This morning I was near the end of my 25 mile ride up and down and around in Cape Girardeau, MO. I was feeling really good, the legs were loose and still had plenty of power. There is a 4 mile bike path (asphalt) that cuts directly down the center of town and it is very flat and curvy. I had parked at the other end of this trail and decided to open it up to the end since I was feeling so good. I passed everything that came into view the first two miles. Then I noticed a woman about 100 yards out in front of me and and I headed after her like a non-biking clyde after a stuff crust pepperoni pizza. The next two mile to the end of the trail, I never gained an inch . I kept looking at the computer and it held 16 mph, so it was not that I was wearing down. I just could not keep up. We were both riding Mtn. bikes.
When we finally got to the trailhead and I caught up to her, I first looked her over for fitness and from the surface, no big deal. Soft muscles, slightly heavy build. When I asked her if she always rode this fast, she said that she had recently replaced her old bike with this new one and it was much faster. Then I saw it. A 29er!!!!!!!! (btw... She was about 15 miles into her day, so she wasn't exactly fresh either.
So my question is this: Are the 29ers that much faster? I love my bike (26" Giant Rainier) but unless I am going downhill, I just never feel like I have any speed on flat. And Wow! was her bike nice. Big tall fat tires and wheels. (Don't talk road bike to me. Not interested at this time. Maybe later.) I could just kick myself for not looking at the 29er last year when I bought. I may still look into it. Anybody have 29er experience compared to standard mtn. bikes?