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Old 03-01-13, 01:07 AM   #1
gpsblake
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29" vs 26" bicycles, what difference will I feel?

I was thinking my next bike might be a 29er. I do most of the riding on roads including some paved roads here. I don't ride trails or technicial courses. I just like to know if there are any minuses or pluses between the 26 inch and 29 inch.

Thanks.
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Old 03-01-13, 01:20 AM   #2
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Before anyone tries to fill your head with preconceptions based upon their personal experiences/bias, do this:

-Take your current bike to your favorite LBS or whichever shop you are considering buying from.
-Find out what their 'test loop' is like- hopefully it's just not around the parking lot. They may look at you odd when you ask...
-Ride your current one on that test loop.
-Ride their 29er on the same route.
-Report back your findings .
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Old 03-01-13, 03:40 AM   #3
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Biggest difference I feel on a 29er, is my uh 'man parts' hurt if I ever come off the saddle; they don't make 29ers for short people. You're at least 6' tall right?
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Old 03-01-13, 05:16 AM   #4
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29ers are 700c rims with fat tyres. I use 700c x32mm for loaded touring on logging trails. I would have preferred a 38mm but 32 is fine unloaded.
29ers are for bigger riders not smaller ones.
I use 26 on my urban runabout with Big Apple ballon tyres. Both sizes work for me but I prefer the 26 for rougher urban cobbles and potholes and 700c for longer rides on tarmac.
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Old 03-01-13, 06:33 AM   #5
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My 26 vs 29 experience is on MTBs, and I don't really notice a big diff, maybe slightly smoother over rough surfaces. The main diff is with the same gearing, the 29er is effectively a 12% higher gear, which can be significant on really steep stuff. Also, from a cosmetic pov, they make small guys look even smaller.
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Old 03-01-13, 07:03 AM   #6
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From what you said, you want a road bike or a hybrid bike, not a 29er. Of course, as noted before, a 29er is just a bike with 700c wheels, which 90% of all hybrids and road bikes are anyway.
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Old 03-01-13, 05:39 PM   #7
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Biggest difference I feel on a 29er, is my uh 'man parts' hurt if I ever come off the saddle; they don't make 29ers for short people. You're at least 6' tall right?
My wife is 5'1" and rides a 29er with no problems.
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Old 03-01-13, 05:53 PM   #8
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My Safari and Pt Reyes both have 26x2" tires. I had a 29er Crosstrail with 2" tires. Noticeably more effort needed to spin up the bigger hoops/tires in city traffic. Was fun for bombing around the rough roads,but in the end I decided if I wanted to run fat tires I'd stick with 26".
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Old 03-02-13, 11:52 PM   #9
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A 29er ISN'T just a hybrid or road bike with fat tires. The rim size might be 700 but the rim width is typically wider on a 29er because of the larger tire size. You'd also be hard pressed to find a 'normal' hybrid or road bike with enough frame clearance to handle a 2.3" tire.

So the question is - do you really need that much tire for what you want to do or would a normal hybrid with smaller tires be better suited?
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Old 03-03-13, 02:22 AM   #10
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My wife is 5'1" and rides a 29er with no problems.
What's she riding and whats the standover? Havent found anything yet that fits me.
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Old 03-03-13, 07:00 AM   #11
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IMHO unless your off road riding will involve riding through mud and over logs and other obstacles stay away from mountain bikes and 29ers. If your planning to ride mostly on the paved road and hard pack dirt roads and bike trails buy the best hybrid you can afford.

A hybrid will give you a better ride on the road so if you want to start riding farther it will be more suitable than the other two. A good hybrid will also be strong enough to tolerate dirt roads and trails but no trying to cross obstacles.

A mountain bike will be heavy and sluggish on the road all the time and 29ers are still new and you won't get as much bike for your money.
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Old 03-03-13, 09:17 PM   #12
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What's she riding and whats the standover? Havent found anything yet that fits me.
700c roadbikes with the right frame size can fit people just a inch or two under 5ft, so no reason a mountain bike frame cannot do the same.
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Old 03-03-13, 09:47 PM   #13
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700c roadbikes with the right frame size can fit people just a inch or two under 5ft, so no reason a mountain bike frame cannot do the same.
While I do have roadbikes that fit me; a 29er mtb is going to need more standover clearance since it will be ridden offroad. ie 5" clearances isntead of 2". The fat tires and raised BB also take up 1-2" that would have been frame size as well.
So far no luck for me.
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Old 03-04-13, 07:34 AM   #14
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ah, That makes sense now, the frame should never go below the diameter of the wheel.
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Old 03-04-13, 11:49 AM   #15
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ah, That makes sense now, the frame should never go below the diameter of the wheel.
Huh? Even for MTBs, that formula doesn't work.

Back to the original question. Your premise doesn't align with your question. You don't sound like you want a 29er MTB if you don't ride off-road and don't ride "technical courses", or general singletrack xc. It makes little difference what anyone says about 26" MTBs or 29" ones. If you want a mountain bike, get one. It just may be the wrong tool for the intended job...

What's wrong with the bike that you already have?

Last edited by Phil_gretz; 03-04-13 at 12:10 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-04-13, 08:55 PM   #16
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You may want to check out a Jamis Coda
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Old 03-04-13, 10:00 PM   #17
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A lighter wallet.

Back when I was coming up, there was a [stillborn] attempt to change the prevailing size from 26" to 24". Granted, there are benefits with rolling over small things in your way, but for the most part, it's marketing. IF you absolutely need one and can swing it financially, then by all means- I think we'd all like to see the industry stay strong, but if you're somehow thinking a 29'er will make you faster, save your money. A fast rider is a fast rider no matter what they ride.
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