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  1. #1
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Are 27.5 better for climbing than 29 inch wheels?

    I read that 29ers keep speed up better and 27.5 accelerate better. Am I correct in inferring that 27.5 are thus better for trails with a lot of long, and often steep climbing. I would think on long, tough climbs the 27.5 would be easier to keep moving. Is this true?

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    I have both 27.5 and 29 bikes. What I can say for certain is 29" wheels roll over stuff better both up hill and down hills. Does this make 29er's better for climbing... That is a very complex question because it also requires you to consider the bike, terrain, and rider.
    Joe
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  3. #3
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    yes, 27.5 is superior wheelsize

    29 is only for women that struggle with obstacles and need extra rollover

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    People got so weird with the acceleration thing.

    I still have a 26 inch bike, which on paper "should" accelerate better than both 29 and 27.5. It totally doesn't. Its a pretty slow bike, all in all. I have fun with it though, so whatever.

    What do you mean "climbing"? Like a 2 hour long fireroad climb? Or a short very rocky technical climb? even then, its more about the design of the bike than the wheel size. We have 160mm enduro 29ers now, they dont climb like a 100mm xc race oriented 27.5 bike.

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    Legs and lungs are more important for climbing than wheel size.

  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    I own a 27.5" and a 26" and have borrowed a few 29ers, all in the "trail bike" category. 29ers have better rollover, more traction and more stability, and these traits help both uphill and downhill. They may need a bit more effort to get started (if on a heavy wheelset) but once you get moving it's all good.

    Bike geometry, tyre (tread) design and air pressure also determine how efficiently a bike climbs, not to mention rider fitness and technique. A bike won't be a better climber just because it has larger wheels.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    yes, 27.5 is superior wheelsize

    29 is only for women that struggle with obstacles and need extra rollover
    Also for a man like me who rides like a struggling woman. Weird. A lot of the women I ride with don't seem to be struggling at all. Just me.

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    The difference between 27.5ers and 29ers in regards to roll over, traction and acceration are so minimal that it's a wash. 29ers on some occasions will climb better and other times 27.5 will climb better.
    I own and ride both, but prefer my 27ers, don't exactly know why but seem I'm faster and have more fun on 27.5.
    EXODUX Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    Legs and lungs are more important for climbing than wheel size.
    Yep. With the same tires & same type of bikes, I haven't run into any climbs I can make on a 29er that I can't on a 27.5 or vice-versa. I'm sure there's climb somewhere in the world that will allow me to separate the bikes, but I haven't run across it yet.

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    my 29er HT climbs better than my 27.5 in all conditions. However my 29HT is 21.5lbs and my 27.5 is 29lbs 5" FS trail bike. I believe most if not all of that is due to the diffence in bike type and weight rather than wheel size. however there are certain set-ups on climbs that I can do better on the HT. Seems like the rear wheel will climb over them better since it hits the rock edge at point lower on the wheel relative to axle making it roll over just tad better.


    Just tried 2.6 tires on the 27.5 and seemed to help in one climbing step. At least combined with lower pressures seemed to help. However this is a very specific situation and has as much to do with my own riding weaknesses as anything else.
    Joe
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    Quote Originally Posted by joevdenne View Post
    I read that 29ers keep speed up better and 27.5 accelerate better. Am I correct in inferring that 27.5 are thus better for trails with a lot of long, and often steep climbing. I would think on long, tough climbs the 27.5 would be easier to keep moving. Is this true?
    By ďbetterĒ do you mean faster? If so, why not look at what pro bike racers who compete in races (XC) where climbing faster matters? Donít see 27.5Ē as a popular wheel size for that, so I would say 29ers are overall better climbers.
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  13. #13
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    If it's Trialsin style ascending then 27.5" or 26". <- quintic type E

    If it is just trail then 29". <- quintic type B
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    I think the better question is does a 27.5x2.3 barzo outperform a 29x2.1 barzo. I'm sure both setups are similar in weight and the same question can be asked about a lot of other setups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    Also for a man like me who rides like a struggling woman. Weird. A lot of the women I ride with don't seem to be struggling at all. Just me.
    I think someone is just struggling with the concept of women in general.

