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Old 01-22-11, 10:31 PM   #1
gattm99
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Thinking about a 29r

I just sold my hard tail, and am pretty happy riding my full suspension bike, but most of the guys I'm riding with are on Rigid 29rs. One fellow has a Vassago Bandersnatch frame he's wanting to sell, but he hasn't decided how much yet. I don't have a set of 29 inch wheels, so theres some more money, but I have everything else I need to build it up.

I'm also thinking for less then what I'd have in the wheels and frame fork of the Bandersnatch I could get a GT Peace complete bike, I've also found some cheaper frames on ebay.

The Bandersnatch seems like it would be a good bike, and I would really like to have something unique, but a complete bike would be a better deal.

Or I could just keep riding my full suspension and wonder what I'm missing.
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Old 01-22-11, 11:48 PM   #2
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You're not "missing" anything.

29'er's roll over objects easier but not so much easier that it's all that noticeable. 29'er's have more wheel mass so they're harder to get rolling on hills. However, that rotating mass tends to hold your speed once you do get rolling for half-a-heartbeat longer. This isn't as big of a difference as the 29'er crowd would like you to believe.

Gear ratio's are different due to gear inches being different. It's not that much difference but it IS a difference.

Tires etc. cost about the same as 26'er's. 29'er specific PARTS are much more expensive. Forks & wheels cost more. You also can't get 36 hole rims for a 29'er (or at least I haven't found any) so you have to make due with 32 spoke wheels. This is Ok unless you want/need the extra strength of 36 spokes.

The only benefit I've found in my 29'er is that, seeing as I need a big frame, the 29'er doesn't look so awkward because the bigger wheels fill up the bigger frame. This makes the overall "picture" of the bike more like a medium framed 26'er in appearance.
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Old 01-23-11, 12:05 AM   #3
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otoh, more bikes is more better! i personally don't like to ride my fully unless i need full suspension for long, fast descents, so in the mountains. i prefer a hardtail everywhere else. but if you just sold a hardtail. the questions is: "why buy another?" did you sell it to upgrade or try something new? or because HT is not your bag? if the latter, then i'm with Rob, the bigger wheels are nice and and different, but it won't blow your mind.

btw, the complete bike is a better deal only if you end up with a better bike. maybe you can find used wheels local forum or an ebay special?

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Old 01-23-11, 09:31 AM   #4
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I sold my hard tail because I had a really hard time staying on top of it. I think it was a little too big for me, it was a 21 inch and I'm 6'. I'd be riding along on that bike and be on the ground, I swear I would crash that thing every time i rode it. Last time i rode it I crashed 3 times in two miles all on easy creek crossings or just easy things. The frame was a leader with a 100mm fork. I think it might have been a really steep head tube or something.

I almost never crash my full suspension, I keep hearing people talk about being in the bike as opposed to on the bike. On my Trek Fuel EX I feel like I'm in the bike, on the Leader I was on it.

THe problem is with these guys I've taken up riding with, they ride kind of slow and very steady with very few brakes. I'm not as fit as they are, but I'm stronger in a short distance. Downhill I have to brake hard to keep from running them over, but I always fall back on the long climbs. To me the Fuel works best when its being hammered and these guys don't hammer except on the climbs.

I don't think the bike factors in to the equation nearly as much as my fitness but I think I'd slot in with them better on a hard tail.

As far as 29rs go I've ridden one only once on a demo and it seemed like it had a noticably easier time getting over stuff. Our trails are covered in crap so getting over stuff is pretty important.

If I build up the bike myself its going to cost more and have some worn parts. If I buy a bike ready to go it's going to be a bit cheaper and new parts. I guess the real question is how much better the Bandersnatch frame is than a GT Peace or Haro Mary.
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Old 01-23-11, 09:49 AM   #5
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You're not "missing" anything.

