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  1. #1
    2x is underrated
    Reputation: richj8990's Avatar
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    Apr 2017

    Post of the month?

    Copied from the + forum:

    mrclortho is online now
    mtbr member

    27.5+ vs 29er on the Trail = Wait, that can't be right...right?

    I have been on a Scott Scale 29er hardtail for about 8 years after a 8 year stint on a 26er Trek hardtail. We have been through a lot (maybe in the 4k-5k mileage range or so). It was time to do a frame up on it or buy a new bike and after weighing the costs and the fact I wanted a FS, I went shopping. I had read about the 27.5 and it being a step down from the 29er so didn't really consider it until I rode several bikes from Trek, Specialized, Scott, Giant, and Santa Cruz, many of which were 27.5's because the shop recommended I try it. Despite myself, I found that I liked the 27.5 versions better on every model (except Trek, they didn't have one) which was a surprise. I had a budget of mid-$2k and the Scott Spark 730 fit perfectly into that spot. It has 27.5x2.8s. I wanted the Santa Cruz 5010 but the price tag was just too much for me to do and the Scott felt like a close 2nd.

    I rode the Spark for about 30 miles on easy double track, breaking it in and getting pressures and rebound dialed it a bit before hitting my beloved trail, "The Anthills" in Houston last weekend. If you know this trail, you know there are roughly 4000 roots waiting, anticipating a hapless rider to venture by to fling to their doom. I am not a racer or an expert so every time I emerge from this trail and did not eat crap, I feel a high level of accomplishment and euphoria.

    This is where the 29er should have had the advantage, and I was a little apprehensive how the 27.5+ that I just paid a crap load for, was going to handle this. For me, other than a couple of beast climbs, the hardest part about this trail are the roots and washing out the front tire with speed. I was on my third and best choice of front tire on the 29er for this very reason, and why I was a bit nervous on stepping down on the wheel diameter.

    Boy was I surprised to discover the Spark handled the trails, the roots and even the climbs so much better than the 29er that I was giddy. I did not wash out once. I did not get flung over the bars. And, the quicker handling of the 27.5 made a big difference. I was so struck by this in disbelief, that decided to bust out the ole 29er to make sure I wasn’t trying to convince myself the new bike better because I had spent so much money. A couple of miles into it with the 29er, and I was thinking, “How did I ever survive on this thing? Holy crap I almost ate it there. I am going to die.” That is a bit of an exaggeration but the difference was massive for me. My confidence level was much higher and my foot dropping much less.

    So yeah, I am a believer in the 27.5+ and when I look at the 29er sitting there next to the Spark in the garage, I feel both nostalgic for what we have been through and a palm sweating terror while I remember a few scars I still carry from our time together.
    Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres: quod Belgiae, quod Celtae, et quod Aquitainae.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Cool read, it's great to 'get' someone's stoke. I wonder if the new + wheel/tire combo weighs less or more than his old 29" set.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  3. #3
    the discerning hooligan
    Reputation: MOJO K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    I'm glad he likes the new ride/ wheel spec., but as I read that post and can't help but think it's the story of how good a full suspension trail bike is in the rough compared to a race bred hard tail.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jeremy3220's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by MOJO K View Post
    I'm glad he likes the new ride/ wheel spec., but as I read that post and can't help but think it's the story of how good a full suspension trail bike is in the rough compared to a race bred hard tail.
    Yep, I've rode a Scott Spark 730 on a full trail ride. It's an awesome climber and general trail bike but at speed a Minion 29x2.4 or 2.5 is going to have way more traction than 2.8 Rekons. The Rekons are great for climbing but not high speed cornering. When they do start sliding they slide gradually at least.

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