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  1. #1
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    Is the 26er dead?

    After road riding with friends for several years, and occasionally mountain biking alone, I have engaged more recently in group mountain bike riding. Suddenly, I feel as though I missed a revolution after only 3 years. I seem to be the only one riding a 26er these days!! What the heck

    What's wrong with a 26er, and how did the 29er take over the world so suddenly??

    I thought the technical reviewers called the 29er heavy, lumbering (as apposed to nimble), poor to accelerate, and difficult to manoeuvre around tight single track?
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  2. #2
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    Yes its pretty well dead.
    It wasn't the 29er that killed the 26er but the 27"/650b
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom View Post
    After road riding with friends for several years, and occasionally mountain biking alone, I have engaged more recently in group mountain bike riding. Suddenly, I feel as though I missed a revolution after only 3 years. I seem to be the only one riding a 26er these days!! What the heck

    What's wrong with a 26er, and how did the 29er take over the world so suddenly??

    I thought the technical reviewers called the 29er heavy, lumbering (as apposed to nimble), poor to accelerate, and difficult to manoeuvre around tight single track?
    Nothing wrong with a 26er. Certainly lots of hype and marketing in the equation that described the evolution to 29er and now 27.5 wheels. Unfortunately from the other side, the 26er diehards were probably the ones keeping the propaganda going that the 29ers were overly heavy, lumbering, sluggish and difficult in twisty singletrack.

    But yes, the 26er has vanished from the market. I've ridden 26er, 29er and now I ride a 27.5. I can say I've noticed some differences between each one of them, good and bad each way, I can't say one has significantly changed my riding experience or enjoyment. Similarly I can't say one has made a drastic effect on my ability to ride/keep up with my peers.

    It would seem the large wheels do have at least some marginally greater benefits given how they have taken over the MTB world. I personally, in direct comparison found it easier to go to a 29er than come back to a 26er (which I did do), but it's not like I didn't enjoy riding when I went back to the 26er.
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    2012 called. It wants its thread subject back!
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    The only thing dead is the horse you're beating.

  6. #6
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    i hope not

    I drove under a carport with my 10 year old XTC frame and wanted to replace it mostly to keep the magura fork and the wheels. I really enjoy the ride of the new build and it makes me a better climber. I have 2 29ers, 1 ridgid with mid fat tires and an orbea hardtail and if the trails are bumpy I would ride the 29 HT.

    You should never drive under the carport with a bike on the roof rack.
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  7. #7
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    I hope not. I just finished building this...

    Is the 26er dead?-endo-1.jpg

    ...but yes, it is dead in the eyes of the industry, but to real people - with a huge installed base decades deep - not really.
    It has been pretty much forced. You can not buy a 26 in most cases, you do not have the choice.

    Now for new bikes - I can see the attraction.
    What I do not understand is makers bringing out new parts ie wheelsets or tires but not in 26. Do they forget that they were selling 26" for the last 25 years....there may be somebody with a killer frame looking for some new style wider wheelset options....sorry, buy a new frame and fork, then we can set you up with some wheels... ...Sorry - No, I don't think so.
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  8. #8
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    Yup, the world of the 26 has crashed down around you. Time to upgrade that old beast of yours and get with the times!
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  9. #9
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    From my cold dead hands.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom View Post
    After road riding with friends for several years, and occasionally mountain biking alone, I have engaged more recently in group mountain bike riding. Suddenly, I feel as though I missed a revolution after only 3 years. I seem to be the only one riding a 26er these days!! What the heck

    What's wrong with a 26er, and how did the 29er take over the world so suddenly??

    I thought the technical reviewers called the 29er heavy, lumbering (as apposed to nimble), poor to accelerate, and difficult to manoeuvre around tight single track?
    Seriously, you're more than just three years behind here. Three years ago 29ers had pretty well cornered (insert joke about 29ers cornering capabilities) the market for XC type stuff. Then in the last two years 27.5 has really filled in the gap for the more gravity oriented riding... The end result; yes, 26 is dead.

