29er questions (targeted at use in third world touring)
I've looked around locally (Philippines), and the only bikes I can find in my size suitable for touring of any sort, are 29ers. There are exactly 2 large (size 19) bikes in town (metro area of 1 million people), and 1 size 21 frame. One of those 19s is a downhill 26" bike, everything else seems to be 29.
One of the problems is that out in the country, 29" tires, wheels and so on are not available. The other is cost, only 2 shops in town carry tires and so on, and I will pay double to 4 times what a similar quality 26" will cost.
So, could I swap in 26" wheels without a huge penalty? I will be doing more gravel roads and trails used by Honda Cub motorcycles (which can get rough, but not terribly technical) than single track, and also a lot of longer distances, 100 to 200 km a day.
Then there is the fork question. How much would I affect the handling by substituting a 26 fork for a 29er? The reasoning is that if I don't get on with the MTB, I will convert it / reuse components in a recumbent. I have been riding recumbents for 8 years: my preferred choice, but not available here unless I build it myself.
Thanks in advance