Climbing ability...29" vs 26"- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Climbing ability...29" vs 26"

    I didn't want to just dump this question into the 29'r forum because of possible biased opinions. I want honest answers from guys who have ridden both sizes. I have not had the opportunity to ride many different bikes and suspensions setup so perhaps it's more to do with that than the wheel size? Mtn. biking only 3+ years (dirt bike riding 30+) As a note I live in New England with endless rocks and gnarly techy climbs and and the Prophet is my first mtn. bike. I want/need a bike that climbs like a goat running 140mm travel for 26/650 size and I guess 130mm travel for a 29'r would be nice. After 30 years on dirt bikes I've got the downhill speed thing covered. Climbing is THE priority here.

    Do 29" bikes really climb better than 26" bikes or is it just my bike that's holding me back? My usual bike is a 2008 CD Prophet with 650B wheels F/B, RP23 shock, Fox Talas fork and 140mm travel and 69 degree HA. Last night I rode a 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp FSR 29'r Test Bike. 130mm travel F/B. I could climb hills and rocks that I could never do on the Prophet or even dream of doing. I was stunned. Standing and pushing hard on the pedals resulted in all forward motion and climbing vs. digging in and spinning out like on the Prophet. Even seated pedaling on the 29'r resulted in more drive force pushing the bike forward than what I'm used to. I was NOW able to do what I had watched other guys do on our rides and realized it's not me and a lack of ability it's the bike that's not cutting it even set up nicely. And that was only 1 ride!! So....is it the 29" wheels, just better frame geometery and suspension, or a combo. Can/will a 140mm travel 26" bike climb like this 29'r did. Is the Prophet really just a crude tool and dated design that just doesn't work well at this? (yes, it's going by by no matter what now) I would prefer to stick with the 26"/650B size bike if possible if they can climb like this 29'r did.

    Last nite was a real eye opening, euphoric ride that left me babbling to myself and a new found confidence. HELP!
    Last edited by skidad; 01-11-2012 at 10:19 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Sounds like you answered your own question. I found I could clean things on the 29er that I really struggled with on my 26er, and both bikes had very similar geometry. However it really is finding the bike that works best for you more than picking a wheel size.
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  3. #3
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    I have extensive time on both 29" and 26" wheel full suspension bikes. I used to live and ride in the northeast, and I would say for the rock scattered techy climbs the big wheels would help a lot. You're not spinning on those kinds of climbs, and the 29" wheels really allow you to maintain your momentum. The big wheels really excel and help smooth over rocky trails.
    The only potential downside is when you start getting into 29" wheeled bikes with over 120mm of travel they get a bit longer than their 26" counterparts. But an adjustment in technique can easily overcome the longer bikes. I would check out Norco Shinobi, Transition Bandit 29er, Specialized stumpy fsr evo, and Lenz's offerings.
    I am currently back on a 160mm 26" wheeled bike, but I foresee a 29" full susser in my near future. I am just waiting for the dust to settle a little bit. I still have and love my fully rigid 29er.

  4. #4
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    After getting the correct gearing on my 29 I climb just as well as I do on my 26.
    It's such a fine line between idiocy and genius.

  5. #5
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    Yes, 29ers tend to pedal and climb better. I prefer 29ers when it comes to trail/AM type riding and 26er when the riding is gravity oriented.

  6. #6
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    U r babbling...

  7. #7
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    29ers will climb better. they wont make you super man but they will help. they can roll over stuff that will hang up a smaller wheel. thats not to say a 29er will climb stuff a 26er cant, it will just make it easier. for me, for the trails i ride, its 29 all the way and i think most people here feel the same way. still want to try the 650b thing though.

    *for the record i went from a jamis xam to a spec stumpy fsr 29.

  8. #8
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    29ers will climb better. they wont make you super man but they will help. they can roll over stuff that will hang up a smaller wheel. thats not to say a 29er will climb stuff a 26er cant, it will just make it easier. for me, for the trails i ride, its 29 all the way and i think most people here feel the same way. still want to try the 650b thing though.

    *for the record i went from a jamis xam to a spec stumpy fsr 29.
    You're wrong, I don't think 29rs climb any better most of the facts point the other direction. But really if you want to say that stuff why not hangout in the 29 forum???

  9. #9
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    what facts? why dont you post them? and i cant give my opinion in a certain forum for a certain wheel size? get over yourself.

  10. #10
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    what facts? why dont you post them? and i cant give my opinion in a certain forum for a certain wheel size? get over yourself.
    If it's only an opinion you have then you ought to have wrote that.

    It would be nice if we both could get over ourselves.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    If it's only an opinion you have then you ought to have wrote that.

    It would be nice if we both could get over ourselves.
    still waiting on you "facts".

    btw no one else expressly stated it was their opinion yet you choose to get your thong in knots over my post? seriously?

  12. #12
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    still waiting on you "facts".

    btw no one else expressly stated it was their opinion yet you choose to get your thong in knots over my post? seriously?
    I have no interest in debating that with you. You're no longer putting forward opinion that 29rs climb better as fact and that is enough for me.

  13. #13
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat View Post
    However it really is finding the bike that works best for you more than picking a wheel size.
    Best response thus far.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    I have no interest in debating that with you. You're no longer putting forward opinion that 29rs climb better as fact and that is enough for me.
    dont claim you have facts when you have none. your the only one claiming facts when you have nothing to back it up.

  15. #15
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    dont claim you have facts when you have none. your the only one claiming facts when you have nothing to back it up.
    If you're right in your opinion of 29rs climb better then why bother to convince me with your opinion. I suggest you let it go Mr. b-kul, it's true I have facts, but have no interest in starting a huge argument here by making blanket statements like you did.

  16. #16
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    all am asking is you to post your facts here. not trying to convince anyone, just curious as to where you are coming from.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    I didn't want to just dump this question into the 29'r forum because of possible biased opinions. I want honest answers from guys who have ridden both sizes. I have not had the opportunity to ride many different bikes and suspensions setup so perhaps it's more to do with that than the wheel size? Mtn. biking only 3+ years (dirt bike riding 30+) As a note I live in New England with endless rocks and gnarly techy climbs and and the Prophet is my first mtn. bike. I want/need a bike that climbs like a goat running 140mm travel for 26/650 size and I guess 130mm travel for a 29'r would be nice. After 30 years on dirt bikes I've got the downhill speed thing covered. Climbing is THE priority here.

    Do 29" bikes really climb better than 26" bikes or is it just my bike that's holding me back? My usual bike is a 2008 CD Prophet with 650B wheels F/B, RP23 shock, Fox Talas fork and 140mm travel and 69 degree HA. Last night I rode a 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp FSR 29'r Test Bike. 130mm travel F/B. I could climb hills and rocks that I could never do on the Prophet or even dream of doing. I was stunned. Standing and pushing hard on the pedals resulted in all forward motion and climbing vs. digging in and spinning out like on the Prophet. Even seated pedaling on the 29'r resulted in more drive force pushing the bike forward than what I'm used to. I was NOW able to do what I had watched other guys do on our rides and realized it's not me and a lack of ability it's the bike that's not cutting it even set up nicely. And that was only 1 ride!! So....is it the 29" wheels, just better frame geometery and suspension, or a combo. Can/will a 140mm travel 26" bike climb like this 29'r did. Is the Prophet really just a crude tool and dated design that just doesn't work well at this? (yes, it's going by by no matter what now) I would prefer to stick with the 26"/650B size bike if possible if they can climb like this 29'r did.

    Last nite was a real eye opening, euphoric ride that left me babbling to myself and a new found confidence. HELP!
    I've been riding 26 for years, I got interested in 650B because I had only tried a 29er in a parking lot when they first came out.

    I tried a 650B Jamis, then 29er Elsworth. I ended up with a Stumpjumper FSR 29er Comp. Overall I'm really liking the 29er- never thought I'd say that.

    I like the momentum it carries and the bigger wheel does making climbing easier for me. I hate climbing and suck at it, so I'l take any advantage.

    It could be a combination of the wheel size and the suspension. You're going from a single pivot design to a FSR(four bar) Perhaps you should try to demo a Stumpjumper FSR 26er. That way you could see if the feeling you get is the wheel size or the suspension.
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  18. #18
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    all am asking is you to post your facts here. not trying to convince anyone, just curious as to where you are coming from.
    Where I am coming from is already there on the page. The OP should purchase the bicycle he feels rides best regardless of wheel size not what somebody on the internet says rides the best.

  19. #19
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    I've only ridden a 29er one in my life on some singletrack. It was a HT.

    I can't wrap my mind around the concept that a 29er will climb better than a 26er,
    especially when I have to consider how much harder it is to get those wheels moving.

    I can see all the benefits for 29ers on singletrack & relatively flatter trails,
    but for climbing & descending? I see it as much more work.
    Granted, I'm 5'9" and I like to toss my bike around a lot
    (coming from a BMX background as a kid).

    I see that before I spend a few G's building my next rig, I'm going to have to take
    a 29er out for an extensive test. My MTB LBS guy (who I fully trust), pushes 29ers.
    He's got a nice assortment or 29ers waiting for me (HT/FS).

    Still, I can't see myself climbing better/faster/easier on "top" of those wheels!

    I gotta go Youtube and see what I find.


  20. #20
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    In eight short years of riding, I've owned and have extensively ridden the following 26" bikes (in semi-chronological order):
    GF Tassajara
    Stumpy FSR
    Yeti 575
    Sette Reken
    Salsa El Santos
    Evil Sovereign
    Giant XTC
    Giant Trance X

    2 seasons ago I started trying 29ers, and have owned:
    Haro Mary
    Niner EMD
    TNT Sultan
    Giant XTC 29

    I tend to run light-ish wheels and high volume tires.

    My worst fitting 29er (the Haro) clearly outperformed my best climbing 26er (the Trance X) on the technical climbs we have here in New England. It seems that the big wheels are less inclined to get hung-up/stalled on the rocks/boulders/logs/roots that blanket our trails.

    Sometimes it's the bike.
    Last edited by antonio; 01-11-2012 at 10:18 PM.

  21. #21
    OnTheTrailAgain
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    A manufacture sponsored vid, but the actual action is undeniable.
    The 29er looks like it floats over the trail. I can't deny that.
    But, not enough on climbing here. Will look around again.
    For the record, there was only a 1/2 difference in times.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/i0fJzRQVZPU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  22. #22
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    if you're 5'9" don't even bother with 29ers. unless you just wanna cruise around, which you don't, coming from BMX. i just don't understand or see the value for 29ers unless you are near 6 feet tall or beyond. i'm 6'5" and love the big bikes. but then again, i'm 6'5"!!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by antonio View Post
    Sometimes it's the bike.


    If it's not about the bike it's definitely not about the wheel size.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cunningstunts View Post
    if you're 5'9" don't even bother with 29ers. unless you just wanna cruise around, which you don't, coming from BMX. i just don't understand or see the value for 29ers unless you are near 6 feet tall or beyond. i'm 6'5" and love the big bikes. but then again, i'm 6'5"!!
    My bud got lured into that. He's about my height.
    He returned it and got a 26er and lost $1,000. on the "experiment".
    I'm going to rent one for a day just to get all the "you have to go 29er" chatter out of my head.

    HOWEVER! I do see a 29er Hardtail in my future for path riding possibly.
    Last edited by 2ndgen; 01-11-2012 at 10:23 PM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post

    If it's not about the bike it's definitely not about the wheel size.
    Cute.
    Your response, while not helpful, was clever. That's gotta be worth something, right?

    Again, based on a lot of real-world experience riding trails that are likely similar to those of the OP, I believe that, generally, 29ers provide an advantage when climbing technical terrain. Didn't he post to get feedback on that topic?

    Now, if you don't believe wheel size can impact climbing ability over technical terrain, I'd like to hear why you think that is. Please share.

  26. #26
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by antonio View Post
    Cute.
    Your response, while not helpful, was clever. That's gotta be worth something, right?

    Again, based on a lot of real-world experience riding trails that are likely similar to those of the OP, I believe that, generally, 29ers provide an advantage when climbing technical terrain. Didn't he post to get feedback on that topic?

    Now, if you don't believe wheel size can impact climbing ability over technical terrain, I'd like to hear why you think that is. Please share.
    You shouldn't be dismissive.

    If it's not about the bicycle how can it even begin to be about the wheelsize?

    Maybe that doesn't help you, but by pointing out that all this focusing on the wheel size is making a mountain out of a molehill I am hopeful somebody will get it.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndgen View Post
    ...HOWEVER! I do see a 29er Hardtail in my future for path riding possibly.
    29ers can definitely handle more than just paths. With that said, I don't believe that everyone should ride one. And I don't think the biggest determining factor in selecting a 29er is height, or whether you ride technical singletrack versus fireroads.

    I believe the biggest determining factor should be "how" you prefer to ride. If you prefer a bike that is more "flickable", then you might find most 29ers too cumbersome. If you prefer a bike that is more "stable", then most 29ers might be right for you.

    Then again, great riders can get any bike to do most anything out on the trails.

    It seems that different wheel sizes (along with different geometries, amounts of travel, tire widths, bar heights, etc.) lead to different compromises that will impact your riding. Each individual rider needs to figure out which compromises matter the most to them, and then select their bike(s) with that knowledge in mind.

    JMO

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    You shouldn't be dismissive.

    If it's not about the bicycle how can it even begin to be about the wheelsize?
    ...
    Funny that you're calling me dismissive. Oh well...

    Again, please explain what led you to believe that wheel size does not impact climbing ability on technical terrain.

    Enlighten us.
    Last edited by antonio; 01-11-2012 at 10:21 PM.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by antonio View Post
    what led you to believe that wheel size does not impact climbing ability in technical terrain.

    Enlighten us.
    Don't put words in my mouth.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Don't put words in my mouth.
    Then clarify what you meant when you wrote "it's not about the wheelsize" in response to my post, since I obviously don't understand your point.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by antonio View Post
    29ers can definitely handle more than just paths. With that said, I don't believe that everyone should ride one. And I don't think the biggest determining factor in selecting a 29er is height, or whether you ride technical singletrack versus fireroads.

    I believe the biggest determining factor should be "how" you prefer to ride. If you prefer a bike that is more "flickable", then you might find most 29ers too cumbersome. If you prefer a bike that is more "stable", then most 29ers might be right for you.

