1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    What's wrong with a 26 inch wheel

    NOOB, Thinking about picking up a focus raven and some on this site think I should not get it because its a 26. Most of my riding on this bike will be commuting and training on not very challenging courses. Picked up a stumpjumper FSR comp last week for serious off rode riding.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by caljah View Post
    NOOB, Thinking about picking up a focus raven and some on this site think I should not get it because its a 26. Most of my riding on this bike will be commuting and training on not very challenging courses. Picked up a stumpjumper FSR comp last week for serious off rode riding.

    Thanks
    buy what you need and what fits you. Fit is the #1 thing you should consider. Second value, and third is wheel size. 29ers are popular for the same reason that iphones are. Not because they do anything better than the other options it is just what is popular now. If you go back in 2 years I bet the bike shop is pushing 650B/27.5 bikes as relevant.

    Get what you like, mtbr is opinion and 26er vs. 29er so subjective. Ride some of both, pick the one that fits you best and fits in your budget and the one you like the best. It will be the best choice!
    Try this: HTFU

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    buy what you need and what fits you. Fit is the #1 thing you should consider. Second value, and third is wheel size. 29ers are popular for the same reason that iphones are. Not because they do anything better than the other options it is just what is popular now. If you go back in 2 years I bet the bike shop is pushing 650B/27.5 bikes as relevant.

    Get what you like, mtbr is opinion and 26er vs. 29er so subjective. Ride some of both, pick the one that fits you best and fits in your budget and the one you like the best. It will be the best choice!
    I know you're an admin and all, but I don't think saying there are no advantages/disadvantages between wheels sizes is the right thing to say on a beginner forum.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  4. #4
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    I would say wheel size is fourth behind geometry.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I know you're an admin and all, but I don't think saying there are no advantages/disadvantages between wheels sizes is the right thing to say on a beginner forum.
    No but the advantages and disadvantages are outweighed by getting a bike that fits. I rode 26ers for decades and didn't hate them and I have ridden a 29er for around 8 years now and don't hate it but if they didn't fit me I would most certainly hate it.

    Jon Richards I usually consider geometry as part of fit as a bike with slack geometry is designed for a certain purpose and will fit differently than a bike with steep geometry designed for a certain purpose.

    I highly recommend with any new rider to go to a shop, don't let them steer you towards what they sell but instead have them size you to a bike, then decide after test rides and research what suits your riding style, terrain and needs based on the fit you have determined as optimal.

    As a bike for commuting I would consider a cyclocross bike myself or a comfort road bike over a 26er anyways.
    Try this: HTFU

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    I highly recommend with any new rider to go to a shop, don't let them steer you towards what they sell but instead have them size you to a bike, then decide after test rides and research what suits your riding style, terrain and needs based on the fit you have determined as optimal.

    As a bike for commuting I would consider a cyclocross bike myself or a comfort road bike over a 26er anyways.
    Great advice!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post

    As a bike for commuting I would consider a cyclocross bike myself or a comfort road bike over a 26er anyways.
    This was where I was going with my comment. Why would anyone buy a 26er for road/commuting. Yes the bike has to fit, but there advantages and disadvantages to the different sizes or we'd see 26ers on the tour, after all smaller lighter wheels right?
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  8. #8
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    If you already have a MTB think about a road bike. You can ride when the weather's not cooperating and good to commute on too. Ride lots of bikes either way and buy what fits best and what feels comfortable.

    29ers do all the boring stuff better 26ers are just more fun to ride.
    I'm going to rob banks til I retire or get caught. Either way I'm set for life

  9. #9
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    Measure a 700c road wheel/tire diameter and a 26" MTB wheel/tire diameter.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Measure a 700c road wheel/tire diameter and a 26" MTB wheel/tire diameter.
    Just make sure that there are slicks on the 26er for an apples-to-apples comparison.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I know you're an admin and all, but I don't think saying there are no advantages/disadvantages between wheels sizes is the right thing to say on a beginner forum.
    I think it's precisely what needed to be said in the beginner's forum. Too many noobs are choosing and recommending 29ers like it's the cure to all problems. Many short riders want to get a 29er because a 5'2" Willow Koerber race with it. I own all 3 mtb wheel sizes so far (too short for the 36") I don't see one more superior than the others, that said there are times I would choose one over the others for the fun factor as there are more than one way to ride the same trail


    I like them all but clearly none are better than the other over all for an avg rider. If you are 6'5" or a racer yeah I'd tipped the scale to the bigger wheel.