  16. #16
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    The easy answer is NO. Otherwise XC racers would be on them. 29ers are clearly faster.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    I think the better question is does a 27.5x2.3 barzo outperform a 29x2.1 barzo. I'm sure both setups are similar in weight and the same question can be asked about a lot of other setups.
    I have two bikes with these exact dimensions. -A trail FS bike with 27.5x2.3 tires, ~30 lbs
    -HT with 29x2.1, ~29 lbs(so no XC steed)

    I can say that I prefer my 29Ē wheels on more flatter XC trails and on steep technical climbs. My times are much faster on those wheels on those trails. HT or no HT, the 29ers are fast. The second I turn around and start going back down on those steep hills, my 27.5Ē tires are much faster(Iím sure itís because itís an HT and not an FS). But the 27.5 is sooo much more playful and flickable.
    29Ē are now becoming the norm on DH circuit as well as XC circuit, itís that way for a reason.
    Now I wish I could have only one bike, a mid/short travel 29er...and have the best of both worlds.
    Last edited by EndoPro; 10-31-2017 at 05:40 PM. Reason: Fixing spelling

  18. #18
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    I find 27.5 to be noticeably easier to climb, especially tech & extra especially punchy tech. It's less mass to spin & there's something to the circumference/tire spin to crank revolution ratio. I want to conclude that with saying my go to bike is a 29er & my next build will be a 29er.

    I'm a trail rider mostly and don't race. Not sure how a xc racers wheel size is relevant here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    I find 27.5 to be noticeably easier to climb, especially tech & extra especially punchy tech. It's less mass to spin & there's something to the circumference/tire spin to crank revolution ratio. I want to conclude that with saying my go to bike is a 29er & my next build will be a 29er.

    I'm a trail rider mostly and don't race. Not sure how a xc racers wheel size is relevant here.
    I live and ride on punchy technical trails. I've ridden both wheel sizes on the trails and IME 27.5 just can't roll up and over technical sections the way a 29er can. On the smaller wheels, I find you are less likely to clear a section. I guide and almost universally, my clients on rental bikes like the 29ers more than the 27.5.

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I live and ride on punchy technical trails. I've ridden both wheel sizes on the trails and IME 27.5 just can't roll up and over technical sections the way a 29er can. On the smaller wheels, I find you are less likely to clear a section. I guide and almost universally, my clients on rental bikes like the 29ers more than the 27.5.

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    Yeah, I know that's the overall consensus but some including professional reviews echo how the wheel sizes ride for me. Another really good rider I ride with occasionally who jumps back & forth between the sizes basically articulates my thoughts verbatim when we ride & switch off wheel sizes.

    If I'm feeling fresh & strong & keep the momentum/rpm's up I feel like I can ride really long slogs at a faster pace. But those same climbs If I'm feeling a little gassed take noticeably more energy to spin up on the 9'r.

    Tech climbs I feel like the 9'r has some advantages and disadvantages. Anywhere that I have to stall out then a quick spin of the pedals with 100% concentration to clear something the 9'r is always more laborious than the smaller wheels & not by a little. Infact 26" works the best for me here and I'm 6'2".

    I ride in the 4 corners area for an extended trip every year. Last 2 years has been on a 29'r. Even on a classic like slick rock I feel more worked. This is especially noticeable counterclockwise on the sustained steep climb about 1/2-2/3 of the way through. I'm simply putting down way more effort & am more gassed compared to a lap on smaller wheels. I know this is already been beaten to death so will add I like 29'r everywhere & I mean everywhere (including jumping) else. Despite the at least perceived more effort to climb my next build will also be a 29er.
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  21. #21
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    Racers will take any advantage they can get. From a pure efficiency standpoint 29ers win 99% of the time. A perfectly glass smooth high traction surface will show a small advantage to lighter wheels and 26 is lighter. Any bumps or traction limits will push this to a bigger wheels rollover and increased traction. Bigger wheels can run lighter tires with smaller knobs and maintain the same traction levels.

