Sports FAQ
Home / Mountain Biking

29er or not?

beccaB2012-05-08 16:16:07 +0000 #1
The husband and I just got starter mountain bikes last fall. I made the mistake of being cajoled into getting on a friend's 29er. This is going to end up costing me about $800. I'm looking for thoughts and opinions on the pros and cons.
Bethany12012-05-08 16:26:31 +0000 #2
I have a WDS Trek Mamba 29er and love it. However; it depends on what you plan to do with your bike.

29ers roll over anything but aren't exactly agile. They descend beautifully down hills and go up hills fairly easily. However; since I haven't ridden one on a true trail, I don't know how well they roll over things like rocks and logs. They sit higher giving you a better view and I can outrace DH on his bike. Landing is a bit harsh with a bigger bike.

26ers are easy to get and easy to find. You don't have to look for tires as they are standard sizes. They are more agile in turning corners and around tight spaces. DH's bike could easily overtake me on corners and in tight turns.

After being on a 29er riding a 26er makes me feel like I'm pedaling nowhere fast.

Because most of what I do is on gravel roads and not true trails, the 29er is perfect. I can hit 35-40 down hills depending on the grade and not have to pedal so much to get speed.

If your friend will let you try the bike out where you ride, do so and see if it works for you. If not, don't worry about it and get a 26er.
beccaB2012-05-08 16:31:01 +0000 #3
That sounds like good advice, thanks. I may end up keeping the 26 instead of selling it. I wouldn't get much for it because it wasn't a terribly expensive bike to start with. It is the mamba that I was looking at, and I like the gearing and the hydraulic disc brakes. When the store gets the size I need I will probably buy it. I just don't know where to store all these bikes. We just put up an expensive fence and we can't afford to rebuild the barn so I keep some bikes inside the house. It can be a pain since we have a small house too! I'm not particularly fond of technical trails, but as I've found with all things biking and how it opens doors I never knew were there, that could change.
Artista2012-05-08 17:03:02 +0000 #4

Originally Posted by beccaB

I'm not particularly fond of technical trails, but as I've found with all things biking and how it opens doors I never knew were there, that could change.

Not to change the subject, but I too thought that I didn't enjoy technical trails until I got a hard tail bike that fit me better than my old rigid bike. I got the hard tail to do cross country type of riding. Then hubby & I accidentally ended up on a technical trail with the new bike. I was hooked! The hard tail was still a little big for me on the technical stuff so I ended up getting a full suspension that fits perfectly. Now I live to ride technical trails!
Aggie_Ama2012-05-08 17:45:36 +0000 #5
I drank the 29er Koolaid and will not go back. No way, don't take my 29er away! My 29er is nimble, it is fast, it makes the rock gardens feel smaller, it bails me out of trouble on sketchy descents, it makes quick work of downward ledges, climbs like a little goat and many things that would have required a wheel lift on a 26er don't so I am bailing less. My 29er converted me to enjoying technical trails because I was hiking a bike much less.

Here are some things I think make my 29er way better than my Gary Fisher Hifi 26er which I loved very dearly. It is a race geometry but being a full-suspension still does not feel crazy aggressive plus to fit we have to flip the stem to a more upright position. I built custom wheels that are super stiff and brought the weight down to 26-27 lb on a FS 29er. It fits better, even though my Gary Fisher fit very well. I test rode a 29 hardtail and it was super fun, I want to get one in addition to mine.

Overall in Central Texas we have the type of trails perfectly suited for 29ers. Lots of technical in the way of rocks, most aren't overly twisty. The place I find I do see a bit of a disadvantage is in the tight, twisty trails. My husband that is a far better bike handler does not see this issue as much. He also went hardtail after riding a FS 26er for 4 years, he learned on hardtail though and said only rarely does he miss the FS. Neither of us can go back and forth between 29er and 26er, many of my friends feel the same. 29ers are very common here so tires and tubes (we're tubeless but you still need a spare) aren't a problem but most tire manufacturers don't make everything in 29er because it is still the minority of bikes.
jessmarimba2012-05-08 16:51:22 +0000 #6
Love my 29er too! But it also seems like the bike fits me better than any other bike I'd tried.

I haven't done the analysis of pros and cons that some of the women here have, but the first time I demo'ed one I was hooked. I have a hardtail and the bike weighs maybe 23-24 pounds? It's light, agile, stable on descents and I can climb up and over anything.
Bethany12012-05-08 18:14:11 +0000 #7
Sigh. You have a full suspension 29er. I would love one but can't afford it. DH's 26er is full suspension and he loves it.

Only other mountain bike that I would die for is a Surly Pugsley or the new Black Ops. It's probably already sold out though. Those are 26ers with killer wide tires. They roll over stuff like a dream.

You'll like the hydraulic disc brakes. Mine didn't come with them but DH and DS bikes do.

As for space, I understand. I have a one car garage and a small basement. Some of the bikes are out on the back porch (I know it's cruel) some in the garage and some in the basement.

I knew I shouldn't have checked out Surly's website..LOL.
Aggie_Ama2012-05-08 17:48:12 +0000 #8
It's funny, I would consider my bike my obtainable dream bike but I still lust for more bikes.

We have a decent size house (1,700 sq ft) with a two car garage but we're still overflowing with bikes. The two 29er mountain bikes live in the hallway to a room we seldom use, two road bikes in the seldom used guest room, DH's 26er FS is in the garage and DH's Cyclocross bike is also in there. I guess the good thing for us is we are childless so our spare rooms are just wasted space. We want to downsize one day, so bike storage will get interesting I guess.



Other posts in this category