  12. #12
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    All things being equal, it's really hard to say that there aren't advantages and disadvantages to the 29er. Saying it's only around because it's fashionable sounds like one person's jaded opinion...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParsedOut View Post
    All things being equal, it's really hard to say that there aren't advantages and disadvantages to the 29er. Saying it's only around because it's fashionable sounds like one person's jaded opinion...
    Most opinions are bias, that's the nature of opinions. They are based on personal experience

    29ers are not the answer to all mountain biking, they are slower, heavier, and bigger. Sure the opposite can be a good thing that they are more stable, offer more traction and more forgiving than smaller wheels. These are the main reasons people buy them.

    Racers can get away with using the 29er HT on a well groomed race course without the extra weight of the full suspension. They also have the skills to compensate any big wheel disadvantages.

    Noobs may like them because they are less twichy and a bit more forgiving on the descends, and offer more comfort than smaller wheels. Is it better than 26er overall, not really. It's kinda like getting a gel cover saddle or one with thick gel insert. It feels great at the show room or riding around the parking lot, but the more you ride the smaller and firmer saddle you'd preferred as long as it fits the sit bone. The point is many riders prefer the more responsive bike once they have improved their trail riding skills and 26ers seem to fill that need.

    Many new riders write 26er, and 650b off because they have 29ers or thinking that 29er would be better than the pos size they are riding, well give one a try first before posting general comment. I ride all wheels combo so far including 69, and 76 and while they are fun in their own way overall the pros and cons would wash out. However, if you are up for a certain kind of challenge one day and choose the right weapon to attack that trail in a certain way, yeah!! One wheel size or combo would be more superior than others.

  14. #14
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    I think 29ers are pretty cool, but they don't make me hate my 26er. Actually, by the end of the last extended demo I did on a 29er, I mostly missed having my cockpit setup, my front tire (even if it is smaller) and my fenders. That was on a wonderbike SRAM had on a tour promoting RockShox. Kinda get the wrong message from demo days lately...

    OP, for commuting it matters even less, depending on the riding environment. I find that most of the time I lose on a typical commute is spent standing at stop lights. I don't do that any faster on a road bike than a mountain bike. Look for something used for about $300 - you won't mind so much as it gets chewed up by being leaned against bike racks and whatnot. That said, I do prefer a road bike as a commuter. I get a fair number of hours on drop bars anyway, between pleasure rides, training, and lately doing some track racing. Drop bars are nicer to my shoulders. So for me, unless there's a reason to be on a mountain bike - in order to go mountain biking, generally - I'd rather be on a drop bar bike of some description.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    The OP wants a commuter bike. A 26er would be fine for that. I much prefer a MTB with slick tyres than a road bike. Far more relaxed, comfortable ride for me than being on a razor thin frame with razor thin tyres and can take the occasional bumps of kerbs, potholes, sidewalks etc. Road bikes are great for training rides, racing, fitness etc but for a basic city commuter I'd take a basic hardtail MTB with slicks any day.

  16. #16
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    I love this site. It's like being at my dinner table. It could be 70 degrees and sunny outside, and if you asked what's the weather is like, you would get 5 different response. But they will all say its great, but to different degrees. Heading to test the focus raven now. Will be riding it to a trail, then some on the trail. I will let you all know what I think.

    But keep responding, it's a great way for me to learn.

    Thanks

  17. #17
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    Get one of each, I have both 26 and 29 and ride them all when I can.
    Giant XTC 2 29er
    KHS Flagstaff 29er FS
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    Norco Fluid 9.2 29er FS
    Norco BIGFOOT FATTY

  18. #18
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    There are loads of threads there on mtbr discussing 29 vs 26, which is better, or if it matters. All you are going to get here is the sliver of those opinions from folks why happen to open this thread.

