Are 29 ers faster than normal bikes?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Are 29 ers faster than normal bikes?

    I just bought a 29 er and I am outrunning some bikers that are normally faster than me .. are 29 ers a faster bike?

  2. #2
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    Well given that they are now using 29 inch wheels for downhill it's probably only a matter of time before they are considered normal and 650B will only be for kids or DJ wheels

  3. #3
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    29ers *are* "normal" bikes.


    Was your old bike more than a couple years old? If so then it's not just the wheel size that's letting you go faster.

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    A few years ago i was riding my Enduro with 26 tires. On a mild downhill, fire road, i couldn't keep up with guys on 29 tires

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    Could also be new bike speed.

  6. #6
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    I would have said for about the last 10 years, 29ers have been the normal bike... so anything else would be the non normal bike...
    All the gear and no idea.

  7. #7
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    New bikes are always fast.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    New bikes are always fast.
    I set a PR just reading this.
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  9. #9
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    29'rs are faster only if you use 29'r chain lube.
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    It's not the bike. It's the motor.

    **Can't even believe someone actually asked this question**

  11. #11
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    what is a "normal bike"? 29ers have been mainstream for over a decade now.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    what is a "normal bike"? 29ers have been mainstream for over a decade now.
    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/the-pi...gular-now.html

    Apparently everything is too normal.
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  13. #13
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    maybe this calculation is the answer?

    All other things being equal, everytime I do one pedal revolution, my gears do factors of 29' and the other bike does factors of 26".

    Now if the 29er and my fellow 26er both using the combination of the big 3rd gear in front and the innermost cog in the rear--I'm just guessing- every 360 degrees of pedal rotation gives gives my 29 er 6 turns of the rear tire and the 26er 6 turns of the tire. So I go 6 x(29-26) farther, or 18"

    Now I could be really wrong, or maybe a bit close. Could anyone comment or solve this correctly?

    Anyway I'm in my 50's and someday I will have to return to a 26er--it will sure be hard to ride a 26 er again!

  14. #14
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    You are overthinking it.
    You might just be faster this year.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10mph View Post
    Anyway I'm in my 50's and someday I will have to return to a 26er--it will sure be hard to ride a 26 er again!
    Exactly why are you going to have to return to a bike with 26" wheels someday?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10mph View Post
    All other things being equal, everytime I do one pedal revolution, my gears do factors of 29' and the other bike does factors of 26".

    Now if the 29er and my fellow 26er both using the combination of the big 3rd gear in front and the innermost cog in the rear--I'm just guessing- every 360 degrees of pedal rotation gives gives my 29 er 6 turns of the rear tire and the 26er 6 turns of the tire. So I go 6 x(29-26) farther, or 18"

    Now I could be really wrong, or maybe a bit close. Could anyone comment or solve this correctly?

    Anyway I'm in my 50's and someday I will have to return to a 26er--it will sure be hard to ride a 26 er again!



    You can use that gear changer thingy on the handlebar to equalize 26 & 29" wheels.
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  17. #17
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    29ers are "normal bikes."

    in general, a larger wheel holds momentum better than a smaller wheel. it rolls over bumps more easily. that is generally better for most riders, on most types of terrain.
    Last edited by mack_turtle; 07-22-2020 at 09:11 AM.

  18. #18
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    When I"m riding them they are!!!!!

  19. #19
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    Does your 29er have the exact same gearing as your 26er did? And can you spin your cranks at the same speed on both bikes? Typically, you will run out of "leg" before you run out of gears (unless you're flying down a fairly steep hill or are a Cat1 racer). This is just addressing overall top speed. Now when you get into technical trails, its a different story.

    My 29er is giving me roughly the same times on my typical rides that my previous bike (26") did. The main difference is my strength and endurance.

  20. #20
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    No.
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  21. #21
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    Yes


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  22. #22
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    Maybe

  23. #23
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    What color is it? Some colors are clearly faster than others.

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    What color is it? Some colors are clearly faster than others.
    It's possible, a really bright color bending the light waves ... a vote for red.
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  26. #26
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    Red is definitely one of the faster colors, but some say purple is even faster.

  27. #27
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    No reason to be such dicks to a new person asking a question.

    Like it or not you all know a 29er maintains momentum better, so that very well could be the reason the op feels faster and maybe why he's now faster than some of the other people he rides with.
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  28. #28
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    I have only started biking this March. before that I was a Runner with aging knees. I started out with a steel bike from the 80's that weighed 43 pounds. I rode that for a couple of months and then switched to an old XL Sedona that was too big.
    I will have to say I still think its a dream I have a Giant Talon 29er. Somedays I go to the garage just to look at it. Also the Medium frame fits me well ,so that helps.
    Well haven't missed a day riding since March!
    Thanks for listening and responding everyone! (BTW I can take a joke)

  29. #29
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    On average, it's tough to argue against how fast they are. Too bad most people can't seem to corner with them. I get it, today's long wheelbase 29'ers are harder to handle in tight stuff. Cutting in a high line to widen every corner seems to be how everyone copes with this. It's also interesting how go arounds and rampant sanitization is correlated perfectly with 29'ers become the majority. It's just weird to me? Seems like the big wheel take over would come with a more technical trail trend but it's the total opposite? I know it's mostly about beginners on 29'ers who will struggle with tech regardless of wheel size, but I've watched very fit, experienced riders on 29'ers braid out climbing tech sections just to avoid a few roots. On the DH straight lines rather than sticking to tight corners is the norm. I know skilled riders can whip a 29'er around just fine. I'm not railing on 29'ers even though it sounds like I am. I'm railing on the dramatically increased number of 29'ers piloted by riders that don't seem to give a rip about keeping single track single. It's really lame. I hope we see a clulture change soon. Come on you 29'er folks, start bragging about how you can ride tech like a beast! How you can corner like those little baby 650b's. Make those wheels work for you in other ways than just rolling fast in a straight line.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    Too bad most people can't seem to corner with them...
    They can't corner on any bike, 9'ers just magnify the issues.

