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Old 09-08-11, 07:37 PM   #1
ande7977
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Are 29ers better for taller riders?

I'm 6'5" and ~185lbs, and I won't even mention the type of bike I have-let's just say it's a cheap hardtail, about 8 yrs old and I'm looking to upgrade (<$3000). I'm in MN, so nothing too technical, but I take an annual trip to more aggressive riding and am looking at FS. But ...do I NEED a 29er, or is it just a nice to have for someone my size? If you have any specific recs, I'm more than happy to hear them as I'm no longer well steeped in what is available.
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Old 09-08-11, 08:05 PM   #2
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Just my own observations from almost five years of leading group rides is that the taller riders do very well on the larger wheels. The average sized riders are equal to their 26" counterparts, and the smaller riders on 29ers fall off the back, never to be seen again - until we regroup at the trailhead.
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Old 09-08-11, 08:17 PM   #3
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6"5 is pretty tall. You don't NEED a 29er. I've seen people with jacked up seats on 26ers. It's one of those things that aren't mandatory but nicer to have.
I've seen 6"3 guys on 20 inch BMX bikes. My friend's 6"4 and he rides a 24 inch hardtail sometimes on the trails.

IMHO, it's something nice for you to have.
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Old 09-08-11, 09:47 PM   #4
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Get a XL 26er
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Old 09-08-11, 09:51 PM   #5
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Get a XL 26er
I gotta ask for supporting evidence on your claim, just because there is an 2010 XL Scott Spark 35 that I could get that I'm very tempted to pick up, but as it's a 26" I'm hesitant. Do I go for the deal, or wait for the wheels...(29" wheels, but that didn't work in the pun...)
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Old 09-09-11, 03:44 AM   #6
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Yes...
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Old 09-09-11, 04:53 AM   #7
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Pros and cons, it's a personal preference thing. There's no doubt that you could comfortably handle the larger wheels with your size and you'd get increased comfort. Also they are good for maintaining momentum, once you get the big wheels turning they hold the speed better. I would recommend wide bars with it too, to help leverage, i ride 800mm Nukeproof warheads but they are a bit excessive.

On the downside, setting off and climbing may require more effort and a smaller rider would notice the difference but you should be fine.

I'm 6'3" and as well as my FSR XC i ride a Corratec Superbow Fun 29er and i love it. My 6'5"friend tried it and he loved it too.
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Old 09-09-11, 05:53 AM   #8
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You don't have to get a 29 but at your height, it would be more proportional. Hold out and look for something with big wheels.
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Old 09-09-11, 09:29 AM   #9
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If I were riding XC and over 6'2"...I'd be on one.
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Old 09-09-11, 12:31 PM   #10
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If I were riding XC and over 6'2"...I'd be on one.
You're not going soft on us now, are you?
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Old 09-09-11, 12:56 PM   #11
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6'5" here and i ride an XL 26er and it is perfect. I rode a couple of 29ers before making my purchase and they were nice but just not nearly as nimble as the 26ers. I say go XL 26.
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Old 09-09-11, 02:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ande7977 View Post
I gotta ask for supporting evidence on your claim, just because there is an 2010 XL Scott Spark 35 that I could get that I'm very tempted to pick up, but as it's a 26" I'm hesitant. Do I go for the deal, or wait for the wheels...(29" wheels, but that didn't work in the pun...)
I'm 6'3" and ride an XL Scott Spark 20. It works for me. I have 34" inseam, so I am more body than legs. I have always ridden 26" so its what I am comfortable with. Its bargain vs 29er, tough choice. I look forward to hearing your decision. We need a sub thread for riders 6' and over.

Another concern that I have developed in the past few months is the resale value of a 26" MTB in the coming years if the world does indeed go 29er exclusive. We really haven't kicked that thought around much.
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Old 09-09-11, 03:03 PM   #13
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I'm 6'3" Have both a 23" early 90's Specialized Stumpjumper Comp (26" obviously) and a new XL 29er. Either works for me. But then you have a couple inches on me.
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Old 09-09-11, 03:03 PM   #14
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Another concern that I have developed in the past few months is the resale value of a 26" MTB in the coming years if the world does indeed go 29er exclusive. We really haven't kicked that thought around much.
Sporting goods generally don't hold their value anyway, but I've begun stocking up on 26" parts while they're still plentiful and cheap. I snagged a 26" hardtail frame a few days ago to save as a spare, and I'm looking for deals on 26" rims and suspension forks in the coming months to throw into my stash.
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Old 09-09-11, 03:05 PM   #15
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You're not going soft on us now, are you?
I concur with ed (and I'm no 29er fanboi either); people of ande's stature are just what 29ers are particularly suited for. If I was that tall, I'd be looking at them seriously too.
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Old 09-09-11, 03:56 PM   #16
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Get a XL 26er
I'm 6'3" and that didn't work well for me. An XL 29er has worked out a whole lot better for me. The only way to know for sure is to try several of them out and see what works.
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Old 09-09-11, 08:40 PM   #17
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You're not going soft on us now, are you?
Not a chance!
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Old 09-09-11, 09:16 PM   #18
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Just my own observations from almost five years of leading group rides is that the taller riders do very well on the larger wheels. The average sized riders are equal to their 26" counterparts, and the smaller riders on 29ers fall off the back, never to be seen again - until we regroup at the trailhead.
I didn't completely understand that. Do you think someone 5'8" would be more comfortable with a 26er or 29er?
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Old 09-09-11, 11:53 PM   #19
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I thought the purpose of a 29er was rolling over junk? My whole riding life at 6'3" I never griped that what I needed was taller tires on my bike. Frames and components made bikes work for your body size. Is the extra weight worth the additional tread on the ground? For me I guess I'm gonna stay happy with my 25 pound 26" full suspension bike. I like light, nimble and familiar.
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Old 09-10-11, 05:55 AM   #20
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I didn't completely understand that. Do you think someone 5'8" would be more comfortable with a 26er or 29er?
You'll have to test ride both on your favorite trail. The average sized guys that can kick my butt on their 29ers are the very same guys that did the same when they were on their 26ers.
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Old 09-10-11, 09:35 AM   #21
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I'm 6'3" Have both a 23" early 90's Specialized Stumpjumper Comp (26" obviously) and a new XL 29er. Either works for me. But then you have a couple inches on me.
This is of course the ideal position and it mirrors my own. It's great to have a choice in the stable and select whichever bike is most suitable for the ride or just takes your fancy that day. Maybe advice from people in this position should be given more weight as it could be argued that they are more impartial?
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