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Discussion Starter #1
I've been seriously mtbing for just over a month now and I currently own 2 bikes. One is a 29er HT and the other is a 26er. Just got done riding today on a trail that I rode for the first time last weekend that has a 7 mile main loop. I wasn't able to complete it today. The trail is designed to be an intermediate trail and has what too me would be some tough climbs with switchbacks. Followed by some winding downhill with berms, dips, log jams and drops in between.

My question is this. What could be making me bonk so fast on the 26er? I was thinking that the 29er would be harder to pedal than a 26er in the same gear.

Could it be that the 29er is harder to accelerate but easier to keep momentum up?

Could there be something wrong with the 26er?

Or is it just me? I know I need more work, I'm about 265# and I lost about 10 in the last 3 weeks.
 

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are you spinning fast instead of slow grinding with the 26? I find that spinning is significantly more aerobic for me.

a 29 inch wheel may produce lesser torque, but I don't think a rider will notice much change in effort AS LONG AS THE FINAL GEAR RATIOS ARE THE SAME.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've been wondering about the spinning thing. Yea I think I may be spinning a little faster maybe I should get a cadence computer and try and shoot for a good zone. On the 29er I usually stay in 2 on the front and 1 to 3 on the rear (8 speed cassette) and the 26er is a 1x9 that I just started riding. I'm going to go ride some more tomorrow at a nice rooty beginner trail and see how I do. I can complete that trail much faster and since I'm use to it, there is not as much pucker factor.
 

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A 29er does roll a bit better over rough stuff than a 26er. Also, tire traction is better on a 29er. But on the other side the 26er is more agile around sharp turns and accelerates better. So....

No, the 26er should not make you bonk faster. But...

the 1x9 versus a 3x9 could make a huge difference. Especially on climbs. You can spin forever but you only have so many sugres/sprints in you. On a 1x9 you might use them up pretty fast as you cannot go granny at all.
 

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rides can vary,"bonking" is like running out of fuel,it's very likely that something other than the wheel size of the bike made you bonk quicker,not eatting enough, eating to much to soon before the ride,not enough sleep....
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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I vote for gear ratio. As Kaba points out, people are a lot more limited on anaerobic efforts than time spent in an easier aerobic zone. The 26" bike commits you to doing your climbs in no lower than a 1:1 gear ratio (assuming you have a 32t ring and a pretty standard MTB cassette.) So you have to either charge and climb out of the saddle or sit and mash. Both are going to take a lot more out of you.

The good news is that recovery can be trained too. So if you keep riding, you'll keep improving. Always take snacks with you on a ride, and make sure to stay well hydrated.
 

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herbn said:
rides can vary,"bonking" is like running out of fuel,it's very likely that something other than the wheel size of the bike made you bonk quicker,not eatting enough, eating to much to soon before the ride,not enough sleep....

Here's your answer. Rides vary. Even if this were consistent throughout all your rides, a one month sampling is too small to draw any conclusions. But you're talking about one ride, right? How did you sleep the night before? What did you eat that morning? How much water did you drink that week. Have a stressful day at work? The possibilities are too numerous to count. Ride that 26er some more and see if there's a trend.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The 29er is a 3x8 but I ride it like its a 1X8. So I usually just sit and mash. I'm going to get the 26er out tomorrow and ride it some more at an easier trail and I'll think I'm just going to stick to that trail until I lose more weight and build up more strength and skills. It has a fun beginner loop as well as some nice intermediate sections. Its not as close as the trail that I bonked on but overall I think I get a better workout there and I come out of it feeling fresh and energetic vs sleepy and worn out like I do at the other trail.
 

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At 265 lbs and what height? If your 6' or shorter, I'd say you should get yourself down a few more pounds unless you have one huge frame and a lot of muscle like a body builder. Once you get your percentage of body fat down, you should be able to bike both 26 and 29er fairly equally.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm kinda built like a tank. Most people that look at me think that I weigh 200#. I do think that I need to lose quite a bit more weight and my current goal is about 220#.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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I get not using your low gears on the 26" bike, but why not on the 29er? It doesn't make you less of a man, and I know I've certainly spun my way past a lot of people on climbs using my granny. Once you're already on a geared bike, you may as well use the available ratios to fullest advantage. You certainly have to carry the extra pound around with you, whether or not you shift. Having those low gears should give you the freedom to do longer rides in more difficult terrain.

I know that for me, more variety keeps things fresher and more fun, and I'd much rather back off and ride in a low gear than stop and rest if I start having trouble with a climb. Keep maintaining forward motion on all your rides, and before you know it, you'll be maintaining forward motion in higher and higher gears, and wondering how you ever had trouble with some of the things that stop you now. I have an old hills route that I chose for its progressive challenge and rhythm; now I don't even notice that it's hilly until the last third or so.
 

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upNdown said:
Here's your answer. Rides vary. Even if this were consistent throughout all your rides, a one month sampling is too small to draw any conclusions. But you're talking about one ride, right? How did you sleep the night before? What did you eat that morning? How much water did you drink that week. Have a stressful day at work? The possibilities are too numerous to count. Ride that 26er some more and see if there's a trend.
Yah I agree with both these comments....

likely not the switch in bikes, but something else.
A month isn't that long, your body may still be getting used to longer rides & such.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
AndrwSwitch said:
I get not using your low gears on the 26" bike, but why not on the 29er? It doesn't make you less of a man, and I know I've certainly spun my way past a lot of people on climbs using my granny. Once you're already on a geared bike, you may as well use the available ratios to fullest advantage. You certainly have to carry the extra pound around with you, whether or not you shift. Having those low gears should give you the freedom to do longer rides in more difficult terrain.

I know that for me, more variety keeps things fresher and more fun, and I'd much rather back off and ride in a low gear than stop and rest if I start having trouble with a climb. Keep maintaining forward motion on all your rides, and before you know it, you'll be maintaining forward motion in higher and higher gears, and wondering how you ever had trouble with some of the things that stop you now. I have an old hills route that I chose for its progressive challenge and rhythm; now I don't even notice that it's hilly until the last third or so.
I'll keep all this in mind and the next time I go out to a trail with more climbs I'll take my 29er with me untill I can make it with the 1x9. Or I may just decide to get a front derailleur back on the 26er and put the granny ring back on. The only reason why its a 1x9 anyway is because I was puting parts from an old bike onto a new frame and I like the simplicity of a 1x9.
 

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I had the exact opposite experience. My first bike was a 26'' hard tail 27 speed. Road that bike for 1.5 yrs and got to where i could do my local trails without walking and stopping. About two months ago i bought my 29'' hard tail 27 speed. I couldnt believe the difference over rocks and roots or anywhere down hill ( much faster) but the up hills killed me. Even in one one i wasnt able to clear some of the hills i was clearing. So with my experience id say its not the bikes, unless the 1x9 is the culprit.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Rode the 26er today for about 4 miles on a flater trail with less climbs and had no problem. I think that the bonking problem was a combination of me, the bike, and the trail.
 
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