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  1. #1
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    how much faster will i be on a 29er

    i am shopping for a XC race bike after 10 years off. i've searched this forum but can't seem to find a straight answer. what is the percentage point difference in lap times that I can expect to see by going to a 29er?
    something about the west coast...it makes me wanna ride

  2. #2
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    That all depends on you. Your lap times will increase as your fitness and skills return.

  3. #3
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    29er Lap time = ((29er smugness/26er lap time) * (purchase price of 29er/ purchase price of 26er))/ number of Dales Pale Ales consumed weekly

  4. #4
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    ~42

  5. #5
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    Infinity. And beyond.

  6. #6
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    you wont. you will be slower. have fun!

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    Who cares. Have fun.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    i am shopping for a xc race bike after 10 years off. I've searched this forum but can't seem to find a straight answer. What is the percentage point difference in lap times that i can expect to see by going to a 29er?
    ~0% +/- 4%
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  9. #9
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    Breaking the string of funny answers (many of them good), here's my real world data: no increase in average speed between 26er and 29ers, although I cleaned more things on the 29er. However, when I converted the 29er to a single speed, 1 to 2 hour rides on my regular routes were accomplished at a ~10% increase in average speed (from 10.5 mph to 11.5 mph average).
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    i am shopping for a XC race bike after 10 years off. i've searched this forum but can't seem to find a straight answer. what is the percentage point difference in lap times that I can expect to see by going to a 29er?
    About 50 percent faster. (+/- 75%)

  11. #11
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    you will be 3" longer.
    rower & power

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by EclipseRoadie View Post
    About 50 percent faster. (+/- 75%)
    That sounds about right.

    You will definitely be faster on one than you will be if you aren't on one, but instead continue to let all the other aspects that are also considered "life" get in the way of riding one.

    Life that includes riding a 29er > Life that does not include riding a 29er

    but,
    Ultimately Life that includes riding a bike > Life that doesn't include riding a bike.
    Ibis Ripley LS
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  13. #13
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    Dude...... Go ride 26", 29", hardtail, full suspension, entry level and high end. And ride as many different brands as possible. Then buy what fits your body and wallet.

    I ended up on a 29" because I'm 6'3" and no 26"xl frame ever felt right. You'll be surprised how much better of a rider you'll be if the bike fits you, regardless of wheel size. Technique and fitness make speed, not the diameter of your wheels.
    '09 Specialized Rockhopper expert 29
    Born 26" trials
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  14. #14
    dru
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    Quote Originally Posted by panplan View Post
    you will be 3" longer.

    and your girth will increase exponentially.....


    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  15. #15
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    On my local trails my lap times are actually slower on my 29er.Similar bike weight and wheel weight. I'm using a 650B front wheel on the 26" for added cornering grip and stability though. Both are FS.

    You may gain something on a 29er hard tail if you are racing on a 26" hard tail. Be prepared to spend big bucks to get a 29er down to xc race weight though.Top xc 29er bikes are phenomenally expensive compared to a similar weight 26" bike. Xc races are mostly about the climbs. My 29er hardtail is slower on the climbs than my 26" hardtail because it's heavier. Our climbs are smooth .There's no magic in wheel size on a climb unless it is very rough. There is on the way down though.

    So all is very much dependant on the courses you run.Look at what the others are using in your area and look at what the bike weighs. If it's heavy and they are still competitive then there may be an advantage in wheel size. You can get 26" fs bikes at similar weight to 29er hard tails at similar or cheaper prices. Add a 650 front wheel and vola. Race ready. The pro's are still swapping between 26" FS , 29er hardtail and 29er FS depending on courses.
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 10-15-2011 at 12:36 PM.

  16. #16
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    If you carry your wallet with you on rides, then yes buying a 29er will make you go faster because your wallet will no longer be anchored with money you just spent on the 29er.

    If you're fast, then you're fast.
    Just keep pedaling, don't stop pedaling.

  17. #17
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    29 times faster!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__ View Post
    ~0% +/- 4%
    Correct answer. You win!!

  19. #19
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    I have both. If I race locally I ride the 26 because of the type of terrain we have here, but if I'm riding/racing at say, Syllamo, I ride a 29er because of the more surefooted handling.

    Were it me, and I was buying a bike to start out on, I'd get a 29er, then grab a 26 later down the road... if I felt like it and had the spare cash.
    Trying to win hearts and minds, but willing to stomp them if necessary.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    i am shopping for a XC race bike after 10 years off. i've searched this forum but can't seem to find a straight answer. what is the percentage point difference in lap times that I can expect to see by going to a 29er?
    14 I think. Maybe 15.
    Every rose has it's thorn.

    enjoy the ear worm

  21. #21
    Uncle
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder View Post
    ~42
    Damn.. I swear it's either 14 or 15.
    Every rose has it's thorn.

    enjoy the ear worm

  22. #22
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Simple calculation

    (26 + 29) X (69 - 40) = your speed increase. You will be 9 seconds faster as long as you are using bar ends on both set ups.