    To be fair, cornering with good technique is not easy, I can't do it consistently. However, getting a 9'er some years ago made me work on my technique more, and now I'm faster as a result.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    On average, it's tough to argue against how fast they are. Too bad most people can't seem to corner with them. I get it, today's long wheelbase 29'ers are harder to handle in tight stuff. Cutting in a high line to widen every corner seems to be how everyone copes with this. It's also interesting how go arounds and rampant sanitization is correlated perfectly with 29'ers become the majority. It's just weird to me? Seems like the big wheel take over would come with a more technical trail trend but it's the total opposite? I know it's mostly about beginners on 29'ers who will struggle with tech regardless of wheel size, but I've watched very fit, experienced riders on 29'ers braid out climbing tech sections just to avoid a few roots. On the DH straight lines rather than sticking to tight corners is the norm. I know skilled riders can whip a 29'er around just fine. I'm not railing on 29'ers even though it sounds like I am. I'm railing on the dramatically increased number of 29'ers piloted by riders that don't seem to give a rip about keeping single track single. It's really lame. I hope we see a clulture change soon. Come on you 29'er folks, start bragging about how you can ride tech like a beast! How you can corner like those little baby 650b's. Make those wheels work for you in other ways than just rolling fast in a straight line.
    This is as tinfoil comment as blaming Strava top tens for sanitization.

    Some people just can’t corner and lazy people cut lines to suit their skill set. I catch people in the act all the time especially with Covid. It has nothing to do with anything but the rider.




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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10mph View Post
    All other things being equal, everytime I do one pedal revolution, my gears do factors of 29' and the other bike does factors of 26".

    Now if the 29er and my fellow 26er both using the combination of the big 3rd gear in front and the innermost cog in the rear--I'm just guessing- every 360 degrees of pedal rotation gives gives my 29 er 6 turns of the rear tire and the 26er 6 turns of the tire. So I go 6 x(29-26) farther, or 18"

    Now I could be really wrong, or maybe a bit close. Could anyone comment or solve this correctly?

    Anyway I'm in my 50's and someday I will have to return to a 26er--it will sure be hard to ride a 26 er again!
    You're using diameter, not circumference. A 29'er will roll much further than a 26'er than your formula states due to much bigger circumference. But you're leaving out the extra energy to turn the bigger wheel so it's apples and oranges really.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mudguard View Post
    650B will only be for kids or DJ wheels
    IMO DJs will stay 26in.
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  34. #34
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    Are you sure because I thought about that. I'm not saying you are wrong.
    One 29er pedal revolution results in x number of turns of a 29" inch wheel.
    One 26er pedal revolution results in x number of turns of a 26" inch wheel.
    There is no change in the pedal stroke between the 26" or 29"er, as the pedal characteristics are the same
    I think the 29er and 26er difference is in mechanical advantage? Could you help me think this out?.


    BTW I'm not using the 29er as a MTB. I'm using it as a Rough Trail and Road Bike. The same pothole that threw me off of my old steel 26" bike does nothing to me on my 29er.

  35. #35
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    [QUOTE=FJSnoozer;14886263]This is as tinfoil comment as blaming Strava top tens for sanitization.

    Some people just can’t corner and lazy people cut lines to suit their skill set. I catch people in the act all the time especially with Covid. It has nothing to do with anything but the rider.


    I haven't seen a much sanitization because of strava. I've seen tons of strava lines though. There's no questioning the fact that when strava blew up, we started to see tons of lines that cut time. Chasing the top 10 is a form of racing. Anyone that's raced knows racers cut in speed lines. I'm not talking about speed lines. I'm talking about how 29'ers have become the average bike. The average rider on these bikes can go really fast but they don't know how to brake, turn in, and oversteer if needed to stay on the main line. This wasn't an issue when beginners were learning on smaller wheeled bikes. I'm sure you can whip a 29'er around like a slalom bike. Your average rider can't and the trails are showing it. This is something that's ramped up dramatically just over the past few years. What's changed with bikes over the past few years? I'm not blaming it all on 29'ers, but there's a correlation with 29'ers becoming the norm and the trail impacts I've described. It's perfectly correlated just like strava lines and strava.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    Cutting in a high line to widen every corner seems to be how everyone copes with this. It's also interesting how go arounds and rampant sanitization is correlated perfectly with 29'ers become the majority.
    it's the rider, not the bike. mountain biking has become more popular, so there are more people on the trails. inevitably, some of them are going to dumb down the trails, regardless of wheel size. I am also stymied by how trails are not become more technical as bikes become more capable, but wheel sizes are only one variable in that equation.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    it's the rider, not the bike. mountain biking has become more popular, so there are more people on the trails. inevitably, some of them are going to dumb down the trails, regardless of wheel size. I am also stymied by how trails are not become more technical as bikes become more capable, but wheel sizes are only one variable in that equation.
    I don't believe the sport has grown enough in the past few years to explain it. When 650b first came out MTB had already blown up exponentially compared to the old days. We were seeing some sanitization even before 650b. I"m certainly not blaming sanitization on 29'ers. I just think it's odd that sanitization has continued to ramp up along with the proliferation of 29'ers. I'm just saying I've seen a real change to my local trails, particularly in the corners over the past 3 years. The past 3 years just happen to be the time period when the average bike switched from 27" to 29". Think about it, put a rider that's been in the game for 1 to 2 years on a fast af, long wheelbase 29'er, then though an unsupported narrowish corner at them. Of course they can't hold the mainline. I guess what I really hate is that the "mainline" is changing. Everything is going wider, and smoother. Your average bike today is without question playing a big role in that.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    No reason to be such dicks to a new person asking a question.

    Like it or not you all know a 29er maintains momentum better, so that very well could be the reason the op feels faster and maybe why he's now faster than some of the other people he rides with.
    A new person asking a dumb question, yeah, it's okay to be a dick, he needs to know his place

    But really, is he new or is he just asking dumb questions to get a rise outta folks.

    I'll believe he's innocent until he asks about flat vs clipless pedals, then it's gloves off!

    Really and truly, there is such a thing as a dumb question, sorry, but I am a dick

    PS: I changed my answer: Fastest color is purple, I heart me a good purple.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    It's not the bike. It's the motor.

    **Can't even believe someone actually asked this question**
    Don't be a jerk. It's a legitimate question for people who don't follow bikes that closely, apparently that includes you. For most mountain biking applications, all else being equal, 29ers tend to be faster than other wheel sizes. If you argue otherwise, either you don't know what you're talking about or you like to argue for the sake of arguing.
    Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see!

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    I just think it's odd that sanitization has continued to ramp up along with the proliferation of more capable bicycles.
    FIFY. again, it's not wheel size, but the engineering and design that goes into modern bikes, many of which have 650B wheels, that makes the sanitation weird.

    and still, no matter how advanced a bike is, the rider is what matters. their skill level and attitude toward keeping challenging trails challenging will determine the level of sanitation that occurs. new riders who lack skill and lack the cultural understanding of why we seek out challenging trails results in sanitation. I've ridden with guys who seem more fit than me on top of the line bikes, but they stop and walk features that I can ride on a steel singlespeed hardtail. it's still the rider, not the bike, and certainly not the wheel size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruinane View Post
    Don't be a jerk. It's a legitimate question for people who don't follow bikes that closely, apparently that includes you. For most mountain biking applications, all else being equal, 29ers tend to be faster than other wheel sizes. If you argue otherwise, either you don't know what you're talking about or you like to argue for the sake of arguing.

