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  1. #1
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    26" or 29er for keeping up with hybrid

    my brother has a trek 7.2 fx. we're about similar fitness but i'm trying to get in better shape to improve the "engine". with which mtn bike am i likely to have a better chance at keeping up with the lighter, 700c x 35 hybrid, the 29er or the 26? we ride poorly paved trails that are hilly. anyone dare to guess a percentage difference in speed? i'll give up 20% speed for the more comfort / ability to handle poor roads. currently checking out the trek 6000 (26") and the gary fisher cobia (29er). thanks!

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    the 29er is nothing more than a wider 700c...in case you didn't know that They are said to roll over objects smoother than a 26" so I guess that would also add to the advantage. I use 26" on the canal path around here, and it works fine. Most of it is smooth fine crushed gravel, but some parts are rough from tree roots. My girlfriend rides her 7100 with 700x35c tires and the bumps dont bother her much either.

    I say ride both, see what you like better. You can always switch out tires to something less aggressive, that will help with speed.
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    Pro Paper Plane Pilot wunderkind's Avatar
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    Coupla things come to mind:

    • Gearing. MTB generally has lower gearing for climbing and sacrifice on top speed.
    • Knobby tires. Switch those out for slicks if you have not done so.
    • Overall weight of rider and bike. It will affect climbs and acceleration.
    • Engine. I don't know what do you mean by similar fitness, like you and your brother are on the par for UFC mock wrestles? arm wrestling? You may simply just do not have the legs.
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    1. mtb gearing is sufficient. we climb big hills and average 10 mph. 2. i will use slicks. 3. agreed. 4. i meant that we keep together when riding the trails & hills without holding one another back. i weigh more (#3) but also have very strong legs.

    i know that the mtb will be slower and harder to pedal. i'm just wondering which type of mtn will make it easier for me to keep up. 29er is *theoretically* tougher to accelerate (probably insubstantial) but bigger wheels at same cadence as smaller wheels will move faster. i guess my thread is more suited for mtb forum :/ cuz now i'm in the never-ending question of 29er vs 26 for speed...i guess in my case it isn't as clear...most people talk about dirt / rocky paths where the 29er can go through stuff easier (hence faster). or they talk about flat paved surfaces. in my case, i'm interested in speed on a paved and hilly area. which of the two bikes will be easier to keep up with the 7.2 fx in a paved, hilly area?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nymtber View Post
    the 29er is nothing more than a wider 700c...I use 26" My girlfriend rides her 700x35c tires
    i often hear that the larger, 29er wheel requires special consideration for the bicycle geometry e.g. favors taller people. yet, the 29er wheel is essentially similar to a 700c...what we see commonly on hybrids...so why not have the same geometry? why do 29ers have 75mm stems rather than the traditional 120 mm?

    cool...so you use 26" and your gf uses 700c x 35 and you guys can keep up...

  6. #6
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    29er's aren't just wide 700's,they're bigger. The sidewalls are porportionally larger so the tires are much taller than 'regular' 700's. 29x2.1" tires are huge.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    29er's aren't just wide 700's,they're bigger. The sidewalls are porportionally larger so the tires are much taller than 'regular' 700's. 29x2.1" tires are huge.
    I was talking about the wheels more than the tires. Still just a 700c rim, but wider, and some are of course stronger. But, you are correct, 29er tires are huge!

    For your riding, I would get a hybrid as well. Pavement does not need a mountain bike. Hybrids have mountain bike like gearing (at least the lower end ones do) and will do fine on hills, be faster, and be more efficient. If you want more comfort (like front suspension) look at the Specialized Crosstrail, its a hybrid with fatter tires and a suspension fork. Kind of like a light duty 29er, in a sense.
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    my friend is 5'3" and she rides a 700cc hybrid shcwinn comfortably, the GS seeker.

    i don't see why you need an mtb to ride poorly paved trails. a good hybrid is perfect for that. for the same price as that gary fisher cobia you can get their best performance hybrid:

    http://fisherbikes.com/bike/model/montare

    i have their '09 kaitai and it handles dirt trails and crappy pavement with a breeze and it can cruise fast. i just switched to 700ccx38 schwalbe marathon crosses and it can go at a fast clip.

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    i already have a decent hybrid. i want variety. i want the mountain bike for the occasional off-road trails. but i also want to be able to ride it around on very poorly paved surfaces because the wider tires are very cushy, corner well, and eat potholes for breakfast.

    i want to know if the 29er or the 26 has the higher speed overall.

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    Senior Member AdelaaR's Avatar
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    Common man, it all depends on just how fast your brother is.
    If your brother has 700c wheels with 48 teeth and rides at top speed on flat, you will never be able to keep up with him on a typical mountainbike set-up like 26" wheels with 42 teeth.
    This is ofcourse if we assume that you both have the same athletic level and the same aerodynamics.
    I have 700c wheels with 52 teeth and I know that I have never ever been passed or even remotely been kept up with by any mountainbiker, not on the hills nor on the flats nor on the descents.