    There are still tons of people riding them and there's nothing wrong with that, but the industry as a whole seems to have decided to move on so new (used and new old stock is a different story) parts are already getting hard to find.

  11. #11
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    The musing at the shop is that in 10+ years time I will have ultra-low-volume 650b tires on my bike because nothing else will fit.

    So be it.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    The musing at the shop is that in 10+ years time I will have ultra-low-volume 650b tires on my bike because nothing else will fit.

    So be it.
    At that stage they'll have been designing bikes around 650 for over ten years... Wouldn't it be time to just give in and buy one?

    I totally get people who don't feel it necessary to make the switch now, as if 26 has been made retroactively irrelevant, but to say that you'll knowingly distort the geometry of a hypothetical bike ten plus years from now to stay on that wheel size is ridiculous. No offense intended, but to me that just shows that it's not a logical argument you're making but an emotional one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    The musing at the shop is that in 10+ years time I will have ultra-low-volume 650b tires on my bike because nothing else will fit.

    So be it.

    You could easily hoard 20+ sets of 26er tires. Just have to fight 8 speed crowd for them.

    I was about to call Arieus to the courtesy phone, but I think even he has upgraded to a fancy new bike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    The musing at the shop is that in 10+ years time I will have ultra-low-volume 650b tires on my bike because nothing else will fit.

    So be it.
    I can still buy tires for my 70's Schwinn for a wheel size that hasn't been produced for over 40 years - so I think your 26er tires will be around for a while. Course they could be Kenda Nevegal's.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    The musing at the shop is that in 10+ years time I will have ultra-low-volume 650b tires on my bike because nothing else will fit.

    So be it.
    I don't think it will be 10 years time ...i give the 29er 5 more years before everything is 27.5/650b
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  16. #16
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    In 10 years 26" will be back as the new more nimble option...
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dgage View Post
    I don't think it will be 10 years time ...i give the 29er 5 more years before everything is 27.5/650b
    2 years ago, I also thought 29" would be phased out and 650b would be dominant.
    Now, I am not so sure. There is a big 29" fan base and some very good Trail/AM 29ers have been released in the past few years. Slacker, longer front, shorter CS under 17".
    Just look at Evil The Following or the CB Riot.
    A new Ibis Ripley is behind the corner as well.
    29" is here to stay. Too many people love them, they will not go for anything smaller than 29".

    I also think for me and my riding a nice shorter travel, bit slacker 29er and a longer travel 650b bike is a great combo to have.

  18. #18
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    Not really dead, just downgraded to the low-end of new product offerings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    I was about to call Arieus to the courtesy phone, but I think even he has upgraded to a fancy new bike.
    I did. I'm still not entirely sure how it happened though, one day I woke up and there was a carbon long travel 27.5" bike in my possession. I blame it on the concussion from getting hit by a car a couple years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by mykel View Post
    In 10 years 26" will be back as the new more nimble option...
    Some of the guys I ride with joke that 27.5" is what happened when the industry realized that 29" wasn't going to revolutionize things the way the thought it would, and they couldn't go back to 26" because that would mean admitting that they were wrong. So we'll just have to wait enough years for enough people to forget everything and then bring it back as some new trend.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    No offense intended, but to me that just shows that it's not a logical argument you're making but an emotional one.
    Correct. I did just make a post that said

    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    From my cold dead hands.
    But no one likes being forced to change. Being slowly forced to change is perhaps marginally more manageable, for some.
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  21. #21
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    Or

    Is the 26er dead?-asset_324086%5B1%5D.jpgIs the 26er dead?-clearance.jpgIs the 26er dead?-p2a1.jpg

    Trek describes fat tires as 3.25 - 5" and the new mid fat tire 2.8-3.25" and the new stache

    Stache - Trek Bicycle

    is their mid fat bike. My 29" ridgid frame ( pic with cx tires) will take a 3" plus tire and right now I have 2.4" and with low pressure tubeless it pretty much does ok for the trails around here. Just saying.

  22. #22
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    yes
    www.abikeslife.com ontario bike stuff!

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  23. #23
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    Oh, Ricksom, I thought you would have figured that out back when we beat you riding 29ers (and SSs!) in the inaugural CTS...

