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  1. #1
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    29er's and western Oregon

    The 29er movement seems to be gaining a lot of steam, and I'm interested in hearing from people who either own a 29er or have at least test ridden them on local trails in Oregon.

    Many people say 29er's are the way to go for a variety of reasons, while others say the dissadvantages outweigh the advantages. I think a lot of this has to do with where and what you ride. A lot of these people ride in places like SoCal and Moab, on terrain that's quite different than we have in the forrests of western Oregon. Their terrain has less elevation change, and is often more rocky and less rooty than what I see in a typical forrest ride here. Climbing is a big part of every ride I do. Finding a route that has less than 1500 ft of elevation change on a 5-7 mile loop is difficult.

    I'm interesting a new full suspension bike, and would like to hear some of your thoughts about 29er's on western Oregon specific terrain (uproots, some rocks, lots of climbing and tree lined decents with tight corners, very few airborn jumps).

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mightymouse
    The 29er movement seems to be gaining a lot of steam, and I'm interested in hearing from people who either own a 29er or have at least test ridden them on local trails in Oregon.

    Many people say 29er's are the way to go for a variety of reasons, while others say the dissadvantages outweigh the advantages. I think a lot of this has to do with where and what you ride. A lot of these people ride in places like SoCal and Moab, on terrain that's quite different than we have in the forrests of western Oregon. Their terrain has less elevation change, and is often more rocky and less rooty than what I see in a typical forrest ride here. Climbing is a big part of every ride I do. Finding a route that has less than 1500 ft of elevation change on a 5-7 mile loop is difficult.

    I'm interesting a new full suspension bike, and would like to hear some of your thoughts about 29er's on western Oregon specific terrain (uproots, some rocks, lots of climbing and tree lined decents with tight corners, very few airborn jumps).
    29ers work just fine in WEsTern Oregon. Lots o' us have them.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    29ers work just fine in WEsTern Oregon. Lots o' us have them.
    Thanks shiggy, for absolutely no helpful information in that post. As a guy who probably holds a lot of information and has a lot of experiences to comment on, do you care to include specifics beyond "they work" and "people own them"?

  4. #4
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by mightymouse
    Thanks shiggy, for absolutely no helpful information in that post. As a guy who probably holds a lot of information and has a lot of experiences to comment on, do you care to include specifics beyond "they work" and "people own them"?
    How about "your mileage may vary"?

    There are no absolutes. Those of us the ride 29ers here have few issues or we would not be using them. There is no inherent problem as related to the conditions here. 29ers are a viable option.

    Will you be happy with how they perform? I have no idea. Heck, there are people that do not even like mtbs!
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  5. #5
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    I don't know what Shiggy's problem is thinking people might have different opinions or experiences than he does. I don't have that problem, everyone should think like I do or else they're messed up. And I think the disadvantages of the 26 inch wheel to the 29er makes me wonder why they even still make them for adults. But in full disclosure I live in western Washington not Oregon. Not that I don't like Oregon I really love it but I think the economic solution to Oregon's problems would be to turn the whole state into a wilderness area. The first one that allows bikes. You all can still live there just get rid of all the cars.

  6. #6
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    I ride both 26ers and 29ers in Oregon, they both work good for me. I'm definitely not a 29er fan boy, my last bike purchase was a 26er, but my next is going to be a 29er.

    You're going to get a dozen opinions and they'll be all over the board. So, I say, ride what you like.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  7. #7
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    Oregon fluff

    Native Oregonian here. I have been riding mountain bikes for twenty years. To keep it in perspective, I am thrity-three years old and the first ten years of my mountain biking days were more urban assault and less dirt riding. In my youth ages 6-13 I rode motorcycles on trails in the Mt. Scott area as well as some national forest land near Bear Creek. Long story short, my access to riding dirt bikes in the Portland 'berbs became less and less as the land got swallowed up by urban development. So, with the loss of motorcycle trail riding came urban bmx/mountain biking.

    As my cycling skills developed I started to take more interest in riding off-road. With that interest came a desire to find a bike that a) fit my lanky 6'6" frame and b) was fun to ride. Well, I ended up building a steel Fat Chance Yo Eddy with front suspension and 26" wheels. In 1999 29ers were just becoming reborn in Colorado, or something. The "Fat" rode like a Cadillac and still does. That bike helped me progress my skills even more, but in seven years time I felt I had found the limits of 26" steel hardtail and I wanted something different.......

