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  1. #1
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    Front Range specific SS 29er vs 96er

    I don't think I can sift through many more theoretical, biased debates of 29er vs. 96er configurations. Any locals that have tried both formats and have would like to contribute to my next purchase? I'm looking at the lower end of the price range (i.e. Carver 96er and Gary Fisher Rig), so I'm going to throw that monkey wrench in as well.

  2. #2
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    ymmv

    well i've tried both (non-SS), and i suppose if i were going to buy a new bike, i'd opt for the 29'er...

    that said, i'm really happy w/ my 96er conversion, as i (personally) believe most of the benefit comes from the bigger front wheel.

    -
    .And following our will and wind . . .
    . . .We'll ride the spiral to the end
    and may just go where no one's been.

  3. #3
    Stubby-legged
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    My .02

    I live on the East Coast (Mtn.s of Maine) and have a Carver. It's a kick ass bike. i have it set up rigid and a1x8.Having a "basset hound" body style, full 29ers have too many compromises for me. The Carver fits the bill. Call Davis at Bikeman, they now make Aluminim,Ti full and soon Steel 96ers!

    .

  4. #4
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    Please fee l free to elaborate on this statement since I think it's horse $hit.
    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way
    ............, full 29ers have too many compromises for me.
    .
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  5. #5
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    The most obvious and probably the only real compromise at this point is the gearing.
    Stick a normal 26er drive train on a 29er and end up with something around 10%
    higher gearing. Does not sound like a lot, and depending on the weight
    you are trying to push up hill, it can be a lot, or not even noticed. 20T chain rings
    are available and do work with standard drive trains. (But hard to track down.)

    Of course with a SS ... a gearing discussion is largely moot.

    Use to be there was a limited selection of say tires, and frames, etc, but now
    there is enough of a selection to send the "what should I buy" dilemma into critical

    The other day, someone was obviously test riding two bikes from a shop, and
    one was a 29er. So some shop must be offering them up to the public as a real
    choice.

    -r

  6. #6
    Bodhisattva
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    My opinion: 29er over 26er.

    Sure, there's lots of benefit in the front big wheel, but it's the big rear wheel that pulls me up those loose sandy hills where my 26" bike struggles.

    IMO, 96" provide max benefit to racers who want to accelerate quicker but for general riding offers no great benefit.

  7. #7
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    I want to try out a 96 combo on a DH bike. I know the DH'rs don't dig the bigger wheels, but if I could get Marzocchi to build a new set of lowers to accomodate a 29r, I'd try it!

    That said, I still like my 26's for now.

  8. #8
    post-ride specialist
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    The ultimate FR-specific 96er would have interchangeable wheels. Put the big wheel on the back for the climbs, then switch it to the front for the descents. Just think of it, you'd be the master of the steeps, and you'd have it both ways!
    Since when did Need have anything to do with this?

  9. #9
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    Actually, that'd be totally feasible with a 135x12mm fork.
    A trail thatís too difficult wouldnít exist because itíd never be used. But, trails can exist thatíre too difficult for you.

  10. #10
    Bodhisattva
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure
    I want to try out a 96 combo on a DH bike. I know the DH'rs don't dig the bigger wheels, but if I could get Marzocchi to build a new set of lowers to accomodate a 29r, I'd try it!
    That's a good point. I hadn't considered the DH aspect and was thinking of general trailriding. My primary concern for DH use is the ability of the big wheel to handle the pounding and flex.

    I have a WB 135 TA fork with I-9 wheel on my Turner Sultan and I can tell a big difference in stiffness between that and my 26" wheel on my Ventana when I hit the off camber rock gardens.

  11. #11
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickle
    Actually, that'd be totally feasible with a 135x12mm fork.
    don't encourage him...

  12. #12
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    thanks for the input

    thanks for everyone's input. I think I'm going with the Carver (they have been extremely responsive and helpful), and I'll post back for anyone that's interested.

  13. #13
    Stubby-legged
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    lynnx

    As to your "horse sh$t" comment, do you know or ride with me? Hmmmm... are you Cloxxi in disguise?
    Top tube lenght is probably the biggest problem. I am not willing to run a stubby stem with a long top tube to "make it work." Proper riding position souldn't require making the bike fit with weird components.
    I know custom frame makers can design and build a full 29er for me. Economics don't allow it at this point. With the new offset forks, toptube issues may be solved. I'm holding out till the offset forks prove out.
    "horse sh$t" hardly. I do my research.

