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  1. #1
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    Lurker/Newbie 29er Question

    Hey all,

    I've been doing a bunch of research lately on various things, and need a bit of help.
    I'm looking forward to getting my own first mountain bike soon, and am now in a dilemma between 29er and 26er. I've test ridden both with roughly equivalent components, but that was only on a paved block ride up and down a small hill. I liked the 29er more on that easy part.

    Do any of you riding 29er HTs have significant difference in difficulty over technical sections as compared to a 26er HT? I understand the rolling resistance difference, contact patch difference, etc, but what I don't know is how that all adds up.

    I don't have access to a place to test ride 29ers on trails which rots, though I've tried a few friends' 26ers on trails too.

    On a side note: I'm on an internship in Hawaii right now and picked up a wicked old 26er and fixed it up. Running pretty well now. Not sure it'd be up to trail riding, but it's a much more fun way to commute than the bus!

  2. #2
    Live, Freeze, and Ride
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    How it all adds up is hard to quantify, but I'll try.
    Ridden 26ers for 20yrs, got an On One Inbred a while back.
    Had been riding it on my regular trail and hadn't really noticed a huge difference.
    Then I went to visit my brother and we rode a trail I'm very familiar with, which has a rock garden that makes me dab every time, I mean every time.
    Well, to say I made it for once doesn't do it justice. I rode the same line, almost twice as fast, no dabs, in fact as I got through and turned to wait for my bro, I wondered if the trail crews had sanitized the trail. My brother walking through let me know the trail was the same, it was the bike.
    That's the easiest way for me to explain it.
    I like the 29er a lot, but I still love the little 26ers flickability.
    Inbred 29er Dinglespeed
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  3. #3
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    I'm gonna take a crack at this and hopefully not fail miserably. First off, a 29er is able to maintain its momentum better when rolling over objects. This is due to the angle of attack. Think of a flight of stairs. If you're jogging or running and you come across these stairs, you can run or walk up them and maintain your momentum with relative ease. Now, think about a 3 year old kid. If they're running along and come to these stairs, they have to slow down and walk up them. Because of their height, the stairs appear steep and are difficult. To you, the stairs aren't nearly as steep. The same goes for the 26er and 29er. Since the 29er is taller, it has less difficulty going over objects. In addition, the simple size of it allows it to hold its momentum bigger. Physics says in general, the bigger it is, the more force it takes to stop it.
    Unfortunately, that is also one of the downfalls of a 29er. Because of the size of the wheels, they tend to be a little slower to accelerate from a dead stop, though not much. Once you get it moving, you can't really feel a difference, IMHO. In addition, the bigger wheels result in a wider turning radius, particularly in tight turns when you actually have to turn the handlebars. At least, this is how it was in the bike I tested.
    Hope this helps. And just out of curiosity, what 29er are you thinking about?
    '08 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc (Stolen). I hope you break both kneecaps of the jerk who stole you.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    Thanks very much for the input!
    I'm thinking of getting a Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er at the moment. I'm not sold on it though and want to test ride a bit more before I sink that much money.
    So I guess it's coming down to I just need to test ride and decide what I want to go with. Not a problem with me, going to the LBS feels like a trip to the candy shop for a youngin'!

  5. #5
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by phosphor
    Hey all,

    I've been doing a bunch of research lately on various things, and need a bit of help.
    I'm looking forward to getting my own first mountain bike soon, and am now in a dilemma between 29er and 26er. I've test ridden both with roughly equivalent components, but that was only on a paved block ride up and down a small hill. I liked the 29er more on that easy part.

    Do any of you riding 29er HTs have significant difference in difficulty over technical sections as compared to a 26er HT? I understand the rolling resistance difference, contact patch difference, etc, but what I don't know is how that all adds up.

    I don't have access to a place to test ride 29ers on trails which rots, though I've tried a few friends' 26ers on trails too.

    On a side note: I'm on an internship in Hawaii right now and picked up a wicked old 26er and fixed it up. Running pretty well now. Not sure it'd be up to trail riding, but it's a much more fun way to commute than the bus!
    For a hardtail, I think 29er is the way to go. I've ridden 26er HT's for a long time, and got a 29er two years ago. It rolls over stuff so much better. I think a 26er is a little more agile in some very specific circumstances. For example, I find it harder to pull a wheelie on a 29er, but I adapted and it has never held me back in a situation where I need to manual the front end. My 29er is a little more cumbersome in really tight corners, but again, I live on the east coast (lots of tight twisty stuff) and the benefits in terms of traction greatly outweigh this drawback, even in the twisties.

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