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  1. #1
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    Anyone try 29er and stick with 26???

    Anyone try the 29er and decide to stick with the 26? If so, why? I have a 29 model narrowed down, but cannot try it yet due to the road conditions. It is about $400 - $450 more than I had planned on spending for the 26. However, it seems as though I should at least try one before I make a purchase. I am just getting back into bikeing, so I don't want to jip myself either. Thanks

  2. #2
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    Aye

    Joker,
    I tried one actually bought one and went back. I got my education about the differences here, these guys are just awesome with info. The best info I got was, you have to ride them both and feel for yourself. I went back to a 26 because I felt like I had more instant control from the start of whatever I was trying to do to the end. For example I ride in some tight areas and a 180 Switchback only 14inches of trail, I felt like I could just whip the bike around, where on the 29er I felt like I had to slow her way down etc. Mind you these are all my personal feel. I did like it on the flowy less technical single tracks though.

  3. #3
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    enOehT... what 29er did you try?...

    but ya you need to ride em... I have 2 29ers... both are very similar but so different... i like the fast handling surly karate monkey with a g2 fork (which most would consider "nervous handling" or "twitchy" then there's the redline d440... it holds it's own, rides smoother and everything... but when things get tight it doesn't handle as quickly as I'd like... in the slower more flowy turns though it is very good...

    i'm also about 6'4... wanted to do the 29er thing seance '04 haven't been on a 26er outside of riding around the yard in years... so can't comment to that... but i love my 29er

    i'll be riding a 26er FS rig this weekend at the trek demo day... should be interesting to see how I like it having not been on one in years...
    Last edited by donalson; 01-26-2009 at 10:54 AM.
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  4. #4
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    I do not think I will be to technical, asI plan to mostly ride on state park trails and the single track will be limited. As you say, there is great knowledge and experience here. Of course, thats why I have been asking so many questions. It has been a while since I rode a mountain bike and I am a larger fella, lol. I am leaning torward the Marin Alpine 29er or the Jamis Durango 29er. Both are well more than I thougt I would have to spend on a bike, but I want something that fits and can be really enjoyed.

  5. #5
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    uhm

    Heya Donalson,

    It was a Fish Caliber 29, I must admit my friend, I did not give it a soak time and ride more than twice. I couldn't get used to it fast enough and maybe that was my downfall. It was a timing thing as well, a very good friend of mine wanted to get into mountain biking as well and he wanted a 29er and scooped it off me. It did feel awkward to me, twitchy as you say. Its hard to explain. I tell ya one thing I loved the smooth roll to the trail head on it, couldn't be beat. I'm 6'3 260lbs, and dropping fast thanks to the input on here. The Caliber was more than enough bike for me.

    Joker,
    That's one thing I love about the majority of this community, we all get to express our own feelings toward any product, and disagreements and its welcomed. Good Luck getting back into it my friend, ride hard.

  6. #6
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    i bought a jamis exile last spring and sold it that fall. i could not get use to the slow starts and didnt like the feel of it in tight trails ad tight corners. Also, due to my clye size i found the wheels would fold under duress when pedaling. i just bought a surly 1x1 im going to fix up.
    It's 10 o'clock, do you know where your mom's is at?

  7. #7
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    I also bought a 29er and went full out with the best components. Everyone said since I was tall (6'3" and 240lb) and it would suit me better. Well it did feel more proportioned to my size, it handled awesome on fast rolling trails and absorbed bumps better than any 26er hardtail. Where I really suffered was on climbs that required stop and go or more technical climbs (I need to note that I'm not a xc, heartrate monitor wearing let me get my timming of my lap kind off rider). I think if I had buddies who also rode 29ers I'd be fine but I was the only one in the group with one and was constantly being smoked on our rides... Soooooo I went back with a 26er and am back in the game. The 29er love relationship lasted around two months. At least I can say been there, done that!!!

