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  1. #1
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    29er in my future...

    I decided to pull the trigger on a new 29er MTB. I have a 16 year old Cannondale MTB that served me well as a newbie MTB rider the past 2 years. I am in the northeast USA and ride all single track which include some very technical sections(rock gardens, logs jumps, etc.). I want to get a new MTB 29er full suspension that will last me the rest of my single track riding career. I am 6'2" 250. Any suggestions? I am looking at a Gary Fisher RumbleFish II or a Niner RIP 9, only because these are the demo bikes at my LBS. Any advice? The one concern I have is if the wheel set will be beefy enough. When I got my road bike, after about a year or so I started breaking spokes and ended up getting a new rear wheel built. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    The RumbleFish is a sweet ride. Definitely something I would like to take a look at when I graduate from my little hardtail. I met a guy where I now ride who has a Titus full suspension 29er. He seemed to like it and definitely had no trouble over the technical sections that I am still trying to figure out how to negotiate.

  3. #3
    Senior Member jboyd's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Dark Side You are gonna love the large. I am a rigid guy so can't give you any advice on the choice of bikes.

    Post pics when you take the plunge.
    http://www.homeairdirect.com Hey! It's What I Do

  4. #4
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    Have to admit: I'm not sold on the advantages of a 29er. The last few dual-suspension 26ers that I've ridden have been much more capable than I am. A dual-suspension bike with a solid 26" wheel, a 15 or 20mm thru axle up front and 140mm of suspension travel will float right over quite a few obstacles...

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    I don't think you'll have any issues with the wheels on a 29er. When they first came out sometimes wheel durability was an issue, but they've been around long enough that I don't think it's a problem any more. I ride a Redline Monocog 29er with just the cheap factory wheels and I don't have any issues with them.

    As for the advantage of 29 vs. 26, well.... it's true that a nice dual suspension bike will work probably as well, but for me I like a single speed and it's hard to get a full suspension single speed, and I don't want to pay for what a good dual suspension bike costs. I don't mind paying for a road bike, but around here our trails beat bikes to death, and I feel like I'm wasting money on a nice bike to go out and trash in the woods. Plus, I'm one of those people for whom anything that can go wrong will go wrong, so I figure riding a hardtail single speed just eliminates that many more potential issues. I do ride with a suspension fork though. I tried it rigid, and it beat me up too badly.

  6. #6
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Thanks. I am thinking duel suspension because of the aluminum and would be less banging around. My bike now is a hard tail with a RockShox Judy DH fork. I have a 1" head tube so I was very limited with the fork. There are some trails I get beat up on because of the hard tail as well.

    I will post a pic when I pull the trigger. Most likely not until all this snow goes away as I want to ride some of the Demo bikes at the LBS before a plunk down that much money.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigUgly View Post
    Thanks. I am thinking duel suspension because of the aluminum and would be less banging around. My bike now is a hard tail with a RockShox Judy DH fork. I have a 1" head tube so I was very limited with the fork. There are some trails I get beat up on because of the hard tail as well.
    Sounds reasonable... but why 29" wheels? Lots of full-suspension 26" bikes to choose from...

  8. #8
    29er Rider MNRon's Avatar
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    But why not a 29er? Not being a smart-ass, but I got mine just because I wanted to do it. I say go for it and remember not to over-think this stuff. If it feels good, do it.
    Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive anyway.

  9. #9
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Sounds reasonable... but why 29" wheels? Lots of full-suspension 26" bikes to choose from...
    In these parts there are lots of rocks, roots, logs, and hills and I hear the 29" wheels roll over this stuff alot easier. I am closer to 50 then 30 and want a more pleasant riding experience. Last summer, I was averaging one endo a ride. I don't mind the endos and I learned how to fall (hit & roll) but I don't know how much longer my body will be able to take that kind of punishment before it says I need to stop riding. I enjoy the trails too much to let that happen. I know my skills could probably improve to reduce the endos but I don't have the time to put in to make that happen because I have 3 kids that are all involved in sports year round. I look at bike riding as a life extender. I see many older people on the rail trails putzing along happily on their bikes and I want to be one of them older people that can still be very active in my 70s (if I can make it that far). Call it a middle aged thing but I see friends I grew up with having a hard time in their 40s getting in and out of chairs and their cars and I don't want to fall into that category. It appears and from what I hear from guys in their 80s that things start going wrong health wise in your 70s and if you can make it through your 70s your lucky. I don't want my body telling me to stop when my mind says I must keep going. Since the 29er supposed to roll easier over the technical features of the trails I figure I can cut down on the wear and tear being put on my body and can remain on the trails for a lot longer.

