should I go 27.5 or 29?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    el Camino
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    should I go 27.5 or 29?

    I'm sure this has been beaten to death here. BUT, I am moving from a 29er hardtail, to FS. I am about 6'1" and I ride in Idaho, where trails are steep and dry. I feel like my steel Honzo 29er is mostly great, but it's slow to turn, feels a bit like a battleship, often I overshoot turns (then I'm glad to have the big wheels) and I wonder if I would have more fun on 27.5. Esp now that I will have rear shocks.

    I'm considering two Evil frames, the calling (27.5) and the following (29) the following has the advantage of letting me move all my current components to the new bike (saving me ~1k) while I'd have to get new wheels, etc for the calling.

  2. #2
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    Tell me why you do NOT want a 29er.

    Tell me why you do NOT want a 27.5

    If you can discuss why you don't like one over the other maybe the choice will be clear.



    Curious -do you know for fact that your parts can be swapped from old bike to new? I don't know the answer, but am curious if your current parts are new enough to plop over.

  3. #3
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    You should try all bikes and pick what works for you. The new breed of 29" bikes are hard to beat.
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

  4. #4
    el Camino
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    I don't want 29 bc it's kinda sluggish

    I don't want 27.5 bc it's less of a monster truck

    I'm not sure all my parts will swap, but I think I know all the axles and mounts... I'd probably go 27.5 in a vacuum right now, in part cuz the bike colors look better, in part cuz I'd like to try something new.

  5. #5
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    If you like fast corners and ultimate agility at the expense of speed and stability go 27.5.

    If you're ok with slightly slower corners but faster overall speed go 29"

    Just my experience from the ride today, I had my '15 Kona process 153 27.5 vs a '19 evil offering & pivot firebird ridden by my riding partners, both 29". Did 3 shuttle runs at chuckanut in Bellingham was. Double black and double down trails.

    For how and where I ride, I'd consider 120mm as not enough rear travel. I've already like to occasionally hit bigger stuff and I'd feel constrained by that.

    If you'll be riding aggressive trails id go more travel. If not then save the $$ and enjoy.

  6. #6
    WillWorkForTrail
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    It's really hard to compare the new 29ers to the old ones. I highly recommend you demo some bikes, even if they're bikes you technically aren't specifically interested in buying, just so that you can experience a more modern 29er. The Honzo isn't a bad bike, but judging newer stuff and shorter fork offsets by what you have isn't going to do you the greatest justice when you get ready to plunk down your hard earned money on a new ride.

  7. #7
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    They are so close it is hard to really hard to say which is better. That is why the question is always asked. If there was a huge difference then it would just be "this is better" not a debate.
    Personally at around 5'10" I haven't found a 29" bike that I prefer over the same or similar 27.5" bikes. have owned 2 29" bikes and it is unlikely I will own one again, unless it was for racing.
    I personally believe we should go back to 26" wheels instead of 27.5". That way there is a clear difference between 26" and 29". 26" for short people and having fun. 29" for tall people and racing.

  8. #8
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    I vote 29.
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  9. #9
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    ARE 29'ers sluggish or is that that the internet used to say?

    I am faster on my 29 than I ever was on the 26". Different bike though for sure.

    I'm same speed on hard tail 27.5+ as I am on full suspension 29er 2.35 tire.

    I do not feel either does one thing 'better' in that the other one is crap.
    I ride varied terrain and both bikes have posted similar times. I ride a flow trail, both bikes within 5 seconds.
    I ride chunky stuff, similar times as well.

    Maybe you're a better rider than I am and can notice those subtle changes though, which is worth taking into consideration.


    It sounds like the only separation between the 2 from what you aren't interested in is either turning or going fast over stuff.
    I can understand your confusion then since both bikes will be otherwise equal to you with exception to handling. Yuck. Good luck.

  10. #10
    el Camino
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    OK, thanks all. I'm realizing that my lack of corner confidence might be related to sucking at biking, or maybe a 150 revelation fork on a hard tail that was spec'd for 120, I think. Maybe shitty rims? (stans arch). It just feels wallowy and on dry stuff I'm often way closer to the edge than I want to be when I exit. Since I'm a bigger dude, I guess I'll just stick with 29s and learn how to ride better.

