Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    For mid-travel bikes 4.5-6" of travel, is everything moving to 27.5"? I thought I read something to the effect that orders of 26" tires from dealers have been dead in the water while sales of 27.5" tire have been on fire. That sounded somewhat unlikely given the low number of 27.5" wheels that must be currently in use, but it got me to start thinking about the future of 26" vs 27.5" wheels. I'm thinking about waiting to see how everything shakes out with 27.5" and what new bikes come out in that wheel size.

    I've tried several 29" bikes last year and disliked all of them as they felt so clumsy other than when going in a straight line. I tried a 27.5" SC Bronson and could definitely feel that the 27.5" rolled better than a 26" wheel without losing much in agility.

  2. #2
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    my guess is 650b will take over in the trail/ am catagory but 26'' bikes of any variety will never go away.

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    Aslong as there is a diverse rider base we will have options. As the number of riders decreas so will options. Leaving us with what ever the most cost effective one to produce is...



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    About 2 weeks ago I visited a few shops here in SLC, UT. Seemed like all but the freeride/DH oriented one had pretty much given up on 26" tires (not bikes, but tires). 2/3 to 3/4 of their stock was 29er.

    So much for supporting the LBS if I have to go online to buy tires. And I'm not buying a new $3000+ bike because I can't find a $50 tire.

  5. #5
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    Doubt there's much of a future for 26" wheels, except for a few niche markets like dual slalom/dirt jump, maybe downhill bikes for at least a few years, and unicycles...lol. I wouldn't be surprised if the major manufacturers drop their 26" lines for the most part in the next 2 years. Maybe you'll see a few city-cruiser types in that size, but otherwise I'll predict wal-mart will be where you'll find 26" mountain bikes (until they too change). It's just too costly to have 3 different wheel sizes and 27.5 solves the problem for some of the riders that 29 couldn't. The two sizes will be 29 and 27.5. And there is plenty of stock, molds, machine equipment and everything else in support of 26 so that it will be around for quite a few years to come. Supplies will possibly get low well into the future (many years), but I predict it will always be available due to those niche markets where it will still exist, just that it will be in shorter supply with less options and possibly higher price. By the time this is the case, no one will care likely (5-10 years).
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  6. #6
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    A 650b frame is just a 26er with good mud clearance*, I can see lot's of 'under wheeled' bikes popping up in the near future.

    * I rode a Bronson with 650 then 26 wheels this weekend, honestly couldn't tell the difference.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Doubt there's much of a future for 26" wheels, except for a few niche markets like dual slalom/dirt jump, maybe downhill bikes for at least a few years, and unicycles...lol. I wouldn't be surprised if the major manufacturers drop their 26" lines for the most part in the next 2 years. Maybe you'll see a few city-cruiser types in that size, but otherwise I'll predict wal-mart will be where you'll find 26" mountain bikes (until they too change). It's just too costly to have 3 different wheel sizes and 27.5 solves the problem for some of the riders that 29 couldn't. The two sizes will be 29 and 27.5. And there is plenty of stock, molds, machine equipment and everything else in support of 26 so that it will be around for quite a few years to come. Supplies will possibly get low well into the future (many years), but I predict it will always be available due to those niche markets where it will still exist, just that it will be in shorter supply with less options and possibly higher price. By the time this is the case, no one will care likely (5-10 years).
    What exactly is the problem you speak of? As far as I see it, 29ers didn't solve any problems. 29ers took advantage of momentum with the cost of agility, which works perfectly for some, and not for others. It could also be body dimensions, as I see a lot of taller guys riding 29ers, where they felt too big on 26" before. And I don't care what reviews you read, manualling and hopping any 29er will always be more awkward than the same geo bike with 26" wheels. If a wheel size takes care of a riding problem, I think the problem lies with skill, rather than the design of the bike.. I finally rode a Bronson and I cannot dis the bike in any way, but I did not feel "faster" or "better" or anything more than my SB66, but then again I haven't ridden anything that compares to the SB66. The only thing I felt was the new, different bike feel. I will ride 26" until I no longer can, which sadly, seems to be coming sooner than I had ever thought...

    The bike industry has to make money. If they didn't come out with new standards every year like tapered headtubes, new iscg tab sizes, forcing people to 15mm TA rather than 20mm, etc. that are "proven to make you 16% faster and 14% lighter" than we wouldn't have the technology that actually does make the bikes better. Just my 2 cents...

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    I was riding when they first tried to push 29's in the 90's .... they were lame then & they are lame now! 27.5 is pure marketing hype nothing more. There will always be good 26 tires & wheels available ... think about it you can still get quality 24" wheels & tires & they have been out of the main stream for years.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangaroo View Post
    What exactly is the problem you speak of? As far as I see it, 29ers didn't solve any problems. 29ers took advantage of momentum with the cost of agility, which works perfectly for some, and not for others. It could also be body dimensions, as I see a lot of taller guys riding 29ers, where they felt too big on 26" before. And I don't care what reviews you read, manualling and hopping any 29er will always be more awkward than the same geo bike with 26" wheels. If a wheel size takes care of a riding problem, I think the problem lies with skill, rather than the design of the bike.. I finally rode a Bronson and I cannot dis the bike in any way, but I did not feel "faster" or "better" or anything more than my SB66, but then again I haven't ridden anything that compares to the SB66. The only thing I felt was the new, different bike feel. I will ride 26" until I no longer can, which sadly, seems to be coming sooner than I had ever thought...

    The bike industry has to make money. If they didn't come out with new standards every year like tapered headtubes, new iscg tab sizes, forcing people to 15mm TA rather than 20mm, etc. that are "proven to make you 16% faster and 14% lighter" than we wouldn't have the technology that actually does make the bikes better. Just my 2 cents...
    And then came carbon rims and other advancements that made the bigger wheels easier to accelerate, while still rolling better over things. Yes, major manufacturers may stop selling mainstream 26" bikes soon. No, you will not have any problem getting parts and wheels for years to come. Is 26 the best just because you are used to it? Because it's what most of us started on? Was it ever "designed" for off-road? Who knows, but 29" is here to stay. It's not going anywhere and has become solidly entrenched in the XC market. If you notice, 26 bikes were already getting fairly rare in the hardtail market, with most going to 29. Now the other choice will be 27.5, and it will be more consistent with the rest of the line-up.
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  10. #10
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    I personally felt 27.5 was the worst of both worlds when I demo'd. Heavier and sluggish compared to 26" but didn't roll noticeably better. I've heard this sentiment echoed by a lot of non-marketing people.

    Of course, many people will let the marketers tell them what to ride.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    I personally felt 27.5 was the worst of both worlds when I demo'd. Heavier and sluggish compared to 26" but didn't roll noticeably better. I've heard this sentiment echoed by a lot of non-marketing people.

    Of course, many people will let the marketers tell them what to ride.
    To each thier own. More options more better

  12. #12
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    The 29er didn't solve any problems for ME anyhow (I think 29ers, along with 650b solves some problems for the market - via creating a new fad, next best, or new black).

    I have fun on my 29er, but not sure it allows me to do anything I can't on my 26. Makes pumping small transitions on a trail a bit of challenge, but I can do it. Rolling over steeps is a little different, popping into a manual and maintaining it is a bit harder - but I can manage, tight tech moves are more of a challenge because there's just more bike to negotiate. Because mine is a overbuilt XC model, I stay away from bigger drops and jumps, but I'm comfortable enough to hit most of them. I prefer my 29er for more XC oriented rides because its a lighter build than my 26, but if I had the same thing set up as a 26er - I'd probably get rid of the big wheels. Going to 29 reminded me of when I first tried to ride a mountain bike after spending 15 years riding bmx/street on a 20 inch bike.

    (Maybe I shouldn't describe it as "more difficult" but just different, as I can do most everything on the 29er than I can on the smaller bike. For a while, I figured it might make me a better rider, but it really only made me good at riding the same terrain on two different wheel sizes).

    Suppose at some point I'll try the 650b thing out of curiosity - but not tilll they sort through a few geometry fads first. For now, I'm not finding deficiencies with my 26 setups - so I don't see the need to switch to 650...

    BUT adding another ride to the stable is almost always a great idea...
    Last edited by jhazard; 07-08-2013 at 08:19 AM. Reason: Landsharks
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangaroo View Post
    If a wheel size takes care of a riding problem, I think the problem lies with skill, rather than the design of the bike..
    What he said...
    The overwhelming majority of riders in my area (SE PA) are on 29ers. Those that had skills on 26" wheels, still have those skills on the 29er.

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    That's it, I'm throwing out my brand new bike with 26" wheels in the garbage as soon as I get home. Why didn't somebody tell me!!

    Actually, I did like the 650B wheels. I just didn't like the bikes they were on as much. Of course, now Ibis has come out with a 650B varient for the Mojo. . .go figure.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by reformed roadie View Post
    What he said...
    The overwhelming majority of riders in my area (SE PA) are on 29ers. Those that had skills on 26" wheels, still have those skills on the 29er.
    Agree with this 100%. I am usually the only one in a group riding a 26" bike. Pretty crazy. What is scarier is that if you go to the LBS, there are almost no MTBs anymore. Talking to the shops I have been told that MTBers are too cheap, buy everything on the internet and want it installed for pennies. Only low end kids stuff. The whole industry is changing.
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Agree with this 100%. I am usually the only one in a group riding a 26" bike. Pretty crazy. What is scarier is that if you go to the LBS, there are almost no MTBs anymore. Talking to the shops I have been told that MTBers are too cheap, buy everything on the internet and want it installed for pennies. Only low end kids stuff. The whole industry is changing.
    LOL...my LBS is primarily mountain and a mix of 26" and 29". They are probably the premier bike ship in Atlanta.

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    I'm waiting for the 650b/26 tweener bikes to come into fashion. 27.5 up front and 26 in the back. Seriously if you think about it there's really no need except for aesthetics to have the same size wheels on both the front and rear. 26er in the rear would shorted the chainstay while 27.5 up front would gobble up any bumps. It would be the ideal combination.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemonaid View Post
    I'm waiting for the 650b/26 tweener bikes to come into fashion. 27.5 up front and 26 in the back. Seriously if you think about it there's really no need except for aesthetics to have the same size wheels on both the front and rear. 26er in the rear would shorted the chainstay while 27.5 up front would gobble up any bumps. It would be the ideal combination.
    Won't happen. Doesn't have the appealing name of the 69er.

    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes-slorence764_2071_600.jpg

    The Tween6er sounds awful.

    Took a demo on a Bronson this season. It was a fun bike, but I don't think that was strictly because of the wheels. They're only a portion of the equation. I hope that 26" trail bikes stay around forever, but I think the tweeners will start winning out. Cyclists really enjoy buying stuff.

  19. #19
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    I don't have a clue how sales on 27.5 are going but I have a feeling many people are not ready for an in-between size that doesn't offer substantial advantages over 26 inches. Given people are slow to change their habits and 29ers have needed a while to take off, I'm surprised most manufacturers dropped their 26inch bikes. My guess is that their sales will go down in the short term, but I'd like to see some real numbers.

    Peopel in my area are not even on par with regards to 29er availability. The shops carry little to no 29er tires, it's a shame.
    Beware the hucking bear!

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    I just recently started riding again after a few years away from biking & was surprised that most of the local shops in my area have totally drank the 29'er cool-aid & are actively against 26'ers ... IMHO this is stupid & also means I hardly buy anything local.

    It was pretty funny Listening to the ridiculous sales pitch for the 29'ers 99% of which was total BS .... I do think 29"s have their place ... just not anywhere I ride there are a lot of gullible people out there that buy anything the shops or mags tell them to buy. If Specialized came out with a bike with A 20" on the rear & a 29" on the front, paid a pro to win on it & the mags to say how great it was .... a stunning amount of people would line up to buy it .... scary.

    I have a 2013 Transition Covert 26 BTW can't imagine it being any better with different wheels.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    LOL...my LBS is primarily mountain and a mix of 26" and 29". They are probably the premier bike ship in Atlanta.
    Well, that is pretty cool. There are still a few shops around here that are MTB specific but they are becoming rarer and rarer. Around here (SE PA), the shops seem to support the road/tri market manly. More old guys with money doing triathlons than hitting the trails.
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemonaid View Post
    I'm waiting for the 650b/26 tweener bikes to come into fashion. 27.5 up front and 26 in the back. Seriously if you think about it there's really no need except for aesthetics to have the same size wheels on both the front and rear. 26er in the rear would shorted the chainstay while 27.5 up front would gobble up any bumps. It would be the ideal combination.
    Hi Mr. Lemonaid,

    That is what I said when I added a 650b wheel to my bike a little over 2 years ago. Here is what I wrote about it then:

    Stop Talking…Close the Forum…Keep the Secret!
    Originally Posted by michaelsnead

    Hey Folks,

    Here is my shopping list:

    ZTR Flow 650b - 32 Hole Black - NEW $93.00
    Stan's 35mm Valve Stem With Rim $4.00
    Pacenti Neo-Moto 650b x 2.3 Tire $49.27
    DT Swiss 240s Front 20mm Thru Axle $188.48
    Magura Storm SL Rotor $29.95
    Shipping $18.00
    Spokes $32.00
    Wheel Build $40.00
    $454.70

    Well I finally got this wheel built and rode it the last three days. Those rides included playing on my home grown bike park, a tour of the local XC loop and a classic AM ride featuring a long climb followed by a fast DH run back to the car.

    Based on the benefits I enjoyed on those rides I’m only kidding a little bit about the title of the thread. I’d really like to keep this secret weapon from the hands of my buddies. I want them to think I’ve suddenly acquired some skills instead of having found a technological breakthrough.

    Back in 2005 I said this about the Gravity Dropper adjustable seat post in a review I posted on this site. At that time, to my knowledge, they were the only current manufacturer of a product like this:

    “It is not often that you can say that you were there and participated when a sport experiences a revolutionary jump due to a change in the equipment design or material. It is always a moment when after it happens you wonder why it didn’t happen before the moment it did. If you skied when shaped skis came out or kayaked when planning hulls were introduced you know exactly what I mean. I believe that, with this product, mountain biking is about to go through a similar experience to both of those sports. Shaped skis and planning hulls dominate their respective sports and I believe that it won’t be long before GravityDropper has that same position in the world of mountain biking. The benefits that the product brings to the rider are such that it warrants that level of acceptance. To poorly paraphrase Warren Miller you want to buy one of these now because if you wait you’ll only be a year older when you do.”

    Now, there are 8-10 companies competing with Gravity Dropper and adjustable seat posts are one of the hottest products in the mountain bike world.

    After what I just experienced I’m seeing the introduction of a 650B front wheel to a traditional 26 inch mountain bike to be another revolutionary jump similar to the ones I described above!

    Therefore I propose we keep this secret between us….except for a few friends!

    Because the older I get the more advantages I need!!

    My sincere thanks to all of you who supplied the information and support I needed to play in this sandbox!!!

    Take care, have fun, be safe!!!!


    Here are some pictures of my ride:
    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes-michaels-bike-002.jpg

    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes-michaels-bike-003.jpg

    Have fun however you get dirty,


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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil View Post
    I don't have a clue how sales on 27.5 are going but I have a feeling many people are not ready for an in-between size that doesn't offer substantial advantages over 26 inches. Given people are slow to change their habits and 29ers have needed a while to take off, I'm surprised most manufacturers dropped their 26inch bikes. My guess is that their sales will go down in the short term, but I'd like to see some real numbers.

    Peopel in my area are not even on par with regards to 29er availability. The shops carry little to no 29er tires, it's a shame.
    I'd argue that the in-between size DOES offer substantial advantages. The downsides are minimal for most people, with benefits that appeal to most people. It makes sense from a marketing standpoint to eliminate the 26" wheel for cross-country and trail applications, since the advantages of bigger wheels lend themselves perfectly to trail applications. Dirt jumpers and freeriders generally don't benefit from larger wheels, so there will always be a demand for 26" wheels. Downhill is interesting, but they will see the benefits to larger wheels in the near future, I believe.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    I personally felt 27.5 was the worst of both worlds when I demo'd. Heavier and sluggish compared to 26" but didn't roll noticeably better. I've heard this sentiment echoed by a lot of non-marketing people.

    Of course, many people will let the marketers tell them what to ride.
    I personally feel that 27.5" wheels are perfect for most trail and all-mountain applications. Roll better than a 26" wheel, but retain more agility and playfulness than a 29er. Worst of both worlds? What is your riding style and terrain? Do you log in miles of rolling terrain with a bunch of twisty turns and switchbacks randomly thrown in? You must be riding at the extremes of trail riding... I ride a bit of everything, and 27.5 is a perfect compromise for my trail riding. I don't choose my wheelsize based on marketing, but I won't limit my choices on the opinions of others, either.