  24. #24
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    Is the 26er dead? What kind of fool question is that

    27.5 and 29 are for fashion victims. 26 is alive and well, and always will be. I'll believe 26 is dead when I can't find 26 gear every where I go. When there are 27.5 and 29 wheels and tubes hanging from trees, and frames for them sticking out of Don mud.

  25. #25
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    Aerius: "Some of the guys I ride with joke that 27.5" is what happened when the industry realized that 29" wasn't going to revolutionize things the way the thought it would ..."

    29ers revolutionized the industry plenty. 27.5 is what happens when sales peter out.
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  26. #26
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    Trek describes fat tires as 3.25 - 5" and the new mid fat tire 2.8-3.25" and the new stache

    Stache - Trek Bicycle

    is their mid fat bike. My 29" ridgid frame ( pic with cx tires) will take a 3" plus tire and right now I have 2.4" and with low pressure tubeless it pretty much does ok for the trails around here. Just saying.
    +1
    Treks Stache is a beautiful, well designed bike.

    + size 29 & 27.5 IS the way everything will go, and for good reason.
    Fat tires have MANY advantages over pizza cutters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Hustler View Post
    +1
    Treks Stache is a beautiful, well designed bike.

    + size 29 & 27.5 IS the way everything will go, and for good reason.
    Fat tires have MANY advantages over pizza cutters.
    Fat tires are terrible for cross country, and terrible for climbing. They weigh too much. Too much rotational inertia to overcome. For n number of calories you can ride much further on skinny tires. There's a reason 26 x 2.1 is such a standard for size; it hits all the right notes.

    Fat tires might be better in mud and snow, but that's it that I can see.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thatshowiroll View Post
    The only thing dead is the horse you're beating.
    Sorry, been away for a few years from this forum, and group mountain bike riding.
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  29. #29
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    Well, you certainly drank the marketing Kool Aide! It was always about the MTB industry colluding to get more money back into their pockets after sales starting slumping. Very common business model (ie. Cell phone industry, paid TV industry, banking industry, oil industry, .... need I go on
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  30. #30
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    Ricksom is right. It's a way to get more money out of you for something you don't need.

    Why would I want to spin 1.5kg - 2kg of rubber x2 instead of 710g x2? Seriously, folks... no one sees the problem with having - I've seen it, too - 5kg of rubber on your wheels?! Fat bikes are for flatlanders.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toronto Goat View Post
    Ricksom is right. It's a way to get more money out of you for something you don't need.

    Why would I want to spin 1.5kg - 2kg of rubber x2 instead of 710g x2? Seriously, folks... no one sees the problem with having - I've seen it, too - 5kg of rubber on your wheels?! Fat bikes are for flatlanders.
    Wtb Trailblazer 2.8, Trax Fatty 3.0 & 3.25 are under 1kg...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankout View Post
    Yup, the world of the 26 has crashed down around you. Time to upgrade that old beast of yours and get with the times!
    I can't afford another bike and my 2013 ex8 is not old.
    Quote Originally Posted by ol-crank View Post
    I drove under a carport with my 10 year old XTC frame and wanted to replace it mostly to keep the magura fork and the wheels. I really enjoy the ride of the new build and it makes me a better climber. I have 2 29ers, 1 ridgid with mid fat tires and an orbea hardtail and if the trails are bumpy I would ride the 29 HT.

    You should never drive under the carport with a bike on the roof rack.

  33. #33
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    Technically, aren't Fat Bikes 26ers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Hustler View Post
    Fat tires have MANY advantages over pizza cutters.
    I've done almost all my trail riding this spring on my cross bike with 30C tires. Not because it's better, but because I am angry.
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    I can't tell anymore. I'm old and grumpy, and change scares me

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerdgirl View Post
    Oh, Ricksom, I thought you would have figured that out back when we beat you riding 29ers (and SSs!) in the inaugural CTS...
    Heh, how did you know I was in the first CTS?? Yikes!
    And, to be honest, the fastest folks in that race were always fast folks, regardless of what they rode. Quite annoying really...
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by mykel View Post
    In 10 years 26" will be back as the new more nimble option...
    + 1 I believe this is probably going to be the case. Maybe the lack of quality 26 is a well planed marketing strategy. Certainly is a popular wheel size worldwide.