    Then again, great riders can get any bike to do most anything out on the trails.

    It seems that different wheel sizes (along with different geometries, amounts of travel, tire widths, bar heights, etc.) lead to different compromises that will impact your riding. Each individual rider needs to figure out which compromises matter the most to them, and then select their bike(s) with that knowledge in mind.

    JMO
    There's a local bike path that's good for 20 miles of gravel. I think for that, a 29er would be ideal.
    I find that unacceptable for my road bike and it's not something I like to do on my FS 26er.


  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by antonio View Post
    Then clarify what you meant when you wrote "it's not about the wheelsize" in response to my post, since I obviously don't understand your point.
    The point was you and some other people are making a mountain out of a molehill by focusing on size of wheels your bicycle has.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    The point was you and some other people are making a mountain out of a molehill by focusing on size of wheels your bicycle has.
    Nope. The OP specifically asked about wheelsize, and people are responding with their opinions based on real-world experience.

    You, on the other hand, are focusing on "26ers vs 29ers ", and not really providing any meaningful feedback.

    So, allow me to paraphrase a bit:

    I suggest you let it go, Mr. electrik. I have no interest in extending this petty e-argument by continuing to respond to your repetitive blanket statements. Peace.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    .. I suggest you let it go Mr. b-kul, it's true I have facts, but have no interest in starting a huge argument here by making blanket statements like you did.
    Last edited by antonio; 01-11-2012 at 10:46 PM.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    The point was you and some other people are making a mountain out of a molehill by focusing on size of wheels your bicycle has.
    True to an extent, but the two wheel sizes really do ride very differently. Again, it's all what works for you, but the notion that 29 ers are only suitable for smooth XC and gravel paths is completely wrong. Try a bunch of bikes and go with what feels and fits best. Duh
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  35. #35
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    Guys, lets not turn this into a pissing match. I'm pretty good at reading between the lines with peoples answers.

    BTW, I'm 6' tall and 185lbs geared up

    I'm not asking which bike rides the best. I guess I'm asking CAN a 26" bike climb as well (or possibly even better) as a 29" bike? I don't need to be the first one up the gnarly stuff (at 54 years young) but I want a bike that's gonna give me a great shot at making it up.

    I know my Prophet is NOT the answer after riding the Spec. 29'r. I also briefly rode a Remedy last year and the thing that struck me initially was how much better it climbed and got traction than my Prophet. I kind of shrugged it off until I started riding in a group and saw what guys were clearing that I was really struggling with or not even coming close. After riding the Spec. Test Bike for 3 days and doing things I never did before it was obvious to me it was the bike function more so than me. I liked the Spec. bike alot, rolls and climbs great and is super comfy and plows through stuff but it has some things I don't like. The big physical overall feel (even though it's 29.5 lbs and lighter than my Prophet), twitchey with the steep HA, even with it's short stem and nice wide bars steep ugly rocky downhill stuff had me feeling way over the top of the bike to the point I got off and walked. Stuff I've ridden down on the Prophet. I can't see myself "playing" on it or hopping up and over rocks/obstacles because of the size and getting the front up to get over big logs (one of my favorite things to do) seemed awkward and difficult. Oh, pedal hits I needed to be careful of with the low BB height.

    I think Two Tone is right...try to ride the 26" version of the Stumpy (or insert your choice for best climbing 26" AM bike here to try) to see if I get near the same feeling of acceleration, traction and climbing ability as the 29'r. My son has a Marin Mount Vision 17.5" that he says does this and I've read that about it as well. It's a bit small for me but I'm gonna tweak it some to fit me and give it a whirl since he's not riding it. I do have this thing for the 650B wheel size and any 26" bike I might get will have to be able to handle that size wheel. Lots of the Specialized FSR's, Turner 5 Spot, Mojo, Mount Vision 140, Jamis Dakar B1/B2, new Ventana in development now, and a bunch of others are out there and more coming. Personal thing but I just like the size

    Great info so far so please keep it coming
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by antonio View Post
    Funny that you're calling me dismissive. Oh well...

    Again, please explain what led you to believe that wheel size does not impact climbing ability on technical terrain.

    Enlighten us.
    Don't bother getting into with him, based on the post of his I've read just a troll.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    I liked the Spec. bike alot, rolls and climbs great and is super comfy and plows through stuff but it has some things I don't like. The big physical overall feel (even though it's 29.5 lbs and lighter than my Prophet), twitchey with the steep HA, even with it's short stem and nice wide bars steep ugly rocky downhill stuff had me feeling way over the top of the bike to the point I got off and walked. Stuff I've ridden down on the Prophet. I can't see myself "playing" on it or hopping up and over rocks/obstacles because of the size and getting the front up to get over big logs (one of my favorite things to do) seemed awkward and difficult. Oh, pedal hits I needed to be careful of with the low BB height.
    A lot of that has to do with overall geometry as much as wheel size. The newer 29ers are getting more and more relaxed head tube angles, shorter chainstays and higher bottom brackets to address the AM and descending traits. Norco Shinobi, Kona Satori, Lenz Behemoth or Lunch Box, etc. are all 29ers with HTA in the 68 degree range and stays in the 17.3" range - one of those type designs would probably feel better to you. The fork options are getting better as well. There is no getting around the bigger overall feel of a 29er IMO. Have fun deciding on your new ride.
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  38. #38
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    2ndgen, this topic always go viral at some point. I think you should put one in your stable because a 29er will improve your riding confidence. I ride a 29er, but by all means, I am not a fan-boy. I know 29 wheels disadvantages and advantages, and to be honest there are more disadvantages. It's just that the advantages (pedal-ability & climbing) are so profound and part of the core of MTBing and can not be ignored. The other stuff like stability, momentum, traction are all subjective and I can argue against each one. Same go for most of the 26er arguments, pump-ability, flick-ability, acceleration are situational that are not a necessity. Biking is biking no matter what you ride.

  39. #39
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    The 29er will climb chunky terrain a little better. The bigger wheels fill in the gaps, it's that simple.
    beaver hunt

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    Went from a 26 Kona HT to Spec 29 HT and will NEVER own another 26. Not only does the 29 rule the climbs, it rules the straights. I don't feel I'm loosing anything in the corners either as I'm so far out in front of my friends on the 26's.
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  41. #41
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    OP, have you considered a Mojo in 650b? A bike that was designed to climb like a billy goat, then add the bigger wheels and bingo.....the best of both worlds! Good luck in your quest.

  42. #42
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    I think 26" wheels setup is still a better climber.

    Theoritically this is true ( I'm assuming there are two identical bikes with same gearing of 34T rear and 22T front , and with the same person is pedaling at the same route ) :

    smaller diameter wheels (26") :
    = require smaller torque to make a full turn, or easier to pedal
    = will accelerate faster to maximum speed
    = will have less top speed.
    = will be more responsive feeling at technical tracks
    = stronger wheels due to shorter spokes

    bigger diameter wheels(29") :
    = require bigger torque to make a full turn, or harder to pedal
    = will accelerate slower to maximum speed ( if it compare to 26")
    = will have more top speed ( if it compare to 26")
    = will be feel less responsive
    = weaker wheels due to longer spokes
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  43. #43
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    Oh God - I am dreading the inevitable emergence of "moment of inertia", "angular momentum" "gyroscopic effect" and a mess of complicated physics formulas - please don't go there, and if you do, somebody shoot me.
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

  44. #44
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    In my opinion. At the end of the day. It all boils down to personal preference... I've owned an '10 Stump-jumper... Must admit, it was a very nice bike. But I wanted more. Tested / rode a couple of 29ers. For my type of riding (switchback / single track, long climbs / descents)... The 29ers just didn't feel right... I decided to go with what I felt was a proven design. A bike that has been refined over the years... I choose a Yeti 575... I couldn't be more pleased !!! Having extensively ridden same. I can say, it outperforms the Stump-jumper... Climbs like a mountain goat... Handles like a well tuned sports car...Something the 29ers (at least the ones I rode) were incapable of... Hope this helps...

  45. #45
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    I own and have owned both wheel sizes for several years. I'm 6'2" and 190 pounds. I live and ride in Arizona, which features extraordinarily technical trails. My current stable is an '11 Stumpy FSR Comp 29er and a '10 SX Trail (180mm coil 26er).

    I try not to make blanket statements. What works for me, my style and the types of trails I ride isn't going to necessarily work for everyone else. That said, for me, the 29er is miles better in climbing technical terrain than any other 26er I've owned. Is that a fact? Well, it's a fact for me that's all I can tell you.

    Does that mean 29ers are "better"? No. I love my smaller-wheeled bikes, too. But if I know my ride is going to encompass a lot of technical climbing, I usually take the 29er.

  46. #46
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    Facts:

    26
    less Mass and mass is closer to axis (less effort to spin up +1) (flickable +1)
    Wheel strength (+1 durability) (+1 stiffness)

    29
    Wider contact patch (acceleration traction +1) (cornering traction +1)
    larger circumference (rolls smother +1)

    Most everything else is opinion, or bike specific specs. 29ers typically have a longer wheelbase &steeper head angles, but we will not take this into account here.
    Does it climb better, well that depends on terrain and your riding style and a whole myriad of other personal preferences.

    Do you have problems spinning out on techy climbs, A 29 would probably do some good due to better traction and better rolling.

    Do your lungs give out on long steep climbs, a lighter 26 might do some good there.

    Do you wreck in the corners due to traction, or due to flex throwing you off your line.

    It's a complicated endeavor once you start taking into account all the other factors. qr or 15mm. Full suss or hardtail. chainring selection, geometry etc. It's an eternal pursuit. Few are lucky enough to find the ONE bike that seams to do it all for them fairly well.

    What made the difference for you on that amazing day on the trail? Was it the 29er was it the geometry. It's hard to say there are way to many factors. Start by asking yourself what made the climb so difficult in the past.

  47. #47
    OnTheTrailAgain
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drth Vadr View Post
    2ndgen, this topic always go viral at some point. I think you should put one in your stable because a 29er will improve your riding confidence.
    I totally agree. There will be one in my stable for sure.

    I ride a 29er, but by all means, I am not a fan-boy. I know 29 wheels disadvantages and advantages, and to be honest there are more disadvantages. It's just that the advantages (pedal-ability & climbing) are so profound and part of the core of MTBing and can not be ignored.
    I'm looking forward to finding out myself.
    Honestly, it will be like walking on water to me if I can climb better on a 29er than I can on a 26er.

    The other stuff like stability, momentum, traction are all subjective and I can argue against each one. Same go for most of the 26er arguments, pump-ability, flick-ability, acceleration are situational that are not a necessity.

    True...they are subjective because the latter are more important to me than the former in your personal example.
    Biking is biking no matter what you ride.
    Exactly!

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by asw7576 View Post
    Theoritically this is true ( I'm assuming there are two identical bikes with same gearing of 34T rear and 22T front , and with the same person is pedaling at the same route ) :

    smaller diameter wheels (26") :
    = require smaller torque to make a full turn, or easier to pedal
    = will accelerate faster to maximum speed
    = will have less top speed.
    = will be more responsive feeling at technical tracks
    = stronger wheels due to shorter spokes

    bigger diameter wheels(29") :
    = require bigger torque to make a full turn, or harder to pedal
    = will accelerate slower to maximum speed ( if it compare to 26")
    = will have more top speed ( if it compare to 26")
    = will be feel less responsive
    = weaker wheels due to longer spokes
    For the kind of riding I enjoy, it's a no brainer. The 26er would rule over the 29er.
    Blanket statements that either is better are just not reasonable.
    It's all relative to rider + terrain.

    Edit:
    For the record, I posted my two messages "before" I read posts 43, 44, & 45 which I wholeheartedly agree with.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat View Post
    Oh God - I am dreading the inevitable emergence of "moment of inertia", "angular momentum" "gyroscopic effect" and a mess of complicated physics formulas - please don't go there, and if you do, somebody shoot me.


    How about something very simple... body position on the bike.

    I have been thinking lately about why I like 29ers better for climbing. For me, the taller A-C of the front end, BB below the wheel axles, and seat farther back above the rear tire work out to better body position. I am over 6' tall, so this is an advantage for me.

    Imagine trying to walk up a hill bent over at a 90 degree angle vs. a 30 degree angle. On most 29ers my body is more open, I am able to put more power down on the pedals, and the back tire sticks better because it is tucked under me, not behind me.

    The body position I get on most 29ers also equates to more comfort for long distance rides. I still love my 26" bike and will keep riding it because it is so much fun. However, I am considering a FS or HT 29er, or maybe a 650B as a bike to compliment what I already have.
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Where I am coming from is already there on the page. The OP should purchase the bicycle he feels rides best regardless of wheel size not what somebody on the internet says rides the best.
    i was just validating what the op found with what i had found, not trying to sell anyone anything. if people riding and enjoying different bikes makes you so mad why would you even click on this thread?

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndgen View Post
    I'm looking forward to finding out myself.
    Honestly, it will be like walking on water to me if I can climb better on a 29er than I can on a 26er. :
    OK, maybe profound is the wrong word to use, pronounced would be better.

  52. #52
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    Through the years I've owned quite a few bikes. FS and hardtail 26ers. In 2007 I bought a new Superfly when the 29ers were starting to show up. I never rode one but heard from a couple friends that really liked em...plus they looked cool! Best bike I've ever owned.

    IMO, depending on what you mean by climbing better I'd say 29ers are better in some areas and not as good in others. Rocky, uneven terrain the 29" wheels are better, but flat smooth punchy climbs I think the faster accelerating 26" wheels are a little better. 29ers seem to get a little better traction as well.

    For cross country downhill stuff I much prefer the 29er. More of a moto feel...not as twitchy as a 26er.

  53. #53
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    I feel like 29ers climb better overall and I suspect the physics back that up. Without any real analysis, I think there should be a longer contact patch, a lower angle of attack on trail objects, less dip into depressions, and less mechanical friction. Rotational mass is higher but probably isn't much of a factor on tough, technical climbs. It should all translate into less effort overall.

    Still, there's theory and there's reality and the two don't always align. Ride the bike you perform best on or if you're not competing, just ride the most fun bike.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drth Vadr View Post
    OK, maybe profound is the wrong word to use, pronounced would be better.

