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I frankly did not know I owned a vintage mountain bike (Ellsworth Truth circa 2004ish) until I joined this forum seeking advice. Now I am curious to understand in a simple way what exactly it is that makes the bike and format apparently woefully outdated. I will say Im a fan of older simple things that are good enough and satisfying to own. Often find id rather buy the absolute best of the not so new than the low end new thing. My newest car is an 89 Bmw 325i that is perfectly modern for my taste, affordable, good looking (to me). So Im not a tech evangelist who must have the newest. I do not do anything approximating racing (with the car or bike) so Im not chasing seconds or shaving grams. Im asking not a leading question but just to understand where we’re at...
 

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The real answer to your question is geometry. Were a 26er to be made with progressive geometry, it wouldn't be outdated. Unfortunately, the market decided 26 was obsolete before progressive geometry existed. Therefore, all 26ers are obsolete. And because this was the most meaningful change in the history of mountain biking, you'd really be doing yourself a disservice to pay real money for any 26er these days--and this is coming from a guy who really likes 26" wheels.
 

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The real answer to your question is quality replacement components. Unless one has a stockpile of quality parts one will find it increasingly difficult to keep a 26'er rolling.

The statement that "all 26er's are obsolete" is an ignorant statement. I do agree that one is better off purchasing a 27.5 or 29er today for reasons provided above. To be clear, I'm not stating twodownzero to be ignorant.
 

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R&D into new designs, better suited to the needs of the majority of bikers today is all going to 27.5 and 29 bikes.
Geometry is the most obvious recipient of improvements and parts - drive trains, shocks and forks and such are all being designed for new bikes with different components. You could upgrade some components to an older 26er, but some, like forks and some tire options (such as Maxxis WT tires) might be much harder to replace.
I'm in agreement with both of the above.
 

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One reason the OP's bike may be considered outdated has nothing to do with the wheel size, but rather with the suspension design. There have been a lot of advancements and refinements in suspension design in the past 15+ years.

FWIW, I retired my high-end 26" bike a few years ago due to lack of available quality replacement tires, wheels, and forks, and not because of geometry. By the geometry standard all of my 29ers are outdated too.
 

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IF you just ride for pleasure and don't push your bike hard, nothing wrong with any bike really.

But if you're pushing your limits on trails that allow you to do so older geometry common on most 26" bikes will limit your ability to progress after a point.

I have a 7 year old pimped out 26" bike, would have retailed for $8k+ with all the parts on there now, but have more fun on a 4 year old Kona Process 153 that I biult up used with middle tier components... The older bike just isn't as stable and capable at speed as the newer bike.

It all comes down to geometry, shifting, braking and suspension is a little better, but the frame geometry is where the real magic has been happening over the last 6-7 years
 

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I frankly did not know I owned a vintage mountain bike (Ellsworth Truth circa 2004ish) until I joined this forum seeking advice. Now I am curious to understand in a simple way what exactly it is that makes the bike and format apparently woefully outdated. I will say Im a fan of older simple things that are good enough and satisfying to own. Often find id rather buy the absolute best of the not so new than the low end new thing. My newest car is an 89 Bmw 325i that is perfectly modern for my taste, affordable, good looking (to me). So Im not a tech evangelist who must have the newest. I do not do anything approximating racing (with the car or bike) so Im not chasing seconds or shaving grams. Im asking not a leading question but just to understand where we’re at...
In truth, if your bike suits your needs, stick with it.

But I challenge you rent a new bike with either 27.5 or 29er wheels so that you can experience how much mountain bikes have advanced. It's pretty amazing.
 

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Ive seen people spend $8000 on a TV to sit in front of their whole life and get type 2 diabetes. But I need to justify my $4000 new bike, and quantify every way its better than my last bike...

We have the weirdest priorities. If you dont want to be buying new bikes, dont do it. I like new bikes, even if you dont feel the differences are significant.
 

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It is a broad question, not sure what op means?

Industry is brutally competitive. As example, Some companies took risks around things like wheel size. Customers liked it. Many copied, others late to party.

Carbon became feasible at lower cost in China--customers want it. Put a hurt on some boutique Aluminum frame makers like Ellsworth, as well as some specializing in titanium.

Other things are just incremental changes happening in any competitive industry. Hydroforming, tapered headsets, axle width, tire width, bar width.

Compared to 2004, ridiculously long travel trail bikes,e.g., 150 mm+, climb well.

The industry is still brutally competitive, but smaller boutiques like Ellsworth, Turner no longer offer same range of frame options, colors or builds--it's too costly for the customer base that's left.

Fewer frame only options across the industry.



Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
 

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I frankly did not know I owned a vintage mountain bike (Ellsworth Truth circa 2004ish) until I joined this forum seeking advice. Now I am curious to understand in a simple way what exactly it is that makes the bike and format apparently woefully outdated. I will say Im a fan of older simple things that are good enough and satisfying to own. Often find id rather buy the absolute best of the not so new than the low end new thing. My newest car is an 89 Bmw 325i that is perfectly modern for my taste, affordable, good looking (to me). So Im not a tech evangelist who must have the newest. I do not do anything approximating racing (with the car or bike) so Im not chasing seconds or shaving grams. Im asking not a leading question but just to understand where we’re at...
What size wheels does your 1989 BMW run?

