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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this question is all over the internet, but just intrested in your opinions.

I have read many claims that a 29er can out climb a 26er. However with more rolling mass, I find it near impossibile. I expericened one today and I felt it handled much better on the desents but was lacking in climbing ability. It may have been to the beefy tire/wheel setup (rovals with DT 440's). I was about to drop 5K on a 29er race bike, but I feel races are mostly won on the uphills.....Do you believe or expierenced improved climbing abilities?
Thanks
 

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We all have our own experiences to go on, but for me I can tell you without a doubt that I can climb bigger, steeper, ascents with more loose rock and ****, steps, etc.. on my 29er than I ever could dream of with my 26" bike.
 

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randyharris said:
We all have our own experiences to go on, but for me I can tell you without a doubt that I can climb bigger, steeper, ascents with more loose rock and ****, steps, etc.. on my 29er than I ever could dream of with my 26" bike.
X2. And I can tell u that I outclimb my buddies on their geared 26s, while riding my ss 29
 

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Shift less, Pedal more.
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I raced a Spesh Epic 26er for 3 years and switched to a Stumpy 29er SS. I can say I can climb better on the 29er than I could on the Epic.

The one area I really noticed a difference in climbing, my rear wheel doesn't spinout like it did with a 26er when cranking. A great benefit for a SS when standing and mashing.
 
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The key here is what you are climbing. Up a steady non-technical climb with adequate traction the 26 inch wheel bike will feel faster uphill. Throw in les traction, rocks and grade changes the 29er will feel faster. I have done both types of bikes now for over 3 years each. As far as speed goes I never noticed a difference, but any type of stuff littered across the trail always makes me appreciate the big wheels.

I think what you are noticing is the acceleration challenges that occur with 29 inch wheels will climbing. Exact same kit and bike means the 26 inch bike will be 2 lbs less and its all in the wheels. You get that back with gears. Lower gear ratios helps tons. I went from 44/29 up front on 26 to 40/27 with 29. I know when I first got me Niner I felt slow. Then I looked at my lap times and went WTF? I got faster everywhere, with a bad knee that I had to nurse through training.
 

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Rider and Wrench
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I know people that could probably out climb me on a scooter... so legs and lungs can overcome most any real/imagined gain/loss on wheel size- but like randyharris indicated I can scramble up some pretty loose rough climbs on my 29er- it is a fine line but If you are in adequate shape and can keep the momentum going it seems like the 29er just chugs up and over climbs- out of shape and looking for a good excuse... blame the big heavy 29er wheels...
 

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ricot83 said:
X2. And I can tell u that I outclimb my buddies on their geared 26s, while riding my ss 29
And I out climb my buddies who are on SS 29'ers on my SS 650b.

.....and there are many on all kinds of bikes out climbing me.

If you are a bad climber, then you will still be a bad climber on a 29'er. (And climbing varies between short punchy climbs to multiple mile long climbs).
 

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Climbing means different things to different people.
On steep techy climbs a 29er is probably better.
For sheer uphill speed where traction and rocks are not a factor then the lighter bike will probably be faster.
I really doubt a 29er wheelset is 2 pounds heavier given the same tires, rims, and spokes.
I think light 29er hardtails are pretty fast and they can be faster on many parts of a course than a 26er.
 

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I am a 29er newbie, but this was a bit of a revelation for me:

I was goofing around in the driveway the other day after a ride. For grins I rode the 29er up my front steps. It really smoothed them out! I have tried this stunt on 26" bikes, but it was not as easy. I intend to collect more data, but for the time being, my 29er is better at climbing a series of uniform bumps of a particular size range than my 26" bikes. This is only a data point for one person and a specific set of conditions. Therefore I highly recommend trying it yourself. Please let me know your results.

gerG
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
55rpmasher said:
The key here is what you are climbing. Up a steady non-technical climb with adequate traction the 26 inch wheel bike will feel faster uphill. Throw in les traction, rocks and grade changes the 29er will feel faster. I have done both types of bikes now for over 3 years each. As far as speed goes I never noticed a difference, but any type of stuff littered across the trail always makes me appreciate the big wheels.

I think what you are noticing is the acceleration challenges that occur with 29 inch wheels will climbing. Exact same kit and bike means the 26 inch bike will be 2 lbs less and its all in the wheels. You get that back with gears. Lower gear ratios helps tons. I went from 44/29 up front on 26 to 40/27 with 29. I know when I first got me Niner I felt slow. Then I looked at my lap times and went WTF? I got faster everywhere, with a bad knee that I had to nurse through training.
Well put. I ride the trails in Ford Ord (sea otter classic land) and they are mostly smooth with hardly any rocks. I was thinking with AC 29 wheels and some light tires, I could handle the extra weight. And maybe in a couple of years, some EDGE 29 with some extralite hubs. :thumbsup:
 

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To make up for are kinda small hills here in MN compared to out east and west they put a lot of logs on the uphills to climb over as you go up. Well on a 26er I could never get over these things with having my BB so close to the ground. On a 29er I can just pop over these things no problem the eggbeaters help to :D

pink
 

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I believe what you are experiencing is riding a 29" bike with a 26" gear ratio. Alot of people who race (cars or bikes or whatever) refer to a term called roll out. Roll out is the distance covered with one rotation of the gears. Because a 29" wheel is bigger it affects the roll out and thus makes it slightly more difficult to turn the gears one full revolution. To compensate for this people have put diffrent sized cranks on their 29" bikes. My crankset is a 40T 30T 20T on my 29er vs 42T 32T 22T on my 26" bike. I think this made climbing a little easier but decreased my top speed in the big gear.

