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I have poured over the research and will demo both a 27.5 and 29 Trance X before I make my final decision. But 27.5 seems like it could live up to the hype. Or it really is the worst of both worlds and I'd regret giving up the 29er benefits, I currently ride a 29er HT. Like the title says, anyone spend some time on a 27.5 only to go back to a 29er?
 

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I did. There are pluses and minuses to each (duh) but if you want big wheels, you may as well get big wheels.

I picked up a 29er a couple of years ago. It was a voodoo canzo, and it was terrible. It had sticky suspension and 18.3" long chainstays. It handled like a truck. It climbed impressively despite its terrible, performance robbing suspension. It cornered well, and it rolled like a freight train.
I swapped that frame with a scott scale in size large. It gave me an inch shorter chainstays while keeping the wheelbase mostly the same (gained an inch in the top tube). The cornering and handling on that bike were phenomenal. All of the gains of 29" wheels with the added benefit of a bike that doesn't handle like a sack of potatoes thrown down a hill. Unfortunately, it hurt me bum and I decided I wanted full suspension back as my primary trail bike.
I set out to find another ride, but precisely zero people made a suspension bike of any sort (at the time) with chainstays 17.3" or less. If they did, then most likely the pivot was low and it would have a more forward axle path, making it a poor design. I discovered the world (ooh, ahh) of 650b, and realized I could swap a pair of 650b wheels on a cannondale rush and that would give me some of the added rollover benefits without ruining handling.
The rush has been a great bike, it does roll over things better, and it still has snappy handling. It doesn't trounce the trail like a 29er does, and it doesn't get hung up quite as much as 26" does.

Very shortly after I built the rush, specialized released their enduro 29 and I lusted after it hard. Recently, I came into a bit of money and ran out and bought one. Awesome bike. Great handling and has all the traits of 29ers that you know and love. It's probably too much bike for 90% of the riding that I'll use it for, but practically NOBODY, not even specialized, has released another 29er that even attempts to have both 100mm+ suspension and 29" wheels with short chainstays and aggressive/good handling.

To summarize, in my opinion, if you want larger wheels, you may as well get 29s. I think the sluggishness is exaggerated, and I think you'll pay way more in a bad suspension design than you will in wheels. There are some caveats, big wheels are heavier, changes in rim and tire weight matter more. Finding a bike with good geometry is an extreme challenge, and manufacturers have to actually put effort in to build a good handling 29er. 650b on the other hand, has grabbed a huge market share, and even the laziest of manufacturer can still combine 17.2" chainstays with 650b wheels without lifting a finger/adjustable dropout. All those caught sleeping when 29" came out have churned out 650b tires as quickly as possible, so tire selection is already outpacing 29". Finally, 650b is the newest thing, so people want it, whether it's actually good or not. Prices are going to be high and resale demand as well.

BUT...to answer your question more directly, the trance 27.5 has been getting very good reviews. The trance 29 sports long chainstays and lukewarm acceptance. Of those two, I'd go 27.5
 

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Ok, so I got back into biking after 10+ years off the bike last January. Based on the 29 hype I bought a diamondback HT 29 (prodeal). I rode it for three months before the FS bug hit and landed a Stumpy 29 FSR...LOVED it. I ride everything from flat twisty stuff, to drops of about 4 foot, to some gravity flow park stuff. Lately I've been on the hunt and interested in the 27.5 hype as well based on some frustrations with the bike just feeling too big in some areas.

So, I've now ridden Jamis and the Giant Trance. Didn't like the Jamis at all, loved the Trance. My take is that it is exactly what everyone says. In the shortest way I can put it to you, the bike felt more playful and agile, but it was indeed more work to keep rolling. However, in some of our more twisty stuff (stop and go) the 29 is a lot of work to get moving again. Each has its own benefits.

At 5-9, my interest is peaked and again it has a lot to do with a year of riding and now knowing where my true interests are. I am also better defining what I want out of a bike.