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    Why don't you go test ride some bikes and see which bike is faster to you? We can't tell you that, you have to test ride them and find out. On paper the 29er should be faster, but your fitness level may not show that. A mountain bike on pavement is still not going to keep up with a Trek 7.X on pavement, if both riders are similar in fitness levels, sorry.
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  12. #12
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    Bike choice

    Obviously the lighter the bike, and the lighter the wheels the easier to spin. And the lighter the wheel, and the thinner and smoother the tire, the faster you will spin.

    I have a 26" Jamis Dragon Steel hardtail, with nice components (x-9/xt) I have two sets of wheels. Mtb tires on one set and thin fast semi slicks on the other(Kenda Kwests - cost about $38/pr). On the Kenda's I can keep up very well with fast roadies though it takes a tad more effort. The smaller wheel at speed (say above 20mph on the flats) can wear me out so I feel entitled to draft more given they are on aluminum or carbon road bikes and I'm on a mountain bike. I can climb as well or better as them but on the flats or downhills I don't have quite a big enough gear at the fastest speeds but I manage to keep up.

    But I'd go with 26er, pust some 1.5 Kenda Qwests on there and you'll feel like you're flying. The Mtb frame and Kenda's will feel WAY more smooth and comfortable than a road bike, yet you will be almost as fast

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    I just rode the SE Big Ripper 29 it is a SS but very easy to ride. I have been riding cruiser bikes with 26" and IGH and found the SS with 29's way easier to ride.

  14. #14
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by common man View Post
    my brother has a trek 7.2 fx. we're about similar fitness but i'm trying to get in better shape to improve the "engine". with which mtn bike am i likely to have a better chance at keeping up with the lighter, 700c x 35 hybrid, the 29er or the 26? we ride poorly paved trails that are hilly. anyone dare to guess a percentage difference in speed? i'll give up 20% speed for the more comfort / ability to handle poor roads. currently checking out the trek 6000 (26") and the gary fisher cobia (29er). thanks!
    You'd do much asking on the MTB forum about this. But claims are made each way and in practice the difference has proved hard to measure and definitely depends on details of each bike and how well they fit the trail ridden. I'd just pick the bike you like - a riding position that lets you lay down more power and provides better balance is the most important thing.

    That said, if you really want to kick sibling ass on light off road, then get a cyclocross bike - ideally with a triple chainring unless you're in *great* shape for those hills.

  15. #15
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdelaaR View Post
    Common man, it all depends on just how fast your brother is.
    If your brother has 700c wheels with 48 teeth and rides at top speed on flat, you will never be able to keep up with him on a typical mountainbike set-up like 26" wheels with 42 teeth.
    This is silly. Have you ever tried working out what sort of speed a 26" wheel with a typical 42 ring gear set-up equates too? About 26 miles an hour, with a decent spin rate. At least for a rider who has the power to maintain that speed against air resistance on a typical flat bar bike (which means no one.) If your top speed is limited by how fast you can spin the wheels with MTB gearing on the flat then you need to learn how to pedal correctly.

    Once again, to the OP: just buy the bike you like. After test riding them, of course.

  16. #16
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    This is silly. Have you ever tried working out what sort of speed a 26" wheel with a typical 42 ring gear set-up equates too? About 26 miles an hour, with a decent spin rate. At least for a rider who has the power to maintain that speed against air resistance on a typical flat bar bike (which means no one.) If your top speed is limited by how fast you can spin the wheels with MTB gearing on the flat then you need to learn how to pedal correctly.

    Once again, to the OP: just buy the bike you like. After test riding them, of course.
    LOL ----- buttttttt, above 28 MPH --- I can run away from ya!

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  17. #17
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    This is silly. Have you ever tried working out what sort of speed a 26" wheel with a typical 42 ring gear set-up equates too? About 26 miles an hour, with a decent spin rate. At least for a rider who has the power to maintain that speed against air resistance on a typical flat bar bike (which means no one.) If your top speed is limited by how fast you can spin the wheels with MTB gearing on the flat then you need to learn how to pedal correctly.

    Once again, to the OP: just buy the bike you like. After test riding them, of course.

    Your right this is ( Silly ) , do you just post or ( RIDE )....I lost 75 pounds riding a 26" wheel, and never
    even heard of BF.....can you even spin ? or do you spend your time bashing other posters....
    Lets see some current pictures of you ! ( Right )...Thought so... Richard

  18. #18
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive View Post
    Your right this is ( Silly ) , do you just post or ( RIDE )....I lost 75 pounds riding a 26" wheel,
    Well done. But just think how much more you'd have lost if you'd the rest of the bike to go with it!

    and never
    even heard of BF
    What's BF?

    .....can you even spin ? or do you spend your time bashing other posters....
    Lets see some current pictures of you ! ( Right )...Thought so... Richard
    This is stupid: how could any picture prove that I ride at the moment? The picture could be of anyone taken at any date. Also (except perhaps to the sort of person who could become chronically obese) why is the idea that someone cycles so weird that it needs proof?

    Finally, you do get that I was defending the choice of a 26 wheel? Or do you have an actual point of substance to make? As in you can't get a 26 up to a decent road speed so you don't think anyone else can?

