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I was riding on my favorite series of trails late last week (Galbraith [Lookout] Mountain - Bellingham, Washington) and passed by a rider on a very well spec'd Ventana full-suspension 26er. As we passed, I admired his ride and he called out to me. I stopped and we chatted for a bit, as he asked me about my ride (Monocog 29er). We discussed the pros and cons of riding a rigid singlespeed 29er and he told me that while he was sure my bike could climb better, he didn't think it could hold a candle to his 6" full-suspension rig on tough descents.

As it turns out, about an hour later I met up with the same rider again at the top of a particularly technical downhill trail (Bob's). I asked if he was heading down and if he wouldn't mind me tagging along and he encouraged me to take the lead position. I did my thing down the trail, getting to the end a little more slowly than I would have preferred (I'm still getting used to keeping my ride under control at high speeds - it really can go faster than I feel comfortable), but at least a full minute ahead of the other rider. When he reached the bottom he told me he couldn't keep up. We talked for a while longer, and I think I may have convinced him to try out a 29er. He seemed to be impressed that my whole bike had a cost less than half that of his fork (Talas 36).

Made me feel good, anyways. Nice having a friendly discussion and ride with a stranger on the trails.
 

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Hence my question about the Olympics - Why won't there be many (any?) 29ers there for the cross country races? If the 29ers are so much better, why not? Pro riders aren't blind to getting an advantage over other riders - so why aren't they using 29ers????

Disclaimer - this isn't a troll, I'm genuinely curious..... - my next bike will be a fully rigid 29er, as I want something different from my current 26" FSR.
 

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local trails rider
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Current rules say:
Equipment

- All bicycles used in all forms of mountain bike competition must be powered by human power alone.

- It is forbidden to use metal screws or spikes in the tyres of the bicycle.

- Bikes must use a wheel on both front and back that is no bigger than 29 inches.
(text modified on 1.01.04).

http://www.uci.ch/english/about/rules_2004/ch04.pdf
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Large wheels just help.
I opened my bud Jasper's eyes for the big thang when I managed to open up a little gap down a short descend. Me on a rigid SS, him on his personal favorite geared hardtail. He's a really good rider, mind you, somewhat of an idol of mine.
This was on a 29" test day my friends Hubert and JJT threw. Next lap, he got on a plain stock Monocog (my bike a Monocog with KM fork), and was able to stay on my wheel. he could tell I was not holding back too.
Soon, he scored an introduction deal on an On-One Inbred with carbon fork. He's been handing me my ass on most SS race occasions, too. So, our relative speed difference have leveled out again.
 

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I think this is mostly about rider skill. Nobody can convince me that a rigid 29er can come close to a 6 inch travel FS 26er in tough, technical descents.

I now have plenty of exposure to to both 26 and 29 inch wheels and although I do like the big wheels nd enjoy the heck out of my Superfly, I am more convinced than ever that big wheels are no substitute for suspension.
 

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I agree with serious -- I absolutely love my steel, rigid ss 29er, but I make it through fast, technical downhill quicker on my 5.5 inch travel FS 26er (ibis mojo). Plenty of guys (and girls, too) could beat me down a nasty downhill with them on my rigid 29er and me on my mojo, though.
 

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serious said:
I think this is mostly about rider skill.
+1.

Last summer a few of us were stopped about halfway down on a lenghty (5 mi) downhill when a couple of other riders rode up to us. After a few minutes of small talk we decided to roll out together. One of the new riders turned to me and quipped, "You're gonna let the guy on the rigid singlespeed ride point?" To which I basically said, "Yep, hold on." It was fun to watch him try to keep up for the first quarter mile.
 
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