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26 or 29er for a MTB Winter Commuter?

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View Poll Results: 26 or 29er for a MTB Winter Commuter?
26er
7
53.85%
29er
6
46.15%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

26 or 29er for a MTB Winter Commuter?

Old 12-16-09, 08:21 PM
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seafoamer
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26 or 29er for a MTB Winter Commuter?

26 or 29er for a MTB Winter Commuter? What say youu?

p.s. I tried to do a search on this but had no luck.
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Old 12-16-09, 09:18 PM
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electrik
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In theory a 29"/700c would be a bit better for commuting in general, in practice a 26" works just fine.

Here is my take in regards to winter,
29" wheelsets roll along smoother and have the longer contact patch, both help when you are moving and with float but, these wheels are at a disadvantage due to their ungainly diameter when you're moving slowly, starting and stopping. One area I can see a 29r being more comfortable is on rutted trails due to the lower angle of attack(don't hurt me gary fisher, i'm parroting what you told me to!) when rolling the small bumps from frozen footprints.

Depending on your 29r frame the bottom bracket may be high and the chainstays will for sure be longer than a 26r, a high bottom bracket is good for clearing obstacles on a trail but makes it harder to balance and corner. If the chainstays are longer on your 29r you will also have trouble putting power to the rear-wheel contact patch. Since you are positioned further away, this is good for 29r going uphill but is a negative asset on flat-ground which is loose, like snow on a road. The 29r will also have a longer wheel-base, this should help to make it more stable at speed, but will make it tippier than a 26r at low-speed. Also your 29r low-gearing/gear-inches will not be as low as a 26r.

Anyways, those were just some thoughts I had deciding if it is worth upgrading, my answer was no. I still ride a 26r in the winter and it's fine. If i was just getting into things now, i would go 29r though... esp since Nokian now makes 29r extreme tires.
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Old 12-16-09, 09:58 PM
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With 29er Nokians (and any wide 700C tire) as an option, tire selection seems to have dropped off the list of negatives.

So I'd vote 29er.

Though I won't we buying one myself anytime soon, for reasons unrelated to winter commuting.
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Old 12-16-09, 10:11 PM
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My winter commuter... '88 Kuwahara Shasta.

Light, fast, and rides like a dream because of the long wheelbase, slack angles, and 26 by2.0 tyyres... am running it without studs right now and it's road holding abilities are also quite excellent.

These were sold as mtb's but are really beefed up touring frames that take 26 inch wheels... many early to mid eighties mtb's were like this and they make excellent winter road / commuter bikes.
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Old 12-17-09, 09:56 AM
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This is a not a true 29er but close. It originally had straight bars rather than the "dirt drops" it has now. It was marketed by Bianchi as a "Cross Terrain" bike in the mid 90's. I like the versatility. I have two sets of studded tires, a skinny set of 35s and a wider set of 40s. I may even get an extreme for the front (not quite enough clearance in the rear).

So far its been the best handling bike in the snow that I've used. As far as non-winter use goes, it could easily be used as either a cross-country or touring bike. If it weren't so heavy it probably wouldn't be a bad cyclocross bike either.

With it's original tires one thing that's striking about it is how high up I feel when I'm riding it.

Last edited by tjspiel; 12-17-09 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 12-17-09, 11:02 AM
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This year I'm riding a fixed gear Karate Monkey with 29" Nokian extreme tires and in the past I've used a 26" rigid MTB for winter commuting. I tend to stick to side streets in the winter, which often means riding through foot-and-a-half-deep ice ruts. In those situations the larger wheel coupled with a grippy tire really help you climb out of the ruts. The larger wheels do smooth out bumpy, cratered surfaces as well.

Probably my favorite winter set up was what I rode last year; a 29" Nokian in the front and a 26" homemade tire in the rear. I got most of the advantages of the big wheel but the 26" wheel was a little easier to get up to speed. The homemade tire didn't have any studs along the center line either, so it felt like it rolled a bit easier as well.
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Old 12-17-09, 11:51 AM
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I vote 29'r. I think it a superior option. When it's an option.
I'll be building my second 26" this weekend.

Compromises.
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