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  1. #1
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    29er? marketing hype?

    I am not sold on 29ers for racing, I think JHK recent win on a 29er was not a revelation and get really pissed that the marketing pubes say 26ers are going to be extinct.It seems 26ers are still better on most race courses, accelerate quicker, turn quicker and climb better.Did he win despite being handicapped with a 29er? I KNOW they are superior downhill but elsewhere? have not done well internationally yet.

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    yeah you may think I'm biased when you look at my username, but what sort of sealed the deal for me is when I read about a test where someone measured average power over the same course with a 29er and 26er. I think it was done several time. Don't remember the difference or how significant but it required less power to push that 29er through that course.

    Wish I could put my finger on it and google is not turning it up. (sad state we are in that google controls information flow). So unless someone else can point to it you'll just have to trust someone with the id of riding29.

    EDIT: Don't trust me and take a look at this
    http://singletrack.competitor.com/20...l-is-dead_3050
    Last edited by riding29; 10-29-2009 at 05:42 PM.

  3. #3
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    Have you read the latest MBT action mag, very interesting feature about gear ratios and essentially stated 29ers cover more ground per crank revolution but also more effort from the motor/rider.my point is 26ers are still viable, I intend on having both.

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    More and more Racers are jumping on 29ers. Some courses give 29ers a big edge too. You gotta race what you are comfortable with though.

  5. #5
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    Fast is fast on whatever size wheels.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by riding29
    yeah you may think I'm biased when you look at my username, but what sort of sealed the deal for me is when I read about a test where someone measured average power over the same course with a 29er and 26er. I think it was done several time. Don't remember the difference or how significant but it required less power to push that 29er through that course.

    Wish I could put my finger on it and google is not turning it up. (sad state we are in that google controls information flow). So unless someone else can point to it you'll just have to trust someone with the id of riding29.

    EDIT: Don't trust me and take a look at this
    http://singletrack.competitor.com/20...l-is-dead_3050
    I think it was an article in Velonews. I think this was it:

    http://www.velonews.com/article/97597

    I'm not a pro, but I find my 29er HT way more comfortable than my 26er FS, and I am noticeably faster on my training workouts. Could be a bike fit issue too. Hard to say for races though since there are many more variables when racing, adrenaline being a big difference.

    I'm currently waiting for my 29er FS which might be done tomorrow or Monday, except we just got almost three feet of snow so it may be a while before I get to ride it.

  8. #8
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    Calling 26" wheels dead is marketing hype for sure. 29" wheels work well for me though. The only reason I initially bought a 29" wheeled bike was the versatility(road, touring, cross and mtb tires on one bike).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sexytime
    essentially stated 29ers cover more ground per crank revolution but also more effort from the motor/rider.
    And hence, to maintain the same cadence/speed/power output, you would simply ride your 29er in a different gear combination on your 29er than you would on your 26er. This is not really a big advantage for either wheel size.

    However, most components have gear ratios that work well for most riders on a 26er, but potentially less so on a 29er. For example, with 29" wheels, to climb a hill, you may need to shift from the middle chainring to the granny, whereas on a 26er, you could stay in the middle ring. Some might find that the 44/11 ratio is too big for the 29" wheel size.

    For this reason, you are starting to see cassettes available in 12-36 vs 11-32 or 34.

    This was probably stated in the article....
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by riding29
    what sort of sealed the deal for me is when I read about a test where someone measured average power over the same course with a 29er and 26er. I think it was done several time. Don't remember the difference or how significant but it required less power to push that 29er through that course.
    Personally, I give these tests very little merit. There are too few trials, and too much variability.

    Even if the experiment could be repeated many times, and controlled impeccably, the results would differ a lot for each different race course across the world.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  11. #11
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    Where I am in the region impacted my choice to switch to a 29er. Lots of rocky terrain punctuated with roots.

    I was consistently beaten by others on 29ers this year - the bigger wheels/tires simply floated over areas that bound me up. I've taken a demo or two home for the weekend from my LBS and I have found that I really prefer the way a 29er rides compared to the 26er that I just sold earlier today.

    If I were in a locale where the terrain was smoother, it would be a different story.

  12. #12
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    to qualify my statements, i race CAT1 (XC and DH) and have been riding 29ers for 3 years.

    recently 29ers have options that can make them competitive for XC racing on SOME courses. mud takes them out of the running. sand gives 29er an advantage, as does lots of small rocks and generally rough surfaces. lots of tight stuff with deceleration/acceleration hurts 29er. rolling terrain that is fast favors the big flywheels. seriously long climbs favor the lighter 26er. 29ers are easier to handle when exhausted/O2 debt.

    west coast courses favor 29ers (no mud)...

    i race XC on a 26" HT but ride 29er for most training.

    ideally i would like a 26" FS and a 29er HT.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    to qualify my statements, i race CAT1 (XC and DH) and have been riding 29ers for 3 years.