    Or...

    Sometimes common sense isn't so common.

    It's the rider not the bike or the size of the wheels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post

    Or...

    Sometimes common sense isn't so common.

    It's the rider not the bike or the size of the wheels.
    When I went from 29 to 27.5 I definitely slowed down. Same rider, same trails. Hmmm....can't put my finger on it....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruinane View Post
    Don't be a jerk. It's a legitimate question for people who don't follow bikes that closely, apparently that includes you. For most mountain biking applications, all else being equal, 29ers tend to be faster than other wheel sizes. If you argue otherwise, either you don't know what you're talking about or you like to argue for the sake of arguing.
    It is not a legitimate question nor is there any one clear answer, that's the koolaid talking.

    So yeah, don't feed the trolls, this conversation comes up a few times every year, it's always the same, it's not important, but apparently some folks care.

    So I choose purple as the fastest color and I'm sticking by my guns!!
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  44. #44
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    WOT?.......wheels come in 29" now?

    they surely only did that cause its faster
    always mad and usually drunk......

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    I can go faster now because of 5G, but at what cost?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I can go faster now because of 5G, but at what cost?
    49.99 unlimited plan through Verizon with qualifying phone.


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    Quote Originally Posted by davec113 View Post
    They can't corner on any bike, 9'ers just magnify the issues.

    To be fair, cornering with good technique is not easy, I can't do it consistently. However, getting a 9'er some years ago made me work on my technique more, and now I'm faster as a result.
    Exactly! Before long wheelbase 29'ers became the average bike, learners still struggled as we all did, but now the bikes they are riding magnify the issue. This is the basic point I've been trying to convey to no avail. While I'm sure everyone on this forum can hold the tightest single track corner on their stretched limo 29'ers, it's clear your average rider can't. It's a tall order to ask them to. As you say, cornering isn't easy. Long 29'ers magnify the issue and we see the repercussions of this on the trail. Why people are so defensive about this fact is classic mountain biker I guess. Being objective about equipment seems to be something mountain bikers are incapable of.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    Exactly! Before long wheelbase 29'ers became the average bike, learners still struggled as we all did, but now the bikes they are riding magnify the issue. This is the basic point I've been trying to convey to no avail. While I'm sure everyone on this forum can hold the tightest single track corner on their stretched limo 29'ers, it's clear your average rider can't. It's a tall order to ask them to. As you say, cornering isn't easy. Long 29'ers magnify the issue and we see the repercussions of this on the trail. Why people are so defensive about this fact is classic mountain biker I guess. Being objective about equipment seems to be something mountain bikers are incapable of.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10mph View Post
    I just bought a 29 er and I am outrunning some bikers that are normally faster than me .. are 29 ers a faster bike?
    29er's are normal bikes! Haha!

    Faster in what sort of way is the question. XC? Yes. Enduro? Probably. Trail riding? Maybe, depends on trail and who is riding on what. Downhill? Debatable. I don't ride 650B/27.5 platforms, so I cannot speak to their capabilities or capacities. For me, my 29er's rule and are most definitely faster.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    Exactly! Before long wheelbase bikes became the average bike, learners still struggled as we all did, but now the bikes they are riding magnify the issue.
    FIFY. I agree with you, but it's not the wheel size. it's a lot of other things. I am in the same camp for the way I like to ride on my local trails. I prefer a shorter, steeper bike than what is now the norm and it's getting harder to find a bike that fits and handles like that. my local terrain has a lot of exposed rock and medium sized trees. it's hard to create trails that have "flow" and people often complain that there are "too many tree gates" and the trail is "too twisty" because they want everything to flow like a machine-built downhill park for their 8-foot long bikes. so they modify the trail or whine about it, or only ride on days when they can spend all day at the bike park that is a 1-2 hour drive away. they bought bikes based on marketing with photo shoots on private trails in British Columbia to ride trails that are nothing like that.

    again, it's not the wheel size. you can buy a 29er that is designed to handle that kind of terrain, but everyone wants a brap bro limo for trails to which they don't have access, so they neuter the trails to make that work for them.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10mph View Post
    Well haven't missed a day riding since March!
    That will certainly make you faster!

    Congrats on the bike and getting out there on the trails. Have fun!
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbeer View Post
    When I went from 29 to 27.5 I definitely slowed down. Same rider, same trails. Hmmm....can't put my finger on it....
    Still not the tires. It's the motor.

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    It Depends

    It depends on how smooth the trail is. On smooth hardpack, probably no real difference. However as soon as there's any chop in the surface, 29ers are absolutely going to be faster.

    To explain the pysics, the bigger wheel gives you a smoother axle path. That means you are converting less of your forward kinetic energy into up and down kinetic energy, helping you conserve momentum better.

    I really noticed it one day 8 years ago on the trail when I was riding next to one of my main partners in crime. I was on my 26er Cannondale Rize and he was on his Santa Cruz Tallboy. I am a lot fitter than he is.

    We were cruising along barely pedalling on a slight firetrail descent, maybe -1% gradient (if that). On the smooth hardpack we were side by side. As soon as we hit a bumpy sandstone rock platform my bike just died in the ass, losing a lot more momentum while his seemed to just sail onwards. Mine just seemed to hang up on the little square-edged bumps much more.

    This effect with the axle path has been known about for more than a century in relation to steam locomotive design and I saw discussion of it in a then-old (1950s?) motor vehicle technical design book that a mate of mine had when we were back in high school over 40 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    Or...

    Sometimes common sense isn't so common.

    It's the rider not the bike or the size of the wheels.
    You're right of course.

    OP, don't wast your money on the latest bikes with the latest geometry and technology. Go get a WalMart bike because it's not about the bike or the wheels, it's about the rider.
    Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see!

  55. #55
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    ^^^^ Flawed logic
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    Quote Originally Posted by redsailsinthesunset View Post
    It depends on how smooth the trail is. On smooth hardpack, probably no real difference. However as soon as there's any chop in the surface, 29ers are absolutely going to be faster.

    To explain the pysics, the bigger wheel gives you a smoother axle path. That means you are converting less of your forward kinetic energy into up and down kinetic energy, helping you conserve momentum better.

    I really noticed it one day 8 years ago on the trail when I was riding next to one of my main partners in crime. I was on my 26er Cannondale Rize and he was on his Santa Cruz Tallboy. I am a lot fitter than he is.

