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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I keep talking myself out of it. :(

I ride a 26" full rigid single speed now and really enjoy it. I can't help thinking that switching to a 29'er would be the next logical step because it may be better suited (smoother, more comfortable or faster?) for full rigid riding. Is this logic flawed? Besides some added weight penalties and a few limited parts selection, what other drawbacks does a 29'er have? What are some other benefits?

Does a full rigid 29'er with 2.1 or 2.2 tires ride smoother than a 26" with 2.35 or 2.4 tires?

Thanks for the help.
 

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KeithG said:
I keep talking myself out of it. :(

I ride a 26" full rigid single speed now and really enjoy it. I can't help thinking that switching to a 29'er would be the next logical step because it may be better suited (smoother, more comfortable or faster?) for full rigid riding. Is this logic flawed? Besides some added weight penalties and a few limited parts selection, what other drawbacks does a 29'er have? What are some other benefits?

Does a full rigid 29'er with 2.1 or 2.2 tires ride smoother than a 26" with 2.35 or 2.4 tires?

Thanks for the help.
Yes, no, none, many, maybe, no problem.

Restated:
*29er is the next logical step.
*if you ride SS, 29er is a super logical next step, as it's stronger on all things that are important to a SSer
*if you ride rigid, 29er is very important as it's smoother
*it's more comfortable
*it's faster, IMHO
*I'm aware of no known drawbacks. Some people will fuss that it doesn't handle as "fast" in "tight situations." I think that's BS. I ride in very tight stuff, down to mandatory dismount switchbacks, narrow IMBA Epic Womble Trail, and have never experienced this. What I say is that 29er's have a more stable/predictable feel, versus the twitchy and nervous (comparitively) feel of the 26er. If you want to call this "faster" then by all means go for it. Saying this is a disadvantage of a 29er is pure speculation.
*does a 29er with a 2.1 roll as smoothly as a 26er with a 2.3? We'd have to get out the fuzzy math calculator for that one, but I'd have to say "probably."

Get one, you won't go back.
 

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Just watch out for the wash board roads

KeithG said:
I keep talking myself out of it. :(
I am loving my Karate Monkey. I have done a range of riding, and have found nothing
wrong with the bike (lots of pilot error still :). It is fully rigid. Only time I
thought suspension would be good was riding on some washboard roads ...
but I don't think that would help.

Only thing to pay attention to is the gearing, since drivetrains for MTB are all
optimized for 26 in wheels and your gears will be 10% taller. Which appears
to translate into 15% greater power if you are going up with the same cadence
in the same gear compared to a 26" bike (eg. 3.0 mph up versus 3.3 mph (like 137 watts versus 157 watts.)

I know I made the right choice, for what I want to do. Why run a suspension bike
with the weight and loss of efficiency when you need the suspension 5% of the time
(mixed riding). I see folks on suspension bikes that will never even see a pothole...

Definitely faster, I have not ridden 26" to really compare much else. But I know
enough about bikes to realize 29" is going to be superior if a swiss army knife
bike is what you are after.

-r
 

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The gearing difference is all in our minds, in the beginning of MTB's, what gear choice did we have, and what's it now? In '89, my Giant Track came with 48/36/26 and 12/28. Same top gear as recent 44/32/22-11/32 setup, and a much taller lowest gear. Bike are not optimized, we riders have become weaker.

I borrowed my Fsher today to my buddy, who can't stop telling how happy his 26" VooDoo's present setup makes him. All day he had the idea I had learned a lot of new tricks in the technical dept, always pulling away on anything challenging. Then he tried my Fisher (he's ridden it before), and knew again. The truth hurt. He'd just bought himself a nice front disk wheel, telling the SO that's enough for a long time to keep his upgraditus in check. The 29" thing was too much of an advantage to him.
I ride the tightest singletrack we had today, a small section of bushes with a singletrack running through it, along a slope. My handlebar width defined my conreing speed, as it did with 26". I just made much less corrections and the wider turns gave me a signicifant edge, maintinging more speed, and in the steep switchback, manage to keep going. On his VooDoo, one SB took my buddy 4 attempts before he cleaned it through the outside line, and on my Fisher, with almost 2" longer wheelbase, he took the inside line and nailed it first try. Oh, and I snakebited his rear tire on the same climb, 1 SB in. :)

