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Old 01-23-12, 05:54 AM   #1
BluesDawg
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I took a sip of the 29er Kool-Aid yesterday

My LBS has a small fleet of Specialized test bikes available for customers to ride, including some nice 29" mountain bikes. I tried out the Camber Comp model yesterday, my first ride on a 29er. I'm not really in the market for another singletrack bike right now, but I wanted to see what the buzz was all about. The Camber is probably the closest thing to my Stumpjumper as the new Stumpy is a little more All Mountain than the Trail category of the 2008 model I have.

The difference was not "night and day", but there was a definite improvement in climbing traction and the big wheels do keep rolling along in places where 26" wheels slow down a bit. I'm not going to rush out and replace my bike, but the ride confirmed my thoughts that my next mountain bike will probably be a 29er.

[video=youtube;V__f_0ObG7c]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V__f_0ObG7c&context=C3887c0cADOEgsToPDskK8S8hLpXrP0DUjShYOmS24[/video]

[video=youtube;aLkD_-dzcvw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLkD_-dzcvw&context=C3132e22ADOEgsToPDskJYNQF88ksUBQ-Tb3FOGWRk[/video]
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Old 01-23-12, 07:00 AM   #2
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They are nice, good roll over and great climbers. I don't like 29ers in technical terrain. They just seem to lack in the tighter turns. I will be sticking with a 26.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMLsH3mDBWY

Not my video, but I ride here every summer.
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Old 01-23-12, 07:02 AM   #3
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Seems like a sweet MTB, Dawg. If I ever purchased one it would be a 29er. My son had one I gave him for his birthday in 2008 and he loved it.

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Old 01-23-12, 08:12 AM   #4
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I love that camera lens. Looks like your shoulders are four-and-a-half feet wide.
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Old 01-23-12, 08:46 AM   #5
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Love it. Rolls better. Rolls over obstacles infinitely better. Climbs better. Descends better. I have no problem on tight, technical trails, of which we have a LOT!
My initial impression: Turn initiation is slower. But part of that is you are going faster and don't realize it. And once you get used to it, you don't think a thing about it. And, of course the Lefty turns better anyway



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Old 01-23-12, 09:04 AM   #6
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Cool video... I like the perspective of the camera from the chest mount.
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Old 01-23-12, 09:28 AM   #7
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Rolls over obstacles infinitely better.
That's the big difference after you get used to the ride (which only takes a few minutes). Everything else is minor but you go over objects without have to alter your ride like you would on the older wheels
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Old 01-23-12, 09:38 AM   #8
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Just got a KHS Solo One SS 29er from a friend. He needed room in his garage.
I got to ride a friend's Surley Pugsley, talk about huge wheels 3.8 tires! The tires had 6 psi and it floated over curbs and holes. The only thing I thing I couldn't do was bunny hop that pig!
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Old 01-23-12, 09:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
My LBS has a small fleet of Specialized test bikes available for customers to ride, including some nice 29" mountain bikes. I tried out the Camber Comp model yesterday, my first ride on a 29er. I'm not really in the market for another singletrack bike right now, but I wanted to see what the buzz was all about. The Camber is probably the closest thing to my Stumpjumper as the new Stumpy is a little more All Mountain than the Trail category of the 2008 model I have.

The difference was not "night and day", but there was a definite improvement in climbing traction and the big wheels do keep rolling along in places where 26" wheels slow down a bit. I'm not going to rush out and replace my bike, but the ride confirmed my thoughts that my next mountain bike will probably be a 29er.
BD, can't help but wonder how long that will last.

Once you drink the kool-aid it's hard to forget the taste.
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Old 01-23-12, 10:13 AM   #10
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BD, can't help but wonder how long that will last.

Once you drink the kool-aid it's hard to forget the taste.
Very true, but I'm looking more into a different kind of 29er for my next N+1 adventure. Monobarracho's challenge post has accelerated my interest in a bike for long hauls on dirt roads and trails and the ability to carry a good bit of stuff along for the ride. Both of my top candidates are Salsa 29ers. Either the Fargo or the Vaya, depending on whether I want the ability to travel really rugged terrain (Fargo) or more of a mix of paved and dirt roads (Vaya).

I think my Stumpjumper will keep me pretty happy on the singletrack for another year or two. By that time, I suspect that there will be a move toward 650B wheeled bikes that combine much of the 29er's advantages with handling characteristics closer to 26" bikes.
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Old 01-23-12, 10:52 AM   #11
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If one wants to plough over technical tracks, 29 is the way to go. If you want to work the terrain, 26 is far superior. Most people (except the hardcore technical MTB guys), plough through.
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Old 01-24-12, 01:14 PM   #12
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If one wants to plough over technical tracks, 29 is the way to go. If you want to work the terrain, 26 is far superior. .
This! I like your line "working the terrain."

I was able to test ride a couple of 29ers while working at the bike shop last summer. On the first ride, as I left the parking lot and rode on the fireroads, I was saying what's the big deal?!? Then I got to the single track and that's when the difference started to show between 26 & 29. The more technical the track became, the more I could see that difference. All you had to do was point and pedal - the bike went over almost everything.

The next ride had a couple of rocky, water bar downhill sections, and boy, did that 29er fly down those hills! But, again, just point and hang on.
I got back to the shop and said the bikes were a lot of fun, but that the 29er almost made mtbing too easy. Of course I got laughed at! It just seems to me that part of the joy of mtbing is the satisfaction of finding the line that will get you though the technical parts, or figuring out the approach that will get over the rocky ledge. But that's just me.
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Old 01-24-12, 06:05 PM   #13
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If one wants to plough over technical tracks, 29 is the way to go. If you want to work the terrain, 26 is far superior. Most people (except the hardcore technical MTB guys), plough through.
I used to make this same statement about rigid vs. front suspension and then full suspension. But the fast guys will tell you that no matter how forgiving your bike may be, picking the best line is still the way to go.
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Old 01-24-12, 06:08 PM   #14
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One more vid and a special treat for all you fans of my Southern drawl.

[video=youtube;Hbw-eVArDnk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hbw-eVArDnk&context=C32121e8ADOEgsToPDskJ4bDWKR1EDXz7kwRpMFR2i[/video]
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Old 01-24-12, 06:36 PM   #15
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Why stop at 29... when do the 36ers come out?
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Old 01-24-12, 07:01 PM   #16
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Nice videos, looks like a ton of fun.

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Old 01-24-12, 10:13 PM   #17
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I started on a 26" ht, then 29" ht, then 29" fs 3" travel, then a 5" fs 29"er. With each step, when l miss "the line" it hurts a little less
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Old 01-24-12, 10:40 PM   #18
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I used to make this same statement about rigid vs. front suspension and then full suspension. But the fast guys will tell you that no matter how forgiving your bike may be, picking the best line is still the way to go.
As an A ride leader, I am a fast guy. It is always best picking a line but few have the technical skills to implement that plan. My point was the 29er is more forgiving for those lacking technical skills.
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Old 01-25-12, 06:50 AM   #19
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I've never been much for woodsey single tracking, but the natural alter ego for my touring bike is a 29er. One sip was all it took to get me hooked on dirt...and mud,and sand,and slush, and snow...
Now it spends more time wearing knobbies than panniers.
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