Full suspension 29er for Western Washington trails?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Full suspension 29er for Western Washington trails?

    I've been thinking very hard about a full suspension 29er for riding local (and not so local) trails around Western Washington. The trails can be rocky, wet, and rooty at times. Some folks don't think that the benefits of a 29er will be felt in my type of terrain which can be steep rocky and twisting, not a lot of long sweeping singletrack. Having never ridden a 29er in my area, it's difficult for me to say one way or the other. Has anyone had any experience riding out here with their 29er? Would I be better suited with a 26er for the kinds of trails around here?

    Thanks for the help as I'm considering a Lenz Leviathan at the moment.

  2. #2
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    Where are you in W. Wa.? I'm in Bellevue. Not sure there are many around here with FS 29er's.

    I'm looking for one for more XC type stuff as I'll be doing some XC racing as well as general trail riding. I've got an Asylum on order, but it's still a few weeks out so I'm considering a ST or a HT instead (for now) but I'm sold on the 29er thing too.

    Sure would be nice to get a test ride but most shops look at me like I'm from Mars when I ask about them and no Fisher shops carry them.

    I'm interested in what folks recommend.

    Cheers!
    -Ian

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    I lived in

    Oly for a few years and rode mostly a SS. I was back this summer and rode a KM on all the trails I used to ride. I found the KM to be very good or better at everything I used to ride, as well as the CCP course. May not be as twisty as the area in which you rid, but. the Kona boys from up in Ferndale seem to be happy with their Unit 29ers, so I would guess you would be happy on a 29er where you live too. I cannot comment on the full suspension part, as I haven't ridden a fully in five or six years. This nonsense about not being as good as a little wheeled bike in twisty, tight singletrack is in my opinion, just that, nonsense. I don't think you would regret getting a 29er, most people don't. Good luck and hope the rain finally goes away before June as I will be back for another visit by then, Ed

  4. #4
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    I'm out in Port Angeles. I'm considering the bike for the same type of thing, just cross country type riding. i'm not into the hucking and all that. I'm curious as well for the reason people say that 29ers are not as good as 26 inch wheels for our terrain?

  5. #5
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    Contact Ventana for a Demo...in your area

    Cocheese,
    Why not contact Ventana for a demo which they will send to you for little money (I think, they charge about $150.)? That way you can see if the 29er if for your area. I've read on this forum from others that they have done the same. I'm tempted to ride a FS 29er, as I've built up my first 29er SS, but am on the fence about it. And Ventana is local to me. As I get more time on my SIR 9 it will be clear to me as to my choice.
    I do see the benefits of the bigger wheels in the local northern CA terrain. Some of the slower technical areas, the Niner has excelled over my custom SS 26er. And the 29er is fully rigid! And in the mucky mud conditions, the bike went right through it. Granted, we haven't had the amount of mud you may have up north, but I'm sure we're in for more wet weather soon.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cocheese
    I'm out in Port Angeles. I'm considering the bike for the same type of thing, just cross country type riding. i'm not into the hucking and all that. I'm curious as well for the reason people say that 29ers are not as good as 26 inch wheels for our terrain?
    Hey cocheese,
    I found your thread in the WA forum and asked this exact question of all the folks who shot your idea down. No reply's yet. I wonder if anyone has really tried it or if they're just regurgitating what they've read in magazines about what 29er's are good for?

    Anyway, I say go with that Lenz you've got your eye on.

    Cheers!
    -Ian

  7. #7
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    l84biking,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I might have to look into that. The Ventana is a little burlier and heavier than I was wanting but at the very least it would give me a feel for it.

    goneskiian,

    Yeah, I wonder the same thing myself. Have these people actually tried a 29er up here or are they just beleive what they read. Of course, i'm in the same boat having never ridden a 29er full sus, os maybe I should be saying anything either!?!?! I'll be interested to hear what people have to back up their statements.

    Yes, the Lenz is oh soooo tempting! I'll keep you posted on what I decide.

  8. #8
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    I am riding a Gunnar Rockhound 29er, I ride Tapeworm, Tiger, St. Eds,Lk. Sawyer, and a few secret trials type areas. 29er works great for my riding style. I was going for fs, after doing my research I would have chosen a Curtlo over the others. Check him out. He is in Winthrop.

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    I would have to

    second the Curtlo idea. He has built a SS 29er for a friend, who absolutly loves it. I just can't imagine a FS 29er being any worse than a FS 26" bike. Have you tried Greggs in Seattle to see if maybe they have a demo Sugar? I was on the fence about the 29er for a few years and wish I had made the switch and not listened to knuckleheads who have never ridden a 29er. If you hate the bike, I would suspect you could turn around and sell the bike at not much of a loss. At least you would know. Ed

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the input guys. Yeah, Curtlos look very nice and everyone who has ridden one has nothing but great things to say about them. I wasn't aware that he was in WA. I'll look into that demo, that would be a cool thing to do just to be sure. Again, thanks for the ideas and help.

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    Gregg's doesn't carry Gary Fisher despite what the Gary Fisher website says. At least that's what I was told on the phone. Only place I found in the the greater Seattle area was Gerk's Alpine Hut in Redmond and they don't stock anything in 29er form. Gerk's was very accomodating though and said they'd get someting in if I was 90% sure I'd buy it.

    Only place in WA that seems to stock any 29er stuff is a shop over in Pullman.

    Looks like we finally got an answer from the folks on the WA board re: why 29er's aren't good for WA trails. It doesn't seem to be a very strong argument and a little interpretation is needed. I think they're trying to say our trails are too twisty and slow for a 29er? Sounds like they never get out of their granny gears?

    I dunno. I'm going to get one and give it a shot. We'll see!

