Will the 26er ever rise from the ashes?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Will the 26er ever rise from the ashes?

    Being a diehard vintage MTB guy I just canít let go of the 26Ē wheel. I can see the advantages of a 29er. But a 650B just doesnít have any real advantage over a 26 or 29.. Itís almost like the worst of both worlds. It just doesnít do anything well enough to justify even tooling up a separate bike model. These are just the ramblings of an old guy stuck in the Seventies.
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    No. Never. If you want another bike, buy a new 29" bike. They absolutely rock. If you are not looking to buy a new bike, ride the bike you have. You can still get 26" tires pretty easily on eBay and through European sites. I still ride a 26" 5-Spot and also have a new Ripley that I ride. Love both.
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    My prediction is that the industry will need to shift buyers into a new product line. 27.5 will be "obsolete" next. The press will rave about the newly discovered size, wonder how anyone ever ever rolled on any other size. Buy a new bike.

    But seriously, I'm hearing more and more about riders who are sick of the whole "$3000 bike" phenomenon digging out the old 26 and remembering how much fun it can be to FEEL the trail instead of CRUSHING it. The best way to revive the 26 market is to buy parts. There are still wheel builders making new wheelsets in 26, tires are still available, marketing is the only reason the size "went away".

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    At least one pro on here still rides 26" tires. Personally I like something between 26 x 2.4 and 26 x 2.8, and I do put them on a 27.5" frame often. There is nothing necessarily wrong with a 26" tire if it's wide enough. After all, a 26 x 2.8 measures (depending on the rim width) somewhere between 26.8 and 27.2 inches high, so it's really not a 26" tire, it's a 27" tire.

    It's the 26" frame that sucks for downhill mountain biking, as in more than an 8% decline. For lighter riding it's perfectly fine. For steeper declines it's not very reassuring to feel like you are going to tip forwards right over the bars at the slightest divot in the trail. A dropper post can help but only so much.

    But there is a way around this:
    BEIOU 3K Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike Frame 26-Inch Glossy Unibody External Cable Routing T700 Ultralight MTB B005X $299

    It's modern geometry!!! However, I still got a 27.5 version from a similar Chinese manufacturer...because I don't want to ride 26" tires all the time. Yes, I know that sometimes you can fit a skinny 27.5 x 2.1 in the back. But I want the option of going burly, as in 2.4 to 2.6 front and back with 27.5 tires and so I got a 27.5 frame, because you can always put on 26" tires but not always vice-versa.
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    At least one pro on here still rides 26" tires. Personally I like something between 26 x 2.4 and 26 x 2.8, and I do put them on a 27.5" frame often. There is nothing necessarily wrong with a 26" tire if it's wide enough. After all, a 26 x 2.8 measures (depending on the rim width) somewhere between 26.8 and 27.2 inches high, so it's really not a 26" tire, it's a 27" tire.

    It's the 26" frame that sucks for downhill mountain biking, as in more than an 8% decline. For lighter riding it's perfectly fine. For steeper declines it's not very reassuring to feel like you are going to tip forwards right over the bars at the slightest divot in the trail. A dropper post can help but only so much.

    But there is a way around this:
    BEIOU 3K Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike Frame 26-Inch Glossy Unibody External Cable Routing T700 Ultralight MTB B005X $299

    It's modern geometry!!! However, I still got a 27.5 version from a similar Chinese manufacturer...because I don't want to ride 26" tires all the time. Yes, I know that sometimes you can fit a skinny 27.5 x 2.1 in the back. But I want the option of going burly, as in 2.4 to 2.6 front and back with 27.5 tires and so I got a 27.5 frame, because you can always put on 26" tires but not always vice-versa.
    I have an old Stumpjumper with 217 rims and nice hubs. Made tubeless and with lite 26 X 2.0 tires (Wild Racer Advanced) the bike absolutely flies. And with the old style set up (26, 36, 46) you can really hammer and the speed is shocking. Technically a lot more challenging to ride - both up and down, but fun none the less.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    My prediction is that the industry will need to shift buyers into a new product line. 27.5 will be "obsolete" next. The press will rave about the newly discovered size, wonder how anyone ever ever rolled on any other size. Buy a new bike.
    Yep , exactly !!

    Maybe the 26er will be the next big thing (when completely extinct) to make us buy new bikes but my guess is another new wheel size.
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    I have an old Stumpjumper with 217 rims and nice hubs. Made tubeless and with lite 26 X 2.0 tires (Wild Racer Advanced) the bike absolutely flies. And with the old style set up (26, 36, 46) you can really hammer and the speed is shocking. Technically a lot more challenging to ride - both up and down, but fun none the less.
    Would you say your 26" bike climbs and accelerates faster than your big wheeled bike?
    Last edited by JPL65; 2 Weeks Ago at 09:25 AM. Reason: spelling

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    lighter wheels will always accelerate/descelerate faster

    Basic physics
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    lighter wheels will always accelerate/descelerate faster

    Basic physics
    When was the last time a hydraulic disc brake with a 180 mm rotor had trouble stopping due to the difference between a 26" wheel and a 29"wheel?

    It may be basic, but it seems you haven't done the physics on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Do you still have green shag carpet in your living room?
    Thatís hitting below the belt.

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    I think it's possible we'll see 26'' in the shops again simply because there is so much 26'' hardware out there already. Tyre and rim manufacturers could reintroduce or ramp up 26'' production very easily so making a few bikes would no be too hard to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    Thatís hitting below the belt.



    What? I never mentioned bell bottoms and platform shoes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfinator View Post
    When was the last time a hydraulic disc brake with a 180 mm rotor had trouble stopping due to the difference between a 26" wheel and a 29"wheel?

    It may be basic, but it seems you haven't done the physics on it.
    Is the conversation about brakes ?

    I might have missed something .....
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    Thatís hitting below the belt.
    Itís green but it isnít shag.
    A garage full of steel frames means happiness.

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    26ers will be re-introduced when the Dynamic VR17 in a 207 cm gets re-introduced. I get it. I'm 67 and possess some degree of nostagia....just not if it impedes my ability to kick the a$$es of young whipper-snappers! On a 29er, I can do that, at least for the next couple of years.

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    I think the problem as of this year is that the tire selection in 26" has really waned. I have two 26" bikes and the tire selection is just terrible compared to even 3-4 years ago. There are tires in every category, but even with dozens of tires available, the selection is less than ideal compared to 584 and 622. Sadly, I think this will be the death of 26.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPL65 View Post
    Would you say your 26" bike climbs and accelerates faster than your big wheeled bike?
    If the trails are right, the gearing on that bike allows me to be faster then on my Ripley. This is an old bike at my parents house. I ride it in a park that is pretty flat with smooth trails and lots of miles on grassy fields. You can really move in a 46 big ring with a 11-28 cassette! But this bike would kill me in a place like Pisgah.

    But, if the ride is longer, I am always faster on the 29er. After about 2 hours on the old bike, my neck and ass hurts.There are trails where I am faster on my other 26" bike (5-spot) as well. But overall, the 29er is faster and leaves me much less fatigued.
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    26er's will come back. "They are so light!" "The acceleration is amazing!" "Stiffer wheels!".

    Some of my fastest strava times were from 2012 when I was riding a Rush SL6 that was too big and using crappy flat pedals. I could gain speed really fast with that bike and I was riding it with a 1x9...