    Wheels size options is a good thing.

  37. #37
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    Nope.....


  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom View Post
    Heh, how did you know I was in the first CTS?? Yikes!
    And, to be honest, the fastest folks in that race were always fast folks, regardless of what they rode. Quite annoying really...
    I knew you were in the first CTS because as I recall, you and Anne (?) were nipping at our tails (me and Mr. Monster).

    I did drink the 29er Kool Aid, but mostly because I test rode a Misfit way back in the day and was way faster on it - really.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toronto Goat View Post
    Fat tires are terrible for cross country, and terrible for climbing. They weigh too much. Too much rotational inertia to overcome. For n number of calories you can ride much further on skinny tires. There's a reason 26 x 2.1 is such a standard for size; it hits all the right notes.

    Fat tires might be better in mud and snow, but that's it that I can see.
    Wow, that is a MIGHTY bold statement.

    I have been riding and racing on fat 26x 4&5", plus size 29x3" and 2.4" on 35-50mm wide rims since 2009. Putting in alot of miles.
    It hasn't slowed me down a bit or kept a big smile off my face.

    Riding Big fat and + tires seem to make people get big grins on their face
    ,like when they were ripping around the neighbourhood as a kid.
    I have personally witnessed it many times when people try one for the first time.

    Maybe some of the people on this forum should try one before
    Casting their judgement on all fatbikes and all those fellow mountain bike riders
    That choose to ride them.

    There are many styles and prices points of fat bikes and for that matter, mountain bikes in general.
    I don't cast judgement or hatered on any of my fellow biking breathern, regardless of
    The size of their wheels or cost or age of their bike. Show me respect and I will most certainly do the same.
    I never claimed fat bikes or plus bikes are superior to all others all the time, they have their advantages in different terrain and many will agree with me that they are just plain FUN!

    If people don't want to drink the latest cool aid, fine. Not problem.
    If you do ,thats cool too.
    Life's short , ride your bike and smile more and hate less.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by broadwayline View Post
    yes
    Seriously though 26 inch wheels won't go away. Wheel size that makes sense for DH and DJ bikes.

    But look at the current trend in the bike industry towards kids bikes. Now they are starting to look at better bikes for kids. So when you consider that as a kid like Theo or Gabi grow a 26 inch wheel will be some where in their frame turn over as they grow up.

    And in reality while yes maybe the 29er is good in some applications and cycling disciplines it still is limiting. Unless the company goes to extreme lengths to do radical changes to current frame design. Originally it was Banshee who mass produced the Paradox with I think it was 16.9 inch chai stays which at the time was the realm of custom builders. So was a radical departure at the time. The next radical 29er development I say would be the Canfield Bothers with the insanely short chainstay length capable Nimble 9. The brothers went that radical as they are downhillers at heart and wanted a 29er they would ride. And like the Honzo they a the frames for those who are not XC weekend warriors. So have a small following like those who ride Chromag.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Hustler View Post
    Wow, that is a MIGHTY bold statement.

    I have been riding and racing on fat 26x 4&5", plus size 29x3" and 2.4" on 35-50mm wide rims since 2009. Putting in alot of miles.
    It hasn't slowed me down a bit or kept a big smile off my face.

    Riding Big fat and + tires seem to make people get big grins on their face
    ,like when they were ripping around the neighbourhood as a kid.
    I have personally witnessed it many times when people try one for the first time.

    Maybe some of the people on this forum should try one before
    Casting their judgement on all fatbikes and all those fellow mountain bike riders
    That choose to ride them.

    There are many styles and prices points of fat bikes and for that matter, mountain bikes in general.
    I don't cast judgement or hatered on any of my fellow biking breathern, regardless of
    The size of their wheels or cost or age of their bike. Show me respect and I will most certainly do the same.
    I never claimed fat bikes or plus bikes are superior to all others all the time, they have their advantages in different terrain and many will agree with me that they are just plain FUN!

