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  1. #1
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    29er better than 26er on the road. Does this make sense?

    Dude at a bike shop today told me that a 29er is far better than a 26er if you have to ride on the road to get to your mountain biking spot.

    I had told him that I need to ride about 10 miles on the road to get into the mountains. I actually love the road riding portion almost as much as the mountains.

    He tells me the 29er travels further with each pedal stroke and is "a blast to ride" on the road.

    Doesn't make sense to me. 29er is much heavier which is the number one thing for me with my road bike. My 18 pound CAAD9 just kills my 23 pound steel commuter on the road.

    Anybody ride a 29er and a 26er on the road and care to tell me your thoughts? I really won't be able to tell much on a two mile demo ride.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Big Mac and No hills. 800over's Avatar
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    You can answer your own question. Which is faster on the road: your road bike with 29" wheels (700c) or your mountain bike with 26 inch wheels? If you think weight has really very much to do with it get your friend (of similar ability) who weighs 10 pounds more than you ride the road bike and see if you can beat him with the mountain bike.

  3. #3
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    I personally don't think that one bike you have "just kills" the other because of the weight - keep in mind the weight of the bike is a lot smaller than the weight of your body. I mean - I don't doubt one bike "just kills the other", I just doubt it's because of the weight difference.

    The whole reason 29ers exist is because the larger wheel is believed to be faster. If the additional weight was a big drawback, 29ers wouldn't have taken off, all mountain bikes would still be 26" wheels which are slightly more maneuverable.

    So I do think the 29er would be slightly faster on the road, but as for being "a blast to ride" I doubt there's a particularly large difference in speed either. It's there, somewhere, but I would be very surprised if it was very big.

    Maybe someone else that's ridden both can chime in.

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    I have a 29er and have been doing 2 group rides a week for the last 6 weeks. I'm the only one with a 29er. Although I am still a newb, I can say that when we get on the road, I can catch up and at times pass my much better conditioned friends. However when it comes to tight single track, I do long for a 26er, though I should note that I am 5'9". Perhaps if you're taller it might not make a lot of difference. Best of luck w/your choice....

  5. #5
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    IMHO, there is only one aspect of the 26" vs 29" that is important:
    With the *exact* same drivetrain, all the gears with 29" wheels are 11% higher than with 26" wheels.
    For for riding on the road, that could be a plus.
    For climbing, or riding offroad, that could be a minus.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    I can't compare, but I enjoy riding my 29er on the road/bike trails. It's heavier than my previously owned 'cross bike, but oh so plush like a pillow.


  7. #7
    motovation frankenmike's Avatar
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    On the road is actually where a 29er makes the least difference. The advantage of a 29er has nothing to do with gearing-after all you can always shift. It is about rolling over rough terrain smoother due to increased circumference, as well as a larger contact patch resulting in greater traction.

  8. #8
    Redheaded Stepchild samburger's Avatar
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    I'm confused then. If a 29er has absolutely no advantage over a 26er on the road, then why in the world do all road bikes have 29" wheels? If there truly is no advantage, then 26" wheels would be a little bit lighter & therefore advantageous over 29" wheels.
    just a n00b with an ego

  9. #9
    Big Mac and No hills. 800over's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frankenmike View Post
    On the road is actually where a 29er makes the least difference. The advantage of a 29er has nothing to do with gearing-after all you can always shift. It is about rolling over rough terrain smoother due to increased circumference, as well as a larger contact patch resulting in greater traction.

    Yeah that's why road bikes are all 26"right? Again 29ers are better on the road. Read mattheknife's post. He's right.

