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  1. #1
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    First SS MTB: Tire Size?

    I'd like to build or buy a SS. In my head I've always considered going to a 29er when this time came because what everyone said about the wheels making the ride smoother and that they make climbing a little easier. However I haven't ridden a SS mountain bike so I really won't know the difference. First off I'm not sure if you need a different frame than a 26" wheel frame to build 27.5. Or what the consensus is with the single speeders out there. Is 29er really that much better? I know this is a religion type of question but I guess I'm going to be that guy and ask.

  2. #2
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    I think the 29er actually can actually make climbing a bit harder because its harder to spin up the rear wheel. Once you have sped up it seems speed is a bit easier to carry though.

    I like 29ers better for most of the riding I do but on flowier trails find myself wishing for a 26" wheel at times (shorter chainstays seem to help minimize these occurrences). But I don't feel comfortable making the decision for you. Anyone who does is full of ****.
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  3. #3
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    What is it that you miss about the 26 on the flow?

  4. #4
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    Its kind of a "feel" thing that is hard to quantify but I will try. Other than the acceleration difference going uphill, I think the 26" bike is easier to get through tight, closely spaced turns at high speeds. On the 29er when I have my rear axle slammed forward I notice this a lot less, but even a quarter inch back it starts to feel a lot less nimble. And my favorite flowy trail around has a lot of small 1-2' rollers - pumping through them seems a bit more natural on the 26. On 4-5' rollers I prefer the 29" though, they just feel like small hills to me on the other bike. On the flipside, I can say that in my rapidly advancing age I *really* like the bigger wheels when the going gets rough.

    I've only ever really had 2 mountain bikes though (a 1996 trek 930 and 2 karate monkeys - both the same size, got a new one so I could give the other to my brother as a gift), and never ridden with suspension. I suspect suspension would make handling more sluggish through the turns where I notice the difference but can't say for sure.
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  5. #5
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    It will be hard for you to find a new 26 SS bike to buy. Heck- it is hard to find a used 26 SS bike on ebay.

    When I say SS bike I am meaning a bike with a frame that can tension the chain without a sprocket chain tensioner. So a frame with track ends, sliding drop outs, or an EBB.

    You could always buy a 26 geared bike with vertical drop outs (since those are easy to find) and then convert it with a sprocket chain tensioner.

    Make sure you read the Single Speed FAQ at the top of the forums:

    MTBR.com Single Speed Forum - Single Speed FAQ

  6. #6
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    Thats a good point - other than the surly 1x1 and Troll I'm not aware of any options.

    I turned my old 930 (vertical dropouts) into a fixed gear using an eccentric rear hub, that is an option also. I hate the look of chain tensioners, they detract from the simplicity that I love about the SS drivetrain. Assume they are a bit noisier too (not as bad as derailleurs but still).
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  7. #7
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    So you can't just put an EBB into the bottom bracket spot of any bike?

    Also the 26" I was looking at has an EBB in it already.

  8. #8
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    Maybe you can. Did you read the FAQ?

    What bike were you looking at?

  9. #9
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    I'm considering the Cannondale Flash 29 or building out a Cannondale 1FG frame that I found.

  10. #10
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    I don't buy into the 29er is harder to spin up the rear wheel compared to a 26. If tire weight is identical and gear inches are equal, the force it takes to travel the same distance "should" be the same. My only reference is when i swap my 26" rear wheel and my 650b. My perception of the effort it takes to make the climb is that they are similar. Close enough i would say identical. What i ate before my ride seems to make a larger impact on how difficult a climb will be. But, the 650b rolls over small disruptions on the trail better. This makes it easier to maintain an equal pace. I know a lot of ppl think different, but, in my experience there is no benefit for a 26" tire for for acceleration or power.

    The larger wheels do seem a bit more oafish, but, thats more of a geometry thing i think. My frame is a 26" frame with a 29er up front and a 650b in back. Wheelbase is actually a touch shorter than my 26" Trek 6700. Although, my head angle (with suspension fork) is a bit slacker. I think this makes it more of a "carving" ride compared to the steeper "flickable" XC geometry. That is really all rider preference, imo. I can only imagine a 26" downhill bike will ride a bit more like a plow than a sharp turning twitchy XC rig even if the XC rig is rolling 29's. Slack head angle will do that.