  55. #55
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    Wow, so much negative and angry rep... I am always disappointed at how people stoop to an even lower level of plain out insults and "throwing rocks" when they don't like having an actual discussion with somebody who doesn't want to play ball with them.

    Because it was lost on both the people I spoke with i will try again to explain.

    The first conversation, with Mr. Bkul(with the short temper) was about his statement 29rs climb better. I don't think anybody can honestly take that sort of statement seriously because the truthful answer from the technical side is - it depends.

    The second conversation with antonio was about his statement that "it's about the bike, but only it comes to bike wheel size". Can we really expect somebody who has owned so many bicycles over such a short period to make any other conclusion? Lance's simple advice is golden, but antonio wrote it off and tried to continue onwards with a march into the minutia of wheels. What is the point antonio? There is no point other that to prove 26rs aren't 29rs and I think we all get that. The problem when you focus on wheel size, like you did, is you're clearly making a mountain out of a mole hill. The fact that you've had people racing each other on 29r and 26 and no clear winner emerging ought to be clue enough that differences in wheel size won't amount to much in the real world for an average joe.

    That is why i said the OP should buy whichever bicycle he feels fits him the best and to ignore internet wheel experts(do a better job that i did they are an angry sort) who're going to totally waste his time going into the microscopic details of tire differences or make claims that just don't reflect the real world.

  56. #56
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    all i said was i found a 29er to climb better than a 26er for the stated conditions. sorry it caused you so much grief.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    29ers will climb better. they wont make you super man but they will help. they can roll over stuff that will hang up a smaller wheel. thats not to say a 29er will climb stuff a 26er cant, it will just make it easier. for me, for the trails i ride, its 29 all the way and i think most people here feel the same way. still want to try the 650b thing though.

    *for the record i went from a jamis xam to a spec stumpy fsr 29.
    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    all i said was i found a 29er to climb better than a 26er for the stated conditions. sorry it caused you so much grief.
    No, bkul, I don't think that is what you said.

    It doesn't cause me grief to correct what I see as wrong when I have the chance. I am no politician.

    I understand why perhaps you and others want to try and personally insult me, but that is your mistake.

  58. #58
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    you havent even corrected anything, all you have tried to do is discredit any view points that differ from yours. you have added nothing to this thread, just accept different people like different bikes, who cares?

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Don't put words in my mouth.
    Hypocrite much?
    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    The second conversation with antonio was about his statement that "it's about the bike, but only it comes to bike wheel size". .
    Did I write that, or is that the way you erroneously misinterpreted and oversimplified what I wrote?

    You engage me by dismissing what I write with a silly book cover, claim I am insulting you when I defensively point out your lack of contribution to this thread, misconstrue what I write in order to cover your poor logic, and now you want to take the high road.

    And you've still contributed nothing but blanket statements.

    You're crazy. Good luck with that.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by antonio View Post
    you're right. My apologies for not stopping earlier.
    +1.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Don't bother getting into with him, based on the post of his I've read just a troll.
    You're right. My apologies for not stopping earlier.

  62. #62
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    electrik: Stop obfuscating and misdirecting and answer one simple question: Have you ridden a 29er mtb on a trail?

    If the answer is "no," then your part in this conversation is effectively over. If it's "yes," then clarify what rigs, over what amount of time and on what trails. Thanks.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndgen View Post
    A manufacture sponsored vid, but the actual action is undeniable.
    The 29er looks like it floats over the trail. I can't deny that.
    But, not enough on climbing here. Will look around again.
    For the record, there was only a 1/2 difference in times.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/i0fJzRQVZPU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    That was fun to watch!!! Different weapon for different course. Just like mtbr vs pinkbike Haha I climb with my niner and love it on a xc course... But when it's time to fly a 26er will put a smile on your face even if its slower to the top. Since u have a 26er u should get a 29er just to have choices.

  64. #64
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    you havent even corrected anything, all you have tried to do is discredit any view points that differ from yours. you have added nothing to this thread, just accept different people like different bikes, who cares?
    Are you not trying to discredit my viewpoints? Nuff said.

    What you wrote means nothing to what we're originally talking about which is your fairly bold claim 29r's climb better.

    Which you've since somewhat sheepishly retracted and wrapped qualifiers around.

    Quote Originally Posted by antonio View Post
    Hypocrite much?


    Did I write that, or is that the way you erroneously misinterpreted and oversimplified what I wrote?

    You engage me by dismissing what I write with a silly book cover, claim I am insulting you when I defensively point out your lack of contribution to this thread, misconstrue what I write in order to cover your poor logic, and now you want to take the high road.

    And you've still contributed nothing but blanket statements.

    You're crazy. Good luck with that.
    Why do you bother to talk with a crazy man or try to insult crazy people?

    The cover is not silly and I am dead serious that "It's not about the bicycle" is GOLDEN advice that only a fool would discard.

    Do I need to quote you also? You specifically wrote "sometimes it is about the bicycle" in the context of the wheel size. Is that the wrong quote? What exactly is my poor logic? You're the person assuming the premise that I am saying wheel size makes zero difference.

    Listen clearly now - I am telling you that what you got over there regarding 26 or 29" wheel size is a mountain made out of a molehill.

  65. #65
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    electrik: Stop obfuscating and misdirecting and answer one simple question: Have you ridden a 29er mtb on a trail?

    If the answer is "no," then your part in this conversation is effectively over. If it's "yes," then clarify what rigs, over what amount of time and on what trails. Thanks.
    What am I hiding from you? Nothing.

    I'm not going to answer your question because it's simply a trap. Do i ride this or that, how many "rigs" do i have, is my 29r is a crappy one, my trails are not steep or too steep, they're too bumpy not bumpy enough, what color is my ****... Nothing relevant to the OP or the molehill. Further no answer could ever be good enough if provided. I'm not an idiot.

  66. #66
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    Are you sure?

    Thanks for (inadvertently) answering the question. I can now successfully ignore any further input you might have.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Are you sure?

    Thanks for (inadvertently) answering the question. I can now successfully ignore any further input you might have.
    ... i am jack's lack of surprise.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    Guys, lets not turn this into a pissing match. I'm pretty good at reading between the lines with peoples answers.

    BTW, I'm 6' tall and 185lbs geared up

    I'm not asking which bike rides the best. I guess I'm asking CAN a 26" bike climb as well (or possibly even better) as a 29" bike? I don't need to be the first one up the gnarly stuff (at 54 years young) but I want a bike that's gonna give me a great shot at making it up.

    I know my Prophet is NOT the answer after riding the Spec. 29'r. I also briefly rode a Remedy last year and the thing that struck me initially was how much better it climbed and got traction than my Prophet. I kind of shrugged it off until I started riding in a group and saw what guys were clearing that I was really struggling with or not even coming close. After riding the Spec. Test Bike for 3 days and doing things I never did before it was obvious to me it was the bike function more so than me. I liked the Spec. bike alot, rolls and climbs great and is super comfy and plows through stuff but it has some things I don't like. The big physical overall feel (even though it's 29.5 lbs and lighter than my Prophet), twitchey with the steep HA, even with it's short stem and nice wide bars steep ugly rocky downhill stuff had me feeling way over the top of the bike to the point I got off and walked. Stuff I've ridden down on the Prophet. I can't see myself "playing" on it or hopping up and over rocks/obstacles because of the size and getting the front up to get over big logs (one of my favorite things to do) seemed awkward and difficult. Oh, pedal hits I needed to be careful of with the low BB height.

    I think Two Tone is right...try to ride the 26" version of the Stumpy (or insert your choice for best climbing 26" AM bike here to try) to see if I get near the same feeling of acceleration, traction and climbing ability as the 29'r. My son has a Marin Mount Vision 17.5" that he says does this and I've read that about it as well. It's a bit small for me but I'm gonna tweak it some to fit me and give it a whirl since he's not riding it. I do have this thing for the 650B wheel size and any 26" bike I might get will have to be able to handle that size wheel. Lots of the Specialized FSR's, Turner 5 Spot, Mojo, Mount Vision 140, Jamis Dakar B1/B2, new Ventana in development now, and a bunch of others are out there and more coming. Personal thing but I just like the size

    Great info so far so please keep it coming
    Is is more about the specific bike than the wheel size.

    Different suspension types, different setups: Whatever it is, it needs to suit you and your terrain to perform well.

    I like the way Horst Link bikes climb, regardless of wheel size. They suit my riding style. I also like the way 29er hardtails climb. and the right 26" hardtail/rigid bike.

    For log-overs, 29ers kick butt. My fat bike is even better.
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  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Is is more about the specific bike than the wheel size.

    Different suspension types, different setups: Whatever it is, it needs to suit you and your terrain to perform well.

    I like the way Horst Link bikes climb, regardless of wheel size. They suit my riding style. I also like the way 29er hardtails climb. and the right 26" hardtail/rigid bike.

    For log-overs, 29ers kick butt. My fat bike is even better.
    Definitely type of bike way before type of wheel.

    Also that fat bike you've got is sweet.

  70. #70
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    Regardless of what electrik says, 29ers DO climb rough terrain better than 26ers. You don't even have to ride one to understand that this really IS fact. When a 29" and a 26" wheel hit the same size rock or root, the point where said obstacle contacts the tire will be further from the axle and lower on the wheel for the 29" wheel. You can draw yourself a little diagram with force vectors if you like, but the horizontal force (the one fighting your forward momentum) is smaller for the larger diameter wheel. Also helping is the fact that your center of gravity is lower in relation to the axles of the bike.

    On smooth trails, this point is null. In that case, climbing efficiency etc will be very close.

    Descending you'll get the same advantages going over stuff, but the gyroscopic effect of the spinning wheels is more significant which is why they feel "less fun" being thrown into turns and flicked off jumps.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostBoyScout View Post
    Regardless of what electrik says, 29ers DO climb rough terrain better than 26ers.
    Look, how many times can i say it's not my position that there is ZERO difference, but does that difference matter enough to start fretting your friends will leave you behind?

    Naw.

    Now fat tire bikes... there is something really different, they climb very well, but you'll definitely get dropped elsewhere.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    I didn't want to just dump this question into the 29'r forum because of possible biased opinions. I want honest answers from guys who have ridden both sizes. I have not had the opportunity to ride many different bikes and suspensions setup so perhaps it's more to do with that than the wheel size? Mtn. biking only 3+ years (dirt bike riding 30+) As a note I live in New England with endless rocks and gnarly techy climbs and and the Prophet is my first mtn. bike. I want/need a bike that climbs like a goat running 140mm travel for 26/650 size and I guess 130mm travel for a 29'r would be nice. After 30 years on dirt bikes I've got the downhill speed thing covered. Climbing is THE priority here.

    Do 29" bikes really climb better than 26" bikes or is it just my bike that's holding me back? My usual bike is a 2008 CD Prophet with 650B wheels F/B, RP23 shock, Fox Talas fork and 140mm travel and 69 degree HA. Last night I rode a 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp FSR 29'r Test Bike. 130mm travel F/B. I could climb hills and rocks that I could never do on the Prophet or even dream of doing. I was stunned. Standing and pushing hard on the pedals resulted in all forward motion and climbing vs. digging in and spinning out like on the Prophet. Even seated pedaling on the 29'r resulted in more drive force pushing the bike forward than what I'm used to. I was NOW able to do what I had watched other guys do on our rides and realized it's not me and a lack of ability it's the bike that's not cutting it even set up nicely. And that was only 1 ride!! So....is it the 29" wheels, just better frame geometery and suspension, or a combo. Can/will a 140mm travel 26" bike climb like this 29'r did. Is the Prophet really just a crude tool and dated design that just doesn't work well at this? (yes, it's going by by no matter what now) I would prefer to stick with the 26"/650B size bike if possible if they can climb like this 29'r did.

    Last nite was a real eye opening, euphoric ride that left me babbling to myself and a new found confidence. HELP!
    Everything being equal, basic physics dictate that due to less rotational mass, a 26" bike will accelerate and climb better than a 29".

    Comparing different bikes of different eras with different suspension systems, tires, etc. tells one almost nothing about the climbing abilities of 26 vs. 29.
    '95 M2 StumpJumper FS
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  73. #73
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    Sorry, but basic physics does not say that. There are several factors.

    Unsubscribing due to the senseless bickering.

  74. #74
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    I just sold my 2010 fs stump jumper comp for a 2011 gt sensor 9r expert. My gt weighs an alarming 7 pounds more than my stumpjumper, but it climbs the technical sections with ease compared to my stumpy. On a flat uphill the lighter bike will climb faster regardless of the wheel size. Add in huge rocks that 26in wheels have trouble clearing and the 29er is far superior. Even though my 9r has less travel its much smoother because it rolls over bigger rocks and roots with ease. I don't own any 26in wheeled bikes and I never will. My friend on his nomad can't even get close to hanging with me now, the 9r carries speed so much better.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sh4wn View Post
    Sorry, but basic physics does not say that.
    No? One has to wonder why folks are willing to spend so much on lightweight wheelsets.

    In what world do heavier larger radius wheels accelerate better than lighter smaller radius wheels?
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  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    Everything being equal, basic physics dictate that due to less rotational mass, a 26" bike will accelerate and climb better than a 29".

    Comparing different bikes of different eras with different suspension systems, tires, etc. tells one almost nothing about the climbing abilities of 26 vs. 29.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    No? One has to wonder why folks are willing to spend so much on lightweight wheelsets.

    In what world do heavier larger radius wheels accelerate better than lighter smaller radius wheels?
    You're right about the smaller wheels accelerating and decelerating faster, but no, that doesn't mean they climb better. If you're climbing at a fairly constant speed, there is no acceleration. Rotating mass doesn't have an effect in this case, as can be seen from any formula for inertia.

    Maybe there is some slight acceleration and deceleration while climbing caused by pedal stroke. These will tend to cancel out, as the more difficult acceleration will be rewarded by better momentum conservation.

    There is an argument for 29" wheels and tires being heavier than 26", but that's wheelset specific - There are plenty of 29er wheelsets under 1800g and there are plenty of 26er wheelsets over 2000g. If the bike is heavier, it will climb slightly worse which can be seen in the potential energy equation of PE = mgh.

    It is true that if you have a 1800g 26" wheelset and a 1800g 29" wheelset, the 29" version will still accelerate slower as its mass is spread further from the center of rotation.

    THIS is basic physics.

