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  1. #1
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    more info

    I have been reading about the 29 inch bike and have made a few coments on them in another forum but I do have some question so I figured you folks would be the ones to ask. I did go through forums to sort of get up to speed.

    1. Has any one done any scientific testing as to whether a 29 inch wheeled bike is faster or slower than a similarly speced 26 inch wheeled bike? I keep hearing this 10 percent thing thrown about but does it have any basis in fact?

    2. Now if you have a larger volume tire on a 26 inch wheel and a smaller tire on a 29 inch wheel don't they have a similar diameter?

    3. What wheel size is the most efficient. 20 inch 26 inch 29 inch 30 inch or more? At what point does it become a liability?

    4. I can see it more for tall people who need larger frames to put things into more proportion.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    She blinded me with....SCIENCE!

    Quote Originally Posted by richwolf
    I have been reading about the 29 inch bike and have made a few coments on them in another forum but I do have some question so I figured you folks would be the ones to ask. I did go through forums to sort of get up to speed.

    1. Has any one done any scientific testing as to whether a 29 inch wheeled bike is faster or slower than a similarly speced 26 inch wheeled bike? I keep hearing this 10 percent thing thrown about but does it have any basis in fact?

    2. Now if you have a larger volume tire on a 26 inch wheel and a smaller tire on a 29 inch wheel don't they have a similar diameter?

    3. What wheel size is the most efficient. 20 inch 26 inch 29 inch 30 inch or more? At what point does it become a liability?

    4. I can see it more for tall people who need larger frames to put things into more proportion.

    Thanks
    1.Ha ha! Sorry bout that! But seriously, their are some "scientific" reports out there that have some interesting stuff to read concerning the size of bicycle wheels. Supposedly, Fisher has some info on their site.

    2. Okay, go check out your roadbike vs. your 26" wheeled mountain bike. Or hybrid, or cyclocross bike vs. your 26" bike. They are not 29" wheels that you are comparing to your 26" MTB. This is not going to help you.

    3. Unanswerable question. Need to be more specific. It's likely that really good reasons to ride any of those wheel sizes could be argued for or against, no?

    4. Yes, this does occur, and many of us are gratefull for that.

    I suggest that since you have shown an interest by posting here, that you do some feild research, and ride one of these so called "29ers", and put to rest your suspicions once and for all.
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  3. #3
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    Did you read the FAQ?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by richwolf
    I have been reading about the 29 inch bike and have made a few coments on them in another forum but I do have some question so I figured you folks would be the ones to ask. I did go through forums to sort of get up to speed.

    1. Has any one done any scientific testing as to whether a 29 inch wheeled bike is faster or slower than a similarly speced 26 inch wheeled bike? I keep hearing this 10 percent thing thrown about but does it have any basis in fact?

    2. Now if you have a larger volume tire on a 26 inch wheel and a smaller tire on a 29 inch wheel don't they have a similar diameter?

    3. What wheel size is the most efficient. 20 inch 26 inch 29 inch 30 inch or more? At what point does it become a liability?

    4. I can see it more for tall people who need larger frames to put things into more proportion.

    Thanks
    1. There have been rumors of tests, but for some reason no one refers to them or uses them to settle the argument. GF supposedly has a spreadsheet showing how the flatter angle of deflection resulted in less energy lost when going over bumps, blah blah blah.

    2. The "29er" rim the same diameter as a 700c road rim. With a low volume road tire, its a "27er". With a mid-volume cyclocross tire, its a "28er". With a high-volume mtb tire, its a "29er".

    3. When indeed? Every argument made against the 29 by a 26 rider could be made against the 26 by a 24 rider. There is a point of diminishing returns. Whether we're past that point, or at it, or approaching it is the crux of the argument. Unless you're a very serious competitive type, I say, who cares? Try it, and if you think its more fun, buy one. If you don't think its more fun, take the money and buy something else fun.

    4. Yeah, the 29 is great for tall people, but average size people like 'em too.

  5. #5
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    I have read in several places that the 29" is 10% faster.