    We were cruising along barely pedalling on a slight firetrail descent, maybe -1% gradient (if that). On the smooth hardpack we were side by side. As soon as we hit a bumpy sandstone rock platform my bike just died in the ass, losing a lot more momentum while his seemed to just sail onwards. Mine just seemed to hang up on the little square-edged bumps much more.

    This effect with the axle path has been known about for more than a century in relation to steam locomotive design and I saw discussion of it in a then-old (1950s?) motor vehicle technical design book that a mate of mine had when we were back in high school over 40 years ago.
    Great answer.

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    I wonder what those bike clubs you see on the road's do. I am in my late 50's . The other day I did 15 miles in 55 minutes, some of it was gravel , some of it mild hills and some of it flat road...of course, on a 26 er it would have been much longer
    .my head was in the clouds. Today a pack of riders in spandex and skinny tires passed me. I tried to catch up out of pride, started to close and they turned on the throttle and left me in the dust..what do they run? 3 minute miles?

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    I wonder what those bike clubs you see on the road's do. I am in my late 50's . The other day I did 15 miles in 55 minutes, some of it was gravel , some of it mild hills and some of it flat road...of course, on a 26 er it would have been much slower.
    Today a pack of riders in spandex and on those bikes with skinny tires passed me on the flat road section...they 're always so quiet and ride in formation ... I tried to catch up out of pride, started to close and they turned on the throttle and left me in the dust..what do they run? 3 minute miles? I am definitely impressed, both by their road handling and fearlessness.

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    @10mph There's been mention of something called strava in this thread. Are you aware of it? It takes GPS tracks, and adds "segments". Segments are smaller sections of your ride, with their own start and end point. It's like a virtual "race track", like telling a pal that you'll race them from here to there.

    Your smart phone, assuming you have one, likely has GPS, and can download the strava app. Install it and remember to start it at the beginning of your ride. Some people who have ridden where ever you are likely have created some segments, and you can compare your performance to theirs. You can compare your recent time to old times too. Strava lets you know whenever you set a "personal record" (PR). Some bikes have a habit of setting PRs for a certain pattern of trails, like short punchy climbs, long grueling climbs, 10 mile XC loops, the return trip (or outgoing trip) of an out-and-back...

    Determine for yourself.

    If you want science, google is your friend.

    https://www.semanticscholar.org/pape...0360147597ba18

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27477738/

    If reading this kind of stuff isn't your style, there's videos out there which have attempted to answer:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRao78eQU6I

    Too much speculation just makes you sound like you should be grouped with conspiracy theory believers and treated accordingly...
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  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10mph View Post
    ..what do they run? 3 minute miles?


    Depends on lots of things of course but elite riders & pros often average 2 minute miles.
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    Rode with a group of people over the weekend on harder trail in the area. One of the guys was riding rigid, single speed and 27.5 tires. He kicked everyone's ass on the trail (all riding 29ers) on both the climbs and flats.

    It's the motor. Not the bike.

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    "Strava"--thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruinane View Post
    You're right of course.

    OP, don't wast your money on the latest bikes with the latest geometry and technology. Go get a WalMart bike because it's not about the bike or the wheels, it's about the rider.
    ....reminds me of when I was a kid. Had a friend with six brothers and sisters and money in his family and money was tight. All the other kids would show up at basketball and football practice with white Puma's and Adidas's high tops and cleats . They were all corn fed and tall and big as anything.
    Well, he had these beat up old black Converse high tops for basketball and $15 cleats. He was 5'9 and 160 pounds and as tough as nails and a great athlete and he would just run through everyone. Everyone was terrified of him. I guess he sure had a motor!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    ^^^^ Flawed logic
    Now, now, if he wants to ride a Walmart bike that's his choice.

    I'm not sure it's fair to suggest such a thing to others, but everyone gets to choose:

    https://youtu.be/yotOZVELSMc
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  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    So much truth, except for Jess , l never met Jess, and went back to a HT
    always mad and usually drunk......

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    for most people, it does not matter which bike is objectively faster. which bike gives you the best balance of confidence and fun? that's all that matters to most riders.

    when I see comparisons like the videos above, it's always lap times on a specific course on the same day, or even an extended survey of times. in the end, it's usually a matter of "bike with ___ wheel size was 5.4 seconds faster on the laps!" whoop de doo!

    if you're the kind of person who agonizes over your "lap times" on Strava, which is potentially showing you data that is not precise enough to matter, or you're actually racing competitively, knock yourself out with the minutia of coefficients of friction and moments of overcoming inertia or whatever other granular detail make your ride seconds faster, go nuts with it. but if you just want to enjoy ride by exploring and challenging yourself to ride more difficult terrain, more miles, or just explore, you're not going to benefit from the amount of time spent combing through data that does not apply to your experience.

    sure, it's interesting to study and argue about the physics of it, but there's a point where it's just words. go ride your bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    Still not the tires. It's the motor.
    Umm it is the same motor. You can't say the bike doesn't have some effect on speed. You put Nino Schurter on a 1989 Bridgestone and he is going to be slower then on his current bike. The rider matters much more then the bike but that doesn't mean the bike doesn't matter at all...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    ^^^^ Flawed logic
    Exactly my point.
    Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruinane View Post
    You're right of course.

    OP, don't wast your money on the latest bikes with the latest geometry and technology. Go get a WalMart bike because it's not about the bike or the wheels, it's about the rider.
    exaggeration fallacy. no one is telling anyone that they have to buy a $10K wonderbike to ride at all, but going to the opposite extreme, even sarcastically, is absurd. there's a middle ground and no one is ignorant enough to believe that there isn't.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    exaggeration fallacy. no one is telling anyone that they have to buy a $10K wonderbike to ride at all, but going to the opposite extreme, even sarcastically, is absurd. there's a middle ground and no one is ignorant enough to believe that there isn't.
    Except that facetiously using one logical fallacy to point out another logical fallacy isn't absurd at all. prj71, has maintained that it's not the bike it's the motor. This is simply not true, all other things being equal (which is effectively what the OP is asking). It flies in the face of anecdotal evidence and the many "tests" that have been conducted over the years. I ride a 27.5 but I have yet to see any "tests" that show a 27.5 is faster than a 29er even in tight and twisty scenarios where people argue that a 27.5 might be faster.

    Sure the motor is important but to simply reject the idea that one bike type can't be faster than another bike type because "it's not about the bike, it's about the motor" is logically and factually wrong to the point of ridiculousness.
    Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see!

  71. #71
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    By normal bike do you mean an ordinary bike?