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    I don't quite see the point of this thread or at least the question You rode a bike, it climbed much better than what you have, what does it matter what the wheel size is or the geo or if both made it ride so much better, point is it did and either you liked it or you didn't. How was it on the descents, as good as, worse than or better than your current bike? By your account I'd take it you liked it and therefor should definitely consider purchasing it or at least trying a few other bikes to see if anything else climbs as good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Wow, so much negative and angry rep...

    It all starts with your piss poor attitude.
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    Just my thoughts. 26 inches wheels seem better on flatter hills, and 29ers seem better on the steeper rockier bits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdrifter View Post
    It all starts with your piss poor attitude.
    This.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    I don't quite see the point of this thread or at least the question You rode a bike, it climbed much better than what you have, what does it matter what the wheel size is or the geo or if both made it ride so much better, point is it did and either you liked it or you didn't. How was it on the descents, as good as, worse than or better than your current bike? By your account I'd take it you liked it and therefor should definitely consider purchasing it or at least trying a few other bikes to see if anything else climbs as good.
    I also don't see the point of your post If you had closely read my 2 previous posts all the thing you mentioned were answered.

    And it does matter what wheel size because there is a big (pun intended) difference between a 29'r and 26'r in many different ways. Also when you can only have 1 bike and thinking about spending possibly $3K + it matters to me. As noted in my posts I really like the 650B size and truely believe it's an improvement over the 26" size without the things that bugged me about the 29'r. I will most likely purchase a purpose built 650B bike (Jamis B1/B2, Ventana) or one that I know will handle a full conversion (some Spec FSR's, 5 Spot, 140 Mount Vision, Mojo, etc) and take the chance that with a much better designed suspension than my Prophet combined with the slightly larger 650B wheels will climb the way I want. If it doesn't then I see a 29'r in my future.

    I have ridden very few different bikes and different suspension designs in the 3 years I've been doing this I admit that. I still struggle understanding all the various suspension designs, the effect each one has on pedaling, climbing, bobbing, squating, axle paths etc. There is some good info being provided here along with the pissing match going on as well. Sorry if I opened a can of worms. I just wanted feedback from so many of you people who have FAR more years and bikes under your belts than I can imagine. Kinda why this site is my favorite time waster

    The Spec. 29'r with it's Host? design just really opened my eyes to what a bike can do and that I was not able to do on my simple single pivot Prophet. Not to open a suspension war but I really wonder if it's more that better design and how it hooks up and puts power down and drives forward along with long chain stays and wheel base that help the climbing more than the just 29" wheel? Coming from years of dirt bikes I know a long swing arm or pushing the wheel back loads the front end which helps it climb better. Not apples to apples but I wonder. My Prophet seems to dig in, bump stop to easily and spin out even with excellent tires (650 size F/B) and reasonable pressure.

    Even with this not being in the 29'r forum it seems the 29'r is getting the nod for better climbing even gnarly technical terrain (which I live in here in new England). Rant over, carry on
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  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    Everything being equal, basic physics dictate that due to less rotational mass, a 26" bike will accelerate and climb better than a 29".

    Comparing different bikes of different eras with different suspension systems, tires, etc. tells one almost nothing about the climbing abilities of 26 vs. 29.
    That is true, less weight is faster acceleration. It might be true the other way... it depends. Either way it's a hill of beans.

    You'll find that climbing is about the type of bike way before an 8% increase in wheel diameter.

    Quote Originally Posted by snowdrifter View Post
    It all starts with your piss poor attitude.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nenbran View Post
    This.
    Your attitudes are what? lol.

    Did you two have something relevant to throw in?

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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    Even with this not being in the 29'r forum it seems the 29'r is getting the nod for better climbing even gnarly technical terrain (which I live in here in new England). Rant over, carry on
    If you get a 29er, try to find something with a taller BB. I live in NH, ride a RIP9, the 13" BB does not play well with New England Rock Gardens, pedal strike central
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post

    Did you two have something relevant to throw in?
    Yes, you're a dick.
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    You'll find that climbing is about the type of bike way before an 8% increase in wheel diameter.
    This is what I'm hoping is really true. With better suspension and geometry over my current bike I'm gonna keep the 29'r bug at bay...for the time being. Down hill and single track gnarl I'm not concerned with as I'm easily holding my own with guys half my age on my 650B Prophet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdrifter View Post
    If you get a 29er, try to find something with a taller BB. I live in NH, ride a RIP9, the 13" BB does not play well with New England Rock Gardens, pedal strike central
    Yup, VERY aware of this issue. The Spec. Test Bike I had for 3 days had a 13.3"BB height (about the norm for many 29" bikes) and yes I was getting hits, had to be aware of and alter technique at times. PIA really having to think about this at all if you ask me. We live in a brutal region for mtn. bikes and ideally 13.5-14" BB height gives you more piece of mind. Current trend is low BB height and slack HA. Obviously these designers don't ride in New England much.

    Sorry to hear about the RIP. Nice ride..maybe shorter crank arms would help or off set shock bushings?
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  88. #88
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    Well to me it's just obvious, if a bike rides and feels good then that's all that matters, doesn't matter the wheels size or even suspension design as some like one thing while others like others. Yes, sorry, kind of skipped over the replies as things got carried away.

    Personally I've never found the negative traits in a 29er, when I got mine I found, like you I easily made climbs I struggled to make before on my 26" Trance. I also descended way faster with way more confidence and that's using XC Nano tyres compared to 26" Nevegals. If I happened to stall on a climb, it was/is much easier to get restarted on the 29er, I put this down to the longer contact patch. I now ride a short stayed (16.9"), slack 29er HT and even with the short stays the bike has never felt unstable on descents and actually climbs even better than previous bikes with longer stays. I've made tech climbs I never could before on any bike and that's in wet, slippery conditions to boot when I couldn't even clear them when dry before.

    You would do best to as those who have a clue suggest, test ride as many bikes as you can before you make your decission, even your dear 650B ones, as assuming because the suspension design is "newer" than your "old" Prophet that the bike will obviously ride and climb better. Do yourself a favour and try to throw a leg over one of the new, slacker AM/Trail 29er HTs now out like the Banshee Paradox, Canfield Yelli Screamy/Nimble9, Kona Honzo, you might be surpised just what a HT can handle and how much fun they can be.


    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    I also don't see the point of your post If you had closely read my 2 previous posts all the thing you mentioned were answered.

    And it does matter what wheel size because there is a big (pun intended) difference between a 29'r and 26'r in many different ways. Also when you can only have 1 bike and thinking about spending possibly $3K + it matters to me. ..................Even with this not being in the 29'r forum it seems the 29'r is getting the nod for better climbing even gnarly technical terrain (which I live in here in new England). Rant over, carry on
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Climbing ability...29&quot; vs 26&quot;-jds_7143.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    This is what I'm hoping is really true. With better suspension and geometry over my current bike I'm gonna keep the 29'r bug at bay...for the time being. Down hill and single track gnarl I'm not concerned with as I'm easily holding my own with guys half my age on my 650B Prophet.
    If you're already riding a 650B(?) there is even less of difference to either size. It is just not worth it, I would think you'd only consider a difference size if you're down with buying all new gear with that new bicycle... wheelsets, tires, forks, stems.

    If your fear is getting dropped on a climb you should be buying an more XC oriented bicycle(not a prophet) that climbs. Despite what the koolaid drinkers are raving about the difference isn't going to rock your world - it didn't rock mine(I do like the fat tire rides though). If you've been at the game for a while on your current wheels you're maybe better off rolling w/ those.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdrifter View Post
    If you get a 29er, try to find something with a taller BB. I live in NH, ride a RIP9, the 13" BB does not play well with New England Rock Gardens, pedal strike central
    Quote Originally Posted by snowdrifter View Post
    Yes, you're a dick.
    That is too bad for you... because you know what that makes you?

    Here is a tip, hotshot, don't pedal in rock gardens like you're spinning up the col du tourmalet. Learn to pump in them(may require smaller wheels)...

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdrifter View Post
    If you get a 29er, try to find something with a taller BB. I live in NH, ride a RIP9, the 13" BB does not play well with New England Rock Gardens, pedal strike central
    same here on a stumpy fsr. not a deal breaker though, my technique through rock gardens could stand to be improved anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LostBoyScout View Post
    You're right about the smaller wheels accelerating and decelerating faster, but no, that doesn't mean they climb better. If you're climbing at a fairly constant speed, there is no acceleration. Rotating mass doesn't have an effect in this case, as can be seen from any formula for inertia.

    Maybe there is some slight acceleration and deceleration while climbing caused by pedal stroke. These will tend to cancel out, as the more difficult acceleration will be rewarded by better momentum conservation.

    There is an argument for 29" wheels and tires being heavier than 26", but that's wheelset specific - There are plenty of 29er wheelsets under 1800g and there are plenty of 26er wheelsets over 2000g. If the bike is heavier, it will climb slightly worse which can be seen in the potential energy equation of PE = mgh.

    It is true that if you have a 1800g 26" wheelset and a 1800g 29" wheelset, the 29" version will still accelerate slower as its mass is spread further from the center of rotation.

    THIS is basic physics.
    We are basically on the same page here.

    Most MTBers do not climb with a totally smooth pedal stroke, except perhaps for elit-level athletes on the longest and smoothest of seated climbs. Typically, there is a "pulsing" to one's pedal stroke, and this is when the lighter wheels have an advantage in a climb. For shorter burst-type climbs or out of the saddle climbs, lighter wheels definitely have an advantage.

    Your whole "wheel specific" argument re weight is misplaced. Climbing is "bike specific". There are light bikes and heavy bikes and efficient bikes and inefficient bikes in both the 26 and 29 varietys. Obviously, if we are trying to determine what climbs better 26 vs. 29, there must be no variables other than the wheel/tire size - which is why I prefaced my comments with "EVERYTHING BEING EQUAL . . . " Everything being equal, the 26" wheel/tire set-up will always be lighter and stiffer - with less rotational mass and less flex. This translates into to more efficient/easier climbing under typical circumstances.

    Now, if you want to throw different variables into the mix, such as specific terrain, specific surface, specific obstacles, etc., then certainly there are certain circumstances where a 29 will out-climb a 26 - and these are generally the same/similar circumstances where a 29 is better than a 26 on flat ground. Thus the "climb" aspect of the comparo becomes of little import compared to the "terrain, surface, obstacles, etc.

    Speaking in strict terms of just MTB climbing efficiency, the physics favor a 26" wheel.
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    After many years of riding for me personally the 26er is just a way more fun bike and I have yet ridden with anyone else who has convinced me that a 29er is a more favorable bike overall in various riding conditions myself included after owning several since 07.that being said I still have a custom ti 29 and really only enjoy it on fast non technical mileage rides,the closest I've come to a road bike.

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    You all are harshing my mellow. Ride what you like, like what you ride. Full sus 26er, hardtail 26er, hardtail 29er, ridgid 26er 3" tires etc. I like them all. For me and my areas that I pedal,rocky, roots new england, my 29er climbs better then my 26er full sus. My 26er does better in tight tech. Sometimes the deciding factor what to ride has to do with which bike has more air in the tires. People need to factor in their trails and terrain and fitness when making those bikey decisions. Its just a bike, nuff said. Time for an ipa.

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    We are basically on the same page here.

    Most MTBers do not climb with a totally smooth pedal stroke, except perhaps for elit-level athletes on the longest and smoothest of seated climbs. Typically, there is a "pulsing" to one's pedal stroke, and this is when the lighter wheels have an advantage in a climb. For shorter burst-type climbs or out of the saddle climbs, lighter wheels definitely have an advantage.

    Your whole "wheel specific" argument re weight is misplaced. Climbing is "bike specific". There are light bikes and heavy bikes and efficient bikes and inefficient bikes in both the 26 and 29 varietys. Obviously, if we are trying to determine what climbs better 26 vs. 29, there must be no variables other than the wheel/tire size - which is why I prefaced my comments with "EVERYTHING BEING EQUAL . . . " Everything being equal, the 26" wheel/tire set-up will always be lighter and stiffer - with less rotational mass and less flex. This translates into to more efficient/easier climbing under typical circumstances.

    Now, if you want to throw different variables into the mix, such as specific terrain, specific surface, specific obstacles, etc., then certainly there are certain circumstances where a 29 will out-climb a 26 - and these are generally the same/similar circumstances where a 29 is better than a 26 on flat ground. Thus the "climb" aspect of the comparo becomes of little import compared to the "terrain, surface, obstacles, etc.

    Speaking in strict terms of just MTB climbing efficiency, the physics favor a 26" wheel.

    Even taking everything is equal, climbing ability isn't just the the weight. One thing I noticed right away on my 29er test ride- I wasn't getting as hung on on obstacles on the trail. So that also has to be considered. It was one of the factor that made me choose the 29er.
    Last edited by TwoTone; 01-13-2012 at 07:09 PM.
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    snowdrifter and electrik, knock it off with the bickering or you will both earn a time out.

    share opinions, not insults
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  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregg View Post
    snowdrifter and electrik, knock it off with the bickering or you will both earn a time out.

    share opinions, not insults
    Apologies gregg, I shouldn't have responded to all the insults(private and public).

    I am done with this thread. I really hate 29r debates don't know why I got involved with one.

    Good luck with whatever you choose skidad.

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    Weight seems like the biggest factor in climbing. My 29er is 3 pounds lighter than my FS 26er. The 29er climbs better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post

    Your attitudes are what? lol.

    Did you two have something relevant to throw in?
    Do you think about what you type? Do you give a moment's thought to how you come across to other people? I'm honestly curious.

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    After getting the correct gearing on my 29 I climb just as well as I do on my 26.
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    If 29" wheel is better climber than 26" wheel, then why some people are replacing their 34T with 36T ??

    I agree with stumpjumpy's opinion. The physics favor a 26" wheel for climbing efficiency.
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  102. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    Everything being equal, basic physics dictate that due to less rotational mass, a 26" bike will accelerate and climb better than a 29".
    But everything is not equal because the wheels are of different diameters as well as different masses. Acceleration and climbing aren't the same thing; one is quantifiable, the other is not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy
    In what world do heavier larger radius wheels accelerate better than lighter smaller radius wheels?
    The real world.