    For every psi lowered = 1 second faster. This sort of thing does not work on 26ers.

    You will also have to consider your ego. Your ego will tell you that you must perform at optimum levels to justify your purchase of said 29er to all friends/associates. Doing so will increase your speed by 2 additional seconds.

    So:

    (26 + 29) X (69 - 40) -9 seconds + -17psi X 10 X ego -2 seconds = increase in speed

    Overall, you can expect a 23 second gain on any competitor on a 26" wheeled bike. It does not matter if it is a 100 yard sprint or a 100 mile race though. It will always be a 23 second gain.

    Pretty simple math really..

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk View Post
    (26 + 29) X (69 - 40) = your speed increase. You will be 9 seconds faster as long as you are using bar ends on both set ups.

    For every psi lowered = 1 second faster. This sort of thing does not work on 26ers.

    You will also have to consider your ego. Your ego will tell you that you must perform at optimum levels to justify your purchase of said 29er to all friends/associates. Doing so will increase your speed by 2 additional seconds.

    So:

    (26 + 29) X (69 - 40) -9 seconds + -17psi X 10 X ego -2 seconds = increase in speed

    Overall, you can expect a 23 second gain on any competitor on a 26" wheeled bike. It does not matter if it is a 100 yard sprint or a 100 mile race though. It will always be a 23 second gain.

    Pretty simple math really..

    Ha, I figured you were going to throw in something about the bar end factor.

  24. #24
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    wow really? it was a serious question guys.
    something about the west coast...it makes me wanna ride

  25. #25
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    According to a "study" that used to be posted on Gary Fisher's site it was ~3%.

    You got ridiculous answers because it is a ridiculous question.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  26. #26
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    Beer consumption will increase at least 25%

  27. #27
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    1 Billion Times Faster!!!!!

  28. #28
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    You will be able to hit ridiculous speed or maybe even ludicrous speed!!!


  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    i am shopping for a XC race bike after 10 years off. i've searched this forum but can't seem to find a straight answer. what is the percentage point difference in lap times that I can expect to see by going to a 29er?
    You could be faster or slower on either. It all depends on how you ride it. Overall I'm faster on my 29r but it took some time. I suggest you test ride as many as possible and get the one that's most comfortable for you. That's more important than what size hoops your running.

  30. #30
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    I'm still kind of new to 29ers, so take this with a grain of salt. I wouldn't expect more speed, just more comfort and traction. I am on a 29er hardtail, and I am pretty pleased with how smooth the ride is compared to the 26inch hard tail it replaced. Average speed is the same, but once you get past 30 singletrack miles the difference in comfort is pretty profound. FWIW, I don't do any xc races anymore, just ride and the once or twice a year endurance race.
    "Bikes aren't fast--people are fast. Bikes are overpriced. It's an important distinction."---BikeSnob NYC

  31. #31
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    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  32. #32
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  33. #33
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    wow really? it was a serious question guys.
    Sorry Uncreative, but we got a little creative with your question I will just assume that everyones' sarcasm stems from the endless debates...and I do mean endless..about which bike sized wheel is faster.

    To ask such a broad question without considering the many variables that could potentially alter our serious answers was amusing too...

    For starters,

    What sort of terrain will you be on?

    Also, you can't forget that there are actually "weirdos" out there (like the gentleman pictured below) that claim that a 26" wheel is faster.

    Your question was in complete disregard for them. It really made me laugh the first time I read it...

    So...for now..all I have to add to this is the following:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails how much faster will i be on a 29er-picture-19.png  

    Last edited by rydbyk; 10-15-2011 at 07:19 PM.

  34. #34
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    it's a simple question. the fact that there isn't a straightforward answer is informative.
    something about the west coast...it makes me wanna ride

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    it's a simple question. the fact that there isn't a straightforward answer is informative.
    No i really isn't. Ask 100 people and you'll get 100 different answers, thats the ONLY truth in this thread.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    i am shopping for a XC race bike after 10 years off. i've searched this forum but can't seem to find a straight answer. what is the percentage point difference in lap times that I can expect to see by going to a 29er?
    Wtf? you are joking right?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    it's a simple question. the fact that there isn't a straightforward answer is informative.
    It's not that there's no straight forward answer to your question, it's that there is NO answer to your question. Go to a runners forum and ask if Nike shox or Reebok zigs are faster. It makes about as much sense as your question, and you'll get the same type of responses.

    Get off your butt and do some research. Figure out what fits you and buy it.
    Or just go buy on a whim, be unhappy with your purchase, and complain on a forum about how no one held your hand. Jesuschrist man!!!
    '09 Specialized Rockhopper expert 29
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  38. #38
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    Since the correct answer has already been given, I will give you my own personal experience:
    I am no faster on a 29'er. I enjoy the ride more and don't get quite as beat up, but in a 2 hour XC race it doesn't make any difference for me. So I ride what I enjoy more.
    Now to point the finger back at you Mr. uncreative, neither your post or your profile give us any information about the terrain you ride. The only thing we can go on is you're from the USA. Some regions race courses might be a little more gnar than others.
    The majority of Cat1 riders in New England are on 29'ers. The guys who used to kick my assos on 26" bikes still do on 29'ers.