    A nice 26'er will be faster than a crap 29'er. Ultimately the motor makes the most difference imo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmg View Post
    So much truth, except for Jess , l never met Jess, and went back to a HT
    No Jess for you, as a hard tail rider you need to meet her sister, Tess
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    if you're the kind of person who agonizes over your "lap times" on Strava,
    I am using the app by Under armor "Map my Run". But lately I'm learned to turn it off. Half of my daily ride is 9 miles of trail. The other half is on country roads and the drivers out here are very considerate and polite.

    But when I'm timing myself, I start taking risks in crossing roads. I've cheated the cross walk with the safety signal a few times and used my mirror to cross a 2 lane country road..

    I doubt anyone is ever going to care how fast I go, in fact I have to accept the fact that I'm in my late 50's and will only get slower.

    I should just enjoy the scenery and live up to my screen name (5 mph) That mirror on my handlebar is only 2" in diameter, and I don't want to turn right into a car doing 50 mph in my blindspot ....

    -------of course human conduct is very unpredictable--its not me that is at fault sometimes--its the way we were designed anthropologically---tomorrow, I just might turn the App back on and ride for time?

  74. #74
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    Yea. F people who become more inconsiderate for the sake of some virtual race that is like a game. I just see it as a tool, just like that 29er.

    Strava is like a tool to monitor yourself, to perhaps give better insight as to where and how you can improve/progress. It's like a journal to me, or part of a virtual yearbook. Something I can look back on to review what I've done this year, giving meaning to my birthday to make it worth celebrating (other than for just surviving another trip around the sun, riding on this planet).

    Analogy: if you were to do home gardening as a hobby, would you be interested in doing a video time lapse of yourself (with a clock sync'd to it), and reviewing it to learn your habits and how you can alter things? Might just be geewhiz that you used a hand trowel for an excessive amount of time, cause you were too lazy to grab a garden hoe. Or you spent too much time stabbing the earth with a transfer trowel, when a mattock or post hole digger would've done it in a fraction of the time. Or how you took a 45 minute break when you originally meant to take 10...

    Would you still consider your gardening to be a hobby if you started acting to look good for the time lapse, with no one else really to show it to (who you figure might be interested in such)? Your hobby might transform to making good looking time lapses with gardening as the theme, similar to how your hobby might become strava'ing with bicycling as the theme, if you make these tools become the focus.

    Anyways, check your ambitions again. Going fast is always in style, but mtb has way more depth than that.
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  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    It's the motor. Not the bike.
    It's not either/or. It's both/and. A strong guy on a crap bike will usually beat a less strong guy on a very good bike. But you need to compare apples with apples: **all other things being equal** 29ers are faster.

    I remember awhile back World 24hr Solo Champ Jason English, riding a 27.5, exclaiming during a race "those 29rs are killing me!" to his crew.

    Next year he had one himself.

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    I was going to engage further in this discussion, but I will not honor bad-faoth arguments. I tried to explain it, but I can't understand it for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    for most people, it does not matter which bike is objectively faster. which bike gives you the best balance of confidence and fun? that's all that matters to most riders.

    when I see comparisons like the videos above, it's always lap times on a specific course on the same day, or even an extended survey of times. in the end, it's usually a matter of "bike with ___ wheel size was 5.4 seconds faster on the laps!" whoop de doo!

    if you're the kind of person who agonizes over your "lap times" on Strava, which is potentially showing you data that is not precise enough to matter, or you're actually racing competitively, knock yourself out with the minutia of coefficients of friction and moments of overcoming inertia or whatever other granular detail make your ride seconds faster, go nuts with it. but if you just want to enjoy ride by exploring and challenging yourself to ride more difficult terrain, more miles, or just explore, you're not going to benefit from the amount of time spent combing through data that does not apply to your experience.

    sure, it's interesting to study and argue about the physics of it, but there's a point where it's just words. go ride your bike.

    Yes.


    29ers seem faster in race situations where you are riding full throttle the whole time. On both the ups and the downs, through the tech and the smooth, redlining the dirt road climbs.

    Trail riding is often different. Climbs for example... Tech climbing is something I love. But you can't red line it up the smooth sections and expect then to clean all the tech. I dig taking in the scenery while I re-charge for the next tech challenge. Point is a 29er might be a faster overall, but faster is not the point at all here.

    I thought my short/mid-travel 29 would be faster than my burly 275. And on the pedally stuff it is. On the dirt road climbs it is. But recently, with my wristwatch I timed two dh-ish segments on each bike. Both bikes got to the top just fine at a resonable pace but I did not time that. Climbing a dirt road a bit faster means nothing to me, or most people who trail ride. The dh-ish parts do have some steep climbs. One trail run was about 15 min and one was about 40 min. I ran those on both bikes on different days with the same conditions. My motor felt about the same. I gave about 85% ? perceived effort. Both bikes where within a few seconds of each other. The 29 felt faster but the 275 felt more in control. I find a 275 corners tight sections better. In tight tech, which is my favorite stuff to ride, the 275 is more fun.

    I've done this sort of thing in the past as well and come up with similar results.

    My next bike will probably be a 275.

    If I had to give up one of my trail bikes right now it would be the 29. And I like to ride fast, or at least try and if I was that much faster on the 29 I'd keep that bike. Its not a fit thing either. I'm just a hair under 6' but have very long arms and legs. Like a 34 1/4" inseam.

    The whole faster thing aside, I do think 275 bikes are more fun if you like to work the trail. About the only place I prefer a 29 is when there are long open sections and the big hoops let you "get your roll on" - meaning with just a few pedal strokes the bike just keeps going all on its own with out my help. That's lots of fun too and not something the smaller hoops do well.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    for most people, it does not matter which bike is objectively faster. which bike gives you the best balance of confidence and fun? that's all that matters to most riders.
    ...<snipped>...

    sure, it's interesting to study and argue about the physics of it, but there's a point where it's just words. go ride your bike.
    Not sure if this was aimed at me .... but there's a lot of wisdom in this.

    For me, as an old fart closing on on 60, racing XCO or XCM events is what keeps me motivated to keep pushing the intensity instead of slowing down and growing fat as I grow old. There are important ageing consequences that flow from that choice.

    So speed and being a bit forgiving when I'm redlining is perhaps more important for me than those whose objective is simply "having fun", which means knowing the objectively correct answer becomes more crucial to maximise what little I've got.

    Others looking for different things out of their riding will make different equipment choices. But the OP asked a straight question, I took it at face value, and as a closet techo analyst gave a straight answer with what I knew.

    Does that make sense?

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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    Rode with a group of people over the weekend on harder trail in the area. One of the guys was riding rigid, single speed and 27.5 tires. He kicked everyone's ass on the trail (all riding 29ers) on both the climbs and flats.