    I have 2 years single speed'n and 1 year on my KM and have really noticed a difference in my overall times in races and casual rides, the following is a true story with no names changed as I say F#@K the innocent.

    Last spring(March) and small band of us went to Michicgan to camp and ride, this was to be my maiden voyage for my surly on singletrack, I was fresh from my honeymoon and hadn't gotten much riding in the last 30 days, also we ran late to the camping site so i missed the planned afternoon ride, so my first true singletrack ride on my Surly was to be a night ride at "Fort Custer"
    which is a fun and slightly Challenging trail, we where lead by a couple of locals that ride there at night so the pace was a little quick! and I can honestly sayafter 90 minutes of quick running through granny's garden and other fun trails I hadn't dabbed once!
    The next day we went to Yankee Springs we met up with a ton locals this day, and some where in race mode so the first segment was w-a-y fast hey I like fast too, but this trip was about friends so we wanted to drop it a notch, so we said goodbye to our new found speedy friends and rode a quick but casual pace, I believe there was eight of us now and for the next part of the ride I was running In the second or third spot( it would have been presumptious of me to lead as I haven't ridden Yankee springs in 8 Years) I was the only one in my group on a 29er. after the the 4th or 5th regather stop I switched my KM with RatRide who was riding middle of pack most of the Day, RatRide's bike is a Original 1X1 W/ a swet Marzochi shock.
    The first thing I notice is he is running up in the top 3 now and I am really huffing it to keep on his tail( all day I was'nt really pushing to be upfront w/ my 29er)
    after we switched back our roles reversed, I went back to the top w/o huffing and Rat went to the middle.

    I know none of this is scientific, but it is my real world experience, I didn't by my first SS (KHS Solo-One) by Science findings or Magazine ads, but through reading other peaples reviews and feelings off SSing( I choose the KHS as a lowcost tryout).
    I went 29er for the same reason, I spent a few months on this board talking to 29er owners
    (thanx Cloxxki) about what the deal was and is. To me 29er is quicker smoother and more fun to ride and unlike Cloxxki I am not Tall I am average 5'10" and I have found no real restrictions w/ bigger wheels(heck I know I can even track stand longer on my 29's)
    I am an avid cyclist with a "passion" for MTB'ing a year ago I owned 3 26"ers, now I own none to ride is to believe.
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  6. #6
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    I wrote this before.
    When I just had my Fisher, I took that and my 26" race bike (fastest thing on wheels to that date) and a buddy to our local trails. He normally rides a 21" VooDoo and my race bike was a 21" VooDoo, just in race mode. He can always ride my bikes when lowering the seat 4 inches or so.
    At the trailhead parking lot, buddy sets up the Fisher to his seat hight, I grab the VooDoo, and we hit the trail. Trails starts with challenging winding DH singletrack that's different every ride. Wow, buddy takes off! I'm normally faster, but on a for him brand new bike concept, he has me pushing to keep him in sight. After one minute of singletrack, he stops and says he needs one of these.
    Later on, we halted at a slightly downslope singletrack that's steep enough not to have to pedal, and short enough not to have to brake until it connects to a main trail, to be taken left. We first set our watches, no speedometeres, and rolled over the starting line at 10km/h. No matter how hard we pushed the VooDoo on race tires, or swap bikes, the Fisher was always 1km/u faster into the braking point, around 24 over 23km/h. The bike apparently rolls smoother over the roots and bumps that that bit of trail was covered in. If it were a longer, flat trail with the same obstacles, 23-24km/u would have been a serious pace to keep up, the trail's a bit of a handful. I can totally see myself lapping faster on such trails with the Fisher than the 26" race bike. BTW, the Fisher was on steel beaded WTB's, VooDoo on the smoothest tires I had ever ridden, Maxxis Minotaurs 380.

