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  1. #1
    oot & aboot in Colorado
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    29er vs 26er - Question for those with experience on both locally.

    Background: I'm in my 40s. Out of shape. Mountain Biking to get back in shape (lost 8 lbs in the last month riding Hall/Heil/Devils backbone/etc). I used to mountain bike a bunch.. I've raced dirtbikes all of my life. I'm really looking forward to getting back in shape and back into Mountain Bikes more and dirtbikes less.

    I have been riding a Yeti 575 but I'm going to buy a new bike. I'd really like one bike that's pretty good at everything. I've decided on the Yeti SB line of bikes. I was on the fence about large vs. medium frame SB66 (I'm 5'11 - right on the line of recommended heights) so I went to the SG event in Boulder today where the Yeti factory test ride was. I rode the SB66c large and then the medium back to back. I still couldn't decide which size.

    Then on a whim I took the SB95c out for a spin; I didn't want to give it back! I'm not sure why (I've never ridden a 29er before) but I really enjoyed riding it. I didn't want to enjoy it (to me 29ers "look wrong" ) .

    My priorities in order are:
    1) Local rides: Hall/Heil/Devils Backbone etc (I live a couple of minutes from Heil).
    2) Moab and Fruita (we go out there all the time with the dirtbikes.. I'm looking to change that to mountainbikes more often)
    3) Winter Park and Keystone. I've never been on a ski hill on a mountain bike but it looks like an absolute blast (in a 40 year old beginner way - not in an invincible-20-year-old-bombing-down-the-mountain-way).

    So all of this babble brings me to my question:

    With that list of priorities is there anything that would make me regret going with a 5" travel 29er vs a 6" travel 26er?

    Is it going to be "less fun" when coming back down the mountain (which I'd currently say I'm doing at an "intermediate level" - I'm out of shape but I have no problem with flying down the the fun stuff due to dirtbikes).

    Thanks in advance for any feedback; this "29er" thing totally caught me off guard.

    cheers,
    Ed

  2. #2
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    I can tell you this, I am 6.1' and ride a Large Yeti SB66, absolutely love it. At first I was hesitant about how much I liked it, but after getting in about 10 rides it only seems to get better each time. Its been great for me along the front range and on blackjack up at Buffalo Creek. Havent ridden the SB95 yet but the SB66 does everything I had hoped for and then some. I will be in Moab next weekend so will find out what its really capable of. Not trying to persuade you or anything...

  3. #3
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    I had the same dilemma - stick with a 26 or explore alternatives. Never ridden a 29er. So began taking the steps to become familiar with what would compliment my riding style. Started with the Stumpy FSR EVO. Did a quick parking lot test. I left worried a 29er may not be for me, but remained positive in my hunt. Next up - Yeti SB95a. Took it out to parking lot. Took it back in and asked to demo it for a few days...

    Last night I placed my order. That bike was hoot! Permanent-grin going up and down. Truth is I really wanted the carbon, but the possible availability in August was out of the question.

    I don't have to go into the details of the bike as you already had that experience...

  4. #4
    oot & aboot in Colorado
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    Where did you hear the August date?
    cheers!

  5. #5
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    Local bike shop didnt have any intel, so I called Jenson. Their "expected" delivery date is June 20th, but the agent hinted that it may take longer. I couldn't wait till end of June / August...

  6. #6
    Living the High Life
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    I rode a 160mm 26" for years. Last year I went to a 130mm 29er and haven't looked back. I'm 6'1" so my height made the fit feel more natural.
    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

  7. #7
    Chronic 1st-timer
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    I rode my Honzo at Trestle last summer and hated it so much that I went back again & again & again & again.......

    29ers are only for sidewalk riding!
    Les grimpées, je m'en fou!

  8. #8
    Your bike is incorrigible
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    Personally, I don't believe there is any one bike that can do it all. That's why I won't get rid of my Heckler that hasn't been ridden in a couple years. Nor will I get rid of my On One Inbred that has been sitting at my parents' place for the last six months. It's also why, when I had the chance to get a Raleigh XXIXg, I jumped at it.

    My point is, you shouldn't get rid of the 575 just so you can get another bike. You should keep it and get another bike so that you have a choice. Actually, it is a proven fact that owing more than one bike keeps the riding fun longer.

  9. #9
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    I made the switch to 29er last year. First with a hardtail and then to a full suspension this year. I got a Salsa Spearfish its only 80mm of travel but I am an XC racer. I can tall you that 29er made me faster right away, and full suspension made me faster right away. I don't think I would ever go back to 26" wheels. I am from the east cost and I have had allot of problems with steep technical descents here. I just have never gotten use to how vertical trails are here. It was so bad I was going to give up mountain biking and stick to the road. 29rs changed all that for me. I'm still no super downhiller but I don't want to give up mountain biking any more.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser View Post
    II can tall you that 29er made me faster right away, and full suspension made me faster right away. I don't think I would ever go back to 26" wheels.
    +1

    I also am/was a dirt bike racer for 20+ years and the 29er is awesome. I ride specialized and dont know about Yeti (sure they are good). Coming from a dirt bike full suspension was a must for me. Then I realized weight is a big deal since I am racing MTB and got a very lightweight full suspension 29er and could not be happier!