29'er's roll over objects easier but not so much easier that it's all that noticeable. 29'er's have more wheel mass so they're harder to get rolling on hills. However, that rotating mass tends to hold your speed once you do get rolling for half-a-heartbeat longer. This isn't as big of a difference as the 29'er crowd would like you to believe.

Gear ratio's are different due to gear inches being different. It's not that much difference but it IS a difference.

Tires etc. cost about the same as 26'er's. 29'er specific PARTS are much more expensive. Forks & wheels cost more. You also can't get 36 hole rims for a 29'er (or at least I haven't found any) so you have to make due with 32 spoke wheels. This is Ok unless you want/need the extra strength of 36 spokes.

The only benefit I've found in my 29'er is that, seeing as I need a big frame, the 29'er doesn't look so awkward because the bigger wheels fill up the bigger frame. This makes the overall "picture" of the bike more like a medium framed 26'er in appearance.
I respectfully disagree, completely. :-)

I used to ride 26 and was fine with it. I rode rigid, single speed, geared, and fully suspended. This past fall I tried out a Niner and was blown away completely. It climbs better, rolls over objects easier, and is more comfortable to ride on. All these things, for me, were a HUGE difference, not just slightly noticable. I checked out my bank account and bought a Niner EMD9 immediately.

The larger contact patch of the tire (since the wheel is bigger) provides better traction. This means you can run a faster tire (I currently use the Kenda Small Block 8) with more confidence. The bigger tires provide better cornering as well for the same reason. There is more of a contact patch, making leaning into corners a breeze. Larger wheels roll faster, and the increased mass keeps you rolling faster for longer.

I am not a big guy. I am 5'8" and weight 140 lb. on a good day. A medium 29er with modern geometry rides amazing for me. Granted, I started my biking on road bikes with 700 tires so it could be that the larger wheels just feel more "natural" for me. However, there is no denying, go to any trail-head and you'll see 29ers. They are becoming the new normal, and the reason is not because its cool, but because they are friggin amazing.

Wheels are expensive, but if you choose right don't need to hurt that bad. The Stan's ZTR hubs laced to ZTR Arch wheels are durable, relatively lightweight, and can be had for $450.
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Old 01-23-11, 12:40 PM   #6
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I don't think the bike factors in to the equation nearly as much as my fitness but I think I'd slot in with them better on a hard tail.

Don't buy a bike to match the way your friends ride, buy a bike that suits you own riding style.
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Old 01-23-11, 07:09 PM   #7
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See if one of your buddies wants to swap bikes for a short ride. Then you'll have a better idea if a 29r is for you. I have one and I really like it, but there are times that I wish had a 26" trail bike. Perhaps a build project for another time. There are tons of posts on 29rs, so if you look around, you'll find a lot of perspectives. Let us know how you make out.
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Old 01-23-11, 07:19 PM   #8
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Don't buy a bike to match the way your friends ride, buy a bike that suits you own riding style.
+1

Sounds like you don't need a new bike. You need new riding partners.
If you like hammering the descents but struggle on the climbs on a Fuel, you'll still like hammering the descents but will struggle on the climbs on a Bandersnatch. If you want the 29er because you want a second bike that rides differently, by all means, get the 29er! But buy it because you want a 29er, not because you're trying to fit in with your buddies' riding styles.
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Old 01-23-11, 08:40 PM   #9
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Well see, I like and respect the way they ride, when I go by myself I might hammer a few miles then take a break, put around, hammer some more and do about half the work these guys do.

Essentially I want to be more like them. I tried riding with these guys in the past and couldn't keep up for 30 minutes. I was 40 pounds heavier then, I'm still too heavy but losing weight.

I think you're essentially right, my problem is about 40 extra pounds and less basic aerobic fittness. It doesn't hurt that they've been doing this 20 years longer then me and are all excellent riders.

I think I was telling myself I needed the 29r to ride with them, basically just an excuse.

I do like having a second bike for backup.