    29" is at least as good/fast/fun as 26" for I'd say 98% of the XC riding population over 5'3". As 29inch's sole remaining "Real" disadvantage is the added 300-400g per bike, mostly in the wheels, and the rolling resistance part of the total drag, even on smooth trails, goes down by 10%, you must ride your bike to similate a tennis game to get the differences to favor 26".
    I'd be a hard job to build/dig a trail that favor 26" in most instances. It will probably look like a smoothsmooth BMX track, where for some reason you continiously have to accellerate without ever exploring your tires' grip and traction limits. Specially dug putholes and ditches that a 26" bike rolls through, and a 29" wheel gets stuck in (rare on typical trails, it's way more often the other way around).
    If you ever were a kid to try a 26" MTB first time before you grew and grew, ut didn't upgrade in wheelsize (like me), you'll like the feeling or that big 29" bike giving you so much more confidence.

    Do read the FAQ, there's much more to 29" than just rolling resistance and rolling over obstacles. I'd even ride 29" without those. In race mode, these theoretical mechanical advantages may not even exist yet, or the new Bontrager XR tires will be the first ones to beat the top 26" tires at pure speed. For fun rides, the first steel WTB Nanoraptors already ruled over most 26" tires, IMO.
    In racing, I now take advantage of 29" less known advantages, traction, grip, and momentum (the latter, 26" riders tend to call a disadvantage). On fun rides, I just have more fun.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  7. #7
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    I did say I did go through the forum early in my post to get up to speed and that included the FAQ thread.

    1. Hasn't anyone done any scientific studies of rolling resistance of a 29er vs a 26er?
    2. It is nice to see some people compare bikes but don't tires have a lot to do with rolling resistance too? I would think unless you run identical tires at identical pressures the comparison would not be quite accurate.
    3. Also wouldn't suspension minimize the affect of bumps?

  8. #8
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    1. Not specifically 26" vs. 29", but there have been 20 vs 24 vs 26 vs 28" recumbent tests that gave a lineair relation between diameter and rolling resistance.
    2. Yes, tire thread, compound, and casing quality offer more variance than just the roughly 10% in diameter. Ideal test candidates would be IRC and WTB, which exist in both 26" and 29", with similar quality. However, big bedate would arise about which psi to be used, as larger wheels can be run at lower pressures. A range of pressures should be tested for both tires. Mounted latex-tubeless to eliminate the significant influence a tube can make.
    If both 26" and 29" could send one tire to the rolling resistance test, 26" would propably still win with a 400g race tire, but the 600g 29" tires are getting closer and closer. A 400g 26" tire would translate into a ~440g 29" tire, which does not exist yet, tire companies over the past 6 years of 29"dom have been scared shyt to make a real race tire, affraid that it's just a nieche market, so they all end up making almost the same, totally allround 600-700g 2,1" tire.
    Ironically, the forst 29" tire, the WTB nanoraptor, was chosen to be a Nano as that was WTB's fastest tread, and they didn't want the 29" concept to be slammed for being slower than most 26" tires.
    3. I can see suspension both adding and sucking up speed, depending on the terrain spot by spot. The influence of either will be similar with each wheelsize, all else being the same. 29"er being more comfortable, you'll more often suffice with 80mm if before you needed 26"+100mm.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  9. #9
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    Cloxxki,

    Good post.

    Why not just go all the way with narrow cyclecross tires then to pick up more speed?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by richwolf
    ....
    1. Has any one done any scientific testing as to whether a 29 inch wheeled bike is faster or slower than a similarly speced 26 inch wheeled bike? I keep hearing this 10 percent thing thrown about but does it have any basis in fact?....

    4. I can see it more for tall people who need larger frames to put things into more proportion.
    There was a study done by Pepperdine University's Holden MacRae PhD titled “Effect of Wheel Size on Metabolic Performance during Mountain Bike Cycling”. See this post: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ght=pepperdine. I am still looking for the study since Pepperdine has changed their website since I last saw it. But as I recall it did a comparison between 26" and 29" wheel.

    FYI there are plenty of short people that ride 29ers because they feel more efficient or whatever on them. I'm one of them short people that ride 29ers and love it. Find one and go for a ride to decide for your self if it's for you.

