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27.5" inch wheels or 29" inch wheels? What is your opinion?

  • 27.5" Wheels

  • 29" Wheels

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is that b/c of the breaking bumps? the suspension absorbs them i suppose..
To be fair, I haven't compared "like for like" hardtails and full suspension bikes. So take that comment with a grain of salt.

But specifically, this is what I noticed.

I was on a ~2012 26in hardtail XC bike for months before I bought my 2018 Kona Process 153 29'er (again, wildly different bikes).

The first times down the complete front side of Raging River on my hardtail I think my GPS data said I was reaching ~15mph max speeds. Just months later, on the FS bike, I rode the same trails, and reached 20-25mph max speeds. And specifically most of the jumps went from being "how in the world..." to "oh, I could totally do that now if I had the skills".

I feel like now I'm feeling the "flow" of many of the trails much more now, now that I'm riding closer to the speeds that the trail builders likely were envisioning.

Of course some rider progression happened between the few months that I rode the trail. And of course some of the difference was because of 29in wheels, and the geo changes. But I also feel that the suspension helped mute the trail chatter enough that the ~50% faster speeds felt just about as in control as the 15mph did on the hardtail. So yes, braking bumps would be included in that. But also just the general trail noise (roots, rocks, surface irregularities, etc).

I'm sure if I rode a more aggressive hardtail, with the skills I have now (I've only been riding for 2 years, but my first months were on the hardtail... so it was when I was less skilled than I am now, even if my "now" isn't Sam Hill level :)), that I'd be faster, and hitting more things. But I still think for the type of riding that is most prevalent around here, that I'd always be more comfortable/in control, faster, or both, on a full suspension bike. Which I think is why almost all racing disciplines are entirely/predominantly ridden with FS bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
Of those bikes that you listed, I'd be most interested in the Stumpjumper, Fuel EX, and Fluid FS2 (in roughly that order). The Diamondback Release is a fine bike. But its geo and design is a bit dated, as it hasn't been updated since... 2016? maybe 2017? And it wasn't exactly cutting edge then either. The Jeffsey is a good bike, but I've heard lots of bad things about YT's customer service and support, so I'd personally avoid them as well.

Other bikes consider that are also great value:

Rocky Mountain Growler (if you want a hard tail, its likely one of the best ones out there atm, at least imo)
Davinci Marshall
Vitus Mythique
Marin Rift Zone 2 (or 3, if you can squeeze it into the budget)
Marin Alpine Trail 7

Good luck on the search :).
Thank you so much for the help! This will be very helpful for me in the future when I am ready to decide on a bike. I also found on other forums that the Giant Trance 29 is highly recommended by some. Thanks for telling me about the Release and the YT! Then again, the geometry on my bike is 16 years old. The Stumpjumper kind of just seems like an incredible bike, and I have seen many review videos talking about its versatility. I will take many considerations when I am ready to buy a new bike, and make sure to get one that I have done research on and that I know will be a solid upgrade for the money.
 

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Out spokin'
In cog? Neato!
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Sorry I didn't have time to read the entire thread.
I'll simply offer my opinion to this thread's title question: 27.5 or 29.
If you're short, probably 27.5.
If you're tall , probably 29.
If you're on the cusp and still growing, consider how tall you expect to be and how long it'll take to grow into the larger wheel size.
Go as large as practical.
My philosophy may be different than other MTBR members, but largely I view wheel size as one aspect of bike fit.
But then I'm over 6' tall and would not consider any wheel smaller than 29".
I've tried 27.5" wheels as well as plenty of 29" wheeled bikes -- this is how I formed my opinion.
My COG is higher, I'm heavier so prefer the larger wheel's rollover characteristics, strong so handling is no problem, etc.
So simply put for general trail riding: little wheels for little riders, big wheels for big riders.
=sParty
 

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honestly very little. i try and stick to hardtails b/c they are simpler
That's a fine approach and likely works well for you and your circumstances. When giving bike advice, I think it's helpful to provide the basis of one's opinions which includes their experience.
 

