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  1. #1
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    29ers in Santa Cruz terrain

    Which wheel size is better here in Santa Cruz? 27.5 or 29? I no it's all preference but considering a first 29er.

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    Can't go wrong with either. Depends on the bike as a whole.

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    Looking at full suspension to go with the HT?
    I say mostly preference.
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    27.5 on the rear an 29er on the front is the best of both worlds

    How tall are you and what how much rear travel are you looking at?
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    Get a SC bike if you want to blend in.
    Wait until early spring and pick up the new long travel 29er. The XTR version should be retailing for around $11k if I had to guess.

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    I switched from 29er to 27.5.

    Lost the straightline speed. Gained more fun.
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    Just playing with the idea of saving for a full suspension

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    This place has so much potential. It's pretty amazing compared to riding in places like Phoenix or sedona

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    Demo a full suspension SC bike for $40 from the Santa Cruz factory on the west side of town. Try a 29er one week and a 27.5 the next. Do identical laps on your favorite trails for comparison.

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    True. But limiting on Santa Cruz bikes alone. I've ridden both but 29 was way years ago

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    And not necessarily a new bike since mine can accept 29 wheels

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azflyfishing View Post
    And not necessarily a new bike since mine can accept 29 wheels
    how tall are you?
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    5'11

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    What would griz say??? 27.5Ē wheels feel more nimble and playful too me...I can attach a link to an old thread of mine about 29ers...but I donít think fc wants to see it ever again

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    Haha. I no it's a beaten subject. Just curious on local imput

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azflyfishing View Post
    5'11
    So just my opinion here. First, be happy with what you ride. Shred it and enjoy it to all of it's ability. Don't look at new, fancy bikes unless you have the funds to dish out.

    So you're new to SC, getting used to the climbs and up and down trails and just discovering a fraction of what's out there. You're riding a Plus hardtail 27.5 with big tires, diameter is about the same as a 29er.

    For the future, you'd be best served with a 120mm travel 29er with 130mm front. Modern geometry, 150-170mm dropper. The 29er will give you climbing speed, you'll ride for laps and it will bail you out of trouble when you get stuck in a rut or get it all wrong.

    A 27.5 for your height is good if you want biiiiig travel. Or if you're a rad, rowdy rider who wants to playful all the time in the corners or in mid-air.

    Plus, doesn't really have much of an advantage here unless you're riding a hardtail and you need it for suspension. They are slow and they are vague and they're pillow like feel is gives an edge in Sedona but not in the loam.

    For specifics, The new SC Blur TR is good. Cannondale Habit, Epic Evo, Ibis Ripley LS, Evil Following...
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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    What would griz say??? 27.5Ē wheels feel more nimble and playful too me...I can attach a link to an old thread of mine about 29ers...but I donít think fc wants to see it ever again
    Griz is all talk. Didn't get a bike and stopped riding.
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    I agree with plus not having much advantage.

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    Possibly change out tires to a 2.6 maybe less flex or bounce that plus bikes have

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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Griz is all talk. Didn't get a bike and stopped riding.
    What??? Youíve seen my 2018 Bronson...as for the stopped riding, well that part is true

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    What??? Youíve seen my 2018 Bronson...as for the stopped riding, well that part is true
    let's see a photo of that. i forgot it's been long time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    So just my opinion here. First, be happy with what you ride. Shred it and enjoy it to all of it's ability. Don't look at new, fancy bikes unless you have the funds to dish out.

    So you're new to SC, getting used to the climbs and up and down trails and just discovering a fraction of what's out there. You're riding a Plus hardtail 27.5 with big tires, diameter is about the same as a 29er.

    For the future, you'd be best served with a 120mm travel 29er with 130mm front. Modern geometry, 150-170mm dropper. The 29er will give you climbing speed, you'll ride for laps and it will bail you out of trouble when you get stuck in a rut or get it all wrong.

    A 27.5 for your height is good if you want biiiiig travel. Or if you're a rad, rowdy rider who wants to playful all the time in the corners or in mid-air.

    Plus, doesn't really have much of an advantage here unless you're riding a hardtail and you need it for suspension. They are slow and they are vague and they're pillow like feel is gives an edge in Sedona but not in the loam.

