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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-24-12, 09:17 PM   #1
Jphill1301
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29er! Why did the LBS not tell me about this!

I've got the bug! Being 6'7 and weighing in at 290 on top of being a former collegiate offensive lineman with bad knees has led me to my new love of riding my Specialized Rockhopper for exercise and thrill.

I bought my bike because it was the biggest and best combination for my price range from a local bike shop. But during this time, several years ago, I never heard of a 29er.

Should I invest in a 29er? What are the pros and cons? Are they intended for particular applications?
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Old 06-24-12, 09:22 PM   #2
Big Pete 1982
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There seems to be more pros than cons. I know I plan on getting one! Pros are the big tires and rims soak up a bit more of the trail abuse making your ride smoother and more manageable. Supposedly the acceleration is slower than a 26er and the handling isn't as snappy, but that seems pretty irrelevant if your not racing. They even make some bad-ass full suspension 29ers now too, like the Santa Cruz Tallboy.
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Old 06-24-12, 09:32 PM   #3
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Several years ago, the 29er was just starting to catch on. A lot of dealers, as well as bike companies, thought it was just a fad, and resisted investing in them. I am on my second 29er, and love it. They tend to excel in areas that have fast flowing trail, or bigger obstacles to roll over. They seem to suffer in areas with tights turns, even though I have been able to go anywhere my friends can go, I just have to work a little harder at it. So, you might check around with some local riders and see if the 29er's are showing up on the trails ans see how the bikes are working for them.

Edit.
Here is a gratuitous pic of my Giant Anthem X2 29er!

Last edited by Hill-Pumper; 06-25-12 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 06-24-12, 09:35 PM   #4
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29"/700c
Pros:
- Wheels have more rotational momentum, and in theory should retain their speed better.
- Look better on bikes for tall people
- Lower angle on the outer circumference of the wheel tangential to the ground, allows you to roll over larger obstacles easier
- In my experience they tend to smooth out the road more
- I've observed far less flats with 700c tires. I theorize that there's a larger contact area and therefore my weight is distributed over more area, resulting in less pounds per square inch hitting the ground, which I think makes it so that road debris doesn't penetrate the rubber as easily. I could be full of crap though, and it's possible I just finally found a really good tire, and all the 26" tires I tried were bad. Who the heck knows.
- They have been touted as being more stable than 26". I do feel like they are, but my experience consists of comparing a mountain bike (not built for stability) with a touring bike (built for stability), so it's possible it's the bike that's making it more stable, not the wheels.

Cons:
- Wheels have more rotational momentum, so they are harder to accelerate and decelerate.
- In theory the longer spoke length results in a weaker wheel and for uber-clydes such as myself we may need to use more spokes. I have not witnessed this in actuality, however. After 8 months of heavy usage on 36 spoke 700c wheels, they are still as true as the day they were built.
- If you use wider tires, it may be hard to find a tube in dire situations. IE: if you don't have a spare, you'll be unlikely to borrow a 700c wide tube from a helpful passerby, because 90% of road bikers use really narrow tires. Big problem? Shrug. Hasn't been one for me, but I'm just trying to be thorough.



I love 700c/29er wheels. I'm sold on them, and don't think I could go back to 26". I might be willing to give 650b tires a try (they're about halfway between 26 and 29er tires) because with 700Cx40mm tires on my bike, the top tube hits my crotch, but it's not a huge problem and I can live with it just fine. Of course possibly a better solution would be to get a frame with a sloping top tube, but I don't really like the way those look.
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Old 06-25-12, 12:14 AM   #5
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I always recommend a 29er to the big guys I know.

As far as going off road is concerned, unless you ride on the most technical of trails they can go anywhere a 26 inch-wheeled MTB can go. The big wheels do get to be a problem on really steep uphills and downhills because your center of gravity is higher. For example, when pedaling uphill on a steep incline you really have to put your body over the front tire, which leads your rear tire to lose traction and slip. Again, this is on very technical trails.

The 29er does well for typical urban riding, especially when curbs and uneven pavement is involved. It's a surprising smooth ride in the city, and you don't have to worry about pinch flats or banging the rims as much as you would on a 700cc bike with thinner tires.

The other riders' complaints about handling probably stems from most of them being normal-sized guys on a 29er, and I don't think some of them know how different it is to be a bigger guy on a standard MTB. I haven't noticed any trouble with acceleration because 29ers usually have higher-end components and frames, which often means lighter weight, and besides, any 24/27 speed bike should have plenty of low speeds to gear up on.

In general, it as not as easy to find commuter-type accessories for 29ers like fenders and such, but they certainly do exist. It just takes a little more effort to find them.
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Old 06-25-12, 05:39 AM   #6
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Wow. That is some great information. Is the actual size of the bike frame larger? Or are we just speaking about tires. Being 6'7 I have plenty of room to stretch out and get comfrontable. Also, I'm no strong man, but I assume I apply a great amont of force to the components while cranking on it. I fear strength on top of my body weight will really stress system.

What are the major brands?
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Old 06-25-12, 06:17 AM   #7
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Here is a gratuitous pic of my Giant Anthem X2 29er1
Anyone with a bike that nice should know the obligatory pic needs to be taken from the drive side.

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Old 06-25-12, 08:41 AM   #8
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Though not of high importance, 29er wheels look more proportionate on extra-large frames. The extra ground clearance doesn't hurt when hopping rocks and roots either.
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Old 06-25-12, 11:22 AM   #9
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Anyone with a bike that nice should know the obligatory pic needs to be taken from the drive side.

The roadie side of me knows you are right, but the mountain bike side of me could care less what the roadie side thinks.
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Old 06-25-12, 04:07 PM   #10
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I like mine. Just feels way more comfortablr than a 26" mountain bike. I'm only 6'4" but I always felt cramped on the 26" mountain bike. When I got on this everything was in the right place.


Last edited by LongT; 06-25-12 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 06-25-12, 06:30 PM   #11
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The roadie side of me knows you are right, but the mountain bike side of me could care less what the roadie side thinks.
Ha! I love that!
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Old 06-25-12, 06:45 PM   #12
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as CCR said it so well, "big wheel keep on turning". I have a 700x38 tire I put on the back wheel of my cross bike and when that thing gets wound up it just flies.

still wondering why CCR would write a song about "the bathroom on the right" tho.
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Old 06-25-12, 06:52 PM   #13
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Anyone with a bike that nice should know the obligatory pic needs to be taken from the drive side.

There, their, they're Calm down.
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Old 06-25-12, 07:29 PM   #14
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The roadie side of me knows you are right, but the mountain bike side of me could care less what the roadie side thinks.
The mtb'er in me understands what you're saying. My inner Roadie can't help but point out that perhaps you, "couldn't care less".
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