    In 2006 I purchased a custom FS 29er. With a big change in the bike i was riding(steel hardtail), to this rock eating, big wheeled monster (FS 29er), there was a steep learning curve. The 29er topped with full suspension was difficult to wrap my head around. After riding the 29er for 40+ hours I was able to understand the advantages that came with the bigger wheels. To this day I am developing cycling skills to improve my ability to ride 29" wheels.

    You have to want to get stronger when you start riding a 29er, because you don't have a choice. It takes more power to get 29" wheels moving, but once you get them moving all you have to do is keep them moving. Easier said than done, right? Well, if nothing else when you ride big wheels you, as a rider and the engine, start looking for ways to keep the big wheels rolling so you don't have to pedal so hard. With this new sight line and right mind you, the rider, start developing increased handling skills in order to control the speed developed by the big wheel motion. Then it is all about using the speed to your advantage.

    29er mountain biking a lot like motorcycle trail riding, in that, the big wheels will roll over and through more technical singletrack than one's 26"-wheel-brain can comprehend. In order to maintain speed of the big wheels the rider has to be willing to trust the larger contact patch by pushing and leaning the bike into turns rather than steering and picking through corners like you would on a 26" wheel bike.

    If couldn't already tell....I'm sold on the 29er, it's right for me. However, I did move back to riding a steel hardtail 29er. Personally, I don't feel like I need full suspension for the type of cross country singletrack riding we have here in Oregon. I am more efficent and probably faster over all in my hardtail. It is not to say I won't own a FS 29er someday but at that point I will still have a hardtail 29er in the fleet.

    Bottom line: People can talk/write until they're blue in the face about the advantages and disadvantages of X and Y, but until you try it for yourself you will never know if it works for you. Go demo 29ers on the types of trails you ride and make the decision for yourself.

    BFE
    Last edited by BIGfatED; 11-13-2009 at 09:41 AM.

  8. #8
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    thanks for the thoughts guys

    Quote Originally Posted by BIGfatED
    You have to want to get stronger when you start riding a 29er, because you don't have a choose. It takes more power to get 29" wheels moving, but once you get them moving all you have to do is keep them moving. Easier said than done, right? Well, if nothing else when you ride big wheels you, as a rider and the engine, start looking for ways to keep the big wheels turning so you don't have to pedal so hard. With this new sight line and right mind you, the rider, start developing increased handling skills in order to control the speed developed by the big wheel motion, and then use the speed to your advantage.

    29er mountain biking a lot like motorcycle trail riding, in that, the big wheels will roll over and through more technical singletrack than one's 26"-wheel-brain can comprehend. Maintaining speed of the big wheels the rider has to be willing to trust the larger contact patch by pushing and leaning the bike into turns rather than steering and picking through corners like you would on a 26" wheel bike.
    Nicely said. Learning to change your riding style to use the advantages of the 29er to make the disadvantages less detrimental. Seem simple, and makes a lot of sense, but it's helpful to hear you say you've noticed your own evolution while making the switch.


    Is there anything to the fact that 6'4" 220lbs guys will see more of a benefit from a 29er than a 5'10" 160lbs guy?

    BFE

  9. #9
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    One more opinion. I live in Eugene now, but have spent the bulk of my mtb riding in Colorado and California, and have ridden a lot in Moab, and of course places like Sedona, Fruita, etc. So, my riding is mostly a survey of western US I guess. My favorite place to ride is Tahoe.

    Anyway, now that I've been on a 29er for a couple years, but still ride a 26" full suspension bike as well, my take is that I simply don't plan to ever buy another 26" wheeled mtb. The only disadvantage I've heard people come up with is the longer wheelbase, and thus they're harder to manual. True, and maybe that matters if you do a lot of dirt jumping, but for trail riding, I don't notice it at all. Technically the wheel takes more to accelerate, but again, unless you're a pro racer or something, I can't imagine that's actually going to be something you really notice in your riding.

