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"doesn't feel like a 29er"...

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I googled the thread title after reading that claim in an article.  It gets used a good bit, turns out.

 

Is there a geometry/suspension/wheel construction that combats the wallowy feel I have had in my brief 29er experience on DH singletrack?  The same trail descent on a 26 felt more... precise.

 

 

post #2 of 25

It's inevitably going to be easier to do certain things on the smaller wheel. 

post #3 of 25

29ers have improved vastly over the past few years.  Just like skis there are way too many choices. As a bike shop owner, I am fortunate to have a quiver of bikes, most people don't.  Are you looking for more DH capability or more XC oriented?  4", 5" or more?  Hardtail or FS?

post #4 of 25

http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Burning-Question-Will-the-29er-Replace-the-26-2011.html

 

This addresses some of the issues. 

 

View this as kinda analogous to why 20" bmx bikes are a lot of fun, even for adults, can be used on pumptracks,  but also suck at even buff singletrack. 

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post

29ers have improved vastly over the past few years.  Just like skis there are way too many choices. As a bike shop owner, I am fortunate to have a quiver of bikes, most people don't.  Are you looking for more DH capability or more XC oriented?  4", 5" or more?  Hardtail or FS?



Great questions, thanks for helping me focus.  I want a bike that is fun on the way down, that is probably priority #1.  That said, my interests are recreational and I don't plan on looking for sick air, more like a bike that will bring out the best in me on a single track descent.  I am not too worried about weight, I'll compensate with watt output on the way up.  I did have a lovely climb on a single speed hard tail last year, but again, that is lower on my priority queue.

 

 

post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post

29ers have improved vastly over the past few years.  Just like skis there are way too many choices. As a bike shop owner, I am fortunate to have a quiver of bikes, most people don't.  Are you looking for more DH capability or more XC oriented?  4", 5" or more?  Hardtail or FS?


I've been thinking about getting a hardtail 29er with 4" fork for XC.  What would you recommend?

Thx.

 

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by exracer View Post


I've been thinking about getting a hardtail 29er with 4" fork for XC.  What would you recommend?

Thx.

 



a 4 inch travel FS 29er. 

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by FairToMiddlin View Post

I googled the thread title after reading that claim in an article.  It gets used a good bit, turns out.

 

Is there a geometry/suspension/wheel construction that combats the wallowy feel I have had in my brief 29er experience on DH singletrack?  The same trail descent on a 26 felt more... precise.

 

 


All 29ers will have a different feel. With that said, the new Flash and Scalpel from Cannondale are really, really precise.  The Fisher lineup isn't bad.  One gets used to it pretty quickly, and I find that 29ers are definitely faster, when hitting small debris, or cornering. I can rail a soft, dusty corner that would dump me on any 26" bike if I tried the same line.  I find that I just ride more directly on a 29er; tend to lift the bike more, and pedal through stuff.  Anyways, a 26 will always be a bit more precise, and technical descents with air are probably where they shine best.  For general technical trail riding, I would take a 29er every time. I am faster and make less mistakes on it. Even my cross bike is faster than my 26" bike most of the time, provided it is fall/spring and the trails aren't dusty. I can shave 10 minutes off my 1:45 commute on singletrack to the shop (at least) which is mostly smoothish singletrack, over my 5" 28lb 26" bike.  

 

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post


All 29ers will have a different feel. With that said, the new Flash and Scalpel from Cannondale are really, really precise.  The Fisher lineup isn't bad.  One gets used to it pretty quickly, and I find that 29ers are definitely faster, when hitting small debris, or cornering. I can rail a soft, dusty corner that would dump me on any 26" bike if I tried the same line.  I find that I just ride more directly on a 29er; tend to lift the bike more, and pedal through stuff.  Anyways, a 26 will always be a bit more precise, and technical descents with air are probably where they shine best.  For general technical trail riding, I would take a 29er every time. I am faster and make less mistakes on it. Even my cross bike is faster than my 26" bike most of the time, provided it is fall/spring and the trails aren't dusty. I can shave 10 minutes off my 1:45 commute on singletrack to the shop (at least) which is mostly smoothish singletrack, over my 5" 28lb 26" bike.  

 


we all know the faster bike in bend is the Giant Anthem X29er Craig and decker proved it;) 

 

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post


... Even my cross bike is faster than my 26" bike most of the time, provided it is fall/spring and the trails aren't dusty...

 



This would be true for a surprising number of people.  But, put them in a dry, blocky stream bed and the 26" bike is a lot of fun, if you have the bike handling skills (and if the suspension and geometry are up to snuff), and the cross bike can't function.  Horses for courses.

 

 

 

post #11 of 25

Oh, are we having this thread again?

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

Oh, are we having this thread again?