  25. #25
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    Different horses for different courses. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Anyone who disagrees has not ridden each wheel size enough over different trails. The size of the rider also matters.

    Where will the industry go...

    I'd guess the industry will give the middle of the road, trail bike category, over to the 275. 29" will take over most of th xc realm. That leaves a smaller share for the 26".

    Personally, I really like a 275 out back. On rugged, natural, non-buffed trails 26" wheels do lack roll-over and I find they "spin-down" too quickly in the chunk. I know that sounds cliche but it is true. 29" wheels take a lot less energy to keep rolling through chunky trails but are bit flexy and bulky for AM riding . The limiting factor in an experienced rider's arsenal is usually not skil, but rather energy. Anything that helps buffer that very weak link has a lot of merit. A 275 out back and a 29 up front works well for me, at my size, on my trails. Never tried a 275 on both ends but am eager to do so.

  26. #26
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    Topics like this make me happy to own a single speed...

    Just ride...

    Theres no debate cause no one has facts

    And of you like somthing..... well thats just like your opionin man

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    I personally feel that 27.5" wheels are perfect for most trail and all-mountain applications. Roll better than a 26" wheel, but retain more agility and playfulness than a 29er. Worst of both worlds? What is your riding style and terrain? Do you log in miles of rolling terrain with a bunch of twisty turns and switchbacks randomly thrown in? You must be riding at the extremes of trail riding... I ride a bit of everything, and 27.5 is a perfect compromise for my trail riding. I don't choose my wheelsize based on marketing, but I won't limit my choices on the opinions of others, either.
    Pretty standard singletrack. Good flow, LOTS of rocks and roots. Great stuff.

    Look, I know it REALLY hurts a lot of people's feelings when someone tries the latest and greatest and doesn't declare it to be the next coming of Jesus. I just wrote what I felt.

    When I was looking to buy a new bike last year, I had no agenda other than buying the bike that felt the best for my terrain. I took a VERY rare approach to the process: I demo'd all three wheel sizes on my local trails. Yeah, I know, crazy I had no pre-conceived notion of what I wanted because I hadn't ridden since 2006. I had no reason to convince myself that my current bike was the best because my current bike was six years old and barely rideable.

    Actually, I lied a bit. I did have a pre-conceived notion: I demo'd bikes at a bike expo with the thought of proving to myself that the newest technology, 650b wheels, was the best for me. I wanted a 650b bike because I thought it was cutting edge and I've always been a bit of an early adopter (think Onza clipless pedals and RockShox Mag21s...I started riding in the 80s!). So I went out and demo'd the 650b to prove it was the bike for me.

    Just to be sure, I rode a 29er and a 26". Again, I did something that I understand is just crazy: I bought the one that felt best. The 26", 25 lbs, 5" travel trail bike.

    My second choice was the 29er HT. There were parts of my local trails where the 29er felt better but the 26" was better the majority of the time. The 650b NEVER felt like the better choice.

    Sorry, Media, Marketers, and Fanboi's, I chose what I liked.

    If the industry stops making 26" tires tomorrow (not likely...next year? Next decade?) I'll ride mine until they are bare and then *gasp* go out and demo more bikes. Who knows, maybe 27.125 will be all the rage

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Pretty standard singletrack. Good flow, LOTS of rocks and roots. Great stuff.

    Look, I know it REALLY hurts a lot of people's feelings when someone tries the latest and greatest and doesn't declare it to be the next coming of Jesus. I just wrote what I felt.

    When I was looking to buy a new bike last year, I had no agenda other than buying the bike that felt the best for my terrain. I took a VERY rare approach to the process: I demo'd all three wheel sizes on my local trails. Yeah, I know, crazy I had no pre-conceived notion of what I wanted because I hadn't ridden since 2006. I had no reason to convince myself that my current bike was the best because my current bike was six years old and barely rideable.

    Actually, I lied a bit. I did have a pre-conceived notion: I demo'd bikes at a bike expo with the thought of proving to myself that the newest technology, 650b wheels, was the best for me. I wanted a 650b bike because I thought it was cutting edge and I've always been a bit of an early adopter (think Onza clipless pedals and RockShox Mag21s...I started riding in the 80s!). So I went out and demo'd the 650b to prove it was the bike for me.

    Just to be sure, I rode a 29er and a 26". Again, I did something that I understand is just crazy: I bought the one that felt best. The 26", 25 lbs, 5" travel trail bike.

    My second choice was the 29er HT. There were parts of my local trails where the 29er felt better but the 26" was better the majority of the time. The 650b NEVER felt like the better choice.

    Sorry, Media, Marketers, and Fanboi's, I chose what I liked.

    If the industry stops making 26" tires tomorrow (not likely...next year? Next decade?) I'll ride mine until they are bare and then *gasp* go out and demo more bikes. Who knows, maybe 27.125 will be all the rage

    But... dude... that... doesn't make sense...all the reviews... all the hype... how could it NOT be the best?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangaroo View Post
    But... dude... that... doesn't make sense...all the reviews... all the hype... how could it NOT be the best?
    In my opinion, for most people on most trails, it IS the best. Ride what you want, but physics is physics. I stated my opinion. Just because it jives with popular opinion doesn't make it wrong. People like different things. My experiences have nothing to do with reviews and hype other than my own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Look, I know it REALLY hurts a lot of people's feelings when someone tries the latest and greatest and doesn't declare it to be the next coming of Jesus. I just wrote what I felt.

    Sorry, Media, Marketers, and Fanboi's, I chose what I liked.

    If the industry stops making 26" tires tomorrow (not likely...next year? Next decade?) I'll ride mine until they are bare and then *gasp* go out and demo more bikes. Who knows, maybe 27.125 will be all the rage
    Well, at least you sound informed despite your condescending attitude. My experiences are much different than yours. That doesn't make you right, and it doesn't make me right. I buy the bikes that I felt work the best for me, just like you. Congratulations if you aren't media, marketing, or a fanboi, although I'm pretty sure you're a fanboi of 26ers. At least you could tell a difference, and actually, 650b's are closer to 27.2".

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Pretty standard singletrack. Good flow, LOTS of rocks and roots. Great stuff.

    Look, I know it REALLY hurts a lot of people's feelings when someone tries the latest and greatest and doesn't declare it to be the next coming of Jesus. I just wrote what I felt.

    When I was looking to buy a new bike last year, I had no agenda other than buying the bike that felt the best for my terrain. I took a VERY rare approach to the process: I demo'd all three wheel sizes on my local trails. Yeah, I know, crazy I had no pre-conceived notion of what I wanted because I hadn't ridden since 2006. I had no reason to convince myself that my current bike was the best because my current bike was six years old and barely rideable.

    Actually, I lied a bit. I did have a pre-conceived notion: I demo'd bikes at a bike expo with the thought of proving to myself that the newest technology, 650b wheels, was the best for me. I wanted a 650b bike because I thought it was cutting edge and I've always been a bit of an early adopter (think Onza clipless pedals and RockShox Mag21s...I started riding in the 80s!). So I went out and demo'd the 650b to prove it was the bike for me.

    Just to be sure, I rode a 29er and a 26". Again, I did something that I understand is just crazy: I bought the one that felt best. The 26", 25 lbs, 5" travel trail bike.

    My second choice was the 29er HT. There were parts of my local trails where the 29er felt better but the 26" was better the majority of the time. The 650b NEVER felt like the better choice.

    Sorry, Media, Marketers, and Fanboi's, I chose what I liked.

    If the industry stops making 26" tires tomorrow (not likely...next year? Next decade?) I'll ride mine until they are bare and then *gasp* go out and demo more bikes. Who knows, maybe 27.125 will be all the rage
    Nice post about your experience right up till you say sorry media, marketer and Fanboi's. You did the right thing, try all three and picked the one you liked best. Other people have done the same, me for one, I tried all three and ended up choosing the 27.5. Just because the 27.5 is the latest thing to come out, by choosing it or by companies marketing it, doesn't make anyone who does like it a ill-informed person who buys only what is marketed to them or a fanboy.
    And by the way, you are a victim of the dreaded Marketers, the fact that you bought a bike means you were marketed too. The LBS having demo bikes is marketing, sponsored by both the LBS and manufacture. But this is a good thing, choice and marketing provided you and others a chance to experience all three and pick what is best for you

    Enjoy your new bike, as I will enjoy my regardless of wheel size.

  32. #32
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    Not sure what will happen with 26er and 27.5" wheeled bikes in the future. I suspect the 26" wheel will be around for a long time but with a decreasing share of the market.

    All I know is that there isn't one 26" bike on my Interbike dance card for this year yet. Maybe I'm a Kool-Aid drinking leming but all the new bikes that interest me are either 650b or 29er.

    Having said that, I should also say that I get to ride quite a few different bikes and have been keenly interested in the 650b since I first rode a Carver Ti 650b Killer B four years ago and a Ventana El Bastardo the following year.....but when I bought a new bike earlier this year, it was a 26" 160mm travel AM/FR bike.

    I still believe that's the best wheel size given current selection of forks and tires for that category. That may change next year (maybe it already has).
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Well, at least you sound informed despite your condescending attitude. My experiences are much different than yours. That doesn't make you right, and it doesn't make me right. I buy the bikes that I felt work the best for me, just like you. Congratulations if you aren't media, marketing, or a fanboi, although I'm pretty sure you're a fanboi of 26ers. At least you could tell a difference, and actually, 650b's are closer to 27.2".
    I didn't mean to appear condescending. I always try to inject a little humor into my posts and some of the snarky comments were more intended to be funny than condescending.

    And I wouldn't consider myself a 26" fanboi. I'm in the process of spec'ing out my next bike and it will be a 29er SS. I have five different trail networks I ride regularly and two of the five are flowing, smooth, and rolling. These trails tend to remain open when it's wet so I ride them when it's raining. My demo experience tells me that this is great terrain for a 29er SS so that's my next bike.

    I wouldn't want that same 29er HT on my favorite trails, as they are tight, twisty, rooted, and rocky, but the SS will be a nice backup bike.

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    you will always be able to get the size you need. None of these sizes are really new. And if wal-mart has it....the industry has to change to feel different. And when wal-mart catches up, they will change again. I love my 29er because it eats up my poor riding skills. Hell...if they made a 32 inch that was affordable, i'd ride it.

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    how much is there a difference between 650b with a 2.3 tire and a 26 with 2.5 tire?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pizon View Post
    how much is there a difference between 650b with a 2.3 tire and a 26 with 2.5 tire?
    Alot!! If you measure in kool factor.

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    Diameter or weight? You could mount a fatbike wheel and come close to a 29er in diameter...might be a little heavy though
    Now that there are more tires available, as well as forks and frames with clearance, this question becomes less valid...IMHO anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fix the Spade View Post
    A 650b frame is just a 26er with good mud clearance*, I can see lot's of 'under wheeled' bikes popping up in the near future.

    * I rode a Bronson with 650 then 26 wheels this weekend, honestly couldn't tell the difference.
    Quoted for truth.

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    It's going to be fun to watch when the industry re-releases 26" wheels in 5 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tangaroo View Post
    It's going to be fun to watch when the industry re-releases 26" wheels in 5 years.
    I've had this same thought, but would push the timeline out closer to 10 years. I can already hear manufactuer's marketing departments waxing nostalgic about agility, playfullness, and the rider finesse required of this once dead standard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    I didn't mean to appear condescending. I always try to inject a little humor into my posts and some of the snarky comments were more intended to be funny than condescending.

    And I wouldn't consider myself a 26" fanboi. I'm in the process of spec'ing out my next bike and it will be a 29er SS. I have five different trail networks I ride regularly and two of the five are flowing, smooth, and rolling. These trails tend to remain open when it's wet so I ride them when it's raining. My demo experience tells me that this is great terrain for a 29er SS so that's my next bike.

    I wouldn't want that same 29er HT on my favorite trails, as they are tight, twisty, rooted, and rocky, but the SS will be a nice backup bike.
    Gotcha. I think having two different wheel sizes already makes a third size rather pointless... You have 26" and 29", which covers everything that you ride. I have a 26" and 27", and those cover everything that I ride. To me, a 29er would compromise my preferred riding style and trails too much, while a 650b is about perfect for the majority of them. If I could only have one bike, it would definitely be a 650b. Just out of curiosity, what would yours be?

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    I feel we as cyclists tend to be "next greatest thing" kind of people... so I suspect 27.5 will take off pretty quickly. I also think that 27.5 fits well market-wise because a lot of people have been on 29ers for a few years and it's sort of like re-selling them 26ers-but without requiring them to admit 26ers were actually alright. (like if you get used to a 29er and then hop on a 27.5 and say "hey this maneuverability stuff is fun!)

    I don't have any issues with any of the sizes... I just think marketing is a humorous beast.

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    Im not gonna lie if i was rich id own 3 of each size

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    In my opinion, for most people on most trails, it IS the best. Ride what you want, but physics is physics. I stated my opinion. Just because it jives with popular opinion doesn't make it wrong. People like different things. My experiences have nothing to do with reviews and hype other than my own.
    The physics are that a 27.5 tire in the same width and model and as a 26" tire is 5% larger and 10% heavier, and a world cup team claims it is 1-2 seconds per minute faster.

    There is no way in hell that matters on the trail. None. I am not a pro, and neither are you. When I go on the trail, I'm not riding for time and if I were I'd most likely be inconsistent from lap to lap based on first fitness and secondly technical errors. I could never turn in two performances consistent enough for the difference in rolling resistance between a 27.5 and 26" tire to matter. And neither can you.

    Now, some 27.5 bikes have revised geometry. A Santa Cruz Bronson is not a replica of their 26" bike that preceded it. It has a slacker head tube angle, longer top tube, and steeper seat tube angle. It rides different. NOT the tires.

    Today there are many, many more times 26" wheels, tires and forks than 27.5. By next year that won't be true, in part due to any 27.5 fork automatically being nearly perfectly suited for 26" use as well. And in 2 years, no doubt 26" will be on the way out.

    So if you want a new bike and not a 29er, fine, get a 27.5. That is perfectly sensible.

    If you have a very competent 26" bike, however, I utterly reject that the 27.5 tire size alone is anywhere near worth upgrading from 26". A new bike frame could be. A new fork could be. It depends on what you've got now, and what you test/buy tomorrow.

  45. #45
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    This interview with Scot Nichol of Ibis about the HDR is a great read, shedding much light on this topic:

    http://m.bikemag.com/news/exclusive-...-new-mojo-hdr/

    Example:

    Scot Nicol: Like all questions related to wheel size it comes down to terrain, riding style and size of the rider. Around our shop 650b seems to be winning. Many of the guys in the shop were constantly switching back and forth last summer, but if you look at their HD’s right now they’re all 650b. We don’t need all the travel for the trails that we ride, but we do appreciate the added traction of 650b wheels. If we take a trip to Northstar to do lift riding this summer most of them will be putting the 26″ wheels back on.
    Also:

    By the way, in the pet peeve department, we keep hearing that the industry is shoving this 650b thing down consumers’ throats to be able to sell more bikes. I think this is a totally misleading statement, we were totally influenced by our customers on this development. There was no “shoving” anything.
    Just one insider's opinion, of course, but certainly putting his money where his mouth is. Same as industry giants, Spesh and Trek, whose lack of 650b bikes in their line ups speaks volumes in itself.

    3 general opinions out there about 650b/27.5":

    1. Sucks and irrelevant. Too close to 26" to make any difference. Worst of both 26" and 29" worlds. All about marketing.

    2. Perfect "Goldilocks" hybrid, best of both worlds, especially for trail and AM uses. Rider pushed development; not industry. Greatest thing since sliced bread. Will eventually push 26" out of mainstream and into niche markets (dirt jump, dual SL, huge travel lift served freeride).

    3. Who gives a crap what anybody else thinks/does? Ride what you like & let your riding do the talking. More choices is inherently good for riders and bike industry. 3 wheel sizes will be around to choose from for foreseeable future. Shut up & ride.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    The physics are that a 27.5 tire in the same width and model and as a 26" tire is 5% larger and 10% heavier, and a world cup team claims it is 1-2 seconds per minute faster.

    There is no way in hell that matters on the trail. None. I am not a pro, and neither are you. When I go on the trail, I'm not riding for time and if I were I'd most likely be inconsistent from lap to lap based on first fitness and secondly technical errors. I could never turn in two performances consistent enough for the difference in rolling resistance between a 27.5 and 26" tire to matter. And neither can you.

    Now, some 27.5 bikes have revised geometry. A Santa Cruz Bronson is not a replica of their 26" bike that preceded it. It has a slacker head tube angle, longer top tube, and steeper seat tube angle. It rides different. NOT the tires.

