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Thread: 26FS vs. 29HT

  1. #1
    ol'guy who says hi &waves
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    26FS vs. 29HT

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    I'm 53 years old in good shape.(185 lbs.) I bought a '06 Paragon a couple months ago with intentions of being my race bike. I'm definitly faster on it. I've entered my first "Expert" race and pre-ran one lap of two on the 19 mile(38 race total) course on it today. The course is not that technical and has 3500' climbing(each lap) on fairly smooth terrain. My goal is just to finish at my pace.For me, I consider this more of an endurance run.

    My ride buddy thinks I would survive and be faster on my 26FS of equal weight and much lighter tire and wheel combination than the 29er because of all the seated climbing. Both bikes have pretty fast rolling tires, 26 NBXlites and 29 Fast Traks

    I could buy some lighter 29 wheels, but I don't race often enough to justify the expence. My regular rides require a fairly tough wheel so a light race wheel seems like a waste of money.

    26FS w/ light tire/wheel combo vs. 29er of equal overall weight?

    Opinions, please. Thanks in advance, Fred

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred-da-trog
    .

    I'm 53 years old in good shape.(185 lbs.) I bought a '06 Paragon a couple months ago with intentions of being my race bike. I'm definitly faster on it. I've entered my first "Expert" race and pre-ran one lap of two on the 19 mile(38 race total) course on it today. The course is not that technical and has 3500' climbing(each lap) on fairly smooth terrain. My goal is just to finish at my pace.For me, I consider this more of an endurance run.

    My ride buddy thinks I would survive and be faster on my 26FS of equal weight and much lighter tire and wheel combination than the 29er because of all the seated climbing. Both bikes have pretty fast rolling tires, 26 NBXlites and 29 Fast Traks

    I could buy some lighter 29 wheels, but I don't race often enough to justify the expence. My regular rides require a fairly tough wheel so a light race wheel seems like a waste of money.

    26FS w/ light tire/wheel combo vs. 29er of equal overall weight?

    Opinions, please. Thanks in advance, Fred

    .
    Your buddy is on crack.

    I can't think of a better application for the 29er than the Sea Otter course.

    My wife is riding it rigid this year. Lot's of momentum with those big wheels!

    FWIW, I always "feel" faster on a hardtail anyway.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred-da-trog
    .26FS w/ light tire/wheel combo vs. 29er of equal overall weight?
    I went from racing a 24 lb. 29" hardtail (Paragon) one year to a 24 lb. 26" FS (Turner Flux) the next. I've never done a formal test of which is faster, but my feel is that on a fast, non-technical course the 29" wheels are more of an advantage than the full suspension. On a more technical course it might just be the other way around. I certainly prefer the full suspension for the latter. Either way I'm pretty sure a 29" FS would be the best of both worlds.
    ''It seems like a bit of a trend, everyone trying to make things longer over the last couple of years" Sam Hill

  4. #4
    jrm
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    Only thing is..

    and no offense. Bu the course that fred and i rode today is nothing like the recent SOC course.

    Fred if you buy another 29 wheelset then that becomes more of an investment in future 29 bikes.

  5. #5
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    IMO it's quite had to design a course where a 26" FS out-performs a 29" HT. Especially with a suspension seatpost (Canecreek) thrown in the mix for the HT.
    By design, 29" adds 2/3-1.0 lb. FS by design adds 2lb. Suspension seatpost 1/2-2/3lb.
    Wheelweight IMO is irrelevant uless the 29" as disproportionately heavy wheels. Still, it most only counts when changing pace. Nothing wrong with sustained climbs on heavy wheels, I did Alpe d'Huez like that (506 each rims, 800g each slick tires), the standard in sustained climbing.

    If you feel like the 26" bike rolls much faster with the Nokians, that could change things
    Test it. Go to a slight downslope ending in a slight upslope, or at least a flat that makes you come to a halt without braking.. The kind where you roll down at average race pace, say 10-15mph. Mark a starting point where you let go of the brakes from standstill. Just roll up on the other side and mark where each bike reaches at your favorite tire pressure. The one that rolls furthest is your race bike. You might also time both bikes to the bottom. Same result probably, but interesting nevertheless.
    If you feel any extra weight advantages the 29", make sure your camelbak corrects for it.

  6. #6
    HIKE!
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    29 HT vs 26 FS

    Around these parts it is hard to design a course that "favors" either wheel size. Often the races favor the fastest guy that doesn't have a mechanical, duh!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparrow
    Around these parts it is hard to design a course that "favors" either wheel size. Often the races favor the fastest guy that doesn't have a mechanical, duh!
    Come on, you're ruining our fun.

    We all know that the only thing that matters is who has the fastest bike, why else would we spend so much time/money/energy on dialing in the "perfect" ride when we could be training or something?
    ''It seems like a bit of a trend, everyone trying to make things longer over the last couple of years" Sam Hill

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    IMO it's quite had to design a course where a 26" FS out-performs a 29" HT.
    Do you have much time on (modern) 26" suspenion bikes set up for XC racing?

    As far as courses, most of the races I participate in (New England) average under 12 mph. I'm not saying the 29" wheels are a disadvantage at lower speeds, just that you don't get that same sensation of "flying" on the big wheels like you do when you can really let the bike go. I suppose more formal testing would be helpful in augmenting this perception.

    The lower speeds are a function of (a) tighter singletrack, and (b) more technical courses. I believe 29" wheels are an advantage in technical situations, but that full suspension can be more of an advantage as far as carrying speed and minimizing energy expenditure, especially over a long race. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to my first FS 29"er.
    ''It seems like a bit of a trend, everyone trying to make things longer over the last couple of years" Sam Hill

  9. #9
    HIKE!
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    Yeah....

    Quote Originally Posted by miles e
    Come on, you're ruining our fun.

    We all know that the only thing that matters is who has the fastest bike, why else would we spend so much time/money/energy on dialing in the "perfect" ride when we could be training or something?

    Yeah, lame-oh, stating the obvious! But I've yet to see a ride that is 'better' for either wheel size. And we are discussing ATB riding, right? not the Alp du Huez......

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparrow
    Yeah, lame-oh, stating the obvious! But I've yet to see a ride that is 'better' for either wheel size. And we are discussing ATB riding, right? not the Alp du Huez......

    I've definitely seen some courses that would favor one over the other. Some of the trails i ride are faster on a 26" Dually, hands down. some of the places in the midwest i've ridden are just perfect for 29'ers.

    Before the mad flaming starts, i will admit that i love riding my local trails on my 29'er, it's just that i'm faster on a lot of them with a 26" dually.

    Past Sea Otter courses would definitely lend themselves to a 29'er wheel, i don't know what this one is like.

  11. #11

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    Not technical?

    I only feel that the 29er could be at a disadvantage when there a lot of sharp, flat, technical turns that require a lot of acceleration out of. I think your paragon (same frame I'll be racing this year) will climb better than a 26" FS because the longer contact patch will hook up better and you won't have any problems with suspension bob. The 29er will of course roll over bumps better and hold momentum as others have already said.

    The way your race sounds, I think you will be faster on the 29er, but race whatever you feel most confident on.

    Good Luck!

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