    Bigger heavier wheels will take longer to accurate, but still return all of that stored energy. If you are coming to a stop every pedal stroke big wheels will be slower. If you can maintain a smooth speed, even very slow then bigger is better. This trade off probably happens around 30-40 rpm's.

    You almost need to work at make 29er's slower but it can be done.
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  22. #22
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    XCRacers ride on XCrace courses (which are like golf cart paths compared to most MTB worthy trails)with a heart rate through the roof. I don't envision racing being a good comparison for what folks find to be good for them and/or fun; look at DH racing and how many of them are on + or NuevoFat tires. However, a caca-ton of bike riders love that stuff.
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  23. #23
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    OP asked if 29ers where better climbers. They are! The professionals that climb always pick them. My analyst of them was based on real world scenarios. DH racing and fat tires have nothing to do with this discussion.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  24. #24
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    Wether a specific wheel size does something better is always going to be a % subjective. However, most xc racers aren't riding 3"-5" full suspension bikes in the 30lb range which is the most common style bike I see on the trails. XC coarses do not remotely resemble trails I think are fun. & most riders fitness doesn't resemble a XC racer's fitness. The new style 29ers are awesome & I'll continue to ride them, but they aren't best at every trail scenario 100% of the time.
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    I don't know what XC courses you guys are looking at if you think they are smooth or like golf cart paths.

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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    XCRacers ride on XCrace courses (which are like golf cart paths compared to most MTB worthy trails)with a heart rate through the roof. I don't envision racing being a good comparison for what folks find to be good for them and/or fun; look at DH racing and how many of them are on + or NuevoFat tires. However, a caca-ton of bike riders love that stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Wether a specific wheel size does something better is always going to be a % subjective. However, most xc racers aren't riding 3"-5" full suspension bikes in the 30lb range which is the most common style bike I see on the trails. XC coarses do not remotely resemble trails I think are fun. & most riders fitness doesn't resemble a XC racer's fitness. The new style 29ers are awesome & I'll continue to ride them, but they aren't best at every trail scenario 100% of the time.
    Pisgah Stage Race, Moab Rocks, True Grit, Breck Epic, BC Bike Race, Grand Junction Off Road, etc.

    Those areas are all golf courses?

    Where do you live that those are considered tane in comparison?


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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Wether a specific wheel size does something better is always going to be a % subjective. However, most xc racers aren't riding 3"-5" full suspension bikes in the 30lb range which is the most common style bike I see on the trails. XC coarses do not remotely resemble trails I think are fun. & most riders fitness doesn't resemble a XC racer's fitness. The new style 29ers are awesome & I'll continue to ride them, but they aren't best at every trail scenario 100% of the time.
    Not sure how to take this.

    Most XC racers these days are on 4" FS bikes. Some still ride HT bikes, but this becoming less common. Most really fast XC racers are good in all terrain. They are fit to besure, but also strong technically. Maybe not DH racer strong or redbull rampage types, but still very skilled.

    That said a 20-24lbs XC bike will climb better than a 29lbs enduro/AM/Trail bike. It just will. While size is not the driving factor here. Weight, geometry and tire selection is a big factor.

    Now most common bike style.... For the guys I ride with is 29er HT or 29er 4" bikes. A few ride longer travel bike in 29, 27.5, 27.5+ etc. These are rarely the fast climbers. Now most common bike among the masses? Probably 5" trail bikes or 6" AM bikes. Why? Because that is the cool trend in bikes that marketing departments think everyone needs to ride. Personally I have 29HT XC bike and 5" FS "trail" bike. Different bikes for different trails, different groups and different goals for the ride. In fact today I have my 5" FS bike and wil be taking out to ride with a group. Last time I brought my 21.5 Carbon 29er HT to this trail with this group. Too fast for them. So today I have my heavy bike (29lbs) and it should allow me a better workout without being as fast. Most of these guys ride 4" XC bikes, but don't shy away from technical features.