Ehh, it's always a good one.  Very similar to the ski shape discussions.  One difference is that it's tough for anyone to judge any current bikes unless they get their suspension tuned well; it makes even a bigger difference than waxing for skis imo.  For XC, one real benefit of 29ers is in fact that they're less dependent on the suspension being sorted well.

 

 

 

post #13 of 25

I agree with about everyone here. If riding strictly downhill, I feel more comfortable on a 26" bike. Especially if things are very technical. That's not something I ride much of though, as I'm almost strictly an XC guy, so my hardtail 29er is the only mtb I own. I've found that pretty much no other bike beats it for me in the woods. Then again, I spend about 75% of my miles on a road bike, so who am I to talk anyway  biggrin.gif

 

If you looking for a bike that is a lot of fun on the downhill but is actually half decent at everything else, I recommend Cannondale's 26" Jekyll. I've spent a few days on one and had an all around good time riding here in WV. Both times consisted of fairly technical descents and a good bit of climbing. I was actually surprised at how well the bike did when not going downhill. It's not as fast as my carbon Flash 29er, but the ride is much more comfy. Cannondale calls it an "OverMountain" bike. The Scott 26" Genius is also a killer "all-mountain" bike. I've got a friend who rides one and says that there's no bike like it and he absolutely loves it.

 

If you're dead set on a 29er, there's always the new Scapel if you're willing to drop that much bank. So far I've heard nothing but good things from the few guys I know that are riding them. Personally, I'd go with a Scott Spark though. Roughly the same bike, for lots cheaper.

 

 

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

a 4 inch travel FS 29er. 

why FS? have you ridden his trails with him and determined that he's wrong in saying he wants a HT?

I find it curious when people reflexively suggest FS bikes to any "what bike?" question. It reminds me of people who suggest 110mm waisted skis as "daily drivers" for East Coast hardpack skiers.

To the original poster FTM:

An experience you have on one single bike on one isolated occasion isn't really ground to make a generalization about anything. It's one experience, at one place, on one bike, with your mind and body in one of many possible situations (fitness, mental tranquility, etc) on that given day.

I've ridden 29ers that handle like barges and others that handle as well as some 26ers. Some of the barges were hardtails, some were FS.

The geometries of 29ers have been changing constantly since they gained a bit of mainstream popularity -- I'd peg that as happening during the past 7 years or so, though there were marginalized 29er bikes and riders before that.

What has caused a lot of 29er bikes to handle sluggishly is a tendency to have longer chainstays, which makes the back wheel track more slowly and wider in a tight corner. The trade-off is the bike is more stable -- it wants to go straight (even when you don't want to go straight), and will do so even if things get rough. But frame builders and designers have been shortening the chainstays on 29er bikes and they're starting to get much crisper cornering than they had on the whole as recently as 4 years ago.

Other factors contribute to a bicycle's handling, but I think what I've just described tends to explain the majority of barge-like 29ers during the past 7 years or so.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

For XC, one real benefit of 29ers is in fact that they're less dependent on the suspension being sorted well.

Can you explain what you mean by this?

Near as I've been able to tell, all suspension works better if it's been properly adjusted (spring rate, damping amounts), and it hasn't mattered whether the bike was 29 or 26 in that respect. And for XC purposes I haven't seen many XC courses where FS is faster than HT. So I'm just kinda confused!biggrin.gif
Edited by GrizzledVeteran - 3/9/12 at 3:38pm
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post



a 4 inch travel FS 29er. 


I've already got a FS Santa Cruz Blur XC that I love and aren't going to change.  I want to try a 29er hardtail for riding fire roads.

 

post #16 of 25

A 96er is more fun than a 29er but slower. The Moots Gristle I tried was $5000 but it sure was fun.

post #17 of 25



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FairToMiddlin View Post

Is there a geometry/suspension/wheel construction that combats the wallowy feel I have had in my brief 29er experience on DH singletrack?  The same trail descent on a 26 felt more... precise.

 

 


29er wheels are bigger so the rims, longer spokes, and tires are heavier.  In order to combat this a lot of people try to build light wheels.  If you use a light rim and spokes you are going to end up with wheel that is twistier and less precise when steering.  Bigger wheel equals more sideways torque, which means if you don't have a substantially beefier rim and spokes than on your 26" wheel you will feel a very noticeable difference.  Light 29er wheels give worse steering. Pay the weight penalty or the steering penalty, dealer's choice.
 

 


Edited by mudfoot - 4/14/12 at 3:27pm
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post



 


29er wheels are bigger so the rims, longer spokes, and tires are heavier.  In order to combat this a lot of people try to build light wheels.  If you use a light rim and spokes you are going to end up with wheel that is twistier and less precise when steering.  Bigger wheel equals more sideways torque, which means if you don't have a substantially beefier rim and spokes than on your 26" wheel you will feel a very noticeable difference.  Light 29er wheels give worse steering. Pay the weight penalty or the steering penalty, dealer's choice.
 

