Sipped the 29er Koolaid- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Sipped the 29er Koolaid

    Just picked up an 09 Rockhopper Comp 29er and took her out for a maiden voyage. It was fun, but dern this thing is heavy (almost 30 pounds). I could really cruise on the flats, but the hills just broke me off. I was able to carry more corner speed, but there are too many variables between the two bikes to know what exactly contributes to it. My average MPH stayed about the same comparing the same 8 mile loop to both bikes, but my hills were slower and my corners were faster and I perceived way more effort. I ran 32/18 with 175 cranks for a slightly easier gain ratio compared to my toy bike. I'm going to give it a few more rides to have final verdict. Right now I know the tire pressure + junk Dart3 + aluminum frame = my kidneys coming out my ears. I think if I ride this bike more and then go back to my 26, I will be strong like bull.
    '08 GF Montare
    '10 Rockhopper SS
    Semper Fidelis
    02-10 SSGT of Marines
    (Most) always down for a ride in the Gville area

  2. #2
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    Good frame to build with. Try a 19 tooth or 20 tooth cog out back if the hills are too much - work down to the 18 tooth.

    oorah
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

  3. #3
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    Yeah, just went with what was on the cassette plus it was as close to the gain ratio on my toy bike. My lady parts are still undecided on SS'ing this bike. Flame on.
    '08 GF Montare
    '10 Rockhopper SS
    Semper Fidelis
    02-10 SSGT of Marines
    (Most) always down for a ride in the Gville area

  4. #4
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    Rode a loop that was almost 30 miles on the big wheels and compared it to the same loop a week early. Conditions were similar, the only thing that changed was going from my 26 to my 29. I was 4 minutes slower on my 29 geared 32/18 over the 3 hour loop. The bike is almost 5 lbs heavier and was a pig accelerating. Once cruising it was awesome and DH was much more flowy and less sketchy...same with cornering, I could rail corners even in pine straw. However, at the end of and during the ride I was MUCH more drained and perceived more effort.
    So, are there too many variables to even compare the two? I'm coming up on some Christmas money and I know the 26" bike needs disc brakes in a bad way, but I know the 29er needs a new fork and wheelset...but will I like the 29 and want to put the money into it? Is the weight going to be too much and I should focus on upgrading the 26?
    Decisions...
    '08 GF Montare
    '10 Rockhopper SS
    Semper Fidelis
    02-10 SSGT of Marines
    (Most) always down for a ride in the Gville area

  5. #5
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    How much does your Yokota weigh? A 30lb bike is a LOT of beef to push up a hill, with one gear. I gained 2mph average going from 26 to 29" wheels, once you get them spinning they just seem to keep on spinning. Think of Tina Turner, big wheels keep on something....

  6. #6
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    The little bike is almost 26 lbs.
    '08 GF Montare
    '10 Rockhopper SS
    Semper Fidelis
    02-10 SSGT of Marines
    (Most) always down for a ride in the Gville area

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by orion_134
    Rode a loop that was almost 30 miles on the big wheels and compared it to the same loop a week early. Conditions were similar, the only thing that changed was going from my 26 to my 29. I was 4 minutes slower on my 29 geared 32/18 over the 3 hour loop. The bike is almost 5 lbs heavier and was a pig accelerating. Once cruising it was awesome and DH was much more flowy and less sketchy...same with cornering, I could rail corners even in pine straw. However, at the end of and during the ride I was MUCH more drained and perceived more effort.
    So, are there too many variables to even compare the two? I'm coming up on some Christmas money and I know the 26" bike needs disc brakes in a bad way, but I know the 29er needs a new fork and wheelset...but will I like the 29 and want to put the money into it? Is the weight going to be too much and I should focus on upgrading the 26?
    Decisions...
    Which bike do you find more fun to ride?