My intent is to purchase a Devinci Troy in the next month and I will be selling my stumpy 29. LOL I think its the right choice for me. I'm hoping its the right choice and I may hold on to the Stumpy for a month or so to make positive. I'll let you know! I'm interested to see if anyone else chimes in that has moved BACK to the 29...still early in the 27.5 phase for that maybe.
 

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Long story short: There is no magic wheel size.

No matter what the industry tries to convince you, it is all a series of give and take.
Before 650b, there was just two basic sizes 26" and 29". It made for some fun bickering on which was better but when it came right down to it, it was just a matter of preference and no matter which wheel you chose you gave up something to gain something.

Then the industry throws a size in between the two and tells you it is the best of both worlds. As if magically when you divide the difference almost in half you only get the best of both worlds without losing anything. In reality, you gain and loose a little less of the advantages and disadvantages.

So I am sure there are people who went from 29 or 26 to 650b and then went back.
Just as I am sure there are some that barely noticed a difference.
Just like some people have gone from 26 to 29 and liked it better or liked it less.

27.5 may be a better choice for you but what the industry is putting out there about it is hype.
 

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True True, but how is any wheel size JUST hype if it works best for someone? LOL I wont go back as far 26, and I have a few aches and pains over the 29, so here's hoping that the 27.5 just makes the best sense overall. I know I am giving up a few things for sure. You are correct that it is all give and take.
 

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I did. There are pluses and minuses to each (duh) but if you want big wheels, you may as well get big wheels.

I picked up a 29er a couple of years ago. It was a voodoo canzo, and it was terrible. It had sticky suspension and 18.3" long chainstays. It handled like a truck. It climbed impressively despite its terrible, performance robbing suspension. It cornered well, and it rolled like a freight train.
I swapped that frame with a scott scale in size large. It gave me an inch shorter chainstays while keeping the wheelbase mostly the same (gained an inch in the top tube). The cornering and handling on that bike were phenomenal. All of the gains of 29" wheels with the added benefit of a bike that doesn't handle like a sack of potatoes thrown down a hill. Unfortunately, it hurt me bum and I decided I wanted full suspension back as my primary trail bike.
I set out to find another ride, but precisely zero people made a suspension bike of any sort (at the time) with chainstays 17.3" or less. If they did, then most likely the pivot was low and it would have a more forward axle path, making it a poor design. I discovered the world (ooh, ahh) of 650b, and realized I could swap a pair of 650b wheels on a cannondale rush and that would give me some of the added rollover benefits without ruining handling.
The rush has been a great bike, it does roll over things better, and it still has snappy handling. It doesn't trounce the trail like a 29er does, and it doesn't get hung up quite as much as 26" does.

Very shortly after I built the rush, specialized released their enduro 29 and I lusted after it hard. Recently, I came into a bit of money and ran out and bought one. Awesome bike. Great handling and has all the traits of 29ers that you know and love. It's probably too much bike for 90% of the riding that I'll use it for, but practically NOBODY, not even specialized, has released another 29er that even attempts to have both 100mm+ suspension and 29" wheels with short chainstays and aggressive/good handling.

To summarize, in my opinion, if you want larger wheels, you may as well get 29s. I think the sluggishness is exaggerated, and I think you'll pay way more in a bad suspension design than you will in wheels. There are some caveats, big wheels are heavier, changes in rim and tire weight matter more. Finding a bike with good geometry is an extreme challenge, and manufacturers have to actually put effort in to build a good handling 29er. 650b on the other hand, has grabbed a huge market share, and even the laziest of manufacturer can still combine 17.2" chainstays with 650b wheels without lifting a finger/adjustable dropout. All those caught sleeping when 29" came out have churned out 650b tires as quickly as possible, so tire selection is already outpacing 29". Finally, 650b is the newest thing, so people want it, whether it's actually good or not. Prices are going to be high and resale demand as well.

BUT...to answer your question more directly, the trance 27.5 has been getting very good reviews. The trance 29 sports long chainstays and lukewarm acceptance. Of those two, I'd go 27.5
Devinci Atlas has been out longer. Wondering did you even look at them if the Enduro at 150mm is more bike than you need?
 