    I disagree. I can feel a definite difference between the wheel sizes. Just because you aren't in tune with your bike doesn't mean everybody else isn't. I've ridden both wheel sizes back to back on the same bike. They roll and behave very differently.

    Today there are many, many more times 26" wheels, tires and forks than 27.5. By next year that won't be true, in part due to any 27.5 fork automatically being nearly perfectly suited for 26" use as well. And in 2 years, no doubt 26" will be on the way out.

    So if you want a new bike and not a 29er, fine, get a 27.5. That is perfectly sensible.

    If you have a very competent 26" bike, however, I utterly reject that the 27.5 tire size alone is anywhere near worth upgrading from 26". A new bike frame could be. A new fork could be. It depends on what you've got now, and what you test/buy tomorrow.
    I do agree with the last part. It's not worth the average rider selling all his 26" stuff to get the latest and greatest 650b. However, if you're in the market for a new bike, a lot of people, and I'd say the majority of people, will like the feel and performance of a 650b.

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    This is my thought, as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by tangaroo View Post
    It's going to be fun to watch when the industry re-releases 26" wheels in 5 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    I disagree. I can feel a definite difference between the wheel sizes. Just because you aren't in tune with your bike doesn't mean everybody else isn't. I've ridden both wheel sizes back to back on the same bike. They roll and behave very differently.
    First, let's take this back to a generic discussion. I take no offense to your statement, but if we start saying that anyone who is on one side of an argument simply has a riding and/or perception issue, that leads to nowhere. Anyone can make a statement like that about any issue.


    That said-- In your test, did you use the same tire model as well, and same width? Did you know which tire was which before riding?

    There are two main issues, and I am speaking generically so as to be clear that I am not criticizing you.

    1. Confirmation bias. If a person believes something, they are likely to be biased in one way or another prior to experiencing it. 27.5 is new and hyped up-- If a person is is excited about it and they believe it is better, they are more likely to have a positive impression when they ride 27.5.

    2. Perception actually can create reality. This is not a controversial statement, when you really think about it. If I think I can climb a difficult hill, I am more likely to do it than if I assure myself that it can't be done. Obviously, belief alone cannot make the impossible possible. But if someone actually does feel a difference between two tires* and they further believe that one is better, then it would not be any surprise that they could perform slightly better on the tire they prefer. If you feel faster, sometimes it does make you faster.

    Technically, a person could construct a scientifically valid experiment to exclude these factors. The first requirement is that the testers do not know what they are testing.

    Let's build a field of ten Bronsons, five with 26" and five with 27.5" wheels of the same model and make sure that all decals are removed from the wheels. If you were to pay Schwalbe to produce a run of 26x2.25 and 27x2.25 Racing Ralphs with no markings, that would be ideal, but if not perhaps you could simply black out the lettering and ask test riders to stay on the bike and not to adjust or inspect anything. Let's find ten riders who are of similar build to where they can ride the same size bike. We will put some sensors and electronics on the bikes and tell the riders we are doing some stress / durability testing and we'll need them to push hard, and to give their impressions of each ride whether verbally or in writing after each run. We ask about handling, speed, etc. And the electronics are gathering metrics about how fast they're going, how sharp they turn and brake, and so on.

    Now the riders go on a trail one after another, spaced out so they have clean individual runs, and thinking they are testing durability. But then we write down what they say after riding each bike, and we look at the data. They ride each bike in random order.

    Then we'd know not only if the tire size mattered for true performance, but we'd also know if riders could tell the difference in weight and rolling resistance.


    Obviously, real life isn't like this. If you like a bike, buy it.

    And my footnote from above-- * I would guess that a rider who doesn't know the difference before riding 26 and 27.5 and goes on feel alone is more likely to notice the difference in wheel and tire weight than in rolling resistance. Just my opinion.

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    Re: Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Well, besides the increased rollover they would also feel increased traction while climbing, cornering and descending. Lot of them would also feel higher stability at higher speeds.
    They will see as well that the sizes of those tires are different, because they are and it is pretty visible...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzanova View Post
    Well, besides the increased rollover they would also feel increased traction while climbing, cornering and descending. Lot of them would also feel higher stability at higher speeds.
    They will see as well that the sizes of those tires are different, because they are and it is pretty visible...
    that is the premise of 29er vs 26.

    but would they actually notice for 27.5 vs 26 if there weren't any labels and you didn't have the 26 and 27.5 side-by-side for visual comparison? we're talking about 5%. a 26x2.35 is the same height / circumference as a 27.5x2.2, excluding differences due to tire model.

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    Re: Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    I believe they would. I can see the difference between 26 and 660b looking at front whheel sitting on my bike.
    Yes you are right, it is the same premise, but you also get better maneuverability comparing to 29 wheels.
    All sizes are different, they all offer different advantages and tradeoffs to a certain point.
    To me, 650b offers the best mix of both. I still own all 3 sizes though.
    Which tires are you referring to?
    I am not aware of any 26 2.35 being the same height as 27.5 2.2... It seems very unlikely considering the same manufacturer.

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    @Colinl. The experiment you sugest would require isolating lots of other variables. Bb height chainstay and wheel base legnth. Also there is no basline control.

    Other then that i agree with the premise....

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzanova View Post
    I am not aware of any 26 2.35 being the same height as 27.5 2.2... It seems very unlikely considering the same manufacturer.
    Measure your 27.5 and 26 bikes, and post the diameter and/or rollout (circumference) as you see fit, along with the tire model and width.

    Mountainbike Action and others already did this. I am not pulling the 5% number out of thin air, that is the nominal difference in diameter between a 26 and 27.5 of the same width.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    @Colinl. The experiment you sugest would require isolating lots of other variables. Bb height chainstay and wheel base legnth. Also there is no basline control.
    Yes, I know. I didn't attempt to document the full test scenario because that is kind of pointless, and the post was already far beyond most people's attention span / interest.

    They would be on identical bikes except for the wheels. While, yes, it is true that bottom bracket height would vary a very small amount due to the tire outside diameter difference, it is no different than using a narrow tire compared to a wide one. A 26x1.8 XC tire is considerably shorter than a 26x2.35 AM tire, which is in turn shorter than a 26x2.7 DH tire.

    An additional item of interest would then be to use a 26" tire whose diameter matched a narrower 27.5" tire and repeat the tests, with different riders of course. Then you have two tires that rolls just as well over objects, assuming again they are the same model.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzanova View Post
    I believe they would. I can see the difference between 26 and 660b looking at front whheel sitting on my bike.
    Yes you are right, it is the same premise, but you also get better maneuverability comparing to 29 wheels.
    All sizes are different, they all offer different advantages and tradeoffs to a certain point.
    To me, 650b offers the best mix of both. I still own all 3 sizes though.
    Which tires are you referring to?
    I am not aware of any 26 2.35 being the same height as 27.5 2.2... It seems very unlikely considering the same manufacturer.

    You sir, are what marketing dreams are made of. You and dollar signs.

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    Re: Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    You are right.
    As long as the marketing delivers what is being promised and I like it, I will gladly support it's dreams.
    I have ridden 26" bikes for long time, 29er for last 2years and I converted my 26er last december. For now I am keeping all 3 wheel sizes, but I have to say I have been riding my 650 90% of the time since I put it together.
    If I had to choose just one size, it would definitely be 650b.
    Last edited by jazzanova; 07-17-2013 at 02:15 PM.

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    If jazz likes 650b it does me no harm.

  57. #57
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    This is interesting. Looking at it from the perspective of "is there a significant difference going from a 26 to a 275 to make it worth the effort?", makes a lot of sense.

    After moving to a 29er maybe 9 years or so back I find that any bike with a 26" wheel up front feels twitchy and unstable. Even AM rigs with big rubber and slacked HTAs.

    I'm not crazy about a 29" wheel out back for AM-ish riding (not the horse and buggy type). So I've gone 275 out back and really like it.

    I'm very curious as to how a 275, on the right bike, is going to feel up front? Coming back to the original point... Is it too close to a 26" to make a difference and give me the feel I want up front.

    Will have to wait to get a proper demo.

    I speculate that for many, going from a 26 to a 275 may not make enough difference to be worth the "effort/trade-offs". What I'd like to see are production bike with the 275 out back and a 29 up front. You'd do away with the rear travel/chainstay issues that 29ers have and keep the big hoop up front to make a real difference - enough to make the effort of changing from a 26 worth it.

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    Wheel size is just one more variable on a mountain bike that each person should want to optimize for his / her height weight, terrain, riding style, etc, etc, etc. Because we have very limited size options that are mass produced, I guess there is a tendency to divide into camps and argue about which is best. And boy is there a lot of inertia in this market.

    If I was picking, I'd be running about a 31" diameter wheel up front, and 29" out back (mainly just to keep the rear chainstay length reasonable). But 29 on both ends works pretty darn good, so I'll just be glad I got that. Maybe in 5 - 10 years I'll get my wish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JACKL View Post
    Wheel size is just one more variable on a mountain bike that each person should want to optimize for his / her height weight, terrain, riding style, etc, etc, etc. Because we have very limited size options that are mass produced, I guess there is a tendency to divide into camps and argue about which is best. And boy is there a lot of inertia in this market.

    If I was picking, I'd be running about a 31" diameter wheel up front, and 29" out back (mainly just to keep the rear chainstay length reasonable). But 29 on both ends works pretty darn good, so I'll just be glad I got that. Maybe in 5 - 10 years I'll get my wish.
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    I say why limit yourself buy a super light sub 24lbs FS XC 100-120mm 29er, a Trail-AM 150-160 mm travel 650b and a DH 200-250mm double crown fork 26.
    Problem solved.
    And if that doesn't suffice throw a SS on to the mix.
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  61. #61
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    29ers and 650b is only popular in the US. in europe everyhting is as usual, 26ers for mtb, and 28ers (700c) for everything else.

    Personally I will never own a 29er mtb because they just look too damn stupid. and 650b mtb?? really? 1cm bigger rim? Maybe I'll pass.
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    Re: Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    You better buy some 26ers now, your options might be very limited next year.

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    Seriously? The frame is the same. I absolutely could buy a Solo C frame right now and transfer everything from my Blur onto it.

    Actually, that's not quite true. I'd need a new headset and front derailleur. If I had a newer Blur everything literally would come straight over.

    Then I'd have a Solo with a quarter-inch lower bottom bracket. Oh god no, not that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tangaroo View Post
    Do roots and rocks scare you?
    Nope. I ride the chunkiest trails I can find.

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    jazz- I kinda doubt it. since mavics and dts majority of rims are still 26, and so are available tires from the best makers. I don't buy complete bikes.
    I get the wheel size that has the biggest spectrum of available rims and tires, that way I can get exactly what I want. This is whats important.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    29ers and 650b is only popular in the US. in europe everyhting is as usual, 26ers for mtb, and 28ers (700c) for everything else.

    Personally I will never own a 29er mtb because they just look too damn stupid. and 650b mtb?? really? 1cm bigger rim? Maybe I'll pass.
    If it aint broke, convince people it is..
    I dont know about that. Trek released a press relese today introducing thier 650b line up which is only available in europe for now

    Last years red bull rampage only had 1 650b in it. The rider, antoine bizet, got second place and is from france.

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    Re: Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Colin,

    I just want to know which manufacturers 26" 2.35 is the same height as 650b 2.2, how you claimed before. I find it hard to believe it, but go ahead and prove me wrong....
    Last edited by jazzanova; 07-17-2013 at 04:49 PM.

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    Re: Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Car bone,
    That all will change by the end of the year.
    Almost all new tire offerings are now 650 and 29. There is virtually 0 innovation in 26er market. What you see is mainly old stock, which is becoming thinner...
    The truth is that most of the Europe is on 26ers, but the option to buy a new 26 is already smaller.

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    warning, lots of scientific word vomit ahead.

    It's interesting that nobody has brought up math/physics in regard to these wheel standards yet. It can easily prove/disprove a lot of the 'perceived realities' floating around. Plain ol' kinematics doesn't have an opinion. The whole 26 vs 27.5 vs 29 thing is no more than a balance of weaknesses vs strengths (as is always the case). Everyone says the 27.5er is exactly between the two current 'standard sizes.' The Best of both worlds. Makes sense, right? But is that really the case? I honestly didn't know. But science does, so I went all nerdy.

    I spent a few nights working out the numbers on a few theoretical tests. Using a series of very basic Matlab simulations, I made a 'Rolling Ease' test, where I simulated the wheels colliding with, then rolling up and over small square edges of varying sizes from 1/10" to 5". If you take a 26er as the bottom of the scale, and the 29er as the top, where would you think the 'Tweener wheel would land? The internet forum experts seem to all say right in the middle, but it was surprisingly not. It was, at most, about 38% up from the 26er. Bear in mind, that this is NOT a 38% increase in rolling efficiency. It's just showing where it lies between 26ers and 29ers. It leans decidedly toward the 26er. As the bumps got bigger, the advantage of both 650b and even the 29er went down to very near the 26er. But that's to be expected. Again, this is all theoretical. But in terms of the 27.5 wheel, it would start to feel very close to a 26er in terms of rolling ease on bumps greater than 3" in height. At the optimal bump size of around 1.3" height, it was about 4-5% better than a 26er at maintaining its forward velocity. Improvement? Yes. But hardly the night-and-day difference the forums suggest, but it is an improvement. For comparison, the 29er was about 11% better at its best. Is that 4-5% improvement enough to toss the 26er in the garbage? Probably not, unless you are unreasonably wealthy and have a penchant for early adoption. But I will add that a small change in tire pressure can make more of a difference to rolling efficiency than going from a 26er to a 27.5er.

    In terms of rotational mass, another test was performed simulating the force a rider must exert over time to accelerate to a given speed. 29ers have a higher moment of inertia than 26ers, since they have more mass farther away from the hub. This, to me, is the single largest downside to a larger wheel. You can most definitely feel it. This larger diameter also makes the wheels more flexy/inefficient, but that's not being tested here. This time, the 27.5er tended to lean a bit more toward the 29er side of the scale. Makes sense, since the addition of mass with an increasing diameter rim and tire is not linear, it's exponential. In laymans' terms, the 27.5er is going to accelerate more like a 29er than a 26er (ie: slower).


    blah blah blah, that was fun. if I were forced to get rid of one wheel size, I would pick the 27.5er. It offers little in the way of true benefits over the others. But 27.5 won't be disappearing anytime soon, since it's the hottest thing since the last new standard, which was the hottest thing since the previous new standard... iPhone5... iPhone 4S... iPhone 4...


    Above all, I've realized that I don't even care enough about the wheel size argument to have put this much effort into it. They are all wheels. They are all round. They all roll pretty darn well. All 3 will be here for the foreseeable future. Go ride your bike. Pedal up hard. Ride down fast. Enjoy it. Don't get too hung up on wheel size, because it doesn't make as much a difference as you'd think.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tangaroo View Post
    You sir, are what marketing dreams are made of. You and dollar signs.
    You sir, are close-minded and ignorant. There is a difference, whether you want to admit it or not. Personally, I want the best bike I can buy for my money. If it's different than what I'm used to, then so be it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    29ers and 650b is only popular in the US. in europe everyhting is as usual, 26ers for mtb, and 28ers (700c) for everything else.

    Personally I will never own a 29er mtb because they just look too damn stupid. and 650b mtb?? really? 1cm bigger rim? Maybe I'll pass.
    If it aint broke, convince people it is..
    Maybe you, like many other posters here, should try it before bashing it. Last time I checked, Europe wasn't exactly cutting edge.

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    Wonderful. So you've successfully downgraded this thread to namecalling. That helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    Wonderful. So you've successfully downgraded this thread to namecalling. That helps.
    What, "close-minded" and "ignorant"? That's not name-calling. That's describing the type of poster he is. Name-calling would have been "dense" and "stupid". Saying something is "marketing" and hype without trying it is the definition of being "close minded". That's not name-calling. Ignorant means to be uneducated. The poster clearly doesn't know much about the topic at hand. Again, not name-calling. I'm not sure how I could have been more politically correct. Maybe you were referring to the statement that I quoted. Calling a poster a marketer's dream and putting him at the same level as money isn't exactly bringing this thread to a higher level. In fact, this thread can't get much lower. People claiming something is no different or all hype without any personal experience with the topic other than the possibility that it might be better than what they have is ignorant. I don't know what else to call it. You don't like it? Make intelligent comments. Better yet, don't post them at all.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Better yet, don't post them at all.
    That's the answer! We need never have a discussion again wherein any person is in disagreement with the majority. We'd have quite a forum, and everyone would be thrilled, agreeing with each other and learning nothing.