  10. #10
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I'm not a highly skilled MTB'er as I only use mine for the climbing workout. I have to say descending in the dirt really enhances downhill skills on the roadie.

    If I mention the fireroads to other MTB'ers, it's usually attracts comments like, "well that takes no skill". So I find it funny that several of thse guys, including friends boast about downhill skills but ride full suspension bikes. I see these guys ride right over ruts and rarely avoid any type of obstacle on these things. While I'm trying to work my way across ruts, holes etc, these guys roll right over them without blinking....But then again, they will mention their "MTB skills".

    So going with a 29'er, isn't that making it a little too easy? What's the sense of riding something that floats over every obstacle when part of MTB is supposed to be skill?...not being rude, just curious.

    To me, that's sort of the like the roadie guy that rides a 14 lb bike, has the best aero wheels available, rides in a 30 man paceline then boasts about doing a 5 hour century.

    I dunno, I'm the ride a normal bike and do a 5:45 solo century is more admirable type of guy.

    Just as a fulls supension 29'er floating over everything, doesn't that take away from some of the ride experience or skill level?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigUgly View Post
    In these parts there are lots of rocks, roots, logs, and hills and I hear the 29" wheels roll over this stuff alot easier. I am closer to 50 then 30 and want a more pleasant riding experience.
    26" wheels connected to a bike with 140-150mm of suspension travel roll over stuff pretty easy, too. They'll also roll around super-tight switchbacks without the need for cat-like balance and you can pedal uphill without the need to buy a special 12-36 cassette that weighs a quarter- to half-pound more than a normal cassette.

    Not saying you shouldn't buy a 29er; I just don't know enough about the trade-offs. But I would test ride some full-suspension bikes with 26" wheels before making a decision. I would look for trail or all-mountain bikes with 140+mm of suspension travel. I think the DW-Link suspension system is the best design I've ridden, but there are others that do quite well. Especially if you combine them with a Fox RP23 shock and aren't afraid to engage ProPedal... Look at bikes like the Giant Reign, Specialized Pitch Pro, Specialized Enduro, Trek Remedy, Yeti 575, Santa Cruz Heckler (or Blur LT or Nomad) and similar. You might be surprised at how well these bikes do in demanding terrain...

  12. #12
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback. You are swaying me to take a look at the full suspension 26" bikes. That and Beanz questioning my MTB skills. Seriously though. I guess maybe I chose the wrong choice of words "float over obstacles" I should have said "to get my fat arse over obstacles easier" There will still be skills involved in picking your line through a rock garden or when to lift up and throw the front end over a boulder or log. There are sometimes after finessing my way through a long rock garden there is a 12" log 3 feet from the end I have to get over but just stop and lift my bike over cause I just spent all my energy getting through the rock garden. Now if I could get out in the woods 3 -4 times a week to work on my skills and conditioning then it may be a different story. I don't MTB just to impress people with my skills, I MTB because I like being out in the woods and the work out I get from riding through the mountains. I will have to demo a 26 full suspension and a 29er to see what the difference is. Thanks again for all the input.

  13. #13
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigUgly View Post
    That and Beanz questioning my MTB skills. Seriously though.
    Ha! I just thought part of the fun of MTB'ing was manuevering with skill around an over objects.

  14. #14
    Arsehole PlatyPius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigUgly View Post
    Thanks for all the feedback. You are swaying me to take a look at the full suspension 26" bikes. That and Beanz questioning my MTB skills. Seriously though. I guess maybe I chose the wrong choice of words "float over obstacles" I should have said "to get my fat arse over obstacles easier" There will still be skills involved in picking your line through a rock garden or when to lift up and throw the front end over a boulder or log. There are sometimes after finessing my way through a long rock garden there is a 12" log 3 feet from the end I have to get over but just stop and lift my bike over cause I just spent all my energy getting through the rock garden. Now if I could get out in the woods 3 -4 times a week to work on my skills and conditioning then it may be a different story. I don't MTB just to impress people with my skills, I MTB because I like being out in the woods and the work out I get from riding through the mountains. I will have to demo a 26 full suspension and a 29er to see what the difference is. Thanks again for all the input.
    You're tall enough to benefit from a 29'er. Me, I would be better on a 26" or a 650B. (I have all 3) I use my 29'er mainly as a gravel path/commuter bike.

    I have Fulcrum Red Metal 29'er wheels on my Mojave 29, and I love them. Fulcrum goodness made for the dirt. They're also about half the weight of the stock wheels that came on the bike.

    I would HIGHLY recommend the Niner RIP. Can I emphasize that a little more? HIGHLY recommend. lol.