    It's the motor. Not the bike.
    If you'd only said this once, I'd let it go. Twice, maybe. But damn, that's so wrong I can't let it keep going. The point is, I CAN'T GHANGE ME (the motor). What I CAN change is the size of the wheels, and everything else being equal, bigger tires are gonna help you go faster. PERIOD. If that guy had been on 29" wheels, he'd have kicked your ass worse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    I The point is, I CAN'T GHANGE ME (the motor).


    I guess I don't know you're particular situation but most people have the potential to significantly improve their motor. I do agree that buying a new bike or wheels is much easier and quicker though.
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  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by utkinpaul View Post
    all people have potential, but, with any improvement there is always a period of a flat plateau where you may be stuck for some quite prolonged duration of time -


    Do 29" wheels have potential that doesn't plateau?

    Definitely I'm not opposed to better equipment, just pointing out that of all the components your own self holds the biggest potential for overall improvement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by redsailsinthesunset View Post
    Does that make sense?
    yes. there's nothing wrong with getting into the nitty-gritty of what makes one bike just a big more capable than another, especially if you're trying to get a competitive edge. I just advise people to not let obsessing over that ruin your experience.

    having a bike that does not allow the rider to make any legitimate excuses is certainly nice, but if a bike operates as designed, doesn't break due to inferior manufacturing, and is close enough to fitting the rider that it does not cause injury, then it's the motor, not the bike, that matters.

  83. #83
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    More like there's a false idea that there's no such thing as a bad bike. There certainly are bad bikes. I'd argue that 99.9% of bikes are bad choices for any single mtn bike shopper, if you consider size and spec.

    If I were asked to recommend a bike from brands that a certain LBS offers, with a few requirements (e.g. 29er, FS, $5000), I'd likely say they all suck compared to other known offerings that I know from experience would cater better to them. It's not due to any special marketable suspension system, nor because of those requirements; it's due to how brands tend target certain niche crowds and due to how important size-specific geo, susp, and chassis stiffness is, in determining what kind of bike is a long term keeper. Those niches are so small that the buyer would be making a compromise in choosing them, that they later will notice, leaving room for noticeable improvement in equipment.

    The regret in passing over a bunch of other options is quite real. Would need to combat this with some hardcore willful ignorance. Belief in the saying that "you can't buy a bad bike these days" is ignorance, as well as belief in a bunch of other generalizations, like 29ers are superior or that certain bikes are overkill.
    "The challenge is not in developing new ideas, but in escaping old ideas."

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    When talking about unskilled riders I would lay money down 99% of riders would be faster on 29'ers. When talking about skilled riders, comfort and riding style will make the separation very small for anything past xc. That said, when pros that were vocally anti 29'er are now racing them, that says something. There's certainly a few seconds to be had. The real question is, how much do you prioritize shaving a few seconds?

    Example: 16% difference in time between a 2002 clapped, heavy af bike with brakes that barely work, compared to a modern EWS race bike with custom tuned suspension, and dialed in by WC mechanics. The bike was also a poor fit, and he was totally unfamiliar with it.

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/video-...e-hot-lap.html

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    Example: 16% difference in time between a 2002 clapped, heavy af bike with brakes that barely work, compared to a modern EWS race bike with custom tuned suspension, and dialed in by WC mechanics. The bike was also a poor fit, and he was totally unfamiliar with it.

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/video-...e-hot-lap.html
    I don't know how big a 5 second gap is in that kind of racing. it's likely that he had to work a lot harder to get the gap that small on the older bike, which is its own kind of fun if you're into that.

    I would bet that if you put the average MTBR forum reader on that old bike and a new bike, the difference would be a lot greater too. skills, and lack thereof, become a lot more pronounced when the typical weekend warrior/ desk jockey who could lose a few pounds (like me) gets on a bike. I would be less interested in "lap times" than the subjective feeling of riding a modern bike and an older bike. I would guess that the newer bike was more confidence inspiring and less scary than the old bike, which is worth a lot more to most of us then shaving a few seconds.

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    When talking about unskilled riders I would lay money down 99% of riders would be faster on 29'ers. When talking about skilled riders, comfort and riding style will make the separation very small for anything past xc. That said, when pros that were vocally anti 29'er are now racing them, that says something. There's certainly a few seconds to be had. The real question is, how much do you prioritize shaving a few seconds?

    Example: 16% difference in time between a 2002 clapped, heavy af bike with brakes that barely work, compared to a modern EWS race bike with custom tuned suspension, and dialed in by WC mechanics. The bike was also a poor fit, and he was totally unfamiliar with it.

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/video-...e-hot-lap.html
    Pros were anti 29er until the geo and other tech caught up, like gravity-worthy tires and fork. Same story with ebikes... gotta let it mature before people start to accept it. Always gotta expect a bunch of idiotic generalizations to support peoples' emotionally fueled prejudice.

    What kind of math are you doing to get that percentage? One recorded a time of 4:16 on the 26er franken-hucker with a nearly-dead rear brake and chain that fell off, which was 46 seconds off the KOM. 4:16 is 256 seconds, and 46 is 18% of 256 (edit: oh, one recorded 4:12, and 42 is 16.67% of 252). Their comments were: the 26er was total fun factor, susp feels wrong in car park but did what it was supposed to do on trail (tracked surprisingly well) with potential to go fast, and that they felt more nervous on the enduro bike in comparison, which they expected to be faster.

    Love how tall that grip height is on that 26er, side by side with that Pivot. Not sure why the new breed of modern 29ers have 600ish stacks still. I'd like a stack of at least 660mm, being 5' 7". I had a ~655mm stack on the '14 Enduro 29, and that bike could've used a 10mm lower BB which would've increased the stack even more. Would help solve that problem of increased hand pressure on level ground, that people blame on steep STA.
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    Wow, next thing you know we'll be talking about flat pedals and 1x.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Wow, next thing you know we'll be talking about flat pedals and 1x.
    Have you heard of these "telescoping seatposts"? I hear they're going to be the next big thing. I highly doubt anyone will argue about that, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I guess I don't know you're particular situation but most people have the potential to significantly improve their motor. I do agree that buying a new bike or wheels is much easier and quicker though.
    Of course you can improve your motor (well, IDK if I can much at 60), and when you do, you'll still be faster on a 29'er than a 27.5. So I don't see your point. One has nothing to do with the other. This other guy just keeps saying it's the motor, which is not relevant when comparing wheel sizes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Of course you can improve your motor (well, IDK if I can much at 60), and when you do, you'll still be faster on a 29'er than a 27.5.
    the wheel size is not the only variable there. depends on the specific bike and the terrain. comparing a long travel FS 27.5 bike to a lightweight rigid race XC 29er on a DH course, the smaller wheel size would most likely be faster under the same rider. likewise, a lightweight 27.5 rigid XC race bike on a XC course with lots of climbing would most likely be faster than a heavy steel 29er Park bike under the same rider. the rider and the bike have lots of independent variables are don't allow for wheel size alone to make the difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Have you heard of these "telescoping seatposts"? I hear they're going to be the next big thing. I highly doubt anyone will argue about that, though.
    Wut?

