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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    29 or 27.5 race bike? Making the transition from a light 26" hardtail

    I am a getting back into racing in 2014 - and am looking at upgrading my 2007 carbon hardtail. Plan to train my brains out this winter (already in decent shape run 10-20 miles a week, do cross fit, sometimes commute via bike to work, do 50 mile road rides every other Sunday, etc..)
    But Im in my late 40's and want to make a last hard push at racing before I get really old !
    I know this is a bit of a tired topic - but things have changed with the introduction of some racy 27.5 bikes (scott scale, Giant, etc.). Further, 29ers are now light - and their wheels can be very light. Last time I rode a 29er was a few years ago and the wheels seemed to make accelerating out of corners feel a bit sluggish. That is my fear with 29'er - as most of where I ride is twisting singletrack where corner speed and short accellerations are key. But I truly dont have real expereince with the big wheels. Either way - all that matters to me is lap times.

    Anyhow, thinking Sworks HT 29'er, Cdale F29, or maybe Giant 27.5.

    Live in midwest so not really the messy roots/rocks of the east coast. So think maybe a HT is faster - but the new Sworks epic seem to be winning accolades from a lot of magaine writers.

    Thanks for bringing me up to speed - its been a few years and bikes are different now.

  2. #2
    LMN is offline
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    There is a lot you have to decide when purchasing a new race bike.
    1. Dually or hardtail
    2. If a dually how much travel, 4inches or 5 inches.
    3. What angles do you want. Traditional (steep) or slacker angles
    4. Price range. This is big because if your budget is fairly limited finding a good dually get very difficult.
    5. What brands does your favorite shop sell.
    6. What is the long term durability, if you are going to get rid of it after a single season this isn't a big deal but if you keep your bikes for a long time this matters.
    7. Can you set the bike up with a fit that you like.

    All these things are really important. Wheel size is one of the variables in finding the right bike for you but it is by no means the most important variable.

    The specialized epics are a very well reviewed bike. I think most people would be happy riding one. My only concern would be I have heard mixed reviews on long term durability.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Depends on your height. On world cup, most tall riders on 29ers, short riders often on 27.5 because of geometry issues. HT will be lighter and cheaper, and good choice for fairly smooth race courses. I have new epic on order because half my races are pretty narley and I'm too old to get that beat up...

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Did you go standard Epic or World Cup?
    I'm six feet tall. So probably more suited to a 29'er.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Don't let your height determine which bike is right for you,unless your 6'5"+, then a 29er probably would be a better choice. I'm 6', I ride a 27.5 bike, like the way it handles, climbs and accelerates, the 29ers to me just "dumbed" the ride down for me, maybe slightly rolled over some stuff better, but that was about it.
    I have done a little "un-scientific" testing with my SC Blur XCc 27.5 bike against my friends 29ers(about all my friends are on 29ers) first, in tight single track, no comparison, my bike easily out maneuvers them, acceleration, again my bike wins. Where I thought the 29ers would take though is on studder bumped downhill fireroads, but my bike easily walked away from them all, this last test was done on a couple of different DH's. Those results made me come to the conclusion over which is the optimum wheel size.
    BTW, my friends are riding, 3 are on S Works Epics, 1 is riding a Turner Czar and another rides a 26" aluminium Stumpjumper.

    I would say, test ride a couple of bikes of all sizes, see what you like, people will argue to what the best wheel size is forevever and just because I'm partial to 27.5 and others to 29ers or even 26ers, do your own demos and see what you like.

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