Yes, with the same tire width, a 29" does offer more cush. The path the axles make through the air, are more fluent, where 26" has them more peaky (that a word?). My buddy always says my 29"ers are so much more fluent in everything, where his VooDoo (a very respected frame brand) is all bumpy and twisty. "With 29" you steer in ONCE per corner, 26", 3 times", he said today. Which pretty much always has been my feeling of cornering a niner. One apex, one line, no corrections necessary, just holding on.
 

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Just do it.

I think the best argument is the one you hear from a 29er rider who tried to go back to 26" bikes - typically it's something like "it was so twitchy and I felt like I was going to endo constantly - rode like a total goober. No more 26" bike for me..."

The 29er with 2.1" tires will be a bit smoother (assuming equal tire pressure) in *most* situations. There are always bumps that happen to be spaced just right to trap 29" wheels, though, and in those situations it will probably feel rougher. Another smoothness advantage (for rigid bikes) is that the longer 29er forks tend to flex a bit more. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, but it does help smooth things out a bit more.

-Walt
 

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I have to amen the going back to 26" thing. I could hardly believe I used to ride just a bike like my Buddy's. Same size and basic setup. It felt like I was almost endo'ing when sprinting out of the sadlle on the flat.
And more good news for ridig lovers : WTB, after some preset overhead hickups, will offer a 2.3" oir 2.35" Epic Wolf, which promises to be huge. The 2.1" Nanoraptor already is one of the widest 2.1's around.
 

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I went from a 26" SS to a 29" SS. The ride quality is better on the 29er, even though it is an aluminum hardtail vs. the steel hardtail 26er.

I noticed a small disadvantage in the getting the bigger, heavier wheels up to speed. My 26er wheels are a really lightweight wheelset, with lightweight tires and Stans. The 29er is a relatively light wheelset, with heavier tires and I'm running tubes in it. But if you're running a heavy wheels on your 26er, you probably won't notice a difference.

Other than that.... the winner is the 29er!
 

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Try One!!!

Find a bike shop or someone nearby & try one. If you can ride for a while, you'll get used to it, and the 26" will look/feel small (like rollerskate tires) from that point on.

I'm 6'-2" and feel like this is finally a bike that fits "grown-ups".
 

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Get the 29

I've been riding a rigid 26" SS for the last 2 years or so. Have done the Sm100 2 times on it and many other long events. My bike weighed 20.5 lbs with a steel frame & fork and superlight everything else. Paul hubs (front disc) dt 14/17 and 517 rims stans etc.

I bought my Spot 29" 2 months ago. Same components different wheels - weighs 21.3 with the weight difference being the wheels.

Immediately noticed it was smoother, rolled faster etc etc but felt like it was sluggish on long climbs (I had heavier wheels at first).

I went back and forth between the 26 & 29 trying to decide if I made the right choice. My perception was that there wasn't much difference on flat smooth single track near my home. The 29 definitely held momentum better but the terrain didn't offer enough to see any real difference. I was worried I spent $ for something new that didn't perceptably improve things much.

Then I rode a more technical area ( rocky, loose, hills, long climbs, logs etc) and HOLY SMOLY the 29 shined. It was absolutely noticeable how much smoother it rode over rocks and roots. Held momentum and rolled so much better through the rock gardens. It felt smoother all around and my down hill speeds increased with the extra stability. can you say traction!!!!!!! Short loose stuff that was iffy on the 26 was a breeze on the 29. Wet roots on climbs, no problem, I had traction were I used to have none.

As for twisty stuff, my 29er is just as nimble through the tight turns as the 26. I have a 72 deg head angle with the non suspension corrected Kelly fork and that probably helps the steering stay sharp.

I can't go back to the 26" now. I've ridden back to back many times and I just like the feel of the 29 more. In the last week I started selling of all my 26" parts. My mind is made up.

