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Thread: 29 vs. 26?

  1. #1
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    29 vs. 26?

    I am getting ready to buy a SS, but can't decide whether to go with 29 or 26 inch wheels.

    My riding tends to be based more on cardivascular fitness than on strength. Said differently, on my geared bike when I reach a climb I tend to shift into an easier gear and spin at a higher cadence rather than using a harder gear. So one of my objectives in getting a SS is to get stronger.

    I've never ridden a SS or a 29er. I've been told by some people that making the transition to a 29 SS from a 26 geared bike is big jump, especially given my riding style.

    Any advice/suggestions/input on which wheel size to go with on my SS?

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
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    Try them out.

    I prefer 29ers - they seem to roll easier. Most of the negative stuff about 29ers applies to the early models which steered like barges. Now that proper offsets are being used in the forks and frame angles sorted, they are pretty good.

    26" has the advantage of having been common for longer so there is a wider range of tyres and wheels.
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  3. #3
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    Rather than giving you my opinion on your post i will state the facts.

    With 29ers being all the rage right now you can pick up some incredible ss 26er for really cheap via CL or mtbr.

    The jump from a geared bike to a ss is going to be the biggest change/challenge. The change from 26 to 29 is really not that big of a deal. It will change the way you deal with tight corners and what not but the learning curve is pretty darn easy!! Damn!!! That is my opinion. Never mind!!

    What's your budget? An even better question is what's your personality when it comes to bikes? Are you going to be happy with an entry level to mid level bike if you really get the bug with the whole ss thing?

    I was in the same boat you were in and went out and bought a 26 ss and got a crazy deal on it!! Thanks 29er's!!!!

    I was not 100 % sure on a ss so i did not want to dump a bunch of money into a bike that i might not like.
    Rode the ss 26er all summer and realized i loved riding the ss and spent all my time riding it. That winter i had my eyes peeled for my dream ss. Ti 29er. I scored one for a great deal and waited until summer time and sold my ss 26 for close to what i paid for it.

  4. #4
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    Why not 650b?

    26? 29? Why not 650b?
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.

  5. #5
    CB2
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    If you are shopping new, finding a SS 29'er will be a lot easier than a 26".
    I didn't really notice a difference when I switched to a 29'er, but more so when I went back to 26" wheels on a whim.

  6. #6
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    99.9% of concensus

    Quote Originally Posted by CB2
    If you are shopping new, finding a SS 29'er will be a lot easier than a 26".
    I didn't really notice a difference when I switched to a 29'er, but more so when I went back to 26" wheels on a whim.
    Once you go big you never go back.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  7. #7
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    Yep , I finally went wagon wheel , not going back .

  8. #8
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    For SS, I think the bigger wheel is superior.

    For technical full suspension riding, I far prefer the smaller wheel.

    I have one of each (SS 29er and 6-inch travel 26er) and couldn't be happier.

  9. #9
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by millerlynx
    I've never ridden a SS or a 29er.
    Then I would think you'd be making a mistake buying anything without a trial. If you go 26 and then find out you like 29, you''ll be unhappy.

    As another poster suggested, maybe your best bet is split the difference at 650b.

    I've never ridden a 29'er, either. My SS is a 26'er over 10 years old and is so old school there's no disc tab on the frame (though I do have disc up front). But I have zero plans to change to 29 or upgrade in any other way..

    I do know two SS racers locally who went to 29 for the exact purpose of racing them. They say they roll better over technical stuff and overall are faster . I'm not sure whether they say climbing is easier and faster, too, but I do know my bike at 20 lbs is a few lbs. lighter.

    So, I'm thinking, I don't race, and the 29'ers are heavier, less maneuverable, and "easier" to ride technical. That's 3 strikes off fun and one nod toward easy.

    That's good for a mountain bike how?
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  10. #10
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    both are fine...not sure who "some" people are but they sound like mental patients if their intent is to suggest that wheel size is going to be the "jump" you notice. Single speeding is not harder, not easier, but its different and a single gear out back is the change you will notice

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    both are fine...not sure who "some" people are but they sound like mental patients if their intent is to suggest that wheel size is going to be the "jump" you notice. Single speeding is not harder, not easier, but its different and a single gear out back is the change you will notice
    Exactly
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    There is no distraction. You only hear the sound of your breath and the crunch of the wheels across the dirt.