  14. #14
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    Truly Then why am I on a frame that really finally fits me with it's "Oh so long top tube" and yet still run a 120mm stem, flipped and still am told I look quite upright No custom frame here, actually prob the 2nd lowest costing 29er FS frame. Maybe you need to do some research and actually ride the right bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way
    As to your "horse sh$t" comment, do you know or ride with me? Hmmmm... are you Cloxxi in disguise?
    Top tube lenght is probably the biggest problem. I am not willing to run a stubby stem with a long top tube to "make it work." Proper riding position souldn't require making the bike fit with weird components.
    I know custom frame makers can design and build a full 29er for me. Economics don't allow it at this point. With the new offset forks, toptube issues may be solved. I'm holding out till the offset forks prove out.
    "horse sh$t" hardly. I do my research.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way
    As to your "horse sh$t" comment, do you know or ride with me? Hmmmm... are you Cloxxi in disguise?
    Top tube lenght is probably the biggest problem. I am not willing to run a stubby stem with a long top tube to "make it work." Proper riding position souldn't require making the bike fit with weird components.
    I know custom frame makers can design and build a full 29er for me. Economics don't allow it at this point. With the new offset forks, toptube issues may be solved. I'm holding out till the offset forks prove out.
    "horse sh$t" hardly. I do my research.

    i have to agree with lynx. 1spd1way- your concept of top tube/stem length is stuck in 1999 mode and is the exact opposite of the new reality of ergonomics. most 29ers are faster uphill than 26ers/69ers, and are using stems as short as 50mm. its a new style of cockpit, with the seat at or below bar height and way less exposed seatpost.

    most trail riders here in colorado already had changed over to the new standard on their 26", so the move to 29er is easy. its rare to see a stem over 90mm on a group ride nowadays.

    research? what bikes have you been on? i have been riding my 29er for 5 months now and i can say its the fastest trail bike up and down i have ever ridden. i am actually impressed with myself riding xc, which is a crazy thing to say. i hang with 26" 22lb hardtails on all but the steep stuff and just pull away from everything else (including riders i feel have a higher level of fitness than i currently do). and im riding flat pedals to boot so i know the 29" platform is superior for xc. my 60mm stem, riser bar and equal seat/bar height look like a comfort cruiser setup, but ride better than any 26" setup ive used.

    i am not resistant to change, so experimenting with my 29er has been a pleasant experience. i went to short stems in 1997-8 and never looked back. i noticed about 2003-4 that others were doing this for xc/trail here in colorado. now its commonplace.

    my 29er works so well for everything that i have no need for a light xc bike. my 29lb astrix monk throws down. it can even rip sport class dh courses. it killed the monarch crest trail- i passed 26" fs bikes so well i pissed off 3 rippers who looked like they had 7% bodyfat.

    i usually dont gush over products. im always critical of stuff. some would say im a negative person. but 5 months on a 29er and im stoked to ride trail again. its rekindled my spirit. i would never buy a 26" trail bike again. period.

    lanruss- get a 29er. forget compromise. go jim jones and gulp the kool-aid or dont go at all.

    mark

  16. #16
    DWF
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    Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth.

    Neo: What truth?

    Spoon boy: There is no spoon.

    Neo: There is no spoon?

    Spoon boy: Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
    ********

    Saying that 29" is better or best at anything for the greater MTB community is an artificial construct much like saying this bike fits better than that one. It may be true for the individual, but that don't make it true for the masses. I've played with 29" wheeled MTBs since the late 90's and have been on both sides of the fence, but for the style and type of riding I do, I still prefer the 26". And yes, 29" frame design for smaller riders are full of compromises. There is no magic to the spoon. MTB'ing is still all about the rider.
    Last edited by DWF; 07-07-2007 at 09:04 AM.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF
    There is no magic to the spoon.
    Uh, actually it depends on who you're spooning with. Do your research before you make such sweeping statements, tool.
    Don't waive your rights with your flags.

  18. #18
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    Well, for what it's worth, I have ridden 26ers and 29ers a lot. In fact, last year I had two 29ers - a Wily 1x1 and a Moots MootoX. I sold the Wily and gave the Moots to my girlfriend. I like 26ers better for out here. The climbs are steep and the 26er is easier to get going. It's kind of like comparing a narrow gauge railroad versus standard gauge. For true mountain terrain, 26 is better in my opinion. If I live in Arvada, or Kansas, or some place like that I'd probably go 29er. But for true mountain terrain - straight the **** up and back down again (Telluride type stuff) - 26 inch is better.

    I also have more fun on my 26er!

    How you like them apples!?

  19. #19
    DWF
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    Quote Originally Posted by lagarto grande
    Uh, actually it depends on who you're spooning with. Do your research before you make such sweeping statements, tool.
    Racist!