    I think a 26er with modern geo would be pretty awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    26ers will be re-introduced when the Dynamic VR17 in a 207 cm gets re-introduced. I get it. I'm 67 and possess some degree of nostagia....just not if it impedes my ability to kick the a$$es of young whipper-snappers! On a 29er, I can do that, at least for the next couple of years.
    As a ski racer I remember the VR17. Our ski area had a retro weekend a couple years ago, cracked out the Fischer RC4 SL's in 207cm, best weekend of the year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPL65 View Post
    As a ski racer I remember the VR17. Our ski area had a retro weekend a couple years ago, cracked out the Fischer RC4 SL's in 207cm, best weekend of the year.
    Indeed....people can still rock them....and 26ers too (just not me!).
    You may have seen this, pretty funny.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZbLWub7ybs

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    They're still making new 26 wheelsets
    Bicyclewheelwarehouse.com

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    Ironically 650b is exactly where 26" was in 2014. We no longer hear anything about 650b being fast, or the "best of both worlds," It's the "fun" size now, not the sweet spot that was supposed to take over the indusry. We hear the exact same pros and cons for 650b as we did for 26. Considering people have accepted 650b as the size for fun and play, instead of speed and rollover, I wouldn't get my hopes up. We are only talking about 1" after all. That said, never underestimate the industry's wllingness to change standards. Fox is about to bring back 20mm axles, steerer tubes are going to 1.8". Standards will never stop changing. If 650b sales contiue to slump, I wouldn't be surprised at all if we see a marketing push for fun retro 26'ers.It would take little to no investment bring it back considering all the major tire companies still have tire molds, and geo modes to size down 1" are easier from the manufacturing side of things compared to sizing up 1". Companies like Banshee are still producing bikes that can run 26 and 27 wheels by just changing the dropouts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    Is the conversation about brakes ?

    I might have missed something .....
    I thought so - how do you decelerate on your bike?

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Do you still have green shag carpet in your living room?
    So you're saying we don't have a retro trend pattern in our culture? When I look at kids today I see what I looked like in the 80's and 90's lol. Many riders today started on 650b. 26" very well could be the cool retro thing anytime in the future. I'm surprised how long the current 80's 90's retro trend has lasted. What's next? Shag carpet!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    Ironically 650b is exactly where 26" was in 2014. We no longer hear anything about 650b being fast, or the "best of both worlds," It's the "fun" size now, not the sweet spot that was supposed to take over the indusry. We hear the exact same pros and cons for 650b as we did for 26. Considering people have accepted 650b as the size for fun and play, instead of speed and rollover, I wouldn't get my hopes up. We are only talking about 1" after all. That said, never underestimate the industry's wllingness to change standards. Fox is about to bring back 20mm axles, steerer tubes are going to 1.8". Standards will never stop changing. If 650b sales contiue to slump, I wouldn't be surprised at all if we see a marketing push for fun retro 26'ers.It would take little to no investment bring it back considering all the major tire companies still have tire molds, and geo modes to size down 1" are easier from the manufacturing side of things compared to sizing up 1". Companies like Banshee are still producing bikes that can run 26 and 27 wheels by just changing the dropouts.
    Just call 26Ē 559 and and no one will be the wiser.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Indeed....people can still rock them....and 26ers too (just not me!).
    You may have seen this, pretty funny.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZbLWub7ybs
    Thats a great video, Bridger is my favorite place to ski out West.

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    26" still exists. On fatbikes. And in the kids dep't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    26" still exists. On fatbikes. And in the kids dep't.
    So sayeth the guy with lacemine29 dot com in his signature.
    How do I edit this singature?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    So sayeth the guy with lacemine29 dot com in his signature.

    You mean the guy that builds wheels all day every day?

    The guy that builds whatever people need (or want) for their bikes?

    The guy with a pile of 26" rims on his shelves collecting dust? And, for that matter, a pile of 27.5" rims with an equal amount of dust?

    I thought so.

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    Nope, I meant the guy with stakes in the game. The guy profiting off 29er hype. The guy on the 26" forum. If 26 is dead, why would you still be building them?
    How do I edit this singature?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    Nope, I meant the guy with stakes in the game. The guy profiting off 29er hype. The guy on the 26" forum. If 26 is dead, why would you still be building them?

    Hype? Ohhhhhhh -- I thought we were having a rational conversation. My bad!

    If you remove fatbike wheels and kids wheels from the equation, I've built one set of 26" wheels in this calendar year. That's exactly as many as people have asked me to build.

    I'm not trying to get you to remove your head from the sand. You get to put it wherever you want to, and besides -- it seems like a good spot for it.

    I'm merely telling you that no one is asking for 26" wheels anymore, except for people that need them for their fatbikes, or for kids.

    You can do with that info whatever you like.

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    Your business is called LaceMine29, with the tagline '29" wheelset for your...' and you expect 27.5 and 26 to be flying off the shelf? And that, to you, seems rational?
    How do I edit this singature?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    Your business is called LaceMine29, and you expect 27.5 and 26 to be flying off the shelf? And that, to you, seems rational?

    I don't expect anything to be rational to you.

    I build at least as many 27.5+ wheels as I do 29". And roughly the same amount of fat.

    Neither of those -- by my maths -- have anything to do with the 29" moniker you seem so afraid of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    Your business is called LaceMine29, with the tagline '29" wheelset for your...' and you expect 27.5 and 26 to be flying off the shelf? And that, to you, seems rational?
    Not that I have a dog in this fight however from where I sit you're attitude seems irrational at best.

    Mikesee does not manufacture 29'' hoops. He builds wheelsets from parts widely available, hoops/spokes/hubs. Makes no difference to him if you pay him to build a 26'' wheelset or 29''. Dude still gets paid. He's just saying he's in the wheel building game, all day every day so I'm gonna bet he has a finger or two on the pulse of what people are asking for, more so than you I'm guessing.

    Just watch, when 26'' wheels are all the rage, his website will be WWW.lacemine26.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post

    Just watch, when 26'' wheels are all the rage, his website will be WWW.lacemine26.com
    But that doesn't rhyme



    Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    If 26 does come back, I'm sure zero percent of the old 26 frames, wheels, forks, etc will be compatible with the new standards.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    If 26 does come back, I'm sure zero percent of the old 26 frames, wheels, forks, etc will be compatible with the new standards.
    26" wheels, now with NEGA-BOOST!!!!
    How do I edit this singature?

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    26ers will be re-introduced when the Dynamic VR17 in a 207 cm gets re-introduced. I get it. I'm 67 and possess some degree of nostagia....just not if it impedes my ability to kick the a$$es of young whipper-snappers! On a 29er, I can do that, at least for the next couple of years.
    Oh man...VR17's were awesome! The sweetspot was about 50mph LOL.

    If we are all 'supposed to be' on 29ers I'm still behind the times. Ridden 30 years and just got a 27.5 last year by choice. Tight, technical trails combined with an XL frame makes for a HUGE bike at any size so I went with 27.5. I still see a fair amount of 26ers on the trails around me.

    EDIT...I've never had a 29er but my next bike will be 29 just to see what all the fuss is about!
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...:thumbsup:

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    I want to be clear, I have nothing against 29" wheels, people who build them in general, people who ride them, and nothing against mikesee specifically either. I am not afraid of the moniker 29, or the wheels either. I've ridden 29. It was fun. However, this thread is about wether 26 will rise from the ashes. So when a person comes on and says that 26ers are for kids, and fat bikes, a person with a business selling 29 wheels, I'm pointing that out! It's called disclosure: you indicate that you have a financial interest in the discussion.
    Please explain how I'm being irrational in doing this. I'll admit, I was a wee bit snarky, though! Sorry if I got too edgy.
    How do I edit this singature?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Hype? Ohhhhhhh -- I thought we were having a rational conversation. My bad!

    If you remove fatbike wheels and kids wheels from the equation, I've built one set of 26" wheels in this calendar year. That's exactly as many as people have asked me to build.

    I'm not trying to get you to remove your head from the sand. You get to put it wherever you want to, and besides -- it seems like a good spot for it.

    I'm merely telling you that no one is asking for 26" wheels anymore, except for people that need them for their fatbikes, or for kids.

    You can do with that info whatever you like.
    And you're surprised people aren't asking for custom 26" wheels years after the industry replaced 26" with 27"? How many 135mm QR hubs are you selling? Or 142 for that matter? 27" is just another standards change. Had the industry started with 27", then marketed 26" like they did 650b you would be talking about how no one askes for 27" wheels anymore.

  41. #41
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    29ers are just hype? CRAP I have to sell my fuel now.

    I too hated 29ers until I found the right 29er. Now Iím in love.


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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    My prediction is that the industry will need to shift buyers into a new product line. 27.5 will be "obsolete" next. The press will rave about the newly discovered size, wonder how anyone ever ever rolled on any other size. Buy a new bike.