 

 +1 on this. I'm a light rider who is easy on gear, and thus I made this mistake naturally (but disappointingly). I had never had a problem with flexy wheels on a 26er, so didn't expect it on my 29er. My frame and fork are plenty stiff, so I'm 90% sure it's the light XC rims. Live and learn.

post #19 of 25

Besides the the wheel flex issues, for my money I think a thru-axle fork is mandatory on a 29er. Everyone I know from the carbon fiber frame riders to the single speeders has a thru-axle 29er fork.  There is a little weight penalty but it is static weight, so not that big of a deal, but the improvement in handling and solid ride are truly amazing.  When I switched from a 26" full suspension to a 29er I felt the fork made a bigger upgrade in handling than the larger wheels.  I'm a big guy, so it was probably more of an issue for me, but IMO trying to steer the front wheel precisely on a technical climb, or railing turns on the downhill, the thru-axle is the way to go.  Some of the companies are even starting to use thru-axles on the rear wheel.


Edited by mudfoot - 6/26/12 at 10:19am
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by exracer View Post


I've already got a FS Santa Cruz Blur XC that I love and aren't going to change.  I want to try a 29er hardtail for riding fire roads.

 

 

If you are riding fireroads, do you think there will be a big difference 26 vs. 29 either way? What is wrong with your blur for this? 

post #21 of 25
I agree with tromano in many ways.

But I'd note these experiences of my own, riding lots of different bikes extensively, in both formats. I've had several 29er hardtails and a 29er FS, and many 26er hardtails and FS.

1) a hardtail is more efficient than a FS bike on dirt roads etc, and

2) from an efficiency standpoint (ground covered per crank revolution) the 29er is superior to the 26er if you can stay on top of the gear.

Staying on top of the gear is tougher than many who haven't ridden 29ers extensively might imagine. When 29ers first surged in popularity, people wanted different drivetrains with easier gears because they felt themselves weaker on the 29er. This is due to the difficulty in staying on top of the gear.

I'd also add that if you never rode a 26er extensively the difference in staying on top of the gear is nullified, so there isn't any real perceived difficulty -- it just is what the bike is.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post


why FS? have you ridden his trails with him and determined that he's wrong in saying he wants a HT?
I find it curious when people reflexively suggest FS bikes to any "what bike?" question. It reminds me of people who suggest 110mm waisted skis as "daily drivers" for East Coast hardpack skiers.
To the original poster FTM:
An experience you have on one single bike on one isolated occasion isn't really ground to make a generalization about anything. It's one experience, at one place, on one bike, with your mind and body in one of many possible situations (fitness, mental tranquility, etc) on that given day.
I've ridden 29ers that handle like barges and others that handle as well as some 26ers. Some of the barges were hardtails, some were FS.
The geometries of 29ers have been changing constantly since they gained a bit of mainstream popularity -- I'd peg that as happening during the past 7 years or so, though there were marginalized 29er bikes and riders before that.
What has caused a lot of 29er bikes to handle sluggishly is a tendency to have longer chainstays, which makes the back wheel track more slowly and wider in a tight corner. The trade-off is the bike is more stable -- it wants to go straight (even when you don't want to go straight), and will do so even if things get rough. But frame builders and designers have been shortening the chainstays on 29er bikes and they're starting to get much crisper cornering than they had on the whole as recently as 4 years ago.
Other factors contribute to a bicycle's handling, but I think what I've just described tends to explain the majority of barge-like 29ers during the past 7 years or so.
Can you explain what you mean by this?
Near as I've been able to tell, all suspension works better if it's been properly adjusted (spring rate, damping amounts), and it hasn't mattered whether the bike was 29 or 26 in that respect. And for XC purposes I haven't seen many XC courses where FS is faster than HT. So I'm just kinda confused!biggrin.gif

 

Unless you've actually built a frame I find it hard to accept you having such deep knowledge about them.

post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by c bell View Post

Unless you've actually built a frame I find it hard to accept you having such deep knowledge about them.

Good for you! You have the courage to doubt someone on the internet! Not only that, you have the arrogance to assume you know that person's background, without ever meeting him.

That's nice work.

I find it hard to accept you know anything at all about bicycles or skiing. Could you post something to prove otherwise?

In the meantime, why would someone have to have built a frame to know what makes geometry click in some settings, but not others?

(take your time)

Also, tell me how you guessed I've never built a frame. There's got to be a great story behind that guess.
post #24 of 25

There's a very cruddy, kind of gonzo story behind it.  


Edited by c bell - 1/8/13 at 3:47pm
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by c bell View Post

There's a very cruddy, kind of gonzo story behind it.  

Once a bell is rung, it cannot be un-rung.

Tell the story.

Ring the bell.

Meanwhile, why not wake up from your dreams of being 007?
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