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One thing to keep in mind is why people like certain wheel sizes and their riding style/preference.

I've read lots of people who tried converted 650b bike and went "back" to a brand new 29er. Well obviously the new 29er is going to have improvements that the 5-6 year old converted bike will not. Just as the brand new 650b specific bike may include some changes that an older 29 will not. Or people who went from 100mm full suspension 29er and hopped on a 160mm 650b and felt that the 275 was slower on flat trail and climbs. Duh, it's got 60mm more travel!

I've also read testimonials from guys who ride XC, never jump, and prefer to be at the front of the pack on climbs. They rode both 275 and 29 and picked 29. I wonder why?

Or the guys coming from BMX and dirtjump, race downhill, don't care about climbs, and picked 275 over 29. Who'da thought?
 

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Rogue Exterminator
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True True, but how is any wheel size JUST hype if it works
Hype is that they make it seem like it is the best thing to happen to the mountain bike industry and that it is the best of both worlds. They tell you it has all the advantages of both 29" and 26" without any of the disadvantages.

Reality is that it is just another choice. It has some of the advantages and some of the disadvantages of the other choices. It is the the perfect wheel size for some and not for others. It is also a great choice for those on the fence between a 26" bike and a 29er. (If you can't decide, go in the middle.)

Personally, I like 29ers just fine but one day may try a 650b.
Can't see myself hopping on a 26" bike though.
 

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True True, but how is any wheel size JUST hype if it works best for someone?
Two good points, first the negative:
There's a ton of hype surrounding 650b. People want to call it 27.5, like it splits the difference, but it's not. It's not quite in the middle. And it's not that much of a difference. Giant released a bunch of graphs trying to show that somehow 650b was closer in rollover to a 29er than it was in weight and a bunch of other things, but half of them simply didn't make any sense at all. Most reviewers are very objective about the wheelsize, saying "the bike rode great" instead of "ZOMG These 27.5s are a GAME CHANGER".

The positive:
this all opens up lots of options for us, the riders. It's going to suck if they discontinue all 26" options, but I don't really think that's going to happen too quickly. If you like a wheelsize, or it fits, now you have the option to take advantage of it.

Also, most importantly, is that we're finally seeing bikes designed AROUND the wheelsize, instead of just jamming them in there. So, the 29" or 650b bike you've picked out is probably going to ride way better than a 26" bike of any ilk 5 years ago. Designers understand geometry and suspension way better, and I'd argue that the way wheel sizes are sorting themselves (by travel) is probably not an entirely bad thing.
 

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Devinci Atlas has been out longer. Wondering did you even look at them if the Enduro at 150mm is more bike than you need?
atlas ended up not being what I wanted geometry and riding style wise. A bit too much XC, not aggressive enough geometry. The enduro tips the scales on the other side, but I'd be comfortable taking this bike on the occasional lift day, vs not at all on the atlas. You are right though, an atlas with 120mm travel, a 69/68* HA, and a reach around 435-440mm would be just about right....but 70/71* is STEEP
 

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I posted on that other thread as well but I'll summarize here and agree that there are so many factors that it can make your head spin. Do you have long arms, short legs, big feet or no neck? Do you like a short TT with a longer stem or vice versa? All that doesn't even include the standard....do you huck? do you want to race? XC or Enduro? Everybody wants something different in a bike so there's no simple answer. FWIW, I'm 49 and consider myself an XC rider. I don't climb super fast but get up, over and thru a lot of obstacles better than most I ride with.

I've ridden carbon 29er Tallboys since they came out. Went from the 1st rendition to the long travel and now I'm back on the Tallboy 2. I briefly had the LT and TB2 at the same time and decided if I was going to have (2) bikes, I wanted them to be different and wanted a 27.5 for my newest discovery of riding at bike parks with manmade features. Hence, my purchase of a Pivot Mach 6 and WOW, it's a blast to ride!!

