Should I get a 27.5er?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Should I get a 27.5er?

    My Situation - I ride road, mountain, gravel, but mostly a road rider. MTBing is where my weaknesses show. Technical, downhill is not my strength.

    So I have a circa 2010 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 - Triple chainrings, 26 inch wheels, stiff seatpost, you know, everything outdated by 10 years or so.

    So I'm looking at a Trek Fuel + EX 8. I got to ride one on Saturday. Here are the negatives, which I'm probably focusing on too much:

    Wheels - rode w/ 27.5 by 2.8 tires. While they can truly roll over all sorts of crap (e.g., when you're coming up on an object, it doesn't matter if you hit it head on or will skirt the side, you'll be able to roll thru it). But gawd, those wheels are heavy, and I really felt on every steep climb.

    I'm also not sold on one-by. The upshift pushing with the thumb just doesn't fit me ergonomically. It doesn't shift as quickly/crisply as my 3x9 either. After one ride, it still seemed like I preferred the 'Drop the front chain ring and you're in a lower zone of gears'. Having three chainrings on front has never confused me on what shift I need to make, and my bike shifts pretty damned well for my demands.

    So while the heavier wheels sucked at climbing, their big bonus was thrashing the downhills. And I did like the dropper seatpost more than expected, and I used it a few times. Those are the two big positives, although the ability to roll thru crap is offset by the weight.

    If I get this bike, I'll also get a set of 29er wheels with 2.4 tires. And I work for a Trek dealer and am Ninja-qualitified for discounts, so that's too good of an option to pass up. If I get a new MTB, it'll be a Trek.

    So the question is not should I get a new MBT vs keeping by 26er, but I really didn't feel a huge connection about getting newer bike with the latest and greatest setup.

    I'm 6'0"", 195 lbs, am I foolish for wanting to stay on a 26er? I think my Top Fuel 9.8 weighs in at just over 26 lbs, so I'm gaining probably 6 lbs or so. Nevermind the fact that I'm pushing 195 lbs and could stand to lose 20 lbs body mass. Any feedback is appreciated - especially along the lines of why not to 'upgrade' from 26 inch wheels to 27.5ers or to stay with what I have.

  2. #2
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    I had the same experience some years ago----I was on a Fuel EX9 and tried the 27.5 bikes and just could not justify it-----note those 2.8 tires are not what I would put on that bike--2.6's but no wider for me. The diff in how the bikes rode simply was not different enough to change. But in these days the geo was not yet what we have today
    But then I tried a 29er and there was no doubt this was a huge step up for me--ended up with a Pivot 429 .
    I suspect your one ride is not enough to decide---it will take you some time to adjust to the new geo-----I would also try a bike with tires that are not anchors since that bothered you.

    I also would say the bike you rode was not properly adjusted----shifting a new 1X or 2X bike should be an improvement----

  3. #3
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    I would agree that the demo ride you did wasn't enough. 2.8 tires is definitely not the way to go for me, either.

    A 29r bike would probably be a better fit for your height, but you might want to try other bikes instead, or maybe the same bike but with better components. How much is your budget?

    A 1X drivetrain is lighter, less moving parts, and overall better. There are even more reasons why the MTB industry has mainly ditched the front derailleur on the high-end builds used by both recreational riders and racers (this includes suspension design). Also, it will be difficult to find a fairly recent MTB which has an FD mount.

    Will a new ride be a better fit for you than your 26" bike? Yes. Bike geometry has improved tremendously since 2010, with taller riders now having far more choices than ever.

    But should you get one? if, after a few demos, the bikes still don't feel right, then you should just keep your 2010 3x9 26" bike, regardless of what other people say.

  4. #4
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    For me and my friends, when we swapped from 26" to 29", it took 1 to 3 rides to be comfortable on the big wheels. Once you start mowing stuff down, it's a giddy feeling, but there is something lost in the way you can just throw a 26er around. I guess that's the best way I can describe it.

    You are likely going to be faster on the big wheels, but if you are not feeling it after a few rides, it might be because you are losing something in the fun-factor area, and they are not for you.

