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  1. #1
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    29er as a commuter, advantageous for me ?

    I am looking for some advice as I am thinking about changing my commuter bike.
    I currently have a Giant Defy road bike that I have been using as commuter and occasional road ride for the last couple of years.
    Over the winter my Giant Defy has been sat and used heavily on the wind trainer. It is now spring here in New Zealand so I am looking to do more commuting and weeknight rides out in the forest on my MTB.
    Previously I would ride home, get changed jump on my MTB then shoot out to the forest (4km ride to the forest) but I would have ridden past the forest to get home on my road bike.
    I have a Santa Cruz Chameleon and Santa Cruz TRc mountain bikes.
    My thought was to just use my Chameleon to commute to work then just do a slight detour and do a quick lap through the forest on a mixture of Grade 2 / 3 on the way home to save the hassle of riding home first.
    As half my time would be commuting and half off road (easy, smoothish off road) though I have been weighing up the advantage of a 29er.
    I am 168cm (5'6") with short legs, stocky build and poor flexibility, so 29ers are not a great fit for me.
    That being said the Santa Cruz Highball AL in a small is slightly shorter in the top tube (22.2" vs 22.5") than my medium Chameleon with similar reach.
    The question I have is, do 29ers (looking to put a rigid fork on the front)with MTB tires (Maxxis Crossmark most likely) make decent commuters, or am I just as well to stick with my idea of using my Chameleon ?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I like my Unit 29er just fine as a commuter. I also really like hitting the trails on my way home - my commute is about 7km in the mornings, and usually at least 15km in the evenings. I'm running Maxis Ardents, and after 3 years the rear tire will finally need replacing, but the front still looks pretty brandnew. I'd also say that you don't need a rigid fork - I've got 2 rigids and 1 hardtail, and the hardtail with lockout works just fine for commuting.

    In terms of sizing though, I'd say it's best to try them.

  3. #3
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    How far is your commute? I tried a 30 mile commute on a 29er, didn't like it.

  4. #4
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    Mountain bike tires are almost never ideal for commuting, but they work. You need to find a happy medium between riding the trails and the road. Do a search for something like "mountain bike commuting" or similar and you'll find lots of threads on the topic with suggestions for how to set your bike up as a do-it-all bike.

  5. #5
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    You can always mount some commuter 700c tires on a 29er. I used to use two sets of wheels. My commuter wheels had 700cx35 Forte Kevlar commuter tires, which I could run at 95 psi. I could go pretty stinking fast on my Fisher Paragon with the fork locked out. Now I have a rigid Chinese carbon 29er frame for my commuter. I use some American Classic disc wheels with high pressure slicks. I even fit removable fenders and a rack.

  6. #6
    Slay the Dragon
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    I bought a used Marin Muirwoods 29er at the start of my commuting season this Spring. I am squarely in 'Clyde' territory (6'2", 220 lbs).

    I wanted a durable ride that I can fully rack up / fender up, and that had a different feel/ride than going in with my roadbike with a backpack. With a 22 inch frame, the bike is big (I call it, Beastmode).

    I agree with a previous replier that distance is a factor when considering a 29er...my bike to work is ~ 9 miles, with a couple of stout hills, but I'm only doing it 3x / week too = A good workout, that doesn't take too long.

  7. #7
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    My commute to work is only 9km (7 if I go the short way), then from work to the forest is 5km and from the forest home 4km.
    So not really a significant distance at all.

    I had a look at the Marin Muirwood but they are not importing many into NZ and do not list the small size in the shop for me to even order.

    I have done the ride to work on Crossmarks before as they have a good central ridge and work quite well on the tracks here, especially the grade 2 / 3 I would be doing in the time I have after work.

  8. #8
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    A Surly Ogre might be worth a look. All the rack mounts and discs are pretty nice for a commuter tank. I've got mine set up with 40mm Schwalbe Mondials, it's a road tank. I'd go fatter, like 50's if I wanted to do dirt more regularly as the 40's cut in a bit much if the surface is loose and deep.