    For specifics, The new SC Blur TR is good. Cannondale Habit, Epic Evo, Ibis Ripley LS, Evil Following...
    What about the SB130? The supposed 1 bike to rule them all? I've been reading up on it and it looks amazing. But I'm fearful of 29ers. I'm 5'7" and the idea of a 29er just seems too tall to me. And not sure how a 29er would handle the switchbacks at China Camp which is my main go to. But the new geometry and travel on it has a lot of appeal. For reference I'm on a 2014 5010C right now . ... .

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    My thoughts too. I have a short inseam and long torso. I found the 29er to turn really slow and stand over height a little tall. That being said. That was 2014 and bikes have changed a lot. Reason I was curious is I saw a norco fluid fs yesterday for decent price. 29er 130 front 120 rear travel.

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    I do love the sb130 but that will never be in my price range

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    29ers in Santa Cruz terrain

    Quote Originally Posted by mstrkrft69 View Post
    What about the SB130? The supposed 1 bike to rule them all? I've been reading up on it and it looks amazing. But I'm fearful of 29ers. I'm 5'7" and the idea of a 29er just seems too tall to me. And not sure how a 29er would handle the switchbacks at China Camp which is my main go to. But the new geometry and travel on it has a lot of appeal. For reference I'm on a 2014 5010C right now . ... .

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
    Amazing bike!! But that is is very expensive and burley with the 150 travel Fox 36. So it may be out if azflyfishings sweet spot.

    But for others here who are senders and ride all the trails here, fosho

    Forgot Pivot too. Mach 4 sl sumptin
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    Yeah same here, it's really a fantasy. Travel three years into the future and then maybe a used one. .. I have the same short leg long torso phenom. I can barely stand over my medium 5010 27.5

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    I never said I wasn't a sender. I bought my hard tail because it's all u could afford at the time. I'm not new to the riding game. That's for sure

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    Though they've fallen out of favor, I think this is a really versatile bike, and a decent value

    https://forums.mtbr.com/niner-bikes/...w-1058293.html
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    The biggest upside for 29er is pedaling chunky terrain - less easy to get stuck in holes, etc. Since Santa Cruz has basically no rocks or roots, either are good. Smaller diameter will be more lively and drift easier, 29er more supportive and slows down less over the few roots that are around.

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    One thing for certain - do not compare 29ers from 2014 to current 29ers - I rode a bunch of them back then (Stumpy, Enduro, Tallboy, SB95, etc.) and didn't really like them at all - they did not have the geo dialed in and most of them were either full-on XC or still in experimental stage - but now they have it pretty well figured out and there are a lot of really good options (I am extremely happy w/ my Trek Slash 29) & now I don't see any real drawback to 29er other than maybe really tight corners / switchbacks, which to me is very minor - also, the trends seem to indicate that 29ers are pretty much the future (at least until the industry needs to "boost" sales again)

    Having said all of that, I still think that wheel size is a relatively minor factor when you step back and look at the big picture - so many other factors that are way bigger difference makers (geo, suspension, tires, fitness, skill, etc.)

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    I think tire choice is going to be key for me here. I'm currently riding 2.8 designed for desert terrain. Loose over hard pack and sand. So Santa claus may be sending me tires and tubeless conversion in a few weeks via Jenson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    So just my opinion here. First, be happy with what you ride. Shred it and enjoy it to all of it's ability. Don't look at new, fancy bikes unless you have the funds to dish out.

    So you're new to SC, getting used to the climbs and up and down trails and just discovering a fraction of what's out there. You're riding a Plus hardtail 27.5 with big tires, diameter is about the same as a 29er.

    For the future, you'd be best served with a 120mm travel 29er with 130mm front. Modern geometry, 150-170mm dropper. The 29er will give you climbing speed, you'll ride for laps and it will bail you out of trouble when you get stuck in a rut or get it all wrong.

    A 27.5 for your height is good if you want biiiiig travel. Or if you're a rad, rowdy rider who wants to playful all the time in the corners or in mid-air.

    Plus, doesn't really have much of an advantage here unless you're riding a hardtail and you need it for suspension. They are slow and they are vague and they're pillow like feel is gives an edge in Sedona but not in the loam.

    For specifics, The new SC Blur TR is good. Cannondale Habit, Epic Evo, Ibis Ripley LS, Evil Following...
    Add the new Pivot Trail 429 to that list. I demo'd one recently and it handled so well it felt like I was riding a 26er! Definitely a bike to consider for anyone who wants the roll-over advantage of a 29er while maintain the nimble feel of a smaller bike.