    IMO, 27.5 shouldn't really take much adjustment at all. And the extra weight of the wheels when climbing should not be enough to make a significant difference. Just my opinion.

  5. #5
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    I went from a 26Ē Gt avalanche to a Trek xcaliber 8 (29er) last year and then ended up getting the Roscoe 8 (27.5+) this year. For me I love the 27.5x2.8 that are on the Roscoe.
    It just feels more playful. The 29er would roll over anything but I never really felt confident in it while cornering. Iím sure the + tires are heavy but weight is a non issue to me. The dropper post is a game changer. That maybe where the difference in confidence came from as well.
    My friend has the fuel ex8 in 27.5+ as well. He seems to really like it!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roge View Post
    My Situation - I ride road, mountain, gravel, but mostly a road rider. MTBing is where my weaknesses show. Technical, downhill is not my strength.

    So I have a circa 2010 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 - Triple chainrings, 26 inch wheels, stiff seatpost, you know, everything outdated by 10 years or so.

    So I'm looking at a Trek Fuel + EX 8. I got to ride one on Saturday. Here are the negatives, which I'm probably focusing on too much:

    Wheels - rode w/ 27.5 by 2.8 tires. While they can truly roll over all sorts of crap (e.g., when you're coming up on an object, it doesn't matter if you hit it head on or will skirt the side, you'll be able to roll thru it). But gawd, those wheels are heavy, and I really felt on every steep climb.

    I'm also not sold on one-by. The upshift pushing with the thumb just doesn't fit me ergonomically. It doesn't shift as quickly/crisply as my 3x9 either. After one ride, it still seemed like I preferred the 'Drop the front chain ring and you're in a lower zone of gears'. Having three chainrings on front has never confused me on what shift I need to make, and my bike shifts pretty damned well for my demands.

    So while the heavier wheels sucked at climbing, their big bonus was thrashing the downhills. And I did like the dropper seatpost more than expected, and I used it a few times. Those are the two big positives, although the ability to roll thru crap is offset by the weight.

    If I get this bike, I'll also get a set of 29er wheels with 2.4 tires. And I work for a Trek dealer and am Ninja-qualitified for discounts, so that's too good of an option to pass up. If I get a new MTB, it'll be a Trek.

    So the question is not should I get a new MBT vs keeping by 26er, but I really didn't feel a huge connection about getting newer bike with the latest and greatest setup.

    I'm 6'0"", 195 lbs, am I foolish for wanting to stay on a 26er? I think my Top Fuel 9.8 weighs in at just over 26 lbs, so I'm gaining probably 6 lbs or so. Nevermind the fact that I'm pushing 195 lbs and could stand to lose 20 lbs body mass. Any feedback is appreciated - especially along the lines of why not to 'upgrade' from 26 inch wheels to 27.5ers or to stay with what I have.
    Some years ago I used size 36 in Specialized Demo Pro Pants (93 kg). Now I use size 32 70 kg).
    The weight loss was healthy and no light bike that can ride in mountains would be that much lighter no matter what bike you have now.
    26" can go everywhere 27Ĺ or 29 can go and maybe not faster but in my eyes funnier. If you can get a bike at a price so low that you can sell it and make a profit on that it is another matter.
    I have 2.6 tire front and 2.4 rear. So weight is no problem on the bike as long as it keep me slim.
    get fresh air and stay fit

  7. #7
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    If an apples to apples comparison were possible, the difference between an 26 and 27.5 tire/wheel combo isn't all that much. Where things get hazy is when you add wider rims, bigger tires, different geo, different suspension, etc.

    Just because you did one ride on a 27.5 and didn't like it doesn't really amount to much (if it was even set up right for your weight and how you like to ride - often it's not and can make a great bike feel like poo).

    If you really want 2x/3x, talk to the shop about swapping parts...many are flexible on this. Personally, I can go either way on this topic as I have all 3 on different bikes. It's also been discussed about 40,000 times around here. There are pluses and minuses to each I really don't care to go into.