    But seriously, I'm hearing more and more about riders who are sick of the whole "$3000 bike" phenomenon digging out the old 26 and remembering how much fun it can be to FEEL the trail instead of CRUSHING it. The best way to revive the 26 market is to buy parts. There are still wheel builders making new wheelsets in 26, tires are still available, marketing is the only reason the size "went away".
    But it'll be an ebike.

    There are other options besides going expensive and 26er. A rigid plus size or even standard bike is all one needs to feel the trail and are actually worth the fun you will have.
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    I am still surprised how there is still angst against wheel sizes.

    I rode 26ers for decades. Tried all the things, the tires, the tubeless, the over the bars. Then I got a 29er and realized that riding could be better. I stopped going over the bars, started cleaning climbs I could never clear before, descended faster, lamented the lack of tire options but realized it was the future. Still have my old 26er but it just hangs in the garage with flat tires, kinda sad really. I have been debating have a local builder add disc mounts to it so I can put 650b commuter tires on it and use it a commuter to supplement my gravel bike, just so I gets use. Otherwise it is just a Ind Fab Deluxe no longer enjoying life.

    I understand 27.5 as it can fit in a 29er frame in a larger size, similar to how I could put 650b fat tires in my 700c Width limited gravel bike if I wanted and get a much fatter tire, if that was what I was looking for, or you could mullet it or whatever but I can't imagine that 26ers will come back as a mountain biking size. Even with the newer progressive geometries it wouldn't make sense.
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    When i first saw this thread I thought about posting but refrained.

    I feel bad for Mikesee, as itís a new low/twist in the wheel size ďwarsĒ to get accused of bias for how you name your business.

    Okay, so 26Ē wheels will come back when you, the general riding public with $ to spend demand them.

    Why not email a brand like Santa Cruz and tell them you want a 26Ē option. Encourage others to do the same. Tell us how that works out.


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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    when a person comes on and says that 26ers are for kids, and fat bikes,

    Go back and re-read what I originally wrote.

    I stated a fact -- that those are the places that 26" bikes/wheels exist these days.

    You presumed the derogatory context.

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    Was riding some trails on Colorado's front range last week, and while talking shop at a trail head after a run down Lower Bitterbrush at Hall Ranch, two of the riders in the group I was following admitted they'd consider buying a modern geo 26" with good components if someone made it. They prefer the agility of 26" over larger wheels on the trails they ride. I feel wheel size really needs to align with what you're riding. Lower Bitterbrush is about as technical as it gets with its rock gardens and boulders. Me personally, I'd wouldn't even consider a 29" on that trail for me. For the same reason these guys would consider riding it on a 26". I tend to agree with them.

    If all I rode was XC kinda stuff without the slow steep techy, rooty, rocky, ups and downs I like to hit, I might consider a 29". But that's not what I like to ride, so I'm on a 27.5 I've tried 29" on and off since my first attempt in 2001 on one of Gary's bikes. I know other's will disagree, but for me... just not as nimble and playful as a non-plus 27.5. And far less confident feeling for me on real technical stuff.

    I'm one of those that believe 27.5 is "best of both worlds". A bit more roll over ability, a bit longer wheel base, but not as unwieldy tall. I do believe 27.5 allows a good height to length ratio design. But I'm 5-10 with shoes. So that's another factor. Someone at 6' will feel differently.

    Every now and then I take out my old '08 Fisher full suspension 26". Every time, the first thing I notice is how quickly it accelerates, and how quickly I can climb a technical obstacle. It's slower coming down, but with it, I can hop it where I need to be.

    After thinking about what the guys at Bitterbrush said, and if I frequented that type of trail on a daily basis, I do believe I'd also go against hype and marketing push, and consider a new decent 26"er if it were available. I think 26, 27.5, and 29, all have their place. It's like comparing off road vehicles. Some are meant to rock crawl (26"), some are meant for Baja (29"). Choose your weapon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    When i first saw this thread I thought about posting but refrained.

    I feel bad for Mikesee, as itís a new low/twist in the wheel size ďwarsĒ to get accused of bias for how you name your business.

    Okay, so 26Ē wheels will come back when you, the general riding public with $ to spend demand them.

    Why not email a brand like Santa Cruz and tell them you want a 26Ē option. Encourage others to do the same. Tell us how that works out.


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    Santa Cruz already offers a 26" option, it's called the Jackal. It's been in their line up since their days of in house welding. You would be better off contacting Pon Holdings who owns SC now anyway. That goes for most companies now who are under the umbrella of larger corporations many of which don't even have roots in the sport. Times have changed since the days of rider owned companies. The industry drives what we buy, not the other way around.

    If 26 comes back it won't be because riders demand it. It will be because 650b sales are so poor companies decide to rehash something old to a new audience. The new fox 38 appears to have 110x20 spacing. Sound familiar? Many riders never owned that spacing so it's new! To think the industry won't rehash 26 to a new audience is being ignorant of how the industry functions. They will probably make it slightly different though kind of like how 110x20 in 2020 is different than 110x20 in 2002.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    Santa Cruz already offers a 26" option, it's called the Jackal. It's been in their line up since their days of in house welding. You would be better off contacting Pon Holdings who owns SC now anyway. That goes for most companies now who are under the umbrella of larger corporations many of which don't even have roots in the sport. Times have changed since the days of rider owned companies. The industry drives what we buy, not the other way around.

    If 26 comes back it won't be because riders demand it. It will be because 650b sales are so poor companies decide to rehash something old to a new audience. The new fox 38 appears to have 110x20 spacing. Sound familiar? Many riders never owned that spacing so it's new! To think the industry won't rehash 26 to a new audience is being ignorant of how the industry functions. They will probably make it slightly different though kind of like how 110x20 in 2020 is different than 110x20 in 2002.
    Are 650b sales will plummeting? Last I hear, they were not doing so well but don't know if it had turned around. I could see 26" bikes coming back in ebike form.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    Okay, so 26Ē wheels will come back when you, the general riding public with $ to spend demand them.

    Why not email a brand like Santa Cruz and tell them you want a 26Ē option. Encourage others to do the same. Tell us how that works out.
    It's the other way around : it's the industry , the magazines , the sponsored race riders who creates, promotes new standard and post how it's the best thing since hot water , then people follow blindly.....

    Do you think people will buy a 26er when everyone and their mother says that it's not cool to ride them ?

    26ers looks so bad on Instagram....



    Make 26er with "modern" approach , it will be more fun than any 26er you've ever tried.
    I know , I custom ordered a 26er frame wich is my main MTB.
    (because nobody makes them anymore)



    And cycling is not the only place where industry imposes trends , I work in music business....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Are 650b sales will plummeting? Last I hear, they were not doing so well but don't know if it had turned around. I could see 26" bikes coming back in ebike form.
    No idea, just speculating. It's pretty clear 29'ers are moving in on every market not currently occupied by 26", so it's not hard to imagine declining 650b sales. So much will hinge on if 29'ers continue to grow in popularity. All signs point to yes. So imagine a market where 29'ers dominate sales in every market other than tiny markets like SS, DJ... Where does that leave 650b? In that market it actually makes sense to rehash 26". Hybrid slope style/trail bikes along side 29'er trail/race bikes. 650b was always an attempt to blend those two worlds but it seems that marketing push has died. If people buy 29'ers in the xc through DH markets, 650b starts to look kind of silly compared to 26. Does anyone think the 50 to 01 crew is better off on 650b? They ride 650b because that's what their sponsors make, not because it's better than 26 for how they ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    I think the problem as of this year is that the tire selection in 26" has really waned. I have two 26" bikes and the tire selection is just terrible compared to even 3-4 years ago. There are tires in every category, but even with dozens of tires available, the selection is less than ideal compared to 584 and 622. Sadly, I think this will be the death of 26.
    It's really only new mold tires that are absent. Maybe it's where you're shopping that's giving you trouble finding tires? Chainreactioncycles right now has nearly as many 26" tires as 29. Minion's are still offered in 26". If there are better tires I haven't tired them and my main bike is 650b so I've tried multiple options I can't get in 26. Currently on the new Assegai. I'm going back to DHF/DHR like my 26'er.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sickmak90 View Post
    26er's will come back. "They are so light!" "The acceleration is amazing!" "Stiffer wheels!".