    2.35 Big Apples would be good too, but on the slick side if the dirt was wet at all.

    I don't commute with it, but it would be perfect for it.

  9. #9
    I Ride for Donuts
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingsqueak View Post
    A Surly Ogre might be worth a look. All the rack mounts and discs are pretty nice for a commuter tank. I've got mine set up with 40mm Schwalbe Mondials, it's a road tank. I'd go fatter, like 50's if I wanted to do dirt more regularly as the 40's cut in a bit much if the surface is loose and deep.

    2.35 Big Apples would be good too, but on the slick side if the dirt was wet at all.

    I don't commute with it, but it would be perfect for it.
    My thoughts exactly. The BA's were awesome, even in the wet and in the dirt. Sheer volume adds a lot of traction.

    29er as a commuter, advantageous for me ?-picture1.jpg

    29er as a commuter = advantageous for EVERYONE
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  10. #10
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    Jones bars, surly nice rack and 40mm Mondials (go bigger)


  11. #11
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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    I commute on my Ogre too. It's not as easy as a road bike, but I definitely give the 62 mi round trip a decent spin. You work a little harder and go a little slower, but especially as the weather gets nastier there's peace of mind in not having to worry too much about traction.

    The biggest problem I have with commuting on the Ogre such long distances is aerodynamics. With bottle cages on the forks and not being about to get out of the wind it's an aerodynamic nightmare compared to a road bike, and I get tired a little more quickly than my buddy riding his Cervelo R5ca (hardly a fair comparison, is it!!). Other than that, everything else is awesome about it.

  12. #12
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    Do it. I run a rockhopper( 26er) with kenda k rad tires. Sort of low checkerboard type tread for a combined commute/ dirt ride. Only in the summer because I need daylight to run 16 miles of pave and 8 of dirt on the way home.

  13. #13
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    I ordered my Santa Cruz Highball last week, so just got to wait a few weeks for it to arrive. Decided to go with a 100mm fork in the end, but may change that later.
    Very excited though, have been doing the ride with my Chameleon this week and that has been fun so cannot wait to ride the Highball.

  14. #14
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    why not a 29er?

    There are already bikes like the Muirwoods (mentioned above) or the Giant Seek that are 29er's with 700 CC tires.

    I had been commuting on a SSCX bike, just sold it and am looking for a replacement. Leaning heavily towards a geared disc brake cross bike like the TCX, mainly for weight savings so it can be my bad weather road bike.

    I commuted yesterday on my Defy Advanced 0 while wearing a backpack, and it was awful.

    That bike is way to delicate for the brutal roads of Toronto.

    If I commute again before I get a new cross bike, I'll do it on my Stache 8.

    The downside of soemthing like the Seek is the weight (about 26 pounds), but with new "commuter" bikes like the Trek CrossRip and Kona Rove weighing the same or more, a light 29er would be a better choice IMHO.
    Mike
    Toronto, Canada
    2014 Giant TCX SLR2
    2013 Trek Stache 8
    2011 Giant Defy Advanced 0

  15. #15
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    Got my new Highball today

    Size small frame, Stans Crest rims on stans hubs, FoxF29 fork @ 100mm, Maxxis Ardent front / Crossmark rear. 1 x 10 (32 x 11 - 36)

  16. #16
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    Looks pretty sweet. I've got ardents on my 29er, and I like them a lot. In the winter I also run it as 1x8, and I find that a 32t chainring is a pretty good size for a 29er with big tires (I spend less time in my top gears on it than I do on my 1x9 26er)

  17. #17
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    This past summer I converted a Spicer titanium "mountain cruiser" 29er into a more dedicated commuter by installing a Schmidt New Son 28 dyno hub + Supernova E3 Pro 2 lighting system and replacing its Nanoraptors with Schwalbe Big Apples in the 2.15 width.

    I love commuting on it, the ride is SMOOOOTH and fast enough to be enjoyable without worrying (so much) about punctures on our unswept road shoulders or batteries going dead halfway home...especially now when it's dark going in both directions.

    My trip is 12.5 miles each way, all paved, averaging ~16 mph.

