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  1. #1
    Trail Cubist
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    Any Clydes gone from a 29er to a 27.5? What did you think?

    I've been happily riding my 29er for the past 4 years, and it's still going strong and bringing grins to my face. The 29er was the first MTB I ever rode---coming from a road biking background the big wheels just felt right and made sense.

    Flash forward to now, and suddenly (after being too busy to pay attention for the past couple years) I log on to MTBR and see 27.5 forums and posts all over the place. HUH?! When did this happen? LOL

    I admit I'm intrigued. I'm 5'11" and around 220lbs (pretty fit), and there's no way in hell I'd ever ride a 26" bike---it feels like my 4-year-old daughter's bike, LOL.

    But I'm curious about the 27.5. A brief scan of reviews all seem to suggest that the 27.5 is the perfect sweet spot between the two. SO many reviews said this that I started becoming dubious---isn't this the EXPECTED review of a "Goldilocks" bike---not too small, not too big?

    I like my 29er's big size. I love its speed and runaway-freight-train tendencies. I love how it rolls over anything with relative ease.

    Yes, once in a while on really tight trails, I'll find myself wishing it was a bit more nimble...but I can still ride tight, 4' u-turns without falling over. (Okay---occasionally I'll use the "grab a tree and slingshot around" method, but I've gotten pretty good at that, LOL.)

    So am I missing anything? I'm curious to hear if there are any Clydes here who went from a 29er to a 27.5 and are loving it?

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  2. #2
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    A nimble bike is a lot of fun. I primarily ride 29ers but I still enjoy 26ers nimble/stiff/and quick handling. I also like feeling the trail more on them. My old 1999 FSR Comp is badass...I ride that thing like a raped ape on the trails.

    I have demoed 2 27.5 bikes so far. What really stuck out about them is how invisible that wheels size feels. It doesn't feel too big like 29ers, nor too small like 26ers.

    That imo is what Goldilocks is when it comes to wheelsize.

    I am 5'9.
    2012 Scott Spark 29 Team
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    1999 Specialized FSR Comp

  3. #3
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    I'm coming off an xxl stumpy comp 29er onto the xl bronson 27.5. I like the wheel size a lot. It still rolls well, but feels more nimble. I find myself carrying a lot more speed into and through tighter sections. That said, I'm coming off a cadillac and into a sports car, so it's not even close to an apples to apples comparison. For what it's worth, I can still plow through the same terrain, but the new setup is incredibly playful. I'd say hit up a demo days and see for yourself.

  4. #4
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    Looks like not many Clydes riding 27.5 these days! I'd like to try one, but I doubt I'll sell my 29er and rush out to get a 27.5.

    Sounds like most of the reports suggest the 27.5 is a bit quicker and more nimble...but I've never felt like my 29er wasn't nimble enough—it's nimble enough to not want to sacrifice its freight-train-like ability to roll over anything. :-)

    I'm guessing it depends on the trails you ride. Most trails I ride (and like best) are longer XC trails that don't require tight, fast turns...so i'm good with the freight train!

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  5. #5
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    Any Clydes gone from a 29er to a 27.5? What did you think?

    I demoed a bunch a few years ago: Turner Burner, Intense 275, Rocky Altitude, Scott whatever it was, etc. Meh. I liked the Altitude, but for me it's a trade off between suspension travel and wheel size. I won't get a 650b with less than 160mm travel and whenever I do get a DH bike, that's the way I'll go. But for XC-AM, I still like the roll of a 29er.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    I have demoed 2 27.5 bikes so far. What really stuck out about them is how invisible that wheels size feels. It doesn't feel too big like 29ers, nor too small like 26ers.

    That imo is what Goldilocks is when it comes to wheelsize.
    I'm 5'10" and 230 and recently demoed a Heckler, and it was definitely impressed. You nailed it by saying that the 27.5 wheel does feel invisible, still nimble yet feels like it rolls over stuff almost as well as a 29er. I'm definitely saving my pennies to replace my 26" bike with a Heckler or a Bronson in a year or so.

  7. #7
    JHH
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    I ride a SC TBc. Love it. 6' 240... I demo'd a Solo and a Bronson and ride them both on a trial I ride at least once a week.

    Climbing: Noticeable difference in having less rolling resistance up. Not as brutal as going back to my 26" but going up I felt like I lost a gear and gained 15 lbs.

    Descending: OK, sure the lower center of gravity felt great. But the bike didn't blow me away. Nor did it allow me any more balls/skills then my TB does. I didn't like the slow feeling of the Bronson (that's due to geometry though) much at all.

    I admit that when I got back on my TBc it felt tall for a few rides. Then I changed my rear tire to match the all Ardent set-up the Solo I rode had.....changed my riding position a bit and my bike felt even better than the Solo did. With 29r you have more contact patch and am railing out of those same corners with Wagon Wheel rolling resistance. Faster, smoother, more stoked.

