aluminum 26er vs. steel 29er- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    aluminum 26er vs. steel 29er

    I am currently riding an aluminum 26 inch SS and was wondering if getting a steel 29er would be a little softer ride. The old back is acting up. I'd still run similar components ( carbon bars,100mm fork, similar wheels, tire pressure). Anyone have experience riding both?

  2. #2
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    Reputation: pinkrobe's Avatar
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    Better bike fit will do more to help your back than frame material. So will fatter tires and a good wheel build.
    @pinkrobeyyc
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  3. #3
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    The difference between the ride of a steel frame and AL frame is subtle. I agree that bike fit will make more difference for you if you are having back issues than frame material. How much time do you have with the AL 26er? If it is a bike you have had for years w/no problems, then it is time to see your Dr. If it is a new bike, or you are new to biking, then it is time to see your LBS to check for fit. If you are really new to riding, then it may just be part of the normal muscle ache that comes from starting any new physical activity.

    I have steel rigid SS 26" and 29" bikes. The ride is different between them, but not so much as some folks would have you beleive. 29" wheels do not equal suspension. That is why if you look on the 29er forum, you will see lots 4" or more suspension bikes. Yes, you can run high volume tires at low pressure to add some compliance, but I find running anything under 30 psi makes the tires feel awefully squirmy for my taste and I'm only 135 lbs. The biggest difference to me is that the 29" hoops roll over small stuff a bit more easily, give me a larger margine of error when hopping logs and such, and changes my timing in pump track sections.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  4. #4
    Monkey Junkie
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    Do some bike fit research. Could be bar height/reach issues. Big tires at low pressure will make more of a noticeable difference rather than switching to a different frame material in my opinion. Steel is smooth, but it won't solve your problems. Try stretching out your hamstrings/lower back and doing core strengthening exercises like the plank.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes
    Yes, you can run high volume tires at low pressure to add some compliance, but I find running anything under 30 psi makes the tires feel awefully squirmy for my taste and I'm only 135 lbs.
    You need to try some wider rims! I have rampages on 38mm KH rims (yes KH's are heavy, Gordos would be a good one) and I run them at 19-21psi with tubes. They are not squirmy at all and I weight 210lbs geared up.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

  6. #6
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    Have been running a nevegal 2.3 and 2.1 with stan's at 28/32lbs. I do have back problems and hate to stretch, but that would definitely help though.

    Thanks for all the feedback.

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