  18. #18
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    My commute is 14-15 miles, one way, and depending on the route I take and a 29er is great. My ride is all city, but some of the roads are not the best kept roads....meaning, broken glass and other obstacles that can put a real damper on the ride. The 29er with the larger tires seem to roll over everything so far. I currently use the trail tires that came with the bike and from what I am told, if I swap them out with road tires, I can cut off about 10-15 mins on my ride. Swapping tires cost money, so that can wait. But a 29er is fast, agile and the worry factor of flat tires are an advantage....IMHO....

  19. #19
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    This week, I start commuting to work twice a week (can't do more due to children and my wife's work schedule) and it is 17 mi one way. Will be aboard my Surly Ogre with 2.3" Big Apples. I have no doubt it will be just fine for the task.

    It's either that, or a Big Dummy, or a Pugsley, so I guess it is the best choice
    Transition Bandit 29
    Surly Ogre
    Surly Necro Pugs w/ Lefty PBR
    Surly Big Dummy

  20. #20
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    Jared, enjoy that smooth rollin' commute! Big Apples are a lot of fun with the excellent cornering and braking capabilities...plus accelerating that extra mass keeps my legs in a better state of off-road readiness.

  21. #21
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    +1 for this guy!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Tan&Green View Post
    My commute is 14-15 miles, one way, and depending on the route I take and a 29er is great. My ride is all city, but some of the roads are not the best kept roads....meaning, broken glass and other obstacles that can put a real damper on the ride. The 29er with the larger tires seem to roll over everything so far. I currently use the trail tires that came with the bike and from what I am told, if I swap them out with road tires, I can cut off about 10-15 mins on my ride. Swapping tires cost money, so that can wait. But a 29er is fast, agile and the worry factor of flat tires are an advantage....IMHO....

  22. #22
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    I do it...and dig it. SS Kona Unit with Small block 8 tires. Route is 1/3 rocky singletrack, 1/3 gravel urban trail, and 1/3 downtown paved roads. 10 miles one way the short way but plenty of options to add many more miles of singletrack. The trouble is finding the "ideal" gear ratio to balance spinning out on the gravel/road sections and still being able to climb the steeps on the singletrack.

  23. #23
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    29er as a commuter, advantageous for me ?

    I use a rocky 29er for my 24km round trip. It has 2.2" race kings and they roll smooth and quiet. I was looking at getting 2"+ smooth tires but they are heavy at around 800g. Im looking at maxxis overdrives now, 1.5" wide with kevlar and only 590g and can get them from mec.

  24. #24
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    There is no advantage to using a 29er as a commuter vs using the 26er you already have (Santa Cruz Chameleon). I used to have a Karate Monkey as a commuter bike and now have a Troll. I like the Troll better. The advantages of 29ers in the dirt are not there on the street - there's nothing for the big wheels to roll over. If you have lots of stops on your commute, the big wheels get up to speed slower too. Given that you said the dirt trails you want to hit are relatively smooth, it would be a waste of money to swap the Chameleon for a 29er.

  25. #25
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    I commuted on a Surly MTB with Rohloff hub several years ago and shortly thereafter switched it to Marathon Plus road tires to reduce the rolling resistance. My commute was 18.5 miles each way, all road. The bike was good for me because I was focused on MTB racing at the time and the geometry/position was very close to my race bike.
    I have since switched to a Cannondale CX and I prefer it by far. I prefer a bike purpose built rather than multipurpose such that it's not good at anything. The CX bike has pannier mounts and a faster, road position. Suggestion is to put road tires on it at a minimum to save tire wear and reduce your commute time. You can always swap the tires when you get home and got back out to the trail if you're that close anyway. I don't know about you, but I carried a computer in one bag and clothing in another, I wouldn't have fun trail riding with all that gear anyway.
    I've tried to attach a pic of the Surly here and there is a pic of the Cannondale in the thread labeled: pricing a commuter.

    MTB-)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 29er as a commuter, advantageous for me ?-sml_img_0555.jpg  

    Last edited by MTB-]; 04-13-2014 at 10:19 PM. Reason: picture didn't attach

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