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  1. #1
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    All the fuss with wheel size and it doesn't really make a difference

    I'll probably take flak for this because people are passionate about their preferences to the point where it becomes an ideology. But I wanted to post my personal experience for beginners and intermediates who don't have the chance to ride or own a number of bikes.

    I've ridden a number of 29ers exclusively for the last decade plus. But recently decided to get add a 27.5 AM to the mix. There's been such a long on going debate that I thought the difference in wheel size would make a difference both physically and mentally and I wasn't sure if I'd like the smaller wheels. The more noticeable difference for me is pretty much everything but the wheels - 25mm shorter stem, 30mm longer bars (I clipped the bars twice first time out), geo especially slacker HTA, fork and shock, 20mm more travel, shimano vs sram drivetrain and brakes, cockpit lever positions, clipless vs flat pedals, tires.

    So what's better 27.5 vs 29...it doesn't matter. What matters is one's fitness, bike skills/ability and confidence with whatever bike they're on. If I suck on a 27.5 I'll suck on a 29er. If I can shred on a 29er, I'll be able to shred on a 27.5.

  2. #2
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    Wow, for a moment there I thought it was 2009 all over again.
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  3. #3
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    I can say that a 29er made East Coast Rock Riding a LOT better for me. Maybe it's a crutch, but I'll take it. And yea...I thought this debate was over....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    And yea...I thought this debate was over....
    It will never be over.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  5. #5
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    Lets discuss dropper posts and flat pedals too
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  6. #6
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    HA! 29...27.5...why you leaving out 26 in this discussion?
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  7. #7
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    It's not the size of the wheel that matters, it's how you use it.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    why you leaving out 26 in this discussion?


    What is this "26" you discuss?
    "Bicycles have the magic power to go
    to enchanted places cars will never know." - mafo

  9. #9
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    Name:  Capt._Obvious.jpg
Views: 597
Size:  10.7 KB
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  10. #10
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    I had that funky Cannondale back in the late 80s that had the 24 inch rear and 26 inch front wheel. I seem to remember there was some advantage Cannondale claimed for that setup. I don't know if there was or not, I just remember it was a better bike than my previous bike.

  11. #11
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    The real question is are you running those wheels with tubes or tubeless?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_joe View Post
    Lets discuss dropper posts and flat pedals too
    lets not and say we did.
    "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    The real question is are you running those wheels with tubes or tubeless?
    uber toober.
    "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    I can say that a 29er made East Coast Rock Riding a LOT better for me. Maybe it's a crutch, but I'll take it. And yea...I thought this debate was over....
    That's the main issue, if a trail is super rocky or not. Then the larger tire has a big advantage. In my area on 80% of the trails a 26" and a 27.5" do about the same, it's only the 20% super rocky trails that I really notice a difference; the 26" tire starts to get jumpy and doesn't hold the trail line as well.
    Murphy's Law: the worse the access, the better the trail.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    The real question is are you running those wheels with tubes or tubeless?
    OK so assume he's running both 27.5" and 29" tubeless, would there really be a difference? If the tires are the same width, say 2.5 inches, similar PSI, say 20 each, the only difference being the tire height, how would that make a difference besides the 29" having a higher clearance on paper?

    And how would that be different if if the parameters were all of the above but tubes in both tires and PSI is 30 each?
    Murphy's Law: the worse the access, the better the trail.

  16. #16
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    I thought it was all driven by MTBR in collusion with the bike manufacturers to increase their advertising revenue by adding extra forums?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    OK so assume he's running both 27.5" and 29" tubeless, would there really be a difference? If the tires are the same width, say 2.5 inches, similar PSI, say 20 each, the only difference being the tire height, how would that make a difference besides the 29" having a higher clearance on paper?