    What I find is that 29ers just work better in general - *for me*. I fit 29ers better (I like the feeling of sitting "in" the bike), they clearly rider over rough and bumpy terrain better, and it is as if they give you 2" more suspension. My 29er also seems to steer and corner more desirably.

    That said, it may depend a bit. Your choices are more limited, although there's quite an array of 29ers these days, and in Western OR, you simply don't need anything with more than 4" of travel for trail riding, so it shouldn't matter. In fact, the bigger travel 29ers (RIP9, even the Tallboy, etc.) are potentially overkill for terrain here. I'd be eyeing a Jet9 (and I was until the issues, but am still planning/hoping to get one next year as my standard suspension ride).

    My current 29er is a fully rigid Niner MCR9. I love it. I am still shocked I like it, given I'd ridden at least 4" travel full suspension bikes since about '95, and as mentioned my other bike is a 6" travel Giant Reign, with Lyric fork, and so on (a beefy bike, and total overkill for Oregon, but works great in Tahoe and so on). I have ridden my Niner in Moab, and it's ok in a couple spots, but you want suspension pretty quick there

    My ideal stable would be the rigid Niner for winter and mild rides here, a Jet9 for general Oregon riding, and then a Tallboy, RIP9, Lenz, or other similar 4-5" travel 29er for places like Tahoe, Moab, some parts of Colorado, etc. Someday...

    Oh, I'm 6'2" 180lbs. I think the taller you are, the better fit you'll get from a 29er, but the advantage isn't restricted to tall folks.

  10. #10
    juan
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    I've noticed it's taller folk who seem to generally get into the 29ers. To second some of the other opinions, that doesn't mean if someone's under 6ft they aren't gonna like it. I think it's one of those things you gotta just by and try or ride your friends' a few times to see if its really for you. They do take a little getting used to, especially the handling, but man they climb like mountain goats and eat up the terrain we have out here. Fast.

  11. #11
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    Thanks headangle! You're exactly the type of rider I was hoping could shed some light on this question for me. I've been leaning towards a 29er for a few months now, ever since I rode the north rim trail on Mary's Peak following two guys on 29ers. One was fully rigid, the other was a hardtail, and it was a thing of beauty to watch them clear some narly uproot sections that brough my old 26er hardtail to it's knees. The reason I feel the need to post is because I've not had a chance to ride any FS 26er bikes, and until the demo events kick up again next year, I feel that there's a big gap between what I'm riding and what's out there.

  12. #12
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    29 v 26

    I have always ridden 26" wheeled bikes and I am 5' 9", 165 lbs....average. I got to demo a Knoa 29er FS last summer and I could see the advantages of the big wheels. They really do roll over the roots better than the 26er with a much smoother ride. That said, I really didn't feel the need or urge to run out and upgrade to a 29er bike. To me, my impression, was that the wheels felt big and a bit…well, big . As previously stated, I would probably get use to this and just adjust, but I just don’t feel the need to go big.

    I do have friends that are much taller than me that love their 29ers. They always say that the bike fits them much better and that they felt too big for the 26er.

    For me I will stick with the 26er.
    I ride at ludicrous speed

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tool addict
    Not that I don't like Oregon I really love it but I think the economic solution to Oregon's problems would be to turn the whole state into a wilderness area. The first one that allows bikes. You all can still live there just get rid of all the cars.
    This has nothing to to do with the question at hand and we could care less about your opinion.
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  14. #14
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    Sorry, you guys made it too easy...
    Quote Originally Posted by kidwoo
    The internet sounds like a tough place to ride.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1996cc
    This has nothing to to do with the question at hand and we could care less about your opinion.
    You couldn't be more wrong. Don't use "we" when you're speaking for yourself. I agree wholeheartedly with Tool Addict and worship his opinion.

    Back on topic, I've got two 29ers (rigid SS & FS) and love them both. I also love my {dozen or so} 26" wheeled bikes, but I'll never buy another small wheeled bike. FWIW I'm 6'3", 195#, been riding off-road since 1985, ridden 75+ mile days a half dozen times.

    --Sparty

    P.S. I also love both my motorcycles, but that's another forum.
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  16. #16
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    um... i like bikes...

    i love all my bikes equally... but i have to say i've been infatuated with my monocog 29er s.s. since i bought it about a little over 2 years ago now... if i'm free-riding and doin "gnarly" stuff.. i like my 26 fs...if i'm down for a good work-out, both cardio, legs and upper body... i love my 9er...