    In the end, I'm sticking with 29 and upgrading to carbon rims instead of a smaller wheel. Speed is flow!
    Keep pedaling no matter what

  8. #8
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    I'm 6'2" 230 and have been riding a 26er for 28 years. I have four in my stable. I went from being a BMX riding teenager to a 26" riding MTBer a looong time ago. A few years ago I test rode a couple 29ers and hated the top-heavy, riding on a tall horse feel and handling (perceived anyway). In fairness, I ride smaller frames than I should too because I like to whip my bikes around like a BMXer. I can see the benefits of the 29ers and kind of feel puny when I'm riding next to them and I'm eye-level with their rear ends! I also can't keep up on straightaways but I can carve the corners and handle certain obstacles better, but others worse.

    Long and short of it...the 27.5 has me intrigued enough to consider it after all these years....the 15-20 year old Trek and Specialized stable mates may get jealous though.

  9. #9
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    The 650b really shines on long rides with varying terrains. With my 29er I loved the contact patch but did not love the handling. I loved the snappyness of my 26er but did not like it through rough and rocky climbs. The 650b just feels natural, like what a mountain bike wheel should have been long ago. To me they climb well AND handle well. i ride trail/all mountain though. If I only raced XC I would stick with 29ers.

  10. #10
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    I just recently tacoed a 29er front wheel going off a drop on my Cannondale Scalpel, so my confidence in the 29" wheel size for a big rider (230 with gear, 6'2) has been shaken a bit. Granted it was also the cheapo machine-built OEM wheel that came on my Scalpel 3, so I realize that the build was probably a factor, but now that my riding has evolved to a point where I'm getting both wheels off the ground a bit more frequently and doing some faster descents, I'm switching to 27.5. I think it'll be a reasonable trade-off between the advantages of a 29er and the stronger/stiffer build of a smaller wheel.

  11. #11
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    Any Clydes gone from a 29er to a 27.5? What did you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete View Post
    I just recently tacoed a 29er front wheel going off a drop on my Cannondale Scalpel, so my confidence in the 29" wheel size for a big rider (230 with gear, 6'2) has been shaken a bit. Granted it was also the cheapo machine-built OEM wheel that came on my Scalpel 3, so I realize that the build was probably a factor, but now that my riding has evolved to a point where I'm getting both wheels off the ground a bit more frequently and doing some faster descents, I'm switching to 27.5. I think it'll be a reasonable trade-off between the advantages of a 29er and the stronger/stiffer build of a smaller wheel.
    OEM XC wheels was absolutely the factor, far more than wheel size. I'm bigger than you, and I subject my wheels to drops and high speed rocks frequently. Having wheels built for the intended use is important regardless of the diameter.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    OEM XC wheels was absolutely the factor, far more than wheel size. I'm bigger than you, and I subject my wheels to drops and high speed rocks frequently. Having wheels built for the intended use is important regardless of the diameter.
    ...And my Project 321 Lefty hubs laced to Flow EX rims are on the FedEx truck now.

    That said, I do think my longer-travel bike will be a 27.5, unless the Specialized Enduro blows my mind the way everyone says it will.

  13. #13
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    Any Clydes gone from a 29er to a 27.5? What did you think?

    Those should be a considerable improvement!
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    Those should be a considerable improvement!
    Yeah. Looking forward to it for sure. Still think I'll wait for my new bike before planning any trips to Whistler, though.

  15. #15
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    I'm 6'2" 205, with a long inseam. I'm considering going from RIP 9 to a 27.5 -- Pivot Mach 6? I'm so on the fence about it. I remember how much I enjoyed the switch from my 26er to my RIP -- more traction, more stable in the rough, better descender, better climber. That said, I think my 26 was undersized for me and was truly an XC bike with steep geo and less travel. So, I know I have that bias to overcome. Main concern -- feeling hung-up when going through rock gardens at slower speeds. Obstacles just seemed so much larger on my 26. I don't miss that. The lure of shorter chainstay length, slack HTA, lower rotational mass, plus 155mm plus of travel -- hmmmm
    If you're really honest about it, they're all "cheater lines".

  16. #16
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    I kinda switched...upgraded my Ventana El Cap 2007 frame to a 2013 Captain Zeus custom. 27.5 rear for short chainstays and longer travel (140/160) and 29 front end with 67 hta and pike 150. Truly feels like best of both worlds for me...really playful and snappy, but super stable at speed. Short chainstays and really long top tube (27 inches) definitely help. I notice no decrease in rollover capability, and popping the front wheel up is a breeze.

    7ft 260 lbs

  17. #17
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    Any Clydes gone from a 29er to a 27.5? What did you think?

    I switched. Couldn't be happier.