  11. #11
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    That's a whole different discussion. Narrow tires are not perse faster, just lighter.
    If CX tires were ok for most offride riding, our pioneers would've never invented the MTB, and we'd be here posting on the www.CXR.com forums.
    Last season various pro's tried CX bikes on our local flat races, but never won. They did flat to DNF more often. quite a few laced 700c (and even 650c) tubular rims to disc hub and stuck those in their hardtails. No apparent performance change, and Bram on his Nano'd Nishiki was faster through most turns anyway, staying with the lighter CX hardtail relatively easy. Only the Nishiki team with their true 29"ers raised eyebrows, delivering amonst others, the -23 National Champion, Jelmer Pietersma. Nishiki Bigfoot 29", Pace rigid fork, Greenline Kevlar Nano's.

    Only Daphny van den Brand won some on her fullblown CX rig, but she's in a class by herself anyway, and grown to her tiny CX bikes. Still, she didn't win the prologue of the 3-day stage race over a typical sandy trail with CX'esque hills and turns. Kraft from Germany, on a much heavier discbraked hardtail with Racing Ralphs did.

    My extreme weightweenie 8kg CX racer does accelerate quickly, but I'm not sure terminal speed is all that higher in racing. There's about zero momentum in the bike, which requires a riding technique I may or may not master as well as riding a heavy SS 29"er.

    If CX tires and light weight are so essential to being fast, why don't we all ride 26x1.3" tires?
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super E
    There was a study done by Pepperdine University's Holden MacRae PhD titled “Effect of Wheel Size on Metabolic Performance during Mountain Bike Cycling”. See this post: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ght=pepperdine. I am still looking for the study since Pepperdine has changed their website since I last saw it. But as I recall it did a comparison between 26" and 29" wheel.

    FYI there are plenty of short people that ride 29ers because they feel more efficient or whatever on them. I'm one of them short people that ride 29ers and love it. Find one and go for a ride to decide for your self if it's for you.

    If I'm not mistaken, The article in the new issue of Mountain Biking refered to the same study when comparing the 26" Kelly to the 29" Kelly. I've been going back and forth here as well and I am one who also likes good hard facts. I have also learned the hard way that there is more to a bike than just numbers. How a bike "feels" is as important if not more important than the data. I've asked a million questions here in the last week and finally decided to go the same route as Angus. When I walked into my local dealer yesterday they had just received shipment of just about every Surly made. They got some sort of close out deal from their distributer so he gave me a relatively good deal on a KM. I got the frame and a King Headset for $400. I'll try it out this way and if I like it, I'll get something nicer later. I guess that's why so many people have the KMs. It is a rather large investment just to give it a try. A lot of my interest came more from people with the same body types having the problems on their 26" bikes and being improved upon greatly with a 29" wheeled bikes. I've been on 26ers since 1985, so I'll be sure to write back with my comments on the differences good and bad from a "newby". I am concerned with wheel weight more than anything and I know the KM is heavy so I'll take that into account when posting. Considering I am going the rather cheap and heavy route, if I like it, I can't see how something lighter/nicer could be wrong. It is very exciting to be on something "new" again. Almost like trying Mt. biking for the first time.

  13. #13
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    I get the feel thing and I know sometimes it is hard to quantify feel, but I have seen so many fads and "latest" and "greatest" things over the years that I have become somewhat hardened so that is why I am asking for some more "scientific" reasons.

    I have also had the "feel" when trying something new, particularly if some money was put out on it. I think a lot of people need to justify their purchase and they will swear up and down that they are faster on their new rig.

    I also remember when the 24 inch crowd thought that was the be all end all and then some years ago Mountain Bike Reaction came out and said that 25 inch wheels were probably the way to go. So now I see the 29 inch craze going on so I am a little sceptical.
    Then I see the single speed thing getting traction and I wonder where it all goes? Single speed 29 inch tired bikes with no suspension???

  14. #14
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    Cloxxki -- I was getting a woody. Thought that www.CXR.com was for real. Damn.