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    Haha. Pivots headquarters is in Tempe az couple blocks from my old house

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azflyfishing View Post
    I never said I wasn't a sender. I bought my hard tail because it's all u could afford at the time. I'm not new to the riding game. That's for sure
    Let's see some sending photos/videos then.

    Maybe we can take you to the jump trails. Or the 'do every jump line' at Braille trail. Doable with hardtails but very dangerous for non Semenuk types.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoNotShow View Post
    Add the new Pivot Trail 429 to that list. I demo'd one recently and it handled so well it felt like I was riding a 26er! Definitely a bike to consider for anyone who wants the roll-over advantage of a 29er while maintain the nimble feel of a smaller bike.
    For sure that is a great bike. There's also the Mach 429sl.

    5 years ago, folks wanted a 29er that handled like a 26er. That's whey the Mach 429, Tallboy and Ripley were designed like that.

    Now, we many want bikes that handle like a 29er. We've made the adjustment and are not judging it with the old metric. Evil and YT pushed that envelope and the Ibis Ripmo is one shining example today. Yeti SB130 too. They are stable, maneuverable and will make you look good and save your butt.
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    Haha. I'm not semenuk. Lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    One thing for certain - do not compare 29ers from 2014 to current 29ers - I rode a bunch of them back then (Stumpy, Enduro, Tallboy, SB95, etc.) and didn't really like them at all - they did not have the geo dialed in and most of them were either full-on XC or still in experimental stage - but now they have it pretty well figured out and there are a lot of really good options (I am extremely happy w/ my Trek Slash 29) & now I don't see any real drawback to 29er other than maybe really tight corners / switchbacks, which to me is very minor - also, the trends seem to indicate that 29ers are pretty much the future (at least until the industry needs to "boost" sales again)

    Having said all of that, I still think that wheel size is a relatively minor factor when you step back and look at the big picture - so many other factors that are way bigger difference makers (geo, suspension, tires, fitness, skill, etc.)
    Absolutely! Listen to this man. Boy can ride!!!!!
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by BraapTastic View Post
    The biggest upside for 29er is pedaling chunky terrain - less easy to get stuck in holes, etc. Since Santa Cruz has basically no rocks or roots, either are good. Smaller diameter will be more lively and drift easier, 29er more supportive and slows down less over the few roots that are around.
    heel down 29er brother
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  39. #39
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    In the sub $2k range get an Ibis Mojo HD or Mk2 SC Nomad. Great all-around bikes for the steeper stuff here in SC. They are a good match for the dark side of the mountain.

    There are lots of 26" tires for sale.

    If you have a bit more to spend, the HD3 is an amazing bike.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    For sure that is a great bike. There's also the Mach 429sl.

    5 years ago, folks wanted a 29er that handled like a 26er. That's whey the Mach 429, Tallboy and Ripley were designed like that.

    Now, we many want bikes that handle like a 29er. We've made the adjustment and are not judging it with the old metric. Evil and YT pushed that envelope and the Ibis Ripmo is one shining example today. Yeti SB130 too. They are stable, maneuverable and will make you look good and save your butt.
    Too many good choices. I've got a Knolly Fugitive LT on the way. It may be the first of its kind in the wilds of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
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    Next time I get a chance to hit demo I may rent a 5010. Just for poops

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    Or a hightower. Both out of my price range. I'm happy with what I have. Heck I'm thankful to even have a bike. Plus this new fox 34 is siiiiicckkkkk!😊

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    I can't figure out how to post a pic of my bike on here. People keep asking. I tried but I'm not a computer guy. I'm an engine guy

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    Quote Originally Posted by andy f View Post
    Too many good choices. I've got a Knolly Fugitive LT on the way. It may be the first of its kind in the wilds of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
    There's a lot of Fugitive LT's and OG's in the sc mountains
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    So just my opinion here. First, be happy with what you ride. Shred it and enjoy it to all of it's ability. Don't look at new, fancy bikes unless you have the funds to dish out.

    So you're new to SC, getting used to the climbs and up and down trails and just discovering a fraction of what's out there. You're riding a Plus hardtail 27.5 with big tires, diameter is about the same as a 29er.

