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  1. #1
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    Daddy Needs a New Bike - 29 or 27.5+?

    Wow, I've spent way too much time on this site reading the "which bike?" threads. I don't think I researched my 3rd wife this much. So, here's the deal.. I don't have a ton of MTB experience but I'm not a complete noob. Mid 40s, reasonably healthy and like to get into the woods. I'm not looking to race and I live in Houston so I don't see any long, gnarly mountain descents in my near future either. I want something fun and good quality that looks cool and is comfortable and that I won't feel the need to massively upgrade or replace in 6 months. I'm ok in the $1000-1600 range, but want an air fork, Shimano brakes and preferably thru axles.

    '16 Trek Superfly 5 - new, $1500, rode it, like it. Seems like decent specs, but QR front and back
    '15 Kona Kahuna - new, $1250, rode it, like it. Not excited about the coil fork and QR. '16 Kahuna has slightly better specs at $1300. DL model has the components I'm looking for but it's $1700
    '16 Spec Crave Comp - new, $1600, rode it, like it. Seems you pay a premium for the Specialized name because the specs sheet isn't lighting me on fire. This one is at the top of my budget and just doesn't excite as much as I think it should

    Haven't ridden yet but also looking locally at these used bikes:
    '15 Trek Stache 8 - used, $1300, very good shape, really like the specs on it. Not excited about a black bike but could live with it
    '15 Santa Cruz Highball alloy - used, $1300, very good shape, love the blue color

    I'm also thinking that the Niner EMD (like the look and specs) and Kona Honzo fit my criteria, but I have no way to test them.

    And as I'm doing all this research on 29er HTs, in the back of my mind I'm also wondering if I should be looking at 27.5+ for the fun factor... Ugh. Does it ever end?

    Give me your thoughts and advice please and help put me out of my misery.

  2. #2
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    Black bikes are best. Always replaceable with another black bike. Wife is less likely to recognize the new bike. She's likely to think its the same old black bike.

    First mountain bike, not looking to get air, a 29 HT with fat tires is a great choice if you are taller.

  3. #3
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    Great point about the color. You've obviously given this some thought. So, yes, I'm 6' and was thinking 29 HT for sure. I like that feeling of being more in the bike than perched on top. It wouldn't be my first bike, but let's just say it would be my first bike... this century. Current non-road bike is a 1996 26" Gary Fisher.

  4. #4
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    I have a 29er and love it. I went out on my first spin on a closed loop trail and my wheels ran over pretty much everything. In the back of my head, I felt like maybe I would have enjoyed a 650b more while on the trails so I want to test ride my buddy's 650 and see what I think. If I like it, I may end up buying a 2nd bike next year with a 27.5 wheel.
    2005 Intense Uzzi VPX

  5. #5
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    I'd be interested to hear what you think after trying your buddy's. I did try a couple 27.5 bikes and I liked 29 more. 29 felt like a bigger improvement over my 26. The only 27.5 I'm really considering is the fat or plus variety 27.5+.

  6. #6
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    I can't offer much but I'm the same age as you and have a 2012 Giant Talon 1 29er with an upgraded fork - RS TK Gold Air. The bike is a blast and the 29" wheels roll over everything!

    The Stache looks to be an excellent bike. Are you able to test ride it?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xarvet View Post
    Great point about the color. You've obviously given this some though.
    Given it some thought! Sh!t, I've lived it for many years.

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
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    My newest is 27.5", normal width.

    Really, it's the same answer as always - ride some bikes, buy your favorite.

    Since you're looking at hardtails, you could go with something that's compatible with both 27.5+ and 29" wheels.

    It sounds like you're taking a little bit of a flyer. Used is good for both stretching a buck and controlling risk IMO.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    Were you able to check out the two used bikes?

  10. #10
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    Not yet, but I did check out a '15 Marin Nail Trail 9.7 29er and '16 Orbea Loki 27.5+. The Nail Trail is great on paper, but looks dull and is pretty forgettable, sort of the Lexus sedan of 29ers. The Loki on the other hand looks cool and was surprisingly agile. Definitely more of a fun factor with the 27.5+ and I'm leaning that way.

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