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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
If anyone has the time, I'd like to know some opinions about this blog from a Moab bike shop:

http://www.dreambike.com/bigwheelrant.htm

It doesn't have a lot of good things to say about most big wheel bikes, particularly full suspension and smaller models.

I'm only 5'6" tall and have a 15.5 inch 2011 Hifi Deluxe on preorder.

Thanks,

snudley
 

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I'm just messing with you
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Haters gonna hate

(no I didn't read it)
 

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Brakes
Like many who have been riding 9ers for a while, we lean toward rim brakes on rigid platforms. Those rims are huge brake rotors just begging to be utilized. The leverage of those long spokes make for good braking power and the extra brake surface of the bigger rim dissipates heat nicely. One of our Dreamride guides is running huge rotors on the front of his full suspension 9er and has been getting spooked by the sound of pinging spokes on steep descents. The leverage what works for us with rim brakes works against us with discs, winding up spokes and deforming the wheel under stress. You might think it retro to use rim brakes on a 9er, but it is actually the best way to go, unless you ride muddy trails most of the time, or are getting 9er suspension. We use Magura disc and rim hydraulic brakes exclusively, and recommend them. But, if you want lightness at all costs in a front suspended or rigid 9er, go with rim brakes.
well, he either never had physics or basic engineering courses, or he did but wasn't paying attention.
 

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Meat Clever
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Alot of blah, blah, blah, then he gets to his point (proponent of rigid riding):

"So, why 29? Really. Because a well-designed and well-equipt rigid 29er kicks ass on a rigid or front suspended 26er for most riders. 29 inch wheels have killed the idea of a hardtail 26er for riders over 5'7". A Ventana or Moots full suspension 29er frame allows you to build up a real monster of a fast bike. And a rigid 29er with mountain bike disc brakes, flat bars, stem and shifting system puts a cyclocross bike to shame when it comes to ergonomics and technical handling. Big wheels and fat tires give you a decided advantage in sand, loose rocky sediments and over bumps and roots. A rigid 29er can almost keep up with a road bike when it has to, and roll past hardtail 26ers on the trail. Put skinny tires on a 29er and it still zooms over most off road conditions. The bigger wheel is simply efficient at going fast in most conditions. A simple rigid 9er can be a real joy, a pure bicycle, not a mountain bike or a road bike, but a damn bicycle--the most efficient machine man has come up with."
 

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Bite Me.
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The guy's an idjut, but his guide book has some amusing anecdotes. His original thesis was that 29'ers were death traps ready to explode at any time. You could ride a Lenz PBJ off a 6 footer w/o a problem and he'd still deny it was possible.
 

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650b me
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Thought-provoking

I really enjoyed reading what this guy had to say - thanks for the link. Yeah, he's a bit inflammatory. But I love that he doesn't just willingly eat what the marketers are spoon-feeding us. Some more specific points:

I too was a fan of rim brakes and held out as long as possible. Eventually, I had to accept that disc brakes have become standard on mountain bikes. That said, even I believe that disc brakes are a good idea on a 29'er. Their added power is needed to slow down those bigger, heavier wheels. And I'm sure disc brakes will continue to evolve and get better.

He's obviously a fan of going rigid on 29" wheels. Interesting timing for me to read this, as I am in the process of building a rigid 29'er. I took one 30-minute demo ride on a 29'er hardtail a couple weeks ago, and that was enough to convince me that the larger wheels were better in most ways for the cross-country riding I do. Not only that, I felt confident that I could "get away" with a hardtail as well. Well, why stop there? I'm going full rigid! An MCR with Niner's carbon fork. I'm looking forward to working with the bike to manage the terrain, like we all did back in the late 80's/early 90's. Time will tell if I agree with him on the rigid configuration. One thing's for sure, it's gonna be ungodly light!
 

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He comes across to me like a raving lunatic that sees everything in black and white and forms an extreme opinion on all matters just for the sake of having an opinion.

His favorite themes:
Everyone is an idiot but me.
Everyones products are crap except mine.
Everyone has poor ethics except for me.
 

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snudley said:
If anyone has the time, I'd like to know some opinions about this blog from a Moab bike shop:

http://www.dreambike.com/bigwheelrant.htm

It doesn't have a lot of good things to say about most big wheel bikes, particularly full suspension and smaller models.