  11. #11
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    I was looking at bikes back in 2016 and really wanted to like the crop of 29ers available at that time, but I really disliked all of the ones I tried. Then last year decided to try them again and was amazed at the difference. The improvement in design was pretty incredible. I ended up buying one and would not consider going back to what was, at the time, a very high quality 27.5. They aren't close. I'm faster, climbing in the Wasatch and faster and more composed on the descents (really noticeable in Moab) on the 29er.
    I vote for a modern 29.

  12. #12
    el Camino
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    Interesting MSU Alum. In that case, what makes a "modern 29er" is it the frame geometry or the components?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by el Camino View Post
    Interesting MSU Alum. In that case, what makes a "modern 29er" is it the frame geometry or the components?
    In my experience, I'd say the geometry.
    I had a really nice Yeti SB5c that I had spec'd out with a 160 fork and had down to sub 26 pounds with 2.6" tires. I demo'd some 29ers last fall, including a Giant Trance 29 2 with much poorer specs. The bike was a full six pounds heavier than my Yeti and on my first demo, I got a new PR on a 45 minute climb locally. Additionally, with the longer wheelbase of the Giant (I ended up with a Pro 29 1) I am able to make tight, climbing slow speed switch backs with less effort. STA? Beats me....maybe that's it. I'm 67 and I'm not getting stronger, better or younger, so I'm thinking it's the bike, which is fine with me! A couple of weeks ago, I rode the whole enchilada + Jimmy Keen with my 28 year old son and I was cleaning sections I hadn't cleaned before. I'm 5'8" tall, and my son is 6'2" tall on a 2019 Ripmo and he was killing it as well (better than me, of course!). He had switched over from a 26, though, so that's not a big surprise.

  14. #14
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    The Evil Offering is designed to be playful for a 29. I'd demo it.
    I don't think I'd move that older Rev over. A Manitou is a much better performing alternative.
    And I'd go for wide rim wheels for more cornering control.

  15. #15
    el Camino
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    The rev is 2018 with a short offset... still not worth moving?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by el Camino View Post
    The rev is 2018 with a short offset... still not worth moving?
    Move everything and replace what you end up not liking.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by el Camino View Post
    I don't want 29 bc it's kinda sluggish

    I don't want 27.5 bc it's less of a monster truck

    I'm not sure all my parts will swap, but I think I know all the axles and mounts... I'd probably go 27.5 in a vacuum right now, in part cuz the bike colors look better, in part cuz I'd like to try something new.
    How tall are you? The new 29ers do not feel sluggish in any way or form. Very fast feeling and very playful. If you are anywhere close to 6', I would look hard at the new crop of 29ers.
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

  18. #18
    el Camino
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    OK, 29er, I'm sold. Thanks, ya'll.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The Evil Offering is designed to be playful for a 29. I'd demo it.
    I don't think I'd move that older Rev over. A Manitou is a much better performing alternative.
    And I'd go for wide rim wheels for more cornering control.
    I'm seeing guys trying to put 27.5 on their Offerings...any reason why?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by el Camino View Post
    OK, 29er, I'm sold. Thanks, ya'll.
    Don’t “get sold” on the 29er - or the 27.5. Can you not demo both of these. Should basically be free unless you plan on buying online. In either case, still probably worth a demo of each, no?

    I’ve bought frames without a demo but only when it’s impossible to do so.

  21. #21
    el Camino
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    Nope, out of demo options.

  22. #22
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    I wasn't feeling the 29ers until I demoed some bikes this year. I demoed a Pivot Mach 4sl, Santa Cruz Highttower, and a Santa Cruz Megatower. I don't know a ton, but I can tell that geometry is making 29ers more agile. I ended up buying a 27.5 and I am having some regrets. As a 40 year old I am wishing I had the rollover and carrying speed of the 29er.

  23. #23
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    I think it would really depend on how you like you ride your bike. You're going to get people telling you what they like.

    If you're into more BMX style riding...the Calling will be more fun. More pedaling and flow...probably the Following. Regardless of what people are trying to tell you about 29er's...the smaller 27.5 wheel will be easier to toss around.