    I did post numerous comments about 27.5. You did not bother to address any of the technical points I made in them.

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    I love the direction is headed. Getting nice and warm

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    Re: Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Turner Burner best bike I've ridden so far...

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

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    if it were as simple as choice I don't think there would be this discussion, but we're losing the choice much faster then anyone thought. By next year there will only be a few manufactures offering a 26"frame in the 150mm range. There will be no new frames to put 26 wheels on in the future unless their put on a 650b frame.

    I'm personally tired of hearing the whole physics talk. It seems all forget the neg effects of the same physics that are preached upon. I also fine it funny that after all the years that people who have been converting 26ers into 650b bikes. The bike industry just now decides that this is a good wheel size. I just wonder when the AM and 650b forums will merge.

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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    Last years red bull rampage only had 1 650b in it. The rider, antoine bizet, got second place and is from france.
    I'm not sure what Bizet rode, but I think you're thinking of Logan Binggeli from UT, who took 3rd riding a KHS 650b.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    I'm not sure what Bizet rode, but I think you're thinking of Logan Binggeli from UT, who took 3rd riding a KHS 650b.
    Well i f'ed that all up ...

    Edit

    I was wondering what happend to my memory so i went and looked. But i just mixed up the bikes of second and third place riders.

    I wonder how many tweener bikes we will see there this year.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Maybe you, like many other posters here, should try it before bashing it. Last time I checked, Europe wasn't exactly cutting edge.
    Is reusing at least 50 year old french standards and calling them 29er (700c) and 27,5er (650b) cutting edge you say? Whats so cutting edge about it??

    Wheel sizes come and go and soon every old crap is reintroduced once again and marketed as new and superior. Its all the same shit it always has been.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  81. #81
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    29ers and 650b is only popular in the US. in europe everyhting is as usual, 26ers for mtb, and 28ers (700c) for everything else.

    Personally I will never own a 29er mtb because they just look too damn stupid. and 650b mtb?? really? 1cm bigger rim? Maybe I'll pass.
    If it aint broke, convince people it is..
    Two names: Nino Schurter; Nico Vouilloz

    Ever hear of them? Without Nino deciding it WAS broke last year, few people would know about or be riding 27.5" bikes and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    Ask Nico how he likes the bike he helped develop for Lapeirre on which he had already won races in the Enduro World Series.

    So thanks Europe for endorsing and succeeding on this wheel size alternative to 29".
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    That's the answer! We need never have a discussion again wherein any person is in disagreement with the majority. We'd have quite a forum, and everyone would be thrilled, agreeing with each other and learning nothing.

    I did post numerous comments about 27.5. You did not bother to address any of the technical points I made in them.
    Having an intelligent discussion is one thing. Throwing out useless and uninformed speculation is completely different. I didn't realize I had to comment on any of your technical points, since I wasn't quoting you.

  83. #83
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post
    warning, lots of scientific word vomit ahead.

    It's interesting that nobody has brought up math/physics in regard to these wheel standards yet. It can easily prove/disprove a lot of the 'perceived realities' floating around. Plain ol' kinematics doesn't have an opinion. The whole 26 vs 27.5 vs 29 thing is no more than a balance of weaknesses vs strengths (as is always the case). Everyone says the 27.5er is exactly between the two current 'standard sizes.' The Best of both worlds. Makes sense, right? But is that really the case? I honestly didn't know. But science does, so I went all nerdy.

    I spent a few nights working out the numbers on a few theoretical tests. Using a series of very basic Matlab simulations, I made a 'Rolling Ease' test, where I simulated the wheels colliding with, then rolling up and over small square edges of varying sizes from 1/10" to 5". If you take a 26er as the bottom of the scale, and the 29er as the top, where would you think the 'Tweener wheel would land? The internet forum experts seem to all say right in the middle, but it was surprisingly not. It was, at most, about 38% up from the 26er. Bear in mind, that this is NOT a 38% increase in rolling efficiency. It's just showing where it lies between 26ers and 29ers. It leans decidedly toward the 26er. As the bumps got bigger, the advantage of both 650b and even the 29er went down to very near the 26er. But that's to be expected. Again, this is all theoretical. But in terms of the 27.5 wheel, it would start to feel very close to a 26er in terms of rolling ease on bumps greater than 3" in height. At the optimal bump size of around 1.3" height, it was about 4-5% better than a 26er at maintaining its forward velocity. Improvement? Yes. But hardly the night-and-day difference the forums suggest, but it is an improvement. For comparison, the 29er was about 11% better at its best. Is that 4-5% improvement enough to toss the 26er in the garbage? Probably not, unless you are unreasonably wealthy and have a penchant for early adoption. But I will add that a small change in tire pressure can make more of a difference to rolling efficiency than going from a 26er to a 27.5er.

    In terms of rotational mass, another test was performed simulating the force a rider must exert over time to accelerate to a given speed. 29ers have a higher moment of inertia than 26ers, since they have more mass farther away from the hub. This, to me, is the single largest downside to a larger wheel. You can most definitely feel it. This larger diameter also makes the wheels more flexy/inefficient, but that's not being tested here. This time, the 27.5er tended to lean a bit more toward the 29er side of the scale. Makes sense, since the addition of mass with an increasing diameter rim and tire is not linear, it's exponential. In laymans' terms, the 27.5er is going to accelerate more like a 29er than a 26er (ie: slower).


    blah blah blah, that was fun. if I were forced to get rid of one wheel size, I would pick the 27.5er. It offers little in the way of true benefits over the others. But 27.5 won't be disappearing anytime soon, since it's the hottest thing since the last new standard, which was the hottest thing since the previous new standard... iPhone5... iPhone 4S... iPhone 4...


    Above all, I've realized that I don't even care enough about the wheel size argument to have put this much effort into it. They are all wheels. They are all round. They all roll pretty darn well. All 3 will be here for the foreseeable future. Go ride your bike. Pedal up hard. Ride down fast. Enjoy it. Don't get too hung up on wheel size, because it doesn't make as much a difference as you'd think.
    Really? You "don't care enough"? That was one LOONG post. I'm thinking maybe OCD rather than " don't care".

    I'm also thinking a certain Rhino needs to demo some bikes and put the PC away for a while
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    Is reusing at least 50 year old french standards and calling them 29er (700c) and 27,5er (650b) cutting edge you say? Whats so cutting edge about it??

    Wheel sizes come and go and soon every old crap is reintroduced once again and marketed as new and superior. Its all the same shit it always has been.
    Well, Europeans are generally known to be traditionalists. Look at the evolution of the road bike. They remained relatively the same for what, 30 years? Look at the evolution of mountain bikes in the U.S. Europeans took forever to adopt 29ers, and it took them a while to catch on to mountain bikes. Perhaps somebody should have taken the 650b size and applied it to mountain bikes decades ago. If I want a fat bike or custom trekking bike, where would I go? With the exception of Great Britain, probably not to a European company. I'm not bashing Europe in any way. I just wouldn't call many European companies cutting edge.

    Sure, wheel sizes come and go. That doesn't mean one size doesn't work better for certain applications. Just because 650b has been around for years, doesn't mean it doesn't have advantages. They were never properly applied to mountain bikes, because it was a European standard, and Europe never did much with mountain bikes. Look at Campagnolo, for example. Will it fade away over time? Maybe, as technology advances and wheels get lighter, maybe 29ers will completely take over. Why limit your options because you're scared of change?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Two names: Nino Schurter; Nico Vouilloz

    Ever hear of them? Without Nino deciding it WAS broke last year, few people would know about or be riding 27.5" bikes and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    Ask Nico how he likes the bike he helped develop for Lapeirre on which he had already won races in the Enduro World Series.

    So thanks Europe for endorsing and succeeding on this wheel size alternative to 29".
    Never heard of them.

    The way I see it:
    small rider - 26
    medium rider - 650b
    big boned/tall/large rider - 700c

    OR if you are buying into a certain wheel size for looks.

    I happen to find medium sized bikes looks best with 700c rims if using like 28mm slick tires
    and for 35-45mm tires the 650b size looks most estethic to me, but performance wise, the difference between 26 and 650b?? I don't know there really. I get it that people buy based on looks.

    If the whole industry is abandoning 26inch its only marketing I'm afraid since the performance difference between wheel sizes is always a 2 sided coin, you gain some there and lose some there, a zero sum game.

    The more sizes the better imo but just abandoning one size for sales purposes thats just silly, yeah sure go with 650b but keep the 26er stuff for the people that still want that stuff.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

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    Specialized sucks ass.

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Well, Europeans are generally known to be traditionalists. Look at the evolution of the road bike. They remained relatively the same for what, 30 years? Look at the evolution of mountain bikes in the U.S. Europeans took forever to adopt 29ers, and it took them a while to catch on to mountain bikes. Perhaps somebody should have taken the 650b size and applied it to mountain bikes decades ago. If I want a fat bike or custom trekking bike, where would I go? With the exception of Great Britain, probably not to a European company. I'm not bashing Europe in any way. I just wouldn't call many European companies cutting edge.

    Sure, wheel sizes come and go. That doesn't mean one size doesn't work better for certain applications. Just because 650b has been around for years, doesn't mean it doesn't have advantages. They were never properly applied to mountain bikes, because it was a European standard, and Europe never did much with mountain bikes. Look at Campagnolo, for example. Will it fade away over time? Maybe, as technology advances and wheels get lighter, maybe 29ers will completely take over. To say something is worthless despite the obvious advantages is rather ignorant.
    The reason very few european companies don't go all in on 29ers and 650b is simple, no one would buy it. People here are like this: whats wrong with 26ers?? Plain and simple.

    For utility bikes and commuters of all kinds people ask themselves whats wrong with 28ers?? The traditional non mtb size for all bikes, a 700c/29er rim. And whats wrong with it?? Nothing of course.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

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    I ride a 26er commuter for one reason, I can find the best selection of studded tires for it in the winter. Otherwise I would be riding a 28er commuter.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    Never heard of them.

    The way I see it:
    small rider - 26
    medium rider - 650b
    big boned/tall/large rider - 700c

    Really? You don't think trails or riding styles have any influence on choosing a wheel size? I'm 6' 3" tall and 190 pounds, and I can't stand 29ers on proper trails. Is my preference incorrect?

    OR if you are buying into a certain wheel size for looks.

    I happen to find medium sized bikes looks best with 700c rims if using like 28mm slick tires
    and for 35-45mm tires the 650b size looks most estethic to me, but performance wise, the difference between 26 and 650b?? I don't know there really. I get it that people buy based on looks.

    If the whole industry is abandoning 26inch its only marketing I'm afraid since the performance difference between wheel sizes is always a 2 sided coin, you gain some there and lose some there, a zero sum game.

    If a wheel size offers advantages for certain, and in this case, the majority of riders, how is that possibly "only marketing"? Is suspension "only marketing"? You admit that there are differences. Why should those that benefit from the alternative not have the option? Because you don't like it?

    The more sizes the better imo but just abandoning one size for sales purposes thats just silly, yeah sure go with 650b but keep the 26er stuff for the people that still want that stuff.

    So now the more sizes the better? I thought you said it was "only marketing"?

    You're all over the place, here. Yes, keep the wheel sizes, including 650b.

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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    The reason very few european companies don't go all in on 29ers and 650b is simple, no one would buy it. People here are like this: whats wrong with 26ers?? Plain and simple.

    For utility bikes and commuters of all kinds people ask themselves whats wrong with 28ers?? The traditional non mtb size for all bikes, a 700c/29er rim. And whats wrong with it?? Nothing of course.
    Of course there's nothing "wrong" with 26ers. Just like there's nothing "wrong" with fully rigid steel bikes, platform pedals, and cantilever brakes. Why deny or ignore the advantages of other wheel sizes that may work better for many people? That just doesn't make sense, and supports my statement that Europeans in general are traditionalists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post

    You're all over the place, here. Yes, keep the wheel sizes, including 650b.
    I'm for more options, not less. And just making one standard disappear is limiting to the customers. Just because a few elite riders go faster on a certain size wheel does not mean its "better" for everyone else.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Of course there's nothing "wrong" with 26ers. Just like there's nothing "wrong" with fully rigid steel bikes, platform pedals, and cantilever brakes. Why deny or ignore the advantages of other wheel sizes that may work better for many people? That just doesn't make sense, and supports my statement that Europeans in general are traditionalists.
    The problem is that the definition of "better" is non existant. The is no such thing, its only different. And in this case "new".
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

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    Wait i missed the part aboit 26er disapering. I just bought a new frame. 26" hardtail and i had lots of options.

    The idea that 650b or 29er will cause 26ers to disapear is based in fear not reality.

    This sport has lots and lots of riders with differnt ideas of what mountain biking is and how mountain bikes should be. More riders means more bikes.

    Stop crying about options..... tell me a sad story about hpw the recubant bike killed the beacj crusier or how fat bikes killed bar bikes or how cycle cross bikes killed treking bikes or how 24" dirt jumpers killed bmx or how a trials bikes killed flat land bikes.

    Tell me a story about 150mm axels killing 135qr. Or a tale about 15mm ta killing 20mm ta.
    Or hydro brakes making cable disks rare and unavailable.

    Go away and cry in the corner people ride what they like nothing is going anywhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Really? You "don't care enough"? That was one LOONG post. I'm thinking maybe OCD rather than " don't care".

    I'm also thinking a certain Rhino needs to demo some bikes and put the PC away for a while
    But honestly, it is well written and the points are important. With that said, what will survive is what people will buy. If people don't buy 26" bikes, they will disappear. Give the people what they want (works best if you make sure to tell them what they want!).
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post
    warning, lots of scientific word vomit ahead.

    It's interesting that nobody has brought up math/physics in regard to these wheel standards yet. It can easily prove/disprove a lot of the 'perceived realities' floating around. Plain ol' kinematics doesn't have an opinion. The whole 26 vs 27.5 vs 29 thing is no more than a balance of weaknesses vs strengths (as is always the case). Everyone says the 27.5er is exactly between the two current 'standard sizes.' The Best of both worlds. Makes sense, right? But is that really the case? I honestly didn't know. But science does, so I went all nerdy.

    I spent a few nights working out the numbers on a few theoretical tests. Using a series of very basic Matlab simulations, I made a 'Rolling Ease' test, where I simulated the wheels colliding with, then rolling up and over small square edges of varying sizes from 1/10" to 5". If you take a 26er as the bottom of the scale, and the 29er as the top, where would you think the 'Tweener wheel would land? The internet forum experts seem to all say right in the middle, but it was surprisingly not. It was, at most, about 38% up from the 26er. Bear in mind, that this is NOT a 38% increase in rolling efficiency. It's just showing where it lies between 26ers and 29ers. It leans decidedly toward the 26er. As the bumps got bigger, the advantage of both 650b and even the 29er went down to very near the 26er. But that's to be expected. Again, this is all theoretical. But in terms of the 27.5 wheel, it would start to feel very close to a 26er in terms of rolling ease on bumps greater than 3" in height. At the optimal bump size of around 1.3" height, it was about 4-5% better than a 26er at maintaining its forward velocity. Improvement? Yes. But hardly the night-and-day difference the forums suggest, but it is an improvement. For comparison, the 29er was about 11% better at its best. Is that 4-5% improvement enough to toss the 26er in the garbage? Probably not, unless you are unreasonably wealthy and have a penchant for early adoption. But I will add that a small change in tire pressure can make more of a difference to rolling efficiency than going from a 26er to a 27.5er.

    In terms of rotational mass, another test was performed simulating the force a rider must exert over time to accelerate to a given speed. 29ers have a higher moment of inertia than 26ers, since they have more mass farther away from the hub. This, to me, is the single largest downside to a larger wheel. You can most definitely feel it. This larger diameter also makes the wheels more flexy/inefficient, but that's not being tested here. This time, the 27.5er tended to lean a bit more toward the 29er side of the scale. Makes sense, since the addition of mass with an increasing diameter rim and tire is not linear, it's exponential. In laymans' terms, the 27.5er is going to accelerate more like a 29er than a 26er (ie: slower).


    blah blah blah, that was fun. if I were forced to get rid of one wheel size, I would pick the 27.5er. It offers little in the way of true benefits over the others. But 27.5 won't be disappearing anytime soon, since it's the hottest thing since the last new standard, which was the hottest thing since the previous new standard... iPhone5... iPhone 4S... iPhone 4...