    Some of my fastest strava times were from 2012 when I was riding a Rush SL6 that was too big and using crappy flat pedals. I could gain speed really fast with that bike and I was riding it with a 1x9...

    I think a 26er with modern geo would be pretty awesome.
    One of the most talented DH racers going today feels the same way. He says in this interview he timed faster on 26" compared to 650b, geo held constant. He raced 650b because that's what his sponsor makes.

    https://www.vitalmtb.com/features/Ma...g-Serious,1853

  53. #53
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    Yes....the bike industry is in the midst of doing so as we speak! Ponder the new 650 PLUS gravel bikes
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPL65 View Post
    Thats a great video, Bridger is my favorite place to ski out West.
    It's toss up between BB and Big Sky for me but I did just by my 21st season pass for Bridger Bowl yesterday!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    Being a diehard vintage MTB guy I just canít let go of the 26Ē wheel. I can see the advantages of a 29er. But a 650B just doesnít have any real advantage over a 26 or 29.. Itís almost like the worst of both worlds. It just doesnít do anything well enough to justify even tooling up a separate bike model. These are just the ramblings of an old guy stuck in the Seventies.
    who cares? I love riding my NOS 26er and also enjoy my 29er and 650b. I don't care if people think i'm a dork. My 26er is FUN...nuff said. As a side note here is an affordable 26er frame from NS bikes, hard to come by any 26er frame these days other then dodgy frames from China. https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod152990

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    I think Iím actually picking up a 2006 stumpy FSR tomorrow. Iíve been looking for a cheap but rideable bike for camping and it might just fit the bill.

    Iím no geo expert but the geo on it doesnít look that bad. I expect it will be pretty fun on my local trails but I bet itís gonna suck on technical climbs. Sometimes I need my bulldozer to clear roots and rocks while climbing.


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    I think that the 26er will come back... It may take some time but it will happen. The comeback will be announced on the internet with articles titled "Are 26ers more fun to ride than 29ers?"... then some folks in Colorado who never rode 26ers will try them and love them... so the new fashion of riding the antique bikes will be a thing.

    These days I'm riding my Ventana Pantera and Titus Loco Moto - very similar but different bikes with the single pivot design that makes them quite durable and fun to ride. Both are over 16 years old, they weigh 24 and 26 pounds respectively. Very quick to turn and still looking great with their black anodized finish... riding them with flat narrow bars and bar ends - and I love that set up. If they last another 16 years, I'll be in my 60's so who knows what I'll be doing then.

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    A 26" wheel is the perfect size for a BMX cruiser. I think it is dead for mountain biking anywhere with rocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Go back and re-read what I originally wrote.

    I stated a fact -- that those are the places that 26" bikes/wheels exist these days.

    You presumed the derogatory context.
    And dirt jump bikes.

    There are always going to be 26in wheels as long as people are riding DJs.
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    The way I see it : the other sizes (27.5 and 29) did not negate the need for 26er. Along with + tires and geometry its all tech evolution , it just made certain things to do with bike better. There is no need to revert back to less standards because the 3 we have now each found their niche. That and the fact that each niche overlap (geo, tire sieze) but you'd be hard pressed to convince me that we need yet another size at the moment. Actually we are going back to a geometry standardization across each niche.

    More and more like the way all small SUVs tend to look alike because each has to pass the same wind turbine test . Manufacturers keep the change that is working is working until they all look alike and then the sport evolve and then the cycle repeat.

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    I will never go back to 26" but the rider is more important than the bike. I ride with a guy who rides a 26" and he has no problem kicking my ass.

    FWIW, I don't see much need for a fat bike. They are probably not the best tool for the job in most conditions. People still have fun riding them all the same. If you like 26", go for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dung Hopper View Post
    I will never go back to 26" but the rider is more important than the bike. I ride with a guy who rides a 26" and he has no problem kicking my ass.

    FWIW, I don't see much need for a fat bike. They are probably not the best tool for the job in most conditions. People still have fun riding them all the same. If you like 26", go for it.
    Skills > tool, we agree.

    Where you saw a fatbike I saw an all around bike with swappable wheels than I can use all year round for everything , everywhere. The early Fatbikes were really awfull for all of that, but the ones right now are stellar! And they they too found their niche.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    So you're saying we don't have a retro trend pattern in our culture? When I look at kids today I see what I looked like in the 80's and 90's lol. Many riders today started on 650b. 26" very well could be the cool retro thing anytime in the future. I'm surprised how long the current 80's 90's retro trend has lasted. What's next? Shag carpet!
    Yeah, but that's just fashion. You may see people start dressing like it is 1985 and pretending that Phil Collins' music did not suck at the time, but they are not buying tubed TVs and carrying around cell phones the size of toasters.

    MTB fashion may bring back purple anodized components and neon paint schemes, but canti brakes, elastomer shocks, and 26" wheels are probably done for trailbikes, outside of niche markets.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dung Hopper View Post
    A 26" wheel is the perfect size for a BMX cruiser. I think it is dead for mountain biking anywhere with rocks.
    So you never rode a 65 or slacker 26'er? Such angles create front attack angles that are more aggressive than 650b's with steeper HA's. Rear attack angle is more about your frames axle path not wheel size. A more vertical axle path on a 26"er will carry more speed though chunk than a 650b with a less vertical axle path. Remember, the difference between 650b and 26" is not 1.5", it's 1", and you half that for attack angle. If you bog down in the chunk on 26", you will bog down on 650b too. There simply isn't enough difference in the radius between those sizes to make a real difference in attack angle. This is a big reason why 29'ers are selling like hot cakes. 650b does not do big wheel things like naturally providing an aggressive attack angle.

    BMX curisers are 24" right? Never heard of a 26" BMX cruiser. That's called a DJ, or SS bike.

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    You've never heard of 26" bmx? You need to learn some history! The whole reason for 26 on mtb is because of the new 26" bmx class that came out in like '79. Suddenly, alloy wheels were available in 26, and became the MTB standard Otherwise we might all be arguing over wether VV of America's 20" mountain bikes would ever rise from the ashes.
    Heard of Cook Bros? Put your bib on to catch the drool, here's a 26" Cooks BMX.Name:  th96VPFH7A.jpg
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    How do I edit this singature?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Yeah, but that's just fashion. You may see people start dressing like it is 1985 and pretending that Phil Collins' music did not suck at the time, but they are not buying tubed TVs and carrying around cell phones the size of toasters.

    MTB fashion may bring back purple anodized components and neon paint schemes, but canti brakes, elastomer shocks, and 26" wheels are probably done for trailbikes, outside of niche markets.
    Yeah, but the point is that 26" wheels and tires are lighter and faster than 27.5" wheels and tires. It is like having the iPod and going to the Sony Walkman and being told it was better!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Yeah, but the point is that 26" wheels and tires are lighter and faster than 27.5" wheels and tires. It is like having the iPod and going to the Sony Walkman and being told it was better!
    Actually, the point is the one I was responding to: retro-fashion (Look at what I was quoting and responding to)
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Yeah, but that's just fashion. You may see people start dressing like it is 1985 and pretending that Phil Collins' music did not suck at the time, but they are not buying tubed TVs and carrying around cell phones the size of toasters.

    MTB fashion may bring back purple anodized components and neon paint schemes, but canti brakes, elastomer shocks, and 26" wheels are probably done for trailbikes, outside of niche markets.
    True. My fashion/pop culture analogy isn't directly relevant. What is relevant is the industry has a history of rehashing old stuff to a new audience. Examples: wide rims, 2.6 to 3.0 tires, coil forks, inline coil shocks, tri spoke composite wheels... 26" is just a rim size, it's hardly like digging up canti brakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    You've never heard of 26" bmx? You need to learn some history! The whole reason for 26 on mtb is because of the new 26" bmx class that came out in like '79. Suddenly, alloy wheels were available in 26, and became the MTB standard Otherwise we might all be arguing over wether VV of America's 20" mountain bikes would ever rise from the ashes.
    Heard of Cook Bros? Put your bib on to catch the drool, here's a 26" Cooks BMX.Name:  th96VPFH7A.jpg
Views: 107
Size:  39.4 KB
    Did not know about 26" BMX and I raced BMX from 83 to 85. Everyone at my local tracks rode nothing but 20"ers. I always heard 26" came from beach cruisers well before 79. The only BMX cruisers I've ever seen were 24".