    If people don't want to drink the latest cool aid, fine. Not problem.
    If you do ,thats cool too.
    Life's short , ride your bike and smile more and hate less.
    Well, I do think that the Goat makes a few valid points, whether or not he says this with the intent to offend you. Physics is a tough thing to mess with.
    The only important thing these days, is rhythm and melody. Rhythm...and melody.

  42. #42
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    Let's calm down everyone. The Goat is right about fat bikes in comparison to a 26er or 29er with skinny wheels. Those are better for going faster on most XC trails. Having said that, that is not the only reason why one rides a bike. A fixed gear bike in a hilly place is way less efficient than a geared bike and may even mean having to walk up some stuff. It will also make it harder on a number of other scenarios. There are still lots of people that like to ride them and they know why. Same goes for a fat bike. I can go way faster on my FS 29er over rocky terrain such as Hilton Falls, but I still take my fat bike there and enjoy the whole different experience it offers. I also take my short suspension hardtail 26er there for a whole different experience. Each bike demands it be ridden in a certain way and a different approach to the terrain. I know people that will bring a trials bike with no seat to such a place. Never mind what people ride or what they think of your bike. Ride whatever you like if you like it. I'd ride a unicycle if I thought it was fun. If you want to rip trail as fast as you can, you can debate geometry, wheel size, and whatever. If you are not racing against Strava or others and speed is not the only consideration, then other bikes of all sorts bring a different experience. As long as that's the experience you want, then that's the perfect bike.
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  43. #43
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    Amen! This sums it up perfectly!


    Quote Originally Posted by secret agent View Post
    Let's calm down everyone. The Goat is right about fat bikes in comparison to a 26er or 29er with skinny wheels. Those are better for going faster on most XC trails. Having said that, that is not the only reason why one rides a bike. A fixed gear bike in a hilly place is way less efficient than a geared bike and may even mean having to walk up some stuff. It will also make it harder on a number of other scenarios. There are still lots of people that like to ride them and they know why. Same goes for a fat bike. I can go way faster on my FS 29er over rocky terrain such as Hilton Falls, but I still take my fat bike there and enjoy the whole different experience it offers. I also take my short suspension hardtail 26er there for a whole different experience. Each bike demands it be ridden in a certain way and a different approach to the terrain. I know people that will bring a trials bike with no seat to such a place. Never mind what people ride or what they think of your bike. Ride whatever you like if you like it. I'd ride a unicycle if I thought it was fun. If you want to rip trail as fast as you can, you can debate geometry, wheel size, and whatever. If you are not racing against Strava or others and speed is not the only consideration, then other bikes of all sorts bring a different experience. As long as that's the experience you want, then that's the perfect bike.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerdgirl View Post
    I knew you were in the first CTS because as I recall, you and Anne (?) were nipping at our tails (me and Mr. Monster).

    I did drink the 29er Kool Aid, but mostly because I test rode a Misfit way back in the day and was way faster on it - really.
    Ah yes, now I remember. You 2 youngims trying to beat us old folks (me being 47 at the time). Surprisingly, the bike I rode was the fastest choice for that long rough race. A heavy low end model Rocky Instinct full suspension with fat enduro stlyle low tread tires. About 28lbs I believe. It kept my body going with its smooth ride, even though I am much faster on a hard tail with short suspension. It's all about the engine...
    SUCCESS - To be able to spend life in your own way

  45. #45
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    Good! Because I have 4 mountain bikes worth a total of over $10,000, and I'm broke now with 2 university age kids...
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom View Post
    Good! Because I have 4 mountain bikes worth a total of over $10,000, and I'm broke now with 2 university age kids...
    You know there is a outstanding place that can help you with that....

    https://www.rmc.ca/en

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    I would like to apologize for being divisive and being a dick. I actually don't care what a person rides - is it not more important that we're all on two wheels, enjoying the outdoors? We don't ride 26, 27.5, 29 - we ride BIKES. And trails are made for everyone.