    Given identical tire and wheel construction, a 29er wheel will weigh more in proportion to its size, so so a little under 10% depending on the number you like. The total weight of the wheels is small compared to the overall weight of the bike and rider though. Given 10 pound wheels on a 30 pound bike with a 160 pound rider, the energy of motion of the wheels is less than 10% of the total energy, so even in that example the difference wheel size makes is less than 1%.

    The problem is that we don't accelerate the wheel or the bike in a vacuum, we roll it on the ground, and the larger wheel will have a rolling resistance advantage that increases with speed. Because of that, the acceleration edge a 26er will have from a stop vanishes as the bikes move faster and rolling losses mount. Overall acceleration is not just about weight, it's also about energy losses and 26ers have higher rolling losses than 29ers.

    Estimating the speed at which a 29er takes over fruitless, but all you need is for the net power input to be more than 1% greater in the example above. That's 5 watts out of 500, for example. Not hard to imagine. Ultimately, this whole issue should be considered a wash. Most of the "slow to accelerate" issues with 29ers are imagined.

    Roadies love to argue that lightweight wheels are the key to climbing despite overwhelming technical arguments to the contrary. Asserting the same argument for climbing on the trail is even more foolish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asw7576 View Post
    if 29" wheel is better climber than 26" wheel, then why some people are replacing their 34t with 36t ??
    +1 !!

  104. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by asw7576 View Post
    If 29" wheel is better climber than 26" wheel, then why some people are replacing their 34T with 36T ??
    Because the larger wheel changes the gearing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    You all are harshing my mellow. Ride what you like, like what you ride. Full sus 26er, hardtail 26er, hardtail 29er, ridgid 26er 3" tires etc. I like them all. For me and my areas that I pedal,rocky, roots new england, my 29er climbs better then my 26er full sus. My 26er does better in tight tech. Sometimes the deciding factor what to ride has to do with which bike has more air in the tires. People need to factor in their trails and terrain and fitness when making those bikey decisions. Its just a bike, nuff said. Time for an ipa.
    Enough said...we can all agree to disagree about wheel size characteristics in the end it is mostly engine fitness and skill levels that count most and post ride perks...like ipa's mmmmm!

  106. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by asw7576 View Post
    If 29" wheel is better climber than 26" wheel, then why some people are replacing their 34T with 36T ??

    I agree with stumpjumpy's opinion. The physics favor a 26" wheel for climbing efficiency.
    cuz of 2x10 drivetrains. before that every one was getting by with a 12-34 in back, well every one except dc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndgen View Post
    A manufacture sponsored vid, but the actual action is undeniable.
    The 29er looks like it floats over the trail. I can't deny that.
    But, not enough on climbing here. Will look around again.
    For the record, there was only a 1/2 difference in times.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/i0fJzRQVZPU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    I am not for or against 29ers so look at this as an unbiased opinion. In the video the times on both the 26er and 29er are relatively the same (unless you consider 11 sec on a single 15-19 minute run scientifically significant). Both the average and peak heart rates were higher on the 29er meaning the rider was working harder... The trail he was riding appeared to be fairly flat in the video. You can also see the wheel on the 29er flexing quite a bit. Personally I have never been passed by someone on a 29er going uphill/downhill but I have passed a few. I have been passed several times on the flat sections of trails and sometimes have a hard time keeping up (I run 2x9 with my tallest gearing being 36/11, lowest 26/34). I ride a 4" XC bike and most of the trails I ride on are dominated by 29ers.
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    It isn't as simple as everyone is trying to make it. For me, on our rooty trails, the 29 inch wheel didn't get 'hung up' as easily as the 26. So for me, I liked that, made climbing easier for me.

    You can argue about the physics of the weight and all that crap until you're blue in the face. Bottom line is how each individual rider feels.
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  109. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigsj View Post
    Because the larger wheel changes the gearing.
    Craig, I think ASW got that !!! What he is actual saying is ... while 29er's advocate are expressing the fact that 29ers are better, faster climbers ... then why would it be necessary to make "gearing adjustments" ? (there's a sense of sarcasm here)

  110. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by whtdel View Post
    Craig, I think ASW got that !!! What he is actual saying is ... while 29er's advocate are expressing the fact that 29ers are better, faster climbers ... then why would it be necessary to make "gearing adjustments" ? (there's a sense of sarcasm here)
    In reading his only other contribution, I think you are mistaken. Was your approval for his sarcasm or his opinion?

    With all that is flawed in the comment, it shows more about the thought process of the poster than the issue at hand. I would say there's more a sense of troll than sarcasm.

    P.S. A 29er with a 22/36 has 3.3% taller gearing than a 26er with a 22/34, so by ASW's logic the 29er is actually faster.

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    For the same reason you cannot ride the gearing the featured Christoph Sauser that's in the video uses, everyone is made differently and different strengths and weaknesses. As to the gearing change, your argument there is pointless since there are loads of people who pedal 26" wheeled bikes and use easier gears like you suggest. If you didn't know, the entire industry has basically moved to 2x10 gearing and using a 36-11 cassette is the best option with a 2X setup for versatility and range.

    Similarly there are people who when they moved to a 29er moved top harder gearing, like myself. I found I was able to make climbs much easier as the wheel didn't get hung up on little stuff and traction was amazing, so I moved from 22/32/44 rings to 24/34//46. Now I run a 24/38 2X setup and use a 32-11 cassette and only on the very steepest, climbs on grass do I long for anything easier.


    Quote Originally Posted by whtdel View Post
    Craig, I think ASW got that !!! What he is actual saying is ... while 29er's advocate are expressing the fact that 29ers are better, faster climbers ... then why would it be necessary to make "gearing adjustments" ? (there's a sense of sarcasm here)
    Quote Originally Posted by asw7576 View Post
    If 29" wheel is better climber than 26" wheel, then why some people are replacing their 34T with 36T ??

    I agree with stumpjumpy's opinion. The physics favor a 26" wheel for climbing efficiency.
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    I built my new AM 29er with 22/26 gearing (just slapped it on to see how it'll work), my old 26er had 24/34.. thought the 36 would be too tall, but to my surprise it was not, I suspect can run it because different linkage of the new bike and larger wheel keeps my speed up on trails, more testing required still.

  113. #113
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    I have found steep STA and slackish HTA [69 degree or so] to climb tech stuff best no matter what wheel size.Slack HTA takes impact of rocks and roots at angle that will push the wheel back into the fork like it was designed instead of pushing it more toward your bottom brackett and also skims over objects insteed of pushing into them.STA keeps me on top of cranks for power and positioning to climb and not sitting to far back on the rear wheel witch makes the front end to light for steep climbs.These type of climbs nomally take less than 15 seconds and are a minor part of my 20 mile loop so 26 or 29 doesnt matter.Ive had 26 and 29ers that just cant make the tech climbs and all of them had xc HTA geometry and fit are going to play the bigest role.Any other smoothish climbing I will be faster on the lighter and stronger wheel size and thats the biggest part of the 20 mile loop.The 29ers ive had with slackish HTA's that climb tech good are Rumblefish and Epic.The epic climbs it even better than the RF.Both have slack HTA but the epic has steep STA and slack HTA.The xc angled 26 and 29 bikes Ive had, have been a wash on those 15 second climbs,one has angle of attack advantage and the 26er I just push down on the crank pop the front wheel over and get no resistance at all.

  114. #114
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    theoretically, a larger tire will gain better traction on a loose condition climb vs a smaller tire.

    this due to a larger contact patch, and the lower torque a larger tire has over a smaller one. torque is what makes a tire break loose. on high traction surfaces, the advantage should go to the smaller wheel. more torque will allow for an easier climb.

    that said, the advantage is primarily traction, which is a bi factor in climbing. given the same gearing, two bikes with different wheel sizes should take the same effort to climb.

    as fer clearing obstacles, it all depends on their size.

    theory usually differs from practical applications, specially when the variable of the human animal is involved. my two cents.

  115. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by bing! View Post
    torque is what makes a tire break loose.

    theory usually differs from practical applications, specially when the variable of the human animal is involved. my two cents.
    So much to agree with here. I'd add that it is peak torque that makes the tire break loose. Having some squat in your suspension evens out the peaks a and is "less efficient" but feels like having more grip/traction.

    I don't have experience of 29ers but I have experience of different (yet similar) AM 26er setups climbing quite differently.

    On bikes where the anti-squat trails off deeper into the travel, running more sag lets you tune the amount of squat/grip vs raw efficiency. Usually there is a sweet spot and you know when you find it.

    I have two 28-29 lb AM bikes at the moment. My Devinci Dixon was made up with parts that had previously done service on my Yeti SB-66. Compared to running the two bikes in the same spec, the Devinci tends to spit its traction out more readily but is overall a more efficient pedalling platform.

    It may be that there is a sweet spot for both bikes that I haven't found yet.

    In the 29er debate, I can easily believe that the shallower angle of incidence for any obstacle is a factor in evening out the need for a high peak torque and maintaining traction. I'm thinking of one particular climb that is about a 50:50 on whether I clear the tricky rock ledge in the middle and then go on to clear the exposed roots further up. The Yeti seems to improve my statistics for clearing that climb. It keeps its traction and it doesn't hang up badly. I'd expect a 29er (with appropriate geometry) to behave similarly.

    I can't agree with the physicists who think the energy expended in accelerating a wheel is everything to climbing.

    The mass of bike and rider moving through the vertical height of the climb give you the principle energy criterion for the climb. The fact that a wheel accelerates and decelerates from moment to moment doesn't feel relevant to me. Putting the energy into the wheel rewards you with momentum. Running up against gravity takes that energy out of the kinetic system and trades it for potential energy (more distance achieved on the climb). It isn't that the energy disappears as the accelerate/decelerate proponents would have us believe. The overall efficiency of not getting hung up feels to me to be the deciding factor compared to the choppiness of the pedalling input that is a fact of life on techy terrain.

    For me I can believe the theory that a 29er climbs better. I can however tune my 26er bikes to climb to the best of their ability and as well as I would ever want them to, leaving me free to enjoy their other characteristics.

    I don't rule out a 29er in my future.

  116. #116
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    Sorry but those who believe that a 29er is a climber ,i dont believe that they are actually biking.It is very simple if you think that you need more power to make a 29 wheel spin due to the bigger diameter and so it is not as versatile as a smaller wheel.

  117. #117
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    I prefer 29ers on long fire road climbs
    and 26" on rocky steep climbs

  118. #118
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    So what exactly are we doing then??? I'll remember to tell this to the guys riding 26" wheeled bikes when they finally get to the top of the climb behind me
    Quote Originally Posted by haristheodoropoulos View Post
    Sorry but those who believe that a 29er is a climber ,i dont believe that they are actually biking.It is very simple if you think that you need more power to make a 29 wheel spin due to the bigger diameter and so it is not as versatile as a smaller wheel.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
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  119. #119
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    Horses for courses. A 1440g 29er wheelset will climb different than a 2200g 26er wheelset. It all boils down to what you want to get the most out of. I have a couple of 29ers and a couple of 26ers. Fast flowly 29er, tight moderatly techy trails 26er, super techy trails its pretty much a wash.

  120. #120
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    The fact that you are in better shape doesn't change physics

  121. #121
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    Eh, not this again.

  122. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by haristheodoropoulos View Post
    The fact that you are in better shape doesn't change physics
    What physics is that?

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    The kind that say that you need move power to move something bigger uphill and less power downhill.Come on think think of it,if bigger wheels are more versatile and more efficient in rough terrains why aren't they use them on mtb races or even wrc.I agree that in smooth trails are better but in general in MTB you need versatility

  124. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by haristheodoropoulos View Post
    The kind that say that you need move power to move something bigger uphill and less power downhill.Come on think think of it,if bigger wheels are more versatile and more efficient in rough terrains why aren't they use them on mtb races or even wrc.I agree that in smooth trails are better but in general in MTB you need versatility
    I don't understand this link you make between physics and versatility. Could you work through a specific example so we could see some numbers behind your argument?

    Physics is not about cherry-picking a few details that support your prejudice and ignoring the rest, but I'm sure you know that.

  125. #125
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    I like 26 " to ride I like 29 " to ride over...

    I`m not going to be riding on anything I can`t roll over with a 26" wheel so the cost to add a 29er bike to the fold is not reasonable for me.Plus I like the response and feel of the smaller wheel bike.

    Until someone has some proof about the climbing differences this is just a back and forth proving nothing.

    I like that we have choices !

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    Quote Originally Posted by craigsj View Post
    Because the larger wheel changes the gearing.
    And a larger wheel is harder to turn. physics. Why do those toyotas with 37's have too much trouble going up a hill? Oh wait, they suck donkey dick because the wheel is too big to turn with the given input. A 29er would need lower gearing in order to have the same torque in the wheel.

  127. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by haristheodoropoulos View Post
    Come on think think of it,if bigger wheels are more versatile and more efficient in rough terrains why aren't they use them on mtb races or even wrc.I agree that in smooth trails are better but in general in MTB you need versatility
    the xc world cup was won on a 29er...

  128. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by haristheodoropoulos View Post
    The kind that say that you need move power to move something bigger uphill and less power downhill.
    Whoa, Physics Genius!

    Getting back to physics 101 we know that energy cannot be created or destroyed. The condescending rhetorical question is: if the energy that your muscles produce goes into accelerating a "bigger" wheel, where does the energy go next?

    The efficiencies of biomechanics are an entirely different topic that I suspect none of us are equipped to answer, but basic energy equations for getting a big wheeler up a hill do not support your point of view unless the big wheeler is heavier.

  129. #129
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    If everyone would just try one they could stop trying to hypothesize and misuse physics.

    My input: Popping my Big Wheel Cherry | NSMB.e.MAGAZINE - Freeride, Extreme and North Shore style Mountain Biking

  130. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by roblee View Post
    Until someone has some proof about the climbing differences this is just a back and forth proving nothing.
    The only proof that is going to convince anyone completely is seeing for themselves. On my first ride on a 29'er hardtail, I cleaned a steep rocky section on one of my usual trails that I had only cleaned twice before on my 26'er hardtail - with relative ease. I don't give a crap about rotating mass, weight, acceleration or any of the theoretical arguments, pro or con. The wagon wheels just roll over rocks and roots that the 26'er gets hung up on. Going back and forth between the 26'er and the 29'er on this section - not to mention rocky staircase descents - convinced me, personally, that the bigger wheels were superior. For me, for my bike, for my riding style, for the terrain I like to ride. That's all really that counts, bottom line.