As for the wheels, I built 2 sets.
1. Surly hubs, 14/17 spokes & bontrager rims for every day beat em up riding
2. Paul rear/Am Classic disc fr, 14/17 & stans rims for racing and events.

With WTB Moto's Rear & Bontrager's front the weight is within 50-100g of the superlight 26" setup I had before.

Get the 29er, take a month to really get used to it and you'll get rid of the 26.

For rigid SS It's just that good!!!
 

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Right on!

Cloxxki said:
The gearing difference is all in our minds, in the beginning of MTB's, what gear choice did we have, and what's it now? In '89, my Giant Track came with 48/36/26 and 12/28. Same top gear as recent 44/32/22-11/32 setup, and a much taller lowest gear. Bike are not optimized, we riders have become weaker.

I've been wanting to say that for a while, but i'm too new around here to want to offend anyone. i found the 22/32 low gear on my brand spankin' new geared km to be un-usable. it was just too easy to pedal to keep any momentum on the steepest stuff i tried, and i haven't left the house for over 2 months due to a very bad arm injury. read: out of shape. of course i shouldn't have even been riding in the woods, and i sure hope my doc isn't reading this, but i couldn't wait to try the 29er on the trail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

I'm going to do it. Lifes too short, it's only money, bla bla bla.
Now...what frame to get???? I'm sure I'll be posting more questions here as I progress through this project.

Thanks again.
 

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what to get

I absolutely love my SPOT ($775 semi custom) so I'd highly recommend that. You can talk to Michael about your options @ www.spotbikes.com

for Steel you've also got Kelly, IF, Rock Lobster, Ferous,Surly, Steelman, and of course Walt from the board has a great rep.

Ti- IF, Spicer, Moots, Seven, Matt Chester etc

Good luck with your search. You'll be happy you made the move.
 

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Spot Specs

Here's the build

17" Spot 29er (canti & V mounts)
Kelly Rigid Disc Fork
King HS
Salsa SUL Stem & Pro Moto Bar
Avid Ultimate Levers & Rear V
Avid Front Disc (mech)
Nokon Cable Housing
Titec carbon post
Flite TT saddle
XTR 177.5 Crank Arms, AC compact Spider 32t & Spot Guard
XTR BB
Eggbeater Pedals
Wheelsets described on previous post
WI ENO 18t & 20t Freewheel & 18t Fixed Cog
Sram chain

Weighs 21.5 with heavier wheelset and 20.75 with the lighter

Also have a Winwood Deedee fork (4.2lb) to use occassionaly have found a way to convert it to 65mm travel to match my Kelly fork angles better.

I'll post the winwood conversion info when it get it done with pics.

Awesome riding bike.
 

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After a year and a half, i will be selling my 2003 Supercaliber. I have found that i like the
smaller 26 inch wheels for the tight singletrack here in Florida.

The 29ers are very fast, but i like the feel of a twitchy 26er better.
 

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Rockdogger - great spec. I can see where you've lost some weight. My Spot is just a smidge bloated but fantastic none the less. Here's the build...

19" Spot 29er disc only
Vicious Rigid Disc Fork
Orbit Extreme HS
Thomson stem
Azonic riser bar
XTR Levers
Avid Front/Rear Disc (mech)
Nokon Cable Housing
Thomson post
Flite TT saddle
Raceface 180 Crank Arms, Spot 32t & Spot Guard
Hadley Racing BB
Time ATAC Pedals
Spot disc hubs w/ Alex TD rims, 14/15 spokes
WI ENO 19t Freewheel
Sram chain
 

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@mondo : Fishers with their Genesis are more designed for a mix of terrains, a bit towards fast and open ones, I'd say. A bike with a 72 or 72,5 head tube angle and slightly shorter toptube might be all you ever wanted. I get my SC29 through everything, I learned how to use a bit of muscle to help it go around the tightest corners. My Surly is more easier on tight stuff, though, while the Fisher wins on downhills and really steep climbs.
 
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