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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here's my major contention: it seems like the majority of folks on this forum have foregone the benefits of suspension to run either hardtail or rigid big wheels. Now maybe I'm waaaaay off on this point, but that is just my take on what I'm reading here.

I bring it up as it seems to me the last time I really, really consistently enjoyed riding was way back when I was riding a (don't laugh) Univega 4130 31 pound monster. I took that thing everywhere, even down the Portal, raced it, commuted it, etc. Then I got upgrade-itis and got into nicer hardtails, both ti and aluminum and something was missing. So I chunked down some cash for my first dually and something was really missing. Then I started working for a shop and was able to buy some really nice duallies, but still something was missing. I guess the closest I got was when I was on my Turner Burner, now that WAS a great bike (sold it to come to school).

Anyhow, fast-forward to the present and I'm looking for that missing something again, really thinking it will come in the form of a good steel hardtail (sorry, I've ridden fully rigid and just can't do it - closer to 40 than 20 I am), and it's going to be a 29'er.

Here is my point: it seems like lots of you have rediscovered how fun mountain biking was (and is) riding hardtail 29's. Is that true? Or, am what I'm really looking for is that time in my life when I was riding the Univega, and not another hardtail? Hmmmm, philosophical even.....sorry! Or, is it that the 29'er hardtail yields some of the benefits of suspension while at the same time maintaining the simplicity of a hardtail? Simplicity on a mountain bike is one step closer to well-being and peace on earth ;-)

Anyhow, also want to say that even though I used to be a Turner Homer I enjoy the 29 forum better than any other on the site; it's full of respect for others' opinions, great beta on the evolving technology, and it's fun to see the shared enthusiasms. Thanks!
 

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Belltown Brazer
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693 Posts
Started mtbing on a Nashbar bike in 1985. Then a Rockhopper in 86. Then through fancier and fancier bikes until finally an FSR Enduro in 2000.

The dual suspension pseudo-freeride thing just about killed my love of riding in the woods. Riding from stunt to stunt and trying it a couple of times, and hanging around watching the other loosers try it just got to be too much.

Hung up the FSR. Built up my old Yo Eddy as a rigid SS and the romance was back. Bought a used 29er and found that the big wheels just wanted me to go further and further.

I'm on my 3rd 29er now. I've got a SS with front suspension, and a rigid geared bike. It is pure fun, fun, fun flying either of them through the woods.

Since I took the plunge locally, the 29 group is slowly growing. We got a whole four in our group...but they do outnumber the 26s.

SYOTT,
B
 

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I love the flow and connection with the trail on a hardtail and I love the precision steering of a rigid fork. That makes me have more fun so inturn I ride more hahaha.
 

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No Reputation!
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SingleTrackSal said:
Or, am what I'm really looking for is that time in my life when I was riding the Univega, and not another hardtail?
Yes, probably, but even so you'll just love a 29" hardtail. Now you know we expect pics of the new ride too, right?
 

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Full Tilt Boogie
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1,650 Posts
I started riding on a, (forgive me, I was young,) rigid C dale hardtail. It got me hooked. Went from there to the normal progression of front suspension, better parts, to dual suspension, best parts. Then I bought a 29. It came with suspension in the front. I broke that. I went to a rigid KM in front, hey this is fun. I bit the bullet and bought a ti rigid fork, alright, that rocked! Throw in a couple of cheap town bike SS, they are great. The next bike was a full ti rigid 29.

So I guess my evolution was kind of backwards after I started riding 29ers. I still ride full sus. My new bike is going to be amazing. I guess, for me, it all boils down to the expriance. The more I started riding 29ers the more fun I had. I now have four, and hey each work great for different conditions. It's definately something that you get hooked on, it just works better IMAO. Different bikes for different conditions, but yeah, for me, a 29 HT is just about the ticket for most anything. Just smile and ride!
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Right On!

Thanks all, glad to hear it's not just me, that there is some validity to my train of thought! Keep the stories coming. MDEnvEngr, I love that bit about 'watching' peope ride stunts. I've done that myself, and felt so vacant afterwards. Is that why I ride? If I want to be a spectator I'll go to a football game!

And yes, pics will come, but that's a ways off yet (still trying to sell 26"-specific stuff to fund the new ride).
 

