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I'm researching both bikes. I'm a Clyde who's been out of serious riding (have been dirt jumping in the interim) and would like to get back into it for the fun and fitness benefits. I currently have a Stuff that I dirt jump with a rigid fork. I owned a Schwinn S-40 way back in 1999 that I wasn't too fond of.

After doing some research and talking to various riders, I don't think a full suspension bike is necesary. I'm torn between the 26 and the 29er of the same-ish spec and price range.

The 26er gets Juicy 5s with both 6" rotors, while the 26er gets a 7" in the front.

The 26er gets a 2 pc crank, while the 29er gets Octalink.

The 26er gets x7 shifters and the 29er gets X5 shifters.

I've ridden the F2 26er in light off road and really liked the Lefty. I couldn't tell it was a single sided fork except visually. I got to test ride the 29er in a parking lot and some small hills. I didn't notice that the wheels were heavier because the lightest wheel I've used in 9 years has been a Rhyno Lite, so that was not a factor for me. The rotor seemed to rub on left hand turns. The bike seemed harder to initiate a turn with than the 26er. It may have been my imagination, but it didn't seem to want to lean without some more effort.

Considering that the F2 gets substantially better parts because they 26" specific parts are less costly, which is going to be the better ride?
 

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Hardtail in a 29er will climb with less rear wheel slip & enable you to pick crappier line & keep the bike upright. You will learn to steer & lean the 29er better with time on it. Get the 29er. I'll never go back to 26 for XC.
 

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I have an 08 F2. It is really quick and snappy compared to my 29er. The 29er beats it though in all other categories.

It really comes down to whether or not you like that acceleration/snap or flickability that a 26 gives you.

I use 29er Rhyno Lites, so maybe that's why it feels a little slower. No big deal though. I could ride 29ers from here on out and not miss 26 inch bikes. I'm tall so the 29er is a 'natch.
 
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