    I will say that I think most people are going to find a 29er to be a better match for what you are describing needing the bike for. I'm basing this on what I have seen happen among the folks I know that have been riding a long time. Almost all (except the gravity / DJ guys) have migrated from 26 to 29 on at least their hardtails.

    Also, if your stumpjumper is a 26er, why not mix it up?

    On the other hand, "most" people is not the same as "all" people. Thus no one can give you a definitive answer.

    I would not fret over this too much at this point. Even the most die-hard 29er zealots were enjoying riding bikes before 29ers, so its not like you are making a BAD move getting the 26er.

    Of course it has to fit, that should go without saying.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  19. #19
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    OP: If you like the bike get it. Someone else's opinion on wheel size is just that, an opinion....

    Sent from my skz_tenderloin using Tapatalk HD

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by caljah View Post
    NOOB, Thinking about picking up a focus raven and some on this site think I should not get it because its a 26. Most of my riding on this bike will be commuting and training on not very challenging courses. Picked up a stumpjumper FSR comp last week for serious off rode riding.

    Thanks
    i think it depends on your taste..ok, this is similar when people choose 100mm fork or 120mm fork..if you like the 26, then use it, or you like riding the 29, so use the 29..let's make cycling fun, just cycling, feel the air, see the scenery, and feel free!!!

    woohooo!!!

  21. #21
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    Picked up the focus raven today, heading to LBS to have some slicks put on and then going for a ride. Very excited. Rode the bike around and loved it. Everything is in perfect shape, it's amazing how the bike handles. It's more of a bike than I will need for the next couple of months but, I will certainly grow into it.

    P.s. the guy threw in new pair of scott team shoes.

    For the price and purpose, I did very well. Thanks for all the feedback, but for me, this 26 will be perfect for the near future.

  22. #22
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    Re: What's wrong with a 26 inch wheel

    A mountain bike generally is not a good commuter bike unless you commute on a path that needs it.

    A $300 used beater cyclocross or road is faster than an $7000 mountain bike.

    What kinds of conditions will this bike be ridden on and in?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by caljah View Post
    Picked up the focus raven today, heading to LBS to have some slicks put on and then going for a ride. Very excited. Rode the bike around and loved it. Everything is in perfect shape, it's amazing how the bike handles. It's more of a bike than I will need for the next couple of months but, I will certainly grow into it.

    P.s. the guy threw in new pair of scott team shoes.

    For the price and purpose, I did very well. Thanks for all the feedback, but for me, this 26 will be perfect for the near future.
    Congrats man. Most of us would love to own a FSR and a HT but many of us have to settle for one or the other. In about a week you have gone from no bike to two great bikes. Congrats dude. Now get out and enjoy them!

  24. #24
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    My commuter/rail trail bike is an older 26er hardtail, my first real mountain bike from back then. It's sporting a 1x9 drivetrain, semi slicks, and rim brakes. Although I have drank the kool-aid with the whole 29er thing and I do own and love my carbon roadie, in this application wheel size isn't very important. The tires roll fast and the gearing is good and it fits me, for pavement this is all I need, wheel size is inconsequential.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    buy what you need and what fits you. Fit is the #1 thing you should consider. Second value, and third is wheel size. 29ers are popular for the same reason that iphones are. Not because they do anything better than the other options it is just what is popular now.

    Get what you like, mtbr is opinion and 26er vs. 29er so subjective. Ride some of both, pick the one that fits you best and fits in your budget and the one you like the best. It will be the best choice!
    What you say is somewhat true. However, 29'ers are faster on the street then 26'ers. I have 2, 26'ers and while I do enjoy riding them I end up spinning the top gear (street riding) and it is a noticeable difference. When I get back on the 29'er I am faster (tracked on gps data). I think that there are great deals out there on 26'er with good components that are selling at a discount which makes them a great deal. If you are looking to get back into the sport or starting something new a 26'er is a great place to start due to price point in the market. On the trails the 29'er shines as well except for tight rock gardens.

    Mark
    2012 XXL Carve Expert

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