    Above all, I've realized that I don't even care enough about the wheel size argument to have put this much effort into it. They are all wheels. They are all round. They all roll pretty darn well. All 3 will be here for the foreseeable future. Go ride your bike. Pedal up hard. Ride down fast. Enjoy it. Don't get too hung up on wheel size, because it doesn't make as much a difference as you'd think.
    Thanks for the data. Makes you wonder how much benefit there is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    But honestly, it is well written and the points are important. With that said, what will survive is what people will buy. If people don't buy 26" bikes, they will disappear. Give the people what they want (works best if you make sure to tell them what they want!).
    This is the crux of 27.5 to me. 26" is undeniably dying, completely unsellable in many shops as everyone+dog bought 29ers the past 2+ years. So if 27.5 is the only future for non-29ers, I'm on board.

    What I don't see is any compelling advantage to make me want to replace my 26" with a 27.5." I have a long stem (by MTB standards) on my Blur at 100mm because the top tube is so short and I have unusually long reach for my height. I like the new geometry of the Solo and Bronson. But in and of itself, 27.5 is a footnote for me.

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    I find it interesting that no one mentions gearing when talking about the feel of these different wheel sizes, geometry is mentioned here and there but we slap the same gears on all three sizes and don't think that will make it feel any different.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    This is the crux of 27.5 to me. 26" is undeniably dying, completely unsellable in many shops as everyone+dog bought 29ers the past 2+ years.
    I respectfully disagree. Not trying to start a fight, just so we are clear. I don't think 26 is dying simply because it isn't selling well in shops. The people going to shops and buying new bikes want the 'newest thing' and shops are accordingly stocking their shelves with 29 and 650b bikes. But that doesn't mean that 26 is becoming irrelevant or disappearing. If I go to a Mazda car dealership, I won't see many Miatas for sale. They're just not all that popular with the crowd of new car buyers. But look at the amateur car racing scene: It's been full to the brim with cheap but sporty Miatas for two decades. Parts and upgrades are all over the place, even though all sorts of new cars have surpassed it in terms of performance. They are still everywhere. They've even had a strong resurgence in recent years, according to a friend who works at a nearby track. 26ers will dip for a while, but there will be new parts for them for decades to come. And who knows but they might regain popularity at some point if more rigid wheelsets become a fad (again).


    PS- I don't like the Mazda Miata. I am not 65 years old, and I do not have a personalized license plate, so I don't fit their demographic to begin with. The white ones look to me like the Stay-Puff marshmallow man's face when viewed from the front.
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    There is a perception that 26ers are dying but i just dont belive it. Loads of manufactures are selling them. The fact an lbs doesnt carry somthing has nothing to do with the demand of that product. Alot of people buy bikes and frames online.

    The sky is not falling

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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    The problem is that the definition of "better" is non existant. The is no such thing, its only different. And in this case "new".
    There is definitely a definition of "better" for specific circumstances. I also disagree that 650b is "new". Different characteristics can be better for different people. While I agree that what is better for a pro cross-country racer is likely different than what is better for you or me, the definition of "difference" means that a characteristic might be better applied in a specific situation. I guess maybe I'm nitpicking on vocab, but I thought it's worth discussing.

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    true true. It definitely does change things. I think that with newer, larger span cassettes, 1x11, etc, that this is becoming less of an issue, but it is definitely something to consider. An 11-32 cassette on a 29er will require more force to maintain speed. But my guess is that people simply don't think of that when getting the new bike. It's new, it's super shiny, they got a new jersey for free from the shop, and they are certain they will be a faster rider. And they often are. I think that the 'new bike = go faster' thing plays into it more than gear ratios. Their new bike mathematically will have a harder time climbing hills. But if their mind tells them they are going to be way faster, their legs and lungs will rise to the occasion. Same goes for 650b.
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    Shops are selling long-travel 26" no problem, in areas where enduro and DH can be ridden, and online of course.

    Everywhere else, 29er is outselling 26" by a very, very wide margin. Walk into your LBS and ask 'em.

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    my lbs is very DH-specific, so they sell a healthy mix of everything. But they do sell a lot of wagon wheels.
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  103. #103
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    Never heard of them.
    Ha ha

    The way I see it:
    small rider - 26
    medium rider - 650b
    big boned/tall/large rider - 700c
    Good rule of thumb.

    but performance wise, the difference between 26 and 650b?? I don't know there really.
    First, ride one. Then see how the Euro riders you don't know, as well the Santa Cruz Syndicate, do in Enduro races. If very well, perhaps some of it is the wheel size. Perhaps not. I think Enduro is where 27.5" has the potential to perform better than 26" OR 29".

    I get it that people buy based on looks.
    ????

    If the whole industry is abandoning 26inch its only marketing I'm afraid since the performance difference between wheel sizes is always a 2 sided coin, you gain some there and lose some there, a zero sum game.

    The more sizes the better imo but just abandoning one size for sales purposes thats just silly, yeah sure go with 650b but keep the 26er stuff for the people that still want that stuff.
    I can't see 26 being "abandoned". It will always be there, if only for niche applications. 27.5" Naysayers on both sides of the pond will just have to accept that it is here to stay and see what happens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    Shops are selling long-travel 26" no problem, in areas where enduro and DH can be ridden, and online of course.

    Everywhere else, 29er is outselling 26" by a very, very wide margin. Walk into your LBS and ask 'em.

    Its because bike shops are pushing 29's on gullible people & noobs that don't know anything about wheels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarknutMike View Post
    Its because bike shops are pushing 29's on gullible people & noobs that don't know anything about wheels.
    Sure, look at the costs of the 29er stuff vs 26". Wheelsets, tires, forks etc....
    Markup is a percentage of the TOTAL sales price.

  106. #106
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    Well, here are a few 2014 650b All-Mountain Bikes:

    Trek Remedy 27.5, Trek Slash 27.5, Scott Genius 700, Rocky Mountain, Kona, Giant Trance 650b, just to name a few.
    Dropping into a trail

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  107. #107
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by DarknutMike View Post
    Its because bike shops are pushing 29's on gullible people & noobs that don't know anything about wheels.
    Brilliant in depth analysis. Did you think that up all by yourself?
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Brilliant in depth analysis. Did you think that up all by yourself?
    Yes .... Actually I based it on the 5 shops that are close to me ... & the comments on the misc forums leads my to believe the same is happening elsewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Brilliant in depth analysis. Did you think that up all by yourself?
    Come on, dwt. No need to be an antagonist in every post you make. It's getting pretty old. Do you have anything that's actually worthwhile to contribute to this thread?
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    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post
    Come on, dwt. No need to be an antagonist in every post you make. It's getting pretty old. Do you have anything that's actually worthwhile to contribute to this thread?
    Agreed. I'll take all the debate, please, but the insults whether verbal or with pictures are completely unnecessary. If everyone engages in that kind of stuff this place quickly turns into 4Chan.

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    come on fellas isn't that what the internet is for? To hide behind anonymity and have no accountability for ones action. I like the "reputation" rating here LOL!

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    I know I look like a noob with only 5 post .... My old account went away .. had to start over

  113. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    Agreed. I'll take all the debate, please, but the insults whether verbal or with pictures are completely unnecessary. If everyone engages in that kind of stuff this place quickly turns into 4Chan.
    Somebody posts: "bike shops are pushing 29's on gullible people & noobs that don't know anything about wheels." Clearly an overbroad and unfair generalization, not to mention insulting. Why should it go unchallenged? I would say live by the sword, die by the sword, on the internets, and I'm happy to oblige, and often do antagonistically and obnoxiously, I admit. Make an insult, get an insult back. Let's not have double standards.

    Also, saying I'm antagonistic in "EVERY" post I make is also an overbroad and unfair generalization. My rep would suggest that "occasionally" I'm relevant and on topic, eh?

    Fair enough?
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

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    oh the "rep"

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Somebody posts: "bike shops are pushing 29's on gullible people & noobs that don't know anything about wheels." Clearly an overbroad and unfair generalization, not to mention insulting. Why should it go unchallenged? I would say live by the sword, die by the sword, on the internets, and I'm happy to oblige, and often do antagonistically and obnoxiously, I admit. Make an insult, get an insult back. Let's not have double standards.

    Also, saying I'm antagonistic in "EVERY" post I make is also an overbroad and unfair generalization. My rep would suggest that "occasionally" I'm relevant and on topic, eh?

    Fair enough?
    Its not overboard or unfair in the least .... IMHO it is exactly what is happening ... I have seen it happening with my own eyes!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarknutMike View Post
    Its not overboard or unfair in the least .... IMHO it is exactly what is happening ... I have seen it happening with my own eyes!
    Agree and its not just about 29", unfortunately if you go to a bike shop without knowing something about fit and bikes they will probably push the wrong frame size/wheel/geometry etc its just that now 29" and 27.5" are more on the floor.

    I friend of mine was sold a 29 Trek so small that his knees were almost touching the bars for example.

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    That's a bad bike shop. Most shops are not like that. Also, your friend should have done a little research before buying a bike. Do you just buy a car based on the salesperson's recommendation? I hope not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Somebody posts: "bike shops are pushing 29's on gullible people & noobs that don't know anything about wheels." Clearly an overbroad and unfair generalization, not to mention insulting. Why should it go unchallenged? I would say live by the sword, die by the sword, on the internets, and I'm happy to oblige, and often do antagonistically and obnoxiously, I admit. Make an insult, get an insult back. Let's not have double standards.

    Also, saying I'm antagonistic in "EVERY" post I make is also an overbroad and unfair generalization. My rep would suggest that "occasionally" I'm relevant and on topic, eh?

    Fair enough?
    They're upset because you're questioning their "logic". They can't handle a different, albeit correct, viewpoint that isn't their own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    That's a bad bike shop. Most shops are not like that. Also, your friend should have done a little research before buying a bike. Do you just buy a car based on the salesperson's recommendation? I hope not.
    Thats exactly the point I guess you missed it, if people don´t research they will get pushed and since most companies are going 29/27.5 that´s what LBS will do.

  120. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Also, saying I'm antagonistic in "EVERY" post I make is also an overbroad and unfair generalization. My rep would suggest that "occasionally" I'm relevant and on topic, eh?

    Fair enough?
    Quite. And certainly you do have meaningful contributions. Frequently, I even agree with you! But when you disagree with me, it would be nice if that disagreement didn't include insults.

  121. #121
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by DarknutMike View Post
    Its not overboard or unfair in the least .... IMHO it is exactly what is happening ... I have seen it happening with my own eyes!
    I'm a gonna admit to a reading comprehension error. I apologize for being a dick, and deserved insults for my idiocy will be graciously accepted. I thought you were suggesting that only gullible people and newbs bought 29'ers. Doh!

    As far as salespeople pushing bikes, its like pro riders who ride what they are paid to ride. Salespeople are paid to sell what's on the floor. There are massive numbers of 29'ers on the floor. Should a newb, let's say a tall one, be steered to a 26" HT so he can learn riding skills the way the rest of us did, before trying FS or bigger wheels? Or to a 29'er from day 1, which arguably might fit better and be easier to learn on? I don't know but I don't think the 29'er is wrong necessarily.

    But, I'm glad I learned on a fully rigid 26'er back in the day.
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    I'm just recently back to riding, so I have very little personal exposure to this issue, however the LBS owner here told me he sells lots more 26'rs and in fact many people who had been riding 29'rs have gone back to a 26 inch wheel. Something to so with our tight winding single track.
    For myself, I demo'd a 29'r and opted to stick with 26.

  123. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Clearly an overbroad and unfair generalization, not to mention insulting.
    Really?? Why on earth would you consider that to be insulting? I thought it was an overly broad generalization too, but there's nothing there that would make me get all butt-hurt over it and puff up my internet chest. It's his honest opinion, and that's fine. You seem to really want to turn mostly-pacific debates into full arguments. And since you obviously seem adept at casting the first stone, I'm surprised that you feel you are acting in retaliation. You sure seem like an instigator to me. Please, just mellow out. Turn off the compy, go for a ride and be happy. And if you can't find anything positive to add to the conversation, feel free to go over to the never-ending mosh pit that is Pinkbike. They'll welcome you with all the fodder you need to get a fire going.

    MTBR reputation is rather silly, btw. It's little more than a badge of how much time you spend on the forum. One is bound to get more + rep the more they post, unless one can't help but be a jerk in every single post. You must spend a lot of time on here, so... congratulations, I guess, on your spending a lot of time on the computer?
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    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post
    MTBR reputation is rather silly, btw. It's little more than a badge of how much time you spend on the forum. One is bound to get more + rep the more they post, unless one can't help but be a jerk in every single post. You must spend a lot of time on here, so... congratulations, I guess, on your spending a lot of time on the computer?
    LOL! If you are referring to my post on mtbr reputation you must not have caught the built in sarcasm. Anything internet and "reputation" is quite the oxymoron.

    From my post count you can see I do more riding than web surfing

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    Just gave you some rep I plan to corrupt the system by giving away reps to everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post
    Really?? Why on earth would you consider that to be insulting? I thought it was an overly broad generalization too, but there's nothing there that would make me get all butt-hurt over it and puff up my internet chest.... You must spend a lot of time on here, so... congratulations, I guess, on your spending a lot of time on the computer?
    uuummmm....whoa dude this already got resolved....peace.

  127. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liternit View Post
    Just gave you some rep I plan to corrupt the system by giving away reps to everyone.
    Hey, how about me?
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    I have to post just because I feel the 29er is being unjustly bashed. For a very long time I was of the opinion that 29ers are just a fad, and that they couldn't even close to holding their own against a 26er. That is until I rode one. Mind you, this wasn't just a parking lot or fire road, it was on steep switchbacks both up and down, I even took it on a section of a downhill course. I was blown away. It handled the downs just as well as my 26er, and I didn't feel like it was holding me back on the climbs. I took my 26er out on the same ride the day after. If I had both bikes sitting in front of me I'd choose the 29er. Anyway, moral of the story: If its been awhile since you have ridden a 29er and are bashing it, demo a new one. They are amazing

  129. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSracer View Post
    I have to post just because I feel the 29er is being unjustly bashed. For a very long time I was of the opinion that 29ers are just a fad, and that they couldn't even close to holding their own against a 26er. That is until I rode one. Mind you, this wasn't just a parking lot or fire road, it was on steep switchbacks both up and down, I even took it on a section of a downhill course. I was blown away. It handled the downs just as well as my 26er, and I didn't feel like it was holding me back on the climbs. I took my 26er out on the same ride the day after. If I had both bikes sitting in front of me I'd choose the 29er. Anyway, moral of the story: If its been awhile since you have ridden a 29er and are bashing it, demo a new one. They are amazing
    what was your 26" bike, how old and how much did it cost new?

    and what is your new 29er and the cost?

    I'm just curious because given something sufficiently old and cheap, it would be a low bar for anything new and expensive to be a lot better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HSracer View Post
    I have to post just because I feel the 29er is being unjustly bashed. For a very long time I was of the opinion that 29ers are just a fad, and that they couldn't even close to holding their own against a 26er. That is until I rode one. Mind you, this wasn't just a parking lot or fire road, it was on steep switchbacks both up and down, I even took it on a section of a downhill course. I was blown away. It handled the downs just as well as my 26er, and I didn't feel like it was holding me back on the climbs. I took my 26er out on the same ride the day after. If I had both bikes sitting in front of me I'd choose the 29er. Anyway, moral of the story: If its been awhile since you have ridden a 29er and are bashing it, demo a new one. They are amazing
    I rode a very expensive 29'er today .... it wasn't amazing to me at all .... it felt slow & awkward .... My Covert 26 feels more responsive even though it is 4 pounds heavier.
    Last edited by DarknutMike; 07-20-2013 at 02:38 AM.

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    i just hope we can bring back the days when mountain bikes were just called mountain bikes....

  132. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    what was your 26" bike, how old and how much did it cost new?

    and what is your new 29er and the cost?

    I'm just curious because given something sufficiently old and cheap, it would be a low bar for anything new and expensive to be a lot better.
    Its a SC Superlight with all XT/XTR components. Price new was about $2500, but the components probably put it in the $4000 area. I have also spent a decent amount of time on a Blur XC with all XT. Price was around $5000. Ironically, I actually like my superlight more. The 29er was a Cannondale Scalpel Carbon 1. (I haven't gotten it yet, but will soon).

    Now, I just want to make this clear. I am not against 26ers. I love my superlight; it is the most responsive bike I have ever ridden (before you say that there are more responsive 26ers out there, mine is set up for XC racing right now so it is very light and stiff. I've compared it against other 26ers as well). And Ill admit that there is no way a 29er will be as responsive as a 26er. It just wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I'd even call it pretty good. There will always be a place for 26ers, but I think a 29er is the best choice for a do-everything bike.

