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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikesBoardsBrews View Post
    This is an interesting thread. I have always been weary of getting onto a 29 because I always felt that you would have to manhandle them through tight corners because the CG would be off, but I guess with the right geo it shouldn't be a problem.
    I bought a second-hand 29er in 2004 just to give it a try and wound up selling my 26" Moots YBB a week later. It just clicked for me. So I'm a bigot.

    Since then I have had 10 different 29ers (I think, may be missing one or two in my counting), 5 full suspension, 3 hardtail, 2 fully rigid. I worked at a shop so not only were bikes and tires a bit more accessible than otherwise, but I also had many opportunities to ride various 26" wheeled bikes that were coming out. We were expected to ride and form opinions about any bike the shop had in demo.

    I've had and/or rode quick steering 29ers and long slack stable 29ers. High CG bikes, and low. Handling and ride quality of a 29er is just as variable as any other bike--handling is a result of the intent of the designer and how effectively the design was implemented, and to a certain extent bike setup (bar height, suspension tuning, tire selection, etc).

    The one inescapable difference is that a 29" wheeled bike will be longer from the leading edge of the front tire to the trailing edge of the rear tire, all other things being equal. Chainstay length cannot be as short on a 29 as a 26. The front hub cannot be as close to the cranks (front center/head tube angle/fork offset) or there will be toe overlap. So those things are limited, then there's an extra ~1.5" front and the same rear.

    So if a designer pushes a 26" bike to the limit of wheelbase shortness and a 29" does likewise, the 29" is going to be longer leading edge to trailing edge. So that's a longer canoe to get around a tight switchback.

    I find that this is offset by the fact that the 29er tends to not get hung up on rocks, divots, ruts, etc. When I ride a 26" bike now it just feels skittery. But I don't really have occasion to get on full-on AM/FR bikes with whoppin' big tires.
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  2. #27
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    Has anyone gone from 26er to 29er and back to 26er?
    I do, just about every other ride! ;-)

    NinerEMD for the buff
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    I find that this is offset by the fact that the 29er tends to not get hung up on rocks, divots, ruts, etc.
    It is noticeable. Even on a HT (or, rather, especially on a HT). I ridge Dakota Ridge/Morrison Slide on my 29er HT. Sometimes I even pass peope on the tech downhills. I would never IMAGINE trying to ride that trail on a 26er HT.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    When I ride a 26" bike now it just feels skittery.
    See above. The bike simply rolls over stuff. Period. 29er > 26er HT... I do feel the big hoops on tight switchbacks and tight, technical terrain. For flat out, buff, fast rolling XC? Yeah, a 100mm 29er > 100 mm 26er.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    But I don't really have occasion to get on full-on AM/FR bikes with whoppin' big tires.
    This is where I'm not sold on a 29er. Big, fat (2.35) high volume tires on the front of raked, 26er 6" AM bike is fun. Bomber fun. I had a 2011 Enduro Comp and it was STUPID stable on the techie downhills. The nastier, rockier, off-cambier... the better. But it climbed like a fat pig. Which is why I now have my Roscoe II. Climbs exponentially better than the Enduro, descends probably 75-85% as well as the Enduro.

    Now... a 650b conversion for the Roscoe? (Or a Mojo... Or a 575... Or a Remedy... Or a Stumpy Evo... etc) 140-150 mm of travel in a lightweight, climbable package that allows for even faster rolling, a greater contact patch and better rollover ability... Mmmmmm. Sounds like a beautiful mix of climber and bomber in one sweet package.

  3. #28
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    As has been said in different ways throughout, it's not necessarily an either/ or. AND, most importantly, not all 29ers ride the same, just as not all 26ers ride the same. I've been on 29ers for a couple of years and love them, but I can ride another friend's 29er and feel totally out-of-whack. I can ride a 26er and feel great, or another 26er and feel horrible. Bike setup, geometry, suspension, etc is more important than how big the wheels are. And, ultimately, if you don't like your bike, you're less likely to ride it. Don't focus on the size of the wheels- try out a few different bikes with different wheels sizes and find one that puts a smile on your face. Lots of great demo programs out there...
    "There are two kinds of mountain bikers in the world: those who are faster than me, and me."

  4. #29
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    The 700c phenomenon seems to make a lot of people happy, from riders to shop owners, and brought a lot of excitement to the sport that wasn't there before. I'm for that.