    --sParty
    disciplesofdirt.org

    We don't quit riding because we get old.
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  8. #8
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    Each had it's merit. The little bike is more fun because it isn't as heavy, the bigger bike has it's fun when rolling but quickly goes into the negative on the fun-o-meter at any sign of increased elevation. I've only down rolling singletrack with the big bike, so a trip to a more technical trail is in my future to see if my low-speed technique/maneuverability is affected.
    '08 GF Montare
    '10 Rockhopper SS
    Semper Fidelis
    02-10 SSGT of Marines
    (Most) always down for a ride in the Gville area

  9. #9
    4 Niners
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    You are geared too tall. Try a 20 rear cog. If I gear my ss too tall my average speed is almost the same, but my perceived exertion is way greater and I am not good for as long.

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    I need to give that a try. All I have at my disposal now is 18 and 21...kind of a big jump.
    '08 GF Montare
    '10 Rockhopper SS
    Semper Fidelis
    02-10 SSGT of Marines
    (Most) always down for a ride in the Gville area

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by orion_134
    I need to give that a try. All I have at my disposal now is 18 and 21...kind of a big jump.
    Put the 21t on and give it a try. I run a 30x20 on my 29er. People may snicker... but soon discover they can't shake me... often I pass them on the sustained ups.

    Tall gearing is mostly ego.

    --sParty
    disciplesofdirt.org

    We don't quit riding because we get old.
    We get old because we quit riding.

  12. #12
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    I tried the 21 and the hills did feel good, but I was spinning big time. I am doing the same 30 mile loop tomorrow so I will try the 21 for the ride tomorrow.
    '08 GF Montare
    '10 Rockhopper SS
    Semper Fidelis
    02-10 SSGT of Marines
    (Most) always down for a ride in the Gville area

  13. #13
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    Sounds like a nice ride.

    I think perception between the 26 and 29 is a big part of it. I know I FEEL much faster on my 26" bike, but the times are pretty comparable.

    I am running a 32:17 on my 29er and haven't had issues with it. I am wondering though, if I should go 32:18 for a trial?

    Let us know how the 21 goes tomorrow. You talking about Felasco?

  14. #14
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    I drank the 29er Koolaid last year - mine was grape flavored.

    Seems like you enjoy the 29er benefits but aren't enjoying the difference of 4 lbs between the two bikes. If you drop some $$ on a set of Stans rims and a decent fork and you will have a definitely winner.
    If you want all the comforts of home, stay there.

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  15. #15
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    Pointer, yeah, 8:30, be there or be square.
    '08 GF Montare
    '10 Rockhopper SS
    Semper Fidelis
    02-10 SSGT of Marines
    (Most) always down for a ride in the Gville area

  16. #16
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    Your 26" bike weighing almost 26 pounds suggests it is built to last; my last 26" bike was around 20.5 lbs rigid and 22 lbs with a shock, and I never had any reliability issues.

    If the Rockhopper is stock, you could probably save a lot of weight by just swapping out the tires, but if you've got the money the wheels too.
    But before you start buying stuff, try and zero in on if the 29'er is really for you. When I first started riding a 29'er I thought what's the big deal? Then after about a month I tried my 26" bike again and really noticed a difference. But if I never rode a 29'er I'd probably think my old Stumpjumper was still the greatest bike ever.
    If you come to the conclusion your 26" bike is more fun, spend the money there.

  17. #17
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    The 2009 Rockhopper 29er rides really rough with the stock build. A wide carbon handlebar and a nice wheelset makes a huge difference. Eventually I found a used Reba and now I love it. My build now:

    2009 Rockhopper Expert 29er frame
    Monkeylite XC bar
    ODI lock-on grips
    used Reba Race fork, not sure what year
    rear wheel: Salsa Delgado 29er rim on DT 240 hub, Race King 2.2 tire
    front wheel: Salsa Gordo on XT hub, WTB LT 2.55 hire
    brakes: Hayes Stroker Trail
    32 x 21 gearing

  18. #18
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    Another ride today and the fun-o-meter is going up. The 21 is waaaaaaay too slow on the flats but I could clear all the trails now. Dropped the tires down to 26 and it was much better.