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    Quote Originally Posted by fredcook View Post
    Was riding some trails on Colorado's front range last week, and while talking shop at a trail head after a run down Lower Bitterbrush at Hall Ranch, two of the riders in the group I was following admitted they'd consider buying a modern geo 26" with good components if someone made it. They prefer the agility of 26" over larger wheels on the trails they ride. I feel wheel size really needs to align with what you're riding. Lower Bitterbrush is about as technical as it gets with its rock gardens and boulders. Me personally, I'd wouldn't even consider a 29" on that trail for me. For the same reason these guys would consider riding it on a 26". I tend to agree with them.

    If all I rode was XC kinda stuff without the slow steep techy, rooty, rocky, ups and downs I like to hit, I might consider a 29". But that's not what I like to ride, so I'm on a 27.5 I've tried 29" on and off since my first attempt in 2001 on one of Gary's bikes. I know other's will disagree, but for me... just not as nimble and playful as a non-plus 27.5. And far less confident feeling for me on real technical stuff.

    I'm one of those that believe 27.5 is "best of both worlds". A bit more roll over ability, a bit longer wheel base, but not as unwieldy tall. I do believe 27.5 allows a good height to length ratio design. But I'm 5-10 with shoes. So that's another factor. Someone at 6' will feel differently.

    Every now and then I take out my old '08 Fisher full suspension 26". Every time, the first thing I notice is how quickly it accelerates, and how quickly I can climb a technical obstacle. It's slower coming down, but with it, I can hop it where I need to be.

    After thinking about what the guys at Bitterbrush said, and if I frequented that type of trail on a daily basis, I do believe I'd also go against hype and marketing push, and consider a new decent 26"er if it were available. I think 26, 27.5, and 29, all have their place. It's like comparing off road vehicles. Some are meant to rock crawl (26"), some are meant for Baja (29"). Choose your weapon.
    If you want to try a modern 26'er, try a mini mullet. Just drop a 26" rear wheel in your frame. I'm doing that with a nomad3. 180mm fork sets my BB back to stock but even with the same fork you won't drop much. There's some synergy going on with 26/27 wheels. It's like the rear follows the arc the front carves in corners just a little tighter which lends itself to drifting, and tight inside lines. Of course acceleration is pure 26'er, and the whole attack angle benefits of 650b which is way over emphasized IMO, ends up being essentially identical to full 650b assuming you're not on a hardtail.

    Mini mullet is the ticket for riders that want 26" but also want new geo. My mini mullet's numbers are pretty dialed: 64 HA, 75 ST, longer reach, 13.4" BB. Maybe one day we'll see 26'ers with such numbers. Until then, you can basically have it with a mini mullet.

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    There are a few still made. The Fairdale Taj is an example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    This is a big reason why 29'ers are selling like hot cakes. 650b does not do big wheel things like naturally providing an aggressive attack angle.
    Yup : A single front sus 29er with 2.8 tire is a do everything go anywhere fun machine that define the sport I call MTB in 2019. IMO. You can call it a trail bike.

    Other bikes are for MTB "Discipline" -> DH, Vert, DJ, 4X, Enduro, Their popularity tend to vary per decade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    If you want to try a modern 26'er, try a mini mullet. Just drop a 26" rear wheel in your frame. I'm doing that with a nomad3. 180mm fork sets my BB back to stock but even with the same fork you won't drop much. There's some synergy going on with 26/27 wheels. It's like the rear follows the arc the front carves in corners just a little tighter which lends itself to drifting, and tight inside lines. Of course acceleration is pure 26'er, and the whole attack angle benefits of 650b which is way over emphasized IMO, ends up being essentially identical to full 650b assuming you're not on a hardtail.

    Mini mullet is the ticket for riders that want 26" but also want new geo. My mini mullet's numbers are pretty dialed: 64 HA, 75 ST, longer reach, 13.4" BB. Maybe one day we'll see 26'ers with such numbers. Until then, you can basically have it with a mini mullet.
    Yeah... the mullet thing. That may have some influence on whet the OP originally asked (Will the 26er ever rise from the ashes?). 26" may find new mainstream life in that way. Not really a new idea though. Our motocross bikes were 'mullet' back in the 1970's. We didn't call 'em mullets though.
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    I'd honestly like to see 26in make at least a mini comeback. I think at this point 29ers are going to continue to dominate the mountain bike market and for good reason. 27.5 will continue to be around because of 27.5+.

    But there is a reason why dirt jumpers haven't switched from 26 and why they are still loved by park guys. They are better for trick based riding and they always will be. With jibbing and the like becoming more popular (see the 50 to 01 guys), it would make sense for some companies to release bikes that are more trail capable then dirt jumpers for this kind of riding. A 26in wheel is going to be stronger for when a 360 or 180 is landed sideways. A smaller wheel is going to make the bike more flickable. This is always going to be a niche market but so is fat biking or rigid or single speed but people still make bikes for that and I am glad that they are.

    I highly doubt they are ever going to make a comeback for XC or enduro bikes though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    I highly doubt they are ever going to make a comeback for XC or enduro bikes though.
    Maybe they will make a comeback, maybe they won't. But everything old is new again. I'm heavily vested into Eighties MTB's so that's the only reason I like them. It's a good size wheel for just tooling around. The 650B just doesn't do anything that much better than a 26" to justify its existence. But it exists so people are voting with their wallets and that is all that matters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    Maybe they will make a comeback, maybe they won't. But everything old is new again. I'm heavily vested into Eighties MTB's so that's the only reason I like them. It's a good size wheel for just tooling around. The 650B just doesn't do anything that much better than a 26" to justify its existence. But it exists so people are voting with their wallets and that is all that matters.
    I mean enduro bikes are increasing going 29er and XC bikes have been that way for a while and 29ers are faster that is what matters on those bikes. I agree that regular 27.5 doesn't do anything better then a 26er but unless 29+ kills off 27.5+, 27.5 will be around in some form. My big worry is smaller wheels will pretty much die completely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    I mean enduro bikes are increasing going 29er and XC bikes have been that way for a while and 29ers are faster that is what matters on those bikes. I agree that regular 27.5 doesn't do anything better then a 26er but unless 29+ kills off 27.5+, 27.5 will be around in some form. My big worry is smaller wheels will pretty much die completely.
    27.5 plus is already on its way out unless the industry starts calling 2.6 plus. We are already seeing fewer 27.5+ options in both tires, and frames. There's been little to no marketing for it so that should tell us the industry isn't looking to make further investments in tire molds, frames...

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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    27.5 plus is already on its way out unless the industry starts calling 2.6 plus. We are already seeing fewer 27.5+ options in both tires, and frames. There's been little to no marketing for it so that should tell us the industry isn't looking to make further investments in tire molds, frames...
    I don't completely agree with that. It seem that more and more aggressive hardtails offer the ability to run 27.5+ as well as 29 and a lot of rigid and adventure bikes offer 27.5+. It does seem to be going away on full sus bikes though and becoming more of a niche thing but I don't think it will die. Much like fat bikes it is settling into a niche.

    Personally I see the market becoming mostly 29. With 27.5+ becoming a niche for adventure/touring/rigid/ hardtails. 29+ for adventure/touring/rigid. 27.5 for the bike park/ trick based trail riding group (another niche). Fat bikes for snow, sand and adventure (niche). 26 for dirt jumping.

    The only way I see 27.5+ dying completely is if 29+ takes over the adventure/touring market.
    Ragley Big Wig, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), Nashbar CXSS (workout)

  79. #79
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    For 2020, there is a high end trek remedy in 27.5. There is a 27.5 high end carbon enduro from spec for 2020. Giant has 27.5 high end carbon trances for 2020.

