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  1. #1
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    Has anybody spent a lot of time on a 29er?? Pros vs. Cons

    Hi, I've been considering a Rush for a while now, but everybody keeps telling me to get a 29er. They make it sound like it is a no brainer, just do it. The problem is they are just so pro 29er that is sometimes hard to have a rational discussion of the pros and cons. It's like, "Trust me, just do it" It takes me a while to get a good feel for a bike so even if I demo one I still probably won't have it figured out. I can really only afford to have one bike. Most of my riding is on the East coast, with occasional trips out west. What do you think?

  2. #2
    El Pollo Diablo
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    read the 29er section.
    many threads just like this one.
    some of them have too much kool-aide, but most of them will tell it like it is.

  3. #3
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    I used to live in the east(the mountains of NC). I go back a few times a year and ride with my friends who are all expert racers in the NC and Virginia area. We ride friggin' crazy fast and gnarly stuff, and I have never even seen a 29er there including on my own bike. Out west, its another story. They are everywhere.

    But most of these guys have more than 1 bike. Some are hooked on it. From a purely physics standpoint, there are benefits and there are definitely hinderances to a bigger wheel size.

    My personal belief is that if you are looking at a all mountain full suspension bike, 26" is the way to go. If you are into fully rigid, single speed or are a tall person who is looking at a hardtail bike, then go with a 29" wheel.

    I am 6'4" and I have a Prophet and I race a Rush, both with 26" wheel. Everyone I race with everywhere I have been (at the expert/pro level) every racer with full suspension uses 26" wheel. There are no downhillers with 29" wheels!!!
    Don't get me wrong, there may be a few circumstances where a larger wheel would be a benefit, but overall the negatives would well outway the positives-for me.

    The negatives being slower acceleration, weaker wheels, flexier wheels, poor frame geometry.
    The positives being slightly larger patch area for slightly better cornering, the ability to roll over obsticles better.

    It is definitely not a no-brainer, but whatever you decide on, enjoy....

    Here is a pic of my new race bike
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  4. #4
    mad aussie
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    No doubt about it the 29'er devotees can be a frothing bunch. I think it depends a lot on your height and how/what you ride. I am 5'6" and I prefer a bike with a short front center (bottom bracket to front axle distance) to get the weight over the front wheel for turning in nice twisty singletrack. Every 29'er I have tried feels to me like a 26'er that is a size to big, great on fast/steep downhills and in the rocks, but I find them frustrating in tight corners. If I get a short enough front center then I start having toe/pedal overlap issues.
    Please note none of this would apply to taller riders, and its my personal preference. I am interested in the 650B (27.5 inch) idea as it could be a great compromise. I would love to try a 650B up front on my Rush.
    Also interesting to note that the 29'er is much, much bigger in the US, and in Europe its a very small segment of the market. I dont know if its due to the conservatism of European riders, or the fact that Americans always like things to be bigger bigger trucks, bigger houses, bigger wheels, bigger implants...........
    For racing I dont think it probably makes a difference either way. When I was at a recent 66 mile race when the steep tech climbing sections started the 29'er guys were off the back of the front group and we had 26 only at the front. But I would hazard a guess that is because they were taller guys and at a disadvantage on a steep sustained climb compared with the smaller lighter riders.

    Kevin

  5. #5
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Wombat
    If I get a short enough front center then I start having toe/pedal overlap issues.
    I am interested in the 650B (27.5 inch) idea as it could be a great compromise. I would love to try a 650B up front on my Rush.
    Americans always like things to be bigger bigger trucks, bigger houses, bigger wheels, bigger implants...........
    Kevin
    That is funny about Americans.....and true

    I am also considering the 27.5 in the front since I raised the rearend up a bit with a longer shock. I was going to mention the inbetween size but I didn't want to confuse anyone.

    Kevin, what do you mean about toe/pedal overlap? Are your toes hitting the front wheel like on a road bike?