  17. #17
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    For western Oregon trail riding, if I had to pick just one "do it all" bike, it would be a 100 mm full suspension 29er.

    Hands down.

    I could give up the 120 mm 29er trail bike -- with great regret -- and the 29er hardtail -- without ever really missing it -- but not the Mama Bear 100 mm double boinger.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  18. #18
    meatier showers
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    Right on. My 100mm FS 29er hits the spot. The perfect bike, except for whenever conditions dictate something different, like my rigid singlespeed, or my hardtail, or... or... or...

    --Sparty

    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo
    For western Oregon trail riding, if I had to pick just one "do it all" bike, it would be a 100 mm full suspension 29er.

    Hands down.

    I could give up the 120 mm 29er trail bike -- with great regret -- and the 29er hardtail -- without ever really missing it -- but not the Mama Bear 100 mm double boinger.
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
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  19. #19
    Daniel the Dog
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    Depends

    On where you ride. I have a 29er and a 26er and I use different bikes on different trails. Nothing magical about wheel size. Both wheel sizes have their strengths and weaknesses. I like having both bikes.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo
    On where you ride. I have a 29er and a 26er and I use different bikes on different trails. Nothing magical about wheel size. Both wheel sizes have their strengths and weaknesses. I like having both bikes.
    What type of trails do you prefer the 26er on?

  21. #21
    newfydog
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    All laws of physics cease to exist in Western Oregon. The dirt, rocks, mud,hills are like nowhere else, A 29er simply will not function there.

  22. #22
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    1996cc


    This has nothing to to do with the question at hand and we could care less about your opinion.
    Actually I quite clearly stated in the first two lines I was about to spew opinions. So if you read past them you must have cared. Sorry you didn't know. As for on topic, the OP was begging for opinion and started to whine a little when he wasn't getting any. Glad to be of help when I can.
    thanks for carin'

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tool addict
    Actually I quite clearly stated in the first two lines I was about to spew opinions. So if you read past them you must have cared. Sorry you didn't know. As for on topic, the OP was begging for opinion and started to whine a little when he wasn't getting any. Glad to be of help when I can.
    thanks for carin'
    well, to be fair, you own the 3rd least helpful reply in this thread, behind Shiggy's first two of course. At least he was able to increase his post count by 2 without adding any value to the knowledge of this forum. Is that better whining?

    For that matter, I really do appreciate those who've replied with real information trying to answer the questions I've asked. You've given me a few new things to consider that I might not have without your thoughts. I'll be riding a few 29ers this weekend, and hopefully things will be more clear after that.

  24. #24
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    I'm a short guy (5'7") and have been riding 29"ers in Western Oregon since 2003. I bought a Karate Monkey the year they were introduced, shifted it to commuter duty and replaced it with a custom Vulture 29"er a couple years later, and then got a Lenz Leviathan FS 29"er a year and a half after that. Following are my opinions about 29"ers.

    Only real downsides IMO are weaker wheels for the weight (or heavier wheels for the strength, depending on how you want to look at it) and a pound or two of extra weight, much of which is rotating mass and hinders acceleration.

    IMO fit is no longer a downside for most riders above 5'6". It used to be tricky to design a 29"er that handled quickly enough for tight terrain without your toes buzzing the tires, but the new longer-offset forks have solved that problem for most riders.

    29"ers do NOT climb slower than 26"ers of the same weight. Yes, it's true that because of the extra rotating mass the bike doesn't pick up as much speed on each downstroke of the pedals ... but also because of the extra rotating mass, the bike retains more speed between downstrokes. It evens out. A 29"er may indeed "feel" more sluggish on climbs, but it's an illusion. In fairness, feel is important, and if you can't get used to the feel of a 29"er then it is not for you.

    29"ers have had a rep for slow handling, but this is more a function of how some bikes have been historically designed rather than a inherent drawback. With the right trail figure (sufficiently steep head angle and/or sufficient fork rake) a 29"er can IMO handle quickly enough for the twistiest terrain Oregon has to offer, with greater stability than a comparably nimble 26"er. In general, 29"ers are much better in this respect than the models that were popular when they were first gaining momentum.