    I'm putting you on ignore!
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  20. #20
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    Pluto- you're a brave one. DWF has been known to stalk and do bad things those who prefer 26ers. Some we have never heard from again. Please be careful.

  21. #21
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    Just a quick note

    I ride a lot of 29ers and build a lot of 'em too, so I thought I'd point out that you're not quite clear on the fit question - the problems with making 29ers FIT smaller riders are ENTIRELY due to the larger front wheel - toe overlap, handlebar height, standover, etc. So a 96er, or whatever you want to call it (69er?) doesn't help with fit problems - if you need a stubby stem on a 29er, you'll also need a stubby stem on a 29/26 setup.

    There are good arguments to be made for a smaller rear wheel (see Pluto's post) but they have nothing to do with fit. Just FYI. Enjoy your Carver!

    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way
    As to your "horse sh$t" comment, do you know or ride with me? Hmmmm... are you Cloxxi in disguise?
    Top tube lenght is probably the biggest problem. I am not willing to run a stubby stem with a long top tube to "make it work." Proper riding position souldn't require making the bike fit with weird components.
    I know custom frame makers can design and build a full 29er for me. Economics don't allow it at this point. With the new offset forks, toptube issues may be solved. I'm holding out till the offset forks prove out.
    "horse sh$t" hardly. I do my research.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    Pluto- you're a brave one. DWF has been known to stalk and do bad things those who prefer 26ers. Some we have never heard from again. Please be careful.


    Woha!



    Ride what you want I like big wheels for the longish rides..... Haven't tried a 96 setup.... I rode a buddies redline 26er the other day and it was quite a shock to the system re learning a 26er but once i did it was fine.....

    just my .02
    Read my BLOG!

    just a guy who loves bikes and exploring

  23. #23
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    Walt

    Thanks for chiming in. After seeing some of your 29ers built for the "Wee Folk" among us. I place your frames up near the top of my list when going full 29er.
    I assumed that the 26 in rear wheel would allow a smaller front triangle (front to back) thus allow a shorter top tube. I ride a 13in(xs) Carver. The stem is 100ml with the Titec "h-bar" upside down. I was almost able to duplicate my hand position on my 13in Gunnar SS. It is about 1.25 inches higher. Close but not unridable.
    I have noticed I don't miss a sus fork. The front wheel must be the culprit. The bike does ride just like a bike though.

  24. #24
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    Nope.

    The rear end has no effect on the toptube length, or how short/long it can be. Rear wheel does not affect fit in any way, unless you're so small (or the wheel is so big) that the seat hits it (which actually used to be a concern on trials bikes until they stopped using seats entirely).

    So if you can use a 100mm stem on your Carver, you can use a 100mm stem on a 29er with the exact same cockpit dimensions and head angle.

    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way
    Thanks for chiming in. After seeing some of your 29ers built for the "Wee Folk" among us. I place your frames up near the top of my list when going full 29er.
    I assumed that the 26 in rear wheel would allow a smaller front triangle (front to back) thus allow a shorter top tube. I ride a 13in(xs) Carver. The stem is 100ml with the Titec "h-bar" upside down. I was almost able to duplicate my hand position on my 13in Gunnar SS. It is about 1.25 inches higher. Close but not unridable.
    I have noticed I don't miss a sus fork. The front wheel must be the culprit. The bike does ride just like a bike though.

  25. #25
    DWF
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    The rear end has no effect on the toptube length, or how short/long it can be. Rear wheel does not affect fit in any way, unless you're so small (or the wheel is so big) that the seat hits it (which actually used to be a concern on trials bikes until they stopped using seats entirely).

    -Walt
    I know you know this, but just to say it out loud: chainstay length does affect rider COG/balance on the bike, and this can be a issue for shorter riders on 29" wheeled bikes and shorter chainstays pose problems for 29ers, at least the gearies.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  26. #26
    DWF
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    Pluto- you're a brave one. DWF has been known to stalk and do bad things those who prefer 26ers. Some we have never heard from again. Please be careful.
    You sure you got the right DWF? I couldn't give a good gosh darn what tire size people ride!...ok, ok, ok, that's not entirely true...I do fart in "xcguy's" bikes direction,
    but he has me on ignore so it doesn't count.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  27. #27
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    Yep

    To clarify, I meant only the relative positions of bars, saddle, and BB when I said "fit". COG and balance between the wheels is another can of worms entirely. I only meant to point out that issues like standover and toe overlap (typical 29er complaints) are related to front wheel size, and making the rear wheel smaller does nothing to address them.

    IMO, if you don't fit on a 29er, you probably don't fit on a 69er either, but that's just me.