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Murica Man
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That's a fine approach and likely works well for you and your circumstances. When giving bike advice, I think it's helpful to provide the basis of one's opinions which includes their experience.
haha i should probably shut up then. lol
 

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Thank you so much for the help! This will be very helpful for me in the future when I am ready to decide on a bike. I also found on other forums that the Giant Trance 29 is highly recommended by some. Thanks for telling me about the Release and the YT! Then again, the geometry on my bike is 16 years old. The Stumpjumper kind of just seems like an incredible bike, and I have seen many review videos talking about its versatility. I will take many considerations when I am ready to buy a new bike, and make sure to get one that I have done research on and that I know will be a solid upgrade for the money.
I suggested the Trance on post #8. I recommended that bike to my cousin who also lives and rides in this area. I really like the spec on it for the price. The reviews are quite good too.
 

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haha i should probably shut up then. lol
No, not all! I appreciate your posts and point of view. I'd just suggest that you spend some time on a FS bike to get more perspective on the matter. It sounds like you're a local and once the pandemic calms down, I'll let you have go on my Guerrilla Gravity FS bike out at Duthie so that you can feel what a long-travel bike is like.
 

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Sorry I didn't have time to read the entire thread.
I'll simply offer my opinion to this thread's title question: 27.5 or 29.
If you're short, probably 27.5.
If you're tall , probably 29.
If you're on the cusp and still growing, consider how tall you expect to be and how long it'll take to grow into the larger wheel size.
Go as large as practical.
My philosophy may be different than other MTBR members, but largely I view wheel size as one aspect of bike fit.
But then I'm over 6' tall and would not consider any wheel smaller than 29".
I've tried 27.5" wheels as well as plenty of 29" wheeled bikes -- this is how I formed my opinion.
My COG is higher, I'm heavier so prefer the larger wheel's rollover characteristics, strong so handling is no problem, etc.
So simply put for general trail riding: little wheels for little riders, big wheels for big riders.
=sParty
LOL! I'm about 6' and ride 27.5 bikes. It's mostly because I came from a long history of riding 26ers and didn't want to do too much of a change from what I knew. If I were new bike shopping today, I'd probably get a 29er. I just don't want to spend money on a new bike now when I really dig the ones I have still.

I'm pretty surprised that the poll favors 27.5.
 

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Murica Man
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No, not all! I appreciate your posts and point of view. I'd just suggest that you spend some time on a FS bike to get more perspective on the matter. It sounds like you're a local and once the pandemic calms down, I'll let you have go on my Guerrilla Gravity FS bike out at Duthie so that you can feel what a long-travel bike is like.
i have ridden a 29er enduro bike but i wasn't able to use it to much because it was a size L and way too big for me. hopefully i can get a fs soon
 

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To be fair, I haven't compared "like for like" hardtails and full suspension bikes. So take that comment with a grain of salt.

But specifically, this is what I noticed.

I was on a ~2012 26in hardtail XC bike for months before I bought my 2018 Kona Process 153 29'er (again, wildly different bikes).

The first times down the complete front side of Raging River on my hardtail I think my GPS data said I was reaching ~15mph max speeds. Just months later, on the FS bike, I rode the same trails, and reached 20-25mph max speeds. And specifically most of the jumps went from being "how in the world..." to "oh, I could totally do that now if I had the skills".

I feel like now I'm feeling the "flow" of many of the trails much more now, now that I'm riding closer to the speeds that the trail builders likely were envisioning.

Of course some rider progression happened between the few months that I rode the trail. And of course some of the difference was because of 29in wheels, and the geo changes. But I also feel that the suspension helped mute the trail chatter enough that the ~50% faster speeds felt just about as in control as the 15mph did on the hardtail. So yes, braking bumps would be included in that. But also just the general trail noise (roots, rocks, surface irregularities, etc).

I'm sure if I rode a more aggressive hardtail, with the skills I have now (I've only been riding for 2 years, but my first months were on the hardtail... so it was when I was less skilled than I am now, even if my "now" isn't Sam Hill level :)), that I'd be faster, and hitting more things. But I still think for the type of riding that is most prevalent around here, that I'd always be more comfortable/in control, faster, or both, on a full suspension bike. Which I think is why almost all racing disciplines are entirely/predominantly ridden with FS bikes.
I'll just add the being able to compress the suspension into jump faces can really help the launch.

I've been riding hardtails for over 35 years and FS for almost 20 and really enjoy what each brings to the table.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Why would you want other people to vote on the bike that YOU plan to ride?
Just to get an opinion on what they think as most of them are way more experienced than me, and also have expierence riding the sizes I am looking at, whereas I have no idea what I am doing.
 
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