  6. #6
    mad aussie
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    Yes, my toe hits the front tire when the wheel turns, I just miss it on the road bike, I ride a 52cm and it just grazes the front tire. Its a problem on low speed tech track stand type turns.
    Thats the problem with being short with big feet..............

    Kevin

  7. #7
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Wombat
    Thats the problem with BIG feet..............

    Kevin
    damn American...got to have everything BIG

  8. #8
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    I have replied to some of the posts in the 29er section asking this same question. If you didn't see my replies then I will summarize for you.

    I have been racing FS for the last few years, both xc and endurance using a Scalpel and a Rush. This spring I built an F29 and ended up not using the other bikes at all after that. in fact, I recently sold them both. I just received an F29 SS frame yesterday as well.

    I used the F29 to place 2nd in the Master's class in the NUE series, that included racing the Wilderness 101. Certainly a lot of rocks there but the bigger wheels helped to roll over some of the stuff that the smaller wheels may have been stopped by. But, I did add a suspension seatpost for that race and one of the others.

    I was surprosed initally that the larger wheels really did not hinder cornering in tight singletrack. The larger contact patch may help to provide greater lean angles. It may take a little more effort to accelerate but once rolling you do seem to roll faster. I didn't really notice any problem climbing, although the F29 weighed less than my FS bikes.

  9. #9
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Just buy one, you'll like it.

    I've been riding them for about 2 years, and have sold off my other stuff, as it just collected dust. Will it cure cancer? No. Is it fun, and does it posess a different feel than a little wheel? Yes. Will you be stuck with it forever if it is not your cup of tea? No. Buy one, give it a few months(the interest on your card won't kill you) then off load it (or the rest of your herd) depending on how you feel! Yep, the wheels are heavier, but if you take steps to lighten them, they are scary fast, and more fun than a room full of drunk college kids
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



    www.mendoncyclesmith.com

  10. #10
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinl19
    I used the F29 to place 2nd in the Master's class in the NUE series, that included racing the Wilderness 101.

    I was surprosed initally that the larger wheels really did not hinder cornering in tight singletrack. The larger contact patch may help to provide greater lean angles. FS bikes.
    Congrates on the 2nd place. I also received 2nd overall in the New Mexico masters expert cat. with my Rush. I would have gotten 1st, but was unable to attend enough races(they take the best 7 races and I only went to 6). I attribute a lot of my success to the bike. It is awesome. To each his own right

    About cornering in tight singletrack - it is a misconception that the bigger wheels corner slower... well they do, but it is so slight that it would not be noticable unless your feet hits the wheel like in Kevins' situation. They may have a greater moment of inertia, but they are also spinning slower comared to a 26" wheel....so the overall angular momentum is only slightly larger(because the mass in calculating the moment of inertia is a function of radius squared) meaning that it takes only slightly more torque to turn the wheel(i.e. change directions).
    And yes, it does make sense that 29" wheels would providing greater lean angles in some situations.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Wombat
    Also interesting to note that the 29'er is much, much bigger in the US, and in Europe its a very small segment of the market. I dont know if its due to the conservatism of European riders, or the fact that Americans always like things to be bigger bigger trucks, bigger houses, bigger wheels, bigger implants...........
    I think it is due to plastic money and cheaper everything ....

  12. #12
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    The component spec on the 08 Cannondale 29er's is an insult to the consumer. It is almost as if Cannondale went out of their way to hang crappy components on their bikes. $1700 does not get you much.

  13. #13
    Dr Gadget is IN
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    Whats your frequency?

    While there are indeed "over kool-aided" types out there - you also find folks like MendonCS and meself who tried 29er and in the process of investigation found no desire to go back to 26. You also find folks who gave 29 a good honest chance - and went back to 26.

    I think it is personal and ties to what kind of force/feedback works with your control circuitry. After riding a 29er, a 26er felt like one of those early video arcade driving games where there was no feedback to the steering: no force required to turn, and very quick - but you had to be very precise to hit your mark. Easy to overshoot. The "slow" handling of a 29er is just a higher feedback force vs your input. I like it. Helps me hit my steering mark without overshoot. The torsional strength of a Lefty helps there too.