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Reviewer/Tester
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SingleTrackSal said:
So here's my major contention: it seems like the majority of folks on this forum have foregone the benefits of suspension to run either hardtail or rigid big wheels. Now maybe I'm waaaaay off on this point, but that is just my take on what I'm reading here.

********************************************************************************************************

Yes.. 29'ers with nice soft low-pressure tires on a HT ... Efficient, simple, SS. :)

R.
 

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I started out on a 4130 GT Hardtail, and like everyone else I upgraded several if not all the parts. Then I movied onto a C-dal hardtail, to my first fully, and then the next, and the next until it broke. While I was in the process of sending back the fully under warranty, I bought an inexpensive hardtail and loved it to death. Hardly ever rode the fully when it came back. A couple of buddies got hook on 29's and then I tried one of theirs and I was hooked. So now, all I own is 2 geared front shocked hardtails, one a 26" the other a 29". I am loving the ride again!
 

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Hybrid Leftys aren't real
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Now mind you, it's not hte same as suspension,, but the big wheels have some wierd ability to make the bumps feel a bit less harsh, maybe the larger wheels give more spring due to longer spokes? I'm not sure what to peg it on, but they are definately a softer ride than a 26. That said, I have a hard tail, and love it, but find myself thinking, if this is THIS good, what would a FS feel like=:)
 

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My journey to 29 is a little different.
Started off on a fully rigid steel bike and fell in love with riding. Progressed to front suspension then full. I liked the full susser but I felt something was missing, then I found out about singlespeeds! I had loads of bits and pieces in the garage from where I'd upgraded other bikes so I only needed a frame and a rear wheel. Soon I was in possession of (or possibly possessed by) a Spot 26inch singlespeed. After a while the nice parts migrated from my fully to my singlespeed, then the fully was sold off to buy a Matt Chester Ute. Man did I love that bike and I rode it a hell of a lot. My knees started complaining though so I decided I needed a geared bike. It had to be something special to ween myself off the Ute so I was looking at Vicious Cycles. Whilst I was in the queue for my Ute Matt decided he wasn't taking any more orders for 26ers, he would only do 29ers. I'd seen pics of 29ers before but I believed the magazine c#ap about how they were only good for smooth rolling stuff but my Ute was the best handling bike I had ever ridden and if Matt had faith in them it was worth a look.
Anyway, got my Vicious and loved it, and loved the rigid ride too. But then I realised that 29ers and singlespeeding are the perfect combination, so now I have a geared 29er and an ss 29er with a disc only ss 29er on the way.
 

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paintbucket
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My take

Although I'm sure you'd benefit from big wheels, what you really sound like is a person who needs a singlespeed regardless of what size wheels you've got on it. You're longing for simplicity, which can be had with either wheel size.
 

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wooglin said:
Although I'm sure you'd benefit from big wheels, what you really sound like is a person who needs a singlespeed regardless of what size wheels you've got on it. You're longing for simplicity, which can be had with either wheel size.
True.
But a 29er singlespeed is much better than a 26er singlespeed :) .
 

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Cold. Blue. Steel.
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I had 6 bikes. Now I have 5.
2 of the 6 were mountain bikes.
One was a full squishy, the other a SS with a sussy fork. Both were 26" wheeled.
Sold the fully for my Waltworks SS fully rigid 29er. Didn't ever ride the other SS. Parted it out a month ago. Now I have one mtb.
That's my story.

Of course, I would love to try a 29er full suspender, like the new Intense Spyder or Lenz' bikes. But that's just because I love bikes and am curious about everything related to the bigger wheeled experience. I know I am a true hard-tail guy, and SS to boot.

OGG
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hmmm....

wooglin said:
Although I'm sure you'd benefit from big wheels, what you really sound like is a person who needs a singlespeed regardless of what size wheels you've got on it. You're longing for simplicity, which can be had with either wheel size.
I have to admit that more than once I've been tempted to go sans gears 'cept one if for the aesthetic reason if none other - I really love the clean lines of a single speed bike. However, I don't think my knees are ready for that kind of abuse. Also, SS's seem limited in their usefullness. In that simplistic vain, I want only one bike, a bike that will have to be able to do 30 mile epics at 7-10,000 above sea level one day, then a 5-mile local loop the next, maybe even do some loaded touring.

