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I have been mountain biking since the late 80's. Right now I have a Rocky Mountain Hammer 29er for the trails and tooling around and an Azonic steelhead set up as a park bike. I have had lots of bikes, all hardtails, except for the sweet 96 gt-ltsdh frame hanging in my garage.

I am still getting used to 29 inch wheels and am wondering if it's the wheels or my frame or my setup. The Hammer is a single speed now b/c I was tired of fiddling with gears. I just got it all together yesterday as a single speed and am looking forward to riding it soon. I may go back to gears someday, something quirky like a 1/8 inch chain, thumb shifted five speed just for kick, but I love my azonic more than any bike I have ever had and one reason is b/c it's a single speed. So, what the hell...single speed 29er.

Here's my opinion thus far as a geared 29er. It felt slow, unresponsive and not real maneuverable on the trails before. I have moved my ebb to the farthest back-mid position to get my center of gravity a little higher to help with turn in but we'll see.

Here's my question: Are 29ers just different and after I get used to riding it I will love it as much as those who swear by them? Am I biased by 20+ years throwing 26 inch hardtals around the trails and skateparks that I will never appreciate a 29er for what it is? OR will I just have to keep working to get the right setup or bike and then it will bomb around like a 26er but roll like a 29er?

oh, and here's my bikes in a total crap phone pic
 

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From what I can find on the Hammer, it seems like it would handle fairly quickly. One thing I noticed between 26er and 29er is the "riding in the bike" feeling of the 29er. Sometimes it feels like you have less ability to flick the bike around. On XC terrain, this is not a huge deal, but as the trail becomes more rocky or technical, it's an adjustment to move the bike around underneath yourself. Riding not "in" but somehow "on" the 26er seems to facilitate those short hops and tweaks, and responds better to body English. BUT, that is not to say the 29er can't do it. Light wheels, maybe a slightly different cockpit set-up from your 26er, and who knows what else, might combine for the perfect ride. I am in the midst of prepping my XC 29er more as a rigid AM bike in an effort to improve gnarly trail performance without killing my steep climbing ability. Not that it wouldn't already do whatever I needed it to do, but maybe I will strike the perfect balance. So maybe look at your set-up a little bit.
Fingers crossed.

-F
 

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I have found that it does take a while to get the right fit. After riding trials for 15 years on a 26" and racing BMX for years, my 29er fears were great in size...So, I looked for what people said worked and started there. Embrace the change, and stick to your roots at the same time; you should see some positive changes in your riding.
 
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