    In the end, old bike or new as long as you're riding it's all good in my book.

  8. #8
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    depends where you ride.
    If you ride street, then definitely 26 as It is manoeverable and good for stunts.

    If you ride XC, flowy trails, fire roads, get 29.

    If you ride technical trails, all moutain, jumps, get 275. It is manoeverable while maintaing fast rolling speed.

    For me I use 26 as I ride a combination of street and all mountain trails and I dont really feel the difference beterrn 26 and 275. Id never ride a 29 tho, just saying.XD feels like im on a road bike.

  9. #9
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    Whether you like mtb enough to buy a new bike is up to you. But comparing a 9yr old 26" XC bike with a current trailbike, there's gonna be a significant difference. Wheelsize and geometry are good enough reasons, without bringing components into the discussion.

    My two ht's are 26" & 27.5 with 9yrs between them. I ride them both (the older one is my backup) so the differences are clear and the 27.5 is faster, more fun and safer in most situations. The only case where I actually preferred the 26" and it's short & steep geometry was on a pumptrack-like flow trail. Still not faster, but slightly more engaging to ride.

    If you come from a road bg, I'd suggest going for a 29er. With normal width tyres (like 2.3) they will feel more familiar to you, but still maintain the rollover and dh momentum of the plus setup.

  10. #10
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    You have access to a modern bike that comes with a 27.5+ AND a 29" wheelset? And at a significant discount?

    Look, I get it. I rode up the lift with a guy a few weeks ago that asked me how to ski "on these new-fangled parabolic skis"! He hated them and wanted to go back to 210 cm straight skis.

    I think you should take the plunge and set the bike up with the 29" wheelset on 2.4" tires. It seems highly unlikely that you will regret it.

  11. #11
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    I had the same thoughts about going from 2x -> 1x for a long time. 2x offered a wider range without a pie plate cassette and you could move quickly to/from climbing by switching the front ring - areas it seemed 1x could not match. While this turns out to be true, it's also true that moving through 5 gears on a 1x is pretty simple and quick.

    In the end I built up a new fat bike with 1x11 to see what it was about, then within a few months converted my 2x trail bike to 1x11 as well.

    Where 1x wins is simplicity - in setup, maintenance, use. I get it, an FD isn't that much work but not having to do it at all is better. The simplicity of "dropper on the left, gears on the right" is also a big plus.

    As for the rest and as others have pointed out - the "latest and greatest" comes in a lot of flavors and you tried one. Trek must have a lower travel, skinnier-tired bike in the stable you could try?

  12. #12
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    I was a hold out because I love my yeti 575 26er. It still rides great. But what change my mind for a new bike was not the wheel size. 27.5 is marginally better at rolling. What did it was the the geometry and stiffness of the new frames. My whyte t130S that I just got has 65.6 head angle and the rear is so stiff. Itís 2lbs heavier than my yeti but rides and feels great. Donít think about in wheel size. Think about new geometry and better stiffness for those gnarly downhills.

    27.5 vs 29 is more personal pref and what you do. More XC get 120mm 29er and just rip. For trail and fun get a 27.5 with 130mm. If you want more travel than get more.

    and get a 1x sram gx eagle works great. But others are good as well.

  13. #13
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    If you want to dabble in the 27.5 world on your current bike, have you ever considered making it a B6'er? You would be able to test the 27.5 wheel size without spending a fortune on a new bike. You would also be able to test a larger wheel on a platform you are used to as well....a level playing field to see which wheel size you prefer.

    If you do convert your current bike over, just be aware that you will like the 27.5 wheel size enough to end up buying a new bike anyway...

  14. #14
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    Keep the 26er and get that other bike. A cyclist ought to have at least one bike in every wheel size. Maybe 2. For me, I have yet to get a 650b wheeled bike. I have 2 26ers, 2 29ers, and a "road" bike. Think I prolly need another road bike.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speed Goat View Post
    If you want to dabble in the 27.5 world on your current bike, have you ever considered making it a B6'er? You would be able to test the 27.5 wheel size without spending a fortune on a new bike. You would also be able to test a larger wheel on a platform you are used to as well....a level playing field to see which wheel size you prefer.