    And how would that be different if if the parameters were all of the above but tubes in both tires and PSI is 30 each?
    This has been discussed a lot. If the tires are the same than the 29er has a larger contact patch(more traction), and more rollover before catching a wheel.( I think it's 3" taller or deeper before the wheel catches if I remember correctly) since the 650b has a smaller contact patch it will rotate on this patch easier and the wheel has it's weight closer to the hub, this makes turning easier (I didn't say better, just less effort)
    Last edited by Cerberus75; 1 Week Ago at 05:00 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    Honesty this has been discussed quiet a bit. If the tires are the same than the 29er has a larger contact patch(more traction), and more rollover before catching a wheel.( I think it's 3" taller or deeper before the wheel catches if I remember correctly) since the 650b has a smaller contact patch it will rotate on this patch easier and the wheel has it's weight closer to the hub, this makes turning easier (I didn't as better, just less effort)
    Two words: Proof read. It might make your post readable.

  19. #19
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    All I know is that I was in a bike shop today, looked at the 29er bikes and thought 'man, I really do not want one of those!'.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Two words: Proof read. It might make your post readable.
    Yes, this is very true.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Two words: Proof read. It might make your post readable.
    Dude, really? Whatís your problem these days? You missed one.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bamwa View Post
    Bikes are gay and for little kids. Grow up.
    Actually they are for alcoholics who lost their drivers license...
    lean forward

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1niceride View Post
    Actually they are for alcoholics who lost their drivers license...



    And Hobo's.
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    to enchanted places cars will never know." - mafo

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    And Hobo's.
    And hobo is what?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    And hobo is what?
    One step down from the self-employed..I should know..
    lean forward

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    HA! 29...27.5...why you leaving out 26 in this discussion?
    Because the industry and fanboys aren't pushing those. My point is that a lot of people get too caught up in wheel size, or replace that with whatever the latest trends are (boost, plus, carbon, saving 100 grams, whatever). People will be snarky and I could be an ass back, but I just want to point out for beginners and intermediates that it's not really going to make a difference

  27. #27
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    To OP, no flak at all, more like fond nostalgia, many thanks.


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  28. #28
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    Governments and businesses like money to flow as fast as possible through peoples hands. The faster in and the faster out makes for more tax and profits. To help with this flow it is best to make the old obsolete and the new better by spades. But is the new really that much better? I've got a 29er I built and it is faster and boring to ride. A well built 26 with used parts is better than a 29er built by hackers with new parts..
    lean forward

  29. #29
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    29ers are like the Cadillacs of MTB world and it's little surprise that they are popular.

    'Hey Johnny no-stars, here's a bike that rolls faster and will let you get over all those nasty rocks more easily.'

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Dude, really? Whatís your problem these days? You missed one.
    It's an Easter egg. I didn't want to have ALL the fun.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    And hobo is what?
    Lol. And I thought I was the only one.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    29ers are like the Cadillacs of MTB world and it's little surprise that they are popular.

    'Hey Johnny no-stars, here's a bike that rolls faster and will let you get over all those nasty rocks more easily.'
    So are you like DJ, riding a bike from the '60s with 26" wheels?

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1niceride View Post
    I've got a 29er I built and it is faster and boring to ride. A well built 26 with used parts is better than a 29er built by hackers with new parts..
    Ah yes, just like the blanket statements of yore.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    So are you like DJ, riding a bike from the '60s with 26" wheels?
    I have three, and quite excellent they are too.

  35. #35
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    Soon it will come full circle, 52" was best all along-

    All the fuss with wheel size and it doesn't really make a difference-8284106-3x2-940x627.jpg
    I brake for stinkbugs

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Soon it will come full circle, 52" was best all along..
    And why not? Wouldn't the roll-over be better?

  37. #37
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Lol. And I thought I was the only one.
    I read it like I see it.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    This has been discussed a lot. If the tires are the same than the 29er has a larger contact patch(more traction), and more rollover before catching a wheel)
    Itís then, not than. Youíre welcome.