    I like that we have choices !
    Agreed. On that note, I ended up buying a 650b.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  131. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowen1911 View Post
    And a larger wheel is harder to turn. physics. Why do those toyotas with 37's have too much trouble going up a hill? Oh wait, they suck donkey dick because the wheel is too big to turn with the given input. A 29er would need lower gearing in order to have the same torque in the wheel.
    It's funny how the people who understand the least always have to say "physics".

    The amount of additional energy required to turn the larger 29er wheels is typically about 1%. 29ers, though, lose less energy rolling than 26ers particularly on rougher terrain. The "physics" that people like to quote in their rush to 26er superiority claims turns out to be an uninteresting part of the problem. Physics only matters if you are willing to work the entire physics problem, not just the little piece you know.

  132. #132
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    The difference with 29 wheels is you can have a greater surface area of tread in contact with the ground, but at the same time they will take more energy to get in motion. This would give a 29er a higher potential on fairly smooth ground. When you get into rolling over things easier - suspension aids in this as well. The 26" wheels will take a greater fork stroke length to get over the same object, which is why 29er counterparts typically have lower travel (Stumpy FSR 29 is 130mm, 26 is 140mm). For similar reasons 29ers feel similar to 26ers with a steeper HT angle.

    The problem with most 29ers isn't so much their wheel size, but the way the bikes are built. Most are built for an XC feel - longer reach, longer chain stay, steeper HTA, etc. Their are serious geometry limitations when it comes to building a 29er that can handle like a 26ers, but there are awesome bikes like the Canfield Yelli Screamy that have chainstays as short as a lot of 26ers and can run 120mm forks and have a reasonably slack HTA. Most people seem to say it rides like a 26ers.

    With all that being said, what will get you up a hill faster is your legs. Most riders here will see a big increase in their speed climbing by just being a better rider - work on controlling pedal strokes while standing and being able to muscle over objects. I pass people all the time on way more expensive bikes going up hill. I ride a 2008 Trek 3700 with ~1" travel and is a size too big for me (didn't know what I was doing when I bought). Why? My legs are strong and I can control my bike. It will all come down to your preference on the bike. People will beat you on 26ers, 29ers and I even knew a guy who was pretty fast on his 24" BMX bike on the trails.

  133. #133
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    Wow... this thread is painful to read through.

  134. #134
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    Totally agree, too many people theorize about the physics etc instead of trying to get a ride on one or better yet many and form their own honest opinion on them. Personally being over 6ft, once I threw a leg over one I could never go back as to me it just fit better and did everything better, for my style and trails.

    Nice article as usual from NSMB, didn't seem to find it in your article, how tall are you and what size was that Bandit?
    Quote Originally Posted by LostBoyScout View Post
    If everyone would just try one they could stop trying to hypothesize and misuse physics.

    My input: Popping my Big Wheel Cherry | NSMB.e.MAGAZINE - Freeride, Extreme and North Shore style Mountain Biking
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
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  135. #135
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    Now I know why I am logging on less and less.

  136. #136
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    haha but its so much fun to read.... Seems like these days you need a couple of bikes. I race a 29er on fast flowy xc trails. It climbs like a goat and carries momentum well, for XC riding/racing u can't beat it. If this was a debate on the XC forum no questions ask 29ers are taking over.

    But this is in the all mountain section and for me its a 26er. Yeah a 29er might climb better but a 26er is pure riding, aggressive riding, bigger air, more travel, better at everything but maybe climbing lol
    Plus going down is the fun part and moto whips look way better. If I could only have one bike it would be a 26er but that might change with age.

  137. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigsj View Post
    It's funny how the people who understand the least always have to say "physics".

    The amount of additional energy required to turn the larger 29er wheels is typically about 1%. 29ers, though, lose less energy rolling than 26ers particularly on rougher terrain. The "physics" that people like to quote in their rush to 26er superiority claims turns out to be an uninteresting part of the problem. Physics only matters if you are willing to work the entire physics problem, not just the little piece you know.
    funny how you are just plain retarded. get an engineering degree, and the talk to me.

  138. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowen1911 View Post
    funny how you are just plain retarded. get an engineering degree, and the talk to me.
    I've got that engineering degree. What do you want to talk about?

    It's getting heated here and the "physics" word is getting slapped on anything by anybody. Trying to back down the heat a bit, you previously said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bowen1911 View Post
    And a larger wheel is harder to turn. physics.
    My engineering response to this might be:

    IGNORING ROLLING RESISTANCE

    IGNORING BIOMECHANICAL EFFICIENCY

    PRESUMING BOTH BIG AND SMALL WHEELED BIKES WEIGH THE SAME

    1. A larger wheel is harder to accelerate, not innately harder to turn at constant speed

    2. If you equalise gearing allowing for wheel size, there is no difference in pedalling torque
    or cadence for the same constant speed.

    3. Energy input to accelerate a bike with larger wheel results in a greater proportion ending up as rotational kinetic energy in the wheels rather than translational kinetic energy for the entire bike. If you put the same energy into the system from the same starting speed, you end up with a slower maximum speed.

    4. When you are off the power stroke of the pedal stroke while climbing, the bike is slowing down. Kinetic energy is exiting the system. The kinetic energy is being transferred into gravitational potential energy. i.e. you roll to a halt, but while you are rolling you are still gaining ground uphill

    5. The net result of this is that the same climb will take the same amount of energy input = [mass of bike and rider] x [vertical ascent]

    6. To get up any given climb at a given pace, gives the average power (energy per second) required as input. If the total energy is the same and the time is the same, the power is the same. With big wheels you need to spend some energy up front to get them up to speed, which you get back at the end when you coast to rest at the top (I'm coming back to this topic later in 9.).

    Bringing back in ROLLING RESISTANCE

    7. The above is without losses and results in no discernible difference in climbing ability dependent on wheel size.

    8. If the losses are less because the big wheel rolls more easily over bumps that would otherwise dissipate energy, then the big wheel shows an advantage.

    Bringing back in BIOMECHANICAL EFFICIENCY

    9. Getting energy out of human muscles into a bike's pedalling stroke results in different efficiencies depending on the exact circumstances.

    10. On a technical climb there is the possibility that the bike will stall on a particular obstacle. In this case, getting the bike back up to speed with bigger wheels may require a larger peak effort that is particularly inefficient.

    11. If the bigger wheeled bike does not stall, then the more even speed carried by the bike may result in improved energy efficiency.

    12. The bigger wheeled bike is known to roll over obstacles better than smaller wheels. Over a typical technical climb, the larger inefficient effort for clearing one or two obstacles where the big wheel stalls may be outweighed by the larger number of times a small wheeled bike will stall.

  139. #139
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    I'm 6 foot tall, and I'm probably going to go with 26-inch wheels.

    I was riding with my friend for the first time and liked it very much. I'm not that familiar with mountain bike prices. Found used 2003 Specialized Epic Comp for $899 with these specs:

    Frame: Large Specialized Epic Comp Full Suspension Mountain Bike
    Fork: Fox Float 100 RL fork
    Rear Shock: Float R shock
    Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes
    Deore LX front derailleur
    SRAM X-9 rear derailleur
    9.0 gripshift shifters
    Upgraded DT Swiss 420 SL rims (26") / Specialized hubs/tires
    RaceFace bars/stem/cranks
    WTB saddle
    NO PEDALS

    Is that overpriced, normal price, or good deal?

    Thanks.

  140. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowen1911 View Post
    funny how you are just plain retarded. get an engineering degree, and the talk to me.
    I do have one, but then how would you know with your Toyota analogies?

  141. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by petercarm View Post
    My engineering response to this might be:

    ...
    All good responses. I'll add the following:


    - An engineer understands what things make important contributions to a problem. It's usually unnecessary for engineers to get an exact answer, just a good enough one and they are trained to know what that is.

    - In this case, a rolling wheel requires about 70% more energy to move for its mass than other masses on a bike, but even assuming it is double, as cyclists often do, the energy involved is small compared to the overall energy of motion. Ignoring wheel mass differences wouldn't even change the answer much.

    - Rolling losses in tires are often an important contributor to energy loss in MTB riding. Ignoring that would probably lead to larger errors than ignoring wheel mass, but that would be dependent on speed.

    - Handling in rough terrain is the dominant issue when it comes to issues such as climbing and that doesn't lend itself to simple analysis.
    It's not "physics" to only argue the physics you understand or what suits your point of view.
    Last edited by craigsj; 01-20-2012 at 07:12 AM.

  142. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowen1911 View Post
    funny how you are just plain retarded. get an engineering degree, and the talk to me.
    Funny how you stepped in it, knee deep.

    You hopefully learned 2 lessons for posting on this board in the future:

    1) NEVER use the words "math", "physics" or "engineering" to support an argument if you lack the background and expertise to back it up. Many folks on the board do, and they will skewer your ass big time if you are blowing smoke. As I know from experience. As you now know after 2 engineers have revealed that you are a totally clueless dicktard.

    2) NEVER compound the error in #1 above when trashing (or defending for that matter) equipment that you have NO experience actually using yourself. Then, you are not only clueless, but a poseur.

    In the end, you can figure out the advantage bigger hoops have over smaller one when climbing technical terrain without a degree in engineering, math, or physics. You can actually ride bigger wheels (29" and even 27.5") and see for yourself.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  143. #143
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    let's watch the name calling y'all...
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  144. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    Do 29" bikes really climb better than 26" bikes or is it just my bike that's holding me back?
    It's your legs that are holding you back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougie View Post
    It's your legs that are holding you back.
    Not quite there Dougie boy!

    Read my post. On the Spec. Test bike 29'r I climbed sutff my Prophet never did. Stuff the other guys in the group would climb that I couldn't. On the 29'r I was having a much better time and clearing stuff that surprised me. So yeah, I consider the Prophet WAS holding me back. I was really wondering that I had bad technique or lacked strong legs. It was neither, it was the bike. FWIW, most of the guys I ride with are allot younger than me also.
    2016 Trek Remedy 8 29er
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  146. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    I was really wondering that I had bad technique or lacked strong legs. It was neither, it was the bike.
    Whatever floats your boat man. In the end if you're happy on a bike that's what matters. Hearing people blaming their riding ability shortcomings on the bike just gets old after a while.

    Hope you enjoy the new bike.

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    Thanks petercarm for one of the few well-educated responses in here. I didn't have the energy (ha!) to put in that kind of well structured reply, but it was needed.

    People need to understand that under STEADY STATE conditions, where there is no acceleration nor deceleration, wheel size has very little effect on smooth ground. The bigger wheels will tend to weigh a little more for the same strength, so there is some loss there but that's a weight difference with the rider's weight included so the change is very minimal. Without acceleration, it's a linear change.

    Also people need to understand that the larger diameter wheels will have noticeably more inertia even at the same weight, because inertia is proportional to the square of the radius where that mass is. This means two things: it will be tougher to get going, and it will be tougher to stop. The former hurts in climbing ability, the latter helps.

    Geometry of the wheels (angle of attack, etc) has been beaten to death and hopefully everyone understands the benefits/drawbacks there.

    For the record I also hold a mechanical engineering (mechanical design) degree so I'm not just making things up from what I've read on the internet.

  148. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougie View Post
    Whatever floats your boat man. In the end if you're happy on a bike that's what matters. Hearing people blaming their riding ability shortcomings on the bike just gets old after a while..
    Sure dude. It's the motor and not the machine. Always. Who doesn't know that?

    So of course it follows if I can out climb you on a 29'er while you're on a BMX'er it's because I'm stronger and better than you. The bike has nothing to do with it.

    You know what else gets old? Hearing people say "Just pedal harder" is the solution to everything.

    Yes, the motor is paramount, but the right tool for the right job is hugely important. Otherwise there would only be one bike for sale for all purposes.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  149. #149
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    Lighten up Doogie

    Quote Originally Posted by Dougie View Post
    Whatever floats your boat man. In the end if you're happy on a bike that's what matters. Hearing people blaming their riding ability shortcomings on the bike just gets old after a while.

    Hope you enjoy the new bike.
    He wasn't blaming anything on his bike from what I can tell. If you read the "posts" you'd see that he mentioned climbing some sections better on the 29r then he had on the Prophet. Also that there were some techy downhill sections he felt more comfortable railing on the Prophet.

    I say 650B may the ticket, it is for me anyway!
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  150. #150
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    In my terrain I find that tires is very important and I havn't tried a 29er with comparable tires. But bigger weels should roll over roots and rocks easier than 26.

  151. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    I say 650B may the ticket, it is for me anyway!
    Yup, it is. New bike will be a purpose built 650B or a 26'r that can be converted

    With Fox now on board and at least 1 major player producing a 650B bike for 2013 I think the future is looking good for this size wheel. No, it's not a 29'r but for the same size package as a 26" bike seems to do most things easier. At least for me. More tire choices will follow as more 650B bikes are produced. Same as the 29'r craze has shown.
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  152. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    No, it's not a 29'r but for the same size package as a 26" bike seems to do most things easier.
    A bike built for 650b is not the "same size package" as one made for a smaller wheel. You don't get something for nothing...ever.

  153. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigsj View Post
    A bike built for 650b is not the "same size package" as one made for a smaller wheel. You don't get something for nothing...ever.
    Grasping at straws here don't you think? Figure of speech, sorry I didn't word it exactly to your liking but I'll bet you know what I ment. Gotta love the web. A "purpose built" 650B bike might be ever so slightly bigger than than it's 26" cousin. I'm gonna guess most would not feel the difference to be honest. In fact the Jamis 650B1/B2 bikes actually have a short wheelbase for their given size and CS length. The fact is most 26" bikes only need a few mm extra in the CS and SS to be 650B compatable. Nothing like jumping from a 26" bike to a 29'r bike where the difference is very much felt.

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  154. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    Grasping at straws here don't you think? Figure of speech, sorry I didn't word it exactly to your liking but I'll bet you know what I ment.
    I sure did, that's why I responded. You said what you meant.

