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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: heffster's Avatar
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    Oct 2010

    Help Me Decide: Altitude 29 vs. Altitude 30

    Hello all

    I've been shopping full suspension bicycles for a while and recently narrowed my selection to the Altitude 29. After reading a lot of reviews, it doesn't get praise for being a nimble accelerator. I don't know if this is the nature of a 29er or this particular bike (I currently ride a 29er hardtail). The Altitude 30 is about the same price right now, similar level of build, and you get 140mm of travel... so I've added it to the radar.

    I don't think the added travel will be a necessity for the trails I ride, but might be nice to have down the road. The trails I ride vary a fair bit, but are quite often tight, rooted, rocky. I'm really just interested in a fs more for rear end cush/comfort and grip. My main concerns for purchasing a bike are how the bike turns and how it fits me.

    Opinion, reviews, links are greatly appreciated.


  2. #2
    Reputation: BlackCanoeDog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    i don't think you can make that call without riding both bikes out on the trails. i attended a RM demo day so was able to ride the 29 vs 26 altitude back to back. i was able to get an altitude 26 demo bike from a LBS for a 3 day weekend and put about 8 hrs saddle time on it. although everybody and their uncle was telling me to go 29, personally i liked the altitude 26 better and susequently purchased a 70 RSL. so you can't really go by what you read or get hyped or told on the forum one way or the other.

    RSD Bikes "The Mayor"
    Rocky Mountain Sherpa Overland

  3. #3
    ups and downs
    Reputation: rockyuphill's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    I've only had one short demo ride on the Altitude 29er, but for handling in tight and twisty stuff I was surprised that it was nearly as good at the tight corners as my 26" Altitude. I always feel the extra weight of 29" wheels because I have super light 26" wheels, but the Straight Up geometry is going to give you the best shot at an easy to accelerate 29" wheel bike.

    Every 29" bike could benefit from an upgrade to super light wheels and light tires as the mass is way out there just that much further than on a 26" wheel to add more inertia.

    If you already have a 29" hardtail, the wagon wheel rotating mass effect won't be a surprise to you, and you may want to maintain the same capability of rolling over things, but otherwise the tight, slow speed handling of both 26" and 29" bikes is surprisingly good for the wheelbase they have.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    I've been on the Altitude 29er since last November. I ride in Las Vegas and we have pretty rocky trails. I really like how the 29er rolls over obstacles. I just rode some of the regular trails last week on my little brothers 150mm 26er and it felt less nimble than my 29er and I wasn't able to make some obstacles I regularly clear on my 29er. I'm sure this wouldn't hold true with the Altitude 26er (I"ve heard it's a great bike), but the 29er is no boat.

    Just my experience. I've loved my Altitude 29er.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    I'm a beginner and ride with some intermediate/experts. One on Santa Cruz Heckler and the other on a Scott 29er. We were riding Bent Creek,in Asheville NC, and riding a trail that was really rooted. I was able to blister both of them up the short rooted inclines. I even caught myself carrying more speed,than them,on the downhills. I really love my Altitude 29er (not SE model).

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: heffster's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Thanks for the responses. I don't think test riding the two is much of an option. This will be an internet purchase because there just aren't any nearby Rocky Mountain dealers. Have to go with opinions, reviews, and my experience from riding fs bikes that I can beg or borrow or sneak rides on.

    These posts support reviews I've read about the quick turning behavior of the Altitude 29 despite is long wheelbase. Based on what's been said and my experience on my 29er, I'm assuming most of the acceleration comments I've read about the bike are due to the 29 inch wheels. I've been startled on my 29" hardtail switching from Small Block 8's, to heavier Rampages how much the weight had an effect. The Altitude 29 comes equipped with fairly large tires, so it may benefit from a lighter tire down the road.

    So really I'm hung up on trading the 29" wheels for the extra travel and slightly improved rear shock of the 26", as the rest of the components seem to be pretty on par. For those that have ridden both, did the more vertical fork angle make the 29" more nervous?

    Thanks again

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: heffster's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Decided to pull the trigger on the Altitude 29... It'll be here Wednesday!

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