    As all the guys say here, you need to try it and see if it's right for your riding conditions, style and I don't care what anyone says you need to take into consideration what your buddies ride also. It's kind of like buying a 36lb freeride machine to go ride with your xc hardtail riding partners. Of cource that might be a little going overboard in comparison but you get the picture...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by enOehT
    Joker,
    I tried one actually bought one and went back. I got my education about the differences here, these guys are just awesome with info. The best info I got was, you have to ride them both and feel for yourself. I went back to a 26 because I felt like I had more instant control from the start of whatever I was trying to do to the end. For example I ride in some tight areas and a 180 Switchback only 14inches of trail, I felt like I could just whip the bike around, where on the 29er I felt like I had to slow her way down etc. Mind you these are all my personal feel. I did like it on the flowy less technical single tracks though.

    ditto, steering/bike too slow

  9. #9
    lotto baby
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    i'm currently going back from 29er to 26 (i have my 29er up for sale - once sold its gonna be a burlier 26" hardtail - something like the kona five-o or similar). i'm 6'4, and i gave the 29er two years of exclusive x/c rides. it rides well, a little sluggish here and there in the turns, great in rock gardens, but very little 'flickability' when compared to a 26" wheeled bike. i totally drank the kool aid, but have since sobered up a bit.

    i think the biggest influence on me was that i got a DJ bike a while ago and started riding that too. now i want to jump off stuff during my x/c rides... and my 29er is just not designed for that. i'm sure there is a 29er out there that can handle bigger jumps and drops, but i dont like the bigger wheels in the air, and i dont trust them to hold in a poor-form landing... and there isn't a 29er hardtail (that i know of) that is set up for drops and jumps. the burlier FS 29ers that can handle bigger stuff are priced entirely too high for me. i feel like 29ers are generally more expensive - wheels, tires seem to run for more $...

    either way - i'm glad i had one, i've since ridden a 26, and i am looking forward to going back to 26 officially.
    i spurt in the wind, and the wind drug it

  10. #10
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    i haven't...

    but my brother had a Turner Sultan for about six months, and got rid of it for a Knolly D-T. I don't think he's looked back...

  11. #11
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    I rode a 29er after being on a 26er most of my Mtn Biking life. The 29er just felt sloppy and slow. One of the reasons I ride is because I like the feeling of whipping through things at "Mach 1." The 26er definitely does it for me.

  12. #12
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    I think there a few factors to consider with the 29er that you really didn't have to when buying a 26' bike. For example the frame size and geometry....or this one is my favorite......how will this model of 29er effect the switch-backs vs. another model 29er or even a 26'? I had my 29er custom cut and re welded on the rear triangle to shorten the wheelbase. And after that was done, I have no problems on the switch backs anymore. And it not only goes much faster, I have just as much control. And the feel to me is then more comfortable on the 29er than the 26'. So the hard part is really the homework you put into your 29er. It can feel just as controllable and just as good as the 26' and even better. But if you are like me and your body type is crap, then you need to consider something else. I am not going back but I'll admit I was close to going back until the frame was modified. This is the problem with 29ers in general. Since they are so different, you go to a bike shop wanting one yet you forget that the ones they sell are for the masses. So a custom setup might be needed depending on your body type. I'm already planning on my next frame.....I'm going to be calling 3Dracing out of Colorado and have them build me a custom ultra lite Easton Cro-Molly HT.
    It will kick ASS!!!!

  13. #13
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    Couldn't imagine going back to a 26. My brother saw how much fun I was having on the 29er and he bought one. This weekend was his first ride and he loved it. It probably has a lot to do with the terrain you ride. We have a lot of roots and washouts. The 29er wheels roll over everything. It may not be as agile as my old 26 but it rolls over things MUCH easier and seems to keep going a lot better. Plus on the quick uphill washouts the tires seem to grip a lot better. Could just be me, but I have no intention on going back.

