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My wife is 5'3" and wonders if a 29er would be to big. She races on a carbon 26" hardtail now and was wondering about switching to a 29er. What do you think?????
 

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What is the attraction to a 29er for you? Are you following a fad or do you have some specific advantages in mind?
 

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LW Coaching
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eschmid said:
What is the attraction to a 29er for you? Are you following a fad or do you have some specific advantages in mind?
This was a cool thread we had here a while back where girlie 29er pics were posted http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=487339&highlight=29er

It kinda bugs me to be part of a fad but hey some things are fads for a reason...

I like the ride of a 29er better than a 26er and when I am happy and having fun on my bike I ride faster - and I like riding faster.

29ers are more forgiving and comfortable which puts less stress on the body when riding further so I can then ride even further- and I like riding further.

The 29 wheels are more sticky and corners and I can lean my bike and carve thru corners.

The 29 wheel ride like steamrollers and mow over stuff that would bounce me around on a 26.

I think 29 bikes are easier to handle in tech stuff, especially if there are steps or rubble. 29ers plow thru rubble.

29ers are much better single speeds. When I am out of the saddle grinding up a hill at30- 40 rpm the bike is steady and keeps momentum allowing me to be smooth and keep traction with the rear tire. My 26er SS loses momentum and traction sooner and I can't keep smoothly grinding up the steeps.

The front wheel on the 26er is wobbly when I am out of the saddle so I have to expend energy on body tension to retain balance. The point where I don't have energy to spare comes sooner on the 26. So I spend more energy and come off sooner on the steeps on my 26.

29ers are really forgiving and I hate to even type this but....I have never been over the bars on a 29er....eek I just did type that. The big front wheel and long wheelbase does that I think.

:D 29er faddict
 

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Thanks for the imput Lynda. You give a good argument for the larger wheel. I guess I was asking what Glenn's wife is expecting from a 29er. I imagine she should get in on this discussion herself.

I, myself, question the utility of 29er for small riders. As the size of the wheel increase so does its rotational inertia. This means a 29 inch wheel at rest more strongly resists moving compared to a 26 inch wheel. Rotational inertia is a function of the square of the wheel's radius. In other words, as the wheel gets bigger, its difficulty in moving it from rest exponentially grows. I think this puts the small women rider at a disadvantage as this usually means shorter legs and smaller muscles which produce less torque on the pedals. There may be expections for the "power packet" body type that excell at short powerfull bursts that eliminate the disadvantage of the larger rotational inertia.

Of course, the larger wheel provides more angular momentum. This is what is responsible for the stability at speed and over obstacles of larger wheeled bikes. This has led to the sweet ride and popularity of the 29er. It is important to note, however, that angular momentum is a function of the radius but not as the square of the radius as with rotational inertia. Rotational inertia outpaces the angular momentum as wheel sizes grow. From the mountian biker perspective this means that the advantages of the increased stability of a 29er might outweigh the disadvantages of the increased difficultly in making the larger wheel move. I believe that the smaller rider might feel the discrepency between the disadvantages and advatages more than a larger more powerfull rider. What advantages a 6 fot man expreiences on a 29er may not be what a 5 foot two woman will experience.

As an obvious science geek, I am just sharing the theory. Nothing can replace test riding various bikes--both 26 and 29 inch wheeled bikes. Just don't buy a bike on hype alone.
 

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Seeker of Dirt
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Waiting to see

eschmid said:
As an obvious science geek, I am just sharing the theory.
I'm 5' nothing and a mechanical enginerd. My 29-er Black Sheep will be arriving someday... I'll let you know :)
 

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Trail Goddess
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I've played on my 6' tall husband's Kona Kula 29er a couple of times and now I want one too. I'm 5'3" and normally ride a small frame. Though the frame is too big for me, I had no problems. It is really amazing how well these bikes handle techy stuff. Things I have problems riding on my bike were easier on the Kona.

I'm waiting to demo a few other 29ers (in my size) before I get one. I'd love to get the Spider 29er just because I'm prejudiced that way.:p

The funny part of reading this thread is how many of us are in the 5' range and have had little to no problems on the 29er. Almost every time I've talked to someone about being interested in getting one, I got the "shorter people can't ride them" line. The trend in thought is that you'll hit your feet on the tires trying to negotiate techy sections and switchbacks. From what I've heard that isn't really the case.

I'm interested in how many of you that ride 29ers all the time have issues. Do you hit your feet? Is the turn ratio too tight? Have you noticed anything else that I should keep in mind when demoing a 29er?