    Thats just the big 3, a gagillion small brands offer an array of 27.5 bikes.

    Not only is it not on the way out, brand new models, forks, tires, and wheels are rolling out all the time. Full blown support and innovation.

    The problem with mullet 26/27 bikes is that the rear wheel is already pretty close in size. You end up running an old outdated rim for no good reason.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    For 2020, there is a high end trek remedy in 27.5. There is a 27.5 high end carbon enduro from spec for 2020. Giant has 27.5 high end carbon trances for 2020.

    Thats just the big 3, a gagillion small brands offer an array of 27.5 bikes.

    Not only is it not on the way out, brand new models, forks, tires, and wheels are rolling out all the time. Full blown support and innovation.

    The problem with mullet 26/27 bikes is that the rear wheel is already pretty close in size. You end up running an old outdated rim for no good reason.
    Anyone that wants to run a 26" rear wheel doesn't have to run an "outdated rim". I'm running the same rims Bruni just took worlds and the overall title in 26". We are one is offering in house made 26" carbon rims for 2020. Yes options are limited and that might get worse, but kind of like tires, some of the best options are still available. Yes 26/27 wheels are similar in actual size but there are real differences in handling. You get the acceleration and snappiness of 26" with the extra .5" of attack angle of 27, but what really stands out to me is how that .5 difference in radius plays out in the corners. It's almost like you're angled better for cornering like camber on a sports car.

    Anyway, it's a good option for anyone that wants a "modern" 26'er that's not made by banshee.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dung Hopper View Post
    A 26" wheel is the perfect size for a BMX cruiser. I think it is dead for mountain biking anywhere with rocks.
    Somewhere, Nicolas Vouilloz is drinking a nice glass of wine, reading this and muttering "quelle chatte"...
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    Being a diehard vintage MTB guy I just canít let go of the 26Ē wheel. I can see the advantages of a 29er. But a 650B just doesnít have any real advantage over a 26 or 29.. Itís almost like the worst of both worlds. It just doesnít do anything well enough to justify even tooling up a separate bike model. These are just the ramblings of an old guy stuck in the Seventies.
    I guess the short answer is likely a "NO" from your title question.

    I don't see why it matters really though.
    Ride what you like or love, keep it up and in good operation. Buy parts as you need or available, make them if you have to.
    Your fun and enjoyment isn't defined by how many others are riding 26 at any given moment or if it is, get some counseling or help.

    People are still shootin' black powder or carrying revolvers, I see sourpuss faces on people riding around in those $58,000 Wranglers and happy grins in 72 CJ-5's that sold new for $2,955. I have two 26 ers too sturdy to burn. Whatever the ashes, they were born of something else.

    bachman must spread some Reputation around before giving it to himself again. :madman:


  83. #83
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    26"wheels rock, the industry sucks!!
    I only last year changed my dual sus to 27.5. Honestly cant see myself riding a 29er. I dont like it, its dead, not as playful as a 26er neither is 27.5 but at least its a little better. I was the last of our group to change wheel size. I was faster than all of them 29" and 27.5" guys and some of them are better riders than me as well as at least 5 years younger. I am mid 40's. Probably is an old man thing but 26 are much more agile and playful. A friend of mine went from 29er hardtail to hightower, to a 27.5 bronson and guess what. He bought himself and old 26er dual suspension mtb. He rides the 26er the most. He started on 29 as thats what everyone convinced him to buy as its "industry standard"
    I still have some parts and would like to build another 26er, but the 26er bmx(I know about these, but forgot) sounds very tempting too!!

  84. #84
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    I really like my 29er but I can see why some people donít like them. IMO they are faster in a lot of situations but they do kinda dub down some trails. Iíve been setting a lot of PRs this season with my FS 29er and a lot of it is due to it being a tank.

    Most of my PRs were set on a 2007 Rush SL6 which I really liked. I had a HT XC 29er that I hated and then a 27.5 Breezer repack that I hated.

    Big wheels have their place but I would like to see some smaller wheel options out there. Acceleration and DH was amazing on the Rush.


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  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    26" still exists. On fatbikes. And in the kids dep't.
    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Go back and re-read what I originally wrote.

    I stated a fact -- that those are the places that 26" bikes/wheels exist these days...
    bike park? 26Ē dominates there. Pump track, dual slalom, DJ, rhythm dirt jumps, flow track, slope style etc. Not just for fat bikes and kids, at tournament I went to a couple weeks ago most all were riding 26Ē. My next new mtb will be a DJ and of course 26Ē .

    Now, with 26Ē the go to size there and 29ers now pretty much dominate all other forms of mtb, what is it that 27.5Ē is best at again?
    Get out of the gutter and onto the mountain top.

  86. #86
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead!

    Where the return to prolific 26" would be great, and where the hole is now, is for youth and other such short people who are ready for a real MTB but too short for a decent 27.5"-wheeled bike -- and that's a lot of people who are then shunted off to department store crap.

    For those with 26ers still out there, it's the tire availability that's killing us over time: wider, better tires are rare and expensive. Narrow stuff is still out there, of course.

  87. #87
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    I sold my 2014 commencal meta sx to a 14 year old. His dad was are you sure you dont want a 29er, he was like no, this is better.
    Even the geo of the commencal is modern. I bought new tyres for it early last year. Continental de kaiser projects. You still get a range from continental.

  88. #88
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    In this corner, we have the 29er, a 2018 Trek Top Fuel. 100mm front and rear, and the highly regarded RE:aktiv shock.
    Weight: 28.5lbs, including trail bell, bottle cage, mini frame pump, a saddlebag with a spare tube, patch kit, Crank Bros multitool, tire levers, extra zip ties, padded bag for keys, and extra chain link.
    Has bar ends (yes, bar ends, I like them), a carbon post, Bontrager XXX front wheel with Schwalbe Rocket Ron 29x2.25 Addix Speedgrip tubeless, and custom built rear with DT Swiss 350, Stan's rim, with a Continental Race King protection (Black Chili) tubeless. Two of the fastest tires out there.
    XT and SLX 1x11 drivetrain, Fox Rhythm 32 fork with Push seals.
    Shimano hydraulic disks. Nice, short 50mm stem, 730bars, mino link in the low, slack position.
    In short, it has all the goodies to make it a slayer of the old-school.

    In the other corner, we have the 26er: a lowly 2001 GT I-Drive Team, 80mm front and rear.
    Weight 28lbs fully loaded, including trail bell, bottle cage, mini frame pump, a saddlebag with a spare tube, patch kit, Blackburn multitool, tire levers, extra zip ties, small knife, padded bag for keys, and extra chain link. Also has a wired computer and wheel weight.
    Has bar ends, old XTR/Mavic 217 front wheel and LX/217 rear. Specialized S-Works 2.2 Fast Traks with Michelin Aircomp Latex tubes. 3x9 drivetrain, mix of XT and LX stuff from the early 2000s.
    2002 or so Manitou Six Deluxe: coil and a small elastomer with TPC damping.
    The elastomer and seals are hardened, and one of the seals is missing the foam ring. It is on its last leg.
    Shimano V-brakes with Kool Stop pads.
    100mm stem, grips are 610mm apart.
    It has a short wheelbase, low BB, tiny wheels, narrow low-tread tires, narrow bars, long stem!!!
    This doesn't look like a fair fight.
    Oh, the horror! I'm gonna die trying to ride that thing on a trail!

    The trail: 7.3 miles of fun, intermediate twisty singletrack in Southeast Michigan. Dry, fairly smooth, loose over hardpack, with blown out sandy gravelly corners. Some very fast downhills, jumps, with bermed and non-bermed switchbacks. About 700' climbing.
    Some guys ride with full face helmets because you can get some serious air on numerous jumps.
    It isn't a hard trail. But, it tricks you into riding faster and faster until you hit a sandy gravelly turn at speed and the bike shoots away from you so fast you don't even have time to get your hands off the bars to help break the fall.

