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Old 05-08-11, 12:26 PM   #1
FidelCastrovich
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Beginner mountain biker - 29er or 26er?

Hello all,

My wife and I are considering ditching our road bikes in favor of mountain bikes. We don't want to spend too much money, as we won't be doing anything too technical or aggressive. But we definitely won't only be doing light trails, so the bikes need to be good, reliable machines.
I was offered the Kona Blast, among other bikes, and I immediately liked it, after test riding quite a few bikes. After that, the same shop suggested I try a GT Karakoram 1.0. Better fork and 29'' wheels. The owner said I'll fall in love with the feel of the 29er. (I'm 6'11)

I can't say I fell in love, but I liked it just as much as the 26'' Blast.
Theoretically, I can see the advantages, but I have to take it for a real ride to really understand it.

What I did definitely feel was that it was more sluggish, in maneuvering and acceleration. It is also heavier.

So, for some single tracks and longer cross country riding with the missus (who'll probably end up taking a Trek 4500 or Kona Blast) what should I take into consideration when looking at these two bikes (the GT and the Blast)?

Thanks,
Emil.

Last edited by FidelCastrovich; 05-08-11 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 05-08-11, 07:23 PM   #2
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6'1" or 6'11"?

Wheel size is personal preference. Demo both bikes on your local trails if you can.

There are plenty of people that will try to tell you 29ers are better than 26" bikes, but the reality is they're just trying to force their opinions on you. Ride what feels best to you.
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Old 05-09-11, 05:43 AM   #3
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I agree. I am sure that the marketers of 29" rims are doing all they can to sell this new concept and wheel package. I suggest you test the bike and get what's best for you. Everyone is pushing 29" wheels but they are not as strong as the 26" wheels. Also, the Misus will probably give you a few bonus points if you guys get a his/her type of bike. Good Luck.
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Old 05-09-11, 05:49 AM   #4
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Get what rides best for you.29 has it's advantages,but also it's disadvantages.
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Old 05-09-11, 01:01 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the replies, I'm still torn between the two choices, but it is my wife who is giving me a headache.
She just can't find a bike that feels good, and I'm really at a loss. We've tried Treks, Konas, Cubes, Cannondales , Jamis, Marins - Nothing feels good!

The one bike she did like was a Scott Charger, but then she had the oddest problem with it - her heel kept hitting the chainstays. Granted, they are kind of weirdly shaped and tend to bulge out just where the heel passes them, but I tried the same bike and it didn't happen no matter how hard I tried.

Any suggestions as to what can be done about that? Can I ask to replace the bottom bracket for a longer one? Should I? Or maybe get bigger pedals where she can have more room for her feet?

Has anyone ever heard of this kind of problem?
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Old 05-09-11, 09:42 PM   #6
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Pedal-axle extenders do exist. Example: http://www.jbimporters.com/web/check...t_number=41617 I can't find a Scott model called the "Charger," could it have been something else?

Regarding the wheel-size choice, I'm at the XC-racing end of the spectrum and stick with 26" (specifically, high-end 26) because I find it's faster for me. Acceleration, cruising speed, maneuverability at high or low speeds, low weight... all the trump cards for what I like to do are held by 26. But in the end, (1) buy what YOU like, and (2) remember bikes aren't forever, you can always get something different later... don't miss out on riding just because you're not 110% positive you've found THE perfect bike.
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Old 05-10-11, 07:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCROADBIKER View Post
Get what rides best for you.29 has it's advantages,but also it's disadvantages.
Wheel size is a preferance, not an advantage.
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Old 05-12-11, 11:52 AM   #8
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Mechbgon - it's a Norco Charger, not a Scott. My bad.
Decent bike, from what I can gather.

I think I made up my mind (for myself, at least) to go with a 29er. I'm not a highly technical biker, and I don't mind the little extra weight, rotational or otherwise, and I'm sure I'll enjoy the feeling of a sitting on a John Deere(as someone put it) and rolling along, being able to just muscle through rough terrain.
As for my wife, I have a more specific question :

I think I'm coming to the conclusion that she doesn't like long top tubes, that are found on almost all mountain bikes above the entry level.
So my question is, does the shorter top tube of an entry level bike impede the ability to go on decent rides, for someone who has no competitive aspirations? We intend to go on 20-30 mile rides, in fairly technical terrain.

Can I just take a Trek 4300/4500, upgrade it some (fork, brakes) and let her enjoy the more upright position?
Or will it become an obstacle on anything that's more than cruising around town?
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Old 05-12-11, 03:54 PM   #9
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Trek and others do make women specific designs. Those frames almost always have a shorter top tube than the regular version.
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Old 05-14-11, 05:43 AM   #10
FidelCastrovich
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We took out a 17.5'' 2010 Gary Fisher Cobia for my wife to try out for the weekend.
After being quite sure that she likes a TT of around 570mm, I'm surprised to find out that she likes the way this bike feels with its long TT (601mm!!!).
It's weird.

In any case, looking at the GF website, I see that there's no difference between the regular bike and its female version. Same length TT for same bike...Just a more feminine color.
Gotta love their marketing.
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Old 05-14-11, 07:20 AM   #11
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Forget logic, just get what she says she likes. Works best in 90% of the situations.
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Old 05-14-11, 07:43 AM   #12
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Yeah, I know, that's what I keep telling her too. She keeps asking if she doesn't look too stretched out, or too this or that, and I keep asking her if it FEELS okay, to which she asnwers yes, so i guess we'll be going with th GF.
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Old 05-14-11, 08:31 AM   #13
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Feel fuels confidence, confidence fuels fun, and fun makes you want to ride.

It is all good!
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