    Upsides? Better rolling over technical trail surfaces, with less speed lost. Much easier to climb in technical terrain like the stair-step stretches of the Tillamook's Browns Camp loop. Better high speed stability on the descents. Better low speed stability, making (IMO) it much easier to balance yourself around tight switchbacks.

    That's my 2c. Others may disagree, but I was an instant convert to the concept back in 2002 when I took my cyclocross bike on technical terrain for the first time. Of course the ride was rougher, but even with 32mm of tread I couldn't believe how much better the big hoops rolled over big rocks and logs.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mightymouse
    I've been leaning towards a 29er for a few months now, ever since I rode the north rim trail on Mary's Peak following two guys on 29ers. One was fully rigid, the other was a hardtail, and it was a thing of beauty to watch them clear some narly uproot sections that brough my old 26er hardtail to it's knees.
    Funny you mention North Ridge on Mary's Peak. If you want to absolutly slay this trail you should ride a 6"+ travel 26er with a short wheelbase and short chainstays. Put a remote seatpost on it too. You can carry so much speed into the root sections that you just roll over them. Because of the shorter, more nimble geometry the switchbacks are ridden faster then with a 29er too. However, you HAVE to carry a lot of speed into the roots, otherwise the suspension soaks up the momentum and you stop dead in your track.
    My point is, if you ride classic XC style and slowly bounce over stuff, a 29er might be a good option for this trail. But if you are not afraid to carry speed into root sections then a long travel 26er kills it. Guess it depends what your riding background is.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    29"ers do NOT climb slower than 26"ers of the same weight. Yes, it's true that because of the extra rotating mass the bike doesn't pick up as much speed on each downstroke of the pedals ... but also because of the extra rotating mass, the bike retains more speed between downstrokes. It evens out. A 29"er may indeed "feel" more sluggish on climbs, but it's an illusion. In fairness, feel is important, and if you can't get used to the feel of a 29"er then it is not for you.

    29"ers have had a rep for slow handling, but this is more a function of how some bikes have been historically designed rather than a inherent drawback. With the right trail figure (sufficiently steep head angle and/or sufficient fork rake) a 29"er can IMO handle quickly enough for the twistiest terrain Oregon has to offer, with greater stability than a comparably nimble 26"er. In general, 29"ers are much better in this respect than the models that were popular when they were first gaining momentum.

    Upsides? Better rolling over technical trail surfaces, with less speed lost. Much easier to climb in technical terrain like the stair-step stretches of the Tillamook's Browns Camp loop. Better high speed stability on the descents. Better low speed stability, making (IMO) it much easier to balance yourself around tight switchbacks.
    excellent perspective GlowBoy, thanks . I haven't been in the game as long as you have, but from what I've researched, many of the knocks on early 29ers have been addressed in recent years (shorter wheel base, no toe overlap, stiffer frames, etc.), and I hope I can find the one that feels just right.

    Quote Originally Posted by iRider
    Funny you mention North Ridge on Mary's Peak. If you want to absolutly slay this trail you should ride a 6"+ travel 26er with a short wheelbase and short chainstays. Put a remote seatpost on it too. You can carry so much speed into the root sections that you just roll over them. Because of the shorter, more nimble geometry the switchbacks are ridden faster then with a 29er too. However, you HAVE to carry a lot of speed into the roots, otherwise the suspension soaks up the momentum and you stop dead in your track.
    My point is, if you ride classic XC style and slowly bounce over stuff, a 29er might be a good option for this trail. But if you are not afraid to carry speed into root sections then a long travel 26er kills it. Guess it depends what your riding background is.
    I think you're absolutely right about riding style and how that factors into what someone should ride. For 90% of what I ride, a 6" travel bike would be overkill, and probably frustrating for the long climbs. My riding style is much less aggressive than you've described for clearing those sections, although this has a lot to do with being a newer rider and sporting an old 26" hardtail. I'm most comfortable picking my way through sections at lower speed, much by necessity, but I expect this to change some with a bike that allows me to be more aggressive.

