I've decided I am going to do the Little Su 50k (www.susitna100.com - website is down though) this February.
I currently have a Rocky Mountain Thin Air mtb, and a Kona Smoke. Both have the 26" rims/tires.
A couple of questions...
Is upgrading to a 29er going to benefit me when riding in the snow? Not talking about on ice, but on snow-packed trails, snowmachine trails, etc. Are 29" tires that much wider than a 26", or is it more the diameter of the wheel that is the benefit?
What's the lowest cost I could get into a 29er (not SS!) for? This is important because with a family stable of 10+ bikes, cost justification to the financial manager (aka my wife) can be tricky.
Anyone here done the Little Su 50k or the Susitna 100? If so, how was it?
A 29 inch bike would in theory be better than a 26 inch because it lays down a slightly larger footprint due to the larger diameter. However, in practice it is not much and there are a lot fewer tires sizes available for winter snow riding. The guys are using 26 inch bikes with special frames that have wider than normal mountain bike tires. 3-4 inch wide is preferred.
For this race you should get a Surly Pugsley or one of the custom wide tire mountain bikes. Heres a picture of a wide tire setup. They weld two mountain bike rims together or use a wide downhill rim or the snowcat rims. Or Surly makes the Large Marge rims.
All of these methods are used to get the tire as wide as possible so that it can be run at lower pressure for better traction.