Some day I'll get another bike and perhaps it'll be a SS(29'er), but until then gears rule the day for me - just wish Rohloffs were less expensive!

Thanks again for all the comments, they are all right on!
 

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MendonCycleSmith: Now mind you, it's not hte same as suspension,, but the big wheels have some wierd ability to make the bumps feel a bit less harsh, maybe the larger wheels give more spring due to longer spokes?

I certainly hope not, because the last thing you want to promote is flex in your big wheels. :D

The ratio of the wheel radius to the size of a bump has a direct impact on bumps handling for any wheel. Therefore any wheel will handle bumps better if the radius is increased. It is as simple as that. So why stop at 29in? Because the bigger the wheel the worst it will handle. It is possible that 29in is the "right size" for smooth riding while still retaining quick handling. :)
 

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Just Ride!
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SingleTrackSal said:
Here is my point: it seems like lots of you have rediscovered how fun mountain biking was (and is) riding hardtail 29's. Is that true?
If it were not for 29ers, DIY tubeless setups, and single speeding......... I would not be riding! I hated the 26" world, it was just too much work for my twig legs and weak lungs, especially when worrying about what gear to be in. Now I just enjoy the ride and remember momentum is my friend.
 

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I won't bore you with a list of my previous bikes but riding finicky full suspension bikes was getting stale for me as well. I started riding FS bikes about as soon as they started showing up in bike shops. I have tried all sorts of different suspension configurations and have spent countless hours repairing, replacing and tuning the rear end. I didn't think my body would allow me to ride a hard tail again but the 29er has such a nice compliant ride that it actually feels like it's got suspension. After riding a buddies Surly Karate Monkey around for a bit I was hooked and the following day I went out and bought a Gary Fisher Rig. This bike made riding fun again and made my approach to trail riding new again. Realizing that single speeding wouldn't work for me in every situation I just acquired a 2006 Gary Fisher Paragon and now my fleet is almost complete. I can't imagine throwing my leg over a 26" wheeled bike and have since sold most of my old tiny wheeled bikes and don't plan to go back anytime soon. I'm going riding in the morning and I can't wait!
 

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uh, uh...oh, i forget
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SingleTrackSal said:
I have to admit that more than once I've been tempted to go sans gears 'cept one if for the aesthetic reason if none other - I really love the clean lines of a single speed bike. However, I don't think my knees are ready for that kind of abuse. Also, SS's seem limited in their usefullness. In that simplistic vain, I want only one bike, a bike that will have to be able to do 30 mile epics at 7-10,000 above sea level one day, then a 5-mile local loop the next, maybe even do some loaded touring.

Some day I'll get another bike and perhaps it'll be a SS(29'er), but until then gears rule the day for me - just wish Rohloffs were less expensive!

Thanks again for all the comments, they are all right on!
I said the same thing.... i have a custom geared waltworks...my deraillers froze on 2 consecutive rides last january, and i found to my surprise that i still rode everything just fine...went home, stripped the bike and have ridden gearless since then. And I know everyone hears that it's bad for your knees, but my knees have never once been sore(knocking on wood right now) but my thighs have been fried on many occasions, and damn if my upper body doesn't get a workout! i'm now trying to figure out how to get a ss specific frame as i love the simplicity, just ride...
 

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SpoK Werks Handmade Goods
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For me...

I started with a steel '93 Haro, moved in to a Specialized Stumpjumper M2 about '95, then bought a Breezer Lightning and never left steel again. For awhile I had a really nice Kona Ti Hei-Hei, but loved the two Bontragers and the Retrotec I had. So, I finally, bucked up and had Curtlo build me a 24 Hour 29'er frame. I now run it with a Sycip rigid fork as a single-speed. I have found basically I can do anything, within reason, on this bike that anyone I ride with can do on a fully or front sus'd whether 29'er or no.

I the end, this is by far the most enjoyable bike that I've ever owned. Each part of it was hand selected, the fork I had to trade my left nut for, but I really like the feel and the fun of a single-speed and the rigid fork. It's like riding a play bike all the time.

By the way, I'm OLD... 43. My other main bike is a road fixie if that tells you how twisted I am.
 
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