27.5 vs 29er help- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    27.5 vs 29er help

    Hi all,
    I am currently shopping for a new bike. I have been riding a 29er for the past few years but am really tempted to move back to a 27er (not plus sized) as I want a more snappy and playful ride. I am 5'7" so any opinions or verdicts on this would help.
    Also
    I am wondering if the santa cruz Chameleon can fit 27.5 (not plus) tires. I read somewhere that it could do both. If not I would love recommendations for a good all mountain technical hardtail bike that can kinda be a do all be all bike preferably supporting 27ers.

  2. #2
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    Chameleon is 27.5+ or 29. Technically, since 27.5+ fits, standard 27.5 would fit, but the geo may be odd.

    I'd demo a few 27.5 bikes to help you decide. Your height might lean you more towards a 27.5, but 29ers are snappy these days. That said, I ride 27.5

  3. #3
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    Absolutely demo a 27.5 first.

    I'm 5'8" on a 2 year old 29er after riding a 2015 Yeti SB5c. I just went out on the Yeti to try out a 54 tooth upgrade on a hub. I feel like I just went 5 rounds with Mike Tyson. I was on a rooty, rocky 2 mile climb and the stuff I usually roll over felt like it just wanted to stop me. Maybe your needs are different, but if you're used to the roll over of a 29er, and you need it, being back on a smaller wheel is a wake up call.

  4. #4
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    I agree with demoing first.

    But for me, I'm 5'7" and I have been back and forth with 29 and 27.5 for the past few years. Had a SB130 I sold last year, Ripley v4 i just sold yesterday, and a YT Jeffsy 29 some years back. Great bikes, but I noticed that I have a much better time on 27.5 wheels. The cliches are true--rollover and keeping momentum, vs agility and quickness (at least for someone at my height). Right now I have an Ibis Hd5 (love it for bigger stuff), a Transition Throttle (aggressive carbon hardtail, super light, climbs amazing, my daily driver, size up), and a Kingdom Ti aggressive hardtail (descends better than the Throttle and there is a little more compliance, but if I had to choose, I would take the Throttle).

    I ride San Diego trails mostly, and the 29er just smoothed everything out too much and made the local trails too easy 90% of the time.

    I don't notice a big difference on climbing between 29 and 27.5. When I am at the end of a ride, I am exhausted and do prefer the 27.5 being easier to manage on steep climbs and keep the wheels moving.

    I just used the money I made selling my V4 Ripley to order a Santa Cruz 5010 v3 frame. I think I am done with 29ers for the foreseeable future.

  5. #5
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    ... and if we just ...

    Stick with 27.5's believe me. Especially if you find yourself doing technical trails and stuff. Don't believe the hype. I was going to sell my custom hardtail for a 29er due to seeing everyone hype about them and literally the day before I was going to do the swap a guy stopped me at the train station after clocking my bike and told me out the blue to never go to 29s .. because of him I held on to my 27.5 and swore that If I got a 29er it would be a second bike.

    fast forward a year

    my mate bought a 29er hard tail and took it to kirroughtree.. I had one shot on his bike and honestly felt like I was stearing a horse and cart down the fu***** hill. :madman.. I didn't feel safe NOR nimble. Ofcourse It was new to me and I had never really rode a 29er before. But all that aside.. I've been on trails and XC rides with boys running 29ers and they're never infront. usually 29ers running 2.5 tyres. If you ask me you'd be better pedeling a tractor . Weight is a big thing as well... suppose it all depends on your riding habits and if your a commuter and where you find your enjoyment

    A lot of people swear by 29ers. however, Im a guy who gets up everyday to ride my bike by any means. I'm up and down stairs visiting friends, on and off trains. One minute I'm on concrete, next I'm smashing down a dirt trail next to a a burn into a field for a shortcut I like my bike to be as Light, Fast and as UNIVERSAL and CHEAP to fix as possible.. Hence the reason I swear by buying a frame you like and customising the life out! If your anything like me, you'll be smashing derauleurs and buckling hubs left, right and centre.. bare this in mind when thinking of the switch I'd say..

    fair to say, my next bike. Will be a 27.5

  6. #6
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    I agree with socalstoic overall. I have one of each, a Ripley V4 29er when I'm riding smoother trails and an HD5 27.5 when things get tight, rowdy & chunky. I have fun on both but it's throwing around the 27.5 at speed that really puts a smile on my face.
    Carpe Diem!!

  7. #7
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    I think it depends a great deal on not only where you ride, but the riding experience that you want.

    Although both my bikes are 27.5, I'd definitely recommend trying each wheel size on your local trails to get an sense of which one you enjoy more.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  8. #8
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    #650b gang!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by looking_4_dale View Post
    Hi all,
    I am currently shopping for a new bike. I have been riding a 29er for the past few years but am really tempted to move back to a 27er (not plus sized) as I want a more snappy and playful ride. I am 5'7" so any opinions or verdicts on this would help.
    Also
    I am wondering if the santa cruz Chameleon can fit 27.5 (not plus) tires. I read somewhere that it could do both. If not I would love recommendations for a good all mountain technical hardtail bike that can kinda be a do all be all bike preferably supporting 27ers.
    What 29er are you riding now? I find shorter chainstays and narrower tires brings some snap back into a 29er.

    So if you find the next question insulting I apologize now. Do you turn by counter steering? If not maybe a level 1 and 2 corner clinic could help you make a big bike feel more nimble.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    I think it depends a great deal on not only where you ride, but the riding experience that you want.

    Although both my bikes are 27.5, I'd definitely recommend trying each wheel size on your local trails to get an sense of which one you enjoy more.
    So if you find the next question insulting I apologize now. Do you turn by counter steering? If not maybe a level 1 and 2 corner clinic could help you make a big bike feel more nimble.Kodi nox

  11. #11
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    I can get my 29er to feel pretty good with superlight carbon rims and xc weight tires. My all-around bikes are 27.5 though.

    It isn't all technique. When you're carving berms or diving into a creek bed, you need to counter steer quickly, which involves muscling the bike. Wagon wheels just aren't as responsive and take more effort.

  12. #12
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    I think riders need to stop tying to decide on a wheel size, and focus on "the bike". Ride as many bikes as you can on the trails you like, riding the way you like. I've done this and there are 29's I liked better than 27.5's, and 27.5's I liked better than 29's. Heck, I still have a 26 in the garage that l like better than some 27.5's and 29's. It doesn't have anything to do with just wheel size. For me, the bike I currently like the best just happens to be a 27.5, which means nothing to the next guy.
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

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