  11. #11
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    Demo'd both the sb66 and sb95 expecting to order the 66. To my surprise, the 95 just-fit-right and that is what I ordered. I'm also 5' 11" but as you know, that should not dictate the size. I ended up with a medium.

    I love this bike and in no way regret the decision to buy it. It eats up the chunk for downhill bombs with a smile on my face.

    Two things. Be aware that it is not recommended to go fatter than 2.25 on the rear tire or you will most likely get rubbing (I've also read the 66 can't go too fat either). Tight switchbacks are not as easily manageable when compared to a 26" rig...although I've yet to dab on a single switchback, it's just slightly slower.

  12. #12
    a dad
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    Really just depends on your preference. What about a 27.5?

    The only thing I will say about a 29er is make sure you test it out on something twisty and turny to really get a feel for it, going straight they are unstoppable, but a different story on the turny stuff
    BBZ

    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy - Benjamin Franklin

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by billybobzia View Post
    The only thing I will say about a 29er is make sure you test it out on something twisty and turny to really get a feel for it, going straight they are unstoppable, but a different story on the turny stuff
    I would say depends on your context of twisty/turny. I would agree on the very tight switchback type turns. As for twisty/turny per downhill obstacle avoidance or twisty s-turn type terrain, I would not agree...at least for the sb95. I am coming off an easy to throw around 26" hardtail and finding the sb95 also easy to throw around. It's the tight, slow switchbacks that is noticeably different from my 26" HT.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Sloth View Post
    I would say depends on your context of twisty/turny. I would agree on the very tight switchback type turns. As for twisty/turny per downhill obstacle avoidance or twisty s-turn type terrain, I would not agree...at least for the sb95. I am coming off an easy to throw around 26" hardtail and finding the sb95 also easy to throw around. It's the tight, slow switchbacks that is noticeably different from my 26" HT.
    wont argue with you at all, but much of it is rider dependent.. what about a trail like LPS in Moab? we rode that recently and the 29ers in our group were significantly slower. one on a yeti sb95 and one on stump 29
    BBZ

    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy - Benjamin Franklin

  15. #15
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    I second Billybobzia- a 29'r will be much different than 26 in twisty stuff. Mine feels more sluggish or what has been described as less flickable (you have to ride it to really understand it). But I don't see ever going back to a 26. I have adapted my style to the handling of the 29 and while it is less snappy in tight singletrack it has made riding better- better balance (I'm 6'1"), better rolling over stuff & more natural feel.

    Take one out to demo on a trail you ride often and you will notice all the differences then you can make the decision.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by billybobzia View Post
    wont argue with you at all, but much of it is rider dependent.. what about a trail like LPS in Moab? we rode that recently and the 29ers in our group were significantly slower. one on a yeti sb95 and one on stump 29
    Got the bike last fall so have only been on front range stuff, mostly in Evergreen, some lower elevation stuff too. But, then again, I'm not a fly weight so maybe it is easier for me to throw the bike around.

    But one can't argue the suggestion of making sure to demo the bike on a preferred trail to know what one can expect. I'm glad I did that as I was really ready to purchase the sb66.

  17. #17
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    Re: 29er vs 26er - Question for those with experience on both locally.

    There is a learning curve going up to the bigger wheel size. Once I figured those big wagon wheels out, I was doubling the same whoops on my 29 stumpy evo hardtail as on my 26 stumpy Evo 150 fully bike. I will keep my 26 demo Dh bike and dirt jumper, but I'm switching over to 29 for the trail bike as soon as the new short stayed stumpy Evo 29 comes out later this year.

  18. #18
    Lookin for that extra can
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    Last fall I broke my faithful 6" 26er while out in Moab. So, I rented a Niner RIP 9 for the Whole Enchilada. I had an entire day of pretty varied terrain to try out this whole 29er thing. I'm happy I got to spend 6+ hours on a 29er, but at the end of the day I'm going to stick to 26. I'm used to it. For me, the 29er benefits just don't justify a change.

    However, If I were relatively new to mtb, I'd probably go 29er too. I mean you're going to go through a learning curve anyway. Also, I think for the type of riding you are describing (I ride all of the same stuff quite frequently), you'd be completely happy with a 29er. Given your dirtbike background, you might look into demoing some bikes with different suspension designs: dw-link (Pivot, Turner, Ibis); horst (Specialized etc); VPP (Santa Cruz, Intense); 4-bar (Kona, etc). I'm a huge fan of dw-link. Unfortunately, the Czar and Ripley are probably too new to demo anywhere. You could get a Pivot at Sports Garage though.

    --ripv

  19. #19
    Kaj
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    [QUOTE=Geek;10370320
    With that list of priorities is there anything that would make me regret going with a 5" travel 29er vs a 6" travel 26er?