  10. #10
    motovation frankenmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 800over View Post
    Yeah that's why road bikes are all 26"right? Again 29ers are better on the road. Read mattheknife's post. He's right.
    You are failing to consider the fact that the outer circumference of the tire on a 26" wheel is the same as the outer circumference of the tire on a 700c wheel, ridden by the fastest roadies in pro tours. Compare the two some time and then get back to me. FWIW, I think it is entirely possible that a 29er, all other things being equal, could be faster than a 26er on the road. I doubt it, but I don't know. I just think that the advantage of a 29er mtb over a 26er are less pronounced on a smooth surface like a road. Also, you assume I didn't read the former post, which is incorrect. His prowess on the road with a 29er mtb could have nothing to do with the size of his wheels.
    Last edited by frankenmike; 07-04-10 at 02:57 PM.

  11. #11
    Big Mac and No hills. 800over's Avatar
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    Feel free to ride both and see for yourself. "I doubt it" means you're basing your opinion on no experience, You've been told but don't believe.... I didn't assume that you didn't read his post...just that you didn't understand it. Please ride both.....then get back to me. Or if you don't believe....

    http://www.mountain-bike-buzz.com/29...ain-bikes.html

    or here:

    http://www.dreambike.com/29ertesting.htm




    Remember all we're talking about is the road....all things being equal a 29er is faster on the road.
    Last edited by 800over; 07-04-10 at 08:30 PM.

  12. #12
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    This looks a lot like the "Are 700c wheels really faster than 650c wheels?" It's easier to push a higher gear with the 650c wheels, but the 700c wheels have a larger circumference. So my guess is...probably not, at least not significantly. However, the real question is, who cares which rides better on the road? Pick the one you're going to like better on the trail. Either one will get you to the trailhead just fine.

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    . His prowess on the road with a 29er mtb could have nothing to do with the size of his wheels.[/QUOTE]


    I love this post. First I am told that I am right, and then I am informed that I have "prowess." Awesome!

  14. #14
    motovation frankenmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 800over View Post
    Feel free to ride both and see for yourself. "I doubt it" means you're basing your opinion on no experience, You've been told but don't believe.... I didn't assume that you didn't read his post...just that you didn't understand it. Please ride both.....then get back to me. Or if you don't believe....

    http://www.mountain-bike-buzz.com/29...ain-bikes.html

    or here:

    http://www.dreambike.com/29ertesting.htm




    Remember all we're talking about is the road....all things being equal a 29er is faster on the road.
    Again, 800, I think it is entirely possible that a 29er could be faster on the road. Especially if everyone is topped out on gears(44-11), the 29er is capable of a higher top speed given equal cadence(something I failed to consider in my first post). This, however, is just one possible scenario among many. I ride a 29er but never on the road with other 26ers, so I'm only going by what seems logical. Thanks for the links, they were quite informative and highlighted some important points(although neither talked specifically about road riding.)
    I came across this article which has actual numbers, albeit doesn't use road specifically, that was interesting.

    http://teamhealthfx.com/blogs/dave_h...02/10/510.aspx
    Last edited by frankenmike; 07-05-10 at 11:55 AM.

  15. #15
    Svr
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    Quote Originally Posted by Accordion View Post
    Dude at a bike shop today told me that a 29er is far better than a 26er if you have to ride on the road to get to your mountain biking spot.
    He was just trying to sell you a bike. There would likely be no measureable difference between the two wheel sizes, on or off road.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Svr View Post
    He was just trying to sell you a bike. There would likely be no measureable difference between the two wheel sizes, on or off road.
    And as luck would have it they happened to have a Stumpjumper Comp 29er HT in Large right there on the floor.....and would have to order the 26!

    That's really why I am asking the question here. My BS meter was pegged!

  17. #17
    Senior Member Hill-Pumper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Accordion View Post
    And as luck would have it they happened to have a Stumpjumper Comp 29er HT in Large right there on the floor.....and would have to order the 26!

    That's really why I am asking the question here. My BS meter was pegged!
    I actually have that same bike and it is great for the way I use it. The only advantage that a 29er "might" have on the road is that it tends to carry speed better, but it is not enough to worry about to warrant getting one over a 26 inch bike. As others have stated, get one that suits your fits your off road riding more, both bikes will ride just fine on the road.

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