    Now as for XC courses don't resemble anything fun... Clearly you are not on the right XC courses. That said fun on a some XC course is not the chunk, but flicking the bike through the turns at speed and/or pushing yourself on the climbs. If the climbs are too easy then get a Singlespeed. One area I ride a lot is fun, but not a big travel bike. not many rocks or bumps, but lots of turns and 5-10 min steep climbs. Perfect for HT bikes or short travel FS. Fun is flowing through the turns at speed or grinding up the climbs. I have gained alot of mtn bike speed from that area. Climbs for fitness and turns for speed. Love the 29HT there. I did an Enduro about 6 weeks ago and I did reasonably well in large part due to cornering speed from skills gained at this easy XC place.
    Joe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Pisgah Stage Race, Moab Rocks, True Grit, Breck Epic, BC Bike Race, Grand Junction Off Road, etc.

    Those areas are all golf courses?

    Where do you live that those are considered tane in comparison?


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    Not sure I'd put any of those, at least the ones I'm familiar with, in the xc race catagory. I could be wrong but didn't realize they are promoted as such either.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Not sure I'd put any of those, at least the ones I'm familiar with, in the xc race catagory. I could be wrong but didn't realize they are promoted as such either.
    They are endurance XC or stage races composed of multiple XC races.

    Raced by XC racers on XC bikes.

    What else would they be?

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Not sure how to take this.

    Most XC racers these days are on 4" FS bikes. Some still ride HT bikes, but this becoming less common. Most really fast XC racers are good in all terrain. They are fit to besure, but also strong technically. Maybe not DH racer strong or redbull rampage types, but still very skilled.

    That said a 20-24lbs XC bike will climb better than a 29lbs enduro/AM/Trail bike. It just will. While size is not the driving factor here. Weight, geometry and tire selection is a big factor.

    Now most common bike style.... For the guys I ride with is 29er HT or 29er 4" bikes. A few ride longer travel bike in 29, 27.5, 27.5+ etc. These are rarely the fast climbers. Now most common bike among the masses? Probably 5" trail bikes or 6" AM bikes. Why? Because that is the cool trend in bikes that marketing departments think everyone needs to ride. Personally I have 29HT XC bike and 5" FS "trail" bike. Different bikes for different trails, different groups and different goals for the ride. In fact today I have my 5" FS bike and wil be taking out to ride with a group. Last time I brought my 21.5 Carbon 29er HT to this trail with this group. Too fast for them. So today I have my heavy bike (29lbs) and it should allow me a better workout without being as fast. Most of these guys ride 4" XC bikes, but don't shy away from technical features.

    Now as for XC courses don't resemble anything fun... Clearly you are not on the right XC courses. That said fun on a some XC course is not the chunk, but flicking the bike through the turns at speed and/or pushing yourself on the climbs. If the climbs are too easy then get a Singlespeed. One area I ride a lot is fun, but not a big travel bike. not many rocks or bumps, but lots of turns and 5-10 min steep climbs. Perfect for HT bikes or short travel FS. Fun is flowing through the turns at speed or grinding up the climbs. I have gained alot of mtn bike speed from that area. Climbs for fitness and turns for speed. Love the 29HT there. I did an Enduro about 6 weeks ago and I did reasonably well in large part due to cornering speed from skills gained at this easy XC place.
    I am admittedly probably way out of the loop of what constitutes a xc race coarse these days. I am probably envisioning the xc race coarses of yesteryear like the uci & world cup courses that consisted of many laps on 4 track with only a % looping onto actual singletrack trail.I guess my crowd is more "enduro" & "all mountain" but once upon a time I just used to ride my bike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    What else would they be?

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    Not sure but similar races like the Trans-Cadia aren't billed as such per say. I guess I'm off the mark as what constitutes a xc race these days or least the semantics.
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    Yes, there are different XC courses. I also stated 'worthy' bike trails. To me worthy means it has techy sections that usually require some hike-a-bike until you can figure them out. I am not talking about IMBA trails. People have different ideas of fun, tech, etc. That is fine and it is hella better to have that kind of diversity of trails/riders, etc. I often ride trails that see little traffic, are well over 30ys old and usually require some cutting every year to get them into riding shape. They weren't built to new standards...etc. Anyway, I think this sums it up best:

    If it's Trialsin style ascending then 27.5" or 26". <- quintic type B

    If it is just trail then 29". <- quintic type E

    edit: I had the E and B switched, might help if I proofread my shit sometimes
    Last edited by JAK; 11-01-2017 at 03:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Not sure but similar races like the Trans-Cadia aren't billed as such per say. I guess I'm off the mark as what constitutes a xc race these days or least the semantics.
    Trans Cascadia is an Enduro race. Portions (downhill) of each day's route are ridden for time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Trans Cascadia is an Enduro race. Portions (downhill) of each day's route are ridden for time.

