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26 vs 29

Old 04-10-11, 09:00 PM
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26 vs 29

Sorry if this has been discussed, but my search came up with nothing.

OK. I'm looking for a new bike. I went to a Specialized dealer to look around. To make a long story short, he implied that 29ers are the way to go and 26" mtb's are obsolete. Is that so? I have been happy with my present 26" bike - size wise. It's a Trek 820 that has seen lots of hard use and I'm wanting to upgrade. I hadn't really thought about a 29er but now I'm considering it.
Do you agree with what the dealer was telling me?
I ride easy to moderate single track, and the bike would be my winter ride with studded tires. It would also be used for cruising on gravel roads.
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Old 04-10-11, 09:29 PM
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This might help ?
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Old 04-11-11, 06:05 AM
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I'd go with 29's
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Old 04-11-11, 07:06 AM
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29" : Slightly more weight, slower acceleration, better carrying of speed, less "nimble", and more suited to taller riders. 26" : all the opposites thereof.

I get the distinct feeling that shops and the industry in general are pushing 29ers A LOT more than is justified. I think it's a personal choice and is definitely not as cut and dry as just saying 29ers are "the way to go".

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Old 04-11-11, 10:47 AM
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26 inch bikes are quite far from obsolete and 29ers are not "the way to go". 29ers are great, for many people. but they don't fit everyone's type of riding. try one out and see for yourself.

ive ridden a few different 9ers, i will stick with 26 inch wheels.

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Old 04-11-11, 05:15 PM
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I'm 6' 3" and i went with a 26" last November because of the tighter turning radius on trails with sharp switchbacks that I like and its what I'm used too. In the LBS's that i drop by the main bikes for the wrenches and owners are still 26ers, but you do see more 29ers around. They are definitely part of the industry to stay. Its preference. I have a 21" frame and it fits.
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Old 04-11-11, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by iRide Africa View Post
29" : Slightly more weight, slower acceleration, better carrying of speed, less "nimble", and more suited to taller riders. 26" : all the opposites thereof.
I agree with the slightly more weight, but everything else depends. Sure, a 29er will accerate slower on asphalt, but it depends on the trail. How nimble the bike is has more to do with geometry, less to do with wheel size. And 29er geo can fit any size rider...exampe: willow koerber.

All that said, I'm a better rider on my HT 29er than I am on my 26er fully. I demo'd a lot of bikes, 26 and 29, before I bought my x-cal. It ALL comes down to personal preference and riding style.
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Old 04-11-11, 07:47 PM
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I completely agree with everyone who is stating that your lbs dealer is a little "off" by saying 26" is obsolete. I too think that both 26 and 29 will co-exist for, well...ever really. I by no means think 29ers are a fad, but they just are not going to replace "26ers" either. I've always ridden 26ers, and loved all of them...I literally just built up my first 29er and am just waiting for some pedals before I can take it out, but I think I will like it just as much as any of my 26" bikes. Will it be different, I suspect it will be at first, but like any bike, each one rides a little differently. And FWIW, I'm about the most average size you can be, 5' 9 1/2", and there is nothing "odd" about the size of the bike that I can tell. Different yes, I set up my saddle height, bar height and reach just like my other bikes with a little room to tweak it for the particular ride characteristics.

Willow Koerber is a perfect example by the way....of good bike design. A badly designed bike will suck no matter what size it is, or what size wheels it has. I fear that this type of encounter at bike shops is becoming more common seems to me that the shops in which people are really knowledgeable have been waning over the past few years....and being replaced by simple "this bike is should buy it" and that seems to be only followed by some sales speak passed on right out of the specifications in the manual. Used to be when I worked in shops, you would get to know a little about the person and sell them the bike that would really work for matter how much it was and the result was happy, informed and smart riders, who also trusted you. It was very nice.

But, I should ride more than a few bikes....find one that fits well and feels good....and then ride the HELL out of it!
Droping the hamer since '86
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Old 04-11-11, 09:26 PM
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I hated a 29 on tight twisty single track, but it was blazing fast on rocky up'n'down. Also, I'm 5'9" and ride a smaller bike, so the proportions took getting used to. Ya goooootta test ride! I believe that the 26 is more versatile, so being poor thats the bike I own. I think my next bike will also be 26", just because I'm a smaller guy.
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Old 04-13-11, 08:11 AM
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26"ers are not,nor will they be "obsolete",and this coming from a diehard 29"er convert (I only own/ride 29"ers now,having 3 currently). It would have to be a killer deal on a REALLY sweet 26"er for me to buy another though,LOL!

If your budget allows,you could always buy an inexpensive used or Bikesdirect dot com-type of 29"er to try the koolaid (for a couple-3 hundred bucks),see if you like it,then resale it if you don't...

The BD Dawes Deadeye is certainly budget spec'd,for example ($319 shipped),but it rides pretty well for the money (especially if you already dig on singlespeeds).
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Old 04-17-11, 02:47 AM
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I'm 5'6" and love my 29er conversion. It rides excellent through SoCal's terrain. I think tall v.s. short depends on your comfort level geometry wise & I have strong legs so the big wheels aren't as much of an issue. The only thing funny about it is how low my seat is during climbing (being that I'm short) compared to other people's setups you'll see here .

The seat's about 2" lower than it normally is for climbing there but you get the idea ;-).
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Old 04-17-11, 09:43 AM
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I was looking for a 29er full suspension bike. Rode several and did not feel right nor did i get that confident feeling in the cockpit that i get with a 26er full suspension bike. It is like they havent totally dialed in the setup/design for full suspension like they have on a 26er. Now i am only 5'8" and that could have something to do with it. I ended up getting a Stumpy 26er and it is a great bike and I love it.

My slush fund was building up and my buddy told me that i should spend it on a hardtail for the more tamer rides after work that i do on a local trail. He is a purest and likes that get the feel of the trail that a hardtail provides and get back to basic concept. I liked the idea of the different ride periodically and the fact a full suspension was a little overkill for that particular trail and opted to pursue a hardtail. I rode several 26ers and liked the ride; however, at one shop i was coaxed into a 29er hardtail and it felt great...i truly liked it better than the 26 ride. Now it could be i was looking the different ride feel periodically...but the 29er hardtail had such a good smooth ride i knew i was going that route. The 29er i liked best was the Gary was between that and the scott 29er...liked the fisher ride maybe a tad better, but the price and spec combo sealed the deal. Weather and work has kept me off the my bikes and waiting for clear skies and a lessened workload...but, i am excited on the different ride experiences these two bikes will provide me this summer. Did take the 29er out probably a little early, wet and muddy sections (avoided as much as i could)...the ride was great despite constantly walking it around mud sections.

So to summarize, for me i can see the argument of both groups. I do not believe the 26ers are obsolete nor will they be any time soon. I cant image me being able to negotiate turns, rough patches, or come down that mountain any faster than that 26er. Then again, once at speed that 29er rolls so nice and easily maintains they both have their pluses...just got to ride and see what you like...either way you cant go wrong.
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