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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    If the tires are the same than the 29er has a larger contact patch
    You mean Longer contact patch, right?
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  40. #40
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    I have not been around all day, I thought by now you guys would be dicussing HT vs. FS
    2016 SC Heckler R build
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornfield View Post
    I take Fvckitol and couldn't be happier!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    I have not been around all day, I thought by now you guys would be dicussing HT vs. FS
    I've decided, hardtail wins. No need to discuss any further
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    I've decided, hardtail wins. No need to discuss any further
    Thank God we can settle on something!
    2016 SC Heckler R build
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornfield View Post
    I take Fvckitol and couldn't be happier!

  43. #43
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    I'm surprised that some doofus hasn't tried to confuse the issue by asserting that geometry and fit's effects on weight distribution and control of the bike are the most important factors, if for no other reason than to steer the discussion away from things that really matter, like titanium rotor bolts.

    Pretty sure I could be happy with 27.5, 27.5+ or 29", and could also make a good case for each of them where I ride.

  44. #44
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    Spandex vs baggies. Discuss.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  45. #45
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    clipless vs flats

    Might as well get them all out there.
    Rigid SS 29er
    Fat Lefty
    SS MonsterCross
    SS cyclocross
    all steel

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  46. #46
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    Seriously though, this might be the most important thread of 2018... so far
    Rigid SS 29er
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    all steel

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Seriously though, this might be the most important thread of 2018... so far
    Itís 2018? Iím still debating the real worth of suspension and disc brakes.


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  48. #48
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    If I'm overweight, should I worry about bike weight?
    Banshee Prime

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by JACKL View Post
    If I'm overweight, should I worry about bike weight?
    No, you just need a bike with 150mm of travel that "super efficient pedaling."
    Rigid SS 29er
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    SS MonsterCross
    SS cyclocross
    all steel

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    29ers are like the Cadillacs of MTB world and it's little surprise that they are popular.

    'Hey Johnny no-stars, here's a bike that rolls faster and will let you get over all those nasty rocks more easily.'
    Or the right tool for the job, with better rollover and rock clearance. YRMV.

  51. #51
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    Ok, here comes my experience. Been riding 26er until fall then was torn between 650b and 29er for the new bike.

    I had problems with a step/drop on a trail here on the 26er, because the wheel would get caught in the root/rocks after. The 26er wheel fits right in there and gets stopped in its momentum.
    Testride on the 29er (norco revolver) and this section was rolled over without problems.

    As mentioned before it only effects maybe 20% or even less of trails, but when it does, the bigger wheels help.
    Now everyone needs to decide, if the snappiness of the smaller wheels are important to you. For AM riding IMO 650B-plus might be a good compromise.


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  52. #52
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    Seems like most agree. So much of this stuff gets discussed ad nauseum and it makes little difference and a lot is personal preference. Best thing is to get out, ride, not think about upgrading and work on improving. And to ride with others and learn from them.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    Seems like most agree.
    I don't and hopefully never will.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by alpi69 View Post
    650B-plus might be a good compromise. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Heavier wheels/tires are not the correct compromise. Except when they provide more traction, and even then I stuggle with the concept.
    I do like how everyone has their own reality. Some of us prefer an oversize tire, while others (the correct group) appreciate a quick-handleing setup.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I don't and hopefully never will.
    So an extra +/- 1.5" in diameter makes you that much better or worse of a rider?

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    So an extra +/- 1.5" in diameter makes you that much better or worse of a rider?
    No, being old, fat and unskilled makes me a worse rider. This wheel nonsense just makes me grumpy.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    No, you just need a bike with 150mm of travel that "super efficient pedaling."
    Thanks. I'm actually looking for a 160 bike that pedals like a hardtail. I've read about a few in bike mags. Also looking for under 20 pounds for an XL. With pedals.
    Banshee Prime

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by JACKL View Post
    Thanks. I'm actually looking for a 160 bike that pedals like a hardtail. I've read about a few in bike mags. Also looking for under 20 pounds for an XL. With pedals.
    You left out your budget. Trying to keep it under $2k?
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

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