    recently 29ers have options that can make them competitive for XC racing on SOME courses. mud takes them out of the running. sand gives 29er an advantage, as does lots of small rocks and generally rough surfaces. lots of tight stuff with deceleration/acceleration hurts 29er. rolling terrain that is fast favors the big flywheels. seriously long climbs favor the lighter 26er. 29ers are easier to handle when exhausted/O2 debt.

    west coast courses favor 29ers (no mud)...

    i race XC on a 26" HT but ride 29er for most training.

    ideally i would like a 26" FS and a 29er HT.
    Yup. Each wheel size has its pros and cons. What trails you spend most of your time on plays a large part in dictating which wheel size will be better suited.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  14. #14
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    Even more it is going to be different for every rider. Not all 26ers are equal either, some work better than others, so at the end of the day it all depends on what feels the best and works the best from a personal standpoint. Try renting a few and see how they work on your favorite trails.

  15. #15
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    whybotherme: recently 29ers have options that can make them competitive for XC racing on SOME courses. mud takes them out of the running. sand gives 29er an advantage, as does lots of small rocks and generally rough surfaces. lots of tight stuff with deceleration/acceleration hurts 29er. rolling terrain that is fast favors the big flywheels. seriously long climbs favor the lighter 26er. 29ers are easier to handle when exhausted/O2 debt.

    See everyone, it is possible to ride 29ers and still be realistic about advantages and disadvantages of both wheel size. Great post!
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  16. #16
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    mud takes them out of the running.
    What's bad about a 29er in the mud?
    read KNOBBY MEATS or be sadly ignorant of the mediocrity that is allowed to exist in the interwebs

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    Personally, I give these tests very little merit. There are too few trials, and too much variability.

    Even if the experiment could be repeated many times, and controlled impeccably, the results would differ a lot for each different race course across the world.
    how much merit do you give the opinions on this forum?

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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    to qualify my statements, i race CAT1 (XC and DH) and have been riding 29ers for 3 years.

    recently 29ers have options that can make them competitive for XC racing on SOME courses. mud takes them out of the running. sand gives 29er an advantage, as does lots of small rocks and generally rough surfaces. lots of tight stuff with deceleration/acceleration hurts 29er. rolling terrain that is fast favors the big flywheels. seriously long climbs favor the lighter 26er. 29ers are easier to handle when exhausted/O2 debt.

    west coast courses favor 29ers (no mud)...

    i race XC on a 26" HT but ride 29er for most training.

    ideally i would like a 26" FS and a 29er HT.
    it is refreshing to see such an objective intelligent comment on this forum, thye would crucify you on the 29er forum for being so objective.where I ride there is a trail called Ds chaos.very tight turns and swift up and down transitions, horrible on a 29er! like I said I will have both bikes for different rides.thanks

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sexytime
    I am not sold on 29ers for racing, I think JHK recent win on a 29er was not a revelation and get really pissed that the marketing pubes say 26ers are going to be extinct.It seems 26ers are still better on most race courses, accelerate quicker, turn quicker and climb better.Did he win despite being handicapped with a 29er? I KNOW they are superior downhill but elsewhere? have not done well internationally yet.
    Ride a few and decide for yourself. I'd take a 29er for XC racing any day over a similar 26er, no question. In the end it's up to the rider, decide for yourself.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by the munts
    What's bad about a 29er in the mud?
    - more surface area to collect extra weight (more weight, at a great radial distance from the axis of rotation)
    - the added weight at a greater radial distance from the hub screws with the physics (harder to accellerate than normal, slower handling than normal, harder to stop than normal, etc)
    - lack of tire selection (this could be addressed, but unless they come up with a magic compound that instantly sheds all mud, it isn't going to help the racing argument)

    29ers are great bikes. 26ers are great bikes. hell, a 36er is probably a great bike (if you are freakishly tall). there are always trade-offs. managing your risks is what makes the decision, if you are taking a logical/racing perspective.

    i personally think that this is a major reason you don't see WC racers on 29ers. to commit wholly to training/racing on a 29er you would suffer on muddy courses, and the cost/benefit ratio heavily favors the 26er from many angles.

    to combat this I think Specialized has the best potential currently to put a WC pro on a 29er, as they can offer an awesome FS 26er for courses that don't favor the 29er HT. i am biased though as i am a fan boi and pay dearly for it.

  21. #21
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    [QUOTE=
    i race XC on a 26" HT but ride 29er for most training.

    ideally i would like a 26" FS and a 29er HT.[/QUOTE]

    Would you have went with a S-W Stumpy HT 29'er if it were available went you bought your 26'er?