    The results, excerpted from my log:

    July 14
    Trek: 70 degrees, somewhat humid, nice trail conditions. Slowed 3 times to pass other riders.
    39:49. This was my first time under 40mins. I rode the Trek 5 more times over the next 2 weeks.

    July 28
    First ride on the GT this year: 85 degrees, very humid 77%. Hard to breathe. Trail very nice.
    Slowed by 3 riders. Pulled off trail for a pair of faster riders about 20 seconds apart.
    39:41. This was the second time under 40mins.

    There are more examples like this in my log.

    Ok, so the times are pretty close.
    But, how is this even possible?
    For the past 2 years I have ridden the Trek about 20x as often as the GT, so I am very used to it.
    29ers are supposed to be all that and a bag of chips. It has super fast/wider tubeless tires, better suspension, newer geometry (pretty long and slack compared to the GT), light weight.

    I know how it is possible: the GT handles beautifully. It is quick handling, but not twitchy (but it will punish inattention). It is supremely confident on tight switchbacks. It feels composed almost everywhere (the Trek is better over some giant roots and rocks).
    In fact, the front tire on the GT sticks better in the corners than the Trek, probably because of better weight distribution and a shorter wheelbase. ?

    Lately, I've been running much more aggressive tires on the Trek (DHF, DHR and XR4) to try to get better grip. The front end tends to feel just a bit pushy, I think because of the rearward weight bias, length of the bike and the big wheels.
    Isn't the big 29er contact patch supposed to lay down amazing grip?

    On another related note, I've measured weight distribution on both bikes.
    In order to make the fore/aft weight the same on the Trek, I have to drop the bars to shift the weight forward.
    This places a lot of pressure on my hands. I have never had hand pain before. The combo of wider bars and short/low stem is the primary reason.
    The same weight distribution on the GT has less pressure on the hands, because the overall weight is a bit more forward.
    My engineer father in law helped confirm this with scales and pressure sensors on the grips.

    Back on topic: The GT also accelerates quickly, and despite some differing opinions, I firmly believe that the bigger 29 wheels require much more effort to accelerate and turn. I can feel the bike trying to remain straight, whereas the GT dutifully follows subtle commands.
    I waste a lot of energy forcing the Trek to turn.

    On bigger, more open trails (the Poto, in my area) the long, low, slack bikes are probably better. But on the tight, twisty singletrack with a lot of accelerations and shorter, punchy climbs, (DTE, Brighton, Maybury) the little GT reigns.

    I'm an artifact in that I had a period of nearly a decade (2006-2016) where I was mostly out of the mountain biking scene. I rode, but didn't have time to pay attention to the trends.
    I was excited to try the newer tech, and treated myself to a 27.5 Anthem, but couldn't get comfortable on it, so I picked up a Top Fuel.

    Will 26ers rise again? Probably not.
    I can see where larger wheels benefit taller riders in particular. Many like the modern geometry.
    I get it. If you are having fun, that is what counts.
    I'm torn. Certain aspects work for me, but overall I prefer oldish geo, and smaller wheels.

    Another side note:. The GT isn't as short and steep as you may think. The HT angle is 70-70.5 degrees. The reach is within millimeters of the Trek (the I-Drive Team model had longer reach than other GT models), the stack is actually 20mm higher.
    The biggest difference with the Trek is the giant wheels, and the wheelbase, which is 100mm longer.

    I see some posters proclaiming that new geo is universally awesome, but this doesn't reflect my experience.
    I paid way more for the Trek than I did for the GT, yet in my experience, they are roughly equal in performance and fun.
    Long live the 26er...

    Bob

  89. #89
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    I'm considering a "Maxi-mullet: a 29" fork and wheel on the front of my old Ellsworth Joker.
    I've done such a conversion before on an all-rigid Jamis Dragon frame, and it worked well on the downhill handling.

    So, anybody know of where I can still get a 170mm 29er fork with a straight 1/18" steer tube?

    -Ray

  90. #90
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    Well yesterday I just blew my friends bubble with his newly acquired jeffsey. His previous bike was a 27.5 reign. On the climb up we were chatting, he was like this thing is so plush, it rolls over stuff and feels very coil like etc etc. So I ask him, dont he think the playfulness is less and its almost as if its dumbing down the trails. He goes quiet for a while. ANyway, he has 2.6 inch tyres front and back and he was like this is the first bike he feels so confident about. So i talk to him about tyres and widths and how they react. Wider tyres helps alot.
    So anyway on the decent this is a guy who is normally on my wheel ended up being 20 or so seconds back. He certainly was not slow as we left the other guys for days. Could of been due to all the extremely tight, some steep, some wall ride berms.
    On another day, maybe he will be faster, but I can certainly agree, no one bike is faster, no one wheel size is faster. Ride what you like, and enjoy. Industry is there to push sales, survive the world of business and continue to grow. If not, then they will have to close.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalinbob View Post

    July 14
    Trek: 70 degrees, somewhat humid, nice trail conditions. Slowed 3 times to pass other riders.
    39:49. This was my first time under 40mins. I rode the Trek 5 more times over the next 2 weeks.

    July 28
    First ride on the GT this year: 85 degrees, very humid 77%. Hard to breathe. Trail very nice.
    Slowed by 3 riders. Pulled off trail for a pair of faster riders about 20 seconds apart.
    39:41. This was the second time under 40mins.


    I don't doubt that you're faster on your old 26" bike but without power meter data and a lot more runs that info doesn't prove anything one way or the other. Interesting nonetheless.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  92. #92
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    I've decided to send my custom Ventana back to be reconditioned and inspected rather than buy a new bike. The geo is the same as current bikes, except for the HT angle. I feel I"m slack enough at 67* and can always get a -1* headset if I want. I don't want to ride a chopper.

    The CCDB and Zoke 44 RC3 Ti both need to be serviced and I could probably bump up from 9spd.

    Other than that, there's no need to spend any more money.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  93. #93
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    It did it's called 26 plus...now dead also!

  94. #94
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    For those that want a "modern" 26'er here's one way to do it. I ran this as full 650b, mini mullet, and full 26'er as seen here. I sold this frame because it was longer than I like (444 reach), but I will say it was super fast and stable at speed, I just prefer a shorter wheel base and a more compact feel. Here's the numbers you can have with 26" wheels: 64 HA, 75 ST, 14.5 BB, longer reach. This frame was great to try as a 26'er because it had a taller than average BB. Basically any 650b frame can be set up for 26" or mini mullets. The used market is spilling over with killer deals on 650b stuff because it's no longer the new thing everyone wants. No need to bitch about a lack of "modern 26'ers" for those that build rather than buy complete bikes. Just because you can't order up a 26"er with the geo you want doesn't mean you can't have it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Will the 26er ever rise from the ashes?-p5pb16416996.jpg  


  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    For those that want a "modern" 26'er here's one way to do it. I ran this as full 650b, mini mullet, and full 26'er as seen here. I sold this frame because it was longer than I like (444 reach), but I will say it was super fast and stable at speed, I just prefer a shorter wheel base and a more compact feel. Here's the numbers you can have with 26" wheels: 64 HA, 75 ST, 14.5 BB, longer reach. This frame was great to try as a 26'er because it had a taller than average BB. Basically any 650b frame can be set up for 26" or mini mullets. The used market is spilling over with killer deals on 650b stuff because it's no longer the new thing everyone wants. No need to bitch about a lack of "modern 26'ers" for those that build rather than buy complete bikes. Just because you can't order up a 26"er with the geo you want doesn't mean you can't have it.
    Good point! That opens things up for the smaller and younger rider looking for a "real" bike.
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredcook View Post
    Good point! That opens things up for the smaller and younger rider looking for a "real" bike.
    Probably tough to build a 650b with 26" wheels for a kid considering how long bikes are now. The bike pictured is size M but has a TT and reach of a size L or XL from 2012. Even this frame in size S runs longer than all the size M's I ran in the past. A kid would be better off buying an old 26'er in size S or XS. A great kids bike would be a 24/26 old 26'er. Considering old bikes are tall you would still have a manageable BB height.