  15. #15
    Senior Member jboyd's Avatar
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    I am curious, do those who are promoting 26", own or have spent large blocks of time on a 29 and have formed this opinion? I see threads go this direction on several other boards and I always sit and shake my head and smile when I read them.

    I am by no means a skilled Mtb rider. probably a poser by definition, so I am by no means an authority. With that said, I have owned and have formed my opinion my time spent on both. My last two bikes have been a Giant Rainier hard tail with front suspension, and for the last + a GT Peace Multi 9r full rigid.

    I WILL NEVER OWN A 26" MTN BIKE AGAIN...EVER! This is how stark I feel about the differences. I do see the point about the tricky downhills, but for me there was no comparison in the climbing between the two and as far as things you have to go over. (logs, rocks, creeks) the 29 is hands down more capable given my limited skills.

    Good luck with whatever you choose.
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  16. #16
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    CRAP!!! About a week ago I gave up on the dream. After doing the research I realized I wasn't going to be able to get what I want for the $1500 I was willing to plunk down on a new bike. What I wanted was in the$3k range so I figured I would wait until next year to see if the prices came around down since they are currently out of my reach and I don't want to settle on something I am not going to be happy with. So, after giving up I went out over the weekend and plunked what I was going to spend on a bike down on a big screen HD TV. I have been wanting one of those as well because we still have the 27" RCA we bought the year after we got married 17 years ago. Anyway, got the TV all hooked up and am loving the HD world when I get the word that Salsa is unloading their Big Mama line and I could pick one up for around $1600. Damn! Damn! Damn! I guess I can look at it his way, I can use the extra time on my 26er hard tail to improve my skills over the upcoming season. Hopefully I won't crack my skull open on my next endo Needless to say there will be no pix of my new 29er. Thanks everyone for the feedback.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigUgly View Post
    I guess I can look at it his way, I can use the extra time on my 26er hard tail to improve my skills over the upcoming season. Hopefully I won't crack my skull open on my next endo
    If you're still running the fork that came with your 26er when you bought it 16 years ago, keep your eyes open for end-of-year close-outs on suspension forks. They've come a long way in just the last few years. Spending 300-400 to upgrade your fork could make a world of difference in how the bike rides. Just a thought...

  18. #18
    Senior Member Bluetrane2028's Avatar
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    ^^^What he said, +1^^^

    My first suspension experience was with a '96 Specialized Ground Control. It featured a RockShox 21R, and as it was just about the best thing around at the time, I thought it was incredible. Then the elastomers died and I swapped them for a set of Eibach coil springs. That was better. Then, I lost interest in off-road for a while, sold the old bike (wish I didn't) and got a hardtail, which I still use.

    The entry level Manitou Magnum that came on my 9 year old Schwinn is leagues ahead of that old 21R, and I'm sure the forks out now are another order of magnitude better than my Magnum. However, I don't really go offroad all that much, so I'll keep what I have until I can really justify the spend.

  19. #19
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Thanks for the fork suggestion. I built my current bike up from scratch as my starter bike into the MTB world. I got a Cannondale Frame and a decent wheel set for $100 from a friend a couple of years ago and another friend threw in a bunch of parts to help me finish it and I had to purchase what he didn't have(which probably cost me about another $200). The only problem was that it was a 1994 Cannondale Frame which has a 1" head tube. Needless to say, my options for a suspension fork were very limited. I found a new upopened Rox Shox Quadra on ebay and bought that and put it on. Then I came across an unused RockShox Judy DH which is still on there. No one makes a suspension fork with a 1" steerer anymore so I think I took the frame as far as it could go. You all just gave me an idea. I may just go frame shopping to see what I can find in a newer frame (maybe something from this century) and swap the parts and get a newer fork with more travel. That should tie me over for a while.

  20. #20
    Back after a long absence joelpalmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jboyd View Post
    Welcome to the Dark Side You are gonna love the large. I am a rigid guy so can't give you any advice on the choice of bikes.

    Post pics when you take the plunge.
    What do you rec in a 29" rigid? I've been half-heartedly looking at 29ers for a while with an intent to get one "someday". If I do, I would go with at least a hardtail if not full rigid, so thoughts from a fellow clyde with a rigid would be great.
    When the going gets weird the weird turn pro
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigUgly View Post
    I may just go frame shopping to see what I can find in a newer frame (maybe something from this century) and swap the parts and get a newer fork with more travel. That should tie me over for a while.
    FWIW, Nashbar has their aluminum mountain bike frame on sale for $100 at the moment. I have their double-butted aluminum touring frame and have been very happy with it.

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