  22. #22
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    26, 650b, 29'er. All hype. I ride'em all and I'm all hype.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sexytime
    how much merit do you give the opinions on this forum?
    Opinions are opinions, and I try to evaluate them accordingly. When somebody claims a 29er is "better," based on their personal experience, I take that as an opinion, that they are entitled to have. But, when a magazine makes an attempt to jump from an "opinion" to a "fact" I immediately get skeptical of how meaningful their result is.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  24. #24
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    The 29er disadvantages are being reduced due to engineering put into the products. Also, the amount of high end components available today far exceeds what was available only a few years ago. Now that there are many more 29ers on the market, prices for components are much more affordable. I have only had a 29er HT for a short while but there are few areas where I think it doesn't do a better job than my 26" FS. The more I ride the 29er the more I feel that I will be racing the 29" HT rather than the 26" FS. One thing I know for sure, the 29er is a MUCH better climber than my 26" bike.
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  25. #25
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    Most of our terrain is pretty bumpy/choppy. On a 26er I have to spin spin spin to maintain speed/momentum. On a 29er I can get into a bigger gear and basically soft pedal and maintain that same speed with A LOT less energy expenditure. Switching from 26" wheels to 29" wheels made me feel like I was cheating. Huge difference!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by stillhardtailing
    Would you have went with a S-W Stumpy HT 29'er if it were available went you bought your 26'er?
    Actually, despite the fact that I am totally drooling over the Sworks 29er, I would not want it to be my only race bike due to the limitation with tires and mud. I raced in VT and NY (ProXCT) and both courses I probably would have put down better lap times on the 26" FS. Though honestly I wouldn't have done better than 1st in NY without a rocket strapped to my @$$.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    to qualify my statements, i race CAT1 (XC and DH) and have been riding 29ers for 3 years.

    recently 29ers have options that can make them competitive for XC racing on SOME courses. mud takes them out of the running. sand gives 29er an advantage, as does lots of small rocks and generally rough surfaces. lots of tight stuff with deceleration/acceleration hurts 29er. rolling terrain that is fast favors the big flywheels. seriously long climbs favor the lighter 26er. 29ers are easier to handle when exhausted/O2 debt.

    west coast courses favor 29ers (no mud)...

    i race XC on a 26" HT but ride 29er for most training.

    ideally i would like a 26" FS and a 29er HT.
    I don't really agree with that about the mud.
    This year all but two of the races in New England were effected by wet weather, yet more and more racers, at least Cat1 and regional Pros were on 29'ers.
    The elongated footprint of a 29'er will cut through better and give you better traction in mud.
    I personally had the unique experience of racing a 26"HT on a technical, wet and sloppy course (Domnarski Farm) one year, and racing it the next year in as bad or worse conditions on a rigid 29'er. I was more than 20 minutes faster on the 29'er. Better fitness had a good deal to do this but being able to roll through the deep mud and over the wet rocks and roots had a significant part in it too.

  28. #28
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    Marketing hype? maybe, to a point... (just saying that the mtbike market stands to gain a lot if everyone changes to 29er - thats a big cash injection).

    At the end of the day its just another bike, Im looking forward to seeing the next phase (come on, they are all phases!) whatever it might be.

  29. #29
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    I agree...

    that the differences are very course/terrain/event specific. I endurance race only these days, so races are not won or lost based on quick accelerations and decelerations, but on steadier efforts. On would suppose that endurance racing would reward the 29er, but most endurance races are being won on 26" suspension bikes: Fuels, Blur Carbons, Scalpels, and Epics seem to be the bikes of choice for most of the top endurance guys.
    I think it was Dave Harris who tested a 29er at a 24 hour solo race, by alternating laps with his 26" FS bike. Every lap the 26" FS was faster.
    Here in Colorado most races include long climbs, often at high altitudes, and the extra weight of a 29er seems to me to be a very important variable: can this extra weight be offset by the lower rolling resistance on a 3,000' climb? On thing I have done in the past is the White Rim in a day-this would be way fast on a good 29er HT, most of the route is flat cruising over semi rough ground and sand, one could really fly.
    I considered a steel or ti 29er HT for this season of endurance races, but decided that I had to have suspension at my age, so I am going with a 26" FS to keep the weight below 23 lbs.

  30. #30
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Is this really happening again. How many posts and threads has there already been about this very debate?

    As Gary Fischer has stated a number of times, the only reason that mtb bikes originally had 26" wheels is because that is what was available in a wide rim at the time back in the day.

    He says it just makes sense to have 29" wheels. Fischer currently produces both.

    Ultimately, I feel like it all boils down to your local trail type, riding style and whether or not you know what's up

  31. #31
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk
    Is this really happening again. How many posts and threads has there already been about this very debate?

    As Gary Fischer has stated a number of times, the only reason that mtb bikes originally had 26" wheels is because that is what was available in a wide rim at the time back in the day.

    He says it just makes sense to have 29" wheels. Fischer currently produces both.

    Ultimately, I feel like it all boils down to your local trail type, riding style and whether or not you know what's up
    There is a huge advantage comfort-wise in regards to using 29" wheels on a hardtail for sure.. 29" wheels take away a bit of that chatter and sting... I have owned both 29er squishy and ht... to me I see the biggest advantage in the world of hardtails....especially single speed..

    Oops...looks like I just responded to my own statements...apologies..

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