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    I "feel" your pain man. I'm still sceptical as well. Almost everybody in this forum is all about 29ers or they wouldn't be here. I decided to go the cheap route for staters and hopefully will only loose a couple of hundred bucks at most to give this a try. I personally would like some more hard evidence as well. I see the same thing you are seeing here. Lots of S.S. 29ers, but I just don't think my knees will ever take me there. I wonder if most S.S. riders are way above average or if there are any so so riders converted over? I would also like to talk to some people who didn't stick with the 29ers just to see what there gripes are. I guess if that's the case though, they have probably move on to another forum by now. I know exactly where you are coming from with so many passing fads and the high initial cost just to find out. If I built another 26" bike I'd be looking at frame price. With a 29er it's frame, fork and wheels at least. With that kind of investment it would be nice to have some actual proof to go along with the "buzz".

  16. #16
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    Worse than "so-so"

    Quote Originally Posted by kbell
    I "feel" your pain man. I'm still sceptical as well. Almost everybody in this forum is all about 29ers or they wouldn't be here. I decided to go the cheap route for staters and hopefully will only loose a couple of hundred bucks at most to give this a try. I personally would like some more hard evidence as well. I see the same thing you are seeing here. Lots of S.S. 29ers, but I just don't think my knees will ever take me there. I wonder if most S.S. riders are way above average or if there are any so so riders converted over? I would also like to talk to some people who didn't stick with the 29ers just to see what there gripes are. I guess if that's the case though, they have probably move on to another forum by now. I know exactly where you are coming from with so many passing fads and the high initial cost just to find out. If I built another 26" bike I'd be looking at frame price. With a 29er it's frame, fork and wheels at least. With that kind of investment it would be nice to have some actual proof to go along with the "buzz".
    I'm probably worse than a "so-so" rider, and I went from a Bontrager Race hardtail, geared, front sussy, to a Karate Monkey, single speed, and rigid fork. I'm not sure if anything I could say would make a difference, as you seem to be looking for a "guarantee" of sorts from the scientific data we all lack. You know, it makes me chuckle to think about the days when people were having a hard time with front suspension. Called it "unnecessary", amongst other things. Then the people back in '94 that used to give me a hard time about riding a dual suspension bike in a XC race. Other people besides me were willing to try without waiting for the scientific community to ratify it. Yes there are rediculus fads, (see the thread on the Vintage, Classic, Retro Forum- it's a hoot!) And- there are legitimate, sound ideas that seem to work for some people.

    Again, swing a leg over that KM, go for a ride, and decide for yourself. Maybe it'll work for you, maybe not. But regardless, there will be someone waiting to take that 29er off your hands if you should decide that it won't work. That's not true for a lot of other "fads" this industry has seen. Good Luck! We'll be interested to hear your results either way it goes!
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  17. #17
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    Kbell : Ï'll get something nicer later".
    That's what I thought, 2 years ago when I first got my KM. idea was to soon order a custom based on my Km and Fisher experiences. Still have not found enough reason to upgrade. Can't imagine anything to be that much better. Sometimes about riding a tank on steroids that's just "right"for me, even though I never broken a frame. Even when I wrapped one bike around a traffic pole in a 55mph car crash, the frame was just bent.

    endure26 : I like to stimulate the mind, that was not my intention. Try the next best thing, the CX board on www.roadbikereview.com it rocks, if you're into narrow tires and pinch flats. I occasionally post on there as well.

    I think that SS'ers, used to being different, are more open to new things. They're used and prepared to buy stuff they've never ridden before, and investigate more before buying, as SS in principle is about low cost per mileage, easy of use, etc.

    Fun thing is, it all started out in the 29" vs 26" about mm's, angles of attack and rolling resistance percentages. For the ones that have tried it, it's just about rides and grins. they leave the past behind and in term of gear, they enter a new life.

