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What wheel size does your most recently purchased race bike have?

  • 26"

    Votes: 151 36.7%
  • 29"

    Votes: 256 62.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 4 1.0%
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bi-winning
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Looking through the new race bikes people are showing off, it seems that a staggering percentage of them have 29" wheels, when compared to just a couple years ago.

For my curiosity, I'm putting up a poll.

What wheel size does your most recently purchased race bike have?
 

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I am on a 26 carbon hardtail right now and once i am ready to replace it a carbon 29er will be on the table as a consideration for sure. I ask myself, would i kick my own ass "be faster" overall in a race if i were on a 29er right now? Answer: No.

There are pro's and con's to 29er's, just have to weigh them out for yourself. Just to add to this, the race course terrain really dictates how effective a certain wheel size will be.
 

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Just built up a very light 26" hardtail for this season.

If I lived in Texas, I would definitely get a 29er, but for the tighter trails that I mostly ride on, I prefer agility (and I'm kind of a cheap az).

Ideally I would like to have a 650b ht, but nobody is making light rims right now.
 

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I currently ride a 29er. And have ordered another HT 29er to replace it.

It's just a great mix of smooth riding and lower cost. I think the fastest bike on some of our courses is an FS, but I just don't want to pay the extra cost.
 

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mnoutain bkie rdier
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29er hardtail w/ tubeless low psi = yes.

29er full suspension = :confused: Like Ponch above, I like the smoothed out ride, BUT the simplicity of a hardtail.

I have owned and raced on both. To me, a full susp 29er is overkill. I really don't get it. My next full susp would definitely be a 26" again.

I am currently on a Lynskey ti 29er ht and like it.
 

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I'll still have my anthem-x for this season, but all last year I took notice in races and rides with friends how big of an advantage the 29" wheels held in a lot of places, especially smooth downhills and flats, so I'm building a niner for this year. Racing in the mid atlantic and northeast, there is enough trail variety that I couldn't justify giving up my amazing FS bike in favor of a ht 29.
 

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I voted other, since my most recent purchase is a cx bike. I guess I could've voted 29er, but, oh well.

Anthem X with some new, lighter parts for this year. Probably go 29er next season, and keep my FS bike too.
 

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mutaullyassuredsuffering
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29

I ran both wheel sizes for 4 years before finally deciding to commit fully to the bigger ones last year. Right now I have 2 HT's. One rigid and one with a 100mm fork.
 

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My first mountain bikes were 29ers (a rigid then a hardtail), but my first race bike was a 26" full suspension, and my newest race bike is a 26" hardtail.

After a lot of back and forth riding between the two wheel sizes and inconclusive attempts to put numbers to the comparison, I decided that for trying to go fast on the trails in my area I prefer the feel of 26". Differences in ride smoothness, momentum, and roll-over ability weren't noticeable to me whenever I would really be pushing my limits. But I could feel that lighter 26" wheels and tires make re-accelerations and spinning up climbs feel a little better, and I do like the fit of a 26" frame better (which seem to have a little less reach and a little less stack for the "same" size).
 

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Easily 26 for me. I tried a friend's high-end carbon 29er HT, and it was obvious I'd run circles around it with my old 26" HT, so I picked up a newer 26" HT frame and built it up to my tastes. All the fastest guys I race against locally are also on 26.

Traits I like in 26: nimble handling, very fast spin-up, low static weight, low rotational momentum, low unsprung weight, no need for heavier jumbo-sized cassettes or disc rotors, super selection of race tires including Conti's Supersonic series.

Traits I like in 29:
 

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bi-winning
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There has been no shortage of discussion debating the merits of each wheel size, but the poll is confirming what I thought.

Recently, people are handing over their money, and buying 29ers, seemingly moreso than 26ers.
 

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mnoutain bkie rdier
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rkj__ said:
There has been no shortage of discussion debating the merits of each wheel size, but the poll is confirming what I thought.

Recently, people are handing over their money, and buying 29ers, seemingly moreso than 26ers.
Also, I think the endurance scene has exposed the 29er hardtail's benefits. Light, simple, plush..

If I were only racing XC, I would reconsider a 26" hardtail or perhaps full squish again. A 29er ht is just a great all around bike.

I am sure it is a regional thing too. Southern Cal is fairly conducive to the 29er ht ride..
 

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My first real race bike was a titanium 26er hardtail (lightest mtb I've ever had). The next season I moved to a 29er hardtail (Salsa Mamasita) and even though it weighed 3 more pounds, it was totally worth it for my riding style and gave me "free" speed.