All I can say to summarize what I said earlier is....I love both bikes for different reasons. I think they are great bikes and I would have no problem if the Pivot was my only bike or vice versa. The Pivot climbs much better that I would have expected but I ride it differently over the obstacles and with my riding style, I'm shocked out how often I'm using all 155mm of rear travel. I love the plushness on the climbs!! I rode it for a month straight before getting back on my TB2. At first, I actually missed the Pivot but after 10 minutes of climbing Barrel Roll in Utah, the rocket-ship feel of the 29er was back. Even though it's only 4 lbs lighter than the Pivot, it felt like it was 1/2 the weight. I love this bike too!!

Admittedly, if I was *forced* to pick one (at my age), I'd pick the Tallboy...
 

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29ers Forever
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I would never go to 27.5 in the first place. 29er has so many more advantages than a 27.5, and for now (At least) 26" is the best in handling.
 

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Keep on Rockin...
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I posted on that other thread as well but I'll summarize here and agree that there are so many factors that it can make your head spin. Do you have long arms, short legs, big feet or no neck? Do you like a short TT with a longer stem or vice versa? All that doesn't even include the standard....do you huck? do you want to race? XC or Enduro? Everybody wants something different in a bike so there's no simple answer. FWIW, I'm 49 and consider myself an XC rider. I don't climb super fast but get up, over and thru a lot of obstacles better than most I ride with.

I've ridden carbon 29er Tallboys since they came out. Went from the 1st rendition to the long travel and now I'm back on the Tallboy 2. I briefly had the LT and TB2 at the same time and decided if I was going to have (2) bikes, I wanted them to be different and wanted a 27.5 for my newest discovery of riding at bike parks with manmade features. Hence, my purchase of a Pivot Mach 6 and WOW, it's a blast to ride!!

All I can say to summarize what I said earlier is....I love both bikes for different reasons. I think they are great bikes and I would have no problem if the Pivot was my only bike or vice versa. The Pivot climbs much better that I would have expected but I ride it differently over the obstacles and with my riding style, I'm shocked out how often I'm using all 155mm of rear travel. I love the plushness on the climbs!! I rode it for a month straight before getting back on my TB2. At first, I actually missed the Pivot but after 10 minutes of climbing Barrel Roll in Utah, the rocket-ship feel of the 29er was back. Even though it's only 4 lbs lighter than the Pivot, it felt like it was 1/2 the weight. I love this bike too!!

Admittedly, if I was *forced* to pick one (at my age), I'd pick the Tallboy...
Neat read....

Really like my TBLTc. Probably the best, fastest all-round bike I've ever owned.

A new Mach 6 is waiting for the snow to melt. Can't wait to get busy on it.

I've always liked to have 2 good trail bikes up and running. One a bit xc-ish, one a bit more huck friendly, but both fast capable all-rounders - that way I could take either one on pretty much any type of ride.

Look forward to posting after some time on the M6.

I had run a 275 on the back of my Stumpy FSR 29er for a season and definitely dug the smaller wheel out back. Seriously considered contacting Lenz or Ventana to put together a dedicated B-9er. 29 up front, 650b out back. But, too much of my riding out East is short steep ups and downs so constant out of the saddle power efforts are the norm. A suspension design with more anti-squat makes a big difference to me - that kept me away from the Lenz and Ventana.
 

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Switchback magazine had an article in their Jan/Feb '14 issue touting the advantages of 27.5. Worth a read if you have access to it.

In summary, they say that 26 is dead, 27.5 is the way to go for enduro, but will not replace 29 in areas where it excels -- short-travel XC I presume. Scott introduced 27.5, sold out, and yet increased sales of 29.

They concluded the article with tables comparing the weights of a wheelset and tires in the three sizes. They claim that the 27.5 wheelset + tires are only 30 grams heavier than a 26 set. There is a serious error in their math obviously. I worked thru it and it was something like 150 grams heavier than a 26 as I recall. It was considerably less than the 300 grams difference between the 27.5 & 29.

A point not often raised is that for an entry-level bike that is unlikely to ever see a decent set of tires, much less a wheelset upgrade, 27.5 may be the best bet even for XC hardtails.
 
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