29ers rule all the way.

by Johan
(Dallas TX)

The 29er is the Cadillac of the single track. They ride with less effort and it is easier to maintain a high average speed. They have long legs. They are nimble and can corner very hard and fast over bumpy terrain, they dig in on turns. They handle really well. They give the rider a feeling of confidence. They are a lot of FUN to ride. I would not ride a 26er again.

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29ers superior

by Dan Irby
(Syracuse, NY, USA)

I started MTB riding in 1981. I've owned more than 10 different bikes since that time. I just switched from a specialized FSR XC to a Trek X Caliber 29er. I will not be buying another 26 inch MTB. Alot of people say that.

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26er for me

by Davis
(American Fork, UT)

I am mainly a trail rider and because of that I have to deal with lots of terrain requiring nimble handling, specifically switchbacks. Because I encounter them roughly 80% of the time that I ride, I need a bike that can turn very sharply even when a web of roots is in my way. I have tried both the 29er and the 26er and the 29er just doesn't quite cut it. It feels like I may or may not make the turn, and for me it helps a lot to be sure that you won't fly off the face of the mountain when you turn.

Bottom line: the 29er may work miracles when you don't require agility as much (it might be a dream to ride on slickrock with these things), but for me and the riding I do, probably not.

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29ers all the way!

by Jiw71
(Canada)

29ers vs. 26ers: This rider votes 29ers. Check out the reasons...

29er All The Way! There are no disadvantages - but a taller rider will adapt quicker from 26".

1. There may be a small difference in acceleration, but once you get those "big" wheels rolling the momentum they carry outweighs any initial acceleration disadvantage.

2. They roll over anything provided you have the proper speed and proper angle of approach - 29er wheels make a lot of technical mistakes seem insignificant.

3. The traction (proper tread design of course) is phenomenal compared to the "small" wheels - especially around tight banked curves. You can really "stick" the tires without braking or slowing.

4. Braking is NOT an issue - especially with the brake systems on the market today.

I could go on and on but for those wanting to try the big wheels - take the plunge - you won't regret it!

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26 fs>29 ht>26 ht

by khan

On some of your points you've mentioned above:

The initial acceleration of the large wheel is poorer but is more than made up by the higher inertia of the wheels. There is a question over this if this inertia becomes a problem going uphill however I think both 26 and 29 are equal here as the increased traction of a 29 compensates.

There was a problem with long wheelbase 29s and twisty singletrack however improvements in geometry has solved this IMO.

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Not Going Back

by Craig
(Florida)

Another vote for 29ers... Do you agree?

Got a 29er Hardtail about a year ago. Had a 26" full suspension. Disadvantages so far? Not as maneuverable in the turns. Harder to find tires and tubes. Some what rougher over very rocky or rooty trails (due to hardtail).


Advantages? Better grip cornering and climbing, faster overall speed, easier climbing (mainly due to hardtail), smoother and easier over obstacles, but the best feature to me is, because of the wider wheel base, I have not even come close to endoing this bike in the last year.


Summary: Since I ride for fun and safety and not for speed, this is the frame for me. I would not go back to the 26" I may however, go for a 29er full suspension, once the technology decreases the weight of the frame to my liking, say 28 lbs or less.


Do you agree with Craig? Join in on the discussion and leave a rating and/or comment below...


Check out this hardtail carbon 29er mountain bike frame marked down 49%. It is a Jamis and the frame weighs in at 3.6 pounds.

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29ers Rock!

by Mark
(Colorado)

I have been mountain biking for several years and have owned many mountain bikes. I now ride a Gary Fisher HiFi 29er. Not only is this bike superior to 26 inch mountain bikes when going over trail obstacles, but it is just plain faster. I love my 29er mountain bike and wouldn't ride anything else!

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Value to Both

by will power
(anywhere, anystate, usa)

"Larger wheels provide better traction because of their larger contact area"

When a corner is slick or sandy, you weight the wheel to make it stick, therefore, more tire area to ground would mean the wheel would be harder to weight. Hence, the larger area of the tire would, as they say in the mx world, "wash out" or slide out.

29ers definitely "roll over" obstacles more easily however, if you stand up and ride aggressively then you should be able to keep the front wheel light and lift it over obstacles.

I raced mx years ago, and I remember the big issue of "sprung" weight, that is the weight that is suspended i.e. the wheels. Adding 3" lengths to spokes, lower gauge spokes, larger circumference rim will add much more weight to this sprung weight slowing the responsiveness of the suspension.

There's also the turning of a larger front wheel. The leading edge of the turning wheel must make a longer arc to turn the same degree as a 26" wheel. This would result in a slower response when making a quick turn.

29ers are popular because they are easier to ride. If you ride casually on weekends, and are mild mannered (think Clark Kent) then you'll love the 29er. If you ride because you are a type A personality and like to vent and compete, and are a seasoned rider, then a 26er will allow you to be quicker and ride more aggressively.

"Riders of 29ers claim that they are less likely to sink in sand or mud." Of course, the 29ers have wider tires, wider rims etc. all at the cost of weight. You could also buy a 26"x2.3 tire, have low air pressure and get the same results. What you can't do with the 29er is thin the rims and tires when riding on hard packed surfaces.

"While climbing steep hills, the front wheel is less likely to lift, which provides better traction ."

This makes no sense, why would the front wheel be less likely to lift? Your climbing at the same angle as a 26er, the only difference would be the heavier front wheel of the 29er.

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29ers

by Philip
(Benoni SA)

I have a 26er and a 29er. I am of the opinion that 29ers are better overall... they roll well and they are comfortable. The geometry is different so they more suited for longer rides.

Like everything they have limits, just like 26er have limits. Even riders have limits.

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29ers for sure


(revelstoke)

Just rode gnarly downhill tracks on a Specialized Stumpjumper 29er. handled great. cleared everything. ate mud for dinner. it wasn't even a downhill bike but made downhilling easy.

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26ers reign supreme. They are so much better

by Sam Murray
(Cazenovia, NY, United States)

The 26 inch keeps you working so you get a better workout and you feel everything that you do. it makes for a much more fun ride.

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