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    I'm very familiar with those tracks & the timed sections are plenty pedaly including some climbing. Some of it is even quite primitive trail sections. Anyway point taken. I guess my original point is most people could delineate between a xc racer/bike choice/fitness vs a trail rider/bike choice/fitness. Maybe bikes are so capable these days there is more cross over, grey area than one could draw any conclusions from.
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    I guess my original point is most people could delineate between a xc racer/bike choice/fitness vs a trail rider/bike choice/fitness.
    ^^ that would hella help
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  36. #36
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    I ride both and was talking about both. I know plenty of trail riders that do 24 hour events and race enduro that would do very well on an XC bike.
    The rougher the terrain up and down the larger the 29er advantage becomes. XC or trail doesn't matter as long as your talking apples to apples and I personally was.
    Now every bike is different and it's hard compare exactly the same bike in both wheel sizes.
    I have XC raced, enduro raced and hucked my Santa Cruz blur XCc for the last 9 years. 6 of those years it was a 26 inch bike. Now it's a 27.5 both with enve AM wheels and the same exact tire combos and build. I can tell you that I am faster up and down with the bigger wheels. The blur has seen 4+ different builds with 10+ different tire combos over the years.
    My new 29er is not the fastest climber, but it's not built too. It's built to haul ass down hill, something it excels at. Up and over. Catch me if you can.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post

    Now as for XC courses don't resemble anything fun... Clearly you are not on the right XC courses. That said fun on a some XC course is not the chunk, but flicking the bike through the turns at speed and/or pushing yourself on the climbs.

    THis is an xc course to me! 2.5 miles of this, up and down!

    XC to me is it's uphill, and downhill. Both technical and some smooth/fast. All timed, all as fast as you can.
    Simple as that.Are 27.5 better for climbing than 29 inch wheels?-bear-creek-stock.jpg
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  38. #38
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    Would have said 29 easily, but now not sure after going 275 X 2.6"

    Climbing steep, tech for a non-pro on a trail bike vs a pro on a 22# short ravel rig with semi-slicks are different matters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    I am admittedly probably way out of the loop of what constitutes a xc race coarse these days. I am probably envisioning the xc race coarses of yesteryear like the uci & world cup courses that consisted of many laps on 4 track with only a % looping onto actual singletrack trail.I guess my crowd is more "enduro" & "all mountain" but once upon a time I just used to ride my bike.
    I thought the same thing until I watched a couple of recent World Cup XC races. Check out Redbull TV. The courses now are pretty amazing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    ...

    I still have a 26 inch bike, which on paper "should" accelerate better than both 29 and 27.5. It totally doesn't. Its a pretty slow bike, all in all.

    ...
    That is interesting. I had the opportunity this year to compare my 26er to a borrowed carbon Yeti 29er over the course of about two weeks on a twisty trail. What I found among other things was that the 26er was much better at accelerating than the 29er even though it was heavier. This was even more pronounced when going uphill. The 29er had other advantages though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DethWshBkr View Post
    THis is an xc course to me! 2.5 miles of this, up and down!

    XC to me is it's uphill, and downhill. Both technical and some smooth/fast. All timed, all as fast as you can.
    Simple as that.Click image for larger version. 

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    That's a killer course.

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    Same Bike, swap wheels

    Quote Originally Posted by joevdenne View Post
    I read that 29ers keep speed up better and 27.5 accelerate better. Am I correct in inferring that 27.5 are thus better for trails with a lot of long, and often steep climbing. I would think on long, tough climbs the 27.5 would be easier to keep moving. Is this true?
    Stop muddying the waters guys, you have to compare similar setups.
    For example, take a Santa Cruz Hightower and swap wheel sizes that have same rims and exact same tires. Then you only have to factor in the increased weight of the 29ers.