  39. #39
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    I don't know about you, but I can tell you how much faster I am, I had a 26 in 2011 Epic Comp for about 3 months, then I got a 29 in 2011 Epic Comp, my first lap on a local trail (Maybury State Park, Northville, Mi) was,, drum roll please... da,da,da........ 1 minute 20 seconds faster on a 6.6 mile trail, at another trail (Potawami Trail, Hell, Mi) at 18.6 miles, I was 4 minutes faster then ever before, so for me with a 29er, and a 26 in bike, the exact same gearing, tires, etc about 1 minute per 5 miles.
    Since I got the 29er the 26 in bike has become a back up/loaner for sale bike, I just don't ride it, my 29er has gotten lighter by a few pounds, (Carbon Roval Wheels, carbon seatpost, S=Works bars, XO 2/10 driveline) so comparing now would not be the same. I just keep getting faster on those trails.
    The 29er fits me better, I'm 5' 11", 198 lbs, I thought the 26 in Epic seemed small, both bikes are Large size.
    Happy Trails
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by manabiker View Post
    I don't know about you, but I can tell you how much faster I am, I had a 26 in 2011 Epic Comp for about 3 months, then I got a 29 in 2011 Epic Comp, my first lap on a local trail (Maybury State Park, Northville, Mi) was,, drum roll please... da,da,da........ 1 minute 20 seconds faster on a 6.6 mile trail
    My test loop is also 6.6 miles long and when I tested my time I was 54 seconds faster on my 29er. Theres some data for the Mythbusters!

  41. #41
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    I found that when i went to 29 over 26 i was and still am riding rigid. The 29er has huge advantages over rocks and roots as the approach angle to them is lessened by the larger rotational size of the 29er wheel. Saying that remember that out side rotational weight can change the handling of a bike. So if you are in really tight trails but have lots of roots and rock you will gain advantages with the 29er.Smooth with lots of twists the 28 will be more nimble. I adapted to the 29er put a Niner carbon fork and went tubeless to lessen the outside rotational weight and found the bike to be very responsive and nimble and stable. In short i find it to be a faster bike all around> I am 205 lbs and ride hard. I find it is a great climber and very fast and stable on descents.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantB View Post
    I'm still kind of new to 29ers, so take this with a grain of salt. I wouldn't expect more speed, just more comfort and traction. I am on a 29er hardtail, and I am pretty pleased with how smooth the ride is compared to the 26inch hard tail it replaced. Average speed is the same, but once you get past 30 singletrack miles the difference in comfort is pretty profound. FWIW, I don't do any xc races anymore, just ride and the once or twice a year endurance race.
    I'm in this camp. I got more traction and comfort with the 29er. All things being equal, I think the added weight of a 29er cancelled out the big wheel rolling advantage.

    But what you can do is trade some traction for faster and lighter tires. My 26er needed aggressive nevegals to climb/descend well around here. My 29er has Ikons/crossmarks and climbs and brakes just as well.

    There is absolutely no debate that I'm faster now on the 29er, but I credit the tires.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    it's a simple-minded question. the fact that there isn't a straightforward answer is obvious.
    FIFY







    jus' pokin'
    it is a goofy question, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  44. #44
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Correct answer. You win!!
    Yay!
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  47. #47
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    4 minutes over 15 miles

    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    i am shopping for a XC race bike after 10 years off. i've searched this forum but can't seem to find a straight answer. what is the percentage point difference in lap times that I can expect to see by going to a 29er?
    I recently did the 24 Hours of Moab. I did my first lap on a 26" Intense Spider. My time was 1:36. The bike was 25 pounds. I did my first night lap on a thirty pound Trek Al 100 29". I had the same time even though it was a night lap. I did my second night lap on the Trek in 1:42. I did my fourth lap in the morning and did 1:32. Aside for my first lap, all were done on a thirty pound Trek.

    I chose the Trek because it was way easier for me and it seemed faster. The Trek was a rental and did not have the ideal stem or seat for me.

    Based on see results I am estimating the 29er saved me 4 minutes a lap.

    Thx

  48. #48
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    [QUOTE=Teton29er;8541919]All things being equal, I think the added weight of a 29er cancelled out the big wheel rolling advantage.
    QUOTE]

    Added weight? I beg to differ. My SIR9 is 22lbs 8 oz which is 6lbs lighter than my Trek FS 26er.

  49. #49
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    [QUOTE=SeaBass_;8543684]
    Quote Originally Posted by Teton29er View Post
    All things being equal, I think the added weight of a 29er cancelled out the big wheel rolling advantage.
    QUOTE]

    Added weight? I beg to differ. My SIR9 is 22lbs 8 oz which is 6lbs lighter than my Trek FS 26er.
    He was probably talking about his situation, not yours.

    And, I think he was referring to wheel weight, which yes can be lighter for 29ers too, but usually isn't.

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