    Ask FastFreddy. He built a Karate Monkey while he had just finished a Ti blinglespeed, or the other way around. I think he doesn't own a 29"er right now. Not a whole lot black sheeps out there that I know of. Just narrowminded people that have their opinion so ready, that testing is pointless anyway. And even some that used to belong to that group have posted that they were "forced" to testride a 29ër just because their own ride broke, or at a demo day all 26"ers were taken, and they were converted there and then.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted
    I'm probably worse than a "so-so" rider, and I went from a Bontrager Race hardtail, geared, front sussy, to a Karate Monkey, single speed, and rigid fork. I'm not sure if anything I could say would make a difference, as you seem to be looking for a "guarantee" of sorts from the scientific data we all lack. You know, it makes me chuckle to think about the days when people were having a hard time with front suspension. Called it "unnecessary", amongst other things. Then the people back in '94 that used to give me a hard time about riding a dual suspension bike in a XC race. Other people besides me were willing to try without waiting for the scientific community to ratify it. Yes there are rediculus fads, (see the thread on the Vintage, Classic, Retro Forum- it's a hoot!) And- there are legitimate, sound ideas that seem to work for some people.

    Again, swing a leg over that KM, go for a ride, and decide for yourself. Maybe it'll work for you, maybe not. But regardless, there will be someone waiting to take that 29er off your hands if you should decide that it won't work. That's not true for a lot of other "fads" this industry has seen. Good Luck! We'll be interested to hear your results either way it goes!

    Hey ,thanks. I'm not looking for a guarantee. I've tried every 26er I can think of just to see what they were like. As cheap as I got the KM, I really can't go wrong. I was just letting richwolf know that I know how he feels. It's a little trying to let go of that cash sometimes. I have enough stuff to get the KM going. I'll get it going as soon as I have time to. I was one to go for suspension when it first came out. I come from a motorcyle background and couldn't wait for suspension. Some of my old moto cross buddys were reluctant to try disc brakes back around '84 on motorcycles. I don't think they even make a dirt bike without them any more. As far as Mt. bikes go, the only things I haven't tried are 29ers and S.S. I guess I have an economical way to try them out now, huh?

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    Well, you're about the tenth person who has said they bought a KM and later built a Seven or IF or some other high end rig, only to find themselves spending 90% of their rides on their KM. When I walked into the shop yesterday, I told the guy I had 29er fever, but just didn't know if I wanted to dump a load of cash on one just yet. When he said he had a 20" monkey my immediate reaction was "I'll take it". I knew I couldn't go wrong after hearing everyones testimonials here. They worse that can happen is that I lose $300.00 trying it out. I've had many bikes I wish could say that about. Thanks

  20. #20
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    29er debate

    I have this same debate with a buddy of mine here locally. He gives me grief about my 29er comments. Until, you have got on a 29er and truly ride it for at least a month, you will never know what all of us on this board already know.

    IMO, a 29er is much faster than a 26er, especially on those long flats, or hitting those technical rock gardens, or descending that hill. A 29er is more stable than a 26er. Granted it may be a tad heavy for a true weight weenie, but you will get over that. Plus, a 29er is just plain, freakin' cool!!!

    29ers are not a fad. I would not consider something a fad that has been around for 4 years or so now. Plus, we are having more and more manufacturers come online with 29er products. Parachute pants were a fad...remember those?

    I find the 29er to be just a little different and much more fun than anything else out there. Currently, I am loving the KM right now. A cheap economical bike that can be used in many different forms. I am riding it as a SS/Fixie right now and it is a blast. So, git yurself a 29r and try it fir yurself!!!!!

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    If I do try it out and I don't like it then I am going to hunt down every single one of the Ya sayers out there and leave a burning bag of dog doo doo on your doorstep!
    Now I am into trying new stuff but I try to not always be the first to be convinced.
    My main ride is a softride MTB bike with a fork and I love the way it rides and how efficient and comfortable it is. So if I got a 29er it would have to be one with a beam.

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    Another point

    I think that a roller-coaster type terrain with short steep climbs requiring sudden fast spinning is not good for 29er SS. Just my humble experience. Try it for a change. It is fun.

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    Jan 2004
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    14,017
    Funny you should say that, because that's where I seem to enjoy mine best. The momentum game keeps me sharp, and fast. Derailers often keep me from building the proper attack speed for a short steep climb.
    We could have different ideas of "short and steep", of course.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

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