    Why would you want your seat to go up and down, sounds like an answer in search of a problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    the wheel size is not the only variable there. depends on the specific bike and the terrain. comparing a long travel FS 27.5 bike to a lightweight rigid race XC 29er on a DH course, the smaller wheel size would most likely be faster under the same rider. likewise, a lightweight 27.5 rigid XC race bike on a XC course with lots of climbing would most likely be faster than a heavy steel 29er Park bike under the same rider. the rider and the bike have lots of independent variables are don't allow for wheel size alone to make the difference.
    Sigh...
    What part of “ all else being equal”
    don’t some of you guys understand??

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I don't know how big a 5 second gap is in that kind of racing. it's likely that he had to work a lot harder to get the gap that small on the older bike, which is its own kind of fun if you're into that.

    I would bet that if you put the average MTBR forum reader on that old bike and a new bike, the difference would be a lot greater too. skills, and lack thereof, become a lot more pronounced when the typical weekend warrior/ desk jockey who could lose a few pounds (like me) gets on a bike. I would be less interested in "lap times" than the subjective feeling of riding a modern bike and an older bike. I would guess that the newer bike was more confidence inspiring and less scary than the old bike, which is worth a lot more to most of us then shaving a few seconds.
    Yes that's my point. Beginner/intermediate riders might find 29'ers to be a game changer. They might be way faster with the ability to clean stuff they couldn't with smaller wheels while experiencing less fatigue. For skilled riders the difference might be very little.

    Just imagine if he had time to become familiar with the bike. The brakes worked, it had a chain guide, and the suspension was set up for him (he runs a crazy stiff set up but the 8ball was a waterbed) Keep the old school geo, poor fit, and stupid heavy weight and the separation would have come down to 10% range. Now give the 8ball the same geo, same light weight components... You see where I'm going here. Wheel size alone isn't nearly as big of a deal as we think, yet here we are in 2020 continuing the wheel war even after the industry told us 650b was the sweet spot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Of course you can improve your motor (well, IDK if I can much at 60), and when you do, you'll still be faster on a 29'er than a 27.5. So I don't see your point. One has nothing to do with the other. This other guy just keeps saying it's the motor, which is not relevant when comparing wheel sizes.


    Yes, I agree that all else being equal a 29'er will probably be marginally faster on most (but not all) trails than a bike that has 27.5" wheels. I was only pointing out that much more significant gains can be had otherwise if speed is your goal. IMHO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Pros were anti 29er until the geo and other tech caught up, like gravity-worthy tires and fork. Same story with ebikes... gotta let it mature before people start to accept it. Always gotta expect a bunch of idiotic generalizations to support peoples' emotionally fueled prejudice.

    What kind of math are you doing to get that percentage? One recorded a time of 4:16 on the 26er franken-hucker with a nearly-dead rear brake and chain that fell off, which was 46 seconds off the KOM. 4:16 is 256 seconds, and 46 is 18% of 256 (edit: oh, one recorded 4:12, and 42 is 16.67% of 252). Their comments were: the 26er was total fun factor, susp feels wrong in car park but did what it was supposed to do on trail (tracked surprisingly well) with potential to go fast, and that they felt more nervous on the enduro bike in comparison, which they expected to be faster.

    Love how tall that grip height is on that 26er, side by side with that Pivot. Not sure why the new breed of modern 29ers have 600ish stacks still. I'd like a stack of at least 660mm, being 5' 7". I had a ~655mm stack on the '14 Enduro 29, and that bike could've used a 10mm lower BB which would've increased the stack even more. Would help solve that problem of increased hand pressure on level ground, that people blame on steep STA.
    29'ers have been in competition since the fist EWS. The first two years of the EWS discontinued 26'ers dominated the men's division with no shortage of 29'ers. The first two years were the coming out party for 650b yet 26'ers cleaned up against all the bigger wheeled bikes. 26 was removed from competition. 27 dominated up until last year. If wheel size mattered that much, we would have seen it during those early EWS years.

    Of course it's all about the rider, but in the EWS we saw just a few seconds over multiple stages separating the top riders. It's all about geo designed around the wheel size. Until the industry started using small wheel geo on 29'ers, they were slower for gravity racing. Now they are proving to shave a little time when all is equal. How much a rider cares about that is up to them, but anyone that thinks 29'ers are way faster because of big wheels hasn't been paying attention.

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    Quote Originally Posted by downcountry View Post
    Sigh...
    What part of “ all else being equal”
    don’t some of you guys understand??
    Good grief, no kidding. Some people get so blinded by their talking points they can't even pay attention....
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    29'ers have been in competition since the fist EWS. The first two years of the EWS discontinued 26'ers dominated the men's division with no shortage of 29'ers. The first two years were the coming out party for 650b yet 26'ers cleaned up against all the bigger wheeled bikes. 26 was removed from competition. 27 dominated up until last year. If wheel size mattered that much, we would have seen it during those early EWS years.

    Of course it's all about the rider, but in the EWS we saw just a few seconds over multiple stages separating the top riders. It's all about geo designed around the wheel size. Until the industry started using small wheel geo on 29'ers, they were slower for gravity racing. Now they are proving to shave a little time when all is equal. How much a rider cares about that is up to them, but anyone that thinks 29'ers are way faster because of big wheels hasn't been paying attention.
    There again, ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL. It's not JUST wheel size. Looks like someone else isn't paying attention...
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    If your premise relies on "all else being equal" then you should type words that express something to that effect. Otherwise, it's fair to assume you're just talking about a difference in wheels sizes and nothing else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    Yes that's my point.
    To clarify, I am agreeing with you and expanding on your point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    If you'd only said this once, I'd let it go. Twice, maybe. But damn, that's so wrong I can't let it keep going. The point is, I CAN'T GHANGE ME (the motor). What I CAN change is the size of the wheels, and everything else being equal, bigger tires are gonna help you go faster. PERIOD. If that guy had been on 29" wheels, he'd have kicked your ass worse.
    Our mutual friend has actually answered the wrong question. He has answered "which rider is faster" not "which bike is faster"

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    If your premise relies on "all else being equal" then you should type words that express something to that effect. Otherwise, it's fair to assume you're just talking about a difference in wheels sizes and nothing else.
    I said pretty much those exact words in two of my posts in this thread, but nice try.
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    All else being equal, this thread is just as dumb as the last thread about the same topic, and the one before that, and the one before that ...

