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  1. #1
    gravity fighter
    Reputation: Mikecito's Avatar
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    Sipped the 29er Kool Aid....

    I just sold my 26" Wahoo thinking that I would upgrade to a 29er (6'2" 225) but after a few test rides on a Specialized 29 comp disk in a 19" and 21" I'm starting to wonder if the big wheels are really going to make me happier.
    Long story short, I'm an intermediate rider (on a good day) who rides mostly long fire road climbs and some decent techy XC single track with lots of roots and a few small logs etc...
    I can see where the 29 is going to be a great climber, but I couldn't pop a wheelie on that thing to save my life during the test ride.
    I'm looking to see if anyone else has had a similar experience, and which way you went. Right now I'm leaning towards a lighter 26" bike with a 2.3 up front, but I'm trying to avoid too much buyers remorse down the trail.
    Any insight or advice from my fellow clydes would be great

  2. #2
    Not a lurker
    Reputation: ortrigger's Avatar
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    I've never had any issues with a 26" bike. Albeit, I've never ridden a 29'er. IMO, ride what feels right and don't listen to the hype about this thing or that thing. Heck, I would ride a Wally World special if it felt better than an Ellsworth.
    ^Rides a Specialized
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  3. #3
    Former Bike Wrench
    Reputation: mtnbiker72's Avatar
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    The bottom bracket drop and longer stays makes it harder (though not impossible) to pop a wheelie on a 29er. However, you'll find that you can clear logs and roots without having to dramatically pull the front end up like you do on a 26er. I switched from a 5" travel 26er to a 29er hardtail with 3" travel fork and I don't miss the 26er at all. The 29er does everything better and clears roots and logs smoother.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    No need to pop wheelies. You just roll over obstacles on the 29er. Well, maybe not all of them but you really don't need to do wheelies, just lighten the front end and the bike does the rest.

  5. #5
    Rohloff
    Reputation: bsdc's Avatar
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    You're really not going to get a feel for a 29er trying to pop wheelies in a parking lot. Try to rent or borrow one and take it on the same trails you ride your current bike. I think a real on-the-trail test ride will answer all your questions.

    Oh, and when you're test riding the 29er and see a log or rock, don't slow down to set your self up to pop the front wheel up. Just speed up and slightly unweight the front wheel as you hit it. You'll be amazed.

  6. #6
    a.k.a. BicycleKicks
    Reputation: 40hills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikecito
    but I couldn't pop a wheelie on that thing to save my life during the test ride.
    that's one of the reasons I am riding a 69er. IMHO it has most of the advantages of a full 29er (rolls bumps, carves turns, smooths the trail), but still has most of the same handling feel of a 26er (same gearing, can pop a wheelie, slightly lighter, shorter wheelbase). There aren't many 69er/96er bikes to choose from though.

    And here is my unsubstantiated opinion... many 29er riders think the 69/96 idea is stupid, but I'd be willing to bet that most never really tried riding one.
    I read that on the internet.

  7. #7
    Life is Go0d!
    Reputation: mo0se's Avatar
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    Its not difficult to get a wheelie on a 29er, its technique more than muscle.
    The only regrets in life, are the risks you didn't take.

  8. #8
    gravity fighter
    Reputation: Mikecito's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great responses!
    I think the 69'er concept is very valid and I've been kicking around the idea of a 650 up front as well, but ideally I want a new bike that I don't need to throw too much money at right off the bat.
    I'm going out for another round of test rides later today and I'll keep my lack of wheelie ability out of the evaluation equation

  9. #9
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    The first day to ever really rode trails was a trek demo day. I got to ride two 29ers and a 26. The first 29er was fs, then rode the ht, then a fs 26. I was definitely the most comfortable on the fs 29er, but I enjoyed the ride a lot more on the ht 29er. I felt more in control with the ht. The 26 was a great bike too, but i felt at home on the ht 29er. If you can come across a demo day, it is good for testing lots of bikes. Trek has a website that tells where they are doing demo days (i forget what it is), but i think they demo just about every weekend. By the way, 6'4 and 230lb. Good luck

  10. #10
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    I ride both 26 and 29, for different purposes. For flowing XC riding, or sitting in the saddle all day i feel at home on the bigger wheels. But for aggressive riding, hitting jumps, drops etc, 26 feels like the only option, when it comes to getting wheels off the ground, i find 26" bikes feel so much more nimble and flickable.
    Solution: Buy both!

  11. #11
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    I'm 6'5" and usually around 230 lbs. I feel like an elephant on a 26. I now have a Niner RIP, 2009, and love it. It is stiff and great for big dudes.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40hills
    And here is my unsubstantiated opinion... many 29er riders think the 69/96 idea is stupid, but I'd be willing to bet that most never really tried riding one.
    I think the idea is pretty neat and I would actually like to try one out. My buddy I ride with has a 26" bike but is hoping to upgrade next year and is going to get atleast a 29er but is thinking hard about trying a 69er. Or is it a 96er? Which ever one has the 29" wheel in the front. Anyways, I am kinda hoping he goes that way so I can ride it and see how well it works.

  13. #13
    AUGER-N
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    I just got a new 29'r. Just look for a 29 with shorter stays. My new Giant XTC 29'r is just like a 26 as far as wheelies go. I was on the fence until I rode the Giant. Ride one on a grass. It is amazing how much easier and faster it rolls. You wont regret a 29'r if you are looking for a hardtail, unless you are dirt jumping. All 29'rs are not created equal though. Go ride some a figure out what feels right for you. you will be glad you did.

  14. #14
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    I'm a 29er rider... IMHO it just simple logic as i'm over 6' tall... it's been a LONG time sence i've realy ridden a 26er outside of on the road...

    as far as wheelies and stuff... one of mine I can do it from a stand still all day long, the other I had not so much... the one that was harder to loft had a longer wheelbase and chainstay... I sold it (it was the redline d440)... the other bike I kept was a karate monkey... I liked both (and feel the redline was smoother riding) but prefered the quick handling of the surly.

    as for a 69er... I can see merits to it... but you do have more traction on the 29er wheel so the 29er out back would be a nice thing to have... I still want to build a 69er for myself one of these days... see for myself what the buzz is about... perhaps... friend/LBS manager guy is building an old klein up with plans of trying the 650b up front... and possibly both sides... that could be neat...
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  15. #15
    gravity fighter
    Reputation: Mikecito's Avatar
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    I went back to my local shop that had the Rockhopper 29 Comp Disk and had the bike fitter change out the stem on the 21" to go a little shorter and higher rise. I could tell he wasn't too excited about making all the adjustments, but once I convinced him I was serious about the bike, he was cool.
    The stem change made a dramatic improvement in the fit/handling and my test ride was a blast. I was able to lighten the front end much easier and still have great tracking while climbing.
    Overall I was very impressed with how stable and smooth it was over the roots and I got that nice feeling of being "in" the bike as opposed to perched on top.
    So I pulled the trigger and am now the owner of a nice satin black Rockhopper. I know it will need some upgrades down the line, but after taking it for a long ride today, it's a huge improvement over my last bike.
    I can see the advantages of a nimble 26 over a 29er and I'm sure I'll eventually have a few of each but for now I'm feeling good about my decision for the type of riding I'm doing.
    Thanks for the advice everyone!

  16. #16
    mtbr member
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    Congrats on the new bike. I love my Rockhopper 29er every time I take her out, except when I crash...lol

  17. #17
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    yup getting the bars in the right location seems to help A LOT
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

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