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29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 25 Jun 2014, 6:20pm
by Dave W
I bought a 29 incher last Autumn and whilst it's a very capable bike (Whyte) I can't help but feel that the 29 inch wheel on a mountain bike is total marketing hype.
Ok it rolls slightly better on the rough but everything else is compromised in my opinion. The frame is a mess to look at - extra bends to squeeze the back wheel in, flattened sections to make more room and dreadful tyre clearance. The ride feels a little dead to me due to the massive wheels, all the crud flies up in your face because the front wheel is so far out in front. Lastly as a cross country machine it's impossible to lob it on your shoulder.

What do the rest of you think?
A step forwards?

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 25 Jun 2014, 6:25pm
by Aikon
I borrowed a 29er for a month a couple of years ago & for mostly the reasons you mention I found the compromises outweighed the benefits, this year I borrowed a 650b/27.5 and found this strikes a much better balance so have invested in one.

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 25 Jun 2014, 7:35pm
by firedfromthecircus
Sounds to me like the problem is with the specific bike rather than 29ers in general.

I can put all of my 29ers on my shoulder (not all at once though :P ), and the ride feels lively on all of them.

Remember all bikes are just a different set of compromises and it's up to you to choose the compromises that fit your terrain and riding style the best. For me, if I am off road then that is likely to be a big wheeler (29er or fatbike).

Yes, they are harder to accelerate, and decelerate and steer than a smaller wheeled bike, but the comfort, the roll and the momentum pays off in my mind on anything that is not lovely and smooth.

You pays your money.......

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 25 Jun 2014, 8:44pm
by flash
Yes a lot depends on which 29er. I have a Surly, it's spot on, had a Jones, couldn't get on with it, try a few.....

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 26 Jun 2014, 10:40am
by mrjemm
flash wrote:...had a Jones, couldn't get on with it, try a few.....


Oooh, a rather pricey experiment to not succeed! Especially if the all-singing, all dancing Ti beastie.

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 26 Jun 2014, 1:34pm
by Galloper
I have both 26 and 29er hardtails, I enjoy riding them both but when the 26/29 arguments were in full flow several years ago, I decided to do my own comparitive test. Both bikes weigh roughly the same - 13kg. I took them out on a 19 mile local route which includes a bit of everything, some road, some cyclepath, some fire road and some singletrack. I rode on different days and in identical weather and track conditions. I rode at a normal (for me) pace throughout. The end result was that the 29er completed the route some 6 minutes quicker and at an average .5 mph higher speed. It might not sound much but, effectively, the 29er would have been nearly a mile in front.

That said, as I mentioned at the beginning, I enjoy both bikes and when planning a ride will decide which bike is best suited to the route. The 26er is more nimble and accelerates faster. The 29er is more stable and seems to float effortlessly over steps and small ramps. When descending a fast trail, the 26er is better in the twisty stuff and turns quicker to avoid rocks and other trail debris, the 29er handles rocks, yumps and bumps better.

As to stuff flying up from the front wheel, may I recommend a neo guard, a really useful bit of kit. Or make something similar with a section of old inner tube and some zip ties.

All that said, I'd love to try a 27.5.

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 27 Jun 2014, 3:18pm
by hamster
A lot also depends on your height - if you are over 6' then there will be few compromises on frame sizing. I'm 5'7" and on a road bike I get tyre overlap on 700c - a 29er MTB will be worse or have some odd geometry to get the wheels to fit.

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 27 Jun 2014, 5:18pm
by flash
Unless it's well designed like a Karate Monkey or Canfield.....

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 28 Jun 2014, 1:56pm
by Dave W
Thanks for the tip for the Neoguard - just fitted one this morning.

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 1 Jul 2014, 2:19pm
by ernycb
It will take you more rides than you think to fully conveince you, but :
- If you are not too short
- You do not ride 100% very techy, tight course

Then you will love them in the end !

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 2 Oct 2014, 10:47am
by tenbikes
I've had a few: hated the first [a Genesis first generation]. Then I built a single speed based on a Gary Fisher Rig and it rode superbly! It quickly became the bike of choice [out of a selection of 10!]. Now I have a Salsa Fargo custom build for touring, but often pull it off the rack for local rides.

I still have 26ers and use them, but 29er are hard to beat when used for single speed or touring.

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 11 Oct 2014, 9:46am
by Wesh-Laurence
Virtually all of the new MTBs have 650b ie 27.5" wheels!! This means that the 29er was in fashion for 3 years.

In order to keep selling bikes year after year the manufacturers keep re inventing the wheel.

It's very annoying that manufacturers are producing products that have built in obsolescence of only 3-4 years. It is the same as regards parts, it is now very difficult to buy new suspension forks that don't have tapered steerer tubes which makes a huge number of perfectly good frames obsolete.

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 11 Oct 2014, 10:57am
by al_yrpal
26 to 29 is quite a big step. Bigger wheels roll easier especially over potholes and imperfections.

Al

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 27 Oct 2014, 9:39pm
by Andy_M
Wesh-Laurence wrote:Virtually all of the new MTBs have 650b ie 27.5" wheels!! This means that the 29er was in fashion for 3 years.

In order to keep selling bikes year after year the manufacturers keep re inventing the wheel.

It's very annoying that manufacturers are producing products that have built in obsolescence of only 3-4 years. It is the same as regards parts, it is now very difficult to buy new suspension forks that don't have tapered steerer tubes which makes a huge number of perfectly good frames obsolete.


Not quite as faddish as you describe, of the 288 2015 mountain bikes that Evans sell 132 are 650b and 123 are 29ers, narrow that down to hardtails and the ratio is 58 vs. 82.

Re: 29 incher - all hype?

Posted: 28 May 2015, 2:56pm
by wahoofish
For XCM the 29'er is the overwhelming favorite. If you look at the bikes of the recent ABSA Cape Epic, the 29er is the overwhelming favorite. Having owned and ridden all three sizes fairly extensively, I personally don't see the purpose of the 650b.
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