    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by DWF
    I know you know this, but just to say it out loud: chainstay length does affect rider COG/balance on the bike, and this can be a issue for shorter riders on 29" wheeled bikes and shorter chainstays pose problems for 29ers, at least the gearies.

  28. #28
    DWF
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    To clarify, I meant only the relative positions of bars, saddle, and BB when I said "fit". COG and balance between the wheels is another can of worms entirely. I only meant to point out that issues like standover and toe overlap (typical 29er complaints) are related to front wheel size, and making the rear wheel smaller does nothing to address them.

    IMO, if you don't fit on a 29er, you probably don't fit on a 69er either, but that's just me.

    -Walt
    I'm buying what you're selling, baby!

    Back to the point someone above made, do you agree that small folk on 29ers have the same problems big folk on 26ers have, i.e., all types of design compromises to get something to fit them? I mean, you can get a small person on a 29er if you keep it short/rigid in the front, but now I'm seeing 29" bikes with Rebas/WBs in front and stupid steep seat tube angles, non-existent headtubes & super short reverse drop stems, crazy slack HTA's, and I'm sitting here shaking my head and saying, "what's the point?" When I see pics of those riders on their 29er's I can't help but think that they should have training wheels hanging off the sides of them.

    It's like building super small road bikes with 700c wheels and all the compromises it entails when the rider ought to be on 650C or 650B or 26" wheels but won't go for it due to ego or fashion (of course 650b's are getting pretty fashionable now....) and a rider's wheel size should have nothing to do with that.

    I'm lucky, I'm the perfect size (because I am, afterall, perfect according to xcguy) so I don't look any dorkier on 29ers that I do on a 26. I even look pretty sexy on a 24.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  29. #29
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    96er's are 1/2 A$$.

    If your gonna do it do it right. SS/29er!!!

  30. #30
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    Wisdom of the ancients!

    Jeez, Don, I know you're new at this, but I guess I'll enlighten you with my wisdom, earned from decades of building bikes mitered by hand with organic q-tips. You gotta pass something on to the next generation, right? When I was in the marines, I learned that...

    Oh. Wait. My multiple personality disorder is kicking in again, I think.

    I've done some big wheel bikes for really small folks, sometimes under protest, and while nobody has ever come back to me and said they didn't like their 29er, here are my feelings on small people and 29" wheels.

    Basically, 29ers are great for small folks who have the right combination of physical attributes and riding preferences. The ideal rider would like high handlebars, not care much about standover, want a non suspension corrected frame and rigid fork, like a long toptube/short stem, live in the Rockies or the West Coast (or somewhere with similar rocky/fast/not too twisty riding) and generally keep both wheels on the ground. The worst case scenario, on the other hand, would be someone with long legs/short torso and arms who needs a short toptube, big feet, prefers low handlebars and suspension, lives in Vermont, and spends all their time manualing and bunnyhopping obstacles when not riding around a switchback in the mud every 10 feet.

    Basically, my feeling is that there's a lot of folks who fall into a grey area in the middle, where they'll certainly get some benefits from 29" wheels, but they'll also make some geometry sacrifices. Making the call in those cases is a matter of sorting through *exactly* what the rider wants to be doing with the bike and how well they'll fit. Once you hit about 6', though, I think the benefits outweigh the disadvantages for pretty much everyone for general XC riding.

    Oh, and a final thought - the steep seat angle thing is a pet peeve of mine. There are tons of production "small" 29ers out there with 74+ degree seat angles and 70.5 head angles that actually end up with the *same* wheelbase as the "medium" size (and handle like boats). Fortunately for the companies doing it, most of the bike buying public isn't sophisticated enough to look beyond the seat tube length and effective toptube.

    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by DWF
    Back to the point someone above made, do you agree that small folk on 29ers have the same problems big folk on 26ers have, i.e., all types of design compromises to get something to fit them? I mean, you can get a small person on a 29er if you keep it short/rigid in the front, but now I'm seeing 29" bikes with Rebas/WBs in front and stupid steep seat tube angles, non-existent headtubes & super short reverse drop stems, crazy slack HTA's, and I'm sitting here shaking my head and saying, "what's the point?" When I see pics of those riders on their 29er's I can't help but think that they should have training wheels hanging off the sides of them.

  31. #31
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    Bastardos!

    Damn, so the only one totally on the plus side of the 96er debate is built like a Basset (no offense, your words)? I'm 6'4", so I guess maybe I should have thrown that in. Any suggestions of a < $1400.00 ss 29er with Reba? I would consider a rigid fork, but then people might expect me to ride like one of those that has a rigid. I test rode the GF Rig and felt like I was on the beach/sidewalk hybrid that my uncle with the fanny pack in Boca rides.