What size wheels does a 2019 BMW run?

Would you be surprised if they were different?

You kinda answered your own question, as things age, technology advances, specs change, it's the way it is.

You can still find parts for your old BMW and your old bike, but don't expect new tech for old applications.
 

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r-mm, there's still plenty of 26er's being happily ridden around and doing basically anything a 27.5 wheel can do. Your Truth is an XC bike, with XC geometry, and if you like riding it, do not let industry PR-generated news tell you that you can't. And don't try to push your bikes limits......it's not a big sucker or DH ripper. But the Truth is still a 4-bar linkage driven suspension , and it has always pedaled and handled well. Still does.
 

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Given equal geo on both bikes...the 27.5 isn't a huge difference compared to a 26. I remember Specialized did not want to move to 27.5. I recall seeing somewhere that in Spesh's own testing is that they didn't find much or any differences between 26 and 27.5 wheels. They moved to 27.5 because if they didn't...they'd be losing out on a lot of sales. Look at Santa Cruz when they first came out with the Bonson...they could not keep that bike in stock. That's when Santa Cruz really blew up.

Same with going from 142 to 148. I have yet to see a third party test on the claims of the 148 being any better than the 142. It's just the bike industry's way of moving forward. Its either you move with the rest of the industry...or get left behind. I think Knolly is the only company to skip 148 and move to 157 instead.
 

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One reason the OP's bike may be considered outdated has nothing to do with the wheel size, but rather with the suspension design. There have been a lot of advancements and refinements in suspension design in the past 15+ years.
I would argue there has been almost no real development, everyone has jumped to the Horst Link now the patent has expired! The only tweaks are probably to cater a to a single ring and the proliferation of air shocks.

FWIW, I retired my high-end 26" bike a few years ago due to lack of available quality replacement tires, wheels, and forks, and not because of geometry.
You can still buy decent 26" rims. Stan Flows, Maxxis make plenty of tires including their top ones. How often do you wear out a fork? I have Blacks, Nixon and Travis forks that are still being ridden. They're not worn out.

I think the single biggest difference between my current bike and one of my favourite bikes is weight. I have an 06 Enduro Expert with 150mm of travel, I've now got it down to a modern weight as they were a little overbuilt to begin with. Seat angle isn't great but it's great fun downhill.
 

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Given equal geo on both bikes...the 27.5 isn't a huge difference compared to a 26. I remember Specialized did not want to move to 27.5. I recall seeing somewhere that in Spesh's own testing is that they didn't find much or any differences between 26 and 27.5 wheels.
And that's what I find so frustrating. I've ridden my bike (14 E26) against the 15 version 650B back to back in a bike park. There was no difference. I think the industry could have existed quite happily with 26 and 29. But now they're making DH bikes with big wheels I can't see the point of keeping 650B now.
Que 20mm and 150mm axle rant.
 

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Unfortunately the 27.5 is the new 26er.

According to strava almost all of my fastest times were on my cannondale rush sl6, which was a 26er. I really like how nimble the smaller tires feel. I sold the rush because the internet told me I needed a 29er and I hated that thing.

I have a 27.5 now and I like it a lot.
 

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And that's what I find so frustrating. I've ridden my bike (14 E26) against the 15 version 650B back to back in a bike park. There was no difference. I think the industry could have existed quite happily with 26 and 29. But now they're making DH bikes with big wheels I can't see the point of keeping 650B now.
Que 20mm and 150mm axle rant.
I don't think Gwin has been the same since the switch to the 29r.
 

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My next mtb will be a brand spanking new 26er. Hopefully, something like this...

EE270A8D-479E-4DC6-9A83-FB5F4DF8AB7E.jpg

View attachment 1265557



I think the industry could have existed quite happily with 26 and 29. But now they're making DH bikes with big wheels I can't see the point of keeping 650B now.
Yup, that is why it is actually the non-plus 27.5” that is outdated. 27.5” is dying at a very rapid pace right now and a big part of that is because in every discipline of mtb there is another wheel size that will perform better than the 27.5”.
 

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My personal opinion on "obsolete" geometry and 26" is... marketing aside, they're not really that obsolete. I still have a 2003 Gary Fisher Sugar 3+ that I purchased new. In 2006, it was as good an off road bike as there was. By today's geometry standards, it certainly isn't a trail bike, but I still consider it a capable XC bike by today's standards. As for finding parts for it... not an issue. They can still be found new from all the major brands. It's been through some refreshing, and has a 2017 RockShox fork, a 2016 Fox shock, 2018 XT brakes, 2019 Kenda tires, 2018 RaceFace bar and stem, 2017 RaceFace rings (yeah, it's still a 3x!), new BB, new headset, etc., etc. Heck, Trek (which purchased Gary Fisher many years ago) still carries pivot/frame bushings for it, which by the way, are still used on current Trek models today! How obsolete is that :)

Don't get me wrong... I love and daily ride a 2018 greatest latest trail bike. But there's no reason the '03 can't be ridden just as well, and I sometimes do. There isn't a trail I don't think I can't take the '03 on that I ride my '18 on... I just need make sure I select the right line, and plan ahead more. :)

My point is, I don't completely agree that older 26" bikes are completely obsolete functionally. But yeah, newer stuff is better suited.
 
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