Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Trips, adventures, bikes, equipment, etc.
User avatar
3spd
Posts: 411
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 5:37pm
Location: Leicestershire

Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby 3spd » 8 Oct 2012, 12:34pm

Everyone is recommending swapping to 29's, bigger is better but wait a minute now 650's are being suggested as the new "thing". They're nearer to my 26" so could the the big thing after 650's be 26". :D

I'll just keep using my old bike for now.
My worse day on my bike is better than my best day at work!

User avatar
Claireysmurf
Posts: 612
Joined: 18 Nov 2011, 12:10am
Contact:

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby Claireysmurf » 8 Oct 2012, 2:24pm

I have just bought a Specialized Hardrock 29er. The wheels are enormous on it, far bigger than on my audax bike. I bought a large (cannot recall if it is 19 or 20") frame and the overall effect is like an engine-less Yamaha DT125 with pedals Image

OK, so I have exaggerated a bit...but I do wonder if I should have gone for a 26"

Image

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15173
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby Si » 8 Oct 2012, 3:39pm

I look at it like this.... 29" wheels make the ride smoother- thus requiring less power, but 26" wheels make the bike handle better on technical twisty stuff.

So imagine that you go out with your mates and find yourself lagging behind on a twisty bit of single track that has a few roots across it and a good bit of mud, you then catch them up: ask yourself how you caught them - did you do it by 1) putting down a load of extra power and just crashing the bike over and through any obstacles, or did you do it by 2) continuing with a similar amount of power but picking your lines and deftly negotiating the obstacles?

If 1), you rely more on your power than your bike handling so 26" wheels will help to improve the lines that you take and what little bike handling ability you have.

If 2), you rely more on your bike handling, so 29" will help you with your lack of power.

I'm sticking with 26" as I don't normally have trouble powering my bike along, but there are a few tracks I ride (like 'Snakey' at Cannock Chase) where I can only get around a couple of the hair-pins with a 26" wheeled, small framed bike.

Riderchris
Posts: 5
Joined: 11 Jun 2011, 10:06am

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby Riderchris » 11 Oct 2012, 2:56pm

Some say '29er' is just another marketing ploy by the big manufacturers.

User avatar
hubgearfreak
Posts: 8210
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 4:14pm

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby hubgearfreak » 11 Oct 2012, 3:07pm

Si wrote:I look at it like this.... 29" wheels make the ride smoother- thus requiring less power, but 26" wheels make the bike handle better on technical twisty stuff.


that's from the POV of an MTBer. on canal tracks, bridlepaths, sustrans routes and even UK roads where the majority of MTBs are ridden, the extra smoothness of a 29er (or an even bigger rimmed 28er) is all advantageous. as for requiring less power, i'm not so sure - aren't all 29ers a bit heavier and thus require more effort to accelerate and climb with?

and in any case, they look out of proportion for anyone but the tallest of riders on the biggest of bikes. but then tall riders on big bikes look silly on 559/26

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15173
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby Si » 11 Oct 2012, 3:23pm

hubgearfreak wrote:
Si wrote:I look at it like this.... 29" wheels make the ride smoother- thus requiring less power, but 26" wheels make the bike handle better on technical twisty stuff.


that's from the POV of an MTBer. on canal tracks, bridlepaths, sustrans routes and even UK roads where the majority of MTBs are ridden, the extra smoothness of a 29er (or an even bigger rimmed 28er) is all advantageous.



Well, as it's in the "Mountain Biking" sub forum I'd assumed that the question was more aimed at the MTB perspective. For the average track that doesn't need an MTB then I'd suggest that the difference between 26 and29 isn't really going to be that noticeable.


as for requiring less power, i'm not so sure - aren't all 29ers a bit heavier and thus require more effort to accelerate and climb with?


I was talking in terms of the power required to ride over rough terrain - the 29er doesn't go so deep into depressions and rolls easier over lumps due to its increased size, and thus, in theory, would need less power to negotiate such obstacles. In terms of a nice smooth surface, smaller wheels ought to accelerate easier but bigger wheels will hold the momentum better.

And to throw another herring into the bucket, I would suggest that you need to have attained a certain level of ability before you would really notice the difference anyway....so another reason for me sticking with 26".

