Originally Posted by Josh Matta
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.
Originally Posted by CTKook
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!Edited by GrizzledVeteran - 3/9/12 at 3:38pm