    I have a Following and a 27.5 140/150mm bike. The 27.5 is what I take to the bike park...it's just more fun to ride there. I've never once thought while riding that I need a bigger wheel. Its two different bikes for different types of riding.

  24. #24
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    I would not build up a 29er again for an enduro bike.

    I would use a 29er for a "one bike" solution or for most terrain/riding.

    I now have a 27.5 enduro bike and I'm happier on that. The only time I'd question a 29er is when considering very aggressive riding downhill.
    "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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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    How tall are you? The new 29ers do not feel sluggish in any way or form. Very fast feeling and very playful. If you are anywhere close to 6', I would look hard at the new crop of 29ers.
    I notice that they do feel sluggish in high speed corners with medium to sharper turn radius, where the gyroscopic rigidity of the wheels makes them slide to the outside of the turn, rather than grip. This caused me to slow down earlier and have to speed up more out of the turn. This is what I noticed during DH/enduro racing and it doesn't apply to large-radius turns or slow speed tech, those are easily dealt with on a modern 29er. Beefier treads exaggerated the problems, but kind of catch 22, because where you notice it the most is in those extreme situations, where you also need the most extreme tire casings (weight).

    They also tended to jump "flatter" IME, not that you couldn't jump, but you had to think a bit differently. The acceleration issue could make me come up short sometimes, especially if I was tired, where I couldn't pedal back up to speed as easily.

    On the plus side, wheel-catchers become non-existent and they do just fine in tight terrain, maintaining speed in the rough.

    Don't take my previous comment to mean you or anyone else can't build an enduro or DH 29er, you can and it can work just fine. I rode one for a while and it was great fun. Like anything else, there are tradeoffs.
    "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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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by el Camino View Post
    I'm sure this has been beaten to death here. BUT, I am moving from a 29er hardtail, to FS. I am about 6'1" and I ride in Idaho, where trails are steep and dry. I feel like my steel Honzo 29er is mostly great, but it's slow to turn, feels a bit like a battleship, often I overshoot turns (then I'm glad to have the big wheels) and I wonder if I would have more fun on 27.5. Esp now that I will have rear shocks.

    I'm considering two Evil frames, the calling (27.5) and the following (29) the following has the advantage of letting me move all my current components to the new bike (saving me ~1k) while I'd have to get new wheels, etc for the calling.
    There is very little handling difference with modern bikes between 29 and 27.5. I have one wheel size, my wife has the other, and I can switch between them with no trouble. Your issues more likely come down to frame geometry and/or skillset. I would go with 29 because that's what you're familiar with, but I wouldn't be married to it. Demo and try to find a good deal. It's really hard to buy a bad bike these days.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    There is very little handling difference with modern bikes between 29 and 27.5. I have one wheel size, my wife has the other, and I can switch between them with no trouble. Your issues more likely come down to frame geometry and/or skillset. I would go with 29 because that's what you're familiar with, but I wouldn't be married to it. Demo and try to find a good deal. It's really hard to buy a bad bike these days.
    After countless reviews and a few test rides, I myself have also come to the same conclusion above.

    Unless you’re racing, the differences between wheel sizes seem marginal at best. The GMBN test on the two different sizes on the same Yeti for example, showed a whopping 1 sec difference in final time, and a mind-blowing 3 secs on the split time (uphill/downhill).

  28. #28
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    You can always put some 27.5's on the Following.

    It'll be mad low.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2S0zhnmITI

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by steinercat View Post
    After countless reviews and a few test rides, I myself have also come to the same conclusion above.

    Unless you’re racing, the differences between wheel sizes seem marginal at best. The GMBN test on the two different sizes on the same Yeti for example, showed a whopping 1 sec difference in final time, and a mind-blowing 3 secs on the split time (uphill/downhill).
    And bikeradar's test showed a marginal difference between 26, 27, and 29 as well. Ironically they found 27 slowest during the marketing push that had so many convinced it was the sweet spot. Interestingly they found 26 faster than 29 on certain DH sections with 29 faster overall. This seems to play out in the real world as well. When you look at certain DH track splits this past year, bikeradar's data is validated. if we go with available data, and race results instead of opinions, we see some sections smaller wheels cut time, but when it's all added up 29" is often fastest, but it's nothing earth shaking anyway you cut it. We did see mixing sizes win lots of races in EWS and DH this year so that should help clear things up lol.