    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    A "purpose built" 650B bike might be ever so slightly bigger than than it's 26" cousin. I'm gonna guess most would not feel the difference to be honest.
    And yet you can feel the slightly bigger wheel. People "feel" what they want to especially when it comes to 650b. Riders complain about a few millimeters of CS length in the 29er forums ALL the time. It suits their arguments just as this suits yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    In fact the Jamis 650B1/B2 bikes actually have a short wheelbase for their given size and CS length. The fact is most 26" bikes only need a few mm extra in the CS and SS to be 650B compatable. Nothing like jumping from a 26" bike to a 29'r bike where the difference is very much felt.
    Design details of specific frames are irrelevant to the argument you are making. Such tradeoffs can be made for any wheel size.

    Sure, 650b needs less growth over 26" than 29" but it provides less benefit. Whether the extra room exists in a given frame depends on size and intended use. You can find 29ers with similar CS lengths as comparable 26ers. Not always is wheelsize a constraining factor.

    Ultimately, 650b appeals because it is so close to 26" that it can often retrofit into 26" frames. The downside is that it's so close to 26" that it loses much of the value. It appeals to the "something for nothing" crowd.

  155. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    Yup, it is. New bike will be a purpose built 650B or a 26'r that can be converted

    With Fox now on board and at least 1 major player producing a 650B bike for 2013 I think the future is looking good for this size wheel. No, it's not a 29'r but for the same size package as a 26" bike seems to do most things easier. At least for me. More tire choices will follow as more 650B bikes are produced. Same as the 29'r craze has shown.
    I think 650b will be the wheel of choice in the near future. More maneuverable, lower gearing and less flex than a 29er yet better riding than a 26er.
    Killing it with close inspection.

  156. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigsj View Post
    And yet you can feel the slightly bigger wheel. People "feel" what they want to especially when it comes to 650b. Riders complain about a few millimeters of CS length in the 29er forums ALL the time. It suits their arguments just as this suits yours.
    They feel what they "want to", or feel what they, in fact, feel? Since you, apparently, cannot, then anybody who claims they can is either a drama queen or a poseur, correct? It's not that you are a bull in a china shop and anything less than 29" is just too squirrely for you?

    More to the point, have you EVER actually ridden a 650b? If so, where and for how long? If not, why should you have any credibility whatsoever on the subject?

    Ultimately, 650b appeals because it is so close to 26" that it can often retrofit into 26" frames. The downside is that it's so close to 26" that it loses much of the value. It appeals to the "something for nothing" crowd.
    Do all engineers make such sweeping baseless generalities, or only ones who have a certain exaggerated sense of self-importance?

    Here's an idea: Dave Turner thinks 650b will be the next big wave in the mountian bike industry. Why don't you go to over to his forum and do him the favor of warning that you, craigsj, have thoroughly debunked the wheel size, and he should cut his losses immediately. I'm sure he give you all the credit you are due.
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  157. #157
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    OP tangent.....

    Sorry for the hijack skidad, but isn't it so cool this thread has found a "middle ground" with the 650 wheel size becoming a big part of the debate?

    Ok, we can return to our regular scheduled topic now....
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  158. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    They feel what they "want to", or feel what they, in fact, feel? Since you, apparently, cannot, then anybody who claims they can is either a drama queen or a poseur, correct? It's not that you are a bull in a china shop and anything less than 29" is just too squirrely for you?
    Right away with the insults, right dwt? It's always your style.

    I've never said I "cannot", I simply pointed out the selective sensitivity to relatively small changes. It makes no sense to tout the important differences of 650b then pretend that the geometry changes needed for it aren't noticable. It's a case of selective bias, as it always is with 650b and, frankly, pretty much everything else around here.

    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    More to the point, have you EVER actually ridden a 650b? If so, where and for how long? If not, why should you have any credibility whatsoever on the subject?
    More to what point? What credibility do I need? A poster claimed you got benefits from 650b with no increase in bike size, I called him on it, and he backed off the claim. Are you seriously going to refute that by questioning my qualifications?

    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Do all engineers make such sweeping baseless generalities, or only ones who have a certain exaggerated sense of self-importance?
    More insults from dwt. You sure can throw temper tantrums.

    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Here's an idea: Dave Turner thinks 650b will be the next big wave in the mountian bike industry. Why don't you go to over to his forum and do him the favor of warning that you, craigsj, have thoroughly debunked the wheel size, and he should cut his losses immediately. I'm sure he give you all the credit you are due.
    What have I debunked here? You need Dave Turner to fight your battles for you, dwt?

    A few remaining points:

    I personally think Turner is wrong and overly sensationalist with that comment. History will prove otherwise.

    The Turner forum is not "his forum".

    I don't have near the ego you credit me with. That's a case of projection on your part.

    Saying anything that isn't a glowing, fanboy endorsement of 650b always elicits reactions such as this from dwt and others like him. It says more about them than me.

  159. #159
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    It amazes me how ANYBODY can enjoy the sport anymore, what with all the time debating
    a wheel size, just agree to disagree and move on.Ride what you have and enjoy it, do any of you
    think a trail gives a crap about your wheel size?

  160. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    Sorry for the hijack skidad, but isn't it so cool this thread has found a "middle ground" with the 650 wheel size becoming a big part of the debate?

    Ok, we can return to our regular scheduled topic now....
    Middle battle ground is more like it I guess

    Never realized this original question would spiral down into the toilet like it has. I've only been at this mtn. bike thing for 3+ years and have learned a tremendous amount of stuff so far with more to go. (steep learning curve) I have no need to go toe to toe with a D bag troll like craigsj or DC both who seems to enjoy bashing the 650B wheel idea with facts I could care less about. It's another wheels size option and that's all and if you like it great and if not use something else. I never preached it was the be all end all wheel size and never will. The fact is a true 650B bike can be built with absolutely no geometry changes from a 26" bike should a manufacturer wish to do so. Quite a few 26" bikes fit 650B as is right now often improving IMO a to low BB height (and some getting to high as well), some might need a seat stay cross brace slightly relocated, some might need both the seat stay cross brace and the chain stay cross brace moved, some might need the STA steepened so the tire doesn't hit at full bottom out. These could all be done easily by any manufacturer without increasing the frame size at all but yet will still handle the slightly larger 650B wheels so he's really full of crap. Yeah, I agree you might feel the different wheel size but I have felt no negatives and only positives vs a 26'r (and there is no reason to compare it to a 29'r because it isn't one. Maybe in some peoples minds it is. Not mine). Only thing for me was the gearing change I felt and that's easily solved. Everything else was better for my purposes than when it started life as a 26" bike. If anything the 26" wheel should go away not the 650B wheel.
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  161. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    I have no need to go toe to toe with a D bag troll like craigsj or DC both who seems to enjoy bashing the 650B wheel idea with facts I could care less about.
    Yeah, I "bash" with "facts" while you praise with lies, yet you call me a "D bag troll". Good one.

    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    The fact is a true 650B bike can be built with absolutely no geometry changes from a 26" bike should a manufacturer wish to do so.
    That would be true of 29ers as well...should a manufacturer wish to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    These could all be done easily by any manufacturer without increasing the frame size at all but yet will still handle the slightly larger 650B wheels so he's really full of crap.
    So much for not needing to go "toe to toe". People and their sensitive egos...

    If you build bikes identical in every way except wheel size, the larger wheeled bike will be larger overall. That is inescapable. If, on the other hand, you design a bike for a larger wheel yet sell it with a smaller one, the bike won't grow with the larger wheel restored. That's because it's already been made larger. I think those who aren't misty-eyed with their magic-wheel fantasies can see that easily enough.

  162. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    Middle battle ground is more like it I guess

    Never realized this original question would spiral down into the toilet like it has. I've only been at this mtn. bike thing for 3+ years and have learned a tremendous amount of stuff so far with more to go. (steep learning curve) I have no need to go toe to toe with a D bag troll like craigsj or DC both who seems to enjoy bashing the 650B wheel idea with facts I could care less about. It's another wheels size option and that's all and if you like it great and if not use something else. I never preached it was the be all end all wheel size and never will. The fact is a true 650B bike can be built with absolutely no geometry changes from a 26" bike should a manufacturer wish to do so. Quite a few 26" bikes fit 650B as is right now often improving IMO a to low BB height (and some getting to high as well), some might need a seat stay cross brace slightly relocated, some might need both the seat stay cross brace and the chain stay cross brace moved, some might need the STA steepened so the tire doesn't hit at full bottom out. These could all be done easily by any manufacturer without increasing the frame size at all but yet will still handle the slightly larger 650B wheels so he's really full of crap. Yeah, I agree you might feel the different wheel size but I have felt no negatives and only positives vs a 26'r (and there is no reason to compare it to a 29'r because it isn't one. Maybe in some peoples minds it is. Not mine). Only thing for me was the gearing change I felt and that's easily solved. Everything else was better for my purposes than when it started life as a 26" bike. If anything the 26" wheel should go away not the 650B wheel.


    If anything I think the 26er should be left alone, as that's were it all started
    Then people should discuss trails and riding and getting more people involved, as
    opposed to bashing anything other than your personal favorite wheel-size, and
    helping people get on a bike regardless of what it is. Moot's or Motobecane, at least
    they are riding.

  163. #163
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    In the latest issue of Mountainbike or mtbaction magazine they did a review or shootout. They had a jamis 29er, 650b, 26er hardtail all built up with the same frame and components etc... From what I recall the 29er was the Superior bike. But they did say the 26er was more fun and in the hands of a experience rider the 26er was where the show was. They also had good things to say about 650b... check it out

  164. #164
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    Right. Wait!.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Loudviking View Post
    [/B]

    Then people should discuss trails and riding and getting more people involved, as
    opposed to bashing anything other than your personal favorite wheel-size, and
    helping people get on a bike regardless of what it is. Moot's or Motobecane, at least
    they are riding.
    Whaaaa?.....Where's that put me? I've had 650's on both my Moots and Motobecane!
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  165. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    The fact is a true 650B bike can be built with absolutely no geometry changes from a 26" bike should a manufacturer wish to do so.
    While I can understand the sentiment I'm not convinced that the geometry is the same depending on how you define "geometry changes".

    If you go with the basics of BB height, chainstay length, height to top of head tube, effective top tube length, seat tube angle you might have to allow some variation in head tube angle to account for the differences in fork trail.

    Depending on how you feel about things you could demand that the head tube angle be the same, but then the fork trail differs. You could keep fork trail the same and then the head angle will have to be steeper, at which point there may be an effect on wheelbase.

    So although you can get the geometry to be close to the same it wouldn't be identical.

  166. #166
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    Can't we all just get along?
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  167. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5power View Post
    In the latest issue of Mountainbike or mtbaction magazine they did a review or shootout. They had a jamis 29er, 650b, 26er hardtail all built up with the same frame and components etc... From what I recall the 650b was the Superior bike. But they did say the 26er was more fun and in the hands of a experience rider the 26er was where the show was. They also had good things to say about 29er... check it out
    Fixed it for ya.

    Link to the article
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  168. #168
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    And for those interested in the 650B wheel idea (and maybe even if you're not) here is their pretty much glowing review of the 2011 Dakar 650B 2. Ok yeah, it's MBA so make your own conclusions. I did and now I own one. Ride what you like and be happy. I'm sure at some point there will be a 29'r in my stable but I'm digging the 650 size right now.

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  169. #169
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    Climbing is just an unfortunate byproduct of descending. And there is not replacement for wheel travel for descending. And 29r bikes with longer - 150mm+ travel made to fit an average person - they are just too frigging big.

    And for a hard tail - 29r are so-o three years ago. Cool kids are now building fat bikes. Same wheel diameter as 29r.

  170. #170
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    Tech DH on 29er feels like riding in a canoe. Lean into a corner hard, and you're riding a limp soggy noodle. No thanks. Anyone remember Biopace, or Flexstem? 29er soon to fallow.

  171. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by djball View Post
    Tech DH on 29er feels like riding in a canoe. Lean into a corner hard, and you're riding a limp soggy noodle. No thanks. Anyone remember Biopace, or Flexstem? 29er soon to fallow.
    I'm noticing mfg's who didn't jump on 29ers fast enough seem to be all about the 650b's now and will chase that size pretty hard. Let's face it 26" hard tails are an endangered species now and it's a matter of time before the big boys push 650 as superior as they go after the next big thing.

    29er will continue to rule the xc rides and races, the big wheels just roll so much better and more so as lighter wheels keep coming. But for 130mm-170mm category I see the 650 market gaining some ground. My Tallboy is the go to for 90% of my rides (over Nomad) but a carbon 140mm 29er that is 26 pounds or less could be the ultimate big trail/am bike ticket and my 26" bike stable would be gone. Not sure I would want to go or need to go bigger that that.

  172. #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Definitely type of bike way before type of wheel.
    Disagee, and way disagree with the word way:

    Two specific examples:

    In World Cup x-c racing, the 29" wheel size is generally superior for the intended purpose. Unless your name is Absalon, a 26'er no matter how configured is a disadvantage.

    Downhillers will stick to 26". The wheel size is limited by sus. travel.

    The truth is that all bikes are a complete packages which encompass numerous variables, including wheel size, including tire choice, including tube or tubeless, including HT, ST and CS geometry, including fork travel, including rear suspension travel (if any), including stem length, including drivetrain, etc.

    Surely each may be considered as isolated variables, but the bottom line is the complete package and how that package either complements or hinders a particular riders style, ability and choice of terrain.
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  173. #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    I'm noticing mfg's who didn't jump on 29ers fast enough seem to be all about the 650b's now and will chase that size pretty hard. Let's face it 26" hard tails are an endangered species now and it's a matter of time before the big boys push 650 as superior as they go after the next big thing.