  12. #12
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47
    Once you go big you never go back.
    Except when you do.

  13. #13
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    Get a 69er. Problem solved.

  14. #14
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    I have been riding a 26" SS for about 5 years and I have loved it. I really think it is about who you ride with, if you are the only geared guy with a bunch of ss buddies then it doesnt really fit, if you are the ss guy with a bunch of geared guys then you have another small problem. It is not as big of a deal to ride with all 29ers while you are on a 26er but it does make a difference. I recently moved to Salida where everyone I ride with has a 29er and I now feel the need to ride one. (maybe i am that type of guy.)

    So my point is I have a Custom Tony Pereira 26"inch sweet single speed for sale right now that is going for way less than it should. If you want to check it out let me know and I will send you some pics or even let you ride it.

  15. #15
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    umm.. i'd like to hear about your trails and riding style more, this will be the needed information to answer the question on wheel size.

    If the trails you like/ride are super technical and so is your style maybe 26"
    If they are flowing smooth single track 29er perhaps

    try before you buy is the best advice hands down tho

    ps 650b is the worst thing you could do.

    (FWIW I rode both, and went big and went back but I see the good in both)
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  16. #16
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    I say go one way or the other, but in any case not 650b. 650b is generally billed as "as flickable as a 26er but with the "roll over" advantages of a 29" wheel." In fact you get neither. Plus fewer choices in forks and tires.

    Pick 26" or 29" and embrace one. If you're tall, don't screw around, just go 29".

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  17. #17
    NedwannaB
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    Why the 650B hate'n?

    Stay on topic gents............
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  18. #18
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    As for 650b, I've never ridden one but there are both pro and am riders putting them on the front of their 26" wheeled bikes and swearing that it has made a noticeable difference for the better.

    I've had both a Carver 96er SS and a couple of 29er SS's. Can't say that one platform was head and shoulders above the other in all areas but they both had their pros and cons. The 29er had a more stable feel while the 96er felt quicker. The 96er actually rode almost identical to a 26" wheeled bike except it had a much smoother front end and it kind of seemed to steer more from the rear if that makes sense.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47
    Stay on topic gents............
    No hatin'. Just tellin' it like it is.

    --Sparty
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  20. #20
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    Yep, my opinion on 650b is inline with Sparty's.

    Pick a standard size -- 26 or 29 -- that works for you and go with it. If the OP plans to use a SS like most in my experience use it, the 29er seems to work better. But if you prefer the smaller wheel, have at it.

    I tried 650b last year, though on a FS platform, and absolutely hated it. Hated it. All the negatives of both wheel sizes and none of the positives.

  21. #21
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    Whatever......

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    No hatin'. Just tellin' it like it is.

    --Sparty
    .....coming from a guy run'n 200mm cranks!!! You're too tall for anything but 29'rs anyway.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  22. #22
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by corvallisfred
    I recently moved to Salida where everyone I ride with has a 29er and I now feel the need to ride one. (maybe i am that type of guy.).
    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  23. #23
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    Wouldn't that be

    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

    ......aSSimilated??
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47
    .....coming from a guy run'n 200mm cranks!!! You're too tall for anything but 29'rs anyway.
    Sorry if I come across as a 650b hater. Don't mean to. I do think they roll over things better than a 26" wheel, it's just that they aren't as good at it as a 29" wheel. And I also think they're more flickable than a 29" wheel, but not as good at this as a 26" wheel.

    In short, because 650b is in the middle, it's a compromise. And I'm nearly always going to pass on a compromise. I'd rather have all the benefits and put up with all the disadvantages of going all the way one way or the other. But 650b is not all bad and I don't mean to imply that it is.

    --Sparty
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    We get old because we quit riding.