    I've been heavily considering these bikes that I think meet my need for function and $:
    2010 cannondale rz-120
    2009 cannondale scalpel
    2010 trek fuel ex 8
    2009 SC-blur XC

    2010 GF rumblefish I
    2010 GF hifi deluxe 29er
    2010 Spec epic comp 29er
    2010 Spec ST FSR 29er comp or expert

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mightymouse

    I've been heavily considering these bikes that I think meet my need for function and $:
    2010 cannondale rz-120
    2009 cannondale scalpel
    2010 trek fuel ex 8
    2009 SC-blur XC

    2010 GF rumblefish I
    2010 GF hifi deluxe 29er
    2010 Spec epic comp 29er
    2010 Spec ST FSR 29er comp or expert
    You should take a look at bikes like a SC Blur LT, Giant Trance X and Reign, Trek Remedy, Yeti 575 as well. I think they are perfect for around here if you don't plan on racing. They climb nearly as good as the shorter travel bikes but give you more confidence on rougher trails. On top of that (and in contrast to a short travel 29er that does the previously described things too) you can also take them to Blackrock and Post Canyon and they perform well. Ask the user BRMBA Monkey on here, he rides his Blur LT in Blackrock.

  28. #28
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    well, to be fair, you own the 3rd least helpful reply in this thread, behind Shiggy's first two of course. At least he was able to increase his post count by 2 without adding any value to the knowledge of this forum. Is that better whining?

    For that matter, I really do appreciate those who've replied with real information trying to answer the questions I've asked. You've given me a few new things to consider that I might not have without your thoughts. I'll be riding a few 29ers this weekend, and hopefully things will be more clear after that.
    What? Least helpful. Not just an opinion on 29er's but so much so as to end production of 26 inch bikes and not just Western Oregon but the whole State; East and West turned into a playground for just 29inch bikes. Now that's worthless opinion. How could that not be helpful?
    But to be fair, in your last sentence you struck upon the most helpful answer. Which may have been where Shig was going.
    Ken

  29. #29
    Daniel the Dog
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    Okay

    Quote Originally Posted by mightymouse
    What type of trails do you prefer the 26er on?
    I'm sure the haters will bust my butt for my opinion but I prefer a 26er on tight and technical trails with lots of rocks with ups and downs.

    Jaybo

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo
    I'm sure the haters will bust my butt for my opinion but I prefer a 26er on tight and technical trails with lots of rocks with ups and downs.

    Jaybo
    Wait a second, you just described most of the fun trails in Oregon!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo
    I'm sure the haters will bust my butt for my opinion but I prefer a 26er on tight and technical trails with lots of rocks with ups and downs.

    Jaybo
    Did you mean to put this someplace else? Oregon doesn't have roots and Rocks.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  32. #32
    Daniel the Dog
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    Huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan
    Did you mean to put this someplace else? Oregon doesn't have roots and Rocks.
    Are you joking?

  33. #33
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    Ever ridden...

    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan
    Did you mean to put this someplace else? Oregon doesn't have roots and Rocks.
    the Larch Mountain trail area in Oregon? There's a root or two....
    Support mtb'ing in the Portland area, join NWTA with your dollars, hands, and/or voice. nw-trail.org

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by free-agent
    the Larch Mountain trail area in Oregon? There's a root or two....
    Or the Red Lake trail. I think I saw a rock.
    Only two infinite things exist: the universe and stupidity. And, I am unsure of the universe
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  35. #35
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    This shows again that most 29er riders stick to smooth trails.


























    *kidding*

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan
    Did you mean to put this someplace else? Oregon doesn't have roots and Rocks.
    My favorite ride starts at Roaring River CG / up Dry Ridge /down to Serene Lake /'round the lake / climb up to Fraiser / descend to Cache Meadow / climb up to Grouse Point / and descend back to Roaring River.Two things about this ride...(1) I would never ride my 700c off-road bike here...(2) there are rocks,rock gardens,scree and plenty of "rock" based features that will more than make up for the pathetic trail sanitation that has occurred at locations like the Historic Hiking Trail in the Tillamook State Forest.The MRT is a great out & back on the 700c off-road bicycle .Overall I agree with Jaybo's assessment on this one.Pray for "dry" snow...and an early spring.
    Master of Laundry...Lord of Cleaning!

  37. #37
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    Of course there are a few trails in Oregon and SW Washington with roots and rocks, but for the most part trails in Oregon are pretty sanitized. I'll edit my statement too...For the most part, trails in Oregon are not rooty and rocky.