    However, I haven't found a 29er that feels good to me. The wheels seem comically large. They feel very sluggish in the turns, in my opinion. But if they keep making em I'll keep trying em..

    A few things I noticed as all my friends switched to 29ers while I stayed with a 26. They raved about their 29ers' ride qualities, which is cool. But I have to say they all suddenly slowed down noticeably on certain types of trails, not necessarily techy trails. Smooth fast trails, but trails with lots of tight turns. Super stylish skilled relaxed riders suddenly looked almost tight and slow over their bikes. Of course this might not have much to do with the bikes. Maybe they all got together and decided to ride like that.

    I am 650b curious though.

  5. #30
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    Here's some numbers off 2 bikes we sell that are comparable in ride style: 120mm 29er and 140mm 26er.

    120mm travel Giant Trance X 29er in Large:
    Head Angle: 69.5
    Chainstay: 17.8"
    Wheelbase:44.9"
    BB Height unsagged: 13.4"

    140mm travel Giant Reign 26er in Large
    Head Angle: 67.5
    Chainstay: 17.2"
    Wheelbase: 45.4"
    BB Height unsagged: 13.8"

    So the BB heights are a bit lower on the 29er probably really close when sagged, and the wheelbase is shorter.

    another data point on my 140mm 29er Kona Satori the chainstays are 17.3". That's about as short as I've seen on a 29er.
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  6. #31
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    Good post Kaj. Yea lots of conjecture/assumptions around the actual data by a lot of people.

    Most of it comes down the the individual bike, not just the wheel diameter.

    My first 29er was an Anthem (Large). Liked many things about it over my '05 Trance 2. It was an early one, so with the frame recall warranty replacement I ended up with $100 towards a Giant product. I picked up an XTC29er frame and built it up with a "just for some yucks" mindset - after one ride on it the Anthem was put up for sale.

    The XTC goes down steeper stuff with much more stability than the Anthem did. It climbed better. It turned better. It just felt way different than the Anthem.

    Frame geometry has a bunch to do with how the bike rides. My SS is a Raven custom with a Niner carbon fork. Its head tube geometry makes it not turn very well at high speed unless I lower my torso and plant the front end. It is a "front range" bike, so to keep it stable going down steep rocky stuff, the front wheel is kicked out.

    OP, if you can ride a Large, come take my XTC out for a ride some time.

    Another data point - the GF, a rather timid rider, was very slow on her full suspension Iron Horse. Equally slow on her Lenz 3.0 XC bike. She just never felt comfortable and stable on the bikes.

    She took one ride on my (too big for her) XTC, and we commissioned a Niner EMD in her size. Her speed literally DOUBLED. We had to get her new glasses because she was experiencing so much more wind in her face due to the speed it was bothering her contacts. Her MTBing is a night and day different experience on her 29er versus the 26ers. No way she'd go back. That said, I'm sure SOMEONE makes a 26er that would work for her. Just a matter of finding it.

  7. #32
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    anybody given a 69er FS like the Ventana El Chucho a try? Curious what people might think - best of both worlds?

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by manitoumtbr View Post
    anybody given a 69er FS like the Ventana El Chucho a try? Curious what people might think - best of both worlds?
    Yup, my Maverick Durance is a 69er. I love it. Best of both worlds for sure. The added bonus is that when I want more front suspension travel I can put the 26" wheel/fork back on. When I do the speed, climbing position, and handling change noticeably.

    If I had the $$ I would get that El Chucho for sure but the Maverick suspension is just too good to give up easily.
    99% of the problems and questions posted here would be answered if people actually walked into a bicycle shop and asked

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by hokiebrett View Post
    I do, just about every other ride! ;-)

    See above. The bike simply rolls over stuff. Period. 29er > 26er HT... I do feel the big hoops on tight switchbacks and tight, technical terrain. For flat out, buff, fast rolling XC? Yeah, a 100mm 29er > 100 mm 26er.

    Now... a 650b conversion for the Roscoe? (Or a Mojo... Or a 575... Or a Remedy... Or a Stumpy Evo... etc) 140-150 mm of travel in a lightweight, climbable package that allows for even faster rolling, a greater contact patch and better rollover ability... Mmmmmm. Sounds like a beautiful mix of climber and bomber in one sweet package.
    Sorry to overquote here, but this thread is very close to my experience, with a Dos Niner (softail, not so soft for a 140# guy though). Sweet bike, with mid-range stans wheels it weighed < 24lbs. I was faster on it on most any trail, even some tech downhills, but it lacked the fun of my Yeti 575.