    All the things that are said of 29er are true. Some of the "bad" can actually be "good" if it fits your style. The good stuff (rollover, better cornering grip) is always good.

    I'm 210lbs, and don't have any more wheel strength problems than I did with 26ers. Occasionally truing, some rim dings after "accidentally" slamming into things.

    So. Check the loaner thread in the 29er forum - or buy one. Try it out. See if you're on the 29er frequency. Or not.
    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

    WSS/OSS: Open Source Sealant

  14. #14
    Stewed Screwed & Tattooed
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    Quote Originally Posted by apacherider
    The component spec on the 08 Cannondale 29er's is an insult to the consumer. It is almost as if Cannondale went out of their way to hang crappy components on their bikes. $1700 does not get you much.
    These bikes have lefty's on them. Those things are expensive. Like double to triple the cost of the frame. 1700 may not get you much other than the best fork in its category and one of the best alloy frames in the category. Not too bad if you ask me...

  15. #15
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    What do you mean by the best fork in category? What category is this and what makes it the best in this category?

  16. #16
    mad aussie
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    I have to confess that I am intrigued enough by the 650B concept to talk to my friend Brent Ruegamer and Ruesports about possibly fabricating a carbon fiber swingarm to take a 650B rear wheel for my new Carbon Rush frame when it arrives. Dual 650B and perhaps some geometry tweaks as well.............

    Kevin

  17. #17
    Mr.650b - Mr.27-5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Wombat
    I have to confess that I am intrigued enough by the 650B concept to talk to my friend Brent Ruegamer and Ruesports about possibly fabricating a carbon fiber swingarm to take a 650B rear wheel for my new Carbon Rush frame when it arrives. Dual 650B and perhaps some geometry tweaks as well.............

    Kevin

    Kevin,

    I would love to see this come to fruition! I think the Rush and Prophet frames are particularly well suited to a conversion like this.

    The SC Heckler, Jamis Xam and several other bikes currently on the market would work well too. Actually nearly any single pivot bike with a rear end like a SCB SL, or Rush should work great.
    “Those that say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those doing it.”

    Pacenti Cycle Design

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonojoe
    What do you mean by the best fork in category? What category is this and what makes it the best in this category?
    The Lefty is more smooth, lighter & stiffer than other comparable forks. Try one with an open mind and you'll see the light

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad ronald
    These bikes have lefty's on them. Those things are expensive. Like double to triple the cost of the frame. 1700 may not get you much other than the best fork in its category and one of the best alloy frames in the category. Not too bad if you ask me...
    $1700 for a bike with a Shimano M475 rear hub is insulting. The "Well it's upgradeable" line of logic is stupid at $1700. $1700 for a hardtail means that it should be race ready and maxed out with a perfect blend of components. The F29 lacks. Big time.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiar577
    The Lefty is more smooth, lighter & stiffer than other comparable forks. Try one with an open mind and you'll see the light
    What about durability? Is there an independent test? Sorry, I can't dump my perfectly working fork to try lefty which cost 2-3x as much as a frame as being claimed.

  21. #21
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    The 27point 5 man himself...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Pacenti
    Kevin,

    I would love to see this come to fruition! I think the Rush and Prophet frames are particularly well suited to a conversion like this.

    The SC Heckler, Jamis Xam and several other bikes currently on the market would work well too. Actually nearly any single pivot bike with a rear end like a SCB SL, or Rush should work great.
    Thanks for coming on board in this discussion

    Actually Kevin, you would not have to fabricate a new swingarm because the one you have is very perfect enough without the "bridge" that Cdale claims stiffens up the rear end. That is marketing bull$hit IMO. Almost all of the flex associated in the rearend of the Rush is around the pivot location whether it be in the frame(where most of the flex is) or in the swingarm. Take the bridge off and see if you can tell a difference.
    The only flex in the swingarm is side to side (what we call lateral flex)and the bridge is only designed to slightly inhibit the chainstays from vertical seperation. Ask any half intelligent mechanical engineer.

