that is shown in the 1st picture (pretty steep! - it is a bit easier when not covered in leaves. At the top of the climb you have to lift front wheel 1-2 feet depending which root you take and then pop rear wheel up onto a rock, there is no possible way to clear the climb if you can't. And don't forget that in the third picture the only way down that is actually on the trail is via a huck off that rock on the left in the background


    This or That? 27.5 vs 29-steep-climb-llf.jpgThis or That? 27.5 vs 29-llf-chunder-tech.jpgThis or That? 27.5 vs 29-llf-yeow.jpg

  20. #20
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    You could ride any wheelsize down that....I think what kind of bike you are rolling down it matters more.

    I'd prefer to be on a 27.5 FS rig though...maybe more 'trail' than XC orientated...but something like the Spark 27.5 would probably be good enough for me...assuming the BBH isn't too low. I'd rather take that than my 29er HT.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    You could ride any wheelsize down that....I think what kind of bike you are rolling down it matters more.

    I'd prefer to be on a 27.5 FS rig though...maybe more 'trail' than XC orientated...but something like the Spark 27.5 would probably be good enough for me...assuming the BBH isn't too low. I'd rather take that than my 29er HT.
    I'm talking up and down, obviously you can ride any wheel size down anything if you're skilled enough. It's mainly the ups where the benefits of 26 come into play, and the extra finesse on the downs is great. The lighter wheels offered by 26 and 27.5 make it a lot easier to bunny hop and manual through the really hair parts. Also I really like being able to turn in very tight spaces with my 26. Clearing the second picture going up is a lot harder than it looks and takes some real finesse/strength. Plus you have to be able to stop and then get going again really fast, which is tough with bigger wheels.

  22. #22
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    ^awesome lines there, Rager! looks fun as hell! just the down ofcourse!
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  23. #23
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    Not sure if it's been on here but Giant are scraping 29ers and sticking with 650B. I'll stick with 26 until I'm forced into the 650B cult.

  24. #24
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    My generalization:

    Beginner that doesn't jump and comes from a road/commuting background = 29er
    Rider that likes drops and jumps that land to flat = more travel
    Rider that comes from BMX background that knows how to jump and pump = smaller wheel (26/27.5)

    Wide and open trails that go on for miles and are typically dry = 29er
    Trails that cut through a lot of tight forest with darker and slightly moist loamy dirt = smaller wheel

    Rough ground with lots of small gravely bumps, ruts, uncambered turns, and raw/not so well ridden (like a fireroad) = 29er
    Somewhat more groomed ground with rollers and berms, bike-park style, with clearer lines defined by lots of traffic = smaller wheel

    If you said anything "in between", chances are you choices were: "26 or 27.5" for this, and "29 or 27.5" for that, with 27.5 being a common option for whatever scenario brought up.

    Very cool LBS that sells Giant = Giant
    Very cool LBS that sells Spec = Specialized

    Going by what the OP said, looks like the Trance is the easier choice.

  25. #25
    dwt
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    This or That? 27.5 vs 29

    Quote Originally Posted by RDMTB-rider View Post
    Not sure if it's been on here but Giant are scraping 29ers and sticking with 650B. I'll stick with 26 until I'm forced into the 650B cult.
    29" is a cult. First it was fighting vs. 26" for cred. Now it is fighting vs. 26" and 27.5" for supremacy.


    27.5" is just the newest thing and the industry is still adjusting to it. Too early to call it a cult. If you must use a perjorative, try "fad."
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

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