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    Pass Steel Calf the deagle

    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    yes, 27.5 is superior wheelsize

    29 is only for women that struggle with obstacles and need extra rollover
    Somebody pass this man the deagle. He is clearly a legendary eagle.

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    My .02. I'm a better technical climber on my 27.5 intense spider than I was on my previous bike, a Pivot 429. I feel faster on smooth climbs, especially on switch backs and uphill corners, but I don't time myself so who knows for sure.

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    I think it all comes down to tire selection. Currently many of the enduro and DH tires were developed on 27.5" rims and have the knobs needed to grip on an enduro climb. I would venture to guess that 27.5 enduro and dh bikes climb better than 29ers. The 29" tires were developed in XC racing. They are generating the minimum rolling resistance with just enough traction to climb. I would venture to guess that these 29" bikes out climb the 27.5" bikes anywhere traction is at a premium because they were designed around a 29" wheel and not a 27.5" wheel. I'm sure a modern version of a fire XC pro can climb like a rocket ship on a 26" bike. It just doesn't have the past 10 years of tire technology dumped into it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    I think it all comes down to tire selection. Currently many of the enduro and DH tires were developed on 27.5" rims and have the knobs needed to grip on an enduro climb. I would venture to guess that 27.5 enduro and dh bikes climb better than 29ers. The 29" tires were developed in XC racing. They are generating the minimum rolling resistance with just enough traction to climb. I would venture to guess that these 29" bikes out climb the 27.5" bikes anywhere traction is at a premium because they were designed around a 29" wheel and not a 27.5" wheel. I'm sure a modern version of a fire XC pro can climb like a rocket ship on a 26" bike. It just doesn't have the past 10 years of tire technology dumped into it.
    This is pretty naive dude.

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    When traction is good and not too bumpy, my 650b seems to spin up the hills maybe a little easier. As soon as it's slippery or roots, the 29er wins.

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    The scientific answer has to be "what McMick said".

    Anyone here with a Hightower or similar switchable bike done the needed experiment yet?

    Contrary to the labeling convention of 26", 27.5" and 29" wheels, the difference in wheel sizes between 26" and 27.5" is about half of the difference between 27.5" and 29".
    So a better intermediate rim size might have been the old 590mm size as used on 3-speed "upright touring" bikes back in the day.
    But of course the tire width and pressure plays a big role in how well these sizes work in different environments.

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    I was looking at the Stans site recently. Rim weight different for the same model was about 30-50 grams between 27.5 and 29, depending on the model. Iím guessing there might be similar weight savings in the rubber. So maybe 60-100 grams of rotational mass savings per wheel for an otherwise identical wheel setup. 120-200 for a pair. Then there are the physics of rotatating that around a smaller radius which will help the acceleration. Of course you are losing some traction. But, letís think about a long, 7 mile, fairly smooth dirt road with some good traction. Or think about a marathon race with 12k ft of climbing on similar roads. Iíve got to think that weight plus rotational savings would add up to something. Probably not enough for the average trail rider cover 10-20 miles.

    Then to make up for traction, the 27.5 either needs a wider rim/tire or both, so you give back the outright weight advantage.

    I think it comes out in the wash for most people. I would would just go for the best deal on the highest end, lightest, best fitting bike you can afford. Wheel size is just one part of the total bike setup, and you can play with tires and rims to help with any traction issues.

    Oh wait, and I forgot rollover.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumblefish29er View Post
    I was looking at the Stans site recently. Rim weight different for the same model was about 30-50 grams between 27.5 and 29, depending on the model. Iím guessing there might be similar weight savings in the rubber. So maybe 60-100 grams of rotational mass savings per wheel for an otherwise identical wheel setup. 120-200 for a pair. Then there are the physics of rotatating that around a smaller radius which will help the acceleration. Of course you are losing some traction. But, letís think about a long, 7 mile, fairly smooth dirt road with some good traction. Or think about a marathon race with 12k ft of climbing on similar roads. Iíve got to think that weight plus rotational savings would add up to something. Probably not enough for the average trail rider cover 10-20 miles.

