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  1. #1
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    How many are on 29ers?

    photos of varsity field by John Taylor
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How many are on 29ers?-29er.jpg  


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    All I think. Big advantage to a large diameter, low pressure, tire on wet sand.

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    Our team is about 50/50...

    At East Garrison we had 3 podium finishers on 29ers, 2 on 26ers.
    What a great day, started out rough (weather) but sure was fun!
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  4. #4
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    In 2006 a Cross bike, the only one entered, won the Jr. Varsity race at East Garrison. The relatively open and low tech course was a natural for a big wheel. That was the last year Cross bikes were allowed to compete in the Mountain Bike League.

    In 2008 a "national cross champion" entered the League at East Garrison with the usual hype that coaches will have with talent untested against NorCal competition. As I recall he did pretty well but was hardly in the running. In fairness, much-vaunted talent from outside the League learns pretty fast about how competitive NorCal Racing is. Yet the boy was absent his big wheel, and on a course which likes the big wheel to boot. Just ask the CCCX racers.

    NorCal courses are selected to be an appropriate match for extant skills which develop over a season and over a career. In the short view early races are on simpler courses with less climbing and shorter distances. (Note: race distances are reduced across the board for younger riders and girls, i.e., Freshman race 2 laps, Varsity 4.) This sort of accommodation considers the abilities of new racers and all racers in early season form.

    Over the course of the season distances are increased, elevation gain is increased, and it is hotter. Conditioning is high, skills are sharp and everyone has a season of racing behind them. While technical demands are greater, they still are not the steep twisty, rockstrewn, off-camber things we do with our buds. With athletes this young and fields of such huge numbers the risk of injury just goes through the roof.

    That said, a dual suspended bike has never been needed for a NorCal Race; there are absolutely no technical demands for it. The 22 lb (now lower with carbon fiber) hardtail has been the tool of choice. Looking back on the 2 East Garrison examples I opened with, the 29er will do well in NorCal competition. The big wheel is a good match for their courses. Where the ground is firmer and repeated acceleration becomes key, the 26 inch wheel may have an edge.

    I doubt that the courses will change much outside this model. Further, these racers seldom draw from a quiver of bikes to match a course. So, all things being equal, top racers at the Varsity and Jr. Varsity level will ride Carbon Fiber Hard Tail 29ers sooner rather than later.
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  5. #5
    Cormac
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    I race varsity in the colorado league and 90% of the people are on 29ers including myself. many of the people in varsity are on cycling teams, and have sponsors too, and to go along with all that the varsity division is super competitive!!
    Last edited by cormy; 11-04-2012 at 08:57 AM.
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    75% of the Minnetonka, MN team is on hardtail 29ers. The others are hardtail 26ers. Our race courses are flat as a pancake and smooth as a baby's bottom.

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    B650 will take over.
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  8. #8
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    I usually like your posts Mike but now you're just trolling.
    I guide and rent bikes in Northern Utah

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    it's a prediction; your prediction may differ.
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    We have 1 of the 8 on a 29er. Other teams have a higher percentage.. So far, almost all the podium spots have been by a rider on a 29er. Our courses may suit the larger wheel as we have plenty of rocks and roots, and short climbs during a lap.

  11. #11
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    In Socal, I felt like I was the only one on a 26er. Still placed decently well though

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    As stated by Mike the NorCal NICA courses are prime for 29er HT's and even with the rise of the B650 I still think 29er HT's will rule the roost. The only course where a FS bike made sense was Stafford Lake but that was only because it wasn't really a groomed course the first year (2012), might be better now. Just riding it on pre ride killed my back. For those that where there this year was it any better, just wondered? After a couple years it'll be another prime 29er HT course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTB Dad View Post
    As stated by Mike the NorCal NICA courses are prime for 29er HT's and even with the rise of the B650 I still think 29er HT's will rule the roost. The only course where a FS bike made sense was Stafford Lake but that was only because it wasn't really a groomed course the first year (2012), might be better now. Just riding it on pre ride killed my back. For those that where there this year was it any better, just wondered? After a couple years it'll be another prime 29er HT course.
    It wasn't as bad as 2012 some of the kids on my team were saying. But being my first year, it was super dry and bumpy as all hell.. A FS would of been nice for the race.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grahamlynn1 View Post
    It wasn't as bad as 2012 some of the kids on my team were saying. But being my first year, it was super dry and bumpy as all hell.. A FS would of been nice for the race.
    The problem with Stafford is that it isn't normally open to mountain bikes. They literally just opened it for Championships. Thats why it felt like they took a weed whacker, did a half-a** weed whacking job, and called it a trail; thats exactly what they did. I learned this all from a chick at a local bike shop who rides for Navado. That course sucked even on a FS.