    How much does your Rockhopper weigh now? I noticed immediately that I miss my carbon bar and Oury's from my little bike.
    '08 GF Montare
    '10 Rockhopper SS
    Semper Fidelis
    02-10 SSGT of Marines
    (Most) always down for a ride in the Gville area

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by orion_134
    How much does your Rockhopper weigh now? I noticed immediately that I miss my carbon bar and Oury's from my little bike.
    I don't have an accurate scale, but using the bathroom scale differential method it looks to be about 25-26. The Gordo/XT wheel is really heavy, but I like how it rides.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by orion_134
    Another ride today and the fun-o-meter is going up. The 21 is waaaaaaay too slow on the flats but I could clear all the trails now. Dropped the tires down to 26 and it was much better.

    ...
    Well, at least you gave the 21t a shot so now you know. Terrain varies so much from one locale to another... out where I ride there's hardly a flat section longer than 50 yds so I gear for the climbs and let gravity do its thing on the descents. YMMV.

    --sParty
    disciplesofdirt.org

    We don't quit riding because we get old.
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  21. #21
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
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    Patience

    I learned to enjoy more trees on s.s. when you can't pedal. I was sucked in 5-6 rides in. Had to get front suspension fork for comfort otherwise very cheap buy in. my expensive bike collects (living room) dust, but is more fun to ride after 10 single speed rides in a row. I don't think s.s.29er is as fast as my squish, just slightly more fun.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Put the 21t on and give it a try. I run a 30x20 on my 29er. People may snicker... but soon discover they can't shake me... often I pass them on the sustained ups.

    Tall gearing is mostly ego.

    --sParty
    I like what you are saying. I'm currently running 32x21, and I find that it sucks everywhere, which probably means I've finally found the perfect gear ratio.

    I've tried 36x24, 36x22, 34x22, 34x21, and 32x21 is for this Goldilocks.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by orion_134
    Rode a loop that was almost 30 miles on the big wheels and compared it to the same loop a week early. Conditions were similar, the only thing that changed was going from my 26 to my 29. I was 4 minutes slower on my 29 geared 32/18 over the 3 hour loop. The bike is almost 5 lbs heavier and was a pig accelerating. Once cruising it was awesome and DH was much more flowy and less sketchy...same with cornering, I could rail corners even in pine straw. However, at the end of and during the ride I was MUCH more drained and perceived more effort.
    So, are there too many variables to even compare the two? I'm coming up on some Christmas money and I know the 26" bike needs disc brakes in a bad way, but I know the 29er needs a new fork and wheelset...but will I like the 29 and want to put the money into it? Is the weight going to be too much and I should focus on upgrading the 26?
    Decisions...
    Too many variables? Depends on how complicated you want to make the situation.

    Last I looked there's no expiry date on currency, so if your impatience is the only thing governing a purchase then my vote is to spend a little more time experimenting with similar variables and seeing what you come up with. Perhaps you find that each bike is, more or less, fine just the way it is and that you should reserve certain types of trails for each bike ..... or perhaps not.

    Also, I think hoolie has a good point, something that's been discussed quite a bit - no harm in having two bikes and switching back and forth.
    I ..... need ..... DIRT!!!!!

    ... and cookies. :D

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding
    I like what you are saying. I'm currently running 32x21, and I find that it sucks everywhere, which probably means I've finally found the perfect gear ratio.

    I've tried 36x24, 36x22, 34x22, 34x21, and 32x21 is for this Goldilocks.
    Gear inches w/29" wheel...
    36x24 = 43.5
    36x22 = 47.45
    34x22 = 44.8
    34x21 = 46.95
    32x21 = 44.2
    30x20 = 43.5

    I expect I'll go to 30x19 once Oregon's epic winter mud departs and the days get longer and warmer and my weekly hours in the saddle climb back up.
    30x19 = 45.8
    But maybe not... 43.5 gear inches sure feels right to this singlespeeder... right now.

    --sParty
    disciplesofdirt.org

    We don't quit riding because we get old.
    We get old because we quit riding.

  25. #25
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
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    Sick-O

    Two s.s. setup is more of sickness than solution. Same as Hugh Hefner, just differnt.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoolie
    Two s.s. setup is more of sickness than solution. Same as Hugh Hefner, just differnt.
    That depends on one's idea of "sickness" my friend.
    I ..... need ..... DIRT!!!!!

    ... and cookies. :D

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