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    There are certain benefits of 29er that makes them better than 26. But it all depends on what you ride. If I'm going back to 12 hr xc race--yea a 29er for me but otherwise with 160-180 travels, my pref is still 26

    27.5???? Its not even that. a smite under 27 is the actual diameter... Now this one I really say is being pushed down everyone's throat like those drivetrains each time they add 1 more speed by making the old obsolete... There are some well designed 27.5 out there now... but solely on wheel size-- my 26 running Ardents 2.4 or some equally big tires are much like the 27.5 on 2.1-2.2

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    Quote Originally Posted by anvil_den View Post
    There are certain benefits of 29er that makes them better than 26. But it all depends on what you ride. If I'm going back to 12 hr xc race--yea a 29er for me but otherwise with 160-180 travels, my pref is still 26

    27.5???? Its not even that. a smite under 27 is the actual diameter... Now this one I really say is being pushed down everyone's throat like those drivetrains each time they add 1 more speed by making the old obsolete... There are some well designed 27.5 out there now... but solely on wheel size-- my 26 running Ardents 2.4 or some equally big tires are much like the 27.5 on 2.1-2.2
    My 2.25 Knobby Nics measure 27&11/16"s. They weigh 570 grams, considerably taller and lighter than an 2.4 Ardent. Just saying.

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    Re: Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Maybe one day they will convert 27.5" bikes to 26"

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    I'm likely not as experienced or knowledgable as most of you posting on this topic, but there is one point that has barely been acknowledged, probably because it doesn't affect most of you.

    Height.

    I'm 5'1". I have a 29" hardtail and a 26" FS.

    I've never ridden a 27.5 because I can't find one with standover actually low enough to test. (Note: I think that Giant or Trek may have just released one that might fit me.)

    Not all women want a women's bike, particularly because the majority of them seem to be pre-built (can't just buy the frame) with heavy/lower-level components.

    If the manufacturers want to continue to appeal to the women's market, they need remember that the average women is about 5'4" and it would behoove them to continue producing their 26ers.

    Just don't want people to forget the shorties....

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    Future. Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes-gedc0155s.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by laine View Post
    I'm likely not as experienced or knowledgable as most of you posting on this topic, but there is one point that has barely been acknowledged, probably because it doesn't affect most of you.

    Height.

    I'm 5'1". I have a 29" hardtail and a 26" FS.

    I've never ridden a 27.5 because I can't find one with standover actually low enough to test. (Note: I think that Giant or Trek may have just released one that might fit me.)

    Not all women want a women's bike, particularly because the majority of them seem to be pre-built (can't just buy the frame) with heavy/lower-level components.

    If the manufacturers want to continue to appeal to the women's market, they need remember that the average women is about 5'4" and it would behoove them to continue producing their 26ers.

    Just don't want people to forget the shorties....
    how is the 29er fitting you as a relatively short person? Would you say a 26er is better fitting size wise in general?
    If I was that short I would go for a 26er regardless of what the salespeople try to convince me to buy. But thats just me.
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  139. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    how is the 29er fitting you as a relatively short person? Would you say a 26er is better fitting size wise in general?
    If I was that short I would go for a 26er regardless of what the salespeople try to convince me to buy. But thats just me.
    I did try a few 26ers before getting my hardtail, but I didn't love any of them. Mostly, they were men's XS or S frames that probably didn't fit me very well and were low end components (which likely didn't help with me enjoying the ride). It didn't occur to me to try a 29er until one of my girlfriends had me try her bike - a Specialized Jett - and I was amazed at the comparison. Honestly, I was kind of sold in the moment. My climbing is craptacular and it definitely made a big difference. So I went to a bunch of LBSs to test ride different models.

    The 29er I ended up with is a women's bike with pretty compact geometry/low standover (26.8"), low bottom bracket (12"), and tight wheelbase (41.3). It's a 2013 Cannondale Tango SL1 (Tango 29er). The bike helps on the climbs and is pretty good on the trail, but as I started to do more technical stuff, I realized I wanted a FS.

    In looking for an FS, I did try a Niner XS FS at a demo day, but it just felt kind of unwieldy. That was the only 29er I tried. With the FS, the 26er just felt more comfortable and control-able.

    In general, my options are limited by my height and standover and the fact that I wanted a carbon frame, and not a full build. Also, most LBSs don't stock anything to even test ride in the parking lot in size XS or S outside of Giant, Specialized and Trek.

    But more to answer you question, based on my recent experience, I would definitely stay with 26" for FS. I'd be curious to try a 27.5 hardtail just to see how it feels, but I'm not in the market. Maybe in another 5-8 years....

    It's just that in thinking about my purchase process and lack of bikes available locally to even test out, it would bum me out to think that 26ers may go by the wayside. And if LBS employees are pushing new riders to the new sizes, then that's what newbies will gravitate to. When I was looking at 29er hardtails, only one shop (out of 5 or 6) really tried to push me to the 26er based on my height. In hindsight, that surprises me. They all probably should have.

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    I'm riding my (26) Fuel until it breaks before buying new bike! I'm sure the tire size debate on which one is better will still be going on strong! Politics, Religion and now TIRE SIZE are things I don't talk about at the dinner table...happy trails
    SWING YOUR LEG OVER IT AND PEDAL:cool:

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    Come next year, you can't make a 26" trail bike and expect it to sell, or at least that's what the manufacturers appear to think. All the major companies are currently switching to 650b in the trail bike category. This includes Trek, Giant, Kona, GT, Lapierre, and others.

    Does this benefit the costumer? I don't know. The fact is that 26" will be phased out in the trail bike category simply because manufacturers figure that 650b sells better. My next bike will be a 650b because A) all the relevant 2014 model bikes are 650b, and B) a 650b bike will fetch a better price on the used market.

  142. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabrielus View Post
    LOL! If you are referring to my post on mtbr reputation you must not have caught the built in sarcasm. Anything internet and "reputation" is quite the oxymoron.

    From my post count you can see I do more riding than web surfing
    Oh not to worry. I wasn't referencing you at all, and I 100% agree.
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  143. #143
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post

    You sure seem like an instigator to me. Please, just mellow out. Turn off the compy, go for a ride and be happy. And if you can't find anything positive to add to the conversation, feel free to go over to the never-ending mosh pit that is Pinkbike. They'll welcome you with all the fodder you need to get a fire going.

    MTBR reputation is rather silly, btw. It's little more than a badge of how much time you spend on the forum. One is bound to get more + rep the more they post, unless one can't help but be a jerk in every single post. You must spend a lot of time on here, so... congratulations, I guess, on your spending a lot of time on the computer?
    Whew, quite a sermon, pastor Rhino.

    I do spend time here, on iPhone. Weather where I live has been unseasonably wet; not fun to ride; not friendly to the trails. Been futzing with my bikes a lot, as well as spending too much time on social networks, where boredom breeds hostility.

    What's it to you, anyway? Feel free to ignore, or to obsess. Either way, no skin off my ass.
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  144. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSracer View Post
    Its a SC Superlight with all XT/XTR components. Price new was about $2500, but the components probably put it in the $4000 area. I have also spent a decent amount of time on a Blur XC with all XT. Price was around $5000. Ironically, I actually like my superlight more. The 29er was a Cannondale Scalpel Carbon 1. (I haven't gotten it yet, but will soon). {snipped}
    So if I may summarize, yes, it is fair to say that the 29er you prefer is indeed much more expensive than your reference 26" bikes.

  145. #145
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    I have been waiting for legit AM bikes to offer 27.5 wheel sizes and now I think I am ready. I am looking at a Banshee Rune or SC Bronson. These frames are not just 26er frames with more mud clearance, the geo was built around the wheel size keeping the BB lower, that's why bikes that can fit 27.5 wheels like the Remedy don't feel rite when set up 650b. The new 27.5 GT Force carbon Pro would be my new bike if it were offered in a frame only...

  146. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer22 View Post
    i just hope we can bring back the days when mountain bikes were just called mountain bikes....
    Not me. I don't miss cantilever brakes, no suspension, square taper bottom brackets, threaded headsets, and 22" handlebars. No options is a bad thing, even if you don't need them.

  147. #147
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    I prefer Reverend Rhino
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  148. #148
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post
    I prefer Reverend Rhino
    Agreed. Alliteration does sound better.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  149. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    So if I may summarize, yes, it is fair to say that the 29er you prefer is indeed much more expensive than your reference 26" bikes.
    Well, in this case, yes. But I have also ridden 29ers in the price range of my reference bikes, and found that I liked the big wheels better in MOST scenarios. When we rode Mammoth Mountain three weeks ago I was sure glad to have my 26

  150. #150
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    Opinions and reviews are only helpful if they are put in the context of how the product is being used and by whom. Reviews saying "best bike ever - rips like crazy!" or "horrible bike, I would never buy one" are not very helpful. They rip what like crazy? Paved bike paths? Rocks and roots? rolling hills? steep climbs? And what is the bike being compared to -- what other bikes has the author ridden? Without context, the feedback has very little value.

    That is the case for every product and for wheel size -- without knowing what terrain the author rides, the skill level, and what bikes the author has experienced, the feedback is not very helpful. A random "27.5 is just a marketing ploy" indicates the writer has not actually ridden all three wheel sizes.

    I've owned a variety of 26ers including a Rocky Mountain Instinct, Yeti 575, Ibis Mojo, and my current ride which is a Specialized Epic 29er. I've ridden lots of friend's bikes with a variety of travel and wheel sizes

    I ride in the Rocky Mountains, so it should be no surprise that there are a lot of rocks and roots on the trails I ride. And a lot of climbing. Much of it is quite steep. I enjoy technical trails and trying to conquer the most challenging sections. If I don't clean a section, a few do-overs are usually on the menu.

    A little more context: I ride all mountain at least 2-3 hours a week and I race cross country on the weekends (Winter Park, Firecracker 50, Gunnison Growler, LT100. SR50, etc). I broke the rear triangle, the dogbone, and the front triangle on my Yeti. Yeti replaced each one rapidly, so I was quite happy with Yeti. Yeti didn't make a 29er in 2011, so I bought a Specialized. Specialized replaced my Epic frame last year. Hadley and Chris King have repaired/replaced hubs for me. The key point is that I'm not just soft pedaling around on paved bike paths.

    I tried 29ers back in 2008 and 2009. They were sluggish, hard to elevate the front wheel to get over obstacles, and the gearing wasn't low enough for the steep climbs in the area. I bought my 2011 Epic 29er after riding a friend's 2011 Niner Air and realizing that I was going as fast as ever on the Mt Falcon climb (which I do fairly frequently) but my HR was 7-8 bpm lower than on my 26er. The handling issue had been fixed and 36t cassettes were available to fix the gearing issue.

    The Specialized Epic 29er is the perfect bike for my riding. I have no trouble getting it up to speed, it NOTICEABLY reduces the effort required to ride over roots and rocks, the handling is quick enough that I can ride all the switchbacks, and it is stable enough to bomb the downhills at higher speeds than on my 26ers. The Brain suspension helps me go faster during races.

    Please note that my definition of "big air" is anything over about 24" off the ground, so I'm not a freerider or downhiller. I pump the terrain for more speed; I find it to be effective on my 29er. Not sure why some people say it doesn't work on a 29er.

    A friend of mine has an Eriksen 650B. I've ridden it over a variety of surfaces - from smooth to rocky. It doesn't roll over stuff quite as well as my 29er, but way better than a 26er.

    I don't crash as often on bigger wheels. In the 2+ years I've had the 29er, I've endo'ed 2 or 3 times. On the 26er, I endo'ed more frequently because the front wheel hit stuff and stopped instead of hit and continued to roll. I see the 29er as an investment in my safety. There have been NUMEROUS instances of realizing I'm about to hit something and anticipating a crash, but the 29er rolled right on through and we kept going. I love that!

    Please understand that I race the Expert class in Colorado. My comments about endo'ing and/or crashing are not indicative of a lack of skills issue. It's a riding-on-the-edge-and-something-unexpected-comes-up issue.

    I will never go back to a 26er. Perhaps a 650B, but not a 26er. For me, it is both a safety issue and speed/effort. On a 29er, I don't crash as often and I go faster with less effort. My riding is way more fun on a 29er.
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  151. #151
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    That was much longer than expected. I kind of worked on it from time to time throughout the day and didn't realize how long it had become. Hopefully it is easy to read and helpful.
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  152. #152
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    Can you quantify steep, lots of rocks, and technical.

    Thanks

  153. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    Can you quantify steep, lots of rocks, and technical.

    Thanks
    What do you think I can't do on my enduro 29er? lol
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  154. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    What do you think I can't do on my enduro 29er? lol
    nothing you cant do on any other bike.

    my comment was for the TLDR post. starts off on a rant about quantifying best.. then says he climbs steep but didnt give a distance/elevation gain.. called trails rocky and rooty with not pictures. so i was just busting his chops.. all in good fun\

    on a side note the enduro 29er is the first bike i would get if i had the cash for one..

    im waiting it out though hopefully i can pick up a used one in a few years. if i were to race an enduro a full squish 29er would be my first choice

  155. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    nothing you cant do on any other bike.

    my comment was for the TLDR post. starts off on a rant about quantifying best.. then says he climbs steep but didnt give a distance/elevation gain.. called trails rocky and rooty with not pictures. so i was just busting his chops.. all in good fun\

    on a side note the enduro 29er is the first bike i would get if i had the cash for one..

    im waiting it out though hopefully i can pick up a used one in a few years. if i were to race an enduro a full squish 29er would be my first choice
    I figured, that's why I included the "lol"

    Kind of the way I saw it. I rode my hardtail 29er for years till I started seeing a couple FS ones like the Tallboy LT and Intense that I was interested in. I'm glad I didn't go all crazy and get something too early. There have been a lot of good FS 29ers already, but not what I've been looking for
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  156. #156
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    I live in Texas and vacationed in Colorado last year. It was an eye opening experience for my 29er theory. I was happy with my current Stumpy 26er but like many bikes not content. I hadn't drank the kewl-aid but inhaled to fumes to some degree. I had already built a 29er hardtail (Niner) and was in love with it's speed and ability to climb. Easy to say since I primarily only used it as my road bike and some very light XC.

    Anyway, I figured my natural progression was to have a more aggressive 29er to replace my 26er. The Transition Bandit29 seem to fit the bill. Only a 1/2" longer wheel base and almost identical geometry to my Stumpy I knew this was the "last bike I'd ever own". Problem was I couldn't find a dealer in Texas to demo one or even take it for a spin in the parking lot. Long story longer...I found a dealer in Colorado who had one in stock that I could ride. We were there in CO for nine days and visited bikes shops in every town we stopped in. None of them had gotten the 29er bug and said the only reason they had them on the floor was of the internet demand. They themselves were still riding 26er's and had no plans to change. From bike shops in Colorado Springs to Grand Junction this was the overall sentiment.

    Buy then I decided that I still wanted one to at least say I tried. Now I can honestly say I'm not sure which bike I like more. My son is now using my Stumpy so he keeps telling me how much better of a rider I've become since getting my FS 29er. lol
    Let's make like a Bike and get the Huck outta here...

  157. #157
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    I just DO NOT get it.. i don't understand the hype. I've ridden both 29er hardtails and mid travel FS, on just a few/several rides but still enough to get a feeling for 'em. I agree on some of the positive aspects, but not all of them.. i even can't begin to understand the climbing aspect everyone talks about. Me and a few friends have come to the conclusion that 29ers are MORE difficult to climb on rough terrain. It just takes more time for the wheel to get over objects hence making it more difficult.. there is 'more wheel' you have to move over any given object. I don't see any way around that, and i just don't understand what so many people say 29 is absoultely superior in climbing.

    Next to that, stability wise, for agressive riding, the 29er loses again. The 26 is easier to control when the bike is drifting and whiping around the trail, making it IMO more stable in such conditions.

    Yes, 29 is better rolling in SOME situations, yes its faster in SOME situations, but i don't see how some people consider it better in absolutely every riding condition (especially techy climbing).

  158. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by PsyCro View Post
    I just DO NOT get it.. i don't understand the hype. I've ridden both 29er hardtails and mid travel FS, on just a few/several rides but still enough to get a feeling for 'em. I agree on some of the positive aspects, but not all of them.. i even can't begin to understand the climbing aspect everyone talks about. Me and a few friends have come to the conclusion that 29ers are MORE difficult to climb on rough terrain. It just takes more time for the wheel to get over objects hence making it more difficult.. there is 'more wheel' you have to move over any given object. I don't see any way around that, and i just don't understand what so many people say 29 is absoultely superior in climbing.

    Next to that, stability wise, for agressive riding, the 29er loses again. The 26 is easier to control when the bike is drifting and whiping around the trail, making it IMO more stable in such conditions.

