Hey everyone I justed wanted to share my latest experience of demoing a 29er vs a 26" full suspension bike. I haven't posted much but for some of you that have seen some of my post you already know that I'm relatively new to the mountain bike seen. I live in the greater Cleveland Ohio area so we don't have allot of huge hills compared to other areas. I have been looking to buy my first real mountain bike for sometime and have been asking a lot of questions of what to get, and whether I should get a 29er or a 26" full suspension bike. So for the past two weekends I have been able to demo both a 29er and a 26" full suspension bike.
The first bike I tried was the Specialized Camber Elite. This bike was really nice and comfortable to ride. It was the first 29er I have ever ridden so I don't have much to compare it to. I loved the way it it rolled over large roots logs and rocks with very little effort. It also was quite nimble for being a larger bike. The only difficulties that I had was trying to accelerate out of a tight turn or after riding over a large obstacle. Also I had some troubles climbing the larger hills. I'm not sure if that was do to the fact that I was already tired or that I was just using regular pedals in which my feet kept slipping off.
The next bike I tried was a BMC 26" full suspension bike. After riding the 29er it felt very small to me even though both were medium frames. This bike I found to be lighter of course and much more nimble than the 29er. I found the bike to be much quicker especially in very tight areas and I could accelerate out of turns and off large objects easier. As far as climbing hills I did make it up some of the ones I couldn't make it up on the 29er but part of me thinks to was do to the fact that I took a few more breaks so I was more rested and that I am still learning how to shift the bike. The only drawbacks I found was that it wasn't quite as comfortable to ride and it takes more effort getting over roots, logs and rocks.
Overall I'm still not quite sure of what to get as far a 29er or 26" full suspension bike. They both bring great qualities to the table. The more people I have been talking to say I should go with the 29er over the 26". I tend to believe I really can't go wrong either way. I believe that right now the 26" feels a little more natural. At the same time once you learn how to ride and get use to the 29er it may indeed be the smarter buy.
I hopes this helps anyone who has been looking like I have been. I would appreciate and feedback and opinions that you might have as well.