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalinbob View Post
    In this corner, we have the 29er, a 2018 Trek Top Fuel. 100mm front and rear, and the highly regarded RE:aktiv shock.
    Weight: 28.5lbs, including trail bell, bottle cage, mini frame pump, a saddlebag with a spare tube, patch kit, Crank Bros multitool, tire levers, extra zip ties, padded bag for keys, and extra chain link.
    Has bar ends (yes, bar ends, I like them), a carbon post, Bontrager XXX front wheel with Schwalbe Rocket Ron 29x2.25 Addix Speedgrip tubeless, and custom built rear with DT Swiss 350, Stan's rim, with a Continental Race King protection (Black Chili) tubeless. Two of the fastest tires out there.
    XT and SLX 1x11 drivetrain, Fox Rhythm 32 fork with Push seals.
    Shimano hydraulic disks. Nice, short 50mm stem, 730bars, mino link in the low, slack position.
    In short, it has all the goodies to make it a slayer of the old-school.

    In the other corner, we have the 26er: a lowly 2001 GT I-Drive Team, 80mm front and rear.
    Weight 28lbs fully loaded, including trail bell, bottle cage, mini frame pump, a saddlebag with a spare tube, patch kit, Blackburn multitool, tire levers, extra zip ties, small knife, padded bag for keys, and extra chain link. Also has a wired computer and wheel weight.
    Has bar ends, old XTR/Mavic 217 front wheel and LX/217 rear. Specialized S-Works 2.2 Fast Traks with Michelin Aircomp Latex tubes. 3x9 drivetrain, mix of XT and LX stuff from the early 2000s.
    2002 or so Manitou Six Deluxe: coil and a small elastomer with TPC damping.
    The elastomer and seals are hardened, and one of the seals is missing the foam ring. It is on its last leg.
    Shimano V-brakes with Kool Stop pads.
    100mm stem, grips are 610mm apart.
    It has a short wheelbase, low BB, tiny wheels, narrow low-tread tires, narrow bars, long stem!!!
    This doesn't look like a fair fight.
    Oh, the horror! I'm gonna die trying to ride that thing on a trail!

    The trail: 7.3 miles of fun, intermediate twisty singletrack in Southeast Michigan. Dry, fairly smooth, loose over hardpack, with blown out sandy gravelly corners. Some very fast downhills, jumps, with bermed and non-bermed switchbacks. About 700' climbing.
    Some guys ride with full face helmets because you can get some serious air on numerous jumps.
    It isn't a hard trail. But, it tricks you into riding faster and faster until you hit a sandy gravelly turn at speed and the bike shoots away from you so fast you don't even have time to get your hands off the bars to help break the fall.

    The results, excerpted from my log:

    July 14
    Trek: 70 degrees, somewhat humid, nice trail conditions. Slowed 3 times to pass other riders.
    39:49. This was my first time under 40mins. I rode the Trek 5 more times over the next 2 weeks.

    July 28
    First ride on the GT this year: 85 degrees, very humid 77%. Hard to breathe. Trail very nice.
    Slowed by 3 riders. Pulled off trail for a pair of faster riders about 20 seconds apart.
    39:41. This was the second time under 40mins.

    There are more examples like this in my log.

    Ok, so the times are pretty close.
    But, how is this even possible?
    For the past 2 years I have ridden the Trek about 20x as often as the GT, so I am very used to it.
    29ers are supposed to be all that and a bag of chips. It has super fast/wider tubeless tires, better suspension, newer geometry (pretty long and slack compared to the GT), light weight.

    I know how it is possible: the GT handles beautifully. It is quick handling, but not twitchy (but it will punish inattention). It is supremely confident on tight switchbacks. It feels composed almost everywhere (the Trek is better over some giant roots and rocks).
    In fact, the front tire on the GT sticks better in the corners than the Trek, probably because of better weight distribution and a shorter wheelbase. ?

    Lately, I've been running much more aggressive tires on the Trek (DHF, DHR and XR4) to try to get better grip. The front end tends to feel just a bit pushy, I think because of the rearward weight bias, length of the bike and the big wheels.
    Isn't the big 29er contact patch supposed to lay down amazing grip?

    On another related note, I've measured weight distribution on both bikes.
    In order to make the fore/aft weight the same on the Trek, I have to drop the bars to shift the weight forward.
    This places a lot of pressure on my hands. I have never had hand pain before. The combo of wider bars and short/low stem is the primary reason.
    The same weight distribution on the GT has less pressure on the hands, because the overall weight is a bit more forward.
    My engineer father in law helped confirm this with scales and pressure sensors on the grips.

    Back on topic: The GT also accelerates quickly, and despite some differing opinions, I firmly believe that the bigger 29 wheels require much more effort to accelerate and turn. I can feel the bike trying to remain straight, whereas the GT dutifully follows subtle commands.
    I waste a lot of energy forcing the Trek to turn.

    On bigger, more open trails (the Poto, in my area) the long, low, slack bikes are probably better. But on the tight, twisty singletrack with a lot of accelerations and shorter, punchy climbs, (DTE, Brighton, Maybury) the little GT reigns.

    I'm an artifact in that I had a period of nearly a decade (2006-2016) where I was mostly out of the mountain biking scene. I rode, but didn't have time to pay attention to the trends.
    I was excited to try the newer tech, and treated myself to a 27.5 Anthem, but couldn't get comfortable on it, so I picked up a Top Fuel.

    Will 26ers rise again? Probably not.
    I can see where larger wheels benefit taller riders in particular. Many like the modern geometry.
    I get it. If you are having fun, that is what counts.
    I'm torn. Certain aspects work for me, but overall I prefer oldish geo, and smaller wheels.

    Another side note:. The GT isn't as short and steep as you may think. The HT angle is 70-70.5 degrees. The reach is within millimeters of the Trek (the I-Drive Team model had longer reach than other GT models), the stack is actually 20mm higher.
    The biggest difference with the Trek is the giant wheels, and the wheelbase, which is 100mm longer.

    I see some posters proclaiming that new geo is universally awesome, but this doesn't reflect my experience.
    I paid way more for the Trek than I did for the GT, yet in my experience, they are roughly equal in performance and fun.
    Long live the 26er...

    Bob

    And on both bikes you are basically averaging 11 mph. With 700 ft climbing in 7.2 miles, that is impressive and your level of fitness and the trail itself may be playing a role here.
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

  98. #98
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    Wow, thanks for the compliment Vespasianus!
    I last raced in 2001. I'm in decent shape, and generally ride for fun but also love to compete against myself sometimes.

    And you are correct: I tend to excel on trails that aren't super technical, but have shorter/steeper climbs (don't like rough trails too much).
    I'm guessing must race because you have a keen sense of my performance.

    I must say, I'm impressed by the folks that ride some of the super-techy stuff, especially out west. I've ridden some of it, and it was fun but some of it scares me.
    Our trails are not as crazy, but sure are a LOT of fun!

    Anyway, if ya like your bike, just proudly ride it and have a good time. I'd love to clone my little GT, because the handling is so intuitive.

    Take care,
    Bob

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalinbob View Post
    Wow, thanks for the compliment Vespasianus!
    I last raced in 2001. I'm in decent shape, and generally ride for fun but also love to compete against myself sometimes.

    And you are correct: I tend to excel on trails that aren't super technical, but have shorter/steeper climbs (don't like rough trails too much).
    I'm guessing must race because you have a keen sense of my performance.

    I must say, I'm impressed by the folks that ride some of the super-techy stuff, especially out west. I've ridden some of it, and it was fun but some of it scares me.
    Our trails are not as crazy, but sure are a LOT of fun!

    Anyway, if ya like your bike, just proudly ride it and have a good time. I'd love to clone my little GT, because the handling is so intuitive.

    Take care,
    Bob
    Agree. This weekend in a group ride there was a giant guy - maybe 6"7 ridding an old 26" HT. Guess who was the fastest guy there?
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

  100. #100
    Austin, Texas
    Reputation: smokehouse4444's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    174
    I ride my 29er probably 85% of the time, but I still love to ride my frankenstein 26er on certain trails. I just ride with a bit more concentration, a bit more attention to detail with lines, etc...

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

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