  14. #14
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    Rode 26'ers for 25 years. Just got a 29'er. At 6'6" and 260 I will NEVER go back to a 26'er. . .

  15. #15
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    I rode a 29er after years on long travel 26ers. I thought a 29er would be more proportional to my frame 6'4" 210lb. . The fit was fine on the 29er but it is just sloooowwww. Sure it motors over everything smoother but the flickable factor is out the window. I assumed in my older years a 29er would suit my less agressive riding style ....so now i'll wait till I am older and enjoy my little 26er.

  16. #16
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    At 6'3", I finally got to buy a 29er last fall. I am loving it. I am lucky because my riding style really suits a 29er. I'm more of a steam roller who never leaves the ground and never flicked my 26er around, so overall it works great for me! I really adapted to the feel of the 29er a lot faster than I figured I would. I had adapted in 2-3 rides. I think it's great that both 26ers and 29ers exist, it gives us all more choice to get the bike that fits our riding style the best.

  17. #17
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    I will never go back

    I am 6' 215 lbs, very long legs, big shoulders and head so too much over the bars action. My first ride on an XC 29er I was hitting jumps that I never did on my 5.75" travel Foes. I got a RIP 9, lowered the gearing a bit and will never go back. I climb up things I never could on the 26 and yes it is a bit big for the slow technical stuff but get the speed up a bit and it really shines. Long climbs feel a bit slow. Also, I ride down steeper stuff than the 26 as I do not feel like I am going over the bars. Because of my riding position I find it nearly as flickable as the 26. I do however have a very nice wheelset on it and that helps a lot. I converted my Foes to a 69er and really like that as well but BB is quite high. Converted my wifes bike to 650b up front and she really likes that as well. I will always have at least one 29 inch wheel on my bike.

  18. #18
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    29er all the way!!!!

    6'8" 270 - Living the dream - Baby

  19. #19
    29 some of the time...
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    I have been riding 29er exclusively since mid 07, and favoring my hard tail 29er prior to the switch. I sold off my 29ers late last year. Now I have just gone back to the 26er. I will admit that price was the deciding factor. Although I am curious to ride on 26in wheels again. I want to know how much of my 29er love is true and how much is placebo.

    I love the contact area of the tire for traction and rolling over stuff. Slower acceleration and a bigger turning radius are an issue. At the end of the day a bike is a bike is a bike and you get more for your money in 26in. The exceptions are few and far between. I think 29ers are awesome and I will have one again. But on a budget I'd be looking 26in.
    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine
    that's the stupidest idea this side of pinkbike.

  20. #20
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    you guys are onto something.....It will cost you if you want the benefits of the 29er with the handling ability of the 26'. I myself had this issue and just had my frame custom altered. I had the rear triangle cut and shortened to help on the switchbacks. I have now about 1/4 of an inch of clearance between my tire and the tube. It was also expensive because you just can't have any welder do it. It has to be an engineer. This was around 300 bucks. So yeah.....it's expensive. Most 29ers that are made for the masses are NOT the same as the 26'. They are so different in that you have to have a custom 29er to have them come close to a normal feeling. Plus my body style is freak'n odd with a tall upper body and short legs that I have to have a custom frame. So If it has to be custom, it might as well be a 29er if I am going to spend the money.

  21. #21
    Go The Distance
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    I think the 29ers are better for larger riders and there are pros and cons either way for either size. I have both, a 29er (Turner Sultan) and my enduro (26er) for the past 9 years (I love that bike). The 29ers feels great, but it is different on steep climbs and sharp, technical stuff. Regardless, it's great overall. My 26er was terrible is soft, loamy gravel found here in New Mexico and my center of gravity on the bike was not ideal. Now with the larger wheels and frame, its a better fit for me. 29ers really roll nice and downhills are incredible. If I was around 6' or shorter, I never would have changed from my 26er fs enduro.

  22. #22
    29 some of the time...
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    Following up...