It doesn't matter now, I went ahead and bought it. I'll be in the Snatch soon.
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Old 01-23-11, 08:49 PM   #10
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My friends and I all ride 29ers and when I started riding I was far slower then all of them. I am now by far the fastest rider in the group and I am the only SS rider. What I am getting at is they will get faster also and everything will be fine.
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Old 01-23-11, 08:55 PM   #11
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It doesn't matter now, I went ahead and bought it. I'll be in the Snatch soon.
Awesome, congrats on the new purchase. Though it could be debatable whether you needed the bike, it is also debatable whether anybody needs bikes. I'm sure you'll love it, post pics when its built.
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Old 01-23-11, 09:06 PM   #12
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Don't buy a bike to match the way your friends ride, buy a bike that suits you own riding style.
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Sounds like you don't need a new bike. You need new riding partners.
Could not have said this better. The other people are all riding narrow-focus, limited bikes which dictates a riding style diametrically opposed to what you enjoy.
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Old 01-24-11, 02:07 PM   #13
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Could not have said this better. The other people are all riding narrow-focus, limited bikes which dictates a riding style diametrically opposed to what you enjoy.
I never said I didn't enjoy their style, all I said is that on my bike I went faster then they did downhill, I'd probably go faster then them on any bike because I'm heavier and a lot younger, (more willing to take risks). As far as their bikes being narrow-focus we're riding the same trails in about the same amount of time and the focus is to ride the trail, non of us are doing tricks, drops or whatever, just riding trails. They are waiting on me much more then I'm waiting on them.

What it really boils down to is they much better riders then me. I did 4000 miles last year and 50 of that might have been trails. On the really technical stuff they are much better and smoother, even on their rigids.

My thinking is that by riding a rigid bike I'll be forced to go slower pick a better line and become a better rider.

Plus I really liked the name Bandersnatch.
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Old 01-24-11, 02:19 PM   #14
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I bought one and found it to be way too tall for me on obstacles. It felt like I was way in the air, and when you missed. It seemed to hurt a lot more. It got to the point I was backing out on attempts at obstacles that I would have normally tried on a regular MTB. I also found I was more timid on the decents because I didn't trust the wheel size. It always seemed noodley to me. When you getting bet going up and going down, it's time for a new bike. Sold it with in a month or two and went back to the 26 in.

Much happier now.
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Old 01-24-11, 02:59 PM   #15
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My thinking is that by riding a rigid bike I'll be forced to go slower pick a better line and become a better rider.
Just don't confuse becoming a line-picker with being a better rider .
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Old 01-24-11, 05:37 PM   #16
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@dminor, You've got a point, I tend to just run right down the middle and let the suspension just eat, one dude I used to ride with wheelied over everthing and it was as if he just floated, and these guys like to line pick their way through, definitly the slowest way down.

@Pwnt, I had a big bike with a tall headtube and a 2 inch riser bar years ago and I thought I was riding on a horse. I hope I don't find the 29r to be that way.
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Old 01-30-11, 07:53 AM   #17
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You're not "missing" anything.

29'er's roll over objects easier but not so much easier that it's all that noticeable. 29'er's have more wheel mass so they're harder to get rolling on hills. However, that rotating mass tends to hold your speed once you do get rolling for half-a-heartbeat longer. This isn't as big of a difference as the 29'er crowd would like you to believe.
...
This is an argument that is technically true but practically nonsense. I can spin up the front wheel of my 29er to 10mph with a single flick of my finger. Mind you, I run giant tires and Rhynolite rims. The point here is accelerating the wheel to speed compared to the whole bike/body system is pretty insignificant in the big picture.

Larger wheels do however increase the effective gear ratio. This is likely what accounts for folks labeling 29ers as "sluggish" and "slower to accelerate" since you loose about two gears with of lower ratios off the rear cassette. A more recent response to this is the introduction of 11-36 tooth cassettes.