    Yes, 29 is better rolling in SOME situations, yes its faster in SOME situations, but i don't see how some people consider it better in absolutely every riding condition (especially techy climbing).
    Then I guess you have not ridden a 29er up a long steep hill, or have ridden a 29er down a fast paved road. I have done both and a 29er has proved more stable at speed, faster, and has more grip while climbing, making it better than a 26 at everything but sharp turning and accelerating.
    I have even proved the point of my 29er being faster than my friend's 26er.
    You should ride a 29er many, many times before thinking that you know how it acts.
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  159. #159
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    Riding a bike up a steep hill has primarily to do with technique and chainstay length. 29ers generally have longer chainstays than 26" because the wheel is larger. Successful climbing is heavily dependent on the rider.

    Agility has to do with weight, head tube angle, rake and wheelbase. 29ers tend to have longer wheelbase and always weigh more than a 26" for bikes that cost the same, because the wheels are larger. An additional problem is that if you try to shorten the wheelbase on a 29er, you can induce toe overlap, which is especially a problem for guys with large feet.

    And riding on pavement downhill faster... That's a key selling point for my MTB purchases!


    This comparison is mostly if not entirely true when you put "27.5" in place of "26".

  160. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    Riding a bike up a steep hill has primarily to do with technique and chainstay length. 29ers generally have longer chainstays than 26" because the wheel is larger. Successful climbing is heavily dependent on the rider.

    Agility has to do with weight, head tube angle, rake and wheelbase. 29ers tend to have longer wheelbase and always weigh more than a 26" for bikes that cost the same, because the wheels are larger. An additional problem is that if you try to shorten the wheelbase on a 29er, you can induce toe overlap, which is especially a problem for guys with large feet.

    And riding on pavement downhill faster... That's a key selling point for my MTB purchases!


    This comparison is mostly if not entirely true when you put "27.5" in place of "26".
    I also compared riding down a rocky mountain on my 29er and my dad's 26er and I did go faster, 29ers have more leverage and more rubber hitting the ground, so they also have better climbing. 29ers do have longer wheelbases than 26ers, so they will climb better.
    Dropping into a trail

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  161. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    Riding a bike up a steep hill has primarily to do with technique and chainstay length. 29ers generally have longer chainstays than 26" because the wheel is larger. Successful climbing is heavily dependent on the rider.

    Agility has to do with weight, head tube angle, rake and wheelbase. 29ers tend to have longer wheelbase and always weigh more than a 26" for bikes that cost the same, because the wheels are larger. An additional problem is that if you try to shorten the wheelbase on a 29er, you can induce toe overlap, which is especially a problem for guys with large feet.

    And riding on pavement downhill faster... That's a key selling point for my MTB purchases!


    This comparison is mostly if not entirely true when you put "27.5" in place of "26".
    I think you have to have a certain level of technical skill to overcome the akwardness of the bigger bike .

    If you have the low speed handeling skills and technical climbing finesse then the befifits on the speed sections are there for the taking.




    Basicly im saying if you cant climb hills on a two niner its cause your a crappy rider to begin with

  162. #162
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    I think you have to have a certain level of technical skill to overcome the akwardness of the bigger bike .

    If you have the low speed handeling skills and technical climbing finesse then the befifits on the speed sections are there for the taking.




    Basicly im saying if you cant climb hills on a two niner its cause your a crappy rider to begin with
    For once I totally agree with you. I absolutely notice the need for low speed handling skills and finesse climbing on my 29'er, notably up tight rocky switch backs. Being an experienced but not necessarily a superbly talented rider, balance quickly becomes an issue for me in these situations. Particulary frustrating is turning the front wagon wheel close to 90deg to the frame getting around the tight turn, then having the tire encounter a wet muddy
    root on the other side. Tire slips, crappy rider looses balance, and must dab, even dismount. Also feel like I'm track standing much of the time climbing with the big hoops.
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  163. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    For once I totally agree with you. I absolutely notice the need for low speed handling skills and finesse climbing on my 29'er, notably up tight rocky switch backs. Being an experienced but not necessarily a superbly talented rider, balance quickly becomes an issue for me in these situations. Particulary frustrating is turning the front wagon wheel close to 90deg to the frame getting around the tight turn, then having the tire encounter a wet muddy
    root on the other side. Tire slips, crappy rider looses balance, and must dab, even dismount. Also feel like I'm track standing much of the time climbing with the big hoops.
    All bikes that are new to a person have a learning curve.

    I ride the 29er when total ride time is important and if im trying to clean techy climbs(at first the 29er was getting caught up on square edges but i learned the particulars on how it wanted me to climb and now its the go to climbing bike)



    No spot for a tweener for me if others like it its their personal bussines

    I ride the 26er if im focused on drops and features (majority of my rides)

  164. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    Can you quantify steep, lots of rocks, and technical.

    Thanks
    Steep: Greater than 18.5% grade
    Lots of rocks: Greater than 999,029,275 PPM
    Technical: Minimum of {[(26.1 roots per mile) or (more than 3.6 switchbacks per mile)] and (more than 26% of trail surface has a coefficient of friction between rocks less than 0.29%)] or (trees less than handlebar width more than 27.5% of the time)}

    Hope that helps!
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  165. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by PsyCro View Post
    I just DO NOT get it.. i don't understand the hype. I've ridden both 29er hardtails and mid travel FS, on just a few/several rides but still enough to get a feeling for 'em. I agree on some of the positive aspects, but not all of them.. i even can't begin to understand the climbing aspect everyone talks about. Me and a few friends have come to the conclusion that 29ers are MORE difficult to climb on rough terrain. It just takes more time for the wheel to get over objects hence making it more difficult.. there is 'more wheel' you have to move over any given object. I don't see any way around that, and i just don't understand what so many people say 29 is absoultely superior in climbing. I don't see how some people consider it better in absolutely every riding condition (especially techy climbing).
    Think about riding up a curb. If you rode into a curb with 3" wheels (a scooter or inline skates), you'd slam into the curb and it would be game over. Ride into that same curb on a bike with 16" wheels and you'd take a pretty good whack, but with some skill you could make it. 20" wheels make it easier, 26" make it easier still. 29" inch wheels make it even easier. If you used a monster truck, you might not even notice the curb.

    Some call it "angle of attack". It has to do with what percentage of the diameter of the wheel that the obstacle represents. The greater the percentage, the harder it is to get over the obstacle.

    29ers run over stuff that stop 26ers. As I said in my probably-too-long-for-many-readers post, there have been MANY times when I've gritted my teeth expecting and endo based on 26er mindset and rolled right over something on my 29er.

    During a race a couple years ago (pre-29er), I caught and passed one of my main competitors on a gravel road. I had more leg power and lung power than he did. But we got into the trees and were climbing up a root infested (greater than 3 roots per foot of trail ) climb, he motored past me on his 29er. My 26er was hitting each root with more force and losing more momentum than his 29er. He was rolling over roots that almost stopped my bike.

    29ers aren't better for everything, but they're better for everything that I care about. I considered 650B, but it was not well established in 2011 and seemed too risky for my $$$.
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  166. #166
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    IMO, having ridden both 29ers and 26ers. There is a trail that is suited best for each. The 29ers are here to stay but at the same time, the 26ers aren't going anywhere either. You just can't beat the rollover prowess of the 29er, but in tight switch backs and curvy singletracks, you just can't beat the agileness of a 26er. I think thats the gap the people behind the 650B are trying to close. This whole debate on a 29er vs a 26er comes down to preference and the trail a person mostly rides. Myself, I still prefer a 26er. I love that nimble feeling, but am considering a 650B when the time is right. It seems as if that time is coming with the bigger companies like Trek and Giant having 650B prototypes.

  167. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by MultiRider View Post
    Think about riding up a curb. If you rode into a curb with 3" wheels (a scooter or inline skates), you'd slam into the curb and it would be game over. Ride into that same curb on a bike with 16" wheels and you'd take a pretty good whack, but with some skill you could make it. 20" wheels make it easier, 26" make it easier still. 29" inch wheels make it even easier. If you used a monster truck, you might not even notice the curb.

    Some call it "angle of attack". It has to do with what percentage of the diameter of the wheel that the obstacle represents. The greater the percentage, the harder it is to get over the obstacle.

    29ers run over stuff that stop 26ers. As I said in my probably-too-long-for-many-readers post, there have been MANY times when I've gritted my teeth expecting and endo based on 26er mindset and rolled right over something on my 29er.

    During a race a couple years ago (pre-29er), I caught and passed one of my main competitors on a gravel road. I had more leg power and lung power than he did. But we got into the trees and were climbing up a root infested (greater than 3 roots per foot of trail ) climb, he motored past me on his 29er. My 26er was hitting each root with more force and losing more momentum than his 29er. He was rolling over roots that almost stopped my bike.

    29ers aren't better for everything, but they're better for everything that I care about. I considered 650B, but it was not well established in 2011 and seemed too risky for my $$$.

    Skill usually solves that. I accept 29ers, they're great for rollover and maintaining momentum, but I think people numb their skills too much with 29ers. I want to be able to clear something because of my skill, not the bike I choose to ride. If it takes me 29 in wheel to clear a root, I'm going to re-access my skills on a bicycle.

  168. #168
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakester;10556292a
    I love that nimble feeling, but am considering a 650B when the time is right. It seems as if that time is coming with the bigger companies like Trek and Giant having 650B prototypes.
    I'm prefer the middle size wheel, so I agree with the idea it is "best of both worlds".

    But I will not oversell it. When folks say "they can't tell the difference between 27.5" and 26" ", I don't get it. Everything else being equal, the bikes are bigger and heavier than 26", and therefore not quite as playful. That bad aspect should be immediately apparent to an experienced 26" rider. On the good side they roll slightly better than 26, but not dramatically better, which is probably what people mean when they say they can't tell the difference. Nothing like the huge difference of a 29'er. But since 27.5" IS closer to 26" than 29", it does not share all of the 29" negatives.

    It's very subjective of course. You either cotton to it or you don't. Those who love their nimble 26'ers might find them harder to throw around and not like that. Those who love 29" might miss the huge 29" roll and angle of attack. The 26" fan is more likely to end up saying that 27.5" is worst of both worlds. The 29" lover is more likely to say, "meh."
    I own all three as of 29'er in April, but unfortunately due to unseasonably wet weather have not been on the trails as much as is normal, and have not had a the chance to compare and contrast them in great detail this season.

    Do demo one though when the time comes
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  169. #169
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    I actually enjoy needing to ride with some bmx/trials skills and lots of body English. I'm of the opinion any wheel size can be compensated for with the right rider. You just need to adapt your style and ride them differently. Me personally, I love the agile 26" bike. I'm very anxious to try out 650b and see what I think. At worst, I replace the wheels with some old trusty 26's and still have a badass bike that can be ran in either form.

    Pretty sure there was no 9 in the thread title

  170. #170
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    Because most probably have not spent a lot of time on a 650b yet? (including me) Really curious to try a 650, but I think that announcing the homicide of 26" is a little early...

    I agree, a competent rider can get by on any bike. Over the last year, I've chosen to spend more time on the 29er, even though it's less travel and a bit steeper than my 26. At first, I thought I was digging the "challenge" of the wheels size, but really - it's not much of a challenge - it's different, and I do enjoy that. But, it's also a lot lighter Ha, that's probably it.

    Will say that I've cleaned a couple technical climbs on the 29er that I have yet to do on the smaller wheels. It feels like it has more traction when it gets really steep, probably the longer stays... Could I clean the same lines on the 26? Not sure - I think I can, but on the 29 I just "did it".

    Raced BME #1 on my 29er - I probably would have done better on my 26 because it has more travel and it a bit more slack. But I didn't really feel at a disadvantage, just wished for more travel on the frame at times.
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  171. #171
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    First ride this AM on my 27.5 Banshee Rune and I am impressed. This is the burliest 650b bike out there with 6 1/2" of travel and slack geo and man the thing is a freight train going downhill. It will take some getting used to as it is a whole new bike for me but I must say so far I am sold. This thing climbs great, I can really feel it simply roll over obstacles with ease. I will be heading up to the new bike park in Big Bear Ca. so that will be a test! My Rune in at just over 32lbs, not bad for such a big bike, with my trusty 26" wheeled Yeti ASR-7!

  172. #172
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    First of all, what i consider to be steep and techy is the kind of climb that once you dab and stop, it's almost impossible to get going again, and those are the kind of climbs you do not even attempt if you don't have a lot of saddle time and experience.

    Second of all, i love the comments regarding advanced experience needed to climb a 29er on techy terrain. What the heck!!? Wouldn't that mean that the advance experience needed to get a 26er through rough terrain pointed down makes it better it at that as well?? I'm sure you realize that it actually confirms EXACTLY what stated in my post above!
    I know you guys love your 29ers, i love em for what they are as well.. but come on.

  173. #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by PsyCro View Post
    ...i love the comments regarding advanced experience needed to climb a 29er on techy terrain.
    Did someone say that, exactly - or are yo paraphrasing? I think read something to the effect of: a different bike require different skills... Not more or better.


    Quote Originally Posted by PsyCro View Post
    ...Wouldn't that mean that the advance experience needed to get a 26er through rough terrain pointed down makes it better it at that as well??
    Dunno... I do know that I was keeping up with 26ers (6 inch bikes, not full on dh rigs) on some dh stuff at Angelfire (and following riders I consider to be pretty fast and experienced).

    What I"m not saying it that one is "better", and I'm not saying one is "worse". They are different - each has it's own way to be ridden.
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  174. #174
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    I also think its what the rider is more accustomed to as well. I have a friend that rides a 26er that is just a wildman and I'd put him up against a similar skilled rider with a 29er on any terrain and I think both would hold their own. Both would know exactly what their bike can or can't do. What it can and can't rollover. How much to slow down if any around that super tight switchback. Like I said, it comes to preference and experience with the bike to really use it to its fullest which is true even for the riders who changes frames with the same wheel size.

  175. #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangaroo View Post
    Skill usually solves that. I accept 29ers, they're great for rollover and maintaining momentum, but I think people numb their skills too much with 29ers. I want to be able to clear something because of my skill, not the bike I choose to ride. If it takes me 29 in wheel to clear a root, I'm going to re-access my skills on a bicycle.
    At the risk of being too blunt, this makes no sense. If you don't want your bike to help you get over an obstacle, well, umm, you'd have to not ride a bike. If you want your bike to make it as hard as possible, you could ride a fully rigid with 20" wheels. That would make rocks and roots REALLY hard and test your skill! Or ride a unicycle which would require massively more skill to clear rocks/roots/water bars.

    I can't imagine thinking "I won't buy/ride this bike because it will make me a better rider and would help me ride things I couldn't otherwise ride". If everyone thought that way, Aaron Gwin, et al, would be racing downhills on fully rigid bikes because the suspension makes it so much easier.

    I ride/race trails with lots of rocks and roots. The 29er makes it easier. I put just as much effort into my riding as I did with my 26ers, but now clear technical sections more reliably and go faster. Both of those make riding a lot more fun for me.

    27.25" bikes are a bit more agile and flickable than 29ers. That appeals to me enough that I'd consider one for a next bike. 26ers stall and fling me over the bars more often (particularly my Ibis Mojo). That makes them unappealing. Perhaps I should have just put 650Bs on my Mojo and saved some $$$. Oh well, I am enjoying riding my 29er!
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  176. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by PsyCro View Post
    I just DO NOT get it.. i don't understand the hype. I've ridden both 29er hardtails and mid travel FS, on just a few/several rides but still enough to get a feeling for 'em. I agree on some of the positive aspects, but not all of them.. i even can't begin to understand the climbing aspect everyone talks about. Me and a few friends have come to the conclusion that 29ers are MORE difficult to climb on rough terrain. It just takes more time for the wheel to get over objects hence making it more difficult.. there is 'more wheel' you have to move over any given object. I don't see any way around that, and i just don't understand what so many people say 29 is absoultely superior in climbing.

    Next to that, stability wise, for agressive riding, the 29er loses again. The 26 is easier to control when the bike is drifting and whiping around the trail, making it IMO more stable in such conditions.

    Yes, 29 is better rolling in SOME situations, yes its faster in SOME situations, but i don't see how some people consider it better in absolutely every riding condition (especially techy climbing).
    After riding 26" wheels for about 8-10 years I tried a 29er. Local friends got hooked. Took me a full year and many rides on the big hoops to warm up. Once I got my own and learned how to ride it, I could not go back to a 26". Been on 29ers ever since... about 8-10 years now.

    That said, they do have their drawbacks, and I actually run a 275 on the back of one of my 29ers.

  177. #177
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    Why is it guys who complain about bigger wheeled bikes not being nimble enough, and making trails to easy are the same ones riding bikes with...

    ...super slack head tube angle, 6" plus FS bikes, huge tires?