    Many years ago, my daughter and her best friend got in a heated argument about whether a mermaid's tail swishes up and down OR whether a mermaids tail swishes side to side.

    They were in middle school at the time, so their underdeveloped frontal lobes missed the part about mermaids being fictional creatures
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Many years ago, my daughter and her best friend got in a heated argument about whether a mermaid's tail swishes up and down OR whether a mermaids tail swishes side to side.
    all else being equal, definitely up and down. kids are dumb if they don't know that. what are they teaching these kids in school?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    all else being equal, definitely up and down. kids are dumb if they don't know that. what are they teaching these kids in school?
    they are wasting time with math and science...
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    all else being equal, definitely up and down. kids are dumb if they don't know that. what are they teaching these kids in school?
    My response to the girls: "bubbles"
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    Wheel size alone isn't nearly as big of a deal as we think, yet here we are in 2020 continuing the wheel war even after the industry told us 650b was the sweet spot.
    I am not necessarily arguing against you or with you, but the advantage of 27.5 wheels themselves, not looking at frames or components at all, is that you can make a bike with a shorter wheelbase so it corners better. I can't think of any other significant advantage of the 27.5 wheels themselves except they are easier to get going because of lower inertia. However, as you said, many people prefer longer bikes (based on where they ride or their riding style, whether it is generally good or bad for the shape of the trail) so in my opinion, making a long bike with 27.5 wheels is defeating the whole purpose of their smaller size and probably puts the bike at a disadvantage. I suppose 27.5 might also make a better fitting bike for unusually small people too.

    When it comes to 29 wheels, there are really 3 noticeable advantages. The first is that the tire has a bigger circumference, so the tire hits obstacles at a less extreme angle, creating a normal force that is not as directly opposite to your direction of motion. This allows you to retain more speed forward speed since the force would have more of a vertical direction than it would with a smaller diameter wheel. When thinking of the wheel as a lever arm, you also make contact with obstacles on the wheel, further from the hub, creating a longer lever arm, and therefore creating more torque combined with the more upward-directed force to naturally lift your front wheel over obstacles more easily. I believe that normal force would also be of a lower magnitude than it would with a smaller diameter wheel, but I am trying to figure out how to explain that with physics principles (so that might be wrong). The second advantage is that at the same tire pressure, more of a 29 wheel's tire would be on the ground compared to a 27.5 because of the tire's greater circumference (angles again), and because there is a greater volume inside a 29er tire, meaning that there is more room for air to be compressed, even with a greater number of particles (I don't want to go into the details of fluid dynamics and compression). The result is greater traction for the same tire model in 29" vs. 27.5". Once again, whether this is an advantage or not also depends, since this would also cause slightly more rolling resistance. And then lastly, when you think of lever arms (the theoretical physics kind), 29er wheels have greater inertia, both because of a bigger radius and more material and mass. This makes them harder to start moving, but once in motion, they are harder to stop. Once more, this could be an advantage or a disadvantage, because this makes it slightly harder to brake and may require more energy if constantly stopping and starting, but from my experience, this has always been an advantage when you are constantly moving. This is a big reason why almost all road bikes are 29ers, and same with XC race mountain bikes.

    Which wheel itself is faster or more comfortable depends on the type of riding, the place, and the skill and style of the rider. However, in general, these questions can be answered by looking at what most people ride. Road bikers almost all ride 29ers, same with serious XC racers. When it comes to trail bikes, its mostly 29ers, but some people ride 27.5's. Then, when it comes to the more downhill oriented disciplines, there is a good mix of 27.5's and 29ers. This is not a mistake, as the bike engineers know what is fastest and what is most comfortable, depending on which style the bike model is supposed to cater towards. No matter how advanced your riding is, choosing your wheel size can make a big difference. When I first switched to a 29er, I went from a more downhill oriented 26er full-suspension to a hardtail XC race 29er. I know you were talking about how components, geometry and material also make a huge difference, but there is no way that hardtail could have been so much faster on every downhill I rode if wheel size didn't make that much of a difference. I even had better components on the 26er at the time, and they were not that many years apart from each other. Therfore, it is impossible to factually say which wheel size is better because it is different for every rider, place, and riding style. However, from my experience and observation, 29" wheels seem to have more of an advantage in general. The only time they didn't was when they first came out and they were very awkward from lack of engineering knowledge on how to build a bike around the bigger wheel. Yet some of the early 29ers were superior to even modern 26ers. I have one of the first 29ers, a 2005 Voodoo Dambala that I have rigged up singlespeed and full rigid, but I would still never feel as safe or fast riding the 2011 Rocky Mountain Element sport 26er that I used to ride and my sister now rides.

    Also, what you said about trails becoming more torn up, I am more scared about what e-bikes are doing to the trails. I think it's good that people are getting outside, but inexperienced riders are skidding down technical trails and making washboards and powder, shuttlers are gaining more access to trails they wouldn't be able to get to (and they like to skid-turn and ski), and I have even seen some people that are tearing up trails by gunning their e-bikes UP them like dirtbikes! At least during COVID, I feel like that is what has been doing the most trail damage lately, as there is more e-bikers now than normal mountain bikers where I ride. Also, its hard to blame the shape of trails on 29ers, as I try to avoid skidding, and I usually hop around tight switchbacks to reduce trail damage. I think it is mostly a reckless riding style on more capable, modern bikes and just the fact that mountain biking is gaining more popularity. More people are getting into the sport, and a lot of road bikers are starting to ride mountain.

    Anyway, that's my opinion, I hope it helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the_Mr_MTB_kid View Post
    I suppose 27.5 might also make a better fitting bike for unusually small people too.
    Can you define "unusually small people"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_Mr_MTB_kid View Post
    Also, what you said about trails becoming more torn up, I am more scared about what e-bikes are doing to the trails.
    thank you for making this thread interesting again. it will go on for at least 30 pages now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    thank you for making this thread interesting again. it will go on for at least 30 pages now.
    and lets not discuss whether a 29 er can carry a bigger load..
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are 29 ers faster than normal bikes?-29er.png  


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    Quote Originally Posted by the_Mr_MTB_kid View Post

    (Blah, blah, blah for many paragraphs)

    Anyway, that's my opinion, I hope it helps.
    This ^ may be why you don't have a lot of positive feedback ... just saying

    Oh, sorry, was I supposed to read all that too? I'm just here for the popcorn.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    This ^ may be why you don't have a lot of positive feedback ... just saying

    Oh, sorry, was I supposed to read all that too? I'm just here for the popcorn.
    Maybe an unusually small person negged him...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    Can you define "unusually small people"?
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