I'm only 5'6" tall and have a 15.5 inch 2011 Hifi Deluxe on preorder.

Thanks,

snudley
Generally 29ers have greater benefits for taller rides, smaller frames can throw off the gemoetry simply because the wheels are so large, and the wheelbase is short. As for full suspension, generally there is enough give and flex in a 29er wheelset because of the size to make up for some suspension. A full suspension 29er is going to be a very squishy ride, and is generally overkill. I usually recomend a ahrdtail 29er with a nice front shock for a ride who prefers one. If you are riding terrain that requires full suspension, chances are you want a 26 inch bike anyways. Also remember that with full suspension, or any suspension, you are losing energy to the ground with every bob and movement of the shocks.

I personally ride nothing but 29ers, and nothing but fully rigid 29ers at that. That being said I am 6 feet tall, and feel much more stable than I do on most 26 inch frames, although I did ride them for years. I know many shorter guys who ride 29ers without problems, but as a mechanic, when tuning and test riding small frames 29ers I do notice that they generally feel a little bit odd with such a small wheelbase and such large wheels.
 

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Bite Me.
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I have been riding a FS 29er for three years now. The bigger bike is unquestionably faster and more capable than my prior 26'er FS. In no way is it "overkill" for Western Colorado and Utah - in fact the FS 29'er makes riding that terrain easier. Having also ridden a fully rigid 29'er I can say that the FS bike blows the rigid bike away as far as the capabilities in rough terrain both climbing and descending. The rigid bike is probably more "efficient" but it's also much slower on anything but buttery singletrack, where it stays about even. The author just hasn't a clue about how FS 29'ers have developed and what they are capable of. I will never go back to a 26.
 

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V-Shaped Rut
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People need to learn that you can make a valid point without it being the ONLY point.

29er's do lend themselves to larger frames and taller riders. You can design a frame for smaller people but its challenging.

Rim brakes are lighter and simpler. But hydraulic disc brakes are easier on the old grip and work better in the wet. The guy talking about the rim brakes is a bit odd. Braking surface area, materials and force applied (or magnified by hydraulics) is what matters, not the size of the rim or the spokes, wtf is he talking about?

Full rigid does make retarded light bikes, better climbers and better handlers. But suspension makes better descenders. What goes up must come down.

Edit-I'd love to back to back ride a FS 29er against my HT, but I can't imagine how I'd be faster up a hill on the FS bike. Downhill is another matter of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the replies, folks.

I'll keep my preorder for the Hifi, and just let the chips fall where they may.
 

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650b me
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I think you'll enjoy your new bike. I read some more of that guy's rants and he's definitely very opinionated. Bottom line is, ride whatever makes it fun for you.
 

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I don't huck.
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FFMedic34 said:
Generally 29ers have greater benefits for taller rides, smaller frames can throw off the gemoetry simply because the wheels are so large, and the wheelbase is short. As for full suspension, generally there is enough give and flex in a 29er wheelset because of the size to make up for some suspension. A full suspension 29er is going to be a very squishy ride, and is generally overkill. I usually recomend a ahrdtail 29er with a nice front shock for a ride who prefers one. If you are riding terrain that requires full suspension, chances are you want a 26 inch bike anyways. Also remember that with full suspension, or any suspension, you are losing energy to the ground with every bob and movement of the shocks.

I personally ride nothing but 29ers, and nothing but fully rigid 29ers at that. That being said I am 6 feet tall, and feel much more stable than I do on most 26 inch frames, although I did ride them for years. I know many shorter guys who ride 29ers without problems, but as a mechanic, when tuning and test riding small frames 29ers I do notice that they generally feel a little bit odd with such a small wheelbase and such large wheels.

Phhaa!! That whole nonsense about losing energy in an FS is a silly argument off-road and is bad science as well IMO. These are not road bikes and you need to factor in the energy you put out absorbing all that beating and such that a rigid puts through the bike into you. Fighting for traction, getting knocked off your line...etc. 29ers and FS are just fine together, thank you.

Now, that said, 29ers can get away with less suspension and still work really well and I like the feel of a rigid 29er for lots of good reasons...but let us not be silly about it. Ride it rigid iff'n ya want to, but keep it in perspective. A well designed, short travel FS bike and big wheels are amazing over rough terrain on a long day.
 