    If you are looking for rooty and rocky, check out the Write Meadow and Craggy Peak trails between Lewis River and the Boundary Trail, I had a blast riding these this summer, and I rode it on my 26er...
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  38. #38
    Daniel the Dog
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    Forest Park rider?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan
    Of course there are a few trails in Oregon and SW Washington with roots and rocks, but for the most part trails in Oregon are pretty sanitized. I'll edit my statement too...For the most part, trails in Oregon are not rooty and rocky.

    If you are looking for rooty and rocky, check out the Write Meadow and Craggy Peak trails between Lewis River and the Boundary Trail, I had a blast riding these this summer, and I rode it on my 26er...
    Oregon is not Utah...no question! But, Syncline, Mary's Peak, Oregon Larch, Tillamook, and others are either rooty and/or rocky. But you are right about a lot of Oregon trails: Bend, Oakridge, among others are pretty smooth (fun but smooth overall). I rode a 29er hardtail for a while and got my arse kicked in the Gorge.

    Poppa#1 is right about Roaring River. If you have never ridden that trail it is a rock fest with steep climbs and will kick your arse. We saw a couple guys probably over 50 in singlespeed fully rigid bikes coming down up there. It hurt me to watch them descent over those rocks. They were having a blast!!

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    Today was the day!

    Went to the Trek/Fisher demo day in Grants Pass. Rode a great assortment of FS bikes, including two 29ers: Superfly 100, and Rumblefish II, and two 26ers: Top Fuel 9.8, and Fuel EX 9.9. I was able to ride the 29ers in 17.5 and 19.5 frames, as well as the Fuel EX in 17.5 and 18.5 (love this in between size btw, perfect for me). Great thanks to Dax the NW Trek/Fisher rep, and the guys at BikeKraft for hosting the event despite the terrible weather. They had the bikes dialed in all day, 6 different bikes (4 different models) just for me over a 6 hour period.

    First about sizing. I'm 5'11" 162lbs with about a 31" inseam. Pretty average proportions, no crazy long arms or torso, etc. Without a doubt, on the Superfly 100 and the Rumblefish I prefer the 17.5" frame, and the 18.5" in the Fuel EX. The 19.5" larges fit ok, but were noticeably less agile and harder for me to control in tight corners. The major issue with the large for me was on steep climbs, while sitting, it was nearly impossible for me to keep the front end from wandering. I couldn't get myself positioned far enough forward on either 19.5" to keep the front tire down. This is on an assortment of 20-45% grades, usually in short 50-100ft chunks, steep enough that my rear would spin if I stood up in the wet conditions. Once I switched the 17.5" frame and the 18.5" on the EX, my position could weight the front much easier when needed, and the bikes handled a lot better and climbed great. Here's a recap of my thoughts on the bikes:

    Rumblefish II: sturdy, heavy...mostly rotational weight. I rode this bike first, before tainting my mind with anything except the old 28lbs hardtail 26er I currently ride. I immediately noticed how heavy the 29er wheels felt compared to my 10 year old wheels which I run 700g 2.3s tires with standard tubes. I expected a lighter feel for such a high end 29er bike. The Rumblefish was sporting 2.2 bontrager tires, the same size I would want to run on this bike. It begged to be ridden fast and hard on the downhills, and was impressively steady at speed, I never felt unsafe on it, even going in and out of some ugly 8" ruts at full speed, in a serious downpour with water and mud everywhere. Unfortunately, it really fell short in the climbs and when lots of tight cornering (not because of length or turning ability) was required, both because of the rotational weight. The bike just takes a lot more effort to pedal, especially when you cannot maintain speed due to tight turns or getting slowed by big roots or upsteps that zap your speed. For the type of trails I usually ride in forests, this would not be the best bike for me. Riding where trails are more open, allowing you to maintain speed, not as steep, or when terrain gets really rough, I could see this bike being a better option than I feel it would be for me. For me to enjoy this bike as a whole riding experience, I would have to put a lighter wheelset on it, which I find annoying considering how expensive it is to begin with.