    Ed[/QUOTE]

    Buy the bike you like. You can shred just as fast and big on a 29er or a 26er. I think the only place I really I have more fun on my 26er is at Valmont, and there it's not much of an advantage if the 29er has really short chainstays. Everywhere else as long has I have a long travel (130mm + 29er or 150mm + 26er) with a slack head-angle (68 degree or slacker 29er, 67 degree or slacker 26er) I can shred and have fun on either a 26 or 29.
    Helping folks shred in Boulder & Colorado since 1982 www.fullcyclebikes.com

  20. #20
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    I have all three sizes. After riding each a bunch the 27.5 feels the best to me.
    2013 Rocky Mountain Vertex 990 RSL
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  21. #21
    STRAVA!!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geek View Post
    Background: I'm in my 40s. Out of shape. Mountain Biking to get back in shape (lost 8 lbs in the last month riding Hall/Heil/Devils backbone/etc). I used to mountain bike a bunch.. I've raced dirtbikes all of my life. I'm really looking forward to getting back in shape and back into Mountain Bikes more and dirtbikes less.

    I have been riding a Yeti 575 but I'm going to buy a new bike. I'd really like one bike that's pretty good at everything. I've decided on the Yeti SB line of bikes. I was on the fence about large vs. medium frame SB66 (I'm 5'11 - right on the line of recommended heights) so I went to the SG event in Boulder today where the Yeti factory test ride was. I rode the SB66c large and then the medium back to back. I still couldn't decide which size.

    Then on a whim I took the SB95c out for a spin; I didn't want to give it back! I'm not sure why (I've never ridden a 29er before) but I really enjoyed riding it. I didn't want to enjoy it (to me 29ers "look wrong" ) .

    My priorities in order are:
    1) Local rides: Hall/Heil/Devils Backbone etc (I live a couple of minutes from Heil).
    2) Moab and Fruita (we go out there all the time with the dirtbikes.. I'm looking to change that to mountainbikes more often)
    3) Winter Park and Keystone. I've never been on a ski hill on a mountain bike but it looks like an absolute blast (in a 40 year old beginner way - not in an invincible-20-year-old-bombing-down-the-mountain-way).

    So all of this babble brings me to my question:

    With that list of priorities is there anything that would make me regret going with a 5" travel 29er vs a 6" travel 26er?

    Is it going to be "less fun" when coming back down the mountain (which I'd currently say I'm doing at an "intermediate level" - I'm out of shape but I have no problem with flying down the the fun stuff due to dirtbikes).

    Thanks in advance for any feedback; this "29er" thing totally caught me off guard.

    cheers,
    Ed
    Get the niner!!!After 30 years of riding MTBs I can tell u get the niner!!!

  22. #22
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    Best secnerio, one 150+mm travel 26er and one 130-140mm 29er or split the difference with as long a travel 27.5 you can find.

    Moab/ski Mtn tech or DH stuff, big travel = big fun. You can do it all on a 29er, it's just that big travel is more fun for that stuff and. 29er for everything else. Buffalo Creek and that type of riding is fast and a blast on a 29er.

    Just mt personal experience.....

    Suggestion, go test lots of bikes, you may change you mind on the Yeti tribe you seem set on.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by danaco View Post
    Best secnerio, one 150+mm travel 26er and one 130-140mm 29er or split the difference with as long a travel 27.5 you can find...
    My bias: I first drank the 29" coolaid back in 2004. Had a 26 moots ybb, rode a 29 hardtail and immediately lost interest in the moots. Got a 4x4 29 full suspension in '06, first 5x5 in 2010. This season I went back to a 4x4, Giant Anthem.

    I think bikes are fun, and the one that makes you smile is the right choice. I have my preferences, but opinions are like, uh, you know. One of these: * Everybody has one.

    I think lots of it has to do with proportions. If you are a 5 footer, 26 makes lots of sense. If you are 6 feet, 29 makes lots of sense.

    My Anthem is unavailable right now, so I borrowed a carbon sb66 from Absolute Bikes for my 30 mile Rainbow Trail ride Saturday. It was fine. But really, slack front end bikes are not my cup of tea. I'm more comfortable having a responsive bike. Yes, 29 can be more sluggish feeling. But compared to my Anthem the sb66 felt slow and unresponsive. Yes, it gets better as you go faster, but any bike that has wheel flop at low speed bugs me. Also, the sb66 had a way lower handlebar and tiny hard grips, so it wasn't a fair comparison.

    You are a moto guy, so I'm sure a slack head tube angle feels normal to you. Different strokes.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  24. #24
    Now older but less slow!
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    Those who say a 29er is only for a sidewalk have never ridden a Tallboy LTc - I think it is a phenomenal machine (I'm same height as you and also in my 40s). Still with that said, based on where you would like to ride I would highly recommend taking a look at the Santa Cruz Bronson. If I were to buy a new bike now I would be going for a 27.5. Sports Garage has one on their demo fleet.

  25. #25
    HAHA PWN
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    I currently ride a Yeti SB-95 and kind of wished I stayed with my 26 in Trance. But my Trance was almost 5 and a half pounds lighter though. I only ridden a Jamis 650b and it felt very similar to the SB-95. There's something about the quick steering and flick-able nature about "kids wheel" size that I'm missing.

    Best bet is to demo the hell out of all the bikes you can. A friend of mine was bent on a LTC, but he changed his mind once he got on the Bronson.

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