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  1. #1
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    Now I'm "moar" confused

    Thought I would post here to get opinions form more seasoned riders like myself instead of the younger crowd. I went into my LBS to inquire about the Santa Cruz tall boy 29'er. The manger is a younger guy and immediately steers me towards a Giant Trance. "You don't want a 29er you want this 27.5 with 2.6 tires, that's the sweet spot". He said you get more stability, more traction, and it climbs as good as the 29'er. My hardtail 29'er climbs like a goat and it seems to me the fatter tires would weigh more so it would not climb as well. Any of you guys running that combo on full suspension?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Romaxy View Post
    Thought I would post here to get opinions form more seasoned riders like myself instead of the younger crowd. I went into my LBS to inquire about the Santa Cruz tall boy 29'er. The manger is a younger guy and immediately steers me towards a Giant Trance. "You don't want a 29er you want this 27.5 with 2.6 tires, that's the sweet spot". He said you get more stability, more traction, and it climbs as good as the 29'er. My hardtail 29'er climbs like a goat and it seems to me the fatter tires would weigh more so it would not climb as well. Any of you guys running that combo on full suspension?



    Keeping in mind that he's probably selling you what he can't move?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    Keeping in mind that he's probably selling you what he can't move?
    Actually, he would have to order one as he just sold the new 2018 he had. I have bought 6 or 7 bikes from him so we have a good relationship. He even had a new 2017 model and told me it was only $300 less than the 2018 and the 18 is a better bike.

  4. #4
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    Blanket statements such as his are rarely accurate.

    It also shows the kid assumes he knows more than you about what you want. I had a LBS owner pull that on me a few times. "Whadd'ya want that for? Ya don't need that. Here use this instead!" he'd exclaim when I asked if he had something I wanted. Not only was it obvious that he didn't want the bother of a special order, but also that he never made it past being a novice mountain biker - his potbelly and chicken legs were dead give-aways.

  5. #5
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    Santa Cruz and Giant both make great bikes.

    Santa Cruz has a cool video on their Tallboy page, so I would probably buy the Tallboy:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIjQxEOgqIo

    That being said, I live in New England, and the 27.5's just work for the riding I do.

    Would I ride the same trails on a 29, yep, did for years, and they worked.

    The 27.5's, even with a fairly non-aggressive tread, have an unreal amount of traction, and still roll great.

    I ride a rigid bike, not sure how much they help on a full suspension. The last full suspension I owned was a terribly designed single pivot with 26x2.1's.

  6. #6
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    For climbing I would be less concerned with wheel size than the volume of the tyre.

    The first time I rode up a loose steep somewhat technical section on my fatbike that I'd always found tricky on my 29er I was a convert to fatter tyres..

    However, although I really enjoy my fatbike, I've found that 3" tyres run at lower pressures are the sweet spot for most of the year.

    For racing, leaping off big jumps, it may be different, but for getting up tricky climbs I'll always go for the right tyre over wheel size.
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  7. #7
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    Do real world tests. Go to demo days. Rent bikes. Swap rides with friends and associates. My wife and I ended up quite happy with bikes that were not exactly what salespeople or friends suggested - nothing unusual as far as the bike but the real world testing was important.

    If you already ride a 29r you should not be freaked out about the taller axle height.
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  8. #8
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    In February (5 months ago) I bought an FS bike that accommodates both 29" and 27.5" Plus wheels/tires. Prior to this bike I've only been on 29" wheels for years. Although there's quite a difference in rim size, the overall diameter of the tire is quite similar -- the Plus tire is only 3/8" smaller than the 29" tire, meaning my unweighted bottom bracket rests just 3/16" closer to the ground when I'm employing the Plus wheels.

    Since getting the bike I've been swapping in/out both wheelsets on rides and comparing them. At first I wanted to like the Plus wheels because they were new to me and I've always liked wide tires but found myself leaning toward the 29er wheels, I guess because they were what I was familiar with. I recall initially thinking if I were to only keep one set of wheels for the bike, it'd probably be the 29" wheels (on these I'm running 2.4" tires f & r).

    But then another few months of riding both wheels passed and my opinion has flipped. If I had to get rid of one wheelset it'd be the 29er wheels. Which would be too bad because they're the better wheelset (I9). But I've grown to love the 27.5 Plus tires. They provide more traction. They do feel slightly more sluggish but I'm not convinced that this isn't just an impression. Because the improved traction inspires confidence (yeah, it's real), I really do descent faster. Another benefit: the bike feels like it has another inch of suspension travel with the 3" tires.

    After 7 months of experimenting, I'm pretty sold on Plus. Lots of people say Plus is for beginners and old people. I can't deny I'm in the latter group; I've been riding mountain bikes for 32 years. But when my spirited group of (younger) riding buddies choose a point man for the descent, they often point at me and tell me to go first because they don't want to get in my way, so I'm comfortable saying I've still got the ability to rip. And I'm telling you Plus is fun no matter the rider's experience level, no matter the age. Plus performs.

    My next bike will be a 29" Plus hardtail. Don't construe this to imply I'll be getting ride of this FS 27.5 Plus ripper. No way. It's just... well, N+1.
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  9. #9
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    For around 80-90% of the climbs you do, the Santa Cruz tall boy will perform better.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the responses. Very helpful! Going to try and get some demo rides soon. Thanks!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Romaxy View Post
    Thanks for all the responses. Very helpful! Going to try and get some demo rides soon. Thanks!!
    Definitely get out and demo the bikes before you buy anything. What people tell you and what looks good on paper can be drastically different than what you find demoing the bike. I found that out at first hand, many times.
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  12. #12
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    I run 27.5 with 2.6" tires. For me, and where/how I ride, they are the sweet spot.
    I have, for some time, timed several representative climbs (I don't care about descent speeds) in the area, so my results aren't "feel", they are hard data. I do this, because I mostly ride with my son who is 39 years younger than me at 26, and I want to try to make the rides as fun for him as possible. So far so good. On previous climbs, on both a 26" and my 27.5, I found that 2.1/2.25" tires Vs. 2.25/2.4" tires was a faster combo. To get a smoother ride when I'm not riding all out, I got a 2.6" front and rear, at low pressure. Loe and behold, I have, on this combo achieved at least 3 personal bests this summer on my timed climbs and my son has commented on my strength this summer. Now, maybe it's something else, but I'm not inclined to go back to smaller tires! Ride what works for you. It may be a 29er - guys love them. But keep an open mind on other combos.

    BTW, I'm in the airlines and was on a layover in Bozeman with a young first officer. We rented bikes - he got a 29er hardtail, which he prefers because he's a Strava/Leadville, etc. guy - I got a 2016 Trance with underinflated 2.4" Ardents front and back. At the end of a 1+ hour rocky, techy climb, I probably waited 6 or 7 minutes for him. I was pretty damned impressed with that bike! I don't know how the 2018 Trance rides, but the 2016 sure was nice.

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