    If you do convert your current bike over, just be aware that you will like the 27.5 wheel size enough to end up buying a new bike anyway...
    I am sure this can be true for some.
    Having tried a 29 belonging to a friend same height and weight as I and probably adjusted correct I was happy when I came back to my 26. He did even say that he is not selling his old 26. Not really sure if he is unhappy with the 29 at least he says he likes it. A 27Ĺ with standard wheels is probably not much different from my 26 with 2.6 front tire and 2.4 rear. Different lenght but that is what I did not like on the 29.
    I can do things on the 26 I could not on the 29. It reminded more of a road bike than a tool to get around in the mountains on funny trails.
    get fresh air and stay fit

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radium View Post
    Keep the 26er and get that other bike. A cyclist ought to have at least one bike in every wheel size. Maybe 2. For me, I have yet to get a 650b wheeled bike. I have 2 26ers, 2 29ers, and a "road" bike. Think I prolly need another road bike.
    A cyclist also need to have a lot of money or a rich uncle to give all the things somebody will tell he needs.

    And of course a Lamborghini LM002 to transport his bike up so he can go down without being tired from having to pedal to the top.

    Guess I am out of this tread as I have nothing acceptable to say here.
    get fresh air and stay fit

  17. #17
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    Trek has a good range of different models. Demo bikes out of the shop until you figure out what you like. Try a 9.7 Stache next. Yah--29+ with very short chainstays. Then a carbon Top Fuel.

  18. #18
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    I just ordered the EX 8 + ! I'll order the 29er wheels w/ the XD driver and extra cassette tomorrow. Thanks for all of the feedback!

    I've probably ridden 27.5s and 29s a dozen times - one thing I didn't mention is that I always felt less at ease on larger diameter wheels, although there's no argument that the bigger hoops roll over obstructions more easily. Having a dropper post helps to deal with that. I'm just going to buck up and deal with modern times, try not to be a dinosaur. I do have a pretty unlimited budget, especially with employee discount, but if I only ride it a dozen/dozen and a half times a year, I'm not going overboard on this. I spend the big bucks on the road and gravel bikes.

    I think I'll adopt to the one-by quickly. My initial plan is to run the 27.5 wheels with 2.6 tires and the 29ers will have 2.4s. We have enough varying trails/conditions that two wheelsets will come in handy.

    Thanks again for everyone's feedback, was a lot of help even with all of the personal input I got!

  19. #19
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    Super---good choice in my mind--while there are plenty of big mfg haters on the forums (spesh/trek/giant) the EX8 is a great bike and consistently is rated highly----I owned a EX9 back in the 26 days a was a good bike

  20. #20
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    For the average rider, the difference in 29 vs 26 is a myth, in terms of not being able to control because of inertia.

    Yes, it will be different, but the bike is entirely different. If you are worried about going into a corner and not being able to make the turn because of the inertial then you should find something else to worry about.
    There is a learning curve for the newer type of bike you're getting. You will love it. I don't think you will say to yourself "wow, the wheel size on my old bike made it so much more fun to ride".

    I personally find more control difference because of bar width and stem length than I do with a different sized tire. I don't really ride the 26" bike, but I have a 27.5 and 29 bike that I switch between.

    Remember, I'm speaking about an average rider that just wants to get out and rip some trails. Other folks that ride a specific way could for sure notice it. I think those folks would be the ones that are aggressive in the corners.

    I am faster climbing and descending on my 29er than I was on my 26". The 27.5+ and 29er are similar in downhill times for me. Climbing not so much as the gearing on the 27.5 is different, and the tire/wheel combo. is heavier so I can't get up the hill very fast. I sure can control the bike though, now that I'm used to the narrower bar and shorter stem than on the 29er.

    Enjoy the new bike!!