    These things are great and I like'm... but they don't exactly make a bike nimble, and they most certainly can dumb down a trail and take away some challenge.

  178. #178
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    I have a nice 29er hardtail, a 26inch long travel FS, and a 26inch steel framed hardtail goddess. I love and ride them all. Just depends on the trail and my mood.

    When I want to just ride out the miles I take my 29er. She is my multipurpose gal and will wear whatever I ask her to from 2.5 weirwolfs to 36mm roadslicks.

    When I want to play in the dirt and dance on every little piece of the trail I take my 26 inch HT. She can be a little naughty and I like her that way.

    When I am spending a few hours out on the slickrock I take my longtravel FS. She is my big bottomed girl. Theres a lot there to love but I will never ask her to go on a diet. She is perfect just the way she is.

    The same trail changes depending on the bike I am riding. None of them are better; just different. And I love them all.

  179. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurkinite View Post
    I have a nice 29er hardtail, a 26inch long travel FS, and a 26inch steel framed hardtail goddess. I love and ride them all. Just depends on the trail and my mood.

    When I want to just ride out the miles I take my 29er. She is my multipurpose gal and will wear whatever I ask her to from 2.5 weirwolfs to 36mm roadslicks.

    When I want to play in the dirt and dance on every little piece of the trail I take my 26 inch HT. She can be a little naughty and I like her that way.

    When I am spending a few hours out on the slickrock I take my longtravel FS. She is my big bottomed girl and will never be asked to go on a diet. She is perfect just the way she is.

    The same trail changes depending on the bike I am riding. None of them are better; just different. And I love them all.

    holy crap dude those are my three exact bikes

    7in free ride

    140mm 26er hardtail

    100mm 29er hardtail

    crazy

    love em all ride em all

  180. #180
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by MultiRider View Post
    At the risk of being too blunt, this makes no sense. If you don't want your bike to help you get over an obstacle, well, umm, you'd have to not ride a bike. If you want your bike to make it as hard as possible, you could ride a fully rigid with 20" wheels. That would make rocks and roots REALLY hard and test your skill! Or ride a unicycle which would require massively more skill to clear rocks/roots/water bars.

    I can't imagine thinking "I won't buy/ride this bike because it will make me a better rider and would help me ride things I couldn't otherwise ride". If everyone thought that way, Aaron Gwin, et al, would be racing downhills on fully rigid bikes because the suspension makes it so much easier.

    I ride/race trails with lots of rocks and roots. The 29er makes it easier. I put just as much effort into my riding as I did with my 26ers, but now clear technical sections more reliably and go faster. Both of those make riding a lot more fun for me.

    27.25" bikes are a bit more agile and flickable than 29ers. That appeals to me enough that I'd consider one for a next bike. 26ers stall and fling me over the bars more often (particularly my Ibis Mojo). That makes them unappealing. Perhaps I should have just put 650Bs on my Mojo and saved some $$$. Oh well, I am enjoying riding my 29er!
    This is very well said.

    My first thought is that I rode 26" bikes- rigid, HT, FS, geared, SS - for about 20 years before I first tried a 29'er in 2011. I suppose whatever skills I had as a rider had pretty much plateaued after that much time. On the very first ride on the 29'er, a HT, ridden on trails I was very familiar with, I cleaned sections, both descending and climbing, that I couldn't or had trouble cleaning on my 26'ers. My exact response after this ride, that I loudly announced to my friends, was "this thing is cheating." But to clean stuff without crashing or dismounting and walking, for sure was more fun- whether "cheating" or not.

    Couldn't at that time afford a new 29'er, so I converted my 26" HT to 650b; built the wheels, bought an X Fusion fork. Found out that 650b was cheating too, though not as bad as the 29'er, and more fun to ride. And also, agreed, no OTB problem.

    In 2013, I own bikes in all 3 wheel sizes, all very different, but all fun. Prefer the 650b. I'm one of those whose reaction is "best of both worlds" which is not in any way universal. Plenty of riders say "worst of both worlds"; plenty others just say "meh."

    Definitely a subjective, whatever floats your boat, question. Bottom line is having a ball according to your own definition of that. I pretty much have all I can handle.
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  181. #181
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    Sweet Christ on a cracker sandwich!

    They're just ****ing bicycles, people.
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  182. #182
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    Sweet Christ on a cracker sandwich!

    They're just ****ing bicycles, people.
    In case you didn't notice, the entire MTBR website and all the forums are all about "just ****ing bicycles," person. I think EVERYBODY gets that.



    So what's your point and why are you bothered that people are interested in "just ****ing bicycles"?
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  183. #183
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    I personally hate 29'ers & will never own one I think the negatives outweigh the positives ... but obviously I'm in the minority in that thinking. I think if you need 29" wheels to clear roots & rocks your just a poor rider.

    I will go 650B if 26's get hard to get or too expensive .... but I still think its marketing hype per & simple.

    In a perfect world I would agree that having 3 wheels sizes to choose from is good but the fact that the bike co's are trying to kill 26's sux for all of us that don't want to ride wagon wheels or be victim of marketing BS.
    Last edited by DarknutMike; 07-25-2013 at 08:12 PM.

  184. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    They're just ****ing bicycles, people.
    One does not simply **** a bicycle...

  185. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    Sweet Christ on a cracker sandwich!

    They're just ****ing bicycles, people.
    You people with well balanced personalities, varied interests and finely honed interpersonal skills cant be expected to understand.

  186. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarknutMike View Post
    I think if you need 29" wheels to clear roots & rocks your just a poor rider.
    Who buys a 29er to clear roots and rocks? Most get hooked over the superior ride quality while riding fast through chunky shit.

  187. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    In case you didn't notice, the entire MTBR website and all the forums are all about "just ****ing bicycles," person. I think EVERYBODY gets that.


    So what's your point and why are you bothered that people are interested in "just ****ing bicycles"?
    Oh, not so much bothered as entertained. The endless hand wringing about wheel sizes, threads about what bar/seat/random component is best for all mountain, etc.

    You're taking my post waaaaay too seriously anyhow. Point? No point at all. This is the inter-tubes, after all - most of which is pointless but entertaining.

    It all boils down to whatever one prefers to ride for their given terrain and riding. I like the small wheels. I ride with plenty of people who like the big wheels. There is starting to be some in-between as well. We all somehow manage to have fun riding with one another.

    Germain to the thread content: I've played around on some 29ers, even built one up a few years ago. Didn't care for them. Still open to the idea. If I ever get a ride on one that blows my hair back enough, sure, I'd probably buy in.

    27.5/650B? I'm certainly curious. Everything I read and hear about it says it helps negate what I disliked about my 29er experiments, while still keeping some of the good traits. Am I going to buy in without trying? No. All of my rides can fit this size, with some travel limiting. Hoping to maybe borrow a set of wheels to check it out. I suspect I'll probably like them. But am not going to spend the dough on it yet. It can wait until one of my frames is dying, and by then I'm sure to have had some saddle time on some 27.5 bikes to see what it's all about.

    26" isn't going anywhere. Yet. We'll still be in tires and wheels for a while, I suspect. By the time I'm ready to pick up a new frame, we'll see what's on the market. I think there will still be plenty of options for all three sizes. Will there be some 29=XC 26=DH/DJ/trial and 27.5=everything else split? Probably/possibly?
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  188. #188
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    Oh, not so much bothered as entertained. The endless hand wringing about wheel sizes, threads about what bar/seat/random component is best for all mountain, etc.
    Glad to help amuse you.

    You're taking my post waaaaay too seriously anyhow.
    You flatter yourself
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  189. #189
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    Anyways here's what Giant is saying about wheel sizes

    "Can we expect to see 29 and 26-inch wheels eventually disappear in Giant's consumer-priced bikes in the near future?

    · 26-inch for sure, but 29-inch will be dependent on market feedback. That said, if the market progresses the way we believe it will, 29-inch will be phased out in approximately two years....again, totally dependent on market feedback."

    Taken from - 650B For Giant's 2014 Elite-Level Mountain Bikes - Pinkbike
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  190. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by icecreamjay View Post
    Anyways here's what Giant is saying about wheel sizes

    "Can we expect to see 29 and 26-inch wheels eventually disappear in Giant's consumer-priced bikes in the near future?

    · 26-inch for sure, but 29-inch will be dependent on market feedback. That said, if the market progresses the way we believe it will, 29-inch will be phased out in approximately two years....again, totally dependent on market feedback."

    Taken from - 650B For Giant's 2014 Elite-Level Mountain Bikes - Pinkbike
    What does Giant know about anything!?
    All wheel sizes are necessary for a balanced mountainbike market.

    26": low end recreational, All-Mountain, Freeride, Downhill
    27.5": All Mountain
    29: XC ,
    See Giant, all wheel sizes are needed for everyone to be happy with their mountain bike. And please, Giant, if you do stop production on all 29ers then you will be one of the lamest bike brands in the world.
    Dropping into a trail

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  191. #191
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    To me its good news!! should push down the price of 26" stuff

  192. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    That's so cute. Giant is trying to drive an industry where they are followers.

    Getting rid of the 29er is stupid. There's too much demand for it.

    Specialized, as much as I don't like them, is being smart about this so far. They're still taking the wait and see attitude.

    It's stil not that hard to slam a 650b wheel into 26" frame and call it new though, so I'm not holding my breath.
    ^This. Even as a non-29er guy, there is still a lot of demand.

    I like my 26ers a lot, but won't be surprised if a few years down the road, my choices are more 27.5 than 26 for general trail bikes.

    Now, maybe the industry is wrong, and the whole 27.5 thing will end up being a flash in the pan that'll bite them in the ass if they don't sell as well as they hope. Oops we got it wrong/mis-read the market OR we really will see a divide.

    I suspect they are correct though, and 26 for DH/trials/DJ 29 for pure XC racing and 27.5 for everything in between seems likely when the dust settles.

    Like it or not, we may not have a choice. If 27.5 sells as well as it looks as if it will, done deal.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  193. #193
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    PT Barnum was SOOO right!

  194. #194
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    I purchased an Intense Tracer 2 last year on a really good close out deal through my LBSl. One of the many great features of the design is the G1 dropouts, allowing you to change to 27.5 with a dropout kit and some new wheels. I have been riding it in 27.5 mode for 2 weeks solid and here are my observations. Note - I kept the same fork ( Talas 36) and the new wheels use the same model Hope Pro2 EVO hubs, cassette and tires (Hans Dampf 2.35) as my 26" set. It's about as pure a test as you can get.

    So far:

    1) I feel like I lost a low gear (running a 34/22 and a 12/36 cassette) - makes sense as the wheels are bigger
    2) seems to retain its momentum better, especially through root carpets and baby heads
    3) wheels are slightly slower to accelerate but they climb really well
    4) handling feels pretty much the same as the 26", except at low speed in super tight sections but it's very minor

    I'm going to run with it a few more weeks then convert back to 26" and see how it feels. I don't feel any buyer's remorse yet so I don't think I got 'zined. :-)

  195. #195
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    ^This. Even as a non-29er guy, there is still a lot of demand.

    I like my 26ers a lot, but won't be surprised if a few years down the road, my choices are more 27.5 than 26 for general trail bikes.

    Now, maybe the industry is wrong, and the whole 27.5 thing will end up being a flash in the pan that'll bite them in the ass if they don't sell as well as they hope. Oops we got it wrong/mis-read the market OR we really will see a divide.

    I suspect they are correct though, and 26 for DH/trials/DJ 29 for pure XC racing and 27.5 for everything in between seems likely when the dust settles.

    Like it or not, we may not have a choice. If 27.5 sells as well as it looks as if it will, done deal.
    Well said.

    IMO, if 27.5" had been produced before 29", 29" wouldn't exist and would have no reason to. If there were only 26" and 27.5" bikes in existence, who would want a heavier, flexier, unmaneuverable bike simply because it rolled over stuff better than either other bike with super high angle of attack? According to Giant, the 27.5" and 29" contact patch very close, so close that 29'er not worth it for this reason alone.

    A heavy, clunky, unflickable bike would be laughed out of existence before a few bikes were sold, when its only selling points would be it is easier to ride over small chunk and cruises like crazy in smooth single track - once you finally get it up to speed.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  196. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    IMO, if 27.5" had been produced before 29", 29" wouldn't exist and would have no reason to.
    I completely disagree and history disagrees. Pick some point in time in the past where we can all agree that 29ers had not yet gone mainstream. Whether you pick 4 years, 7, whatever, you have a period where both 650B and 29" exist in very low fork, wheel, frame and tire availability and 26" is extremely dominant-- probably 97-99.5%. 650B was really about finding 26" bikes and forks with abnormally large clearance. 29ers were built from modified forks or were fully rigid.

    Now think about what the majority of people were saying about them. Not the tiny pockets of enthusiasts riding them. All the manufacturers, the pro riders, the magazines.

    They were not favorable. Long before anyone started talking about how great 29ers are that they can roll over roots and rocks better, and roll faster on smooth surfaces, almost everyone was instead saying that they were heavy and awkward, they lacked agility. They said that 650B was hardly noticeable and the lack of availability in wheels and tires was a serious detriment.

    Again, back 4-7 years, imagine the ways in which 650B could have risen to be the dominant tire size in 2013 rather than 29". In my opinion there is no way it could happen because the significant differentiation from 26" isn't there like it is with 29ers. And it's not just opinion, because 650B / 27.5 did not catch on like 29ers.

    So why is it today? Because the market is de-selecting 26". Very few people are buying them except on long-travel bikes and dirt jumping. But there are clearly a pack of folks who either never went to 29er, or they have one and still remember the weight and agility of 26" bikes. Viola! 27.5 has a reason to exist.

    We'll see what happens with 27.5 over the next few years in comparison to 29". I think it will take time for the mass market to realize what's happening, but I do think 27.5" will be able to re-capture some sales in a way that 26" would not be able to. It might even overtake 29, which to me seems like it would undo almost all the rationale in moving from 26 to 29 in the first place.

  197. #197
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    I would argue that tire design, size & pressure have much more to do with overall performance than wheels size.

    The patch hitting the dirt is not much different between the 3 sizes but the weight difference of the larger wheels is the biggest down side IMHO


    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes-wheels.jpg

  198. #198
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    Future of 26" vs 27.5" Wheels for Trail Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    I completely disagree and history disagrees. Pick some point in time in the past where we can all agree that 29ers had not yet gone mainstream. Whether you pick 4 years, 7, whatever, you have a period where both 650B and 29" exist in very low fork, wheel, frame and tire availability and 26" is extremely dominant-- probably 97-99.5%. 650B was really about finding 26" bikes and forks with abnormally large clearance. 29ers were built from modified forks or were fully rigid.

    Now think about what the majority of people were saying about them. Not the tiny pockets of enthusiasts riding them. All the manufacturers, the pro riders, the magazines.

    They were not favorable. Long before anyone started talking about how great 29ers are that they can roll over roots and rocks better, and roll faster on smooth surfaces, almost everyone was instead saying that they were heavy and awkward, they lacked agility. They said that 650B was hardly noticeable and the lack of availability in wheels and tires was a serious detriment.

    Again, back 4-7 years, imagine the ways in which 650B could have risen to be the dominant tire size in 2013 rather than 29". In my opinion there is no way it could happen because the significant differentiation from 26" isn't there like it is with 29ers. And it's not just opinion, because 650B / 27.5 did not catch on like 29ers.
    We'll see what happens with 27.5 over the next few years in comparison to 29". I think it will take time for the mass market to realize what's happening, but I do think 27.5" will be able to re-capture some sales in a way that 26" would not be able to. It might even overtake 29, which to me seems like it would undo almost all the rationale in moving from 26 to 29 in the first place.
    When people (other than XC racers) begin to realize that 29'ers are akin to hunting squirrels with an elephant gun, 27.5 will become dominant. Giant is betting on it and may help self-fulfil their own prophesy (they are after all the king). All it takes is a few rides back to back on bikes with variables other than wheel size isolated.

    Yes, I admit I'm venting due to my own stupid mistake. Ignoring my own gut and letting myself be manipulated by peer group pressure and hype, I blew big cash on a Tall Boyc complete bike in April, and still don't like it. I was impatient. Had I waited a month that bike woulda been a Solo. No doubt I'd
    be a much happier camper. A light 27.5"
    trail bike would be the holy grail for my riding style.

    My TB is still mint, less than 25 lbs with Crest/Hope wheels. Make me an offer

    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  199. #199
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    More and more I'm of the mind that 26'rs will be in our future with very little interruption.

  200. #200
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Make me an offer

    I've got a LaMans Centurion from ~1984. I'll trade if you can throw in some Gu packets. I need a more playful commuter, anyways, and you'll get your 650B.

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