  25. #25
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    i ride both

    going from 26 to 29 was a surprise to me, several things happened:

    1. the sand is a lot more fun cuz the 29er go through with much less need for straight arming the bars, i'll let the pundits explain why since it doesn't matter to me

    2. i got stronger very quickly, of course i picked long uphills to help in the process

    3. i like wrenching a lot so having more bikes to work on is fun

    4. the freaks of nature who live above 160bpm while riding will be able to tell you about more subtle differences.

    5. it's fun being at the top of some difficult climb hearing people mutter "what an animal..", gosh i used to think the same thing, it wasn't that hard to get there, just takes regular riding

    6. i'm justified in eating more since i burn more on the 29'er

    i started at the age of 58

  26. #26
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    ????

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Sorry if I come across as a 650b hater. Don't mean to. I do think they roll over things better than a 26" wheel, it's just that they aren't as good at it as a 29" wheel. And I also think they're more flickable than a 29" wheel, but not as good at this as a 26" wheel.

    In short, because 650b is in the middle, it's a compromise. And I'm nearly always going to pass on a compromise. I'd rather have all the benefits and put up with all the disadvantages of going all the way one way or the other. But 650b is not all bad and I don't mean to imply that it is.

    --Sparty
    No offense was taken. Didn't I throw one of these in?? Besides don't take my tweener size wheel remarks too seriously, I don't even have a 650 wheel built yet....

    Jmac
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  27. #27
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    My first SS was a Surly 1x1 Rigid, then suspended King SS wheels etc.....really nice. Did not ride it as much as I thought I would. I had certain trails I would consider SS friendly, so would occasionally ride it there.

    Fast forward 2 years.

    Was ready to try a SS again....this time a 29er. Redline Monocog......rigid then suspended. Rode it stock for seven weeks, then decided to put a Reba on it.....so Juicy 7 discs. Rode it everywhere and all the time. Suddenly all trails became SS friendly. Short techy rides or long 12 mile climbs.....didn't matter.

    I found the 29er to be easier to ride than the 26er here is So. Cal.

    Eventually the knees gave out and got rid of the SS.......but still riding 29er.
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  28. #28
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    For the reasons that Sparty mentioned, I prefer the 650b. To each their own- the combo helps me clear sections and still have a lot of fun when things get tight and/or fast.

  29. #29
    NedwannaB
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    I don't get this analogy

    Quote Originally Posted by crankspd
    going from 26 to 29 was a surprise to me, several things happened:

    1. the sand is a lot more fun cuz the 29er go through with much less need for straight arming the bars, i'll let the pundits explain why since it doesn't matter to me
    Wouldn't it be the same in sand with fatter 26" tyres?
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  30. #30
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    I am in he same connumdrum - should I go 29er with something like this, or should I go eccentric with something like this?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ernesto_from_Wisconsin
    I am in he same connumdrum - should I go 29er with something like this, or should I go eccentric with something like this?
    Both of those are nice, but consider this one too
    I'm unique, just like everyone else....

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by BunnV
    Both of those are nice, but consider this one too
    Those dropouts are solid looking!

    they have this one too, but a tad too tallish for me.

  33. #33
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  34. #34
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    650b is a viable option. Don't listen Sparty because he's never ridden one and is only speculating.

    It's funny when people say "Pick the size that works for you......26" or 29" but not 650b because it's stupid." What if that size actually works for some? Why should they not pick the size that works for them.

    I've ridden all 3 sizes in SS and I can honestly say that they were all fun and different gearing definitely played more a role than tire size. I gave the nod to 650b. I'll never run a 29'er rear tire, and I'll never run a 26" front tire again for any mountain bike that I buy. I have a "playful/careless" riding style and tend to jump/hop over things then to just plow. I'm also a high cadence kinda guy so gear your SS accordingly (32/19 with 650b for myself.)

  35. #35
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    I didn't like the 650b bike I rode. It handled like a pig.

    But that would be more to do with the frame and fork design - a bit like the problems some early 29ers had. It just needs further development. There's nothing wrong with the wheel size.