If roll out is the same.... then theoretically it should be easier to climb on a 29" wheel as it has a larger footprint and less change for slippage. In reality I my legs stop way before my tires slip on either bike. If you learn to use your body and pedal smoothy then slipage going uphill doesn't become an issue.

I use to need big nobbies to climb ..... over time I find I pretty much ride semi slicks now.


If you want diffrent chain rings for your crankset then check out Middleburn.
 

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Duke40 said:
I know this question is all over the internet, but just intrested in your opinions.

I have read many claims that a 29er can out climb a 26er. However with more rolling mass, I find it near impossibile. I expericened one today and I felt it handled much better on the desents but was lacking in climbing ability. It may have been to the beefy tire/wheel setup (rovals with DT 440's). I was about to drop 5K on a 29er race bike, but I feel races are mostly won on the uphills.....Do you believe or expierenced improved climbing abilities?
Thanks
I climb much better with my 29er than I ever did on the 26s. It is really amazing, My friends cannot believe the transformation.
 

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thaphillips said:
I believe what you are experiencing is riding a 29" bike with a 26" gear ratio. Alot of people who race (cars or bikes or whatever) refer to a term called roll out. Roll out is the distance covered with one rotation of the gears. Because a 29" wheel is bigger it affects the roll out and thus makes it slightly more difficult to turn the gears one full revolution. To compensate for this people have put diffrent sized cranks on their 29" bikes. My crankset is a 40T 30T 20T on my 29er vs 42T 32T 22T on my 26" bike. I think this made climbing a little easier but decreased my top speed in the big gear.

If roll out is the same.... then theoretically it should be easier to climb on a 29" wheel as it has a larger footprint and less change for slippage. In reality I my legs stop way before my tires slip on either bike. If you learn to use your body and pedal smoothy then slipage going uphill doesn't become an issue.

I use to need big nobbies to climb ..... over time I find I pretty much ride semi slicks now.

If you want diffrent chain rings for your crankset then check out Middleburn.
I ride an 08 Niner. I swapped the 22T ring on my Raceface crankset with a 20T ring from ActionTec. Took a bit of filing and fitting, but it gets the granny gear pretty close to where it was on my 26er. It gives you back that low gear you seem to lose when you put 29" wheels on the same drive train as a 26er. Another thing to consider is a 12-36 cogset, which should have about the same effect, granny-wise.

Edit: I climb, and generally ride everything better on 29. That's why I like it.
 

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this is an age old question of endless debate, but there are few more agreeable conclusions, but note however nothing regarding wheels is universally agreed upon, so here goes:
1. light wheels feel more responsive on climbs, and therefore are ideal for climbing purposes
2. 29er wheels are heavier than 26er wheels, thus will inevitably feel less responsive on climbs
3. 29er vs 26er of same weight on a road climb 26er will be/feel faster
4. 29er vs 26er offroad climb introduces many additional variables mentioned already
5. if all you care about is climbing responsiveness of the wheelset then you would not be happy on a 29er
6. the many other benefits of the 29er wheel for many mtb cyclist clearly outweighs the small difference in #2 above......almost universally more people clear more climbs and challenging technical sections on a 29er vs 26er, ou as an individual have to decide what is most important to you, for me it is without a doubt the 29er platform......


you decide no problem with me whatever you choose.....but I love my 29ers for sure.....
 

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Daniel the Dog
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Here is the deal

Duke40 said:
I know this question is all over the internet, but just intrested in your opinions.

I have read many claims that a 29er can out climb a 26er. However with more rolling mass, I find it near impossibile. I expericened one today and I felt it handled much better on the desents but was lacking in climbing ability. It may have been to the beefy tire/wheel setup (rovals with DT 440's). I was about to drop 5K on a 29er race bike, but I feel races are mostly won on the uphills.....Do you believe or expierenced improved climbing abilities?
Thanks
A 29er will not improve your climbing. The 29er wheels create a taller gearing ratio. You will not climb better.
 

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randyharris said:
We all have our own experiences to go on, but for me I can tell you without a doubt that I can climb bigger, steeper, ascents with more loose rock and ****, steps, etc.. on my 29er than I ever could dream of with my 26" bike.
X3 or 4 or wherever we're at now. Like randy I'm only judging on my own abilities and my bikes.

ODN
 

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55rpmasher said:
The key here is what you are climbing. Up a steady non-technical climb with adequate traction the 26 inch wheel bike will feel faster uphill. Throw in les traction, rocks and grade changes the 29er will feel faster. I have done both types of bikes now for over 3 years each. As far as speed goes I never noticed a difference, but any type of stuff littered across the trail always makes me appreciate the big wheels.

I think what you are noticing is the acceleration challenges that occur with 29 inch wheels will climbing. Exact same kit and bike means the 26 inch bike will be 2 lbs less and its all in the wheels. You get that back with gears. Lower gear ratios helps tons. I went from 44/29 up front on 26 to 40/27 with 29. I know when I first got me Niner I felt slow. Then I looked at my lap times and went WTF? I got faster everywhere, with a bad knee that I had to nurse through training.
Agree. I find a 29'er favours an aggressive climbing style, especially when throwing yourself into a climb littered with loose stuff or uneven surfaces. For smooth, steady slower climbing I feel they are close.
 
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