    Okay, so I got my 26in built up and tuned roughly to my liking. I still have a bit of getting used to that I need to get over. That is mainly because the Heckler is an inch shorter in the top tube than the sultan. Barring that familiarity with the bike business I can make some observations on the 26in to 29er and back.

    At this point I still prefer 29er bikes. The traction that the wheels provide is better for climbing and cornering. At 6'3" they are a very good and proportional bike for my build. It feels more like you are in the bike than perched over it.

    I am happy to be on a 26in bike again though. I had forgotten how much of a chore it was to keep 29er wheels rolling in undulating terrain. I am finding myself smiling as I encounter these rolling ups and downs on the smaller wheels. Rarely do I need to downshift. To get used to the 29er wheel I swapped over to narrow xc tires for a couple of months before gradually transitioning to 2.35 knobbies. I hadn't really taken this into consideration before. After getting used to the 29er the small additions to weight and rolling resistance didn't really effect me. I only notice the work I was putting in now that I am back on 26in wheels with similar tires.

    The 26in wheels do deflect easier and go off course when bounced off a rock, but I think this has more to do with mass than wheel size. The 29er 2.3 tire, tube, and a 600gram rim versus the 26in 2.3 tire, tube, and 450g rim. That gives the 29er about 300g per wheel at the outer diameter (this is on the 2 bikes I am comparing, you can reduce the difference with care to parts selection). The rolling over baby head rocks is real though. The diameter of the 29er goes a long ways to keeping forward momentum over boulder and rocky terrain. I find myself getting caught dead in my tracks by rocks and ledges I have been rolling over for the last year. Mass plays some role here, but mostly I find that I am getting hung behind these obstacles where riding the 29er it would hit the corner and be able to roll over.

    Okay, if the 29er is so great why am I happy to be riding a 26in again?
    Tire and rim selection. Yep, dozens of options. In 29er there are only 2-3 choices for big tires and rims. There are many tires with big numbers on the sidewall, but it is a slim pack over an actual 2.2in width if you take calipers to the casing. 30+mm rims in 29er, yeah a few choices. Then there is forks. Lots more options in 26er and some good forks to be had without going into debt. Couple this parts bliss with the easier pedaling and the fact that I have been off the bike for near 5 months. You end up with very good reasons for me and my beer belly to be on the kiddie wheels for a while

    I will have another 29er, mark my words
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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine
    that's the stupidest idea this side of pinkbike.

  23. #23
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    now here is a question....who here has put on a set of 26 inch tires on their 29er? I did and found it exactly the same as any other 26 inch.

  24. #24
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    i put a 26" wheel on the rear of my bike for giggles... was downright goofy but it also slackend everything by 1.5 degrees or so...

    AL29er... good writeup... I haven't ridden a 26er for almost 10 years... I still wonder about a 26er FS rig... the heckler was the 1st FS bike i ever drooled over (back in like '96 or so when it 1st came out)... with all that travel up front I wonder about hwo it would do as a 69er also haha... 29er vs 26er aside... what are your thoughts on the linkage setup vs the large single pivot of the heckler?... the big wheel bike def looks more proportional... but hey it works for you so who cares right
    - Surly Disc trucker
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  25. #25
    Your bike is incorrigible
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    I have both, a Heckler and Stumpy 29er. They are completely different rides, and I like them both equally. The 29er does take some effort to get going, especially on steep trails. However, it does tend to really move out once up to speed. It's a hard tail, fairly light, and therefore flickable to an extent. It will never be the technical wonder of the Heckler, though. But you have to consider what trails you ride. If they are all long uphills with nasty technical sections, then the 26er is definitely the way to go because it will always be faster and easier to maneuver. If you have buff, rolling singletrack, then the 29er will outshine the 26er for speed and handling.

    I ride both types of trails, so I have both bikes. I think if you get a 29er it should be in addition to your 26er.

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