    Cheers!
    -Ian

  12. #12
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    Levaithan Works for me in Western Oregon

    I've been riding a Levithan in and around Western Oregon for about a year now and wouldn't go back. I find the big wheels actually help me get through the roots and rocks cleanly. About the only place I really had to recalibrate my riding was when descending through extremely sharp and steep switchbacks. The dynamics just feel different somehow. Coming off a SC Heckler I bought a used Fisher hardtail as a trial rig and less then a year later ordered the Lenz. At 6'4" I based my 29er decision more on the bike fitting me then the bike fitting the terrain.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lurpy
    I've been riding a Levithan in and around Western Oregon for about a year now and wouldn't go back. I find the big wheels actually help me get through the roots and rocks cleanly. About the only place I really had to recalibrate my riding was when descending through extremely sharp and steep switchbacks. The dynamics just feel different somehow. Coming off a SC Heckler I bought a used Fisher hardtail as a trial rig and less then a year later ordered the Lenz. At 6'4" I based my 29er decision more on the bike fitting me then the bike fitting the terrain.
    Regardless of what you buy, as long as it is a 29er you should be happier than you were with 26inch wheels. I live and ride in North-western Oregon, it is plenty wet, plenty rooty, and rocky in areas. I ride a hardtail 29er and soon will attempt fully rigid. A buddy swears by his 293 over any hardtail. Curtlos are very sweet as the above posts mentioned.
    my builder: Neil at Cernitz Bike

  14. #14
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    29er in Bellingham

    I know that Kulshan cycles in Bellingham WA has had a couple of 29ers in stock recently. Last time I was there (couple of weeks ago) they had a fisher 292 and a paragon. The owner rides a dos niner and a rig apparently, you might try giving them a call. I live in Bellingham, and the only reason I don't have a 29er yet is that most people in the area have said don't get one, but then I went to Kulshan and talked to Dave who said the owner was loving his.

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    29er's in Victoria

    Cocheese , here in Victoria B.C. across the pond from you, the 29er movement is going strong.
    Just having tested a Voodoo Aizan fully rigid this past weekend I am sold on the big wheels.
    Our trails here are also very rocky, wet with an abundance of roots.
    Jump on the Coho ferry someday and try a ride on our trails.


    Gary

  16. #16
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    Gary,

    Good suggestion. I'm about to get my wife a bike too so that we can go on rides together. We did it for a while and it was a blast. After we got too busy with life/work/kids we sold them though. Just now getting back into it again. After we get our skills back up we'll come over there and try our luck at some BC trails. Boy, the mountains sure looked nice over there these past few days. Clear as a bell from my place! Do you guys have the same gov't regulations against riding in the park over there? I've heard there is no shortage of places to ride over there.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by cocheese
    Gary,

    Good suggestion. I'm about to get my wife a bike too so that we can go on rides together. We did it for a while and it was a blast. After we got too busy with life/work/kids we sold them though. Just now getting back into it again. After we get our skills back up we'll come over there and try our luck at some BC trails. Boy, the mountains sure looked nice over there these past few days. Clear as a bell from my place! Do you guys have the same gov't regulations against riding in the park over there? I've heard there is no shortage of places to ride over there.
    The parks dept do have signs up in certain parks ,but thats okay.
    We'll have to hook up one day to let you rip through some dedicated mountain bike parks in the area. One in particular has the trails marked much like ski hills from beginners to
    more advanced riders.
    Oh yes, my wheels usually never leave the ground unless by accident !
    Checkout the new Gary Fisher 29er dually due out later in the year. It reminds me of a Santa Cruz superlite ........looks tempting but can't wait that long !

  18. #18
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    Gregg's Aurora cycles has GF 29'ers

    Quote Originally Posted by goneskiian
    Gregg's doesn't carry Gary Fisher despite what the Gary Fisher website says. At least that's what I was told on the phone. Only place I found in the the greater Seattle area was Gerk's Alpine Hut in Redmond and they don't stock anything in 29er form. Gerk's was very accomodating though and said they'd get someting in if I was 90% sure I'd buy it.

    Only place in WA that seems to stock any 29er stuff is a shop over in Pullman.

    Looks like we finally got an answer from the folks on the WA board re: why 29er's aren't good for WA trails. It doesn't seem to be a very strong argument and a little interpretation is needed. I think they're trying to say our trails are too twisty and slow for a 29er? Sounds like they never get out of their granny gears?

    I dunno. I'm going to get one and give it a shot. We'll see!

    Cheers!
    -Ian
    Gregg's Aurora Cycles has a 19" Paragon and a couple of the GF "city bike" 29'ers...at least they did a couple weeks ago. I went into Gregg's Greenlake cycles and asked them about 29'ers and they looked at me like I was on drugs. They sales person knew nothing about them. I did talk to one of the Gregg's Aurora cycles guys and he seemed to have a general idea about 29ers, but no passion...it sounds like they all ride the little wheeled bikes. Oh well, at least they have some in stock. Good luck.

  19. #19
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    I may have to take you up on that one. The last place I really rode a lot was in Louisiana where I used to live. Suffice to say that the trails up here are a bit different than the South! I'm going to try and get a year or so of good trail riding stateside and then head north of the border. Thanks for the invite. I'll be sure and look you up if we plan on heading over that way. I haven't seen the GF 29er except for the 292/293. Is this a new one that's not out yet?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cocheese
    I haven't seen the GF 29er except for the 292/293. Is this a new one that's not out yet?
    Cocheese - He's referring to this:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...light=supercal

    Rumor has it that it will be available in the summer some time.

    Cheers!
    -Ian

  21. #21
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    Thanks Ian, Looks nice! I look forward to seeing the final product.

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