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  1. #1
    Senior Member sharp's Avatar
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    26" Full Suspension or 29'r Hardtail?

    Which will give me best all mountain performance? I've resisted the full suspension trend as well as the larger wheel size until now. Currently ride a 10 year old Rocky Mountain Oxygen which I really love but recently rode it in a couple of endurance races that were pretty rough and rocky and it beat me up pretty good. Which style bike will offer me the most benefit compared to my 26" hardtail?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Lexi01's Avatar
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    29er Full Suspension.

  3. #3
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    You will get more travel for the same or less money and get a lighter bike if you buy a 26" FS instead of 29er. In return all the 29er offers you is increased tire volume, which is indisputable, and 'better rolling' which I have personally not observed.

    To answer the thread title question, the answer is very obviously full suspension of some kind. I see that sentence about rocky endurance races. No doubt full suspension. I doubt there's a better bike under $2,000 than this one: http://www.speedgoat.com/Catalog.asp...t=1&Prod=23844 (most sizes are $1699, and I bet all of them will be very soon.)

    If you want an upgrade and a 18-19" bike fits you, get this instead: http://www.speedgoat.com/Catalog.asp...t=1&Prod=23841
    (BMC's bikes tend to run big. This one is no exception. It's a very big "medium".)
    Last edited by ColinL; 11-01-12 at 08:15 PM.

  4. #4
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    All mountain 27.5 is the up and coming weapon of choice IMO.

  5. #5
    Senior Member sharp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Smedley View Post
    All mountain 27.5 is the up and coming weapon of choice IMO.
    I've been reading up on the 650b and I'm definitely intrigued.
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  6. #6
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    But *why* would you want a bike that has very limited wheel, tire and fork availability? How is the additional wheel size anything but a novelty, right now?

    I'm not saying in 3 years. Today. I do think that 27.5 will appear on longer travel bikes, a niche that 29er has been physically unable to penetrate.

  7. #7
    NRZ
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    Having ridden both, I much prefer the 29er hardtail. I do also agree that a 29er f/s is the way to go if money is not much of a concern.

    The 29er simply climbs much better then the 26 inch counterparts, for me anyways.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member dayday82's Avatar
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    The new 650b Scott Genius 700 seems like an awesome bike.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Dilberto's Avatar
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    +58. 29er FS and call it DONE. You'll have a bike that goes anywhere up/down FAST.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Dilberto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dayday82 View Post
    The new 650b Scott Genius 700 seems like an awesome bike.
    I just rode one...and my bottom jaw is dropped.
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  11. #11
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRZ View Post
    Having ridden both, I much prefer the 29er hardtail. I do also agree that a 29er f/s is the way to go if money is not much of a concern.

    The 29er simply climbs much better then the 26 inch counterparts, for me anyways.
    What 26" full suspension is worse at all-mountain endurance racing than a 29er hardtail, based on your riding experience? I have time on HT and FS in both wheel sizes, and I can't believe anyone would pick HT.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mystolenbikes's Avatar
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    I really don't get this full suspension or hardtail questions any more. Yeah ten years ago because of the components and the geometry full suspension bikes didn't perform as well as the hardtails when it came to climbing. There was no such thing as a lockout, suspension bobbed and bounced like a pogo stick when you stood up or put some power in to the pedals but this day and age with all the improvements full suspension bikes climb as well as the hardtails. Heck once you lock out the fork and the rear shock you'll climb almost as good as any rigid bike.

    You all can flame me all you want but imo at this point only reason to buy a hardtail bike is the budget. And I'm not hip enough to ride an SS steel frame rigid.

  13. #13
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    I completely and utterly agree with you. Lockout isn't even the same these days... many FS bikes have 'climb' or 'platform' modes that still give some benefit of the rear suspension when you hit a bump during a climb.

    There is just no way that a good FS 26" bike performs worse than a 29er HT. It *will* be more expensive nearly every time, though!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Lexi01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mystolenbikes View Post
    I really don't get this full suspension or hardtail questions any more. Yeah ten years ago because of the components and the geometry full suspension bikes didn't perform as well as the hardtails when it came to climbing. There was no such thing as a lockout, suspension bobbed and bounced like a pogo stick when you stood up or put some power in to the pedals but this day and age with all the improvements full suspension bikes climb as well as the hardtails. Heck once you lock out the fork and the rear shock you'll climb almost as good as any rigid bike.