    I am just frustrated at all the new-fangledness that the bike industry foists on us for no really good reason other then to drive sales. Somedays it feels like they're trying to go all BioPace on us again

  48. #48
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    I understand your feelings Goat. I feel the same way about many of the industry shenanigans, and I am typically a late adopter of anything out there. Having said that, I own both a 29er and a fat bike. I also own a road bike and a couple of 26er bikes. I just don't get the backlash against some of these bikes. I can understand somewhat with the 29er as it was followed so closely by the 27.5. This does not mean that the 29er is not a good bike, but that it is not exactly what they thought it would be. It is still a very good bike for a lot of things.
    Apart from all this, let's not forget about the monkey on the ride. You put a good, fit rider on anything and they will kick ass no matter what they're on. Honestly, I have ridden all three sizes on various terrain and once you get used to the bike, there is not that much of a difference.
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toronto Goat View Post
    I would like to apologize for being divisive and being a dick. I actually don't care what a person rides - is it not more important that we're all on two wheels, enjoying the outdoors? We don't ride 26, 27.5, 29 - we ride BIKES. And trails are made for everyone.

    I am just frustrated at all the new-fangledness that the bike industry foists on us for no really good reason other then to drive sales. Somedays it feels like they're trying to go all BioPace on us again

    No kidding. But nothing compares to the still camera and video camera industry, which may disappear to a niche market because of smart phones. Blacks is dead, and Henry's is not far behind. How much change has that gone through in just 25 years!!
    SUCCESS - To be able to spend life in your own way

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by secret agent View Post
    I understand your feelings Goat. I feel the same way about many of the industry shenanigans, and I am typically a late adopter of anything out there. Having said that, I own both a 29er and a fat bike. I also own a road bike and a couple of 26er bikes. I just don't get the backlash against some of these bikes. I can understand somewhat with the 29er as it was followed so closely by the 27.5. This does not mean that the 29er is not a good bike, but that it is not exactly what they thought it would be. It is still a very good bike for a lot of things.
    Apart from all this, let's not forget about the monkey on the ride. You put a good, fit rider on anything and they will kick ass no matter what they're on. Honestly, I have ridden all three sizes on various terrain and once you get used to the bike, there is not that much of a difference.
    Well, I've only just seen for the first time a fat bike on the Ridge, and my son may have thought it was even cooler than I did. No, the guy wasn't moving quite as nimbly. And, yes the rumbling of those massive tires said 'unique ride'. A couple observations came to mind. First, those tires are in fact a proxy for a short travel suspension, but with the added benefit of what must be unbreakable traction. Second, with the ultra-low inflation pressures I've heard referenced, the insult to the trail itself may possibly be greatly reduced compared to an ordinary 25-30 psi.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    You know there is a outstanding place that can help you with that....

    https://www.rmc.ca/en
    Hopefully, they have an above 70% average.

  52. #52
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    I think I understand Goat's comments. I too hate to be herded into bigger prices and more sophisticated products when it all started out pretty simple. It is still a bicycle and I have been riding one for more than 60 years, BUT Giant Bicylce share price was $55.00 in 2005 and a couple of months ago it was $305.00. That is almost 600% in ten years. Who needs Apple stocks?

  53. #53
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    While I'm not against the 650b or 29er, I do take issue with how 26 has been treated.
    I get that the new bike market is pretty much dead in the 26 world (DJ 4X etc excepted).
    But....why do new rims, tires and wheels only come in 650b and 29er?
    You just bought a new 650b whip, what are the chances that you are going to go out and buy a new wheelset?
    A guy riding a good 26er may not want to update the frame for another few years, but is interested in a new wider wheelset.
    As well, for years, we wanted what are now Enduro tires, something tough, grippy and not total boat-anchors.
    Now that the tires have come on so well and finally work as advertised, they forgo the huge installed base of 26...

    You would think that they would still support the 26er for a few years until the transition is pretty much complete. Not everybody changes frames every year, me and quite a few of my buddies are on a 3-5+ year cycle.
    I think they may be missing out on a decent part of the market. Guys like me with good recent 26 framesets that are still a few years from upgrading.
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