    And Kirk, we are waiting for our new tires and wheels....I know it hasn't been long since its conception, but....get on with it
    Only joking...we will try to be patient little mountain bikers.

  22. #22
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    Like I said, if you are looking at a hardtail, consider the 29", but it sounds as if you are leaning toward a full suspension. By the way, there were people with 29" wheels(hardtails of course) trying to catch me all year at the races. Not a chance....The Rush ruled the roost.

  23. #23
    mad aussie
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    Quote Originally Posted by yogiprophet
    Thanks for coming on board in this discussion

    Actually Kevin, you would not have to fabricate a new swingarm because the one you have is very perfect enough without the "bridge" that Cdale claims stiffens up the rear end. That is marketing bull$hit IMO.
    Now you have me interested! I might still have Brent build a swingarm because I thought about dropping the bottom bracket at the rear and slackening the bike slightly, although with the greater stability of the larger wheel the BB height difference may not be critical and the Rush has a low BB height to begin with.
    I might eventually go with a Ruesports swingarm because he thinks he can shave perhaps 1/4-1/3lb off the original at the same or better stiffness.
    Thanks for coming in on this one Kirk, I think the 650B could be a great option for full suspension bikes and for those of us who are vertically challenged and want a tight singletrack tearer with some stability in the rough stuff. I was hoping to get out to the dirt demo to try out a 650 but time did not permit this year

    Kevin

  24. #24
    Stewed Screwed & Tattooed
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    Quote Originally Posted by yogiprophet
    Actually Kevin, you would not have to fabricate a new swingarm because the one you have is very perfect enough without the "bridge" that Cdale claims stiffens up the rear end. That is marketing bull$hit IMO. Almost all of the flex associated in the rearend of the Rush is around the pivot location whether it be in the frame(where most of the flex is) or in the swingarm. Take the bridge off and see if you can tell a difference.
    The only flex in the swingarm is side to side (what we call lateral flex)and the bridge is only designed to slightly inhibit the chainstays from vertical seperation. Ask any half intelligent mechanical engineer.
    You know as well as I do CDALE would never add something to a frame that would make it heavier just to create some marketing BS. That is what Specialized is for...There are proven tests that show the improvement of the chainstay bridge. It is nothing new to CDALE design. It was on all of Cedric's gemini's since he required an ultra stiff rear end.

  25. #25
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Wombat
    I thought about dropping the bottom bracket at the rear and slackening the bike slightly, although with the greater stability of the larger wheel the BB height difference may not be critical and the Rush has a low BB height to begin with.
    I might eventually go with a Ruesports swingarm because he thinks he can shave perhaps 1/4-1/3lb off the original at the same or better stiffness.
    Kevin
    Who the hell is this Brent guy!!!
    Have you picked up one of those swingarms? Man that thing is a chunk of metal. It by far out weighs the main frame - no kidding. I should have weighed the 2 separately when I had it apart. My mind was blown away by how heavy the damn thing was compared to the main frame....and that mother is stiff. I was trying to bend it in any direction with all my might(and I am 190 elbows of lean machine)...and that was without the bridge on it. the thing would not budge. The main frame is like a friggin' feather.

    IFFFFF you could get this guy Brent to make a lighter swingarm(which would not be a big to do) I may be in on that deal. It would be sweet if we could hook up with the "HotBox/shock mount to weld a new chainstay/shockstay onto it.

    But if not you can still make it work with the existing swingarm. The BB height would be raised about 3/4" which would bring it to about 13-1/4".

    Also, if you just want a little height to the BB and slacker angles you could do what I am think about and just put a spacer or 2 in the Lefty and put on a 27.5" up front
    If you are doing tubeless (and who isn't these days with all the cactus and goatheads around our area) then no need for 2 tubes. I just carry Innovation tubeless plugs with me just in case the Stans has dried up.

    Keep me posted on the swingarm progression if you decide that route.

    Keep it cool ...and rollin' smooth

    Yogi out
    Last edited by yogiprophet; 10-21-2007 at 07:27 PM.

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