This year, I've now moved to a full suspension 29er for racing (Niner Jet9), and it weighs 3 more pounds than my 29er hardtail! At 26.3 lbs, she's no featherweight but the suspension allows me to focus more on pedaling and less on trying to pick perfect lines all the time. I'd never go back to a hard tail. In Texas where I like to ride, I'd never go back to a 26er either for serious riding. I even recently sold my Santa Cruz Nomad - I'm stuck on the wagon wheels!

The suspension and big wheels suit my style of riding best. I've also had by far my best race results with the Jet9. I had my first ever mtb race win on it, and also the best overall cat 1 time last weekend. It makes bombing the descents and climbing the tech stuff so easy it feels like cheating. While I can feel the advantages of the 26er and 29er hardtails in certain situations, the benefits of the 29er full squish (for my style of riding) far outweigh any negatives on almost any race course I've ridden.

My fun, around-town bike is a SS 26er Redline Monocog with front suspension. It's perfect for blasting around town to different events or just cruising over to friends houses. It's one of my favorite bikes, but not for racing.

Out of curiosity I demoed a $9,000 Epic Sworks 29er. It was about 5 lbs lighter than my Jet and climbed really well. The 5lb weight difference wasn't nearly as much as an advantage as I'd imagined, and I actually liked my bike even better despite the weight difference. It helped give me some perspective on why I shouldn't obsess over shedding grams on my race bike.

To get even more perspective I recently built up my old Mamasita HT 29er into a rigid singlespeed. At 20lbs, it's a rocket ship and climbs like no other MTB I've owned. It's a really fun bike, but I get a lot more kicks out of the speeds I can generate and maintain on the Jet.

The thing that most bothers me about the 29ers are their reluctance to get airborne. This doesn't matter in races as jumping is often an energy / speed suck, but can take some fun out of jump parks or more AM style trails.
 

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Last season I switched to 29er HT after many years riding/racing 26 FS. At 6'3" the big wheels just fit. I finally feel like I'm riding a bike that is properly proportioned.

For an XC bike I'll never go back to 26. I'm still on the fence for longer travel FS rigs.
 

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Scooterist
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Iv`e been racing 29` for 4 years and will continue to do so. they are a nice confindence booster in the rough.

I ride both a WFO 29`er and Cube stereo (26 140mm-150mm) otherwise and have owned a Rip.

The WFO is overkill but i still like it.
The stereo wins over the rip for weight but I would have problems calling one better than the other.

I would never consider racing a 26`er hardtail again. (and i`m a small guy)
 

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I can't ever see myself going back to 26" wheels. At 6'5" the fact that the bike is actually proportional to my size is huge. Feeling like I was up on stilts over the front wheel of just about any XL XC hardtail w/26" wheels was not confidence inspiring and the frames were always too small. They also ride rough as $#!t without any suspension.

Big wheels and tubeless w/low pressure is my preference. Racing or just riding for fun. The only place I'd consider 26" wheels are on long travel downhill oriented bikes. They're so slacked out and have enough suspension that the little wheels aren't as big of a hindrance. Eventually when more 29" DH bikes are in the wild and tested I'd likely be persuaded to that side of the fence as well.
 

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Bottom-line. If you choose a 26er because you think a 29er is just a fad or because you tried one of your buddies around the parking lot, then you are an idiot or a Frenchman. If you rode and really tested a 29er and stayed 26, then you did it right. So many tools here hate 29ers and never really tried one or at least ran one on the correct trail.

After more then 20 years on a 26 inch wheel I tried 29 last year. Now all three of my bikes are 29. It is the best wheel for me and I race many different courses. Many of my friends rode 29ers and they still prefer 26 for their own reasons. To each their own.
 

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WebInt said:
then you are an idiot or a Frenchman.
When it comes to mountain biking being called a French man isn't exactly a bad thing.

How many world championships have the French won on the dirt? I bet it has to be 20 in senior ranks alone. I think there were years where more than half the medals at worlds were won by the French.
 

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LMN said:
When it comes to mountain biking being called a French man isn't exactly a bad thing.

How many world championships have the French won on the dirt? I bet it has to be 20 in senior ranks alone. I think there were years where more than half the medals at worlds were won by the French.
I am well aware of how good they are. How many are supporters of a 29 inch wheel though? This is where I was going. They seem to be one of the more vocal anti-29 groups.
 
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