    Then to make up for traction, the 27.5 either needs a wider rim/tire or both, so you give back the outright weight advantage.

    I think it comes out in the wash for most people. I would would just go for the best deal on the highest end, lightest, best fitting bike you can afford. Wheel size is just one part of the total bike setup, and you can play with tires and rims to help with any traction issues.

    Oh wait, and I forgot rollover.....
    You also forgot:

    Crr. Coefficient of rolling resistance. There's a reason every World Cup racer over 5'4" is racing a 29er, despite many of them having an option to use a 650b bike.

    If people whose livelihood depends on going up (and down fast) are using a heavier bike, maybe there is something to that.

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    I have both a 29'r and 650B+ wheel setup for my Canfield Riot. Times are pretty much a wash on my climbs. I run the same gears on both setups and typically end up being more tired at the end of the ride on the 29's because of the increase in gear inches. I usually have to be in the bailout gear more often because of this also. I can climb everything on both. I will say that on more than one ultra steep climb I have wheelied out using the 27.5x2.8 tires where the 29x2.3's would just loose grip. Falling forward because of lost grip sucks, but is manageable. Falling backward on a steep climb is dangerous and pretty much uncontrollable. But that's all rider error (me), and really not a problem with the bike or wheel size.
    2017 Canfield Riot

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    About a year ago I would have thought that 29ers would be faster climbing and 650bs would be better for descending. Now that world cup downhill riders are riding 29ers it seems to me that 29ers might be faster for just about everything. I still ride a steel 26er and my next bike will probably be a steel 29er.

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    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    Legs and lungs are more important for climbing than wheel size.
    i'll second that. i am (was, will be) slower on my thirty one pound 27.5 dualie than on my twenty nine 29er hardtail because i am (and will be) totally out of shape.

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    Besides physical ability, the bike geo and setup will make the biggest difference.

    I have a 29r HT that weighs 19.7lbs and a 27.5 FS that weighs 30.5lbs. I can climb a heck of a lot faster on the 29r than the 27.5...and I'm pretty sure it's not the wheel size that's slowing me down. The 29r is pretty much a straight XC bike. The bar is much lower and over 10lbs lighter than the 27.5. The XC bike with the low front end feels like I can just bury my head and crank up the hill.

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    TBH my fatbike climbs the best out of all my bikes and its 34 lbs, only reason I can think if is gobs of traction.
    2018 Canyon Spectral
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    This is pretty naive dude.

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    Considering Nino was hacking up treads and gluing them to tubulars I don't think that is too far fetched. He was literally using custom made tubulars to race on. His very own custom made tubular semi slick for XC racing. Everyone else is on tubeless 29er tires but he is running custom 27.5 tubulars. Winning races too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    Considering Nino was hacking up treads and gluing them to tubulars I don't think that is too far fetched. He was literally using custom made tubulars to race on. His very own custom made tubular semi slick for XC racing. Everyone else is on tubeless 29er tires but he is running custom 27.5 tubulars. Winning races too.
    Schurter switched to 29 midway through the World Cup season last year and Scott mechanics have worked hard on adjusting the geometry of the bike to accommodate his very peculiar cockpit set-up. He runs a 90mm stem with a negative rise to keep the handlebars really low. The previous 29ers had too much stack height.
    He also ran tubeless for the last year and a half. He had his best ever year on a tubeless 29er.
    https://www.bikerumor.com/2016/07/05...ark-rc-900-wc/
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  59. #59
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    Well, this isnít a climbing test, but the 29er was faster than the 27.5Ē here. (I love videos like this that for sure just piss off mtb makers at Giant). Should be interesting to watch their upcoming tests on the two wheel sizes.


    https://m.pinkbike.com/news/which-wh...vin-video.html
    Last edited by singletrackmack; 11-09-2017 at 11:42 PM.
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    And another recent test showing 29ers are faster than 27.5", although not sure there is climbing involved.

    Pretty interesting too considering there was only three 29ers and seven 27.5 bikes in the test and...
    "...there were clear tendencies. All three testers rode their fastest times with 29″ bikes and the slowest on 27.5″ bikes."