  19. #19
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    LOL ----- buttttttt, above 28 MPH --- I can run away from ya!
    Yep. (For people who don't get the joke: the record for miles ridden in an hour, solo, on a more or less conventional racer is about 31. TDF bikes are geared for even higher speeds than this only because peleton formations reduce drag - only the rider at the front is making 100% of the effort normally required for that speed. Leading riders are rotated so they work only in short bursts.)

  20. #20
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    whoa guys...this is an old thread from june when i was in the 29er vs 26 debate. at this point, i have already set my mind on a 29er. forget the 26. i want 29er / 700c which i consider "standard". anything less is kid size

    too bad trek screwed the pooch on this one...i had ordered an x-caliber back in july. they said it'd come in august. it's october now and it still hasn't arrived (my size at least). it's cold and raining outside...maybe another season. after actually test riding a 29er i realized that the theoretical stuff doesn't mean much i.e. people calculate the minimal differences in weight acceleration, rotational acceleration, etc. just ride and enjoy! since trek took so long i purchased a trek 7.2 fx for my size anyway. later on i can look at road bikes, mtn bikes, cyclocross bikes. at first i thought i'd keep only one bike but now i am open to more in the future...should my interests go beyond the hybrid

    i agree with meanwhile though...a 29er mtn bike on slicks is as fast as a hybrid...marginal difference at best that you wouldn't notice. the advantage of a hybrid is that it will not require fron suspension maintenance and disc brake maintenance if you don't need them.

  21. #21
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    Well done. But just think how much more you'd have lost if you'd the rest of the bike to go with it!



    What's BF?



    This is stupid: how could any picture prove that I ride at the moment? The picture could be of anyone taken at any date. Also (except perhaps to the sort of person who could become chronically obese) why is the idea that someone cycles so weird that it needs proof?

    Finally, you do get that I was defending the choice of a 26 wheel? Or do you have an actual point of substance to make? As in you can't get a 26 up to a decent road speed so you don't think anyone else can?
    BF = Bike Forums, and I apologize, Richard

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive View Post
    BF = Bike Forums, and I apologize, Richard
    I wouldn't ... that guy is pathological at best.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is. - Yogi Berra

  23. #23
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    29'er is a nice addition to your collection of bikes. I had a Coda Elite and then got a Felt Nine Comp. They're both a lot of fun.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  24. #24
    WesternNY Rider
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    You know, in reading all these threads, there is no right or wrong path here. Yes, how well you can ride is a big factor. And yes a pure road bike with a race fast rider will cream all the other alternatives. But that's not the issue that was raised in June. The original thread wanted to combine a faster bike than a mountain bike to better keep up with his riding partner/brohter. The three answers that I see on these threads will all guaranteed, provide what the original thread requested;

    1. to better keep up with his brother's Trek 7.2 Fx Hybrid (a road oriented hybrid at that)
    2. A bit of pedaling challenge to be left in the equation to help improve fitness (as opposed to I assume a pure race road bike)
    3. Something that would better take the pounding of poor roads

    I would suggest that any of these would work

    1. 26" Mtb with slick thin tires
    2. a cylcocross bike
    3. a 29er with slicks.

    So whatever floats your boat and can gets the most use. I got to my Jamis Dragon pretty much by accident and have just made good use of it. It allows me a single bike on road trips so that if I find roadies, Im OK or go mtb riding. But a cyclocross bike might do it great for me too. Or a 29er with slicks. Lets face it, if you're on this BF, you love to ride and most of the time enjoy the heck out of it whichever bike you're on.

    By the way your brother's Trek 7.2 FX IS a 29er with slicks. These are 700cc wheels, really the same as a 29er's and he has relatively narrow road oriented tires.

    Someone chimed in about speeds above 28mph - hardly relevant in this conversation unless we are going downhill. And the somewhat arrogant comments about levels of knowledge and bike fitness also not that relevant. The point is what makes THIS rider faster than a 26" Mtb bike to better keep up with his brother. And all of the above do so and nicely.

    I can do paceline in the mid 20's with my Jamis Dragon/1.5 Kenda Kwests, though as mentioned its a bit of extra effort, mostly because I don't have the upper gears once moving. And that Jamis Dragon mtb bike is race frame, skinnier smooth tires, shorter cranks and a bunch of lower gears, accelerates better than my Scott CR-1 carbon fiber road bike. And toe to toe with my riding compadres I can keep up or slightly outspin most them in a sprint for brief periods. The going gets tougher over distance - hence my comment about taking a little more draft time than I might othewise (but I still take turns pulling).

    So, they're all good and in fact I get so much pleasure and use from all the bikes I own (4), it becomes obvious - biking on almost anything is great and if you do it enough, you will get fit enough to make all the kinds of bikes out there fun.

    By the way, I also a have a 29er (Titus Racer X 29er) and thought about slicks or semi slicks for it - but can't find them anywhere. Has anybody seen them any anywhere?

  25. #25
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    Here's the Nine. Every bike has it's place. This one's place is pretty much anywhere.

    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

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