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  18. #18
    Viva la Vida!
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    I'm 5'11" 200lbs so I like to think that I'm not really a Clyde but I'm still heavier than a lot of the guys I ride with.

    I felt for it and bought a KHS 6500 140mm/5" of travel after one ride I started bottoming out every time I switched bikes with my JET 9 RDO 120mm/4" of travel but it wasn't really a fair comparison so I tested lots of 650B's made of carbon next: Solo, Bronson, Carbine, Altitude, Mach 4, and as much as I liked them I personally wouldn't get anything with less than 160mm of travel if I was to get a 650B.
    Then I got in to the new breed of LT carbon 29ers with shorter chain stays and I fell in love, the shorter chain stays make them more playful, almost make you forget you are on a 29er and 140/160mm of travel on a 29er is hard to beat on most applications, other than DH/Gravity Shuttle rides the only advantage that I see at this point is if you have to get over steep and big rock walls where it's easier to accelerate and get momentum on a smaller wheel size if you are not carrying enough speed before hand.
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  19. #19
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    Any Clydes gone from a 29er to a 27.5? What did you think?

    Thanks for all the input. Glad to hear from other Clydes, (esp those on an extra large frame or larger)- that the switch from 29 to 27.5 is working out. I definitely think the short cs, slack geo, and 6 inches of travel are key.
    What are the "new breed of LT carbon 29ers"? Spec enduro?
    If you're really honest about it, they're all "cheater lines".

  20. #20
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    Any Clydes gone from a 29er to a 27.5? What did you think?

    I haven't looked at this thread in a while. I demoed a v3 Nomad at Targhee this summer. I liked it on the machine built jump trails, but preferred my Prime on the more natural rough singletrack. Didn't feel much different than a 26" wheeled bike to me.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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

  21. #21
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    Any Clydes gone from a 29er to a 27.5? What did you think?

    Makes sense as there has to be some loss in the roll-over-anything smoothness that 29ers have on single track, especially the flatter and less technical areas. I ride a mixture of that with rocky, chunky, ledgey, and sudden descents into creek beds that then have equally sudden ascents. The flatter areas are often riddled with chunky rock gardens. I'm reading that it is the flatter, less chunky and straighter sections where the 29er outpaces a 27.5 and likely that difference is amplified by being a Clyde??
    If you're really honest about it, they're all "cheater lines".

  22. #22
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    I'm 5'11" and 220 and use a 27.5" for my hardtail racer. I really like it. When I was demo-ing bikes I found the 27.5" rolled downhill nearly as well as a 29" on straight sections of trail. I think being heavy overcomes the loss of rolling efficiency the 29" gets.

    My FS 29" is pretty rough to handle in tight, slow, wooded trails, especially after a number of hours into an endurance race. However, the FS 29" is like being on top of a train, just point and let it go over stuff. I don't like taking it off of bigger drops anymore, a little of on a front landing once and folded the wheel. Seems a little less forgiving for a little too much lateral force when getting a little air.

    I liked the idea of having the smaller wheel because of rear wheel strength issues with hardtails. I also found the 27.5" to handle just a little bit nicer on tight corners and slow speed manners were nicer, like uphill switchbacks. Seemed more forgiving in corners too as it was a lot easier to correct my line mid-corner over a 29".

    I used to be horrible at descending so I got the FS 29" for it's descending manners. Eventually I found high speed corners and climbs were where I was getting dropped in races as I got better at handling a bike and better at racing so now i have the 27.5" hardtail. Super sweet acceleration (in comparison) for passing people too if I somehow find the legs to do so.

  23. #23
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    6' 222lbs... (was 245) got back into riding bikes 12 months ago... HT 29er, I kept buckling/taco-ing rear wheel. I invested in a sturdier rear wheel, but had already decided I needed a full susser.

    Now riding AM 140mm steed (650b), and loving it. Bike handles my bulk and still feels nimble etc.

    One day I'll get a top of the line FS-29er (once I can hand down current ride to son)

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  24. #24
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    6'3 250 and just finished thrashing my rear wheel on my yelli screamy hardtail 29er. I'm investing in getting a nice new set of wheels built (dt 350 hubs with i25 rims) If I have problems with the wheel again, I will consider making the switch, especially since I'm pretty confident there are people running the yelli with 27.5 wheels and enjoying it. The yelli has the short chainstay, slack headtube thing going on that someone else mentioned. It rides so much better than the cheapo 29er I initially built up to first try off road riding (tons of roadie experience, now I ride almost exclusively in the dirt since moving to florida) Part of why my rear wheel got thrashed in the first place is my lack of riding skills but my skills are much better now so we shall see. I definately don't like the idea of having equipment become obsolete

  25. #25
    Robtre
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    Debating this same topic myself. I have 2 29'er XC oriented bikes. I want something more playful, nimble to add to the quiver.
    -rides bikes for fun.

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