26" or 29"....that is the question.......- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    26" or 29"....that is the question.......

    I am stuck the the rut of indecisiveness, I am pretty sure I am going to order a Moto of some sort in the next month or so. I am trying to decide if I should go with a Fantom 29 Pro SL or a Fly Pro. The Fly pro is about $200 more, but thats not really that big of a deal. I am 5'9" with a 30in inseam. I typically ride trails with little or no elevation change but ocassionally hit more fun trails with quite a bit of elevation change. My debate is if I am actually going to enjoy riding a 29'er, as I know they tend to be quite a bit heavier, or if I should just go with what I know and have ridden in the past...26'er? My last bike was a SJ FSR and I absolutely loved it, but Im not wanting to spend the money on another FS.

    One other thing, can anyone give me some sort of insight on a good size for me for each of the bikes ?

  2. #2
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    I remember a conversation on this subject not too long ago however, it was about Motobecane titanium offerings, but, a lot of the points made still apply in the comparison between 26er or 29er. hope this helps.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=616042

    Good Luck!
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  3. #3
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    Rent a 29er

    Since you know what 26" wheels feel like, go to a local shop that has 29" rentals and spend $60 or so to find out. Pretty simple. My opinion and many others is likely go with the 29" but you should find out for yourself. BTW, to a certain price point and with the right components, weight difference is negligible.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  4. #4
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    I guess, the only answer I can give is…know thy self.

    Seriously, speaking for myself…I never owned a 29er and only ridden one for a short sit. However, most people love them and if I was to purchase another bike again… that’s the direction I would go in. Only, because different is good.

    As far as riding dynamics go, coming from a 26er. whatever they may be. You will just adapt without even thinking about it.

    If that is something you are willing too do? Then, go for the 29er.
    -_0
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    Like life…the trail is unpredictable...

  5. #5
    Pimpmobile
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    C'mon... Drink the Kool-Aid!!!
    "Fear not the ob-stackles in your path"

  6. #6
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    Definitely go check one out at the store and ride it around for a bit, or find a friend/friend of a friend to borrow one from. I thought I was going to like a 29er but after riding a few it became apparent that a 26 just suits my ride feel more. It's not so much about suiting the bike to the trail in terms of wheel size but rather just what feels better. 29er is smooth but sluggish, 26 doesn't roll as well but is quick and nimble.

  7. #7
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    I rode a GF Hardtail 26" for years and while I liked it, basically rode it into the ground. So when I decided to purchase another bike, I was in the same situation you were in. Lucky for me, the Cliff 29er Pro had a fantastic component list compared to other bikes in the $700 range. So, that is what really made my decision to go 29", not anything in the 29 vs. 26 debate. And IMHO that is the way to look at it; go for the best deal, not the size of the tires. I'd heartily recommend that bike to you, but I believe they are all sold out at the moment. So what is your budget?

    One thing I was pleasantly surprised with was the overall stability of the 29er vs. my old 26" Gary Fisher. Where my GF was twitchy and unstable in rough rock garden downhill sections, the 29er is stable, the wheel stays where I point it (which is great when I choose the right line). The 29er does indeed seem to roll over whatever you point it at, and with greater ease and comfort than the 26". I find myself tackling larger rocks, drops, roots and logs with the 29er because the larger wheel size handles them better, and inspires confidence. Acceleration is a little slower, but on the flip side you maintain a lot more speed due to larger wheels and their greater rotational weight.

    By the way, I'm 5'8", 31" inseam and the 29er in 17" fits fine. A little tight in the standover, but no toe overlap and most importantly the reach (top tube length) is perfect. So once on the bike it feels good both climbing and descending. Good luck in your decision!
    "Got everything you need?"

  8. #8
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    My experience

    I am 6'1" and rode 26" bikes for ~ 5 years. I ride year round and ride the same "1 hour" course ~75 times per year. I ride other course an additional 75 times or so. 2 years ago I built a cannondale caffeine 29er from e-bay and some spare parts I had. My best time on the "1 hour" course was 55 min on my cannondale scalpel. The first time I rode the caffeine 29er I did it in 49:.. . I just got rid of my 26" bikes, because the only bike I want to ride is the 29er. I also had a carbon rush. The 29er was much faster then that bike. The rush could descend rocky stuff much faster and was more comfortable over several hours, but this is really a FS vs HT issue.

    I always rode faster on the 29er. The 29er is vastly better climbing rocky stuff and better on flats. The 26 is better descending on single track.

    I now have a ti fly 29 team. I would not say this bike is any faster then my caffeine.

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