    Let‚Äôs go Racing! ‚Äď The 10 fastest enduro bikes in test | ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    Considering Nino was hacking up treads and gluing them to tubulars I don't think that is too far fetched. He was literally using custom made tubulars to race on. His very own custom made tubular semi slick for XC racing. Everyone else is on tubeless 29er tires but he is running custom 27.5 tubulars. Winning races too.
    Hacking up treads?

    No. The tires he was using have been available for years, and the tread they use is their own.

    Yes, you CAN "hack" your own Maxxis or Schwalbe or Vittoria tires and send it to Dugast, but no Nino wasn't doing that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shekky View Post
    i'll second that. i am (was, will be) slower on my thirty one pound 27.5 dualie than on my twenty nine 29er hardtail because i am (and will be) totally out of shape.
    Maybe not after you make mods to your HawkHill!
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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    Quote Originally Posted by singletrackmack View Post
    And another recent test showing 29ers are faster than 27.5", although not sure there is climbing involved.

    Pretty interesting too considering there was only three 29ers and seven 27.5 bikes in the test and...
    "...there were clear tendencies. All three testers rode their fastest times with 29″ bikes and the slowest on 27.5″ bikes."


    Let‚Äôs go Racing! ‚Äď The 10 fastest enduro bikes in test | ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine
    I have a hard time putting any value in a shootout in which they ran stock tires on all of the bikes. When 29ers came out many of the WC XC racers went back and forth between 26 and 29 comparing the two. The 29 was only a couple seconds faster over several kilometers. The same racer would finish withen seconds on a 29er, 26, and 27.5. I wouldn't worry so much about speed but more about what bike is the most fun for you. I think most people on a 27.5 favor a bike that can dart around trees on narrow twisty single track and is easier to hop over larger objects. Some of these big bike parks that have wide tracks and bigger turns a 29er would make sense because of the roll over and extra traction.

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    Except they said the Hightower LT was the most fun bike too.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    I think most people on a 27.5 favor a bike that can dart around trees on narrow twisty single track and is easier to hop over larger objects.
    If thatís the intent, why not a 26er then? Even better to dart around trees on narrow single track and easier to hop over larger objects than those 27.5Ē wagon wheels, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    Except they said the Hightower LT was the most fun bike too.
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    In my own experience over the last couple of years as a on again off again CAT2 XC guy:

    2015 4 day riding trip on borrowed Ibis Mojo 26er vs same trip on carbon HT 29er a year later and in better shape. I generally climbed faster on the 29er but not that much and it was probably more due to fitness. Descended faster on the FS 26er. But, overall felt more comfy on the 29er due to bike fit. Which did I like better? The 29er but mainly because it fit better! Otherwise pretty much a toss up for non competitive all day rides.

    More recently, have 130mm FS 29er, and a 120mm FS 650b. Same brand similar build kits. Overall segment times are really similar within a few seconds. I'm probably descending a little faster on the 650B. The more rooted out or loose climbs are easier on the 29er but not necessarily much faster. The 650b is an XL and fit like a glove with no mods. The 29er is a large and I've had to mess with the fit a bit more.

    Too much info? I guess that's the point. My segment times are super close despite wheel sizes, components, a couple pounds difference, minor geo differences, tires, etc. it has more to do with my energy level and diet that day than anything else. The ride feel is different but after sticking with one bike for a week, that is forgotten.

    Go with the lightest, best fitting bike you can afford and put some good rubber on it for the terrain you ride. Ride what you got (coming from a serial bike flipper).

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    Quote Originally Posted by singletrackmack View Post
    If thatís the intent, why not a 26er then? Even better to dart around trees on narrow single track and easier to hop over larger objects than those 27.5Ē wagon wheels, right?
    I found a killer deal on a 27.5 that ticked all the right boxes. I liked the geometry of a lot of the 27.5 bikes such as the jamis dragon or Rocky mountain thunderbolt. Light and quick enough for xc but slack enough for trail. If you run them with a flat bar and fast tires they make a good xc bike. If you run them with a short stem, riser bar, and minions they make a good trail bike.
    Last edited by party_wagon; 11-18-2017 at 02:12 PM.

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