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Thread: 26 vs 29

  1. #1
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    26 vs 29

    Hey guys! Just joined the forum and in need of some advice. Im just shy of 6-4 and average 285lbs and have been riding a 2011 26" Trek 3700. I origionally got it to comute from my house to school while I was away at college and some light trail work but now I am getting more serious into trail riding and am looking to upgrade. I like to ride as hard and as fast as I can(when my equipment lets me). So my (first) question is, what are the pros and cons of 26ers and 29ers for my size and riding style.

  2. #2
    dru
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    Aesthetically a 29er looks better for tall guys. However being you are heavy a 26" wheel is generally stronger. Another thing to consider is headtube length. Many 26ers come up short in this department.

    I have both sizes. Like 'em both but the 29er does look better.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  3. #3
    beater
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    I really recommend riding as many bikes as you can to get your own sense of what you like. Unfortunately, your question is really open ended, so you're likely to hear what other people prefer. For example a "hard and fast" riding style could mean two completely different things to different people.

    That aside: for XC/Trail/AM duties, I like the way 29ers roll. I'm currently shopping for a 24" dirt jumper for pump tracks, though. And when I get around to buying a DH/park bike, it'll probably be a 650b.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

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    I started cross-country on a 29'r hardtail and then switched to a 26'r full-suspension ... benefits and costs to both ... I like the 26 for the speed, lightness and ease of handling, but like the 29 for strength and stability.

    What I don't like about the 29'r is that it can be difficult to get rolling and keep rolling, and if I get into some technical sections with lots of roots and turns I find it really challenging to just keep the bike moving.

    Haven't really found anything I don't like about the 26'r.

  5. #5
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    You should get a 29er and for your weight custom wheels will be necessary, 26er's are definitely more flickable but a 29 front wheel has alot of advantages for going over obstacles. 26 wheels are tougher over all but the SUN MTX 33's are a good value and tough for heavy riders.

    Custom wheels for sure, you can get hurt on the stock wheel setup. I run a RH XXL with Sun MTX's and BB7's with oversized rotors and that is a good bargain for a startup bike.

  6. #6
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    My 2 shekels worth:

    I am of similar proportions as the OP, and 29" wheels have been a complete game changer for me. I was always behind the pack on descents until I got a chance to ride a friend's 29er on the local trail that I had ridden several hundred times. I hadn't been on that bike for 10 minutes and I knew my days of riding 26" wheels were OVER. I find I prefer them in every riding situation I find myself in, which can vary quite a bit at times. Of course, I cannot guarantee everyone will have similar findings, but I think you owe it to yourself to try the 29" wheels.

    Also, your Trek 3700 has a relatively short top tube length compared to other bikes of similar seat tube lengths. It is an entry level frame designed to have a relatively upright riding position. Keep in mind that you will feel a little stretched out on other XL (the size that will fit you in most bikes) size frames in comparison. It's a good thing if you're looking to up your performance and ability.

    I have been on 29" wheels for four years now and have weighed between 255 to 290 lbs during that time (mostly closer to the upper end of that range) and find a good build on 32 hole rims with quality double butted spokes (14/15/14), holds up just fine. Spindlier spokes and/or less of them gets risky with big dudes. I have ridden some wheelsets that have held up with less than 32 spokes, but they were very expensive (Easton Haven comes to mind). If you're going to spend that kind of money on wheels, I would probably consider other options as a clyde.

    The bigger issue I have had is that as I have become stronger, I have had issues with several Shimano freehubs. Not because I slam into them like an animal, just from pedaling my bloated carcass up short, but very steep, hills. A few of their newer ones are supposedly stronger. I have moved on to DT Swiss star ratchet based rear hubs and have had no issues with them. They are more expensive, but super reliable. I think you could start out with something like the 629 or 529 Shimano and see if they hold up for you if you need to go with something budget minded for the time being. I would go with at least 19mm inner rim width (21mm or more preferred) to keep the tire plump with regards to volume so you don't have to go with higher pressure, and to keep tires from rolling over toward the side in hard cornering situations.

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    ^^^What he said.

    I also am 6'4 albeit only 200. Mostly flow trail, 3' jumps and not very steep.

    I used to ride an XL Trance in 26" and would always get left behind (except on the absolute steeps )

    So, I looked for a new bike and ended up on an XXL Camber 29er. Wow. Just feels so right and I beat my mates up hill and down. I reckon it is 10% faster.

    I gave the Trance to the wife. I tried riding it recently and it felt like a toy. Just so wrong.

    For people over 6', 29er is the shiz.

  8. #8
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    26er = pony
    29er = stallion.
    roccowt.
    rocnbikemeld

  9. #9
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    I'm 260lbs and I have switched back and forth between 26-29 trying different set ups this year. Heat tube angle and chainstay length mostly. I build my own frames.
    29er biggest negative is "momentum" you have to brake later and keep speed. If you don't it's much harder to build speed after slowing.
    29er rolls over roots, rocks etc much better and especially on climbs.
    26er logs, drop offs, and "bmxing" are much easier and more fun .
    26er corners much better in a single track situation. Wheelbase?
    Bottom line for me it depends on the trail. Some are better for each.
    I can confirm this whole 15mm axle, tapered headtube, 142mm axle is NOT as much of a benefit as you may think. It's more MARKETING.
    So, feel comfy buying a 1-1/8,9mm,135mm 29er being a Clydesdale.

  10. #10
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    I think the 69er is a good concept, I think for a big guy a 650b rear and 29 front could have potential? in alot of ways a 29 is a pig compared to 26. The extra gyro of a bigger wheel is very noticeable when it come to flickability at speed.

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    69er tried and died a few years back. It never really took off.

    I don't see enough of a difference in 650 & 29er wheel size to bother with mixing it up like that.

    In a lot of ways a 29er is just different to a 26" bike. Not better, not worse, just different.

  12. #12
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    I read the reviews from the people who own the 69er's and they really like them, the bikes sell for alot it seems like second hand.

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