  21. #21
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    ii used to be a 26er die hard a few years ago. becasue it was all i could afford (had a daimondback responce xe 26er, loved that bike to death, sold it sometime ago)

    that was untill i barrowed my buddies 27.5+ hardtail for a week (the 2018 cannondale cujo, i bought the one the next day, still have it with no regrets!)
    it was wierd at first but, after a few hours you get used to it. the tire size made a diffrence. it felt more plush and maluable. fun!
    i still ride my proflex often, you just cant get rid of the feel for a 26er.

    but if you get it, enjoy it!

  22. #22
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    YES, get a 27.5.
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  23. #23
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    Plus bikes are better at everything outside of XC racing in my experience.

    Weight does not matter, ever.

    Tire selection and pressure matters way more than rim size.

    All of this assumes you ride on terrain like I do (NM Desert and Colorado Western Slope).

    If I were you, I'd be looking at the Full Stache.

    Keep your ancient XC bike if you like that kind of riding. If you like trail riding, you should be on a plus bike, unless you live where it's always smooth and dry.

    Personally I do not fit well on Trek bikes and the one I really wanted to fall in love with, I HATED and gave it back to the seller instead of buying it.

    I have 1x and 2x bikes and I can say 1x has grown on me a lot. It has plenty of range and I can be braindead and still ride it. I do think 2x is superior for some uses (bikepacking for example), but 1x is probably ideal for 99% of what I do.

    You are foolish for wanting to say on a 26er, but not for the reason you think. Modern geometry is SO much better that I would not mess with any 26" bike because the geometry is so dated. If there was a modern made 26" bike, though, I wouldn't not ride it due to wheel size.

  24. #24
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    650 wheels are only 75 mm more in circumference over 26 inch wheel , almost the same size , the difference with modern bikes will be with the bigger tires (it's these that gives the extra circumference) , but it's also these that gives you weight.

    I personaly stayed with 26, I absolutely hate the extra weight on the wheels.
    I ordered a Custom made Ti frame to my size , 26 wheels.


    (I'm 6'2'')
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roge View Post
    I just ordered the EX 8 + ! I'll order the 29er wheels w/ the XD driver and extra cassette tomorrow. Thanks for all of the feedback!

    I've probably ridden 27.5s and 29s a dozen times - one thing I didn't mention is that I always felt less at ease on larger diameter wheels, although there's no argument that the bigger hoops roll over obstructions more easily. Having a dropper post helps to deal with that. I'm just going to buck up and deal with modern times, try not to be a dinosaur. I do have a pretty unlimited budget, especially with employee discount, but if I only ride it a dozen/dozen and a half times a year, I'm not going overboard on this. I spend the big bucks on the road and gravel bikes.

    I think I'll adopt to the one-by quickly. My initial plan is to run the 27.5 wheels with 2.6 tires and the 29ers will have 2.4s. We have enough varying trails/conditions that two wheelsets will come in handy.

    Thanks again for everyone's feedback, was a lot of help even with all of the personal input I got!
    Excellent, once you get adapted to the new bike, get back to us with your insights.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Excellent, once you get adapted to the new bike, get back to us with your insights.
    Can't say I'm adapted, but I've got two rides/five hours so far, including a very technical ride today. Most of my fears and initial negative assessments are gone. I haven't tried the 29 wheels yet (XD driver is out of stock), but some observations riding 27.5 x 2.8s:

    I do love the bigger wheels. They really do roll over the stuff more easily. I haven't noticed the 'harder to maneuver in tight areas' feelings as much as I did in my previous experiences. But the wheels do slow down much quicker. (So hit it at speed and pedal thru it!)

    I'm at peace with the one-by shifting, but I still don't like the ergonomics of the upshift button.

    I've gotten pedal strike a few times. Starting to wonder if the plus option was the best thing for me. But I'm happy as can be, she rides great! The plus certainly wasn't a bad choice. And I can't wait to try the 29er wheels, as they're carbon and should drop some significant weight.

    I think I'm going to trim 1 cm off of each end of the handlebar. (They're 750 mm)

  27. #27
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by las-palmas View Post
    A cyclist also need to have a lot of money or a rich uncle to give all the things somebody will tell he needs.
    Or a sense of humor.

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