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Discussion Starter #1
I test rode a Kona Hei Hei Trail DL today just on a flat cement path and I really enjoyed it. Super light and nimble felt solid as well. I hit a few small bumps I found caught a bit of air and it felt a lot more stable than my 29ers did. I have never had a 27.5 tire bike before. I just felt it didn't seem to roll as fast as a 29er or cover as much ground as fast as a 29er. I then tried a straight up 29er Kona Hei Hei and I wasn't comfortable on it as I was on the Trail DL 27.5 model.
Will I be wishing I had a 29er or will I get over it? I really like the bike and it was designed around a 27.5 tire as well as the fork won't take a 29er not sure about the rear end. Wouldn't be a cheap upgrade to do it so I kind of want to make the right choice.
 

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I'm pretty tall 6'3" and I have a Trance 27.5 and also a borrowed Trance 29er .... I feel much more comfortable on the 27.5 (XL frame).... I haven't ridden a 29er I like more than my 27.5 trance. ... sometimes when I measured I was faster on the 29er but I have more fun felt more confident on the 27.5.

I'm my view there is nothing wrong with getting a 27.5 especially if you aren't looking to race. 27.5 is super fun and nimble ... some times just steam rolling everything on a 29er isn't that much fun?

who cares who is running 29ers ... 27.5 is fun ... I am 100% fine with running my 27.5 Trance regardless of who or whatever promotes the 29er bandwagon.
 

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2021 Stumpjumper S-Works, 2020 Yeti Arc
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I recently sold my Ibis Ripley and got an Ibis HD5. Love the nimble handling of the 27.5 wheels. Even tho the hd5 is a longer travel bike I don’t feel like I’m giving any playfulness up from the Ripley. I’m 5’10.5” for reference.

I also have a Santa Cruz Highball 29er hardtail. Super fun bike but totally different. Very efficient but I don’t take it on very aggressive trails. More xc stuff.

I honestly think you should get what you like and don’t get hung up on 29 vs 27.5.
 

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Yeah, I’ve been both ways. I went from a really cheapo 26” to a 27.5. Really liked the 27.5. Then I saw a 29er hard tail XC bike, that was the same brand as my motorcycles. Had to have it. I “needed” it. Great bike. The wagon wheels are fast. Got the itch to build a bike from parts, chose a 27.5. Hardtail again. Love it. My favourite bike so far. It’s a bit longer and slacker than the XC 29er, & you feel like you’re more sitting in it, rather than on it. Still plenty agile, but much more stable on drop offs & really steep descents. It’s just plain good fun to ride. So much so that I haven’t ridden the 29er for about 8 months now.
 

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When I went from 26" bikes to my first 29er, the original Santa Cruz Tallboy, I was in heaven and thought I'd never go back. Once spooled up, it maintained it's speed and there's no denying 29er's have a small advantage getting up an over obstacles for most people. However, I missed the playfulness when things got dicey so I bought a 27.5 bike as well, the original Pivot Mach 6. Since then, I've pretty much always had a minimum of (2) bikes, a 29er and a 27.5.

There was a 6 month period last year where I had (2) 29er's but just like clockwork, I missed having a 27.5 on shuttle type trails so I sold my Ibis Ripmo and bought the new HD5. I really enjoyed the Ripmo but the HD5 has been even better than expected. I ride it places I normally would take my 130 travel 29er.

Nobody knows the real answer to your question though. I will say that the majority of people these days prefer 29ers and they all have their own reasons. I know if I could only have ONE bike, I'd probably get a 140/130 27.5 bike of some type like the Santa Cruz 5010. But since I can have two, I've ordered a new Ripley to join the HD5 in the stable.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My 2014 Tallboy LT, I guess Tallboy 2, was an amazing bike I loved it so much but I bought it second hand and it was getting kind of old and could have used a new fork and shock at some point so I thought it was time to sell it not realizing how hard it would be to find something that really fit me well.
That 27.5 was a blast and I could seed how much more fun it would be on trails etc. wanting to catch air anywhere it could and it was a solid bike but I will need to cover ground and it just didn't feel like it would as well as a 29er.
I believe my problem is solved as a Kona rep has found me a 29er that I saw in a review where it was compared to a Tallboy as the geometry being almost the same aside from the steeper seat tube angle which is fine for me in regards to peddling like a madman and since I am at the bottom of a large size in a lot of bikes the steeper seat tube angle will shorten the cockpit.I will be testing it on Thursday or Friday.
Can't say enough about the Kona Rep, Stephan Strebel this guy has been way better than any other bike company I have contacted. He responded to me fist thing on a Saturday morning, never pressured me let me test ride the bike as well as made adjustments to it for me 2-3 times. Hunted down another bike, 29er, for me and will pick it up from the warehouse and put together for me to try in a couple days. Always responds to any questions and never seems to get irritated. I am super impressed!! Other companies I have contacted take days and don't really seem to care anywhere near as much.
I am hoping
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, I’ve been both ways. I went from a really cheapo 26” to a 27.5. Really liked the 27.5. Then I saw a 29er hard tail XC bike, that was the same brand as my motorcycles. Had to have it. I “needed” it. Great bike. The wagon wheels are fast. Got the itch to build a bike from parts, chose a 27.5. Hardtail again. Love it. My favourite bike so far. It’s a bit longer and slacker than the XC 29er, & you feel like you’re more sitting in it, rather than on it. Still plenty agile, but much more stable on drop offs & really steep descents. It’s just plain good fun to ride. So much so that I haven’t ridden the 29er for about 8 months now.
Yes if I could have 2 bikes I would definitely have a 27.5 for trails, bike parks etc. But I need a Downcountry bike/mid travel that peddles really well and can cover ground fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
https://forums.mtbr.com/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=14769717&noquote=1
Thanks and you are right. I don't want to buy something new and be thinking oh I wish it was a 29er. For me the trade off works better for my situation as to what I give up with the 27.5 and gain with a 29er.
I am proud of myself for not buying it because it was so tempting, I liked it a lot and it peddled really really well, had great components, last one left and was such a great price although more than I should be spending!!! UGHHH It was hard not buy it but it was the right decision for my purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I to felt way more confident, safer, stable, fun and nimble on the 27.5 but I need a quiver killer and the stuff I gain in staying with a 29er suits my application of the bike better
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Want to thank you all for being so helpful. I am not a rich guy and needed to make sure I was doing what was best for my application of the bike. I believe the Kona Hei Hei Trail DL is now sold. The rep asked me first this morning if I was sure before he let it go to a store that had requested it as it was the last one in a large and it was a Demo bike. The rep is so great he pretty promptly found a bike I had been trying to find but couldn't so as soon as he picks it up and puts it together I can go test it!!! Pretty amazing service I tell ya!! Good on ya Kona this rep deserves some recognition!!His name wil be in the Kona Forum.
 