Fiona
 

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Bored Carp
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I go back and forth between 26 and 29 quite a bit. I think that for more advanced riders, what you will notice is that it takes more body english to really carve and maneuver with the bigger wheels. This isn't bad, just different, and a factor of bigger wheels needing bigger moves, if that makes sense. I have really enjoyed this aspect of the bigger wheels on our Park City singletrack - descending is pretty fun and active. Riders who are just learning or who are less concerned with high speed maneuvering will probably not notice this and will just appreciate the smooth rolling of the bigger wheels.

The Niner Bikes website has a height recommendation for each model, in the geometry charts, for those that are interested.
 

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I ride a Moots with 26" wheels. I'm 5'4". I've never ridden a 29er, but I'm 99% sure I wouldn't like one. Here's why: I bought a Serotta road bike with 700C wheels and a Bike Friday with 451C wheels at almost the same time. The 700C Mavic Kysyrium SL wheels felt sluggish compared to the handbuilt (Ultegra/Alex) 451C wheels. I felt so much faster on the 451C's. Well finally I did a number of time trails on each bike to see which one was really faster. Turns out, I came in with basically the same times on both bikes (actually a second or two faster on two laps on the Bike Friday). So my conclusion was that the size of the wheels doesn't matter, but smaller wheels "feel" faster. I ended up riding the small-wheeled bike so much more, that eventually I sold the Serotta.
 

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Thanks for the imput Lynda. You give a good argument for the larger wheel. I guess I was asking what Glenn's wife is expecting from a 29er. I imagine she should get in on this discussion herself.

I, myself, question the utility of 29er for small riders. As the size of the wheel increase so does its rotational inertia. This means a 29 inch wheel at rest more strongly resists moving compared to a 26 inch wheel. Rotational inertia is a function of the square of the wheel's radius. In other words, as the wheel gets bigger, its difficulty in moving it from rest exponentially grows. I think this puts the small women rider at a disadvantage as this usually means shorter legs and smaller muscles which produce less torque on the pedals. There may be expections for the "power packet" body type that excell at short powerfull bursts that eliminate the disadvantage of the larger rotational inertia.

Of course, the larger wheel provides more angular momentum. This is what is responsible for the stability at speed and over obstacles of larger wheeled bikes. This has led to the sweet ride and popularity of the 29er. It is important to note, however, that angular momentum is a function of the radius but not as the square of the radius as with rotational inertia. Rotational inertia outpaces the angular momentum as wheel sizes grow. From the mountian biker perspective this means that the advantages of the increased stability of a 29er might outweigh the disadvantages of the increased difficultly in making the larger wheel move. I believe that the smaller rider might feel the discrepency between the disadvantages and advatages more than a larger more powerfull rider. What advantages a 6 fot man expreiences on a 29er may not be what a 5 foot two woman will experience.

As an obvious science geek, I am just sharing the theory. Nothing can replace test riding various bikes--both 26 and 29 inch wheeled bikes. Just don't buy a bike on hype alone.
Everything you say about rotational inertia and momentum is correct, except when you ride a 29er over bumpy surfaces. I ride mine over cobblestones all the time and the guys on 26ers can't keep up, especially when we're going downhill, and I'm not a particularly fast rider. It's as though each stone, rock or bump is a smaller speed bump on my 29er, so I lose a lot less momentum when it gets real bumpy and I work less to maintain my speed. This may make it even better for smaller riders. Some of my friends that don't ride 29ers (they're becoming fewer) ask me if it's harder to pedal a larger wheel. I say no, it's actually easier. And now the wheel weights are coming down, so it's even less of an issue.
 

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see me rollin, they hatin
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when i find a dual suspension 29er with less than a 22 inch top tube i'll listen. (and it cant cost 5k) i dont think there's and option for me yet.
 

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Nicole, you might try a Giant Anthem 29er. I never thought I'd fit on a 29er properly, being 5'1" with a short torso & reach, but this bike totally rocks it for me. I put a slightly shorter stem on it than the stock stem, and it's perfect. No issues with toe overlap, ever. I got the Anthem in late May and have only ridden my 26" FS about a half dozen times since then, while I've logged well over 1000 miles on the Anthem this year.
 

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I can attest to mudgirl's comment. She tried my Misfit Dissent during one ride and completely changed her mind about 29ers and not being for shorter riders. Even though the Misfit is singlespeed, she immediately took off on the bike and surprised herself, I think, on how easily she was able to get those big wheels rolling and even climb. Her riding really took off this year after she got her 29er. Her confidence shot up and she tried a lot more obstacles and succeeded. And let's not forget climbing. There are tons of hills to climb in Ithaca, and that bike climbs like a goat. Oh, and getting around switchbacks and tight turns? Not an issue. Sure, it may take a slightly different approach, but I think they are just as capable, if not more so, on the technical stuff.
 
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