    So I converted the Yeti to 650b. Near perfect - but the BB was a bit high and it felt it in the curvy stuff. Took a friend's advice and converted a 2007 Rush, whoa - sweet, < 26lbs easy on an Alloy frame, and a 13.4 BB. Holds 2.3's in the back and no shock shim.

    Mostly for the original poster, I sold the 29er and probably will not go back. I will probably not go back to 26ers either, except to wear out studded tires and snow riding on old wheels. I'm 5'8' and fairly light - my biggest beef was the wind catches those 29er wheels on me - pedaling into a headwind and airing out a bike with a sidewind was awful. A bigger, stronger rider is not going to feel this as much. When I put 650b on that Salsa for a smooth/curvy lap on Falcon (Afa) it was one of the best rides I had all summer. Until the low BB started hitting rocks and roots!

    Jon - staying 650b or really large volume 26ers.

  10. #35
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    I need to ride my 26r more

    Got the 29r in March, spent the spring months riding it exclusively until I had in the shop for a blown freewheel, pulled out the 26r, and I rode like a real noob, not able to hold the line, getting hung up on things, (waterbars, rocks, etc), that never gave me problems on the 29r, nor when I only had the 26r to ride.

    For me, this 23in frame, 29r is the best fitting mountain bike I have owned, I feel very comfortable on it, but riding a 29r has seemed to dull some of the skills I developed in riding rigid, HT and then FS. I don’t have a rigid any longer, but when I would go back between the 26r FS and HT, I did not feel as clumsy and clueless as I did returning the 26 FS after riding the 29r for a couple of months.

    I have to be intentional about spending more time on the 26 next season.
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  11. #36
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    Holy buckets, a 23" frame! I have a hard time on anything larger than 17" frames, and prefer true 16". I rode a small Salsa Dos Niner, but have ridden medium 26ers all my life.

    And similar to getting stuffed on the 26er story, I was riding a converted snow bike 2005 Jamis Dakar the other day, 26er in the back, 650b in the front, and hung up the back twice in spots I normally ride over on the 650b Rush. Until the snow flies, I'll swap the rear wheel over to the snow bike.

  12. #37
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    Family Guy - This is stupid - YouTube

    Nothing to see here. Move on. To each his own ride.
    Let's go SIOUX!!!

  13. #38
    Kaj
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    Quote Originally Posted by manitoumtbr View Post
    anybody given a 69er FS like the Ventana El Chucho a try? Curious what people might think - best of both worlds?
    There's limited demand for the 69er these days. It's kind of like mixing 2 beers together at your local brewpub, you'll get something new and likely awesome, but to try and sell a few thousand of them to the public would be hard as it's pretty unique.
    Helping folks shred in Boulder & Colorado since 1982 www.fullcyclebikes.com

  14. #39
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    As has been said, ride style and how a bike fits you are the two biggies whether you ride a 26er, a 29er or a 650b. I would suggest, OP, that you look into making sure that your current bike is fit correctly (and I'm talking more than just being on the right size bike). Making an app't w/a qualified bike fitter may do wonders in how your current bike feels. I think that the biggest thing I look for once I'm on a bike that fits, is when I get done with a ride what puts the biggest smile on my face?

    Since choosing a bike is a personal thing, what I love riding will be totally different than what any one of you may love riding. Because I work at an awesome shop that offers the opportunity for me to test ride the different bikes that we carry, and because I'm infinitely curious about how other bikes ride, I have tried riding many of the bikes out there. I keep going back to the 26er -- I have yet to ride a 650b although the assumption at the shop is that I may find that one to be the best of both worlds for me.

    Bottom line, OP, is ride what makes you happy. Ride what puts that big, fat grin on your face. If your 29er doesn't make you grin from ear to ear even after getting it fit to you, find the bike that does. You may be surprised at what you find. It might even be another 29er -- just a different geometry than what your current bike is. It's what I tell my customers: Listen to the bike. It WILL talk to you and tell you if it's the right one for you!
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  15. #40
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    The bike industry loves all of you posting in this thread.
    Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
    Where we should go,
    We just ride...

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yetigirl View Post
    As has been said, ride style and how a bike fits you are the two biggies whether you ride a 26er, a 29er or a 650b. I would suggest, OP, that you look into making sure that your current bike is fit correctly (and I'm talking more than just being on the right size bike). Making an app't w/a qualified bike fitter may do wonders in how your current bike feels. I think that the biggest thing I look for once I'm on a bike that fits, is when I get done with a ride what puts the biggest smile on my face?