User avatar
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby meic » 11 Oct 2012, 3:26pm

but then tall riders on big bikes look silly on 559/26


Only marginally more so than on the 700C bike. :oops:
Yma o Hyd

Newtface
Posts: 223
Joined: 17 Apr 2012, 6:41pm

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby Newtface » 12 Oct 2012, 7:26am

The big bike companies are going more and more in the direction of 29ers , with fewer 26" in their ranges. We may get to the point at some stage, where we're almost forced into riding a 29er due to lack of choice. I've got limited experience with the new wagon wheels, but I'll chuck in an opinion anyway. The 29ers I've ridden have rolled like a steamroller ~ lots of momentum, but slow to accelerate. Heavy feeling, but fast once up to speed. The major impression I have is the weight of the front wheel and how much gyroscopic force it has, making the bike so much harder to turn. There might be better 29ers which have overcome this with lighter wheels and clever geometry, but I've yet to ride one. Getting back on my own 26", it felt lively, quick, nippy and manoeuvrable by comparison, and I was glad to switch back. I think it's very much a horses for courses thing and unproven which is better or faster. I'm interested and will ride more 29ers when I get the chance, but it would take something very special to make me spend money on one.

PhilWhitehurst
Posts: 260
Joined: 9 Aug 2011, 4:14pm

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby PhilWhitehurst » 16 Oct 2012, 8:05pm

MTB Olympic golds were won on 29" wheels

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15173
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby Si » 17 Oct 2012, 8:34am

PhilWhitehurst wrote:MTB Olympic golds were won on 29" wheels


Don't think that you can extrapolate much from that - there were many other features unique to the winners that would have to be removed from the equation first.

User avatar
Yowsah
Posts: 14
Joined: 29 Oct 2012, 12:12pm
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby Yowsah » 3 Nov 2012, 1:48pm

I have a specialized rockhopper 29er and absolutely love it. However, I also have a rather nice retro Bontrager Privateer S which is obviously on 26" wheels. I like them both but there again as I'm 55 years old I don't hurtle down death-defying mountains etc. I wonder if your local bike shop or fellow mountainbiker could give you a go on a 29er to help make up your mind. I certainly have no regrets getting a 29er.

andymiller
Posts: 1716
Joined: 8 Dec 2007, 10:26am

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby andymiller » 11 Nov 2012, 5:47pm

Larger wheels mean that frame designers have to make fewer compromises in designing the frame in larger sizes and vice versa for smaller sizes. I'd take all the other claims about 29ers with a very large pinch of salt - the bike manufacturers want to sell bikes so of course they'll try to convince you you need another bike.
Italy Cycling Guide - a resource for cycle touring in Italy.

PhilWhitehurst
Posts: 260
Joined: 9 Aug 2011, 4:14pm

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby PhilWhitehurst » 11 Nov 2012, 9:07pm

Si wrote:
PhilWhitehurst wrote:MTB Olympic golds were won on 29" wheels


Don't think that you can extrapolate much from that - there were many other features unique to the winners that would have to be removed from the equation first.


You can extrapolate that 29" are equally good as 26" for cross country riding

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15173
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby Si » 12 Nov 2012, 10:47am

PhilWhitehurst wrote:
Si wrote:
PhilWhitehurst wrote:MTB Olympic golds were won on 29" wheels


Don't think that you can extrapolate much from that - there were many other features unique to the winners that would have to be removed from the equation first.


You can extrapolate that 29" are equally good as 26" for cross country riding



Well, not really given that there were different riders involved. I would suggest that the gold medal winner, riding a folding 20" wheeled shopping bike, would still beat me on my MTB.

User avatar
al_yrpal
Posts: 8977
Joined: 25 Jul 2007, 9:47pm
Location: Think Cheddar and Cider
Contact:

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

Postby al_yrpal » 12 Nov 2012, 10:59am

One of the MTB mags did a comparison long ago. They took two top riders and sent them off on a 29er and 26er on the same course and timed them. Then they swopped. The result was not clear at all. The guys didnt really prefer one or the other. Personally, I think its a plot to sell even more bikes.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. Make a difference...