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Dream it, Do it.
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I was thinking about getting a 29er for a year and did demo rides of a whole bunch of 29ers.

https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/s...-429-santa-cruz-tallboy-yeti-sb-45-yeti-sb100

I also test rode these bikes:
  • Revel Rascal
  • DeVinci Troy 29
  • Giant Trance 29
  • Yeti SB130

But, I got a 27.5" Ibis HD4. The HD4 was the best combination of descending capability with retaining everyday handling fun. The shorter travel 29ers didn't seem as capable of handling rougher terrain & longer travel 29ers (Pivot Firebird, Yeti SB150, Ibis Ripmo) didn't seem as fun for more XC-oriented trail riding. The HD4 rides great for all of the riding that I typically do.
 

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The other good thing about 27.5's, is that it's easier to get lower gearing if you ride hills a lot. Smaller circumference. It's quite noticeable. When I went from 29x2.25 to 700x40c (which is very close to 27.5x2.2) you could really notice the difference when climbing on the same 11-42 cassette.
 

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I went from 26" to a Pivot Mach 429, and then to an Intense Spider 275c. When I demoed the Spider I wasn't even looking for a new bike, was just at a festival with free demos. I was so blown away by how much fun it was I just decided to switch. I think some of that is bike, and maybe some wheels.
 

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I went from 26 to 29, and recently got a 27.5, in my quest to finally find a bike that actually fits me and my build, which is always in-between sizes on everything. I am a one bike person, never owning more than one bike at a time.

I really like my 27.5, as it is a good compromise between "rollability" and nimbleness.
 

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People tend to like small bikes and wheels on parking lot test rides. You might feel differently out on the trail.
Other way around, get some speed under your belt and start moving about the trail, then those big wheels slow down the action and make movements more ponderous.

At speed I'll take a smaller wheel, esp with new geometry.
 

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Other way around, get some speed under your belt and start moving about the trail, then those big wheels slow down the action and make movements more ponderous.

At speed I'll take a smaller wheel, esp with new geometry.
You missed the point. Has nothing to do with speed or what you prefer.
 

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I'm currently in the 27.5 camp. I've tried plenty of each, but like many, I just find 27.5 more playful, easier to manipulate on the trail, etc. But that's how I like to ride, and fits the type of trail I like. To be honest, though, I think bike design has as much, if not more, to do with how a bike handles than tire diameter. Comparing a 27.5" and 29" wheeled bike is rarely apples to apples. In most cases, the two are also completely different frames. Personally, I ignore tire size and just ride the bike. If I like it, it doesn't matter what wheel size it is. Just so happens that my favorites tend to be 27.5's.
 

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29ers and 27.5's seem to be running "neck-and-neck" these days.

The competition is fierce between 27.5 and 29 designers...we win.
When I first started looking at a new bike 4 or 5 years ago, I had a 26 that I wanted to replace. I REALLY wanted to love the 29ers at the time. Demo'd the 429, Ripley, etc. and really didn't care for them. Ended up with a Yeti SB5. Then, a few years later tried 29ers again and man, did they ever up their game!

I'm currently on a 29er.

I haven't tried the new crop of 27.5's but I bet the same is true.

If you are basing your opinions on either a 27.5 or a 29 based on designs of even 3 years ago, you're doing yourself a disservice!
Both have improved dramatically, so try each. You might be pleasantly surprised.
 

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I switch back and forth all of the time between my Intense Spider and Rocky Mountain Instinct. Both are really fun bikes. Typically will select the bike based on mood/trail. The Instinct definitely feels faster/more efficient and would be my choice for longer rides. The Spider is my favorite for the local trails where it is fun to pop off any little thing you can find and is more nimble than the RM. Lucky to be in the position to enjoy both. To the OP, I'd say ride whatever puts the biggest smile on your face most of the time.
 
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