    Basically make sure you test a 650b before buying it to make sure the handling is sorted.
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  36. #36
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    I spent a fair bit of $$ trying to like 650b. Rode mine for 4-6 weeks and, honestly, hated it. For me, didn't do anything better than the other two wheel sizes; if anything, it was the worst of both worlds in my experience.

    That's my experience. If the size is working for you, that's great.

    I will say that I liked the Neomoto tires.

  37. #37
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    I want a 24" wheeled 29er bike frame with a bell. And a whistle.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47
    Wouldn't it be the same in sand with fatter 26" tyres?
    Not exactly. Fatter tires may help 26" tires in the sand. However 29" tires will still have a larger contact patch and be able to float over sand better. How much better is always a topic of great debate.

  39. #39
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    There are pros and cons of both wheel size from my experience. I don't really prefer one or the other for SS. The 26's accelerate easily and do well in tight corners, which helped for technical climbing. The 29's roll through/over anything in your path and have great traction over the 26's. The pros of both can help when riding SS. I think it depends on where you ride. Tight and twisty with short/steep climbs then maybe 26. Techy stuff like rocks, drop offs, and loose terrain...then maybe 29.

    One other bit of info I can give from riding both is that there are a few super steep, technical sections that I have ridden on my 29er that I wouldn't of been nearly as comfortable doing on my 26er. There are some 26" bikes that are designed for more technical riding obviously but mine is an old XC bike. I do think the 26er can be more fun for a lot of trail riding because it feels so lively. Right now my 29er is still SS and my 26er is geared. Nice way to mix it up.

  40. #40
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    this tire size thing is old and tired blah blah blah. whatever gets your pants smaller. Is this like asking "i like small breasts but haven't really played with big ones. whaadya think guys?"

  41. #41
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Quote Originally Posted by ernesto_from_Wisconsin
    I'm on a lookout for used monocogs, personally. They show up cheap on craigslist and ebay, from time to time. I really like the one I have and want another one as a fifth bike. I gotta have a SS in all wheel sizes, afterall...

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53119
    s this like asking "i like small breasts but haven't really played with big ones. whaadya think guys?"
    A good bike/boob is a good bike/boob regardless of size. It's all about the rider.

  43. #43
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    I have 26 and 29" bikes. If I were riding a single speed it would be a 29er. But I'm 6' 1.5", so that was pretty much a no brainer.

    My wife who is 5' 2" races a 26" hard tail, but has a 650B 1x1 from Surly and loves the thing. It's a 29er for small people! Plus the 1x1 was pretty much made for the 650B size. She likes it a lot, but it's obviously not for everyone.

  44. #44
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    I switched to 29er

    after 15 years on a 26 inch and really didn't like it. I couldn't get used to the turning radius or lack of immediacy. About 2 months after I switched over, I blew my back out and had surgery. A year later, I finally got back on my bikes... I figured since I'm another year from any kind of technical riding, I'd probably like the 29er for mellow riding. Even on fire roads, I just don't like the way it handles or turns. It may just not be for me... I just prefer the agility of the smaller wheel, even on boring rides. I'm 5'10... well 5'9.5" after the surgery.... so I'm average size and the 29er I bought was a Spot Longboard. Just my experience and 2 cents.
    Everyone has the right to be stupid, but you are abusing the priveledge.

  45. #45
    NedwannaB
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    OK! I've decided!

    Quote Originally Posted by millerlynx
    SS, but can't decide whether to go with 29 or 26 inch wheels.

    Any advice/suggestions/input on which wheel size to go with on my SS?

    Thanks for your input!
    650 front and my 26" WTB WW2.55LT in back. Should get the best of both worlds with balance of acceleration, rotational mass and roll over!! Just have to buy a hoop and spokes. Probably switch to a 34/19t setup from a 17t running now.

    There, I'm happy.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  46. #46
    NedwannaB
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    HEY! I resemble that remark...

    Quote Originally Posted by briscoelab
    It's a 29er for small people!
    ....but I prefer vertically challanged . That's why @ 5-6ish the 650 should fit the bill fine for me.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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