    For the future, you'd be best served with a 120mm travel 29er with 130mm front. Modern geometry, 150-170mm dropper. The 29er will give you climbing speed, you'll ride for laps and it will bail you out of trouble when you get stuck in a rut or get it all wrong.

    A 27.5 for your height is good if you want biiiiig travel. Or if you're a rad, rowdy rider who wants to playful all the time in the corners or in mid-air.

    Plus, doesn't really have much of an advantage here unless you're riding a hardtail and you need it for suspension. They are slow and they are vague and they're pillow like feel is gives an edge in Sedona but not in the loam.

    For specifics, The new SC Blur TR is good. Cannondale Habit, Epic Evo, Ibis Ripley LS, Evil Following...
    My strava times disagree with your assessment of plus tires. I swap back and forth on a Hightower, normally running 29er in wet. There is basically no discrepancy over 2 years of strava data on both setups.. in fact I would say my fastest times lean plus.. but they are very close. Minon 2.8 is a great tire and really not that huge.. rolls great, great traction, no wallow..

    I see lots of misinfo on plus tires.. they are for beginners.. they are for women..etc.. (just look at the last MTBR article) really strange because I think the rip.. and my personal data backs it up.

    Anyway, I think people are passing them over because of this industry bias.

    btw been riding over 20 years.. not slow.. and not a beginner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seamarsh View Post
    My strava times disagree with your assessment of plus tires. I swap back and forth on a Hightower, normally running 29er in wet. There is basically no discrepancy over 2 years of strava data on both setups.. in fact I would say my fastest times lean plus.. but they are very close. Minon 2.8 is a great tire and really not that huge.. rolls great, great traction, no wallow..

    I see lots of misinfo on plus tires.. they are for beginners.. they are for women..etc.. (just look at the last MTBR article) really strange because I think the rip.. and my personal data backs it up.

    Anyway, I think people are passing them over because of this industry bias.

    btw been riding over 20 years.. not slow.. and not a beginner.
    Good feedback. Thank you for sharing. What trails do you ride exactly? And what tires?

    There was a massive wave of Plus bikes that occured a few years ago. Many tried them and discovered them. Unfortunately, they were before the light wheels and good tires were introduced.

    In the Bay Area, most of my friends stopped using them (about 6) after a year of trying. It just doesn't offer much of an advantage here since the terrain is not as chunky.

    Demand has settled down, and it's found its calling in rocky areas like Sedona, Moab, East Coast. Hardtails too where it is the suspension.

    Its downside is its slower and the feeling during cornering is vague. No big deal for many since the differences are subtle.

    One thing I've learned about them is it is difficult to compress them and apply enough weight to them to allow them to conform and articulate to the trail. (let's say a 3.0) tire. Much weight needs to be applied. That's why motorcycles don't have massive tires, more than what's standard today.

    A lot of the ebikes I'm testing are coming with Plus tires now. The slow disadvantage is not an issue, and the weight of the bikes actually help the tires articulate to the trail. Not a slam dunk though since most of these ebikes handle better as 29ers. The Levo went from all Plus the past three years to all 29ers now.

    I thought Plus would appear on the podium of world-class XC, Enduro and Downhill racing, especially in some courses. Folks were just waiting for the good tires to arrive. But I realize now it's just not going to happen. They're not as fast.

    just my opinion of course. I have a shit ton of plus tires in the garage. I think they have their spot carved out now in the landscape.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azflyfishing View Post
    I can't figure out how to post a pic of my bike on here. People keep asking. I tried but I'm not a computer guy. I'm an engine guy
    When you reply, you go to 'go advanced'. Then there's an 'insert image' icon on the top that you click to upload one photo.

    Or there's an 'upload images' button near the bottom.29ers in Santa Cruz terrain-screen-shot-2018-11-30-10.36.24-am.jpg
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    Cool. Thanks for the help. I'll post it tonight

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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Good feedback. Thank you for sharing. What trails do you ride exactly? And what tires?

    There was a massive wave of Plus bikes that occured a few years ago. Many tried them and discovered them. Unfortunately, they were before the light wheels and good tires were introduced.

    In the Bay Area, most of my friends stopped using them (about 6) after a year of trying. It just doesn't offer much of an advantage here since the terrain is not as chunky.