You absolutely CAN get 36H 29er rims. They are harder to find and it is a symptom of the broader cycling market preferring 32H rims and hubs.
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Old 01-30-11, 08:08 AM   #18
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I bought one and found it to be way too tall for me on obstacles. It felt like I was way in the air, and when you missed. It seemed to hurt a lot more. It got to the point I was backing out on attempts at obstacles that I would have normally tried on a regular MTB. I also found I was more timid on the decents because I didn't trust the wheel size. It always seemed noodley to me. When you getting bet going up and going down, it's time for a new bike. Sold it with in a month or two and went back to the 26 in.

Much happier now.
Sounds like you had a bike with a higher bottom bracket. That has nothing to do with a 29er. Maybe there is one out there you would like and plenty of 26ers with higher bottom brackets.
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Old 02-03-11, 10:32 AM   #19
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Just don't confuse becoming a line-picker with being a better rider .
Are you suggesting that the capability to pick your line has nothing to do with being a good cyclist? Or conversely are you suggesting that a good suspension system makes one a better rider?

A good instrument is only useful in the hands of a talented musician. I would suggest that the ability to run rigid and single speed will make someone a better rider by necessity if they push themselves and try to make themselves faster and more efficient.
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Old 02-03-11, 11:09 AM   #20
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I think he's saying that the rider who rides more slowly to choose a certain line (which is what the OP is referring to) is not necessarily the best rider. The easiest line is not always the fastest. The fastest is not always the most fun. A good rider can ride all three.
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Old 02-03-11, 11:42 AM   #21
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Personally, 29ers aren't going to be best for everyone. Ride as many as you can before you buy (post advice seeing as you bought the Snatch frameset already). I was looking to compliment my FS Trail Bike and SS Rigid 26" wheeled bikes with a 29er. Was planning to use it for racing.

Tried FS and HT 29ers, and while I could feel most of the well documented pros and cons, I stuck with another 26" wheeled bike. At some point I may pick up a 29er for screwing around with, but for me the 26" wheeled bikes feel right.
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Old 02-03-11, 01:02 PM   #22
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Are you suggesting that the capability to pick your line has nothing to do with being a good cyclist?
I'm saying that the ability to dodge small obstacles in the trail does not equate to riding skill. Quite often, breaking a trail down into a series of straight-lines is the fastest and most efficient, even if it is not always the "best" (smoothest) line. In fact, I am so used to plowing things with my full suspension that it translates when I revert back to a hardtail: I still plow the lines and let the front suspension do its job. Yes, the rear dances around more but as long as I can hang on, I carry more speed than if I were to dodge and weave around the obstacles.

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I would suggest that the ability to run rigid and single speed will make someone a better rider by necessity if they push themselves and try to make themselves faster and more efficient.
All it will really do is make you a better rigid, singlespeed rider - - pushing yourself within the artificial limitations imposed by the hardware.

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Old 02-03-11, 08:05 PM   #23
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Dminor's right. The fastest way downhill is to carry the most momentum/speed through the fastest line. The only nit I might pick is that I don't know what "artificial" limits are posed by a rigid singlespeed. Equipment choice dictates some degree of limits, no matter what you're using. Maybe my only problem is with the word artificial.

Anyways, on trails I ride a lot I think it's more fun to be underbiked than overbiked, because otherwise I get bored. This may not be true for everyone. Hasn't led me to get a rigid singlespeed yet, but I go through phases where I usually grab one of my cross bikes instead of my hardtail. I guess that's a different discussion though.
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Old 02-05-11, 07:46 AM   #24
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Made the switch from my 26 fully to my 29 HT about a year ago and I love the 29er. I'll add this. Recently I visited NM and shipped out my 26 FS "backup bike". I ended up buying some new, wider meat for the front because I wasn't nearly as confident on descents as I was on my 29er. I wouldn't have wanted my hard tail out there, but I did really miss the 29s. That said, I still had a blast. As long as I'm riding I'm happy.
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