You can do whatever you feel like doing. Years ago the only size anyone had was a 26 inch wheel. I knew guys that were 6'4" riding 26 inch bikes, because that's what was available, and everyone had all kinds of fun.
I’m 5’11” and love 29ers. But it’s more to do with where I live and ride than my size. The roll over on the constant rocky trails here is awesome. I do have a 27.5 bike as well. It’s a noticeable difference of speed on the same trails between the two.
Now if you ride somewhere with really tight and twisty trails, or do lots of park riding with jumps, a 27.5 may suit your needs better.
As a taller person, you won’t suffer the disadvantages to the extent that a shorter person would on bigger wheels. You will reap all the advantages that they bring, though. While it is perfectly legitimate to ride any size wheel for its particular properties… on balance, bigger wheels are more of a no-brainer for a tall person.
For a short person, it’s a more significant trade-off between wheel sizes, and not-so-much the no-brainer.
I’m your same size. I rode my old 26” with some buddies about a month or so ago…..it wasn’t pretty. Well, some of that was due to my lack of skills, but watching them (all on 29ers) roll through the tech areas and me struggle to roll over so much of it. I was lucky to find a 29er in stock in town and it’s night and day. Even with some lacking skills, your ability to roll over and maintain some momentum helps.
I can’t speak of anything on a 27.5, but definitely find some 29s and test ride them if you can. When I test rode at a shop that rents out, I was able to ride a bunch of bikes and found the geometry that I felt comfortable on. From there, its just finding a bike in stock. But there are some bike comparison websites to help you check geometry and narrow down the type.
Depends, 27,5+ has almost the same diameter but more cushioning. So if you like trashing down the rough pad that extra cushioning is a nice addition for a hardtail. I always found 29 too big in tight corners and just a bit sluggish. Depends on where you are riding though. Im riding 27,5+ and its great fun. 6'3 220lbs. I had 29 before. Both fun, but i enjoy the 27,5+ more than the 29. It's so nimble and fun.
If you go crosscountry you problaby only find 29'ers as they problaby are slightly faster on most cx trails. Trail and enduro is different, there it's a mix of 27,5/27,5+/29. I always thought a 27,5 wheel is stronger due to it having a smaller diameter. With my 220lbs and the need to always choose the rough lines (because it's fun), i decided to switch to 27,5+. I havent had any problems since, while my 29'er wheels needed to be straightened every now and then.
I think geometry traditional crosscountry bike vs slacker enduro focused bike is more important on how the bike feels than the wheel size. I'd prioritize geometry over wheel size.
But dont get lost in the marketing and sales talks, especially now, with limited stock. Just try a few bikes or look at some bikes you like. If they only have 27,5+ at the stores, but in L or XL frames then I wouldnt wait any longer for it. 27,5 are good fun.
I went from 26 to 29 and I'm now on almost plus 27.5x2.6. If there is a big advantage to rollover on a 29 v 27.5x2.6 Im not sensitive enough to feel it. I never went larger than 29x2.4 so my experience is based on those tires sizes. My personal opinion based on my own experience is geometry that suits your riding is more important than wheel size. I went back to 27.5 because I feel like that tire size is more proportional to my height at 5'8" and I like the way a 27.5 wheel feels (stiffness, handles, acceleration, etc). I'm happy with 27.5 or 29 as long as the geometry suits my needs.
29 will make riding easier. Smaller wheels will force better fundamentals though. In the end the speed and confidence difference can by big for beginner/intermediate level riders, with much smaller separations for advanced riders. I'm glad I learned on 26" wheels and no suspension. Had I started on a full suspension modern geo 29'er I would probably straight line everything like 90% of new riders these days. Since you are new, please try to not braid out the trails. It's become a real issues these days. Something that long wheelbase 29'ers have really exacerbated. I say this knowing it's never going to change anything. Today's 29'ers will let a beginner go really fast in a straight line but it can take years to learn turn in timing and body english to hold tight lines. New lines get cut in and it only takes a few riders to follow them before they become established braids.
Lots of things will make one bike ride different for you . Frame material and compliance. Suspension quality, travel and geometry. Wheel rim width amd tire choice. Plus the trails you ride and your experience level.
I've ridden all wheel sizes. 29ers are way better than they used to be. I used to ride a Salsa Timberjack which worked with a 27.5 or 29er wheel set. I actually rode that bike with 27.5x3" tires and it was just total fun! I also had a set of 29x2.2" tires on my 29er set. I used to steal the 29er setup from my Cutthroat and toss it on the TJ for some gravel pounding.
I have a Kona Unit that has 27.5 x 2.8s and one with 29x2.4s. I prefer the 29s. Between me and Battery's posts, you can see it differs depending on geometry, trails, rider's preferences, etc., there is no correct answer.
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