    Demand has settled down, and it's found its calling in rocky areas like Sedona, Moab, East Coast. Hardtails too where it is the suspension.

    Its downside is its slower and the feeling during cornering is vague. No big deal for many since the differences are subtle.

    One thing I've learned about them is it is difficult to compress them and apply enough weight to them to allow them to conform and articulate to the trail. (let's say a 3.0) tire. Much weight needs to be applied. That's why motorcycles don't have massive tires, more than what's standard today.

    A lot of the ebikes I'm testing are coming with Plus tires now. The slow disadvantage is not an issue, and the weight of the bikes actually help the tires articulate to the trail. Not a slam dunk though since most of these ebikes handle better as 29ers. The Levo went from all Plus the past three years to all 29ers now.

    I thought Plus would appear on the podium of world-class XC, Enduro and Downhill racing, especially in some courses. Folks were just waiting for the good tires to arrive. But I realize now it's just not going to happen. They're not as fast.

    just my opinion of course. I have a shit ton of plus tires in the garage. I think they have their spot carved out now in the landscape.
    My only experience is with minon front rekon rear both 2.8 on a 36mm ID carbon rims.. works awesome. they are really not that big.. esp next to current 2.6 tires. Once you get used to the "vagueness" you describe on plus tires feeling goes away.. like pedal strikes.

    Even in mildly chunky terrain one giant benefit is less wrist and shoulder pain on long descents.

    Bike shop people and friends still look at me sideways when I try and hype plus tires.. there is 100% a stigma on them that they are for slower, less experienced riders.. that is basically always the take away.

    to Finish on OP question.. take a look at a used OG Hightower.. perfect bike for bay area and you can have 2 tire set ups. See lots of them for sale around here.

  50. #50
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    Subscribed. For the pixels and 5010 trail demo report...😎
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  51. #51
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    I agree with Griz. 29ers kind of suck. Wagon wheels. No mojo on the trail. If you ride a 29er and then a 650b similar bike/manufacturer back-to-back you can really feel the difference. And Griz and I are both pretty tall - still no love for 29. That size should be reserved for XC racing.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffsterb View Post
    I agree with Griz. 29ers kind of suck. Wagon wheels. No mojo on the trail. If you ride a 29er and then a 650b similar bike/manufacturer back-to-back you can really feel the difference. And Griz and I are both pretty tall - still no love for 29. That size should be reserved for XC racing.
    29ers in Santa Cruz terrain-7773af9770acea44e2c046c6284ec7d1533d53c8d4091919f012c3f1a9d9adc9.jpg

  53. #53
    NedwannaB
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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    What??? Youíve seen my 2018 Bronson...as for the stopped riding, well that part is true
    So you did get a bike after all! 👍😎 And no this isnít going to be a letís pick on Griz thread....
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  54. #54
    NedwannaB
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Oh cool, someone else to take the flaming instead of Griz!
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  55. #55
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    OP - Take a peek at the Transition Smuggler. LOT'S of price points in Carbon or Aluminum.
    -Get ready to get rowdy!!
    "There's two kinds of people in this world - Walkers and Talkers." Which one are you?

  56. #56
    Trail Gnome
    Reputation: griz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffsterb View Post
    I agree with Griz. 29ers kind of suck. Wagon wheels. No mojo on the trail. If you ride a 29er and then a 650b similar bike/manufacturer back-to-back you can really feel the difference. And Griz and I are both pretty tall - still no love for 29. That size should be reserved for XC racing.
    Dude, did you start your weekend early...are you drinking at work. Donít you know that you canít agree with griz, on a public forum...youíll be banished, and ridiculed the rest of your life

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    So you did get a bike after all!  And no this isnít going to be a letís pick on Griz thread....
    Howís that new 5010 treating you? Iím probably going to switch back to a 130mm bike, my Bronson is kinda overkill for most of my local trails...itís definitely a lot of fun in certain sections

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    Howís that new 5010 treating you? Iím probably going to switch back to a 130mm bike, my Bronson is kinda overkill for most of my local trails...itís definitely a lot of fun in certain sections
    Have to sell a bike to get it out of layaway first.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  59. #59
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    I built one of these recently and can nerd out on it pretty hard if you are looking seriously. I grew up in CC area and know the trails really well. PM me if its helpful.
    Previously known as mttamrnr.

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