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    I ride a 26er and I do fine when I'm not getting flats which was 40% of the races but most guys are riding 29ers and a few guys that have A LOT money ride 650B, I would probably ride a 650B but they are too new for people to be selling them for a good deal used

  16. #16
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    My kid stole my first 29er so to answer your question, yes he'll be racing a 29er.

  17. #17
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    - as a possible new coach for GA, I find this conversation necessary to see what my kids will be up against......most around here will use whatever they already have or what their parents can afford, but the best equipped will definitely have an advantage over heavier / older technology.......CF HT's? - wow, even I can't afford that......
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  18. #18
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    @mr_chrome-it all depends on the courses. 29's do so well here because the courses tend to be geared for all levels of riders, ie they are not technical, so 29's are usually the best choice. I would not be hung up on a CF frame as I've seen many do just as well on AL frames.
    Having the bike set up right for the particular rider both fit wise and mechanically is what I focused on. I couldn't afford 5k and up for a bike and I don't think a CF frame would have won my son any races. Plus if your racer is serious you will be replacing stuff continually. Rather then big $$$ on a single bike I think having better components and a 2nd set of race wheels is a better investment. A solid training program and racing as much as possible are the keys to seeing good results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTB Dad View Post
    .... Plus if your racer is serious you will be replacing stuff continually.....A solid training program and racing as much as possible are the keys to seeing good results.
    Continually replacing stuff is right. It is just a fact. Get something decent but don't fall in love with it because you just need something that works. The top end riders in so cal ride some pretty top end bikes. But you see top end bikes down through the ranks as well.

  20. #20
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    Lots of folks overthink this in terms of ultimate performance. The racer-heads don't like to hear this but his kind of competition is about a quality experience, not podiums. 85% will never get to the podium. So quality, reliability, maintenance support and fit come first.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTB Dad View Post
    @mr_chrome-it all depends on the courses. 29's do so well here because the courses tend to be geared for all levels of riders, ie they are not technical, so 29's are usually the best choice. I would not be hung up on a CF frame as I've seen many do just as well on AL frames.] Plus if your racer is serious you will be replacing stuff continually. Rather then big $$$ on a single bike I think having better components and a 2nd set of race wheels is a better investment.
    Tell me about replacing stuff continuously, my bike has been in the shop on a weekly to biweekly basis since the season started. But if you spend big $$$$ on a bike you tend to not need stuff like better components or race wheels. I am placing around 11th every race and I'm pushing a 33lb FS 29er so I do agree a solid training program is key instead of having a CF frame and lightweight components. You said it depends on the courses but I bet you there isn't a single HS course that a 29er wouldn't shine on, I haven't run into a single one technical enough to even use any suspension.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sean1214 View Post
    . You said it depends on the courses but I bet you there isn't a single HS course that a 29er wouldn't shine on, I haven't run into a single one technical enough to even use any suspension.
    Heheh. Try riding in the northeast.

    I'm seeing more than half of the total riders on 29ers but not everybody on the podiums is riding them. In any situation the right tool for the job and good technique trump "the gear." Some of these kids don't have the physical stature to handle a machine as large as a 29er properly so it would just hinder their overall performance. Sure maybe they would be able to roll out faster on the smooth sections but when it gets tight and twisty they'd be falling off the back and that wouldn't be any fun for them. Remember, this whole thing is ultimately about having fun and doing something healthy. Some of the people involved in this take it way too seriously...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    Heheh. Try riding in the northeast.

    I'm seeing more than half of the total riders on 29ers but not everybody on the podiums is riding them. In any situation the right tool for the job and good technique trump "the gear." Some of these kids don't have the physical stature to handle a machine as large as a 29er properly so it would just hinder their overall performance. Sure maybe they would be able to roll out faster on the smooth sections but when it gets tight and twisty they'd be falling off the back and that wouldn't be any fun for them. Remember, this whole thing is ultimately about having fun and doing something healthy. Some of the people involved in this take it way too seriously...
    It can get pretty knarly in socal, but our league director tries his best to exclude the technical stuff. I race enduro and ride downhill trails on my Trek Superfly FS and haven't had any problems with it. It just takes practice to learn you bikes geometry and its limits and you can ride stuff that most would ride a DH bike on. You should see how many dirty looks I get when I am riding my local downhill park, and I don't ride slow either, I was up there yesterday and blew the seals off my forks. My friend and I have been working on an edit on enduro and it features me on my 29er and him on his 27.5.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    B650 will take over.
    They way you described your courses Id wager everyone will be on 36ers

  25. #25
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    It seems like 29ers are the appropriate tool for most of the trails chosen for these races. *sigh* In a way it's too bad because some of these kids can't fit on a 29er properly, like my 4'10" daughter, so they are undergeared compared to the taller kids. It wasn't very long ago that it really was about the rider not the bike but now physical stature has an impact on the race results. I don't like it and would like to see a "standard" set that levels the playing field again.

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