  11. #11
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    So the 650B wheel just fits on the 26" frame? You don't have tire clearance issues?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbg33k View Post
    I'm considering the Cannondale Flash 29 or building out a Cannondale 1FG frame that I found.
    I'd rock that 1FG. Looks like a sweet frame and it has a EBB. I'd find a nice steel fork to throw on there and put some wide, strong rims and hubs so it could take some sweet drops.

    But then again- I've already got a 29er.

  13. #13
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    650b fits my Soul Cycles Hooligan. I live in SoCal and don't really deal with wet or mud. If i had to deal with mud, i would stick to a skinnier tire. A RaRa 2.25 gets close to my chainstays and would cake with mud if i rode in the sticky stuff. Also, if i got a rock stuck in the tread, it would hit the chainstay. Plenty of clearance for my bottom bracket and seattube. I ride 2.1 tires usually (quasimoto, crossmark, mission, and Vee8), so, its not an issue.

    Check the 650b forum and there are a lot of pictures and opinions on 26" frames that work with a 650b wheel.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetboy23 View Post
    I don't buy into the 29er is harder to spin up the rear wheel compared to a 26. If tire weight is identical and gear inches are equal, the force it takes to travel the same distance "should" be the same. My only reference is when i swap my 26" rear wheel and my 650b. My perception of the effort it takes to make the climb is that they are similar. Close enough i would say identical. What i ate before my ride seems to make a larger impact on how difficult a climb will be. But, the 650b rolls over small disruptions on the trail better. This makes it easier to maintain an equal pace. I know a lot of ppl think different, but, in my experience there is no benefit for a 26" tire for for acceleration or power.

    The larger wheels do seem a bit more oafish, but, thats more of a geometry thing i think. My frame is a 26" frame with a 29er up front and a 650b in back. Wheelbase is actually a touch shorter than my 26" Trek 6700. Although, my head angle (with suspension fork) is a bit slacker. I think this makes it more of a "carving" ride compared to the steeper "flickable" XC geometry. That is really all rider preference, imo. I can only imagine a 26" downhill bike will ride a bit more like a plow than a sharp turning twitchy XC rig even if the XC rig is rolling 29's. Slack head angle will do that.
    I'm pretty sure the reason it is harder to spin up the rear wheel is that comparable tires and rims will always be heavier in a 29" flavor. Can't think of any other reason it would feel more difficult anyway

    I assume the OP is not comparing a cross country 29er to a 26er built for dirt jumping. Lets look at the bikes being compared (size 18 for both)

    the trek:



    I dug this up from another thread - it is for a 1998 - 1996 wasn't available on vintage-trek.com but the 1995 was almost identical to what is listed. Just trying to spare wading through a PDF.

    71 degree head angle, 73 seat angle, 430mm chainstay, 1056 mm wheelbase

    And for the karate monkey:

    Name:  2012_Surly_Karate_Monkey_1.jpg
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    71.5 head angle, 73 seat angle, 431mm chainstay, 1065 mm wheelbase

    So we are talking about a .5 degree difference in HTA (kind of surprised the KM is steeper to be honest), a 1 mm difference in chainstay length (which is probably negated by the fact that my axle is pushed just a hair back in the dropouts), and a 9 mm longer wheelbase. While I'm sure these differences have some effect on handling I feel comfortable attributing most of it to the wheel size. I suspect the .5 degree difference in head tube angle is why the KM doesn't feel clumsier than it does relative to the 26".
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  15. #15
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    If you already have a 26" frame/bike, you could spend about $30 and get a ss conversion kit with spacers, a few cogs and a tension-er. This would allow you for very little money to see if you would like riding ss. I did this a few years back and last summer got a 29er ss. Still ride both.

  16. #16
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    I think that On-One may still make 26" wheeled bikes.

    I ride both a 650b and a 29-inch wheeled bike. Like 'em both. Buy what you want. Ride, smile, and wave to other cyclists. Lather, rinse, repeat...

    (edit) Forgot to mention, Phil Wood is putting out a really slick ebb that fits into a standard bb shell.
    -- let's ride

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