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I'm just messing with you
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big_slacker said:
People need to learn that you can make a valid point without it being the ONLY point.
There you're definitely right, as per the following ...

big_slacker said:
Full rigid does make retarded light bikes, better climbers and better handlers.
Do not agree about full rigid being a better climber. Dual suspension will give better traction on rough rooty rocky trails because it is better able to conform to the trail where a hardtail will not. As far as a rigid bike being a better handler - yeah, until you're on a trail where there's no smooth line. Start bashing that rigid fork into some rocks and roots and see how well it holds a line then. I'll give you the point that a rigid bike is always lighter, and I always appreciate that when I'm lifting a bike into the bed of my truck.
 

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V-Shaped Rut
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I'll just share my experience with this and define what I mean by "better". I started riding rough trails, including bootleg canyon and cowboy trails in Vegas on a FS geared bike. I then got a 26" SS HT and rode both, then a 29er HT as well. I ran the SS both with a suspension fork and full rigid. I once did a demo day back to back ride on my 26" HT, a GF roscoe, then a superfly HT. Point is, I've got a bit of experience with riding the different styles on rough terrain.

I've not noticed any traction issues on a HT running tubeless 2.25" at 25 psi or so. Maybe in seated slow climbing the FS has an advantage? But you don't sit and climb slow on a HT SS.

Direct power transfer, less weight, no bob means faster acceleration. This lets you get a run at obstacles at a moment's notice. More speed generally means an easier time clearing things.

Less weight, no bob also makes technical "stunts" easier. This means getting the front up, hopping the rear up/sideways, etc... Clearing medium sized rocks and such is cake vs a FS.

Weight+direct power transfer means faster on smooth climbing as well.

The net effect of all of this means that I get to the top of the hill faster. Period. Someone could argue that I don't know how to ride a FS bike and have skills tailored towards a HT/Rigid. I'm fine with that, but my definition of "better" is based on real world climbing on a pretty good variety of trails, not just billiard table smooth XC courses.

About the handling thing, I simply meant that direction changes aren't damped, delayed, etc..... by suspension. I agree 100% that a suspended bike goes better over rough stuff, particularly downhill. The rigid rider has to pick has way through stuff, the suspended rider can plow. I like plow. I want a supernatural bike that climbs up like a rigid carbon 29er and morphs into a 7" travel DH beast for descents. :D

QUOTE=wv_bob]There you're definitely right, as per the following ...



Do not agree about full rigid being a better climber. Dual suspension will give better traction on rough rooty rocky trails because it is better able to conform to the trail where a hardtail will not. As far as a rigid bike being a better handler - yeah, until you're on a trail where there's no smooth line. Start bashing that rigid fork into some rocks and roots and see how well it holds a line then. I'll give you the point that a rigid bike is always lighter, and I always appreciate that when I'm lifting a bike into the bed of my truck.[/QUOTE]
 

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frorider said:
well, he either never had physics or basic engineering courses, or he did but wasn't paying attention.

Could you please elaborate?

I'm 240 lbs and go 35+mph downhill. I can feather my Avid Juicy 215mm front rotor all day at the very edge of lockup with total control and never noticed any spoke or any other problem. Just the best braking of any vehicle I've ridden or driven (owned about 80 motorcycles).

My above experience seems to thoroughly contradict his analysis. I'm sure there are heavier riders on the trail but I've never seen one and especially never riding as fast as me downhill.
 
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I suppose it depends on the way you like to ride your MTB

me... I tend to roll out miles

I love my 29er and quite honestly I really doubt if I'll ever have another 26" wheeled bike.

the caveat... my Surly Big Dummy
 

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I was always curious about his rim brake mount adjusters, the photo he uses seems purposefully obscure, but after a little research concluded that Paul components moto bmx calibers are a better solution. Pauls are 125 for the brake set , Dreamride is 90 just for the adapter. Still have to deal with finding 29er rims with machined sidewalls and non-aheadset fork and stem. (Got a Bonty OR and a Breezer lightning I'd like to bring back from 26er exile)
 

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I'll never feal safe on my FSR 29 again

I say cancel your order. I'm selling my 29er before I die on it. :rolleyes:
 
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