  32. #32
    Stubby-legged
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    Not true

    Davis, the man behind Carver is 6'+, RockRacing (Over on the 29er forum as well as the 96er forum) is over 6'. Many on the Bikeman team are 6'+.

    One thing we are all forgeting.....they are JUST bikes! Not some thing that decides the Fate of the World.

    As to research, where we ride, terrain etc., etc. etc....(or blah,blah,blah) Most 29ers I have ridden have been GF. I didn't like "Genisis geomemtry" when they were 26ers, don't like it when its become 29er.

    I do like my Carver.
    I don't ride in the Rockies.
    I do like my Surly 1x1.
    I don't ride in the "wide open spaces" of the Great West.
    I don't believe everything said about the next-big-thing.
    I just like to ride.
    I distrust those that say mine is better than yours because yours is half a$$ed, kids bike...back to blah, blah,blah... wrong size.
    I trust the bike I'm riding when cruising through the GREAT Maine woods. Flying downhill with only the wind,trees and owls as neighbors. Carving through switchbacks, bouncing over roots and rocks..
    Don't you all get it?
    I invite any of you to come out and ride. Bring any bike you like. I don't care if it has big or little wheels. Or even a combination of both.
    Just leave your attitude at home on the range.
    I do really like to ride.

  33. #33
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    So you test rode one brand of bikes, known for long TT and have since made up your mind that how that brand feels applies to all 29ers. Your Mum called you special a lot didn't she

    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way
    ...................As to research, where we ride, terrain etc., etc. etc....(or blah,blah,blah) Most 29ers I have ridden have been GF. I didn't like "Genisis geomemtry" when they were 26ers, don't like it when its become 29er.

    .........................................
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  34. #34
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    Dear Lynx..

    You are such a.....opps sorry, my Mom told me not to lower myself to the same level as the Morons that call people names.

    There are not too many 29ers out here in the disadvantaged East to test. Specialy in a small frame size.
    Yes, once again, I will tell you...I did my research. I also decided to try something new. A 96er. Oh..my..God.. I like it. Please bring on the almighty POOP-Storm!

    i would suggest to you.. try somethign new. Open your steel-trap mind. Take a deep breath. Go for a ride.

  35. #35
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    ... and if we just ...

    I personally have ridden many 29ers and 26ers and like both for different reasons/applications. However, I myself decided on a Carver 96er. I love the traction through corners that the 29" front gives me, but I do not like the added rotational weight when trying to turn that big rear hoop and that extra effort is NOT imagined. I ride SS and traction on uphills is very rarely the culprit that keeps me from clearing a tough climb so the 26" rear is more than sufficient. As for the whole momentum argument, I am sorry, but a heavier weight DOES NOT "gain" momentum going up hill. You may carry a little momentum into the start of the hill , but that momentum is soon Gone. Is it easier to roll a heavier rock(29) or a lighter rock(26) uphill? It is usually trying to turn that hard gear while maneuvering through technical uphill sections or just trying to keep going on long steep sections that gets me. That being said, I do find the 26" rear easier to turn. I do not expect to change any of you die hard 29er fans into 96er fans, nor do I care to. My 96er is better/faster than your 29er with me riding it. (FOR ME PERSONALLY) I ride faster, climb better, pedal easier and HAVE MORE FUN on my 96er. Having said that, how can you tell me that my bike is some how lacking. If your 29er is more enjoyable to you, then that is the better bike for you. I guess my point is, get used to the 96er/69er platform being around because it is here to stay and I know this will be really hard for you guys to accept, but guess what, there are going to be a lot of guys and gals who are going to PREFER the smaller rear wheel.

  36. #36
    DWF
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flat Ark
    My 96er is better/faster than your 29er with me riding it. (FOR ME PERSONALLY) I ride faster, climb better, pedal easier and HAVE MORE FUN on my 96er. Having said that, how can you tell me that my bike is some how lacking. If your 29er is more enjoyable to you, then that is the better bike for you. I guess my point is, get used to the 96er/69er platform being around because it is here to stay and I know this will be really hard for you guys to accept, but guess what, there are going to be a lot of guys and gals who are going to PREFER the smaller rear wheel.
    I won't get into the technical aspects of it, cuz it's been done to death on the various forums, but the bottom line is that it's all about the rider. Ride what makes you happy!
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF
    I'm buying what you're selling, baby!
    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    Wisdom of the ancients!
    Would you two get a room, please? I don't think the rest of the forum needs to be exposed to this...

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