    29er will continue to rule the xc rides and races, the big wheels just roll so much better and more so as lighter wheels keep coming. But for 130mm-170mm category I see the 650 market gaining some ground. My Tallboy is the go to for 90% of my rides (over Nomad) but a carbon 140mm 29er that is 26 pounds or less could be the ultimate big trail/am bike ticket and my 26" bike stable would be gone. Not sure I would want to go or need to go bigger that that.
    Ready, set, here we go (1/26/2012) Fox, RockShox, DT-Swiss, Schwalbe and Others Develop 650b gear | The Straight Dirt | MountainBike.com
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  174. #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    Middle battle ground is more like it I guess

    Never realized this original question would spiral down into the toilet like it has. I've only been at this mtn. bike thing for 3+ years and have learned a tremendous amount of stuff so far with more to go. (steep learning curve) I have no need to go toe to toe with a D bag troll like craigsj or DC both who seems to enjoy bashing the 650B wheel idea with facts I could care less about. It's another wheels size option and that's all and if you like it great and if not use something else. I never preached it was the be all end all wheel size and never will. The fact is a true 650B bike can be built with absolutely no geometry changes from a 26" bike should a manufacturer wish to do so. Quite a few 26" bikes fit 650B as is right now often improving IMO a to low BB height (and some getting to high as well), some might need a seat stay cross brace slightly relocated, some might need both the seat stay cross brace and the chain stay cross brace moved, some might need the STA steepened so the tire doesn't hit at full bottom out. These could all be done easily by any manufacturer without increasing the frame size at all but yet will still handle the slightly larger 650B wheels so he's really full of crap. Yeah, I agree you might feel the different wheel size but I have felt no negatives and only positives vs a 26'r (and there is no reason to compare it to a 29'r because it isn't one. Maybe in some peoples minds it is. Not mine). Only thing for me was the gearing change I felt and that's easily solved. Everything else was better for my purposes than when it started life as a 26" bike. If anything the 26" wheel should go away not the 650B wheel.
    My middle ground solution(I like the 650B concept) is a 26"er but with a 2.3 up front with a 2.15 in the rear(Like my dirtbikes) with 29er gearing 20x36 for my crawer gear.

    Anyone remenber the 23" front wheels on dirtbikes?
    Last edited by S_Trek; 01-27-2012 at 05:06 PM.
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  175. #175
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    Hey Skidad can you try or compare same suspension bikes? I mean, you are comparing a 650? or 26 single pivot that will sag and sit low on climbs with a 29er with brain and horst link
    Bike that don't sit low in the rear always make limbing easier IMO
    Try an epic 26 Vs epic 29er and see if its the suspension OR wheel size
    my .02$
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  176. #176
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    In thread so chiming in

    Quote Originally Posted by BBW View Post
    Hey Skidad can you try or compare same suspension bikes? I mean, you are comparing a 650? or 26 single pivot that will sag and sit low on climbs with a 29er with brain and horst link
    Bike that don't sit low in the rear always make limbing easier IMO
    Try an epic 26 Vs epic 29er and see if its the suspension OR wheel size
    my .02$
    Cheers
    Are you saying a 26" Epic climbs as good/bettter as 29r? Serious question as I have some time on 26, 650 and 29rs and been contemplating building up a 650 Epic or Superlight. Granted different suspension types but same principal. Midsize wheels for compromising abilities!
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  177. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    Are you saying a 26" Epic climbs as good/bettter as 29r? Serious question as I have some time on 26, 650 and 29rs and been contemplating building up a 650 Epic or Superlight. Granted different suspension types but same principal. Midsize wheels for compromising abilities!
    I think that the answer of that depends on the rider and terrain but I would compare apples to apples anyway to rule out that Skidad was "shocked" by the wheel size and not the suspension. Do you know what I mean?
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  178. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBW View Post
    Hey Skidad can you try or compare same suspension bikes? I mean, you are comparing a 650? or 26 single pivot that will sag and sit low on climbs with a 29er with brain and horst link
    Bike that don't sit low in the rear always make limbing easier IMO
    Try an epic 26 Vs epic 29er and see if its the suspension OR wheel size
    my .02$
    Cheers
    Yeah, you're right. I think I mentioned something like that in one of my posts. It's a bit more apples to apples with at least the same suspension and really that's what I was hoping for. I know the 29" wheels have an effect but how much is the big question. I'm gonna keep trying as many bikes as I can but in the mean time I've bought a leftover 2011 Jamis Dakar 650 B2. Could not say no to the deal. I was close to getting a Mojo HD140 (which converts to 650B quite nicely and now has the Ibis blessing even) but the entry point was just to high for me. The reviews for the B2 have been stellar so we will see. If nothing else struggling with the Prophet at times will make life with the new improved bike even better. I'm keeping the Prophet because other than the really technical climbing it's a fun and reliable bike that can take a real beating. Also converts between 26" and 650B seamlessly. I also see a 29'r something or other in my future at some point.
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  179. #179
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    I love my 29 and 26 so I really dont think I would not like a 650b.LIke someone said everything is a compromise.Finding which compromise that benefits you best is the hard part sometimes,and costly.I really benefit from both wheel sizes depending on certain trails and I can have fun,and be fast on both.I dont need a physics degree to understand that,a stopwatch is all I need.

  180. #180
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    I saw my first MTB race this weekend here in Texas. I was impressed at how the 29er's climbed over ledges. Not enough to get me to drink the cool-aid though...

  181. #181
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    Yup. I have a 650B 140mm fs but it's more on the lines of a trail bike vs zippy climbing race bike.
    And yes I was inferring 26-29 Epics for apples-apples wheel comparison.

    Coincidently on same topic, I rode my 575 Yeti w/26 rr-650 fr wheel on Sat, and my light 29" 1x9 zippy ht Sunday, and for some reason I had some better climbing segment times on the Yeti but overall during ride felt like I was crushing all of them on the ht. Weird
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  182. #182
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    Guys, can a 5'4" guy like myself be able to manage a 29er especially for climbing? From where l am, we have no LBS where we can test ride a bike; we instead order and pay first before fitting. Pathetic but that's the way it is. Your helpful inputs will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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    Hello all, lurked here for quite some time and thought I would finally chip in with a post. I look forward to learning from you all and contributing what I can to what has always been a great forum!

    That said, I got back into biking awhile back when 29ers were getting popular. I got a hard tail and started slowly pedaling the local trails. At 6' and about 220#, I certainly don't consider myself much of an uphiller but the 29er served me well and seemed to really hold momentum on flats and hills that weren't too steep. Being relatively new and in no x-country shape, I just chalked up my struggle on the steeper uphills to being inexperienced. When I graduated up to a full susser 29er I had gotten stronger as a pedaler and could clean more uphills than when I first started, but that is par for the course.

    For some odd reason, however, I recently got hooked on downhilling and thought a built 26er all mountain rig would better suit me on my local trails when I wasn't on my downhill bike at the resorts. Picked up a good deal Santa Cruz and have pedaled it on most the same trails I used my 29er on. For whatever reason, I seem to hold my momentum uphill just as good or better with the 26" wheels as I could with the 29".

    Personally, I can't say this is because of the different-sized wheels because there are too many variables: The bikes are geared differently, different geometry, different tires, different weight, etc. Like other posters have said, get the bike that feels right for you and you alone. Grab up some of your buddies' bikes and try them out; I am sure they will let you and everyone has different brands, models, sizes. The advantages of a 26er, in my opinion, is that parts are a lot cheaper than ones for a 29er.

  184. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginbilog View Post
    Guys, can a 5'4" guy like myself be able to manage a 29er especially for climbing? From where l am, we have no LBS where we can test ride a bike; we instead order and pay first before fitting. Pathetic but that's the way it is. Your helpful inputs will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
    I'd get a 26". The conditions where the physics benefit a 29er enough that it really matters that much are fairly limited. On the other hand, being shorter, a 26er should have better geometry and that should positively impact your riding more often.

    Unless everything you ride is rough, rocky, rooted, but otherwise not very tight or technical terrain, then I say stick with 26.

  185. #185
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    Ginbilog
    You should be able to find a frame that fits all right, the problem is the seat height in relation to headset. If you want a more agressive lower bar than seat position, you may find it hard.

  186. #186
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    Or go 650B

    Quote Originally Posted by Sh4wn View Post
    I'd get a 26". The conditions where the physics benefit a 29er enough that it really matters that much are fairly limited. On the other hand, being shorter, a 26er should have better geometry and that should positively impact your riding more often.

    Unless everything you ride is rough, rocky, rooted, but otherwise not very tight or technical terrain, then I say stick with 26.
    Just say'n.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  187. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginbilog View Post
    Guys, can a 5'4" guy like myself be able to manage a 29er especially for climbing? From where l am, we have no LBS where we can test ride a bike; we instead order and pay first before fitting. Pathetic but that's the way it is. Your helpful inputs will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
    Hardtail or FS? I would think it is feasible to fit a hardtail, personally, I would forget about FS 29r (I am 5'8", and I feel I like I barely fit short travel ones.). There are people around who disagree, I do not think they are right. I looks and feels odd to set bike that way, and I do not feel it is worth it.

    I ride my 26" bikes just fine, and love them and typical S size (something like 22.5" ett) should fit you just fine. There is nothing wrong with those wheels, fit is hundred times more important.

  188. #188
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    ^i agree, at 5'4'' a 29er would be pushing it imo. any wheel size can get it done, all in a similar way, the deciding factor should be fit.

  189. #189
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    Flip stem

    Quote Originally Posted by cabbgage View Post
    the problem is the seat height in relation to headset. If you want a more agressive lower bar than seat position, you may find it hard.
    Flat bar. No prob. Typical geo for 29'rs now is "sit in" vs "sit on" so the "traditional" high seat/low bars doesn't apply much. YOMV tho.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  190. #190
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    MTB Action did a review of the three tire sizes last March. They picked the best wheel, the 27.5". Each wheel size has benefits, tried them all, but I tend to agree with the findings above.
    Quote Originally Posted by k1creeker View Post
    "yeah, she's fat, but you'd take her for a ride." :D

  191. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginbilog View Post
    Guys, can a 5'4" guy like myself be able to manage a 29er especially for climbing? From where l am, we have no LBS where we can test ride a bike; we instead order and pay first before fitting. Pathetic but that's the way it is. Your helpful inputs will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
    I'm 5'4" and have been on 29ers for three years. I've owned a rigid steel single speed and a small Turner Sultan. I now own a medium Sultan and a small Yelli Screamy. My 5'5" brother also rides 29ers. Don't buy into the crap that they are only for tall people.
    Evil Following
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  192. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by tortfeasor View Post
    Don't buy into the crap that they are only for tall people.
    Opinion that is different than yours is not crap.

    Just as well it can be stated not to buy into crap that 29" give you any advantage, especially when fitted to smaller people.

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    Thanks for the replies masters; the long lingering question in my mind has gained at least some answers. I currently own a hardtail Giant Revel 26er, sized small. Fits me quite well, but if I shift to a 29er, I'm afraid its full potential wouldn't be met, even if it also fits me. We have lots of climbing up hills, but none of the hardcore stuff (gnarly, rocky, rooty paths) you guys regularly go onto. One thing is for sure though, there are small guys like me out here who are happy with their 29ers....

  194. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-FXR View Post
    MTB Action did a review of the three tire sizes last March. They picked the best wheel, the 27.5". Each wheel size has benefits, tried them all, but I tend to agree with the findings above.
    Of course they did ... It's the next thing to be pushed at people with $$$

    Leveling the playing field, and looking at only climbing ability (think pavement), the bike with the lowest gearing and best traction is always going to win the climbing battle.

    Throw in varied terrain, different bikes with different geometries, and various other factors, and you really can't do more than develop an opinion that is based on personal perspective.

    Ride what fits and suits you best ... There's a good reason we don't buy full size bikes for 5 year olds.

  195. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    Of course they did ... It's the next thing to be pushed at people with $$$

    Leveling the playing field, and looking at only climbing ability (think pavement), the bike with the lowest gearing and best traction is always going to win the climbing battle.

    Throw in varied terrain, different bikes with different geometries, and various other factors, and you really can't do more than develop an opinion that is based on personal perspective.

    Ride what fits and suits you best ... There's a good reason we don't buy full size bikes for 5 year olds.
    After riding all three sizes I came to the similar conclusions, not because of an agenda. YMMV
    Quote Originally Posted by k1creeker View Post
    "yeah, she's fat, but you'd take her for a ride." :D

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    If you're buying new technology as an investment, then you are a fool. If you're buying to feel and experience it, then you got your money's worth.

    Feel for what is right takes a few years and a few bikes to develop. Not everyone has it, yet.

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    I own two fully rigid single speeds, one 29er and one 26er, both of similar weight low to mid 20 lb range. Both climb well...they are geared the same. On rocky trails I hands down prefer the 29er as it rolls much better over chunky terrain, more momentum for sure and less work climbing. On smooth trails, it's much harder to notice a difference.

    Downhill is were I notice the biggest difference, the 29er is easier to go fast on and carry speed into corners without getting squirrely.....I have to pay more attention on the 26" to keep it from getting away from me at the same speed....My preference for most rides? The 29er without a doubt.

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    What is the best wheel size? I think that is like asking what is the best travel length. As the sport develops bike we get more options. When mountain biking started it was just rigid bikes with 26" wheels. Now you have dirt jumpers, xc, trail, all mountain, freeride, downhill, and more. For some applications rigid is the best, 4", 5", 6", 8" or whatever travel all have their proper place. I think wheel size just gives us more options to build the right bike. 26, 27.5 or 29 is more a choice of which works best for a particular application.

  199. #199
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbeagle View Post
    What is the best wheel size? I think that is like asking what is the best travel length. As the sport develops bike we get more options. When mountain biking started it was just rigid bikes with 26" wheels. Now you have dirt jumpers, xc, trail, all mountain, freeride, downhill, and more. For some applications rigid is the best, 4", 5", 6", 8" or whatever travel all have their proper place. I think wheel size just gives us more options to build the right bike. 26, 27.5 or 29 is more a choice of which works best for a particular application.
    It depends.
    29" is definitely faster. Recently, my wife and I did a little non-scientific test of going down the straight, asphalt slope. She on a 26" SC Chameleon, Im on a 29" SC Highball. On top of the hill, we both put our feet up and let ourselves go down the hill, and I won. Then we eschanged the bikes, then she won.
    However 26" makes me want to do tight corners, jumps, wheelies, bunny hops, etc. My Turner Spot was THE BEST at it. On a 29", I feel myself too old to do such stunts.

  200. #200
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanadaracing View Post
    It depends.
    29" is definitely faster. Recently, my wife and I did a little non-scientific test of going down the straight, asphalt slope. She on a 26" SC Chameleon, Im on a 29" SC Highball. On top of the hill, we both put our feet up and let ourselves go down the hill, and I won. Then we eschanged the bikes, then she won.
    However 26" makes me want to do tight corners, jumps, wheelies, bunny hops, etc. My Turner Spot was THE BEST at it. On a 29", I feel myself too old to do such stunts.
    Exactly. Different size wheels are suited to different uses.

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