    Superfly 100: stiff, light, agile. This is what I wish the Rumblefish felt like in terms of effort to make it move. Not quite enough travel, or plush enough feel for what I'm looking for unfortunately. However, for what this bike was designed for, I think they nailed it. Great XC and race bike no doubt. It's really fun to ride a bike that you feel gives you lots of advantages with pretty much no disadvantages. This bike made me feel that way.

    Top Fuel 9.8: stiff, very light, but not as stable as the Superfly 100. I felt the terrain a lot more riding this bike than on the Superfly. This I can only assume is the difference between the 29er wheels and the 26ers, which is easier to notice with a stiffer rear suspension and less travel on the fork. I definitely couldn't push this bike as fast as I wanted to, on what would be considered fairly tame, but wet terrain. Between the Superfly and the Top Fuel, I'd give the nod to the Superfly.

    Fuel EX 9.9: best all around bike of the bunch, but not just by doing everything decently. It did everything in stunning fashion. I couldn't find anything I didn't like about the EX. The suspension on this bike is excellent both front and rear, excellent plush, linear feel, but with propedal on, no bob. I love it's versatility to be a fast bike I could take on a variety of trails, from smooth to rough. I took it off some 1 and 2ft drops and it ate them up like the tires didn't even leave the ground, it climbed incredibly well, and it descended almost as well as the Rumblefish. Fast and easy to get rolling, and light, even with some beefy 2.4 tires on it. I would take the lighter 26er wheels over the heavier 29er wheels in a heartbeat for this terrain. On a hardtail comparison, I'd be willing to pay for the weight of the 29er wheels to gain better rolling over obstacles, but comparing FS bikes, awesome suspension on the 26er makes the advantage of the 29er wheels almost vanish, almost.

    If I were giving grades out, comparing climbing (pedaling effort and balance), maintaining speed, and downhill (speed and stability), I would give I would give the Rumblefish an A for downhill, and the EX 9,9 an A-, which is saying a lot because the Rumblefish is definitely a beast plowing downhill. For maintaining speed, Rumblefish B- and EX 9,9 A-. For climbing, the Rumblefish would get a C and the EX 9,9 would get an A. I couldn't ask for a better trail bike than the EX 9,9. Poor Rumblefish, I was rooting for you going in too...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppa#1
    My favorite ride starts at Roaring River CG / up Dry Ridge /down to Serene Lake /'round the lake / climb up to Fraiser / descend to Cache Meadow / climb up to Grouse Point / and descend back to Roaring River.
    Isn't this ride off limits to bikes now? I thought the wilderness grab included this.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mightymouse
    Went to the Trek/Fisher demo day in Grants Pass. Rode a great assortment of FS bikes, including two 29ers: Superfly 100, and Rumblefish II, and two 26ers: Top Fuel 9.8, and Fuel EX 9.9......
    Hey that's a nice demo report, mightymouse. Not often that I see a back-to-back comparison between 29/26" bikes that are ridden on the same day/terrrain. Thanks

  42. #42
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    You couldn't be more wrong. Don't use "we" when you're speaking for yourself. I agree wholeheartedly with Tool Addict and worship his opinion.
    Mountain biking is obviously a huge cash draw- you can tell when you roll through Oakridge.

    Just for consensus, did 29er for a year, then 26" again and now 650b. I like a large front wheel for sure, not really sold on how large.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hack
    Isn't this ride off limits to bikes now? I thought the wilderness grab included this.
    Yep.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hack
    Isn't this ride off limits to bikes now? I thought the wilderness grab included this.
    Yes, it did. I haven't done the exact ride described, but I've done another loop (on my Karate Monkey, to keep my post on topic) in the Roaring River / Serene Lake area and it was one of the best rides I've ever done, with lots of fun technical rocky stretches. To me Roaring River was the biggest loss of this year's Wilderness bill.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    ... it was one of the best rides I've ever done, with lots of fun technical rocky stretches. To me Roaring River was the biggest loss of this year's Wilderness bill.
    Wow. Glad I never did that ride, so I don't feel the loss as bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
    Jaybo... quit *****ing and move to Texas

  46. #46
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    I read about it and had friends tell me to ride it. Never made it there. I'm so pissed.

  47. #47
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    FWIW, here's my original ride report from 2004:

    Ride Report: Roaring River Region, oRegon
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

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