    Most riders go with what's trending so that makes 29 the clear choice. A few years ago it would have been 650b.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by steinercat View Post
    After countless reviews and a few test rides, I myself have also come to the same conclusion above.

    Unless you’re racing, the differences between wheel sizes seem marginal at best. The GMBN test on the two different sizes on the same Yeti for example, showed a whopping 1 sec difference in final time, and a mind-blowing 3 secs on the split time (uphill/downhill).
    That test is beyond stupid. The entire run was a ~2 minute downhill section.
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

  31. #31
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    Well these days 29ers are pretty good and feel why less bus sized and more playfull than they did. That said the 27.5 is more lively and better in steep and tight tech. The 29er winds the fast open bumpy award and climbs over stuff better.

    If you want playfull, steep, tight and twisty then 27.5. Fast bumpy stable climbs like a goat then go 29er.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    That test is beyond stupid. The entire run was a ~2 minute downhill section.
    Yes that test wasn't the best but it's still worth talking about. At a minimum they should have keep the tire width and volume the same. I would expect tire width alone to yield more time separation than wheel size. The guy even mentioned how the 27x2.6 tires floated in the mud instead of digging. 2.6 is a bad choice for mud regardless of wheel size. 2.6 was a poor choice in other ways too considering it created a 27" wheel that was only 20mm smaller than the 29'er wheel/tire combo he tested. If you can't at least keep the tire width and volume constant the test is kind of silly, but we are talking about riding bikes in the woods, this isn't NASA.

    One thing I did like about the review was his comment about crotch clearance. That's an issue with 29'ers you can't get around. Steeps weren't even a part of the test. I'm 2" shorter than the tester and I get butt buzz in the corners, in the air, and steeps. Of course it's not constant, just occasional depending on body English, and how much travel is being used when off the back. I'll never ride 29'ers because of that issue though. It's beyond annoying, and when you get buzzed in the air it can actually change your pitch which is sketchballz. That said, most riders don't experience butt buzz so it's a non issue.

  33. #33
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    I own and ride both but mostly prefer 27.5. I feel that 27.5 is definitely quicker and accelerates faster. and is just as fast or faster in most cases.
    29ers seem slightly faster on rocky terrain and for xc type of riding.
    EXODUX Jeff

  34. #34
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    29" front 27.5" rear

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by markdjr View Post
    29" front 27.5" rear
    I think this really is the best of both, the ability to avoid the wheel-catchers and have the roll-over, plus the better acceleration of the smaller wheel. I'll be strongly considering it for my next "everything" bike...
    "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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  36. #36
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    If the terrain is super technical, I prefer the 27.5. Not because it is faster or easier to ride but because I am short and it is easier to get off of when I make a mistake...This is particularly true for me when I get stalled on an uphill climb, especially the off camber types. On the 27.5, I may have the option of putting my foot down on the low side. On a 29er, forget it...By the time my foot hits ground, the rest of me is headed that way too

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I think this really is the best of both, the ability to avoid the wheel-catchers and have the roll-over, plus the better acceleration of the smaller wheel. I'll be strongly considering it for my next "everything" bike...
    I really like the mullet configuration on my Tantrum Meltdown. 27" rear wheel is most noticeable as soon as I want to lift the rear wheel. Might be slightly less good for super technical climbs, but the fact a 27" can handle more beating going down then a 29" rear is slightly more important for me. If I could afford expensive carbon wheels I might have a harder time to decide between 27 and 29 rear doe..

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  38. #38
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    I originally was going to go with a 27.5 due to my height (being 5'7"), and from the info from these forums and my own research/youtube videos etc etc... I ultimately chose a 29er. There are options for shorter riders to take advantage of the 29 wheel size plus having a carbon frame really helps with the worry of having it nimble and agile. My wife's 27.5 orbea loki (alum) feels sluggish and heavy next to my DV9. Her wheelset setup has gone smaller than what the bike came in as and still felt sluggish in either setup. Originally came in 27.5x3(F)/2.8(R) and I got her 2 wheelset 27.5x2.5 set and a 27.5x2.35 (aggressive gravel set). Still felt a sluggish.
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