    Since choosing a bike is a personal thing, what I love riding will be totally different than what any one of you may love riding. Because I work at an awesome shop that offers the opportunity for me to test ride the different bikes that we carry, and because I'm infinitely curious about how other bikes ride, I have tried riding many of the bikes out there. I keep going back to the 26er -- I have yet to ride a 650b although the assumption at the shop is that I may find that one to be the best of both worlds for me.

    Bottom line, OP, is ride what makes you happy. Ride what puts that big, fat grin on your face. If your 29er doesn't make you grin from ear to ear even after getting it fit to you, find the bike that does. You may be surprised at what you find. It might even be another 29er -- just a different geometry than what your current bike is. It's what I tell my customers: Listen to the bike. It WILL talk to you and tell you if it's the right one for you!
    well said!

    This is an interesting thread for someone who has never ridden a 29er or has zero interest in riding a 29er. Mostly my reasons for not giving it a chance are because of ignorance probably, but most of my thoughts have been confirmed (theoretically) in this thread, plus money is a roadblock too.. however, the 650b does interest me..

  17. #42
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    As long as everyone else knows I'm riding a 29er I don't care how it feels on the trail.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBitey View Post
    As long as everyone else knows I'm riding a 29er I don't care how it feels on the trail.

    You ought to be ridingk a SS 29'er, you'd be the most popular guy to talk to on the trailz!
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  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by jugdish View Post
    You ought to be ridingk a SS 29'er, you'd be the most popular guy to talk to on the trailz!
    It had better be rigid.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBitey View Post
    As long as everyone else knows I'm riding a 29er I don't care how it feels on the trail.
    LoL.

    I bought a 29er HT b/c I wanted a 2nd bike and I wanted something different that my 5.5-6" full squish bike.

    I rides completely different than my Gary Fisher Roscoe and I enjoy taking it on trails that I normally would pass up on a 'bigger' bike.

    I like it. It makes me smile. As does my Gary Fisher. I have a 2 bike MTB quiver and both make me smile. Isn't that the point?

    My Enduro did not make me smile every ride so I sold it. Life's too short to be unhappy with your bike and never ride it!

    To each their own... now lets go ride and drink beer!

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by hokiebrett View Post
    LoL.

    I bought a 29er HT b/c I wanted a 2nd bike and I wanted something different that my 5.5-6" full squish bike.

    I rides completely different than my Gary Fisher Roscoe and I enjoy taking it on trails that I normally would pass up on a 'bigger' bike.

    I like it. It makes me smile. As does my Gary Fisher. I have a 2 bike MTB quiver and both make me smile. Isn't that the point?

    My Enduro did not make me smile every ride so I sold it. Life's too short to be unhappy with your bike and never ride it!

    To each their own... now lets go ride and drink beer!
    yup.. good point..

    Funny though, my Enduro makes me smile a lot.. my demo 8 makes my cheeks hurt I smile so much.. Beer also makes me smile a lot..

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    It had better be rigid.
    Ouch, got me there!
    Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
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  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josie7 View Post
    yup.. good point..

    Funny though, my Enduro makes me smile a lot.. my demo 8 makes my cheeks hurt I smile so much.. Beer also makes me smile a lot..
    To it's credit, the Enduro was a fun bike, but I was not happy having it as my only trail bike. It was too DH oriented for me. As you have a Demo 8, I'm sure the Enduro is a great 'trail bike' for you!

    Bingo. Bike X works great for Person B but didn't work so well for Person A. This is like us both arguing that we like ice cream... but I hate vanilla bean and you hate rocky road...

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by hokiebrett View Post
    To it's credit, the Enduro was a fun bike, but I was not happy having it as my only trail bike. It was too DH oriented for me. As you have a Demo 8, I'm sure the Enduro is a great 'trail bike' for you!

    Bingo. Bike X works great for Person B but didn't work so well for Person A. This is like us both arguing that we like ice cream... but I hate vanilla bean and you hate rocky road...
    so true.. not a fan of rocky road...

  25. #50
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    It's like having relations with an ex-girlfriend* after a period of time - oddly familiar but new all the same. Either way I'm smiling also. Oh yea, and beer is cool too.

    *ex-girlfriend being the 26er in this example

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