    You all can flame me all you want but imo at this point only reason to buy a hardtail bike is the budget. And I'm not hip enough to ride an SS steel frame rigid.
    Agree. My new bike (that I think I'm in utterly in love with - seriously) has a "twin lock" that lets me lock both, lock front or unlock both shocks. Though the front still has a little movement (which I thought was a fault in the set-up) but its a "blow off" function thats there to protect the fork should I forget to unlock it when I start descending again.

    But yeah... dunno why you'd go hardtail these days.
    Last edited by Lexi01; 11-07-12 at 09:52 PM.

  15. #15
    Retro on steroids Repack Rider's Avatar
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    That's like asking whether you should wear boxers or briefs. No one else has to wear your underwear or ride your bike. No one else shares your precise ability or rides exactly where you do.

    Make your own decision.
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  16. #16
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim? scrublover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repack Rider View Post
    That's like asking whether you should wear boxers or briefs. No one else has to wear your underwear or ride your bike. No one else shares your precise ability or rides exactly where you do.

    Make your own decision.

    This. Go try and test ride a bunch of bikes. From shops, buddies, other riders you run into, whatever.

    Get a feel for what you like, rather than what a bunch of random people on teh intertoobs tell you.
    I believe the clouds in my coffee more than the weatherman on t.v.

  17. #17
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Yep, another thread comparing apples to oranges.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Bosock's Avatar
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    I have a 26 FS stumpjumper and a 29er hardtail...I hate to say the same ole same ole...but it comes down to the type of trails you enjoy and the riding you do. If you like rocky rough trails with some drops, rock gardens etc then a FS no doubt. When I go to the ski resorts and take the lift...the FS hands down ....FS is so much like butter on those trails compared to the HT's teeth chattering bumpy decent. Now the trails closer to my house are mostly packed single track with limited rock parts and a lot of flat non-technical climbing. The FS is overkill on those trails and though several people say you can lock out your shocks and climb just as well on a FS...i tend to disagree. You still have the added weight of the FS system and on hard pack the HT has always seemed to be more efficient...now on more technical climbs the FS (not locked out) is what i prefer. So pending the type of riding you do I would gauge which to choose from. If you're on mostly flat single tracks with climbing or not, and this will be what most of your riding will consist of, then why go the extra expense or weight of the FS. However, if you ride more technical trails, even as much as 25-30 percent of the time, can afford the extra cost of a decently equipped FS, as i think a good equipped hardtail is better than a poorly equipped FS, then i would say FS hands down. It is better to overkill the calmer trails then not get the benefit of the FS on technical trails. I think the 29er vs 26er is more preference than anything...good marketing is what leads several of us to upgrade from our 26ers to the 29er and now 2750. What i have found is both have there advantages. I chose 26 as i fit into the cockpit better and I liked the perceived strengths of the 26er over the 29er. The 29er FS rolls better and picks up speed quicker (downhill specially)...bigger wheels help climbing. However, the trails i ride have switchbacks, winding decents, and several spots where you come out of a sharp turn into a steep climb. I can barrel down the decents faster and more comfortable on a 26 than i could a 29er. Also, what i noticed is on gradual climbs when you can get going the 29er did climb well and shined...but when you had to accelerate quickly or go into a steep climb without any momentum I seemed to do better on the 26. This is my preference. The person a ride with, who is like 6'3"...seems to favor the characteristics of the 29er. He likes how it rolls better and doesnt mind the litte more forcefull handling in winding decents...he also felt more comfortable in the 29er cockpit. So why did I get the 29er HT. Well for some reason i fit into the cockpit a lot better in the HT then i did the FS...I also felt alot more comfortable on it then the FS counterpart. Like I said the trails i ride on consists of long flat single track climbs that does not require the same agility coming down as the more technical trails i ride. To be honest, just wanted a different ride feel when i mixed it up. Like both bikes, they have their strengths and both excel in the right conditions. Your decision truly rests with what type riding you do and your preferences. Hope this info helped...I would say take a good look at what areas or type of riding you plan to do...take your time determine what bike you are more comfortable on as far as fit and feel...and I would also say take budget into consideration...If your budget only allows you to go very basic entry level FS with low end front and back shock...then you may be better off going with HT as the same amount of money will get you more bike. Well that is my 2 cents here...hope it helps...good hunting...let us know what you decided.
    Last edited by Bosock; 11-09-12 at 03:04 AM.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    The above, is pretty much spot on. It depends on what riding you do, and what you want from the bike.
    I personally don't like the 29 feel, I've ridden three, two on the trails and prefer my Stumpjumper 26' HT.
    Does a local trail centre offer demo days/bikes? Or even a friend with one? I'd be careful trying a 29er and then buying a different brand 29er, some companies *still* haven't got the steering geometry right.

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