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i have been reading the threads about 29 -26 efficiency, the what mtb article by respected rider steve worland, the mike f article over on bike the threads here, and i guess i had some thoughts too...

when i went from a 26 inch wheel singlespeed, to a 29 inch singlespeed, i simply did not have a smaller chainring lying around, so my gearing moved up a few inches.

this season, not only has some lingering knee pain resolved, not only have i finisehed considerably higher in race placings (everything from cx to solo 24 hrs) i have found the riding better, and dare i say easier with the higher gear. the *only* time i have ridden a 26" wheel bike with the gear inches i used to use was in state college for the worlds, and i struggled with it...did not like at all.

my only conclusion is that the bigger wheels and or the higher gear are responsible for all the changes ...as physically i havent changed really, and the bike set ups are pretty much identical.

the fine print would be that the bigger wheels keep me able to utilise momentum better and allow me to push the bigger gear more easily thus allowing me to go faster for the same tiredness level...does that make sense to anyone?

there's science then there is real world effectiveness...i kind of like the jhk and travis's idea of testing. if you control things too much you may miss the enigmatic/inexplicable effects (of course, this is for me, cant say it will be the same for you)


hmm there we go, thats what i spout if i arrive at work 20mins before usual...
 

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Recovering couch patato
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I don't think you can say it was just the taller gear, but I can see that your riding style the way it evelved on the 29"er allowed you to get away with taller gears than before. Did you increase your weekly dose of riding?
With my 29" bikes (never tried 26 SS, other than non-shifting) I tend to get the largest gear I can get away with, because I hate spinning. Keeping momentum with 10rpm mashing trough corners (and attacking steep hills as if the finish is halfway it) is all preferred over the pain of spinning. Too tall a gear and my laptimes suffer, obviously.
On a technical but mostly flat singletrack over some small dunes I am just faster on the 29" SS than on a 26" gearie, because the gears are overkill and I can corner the 29" faster. Nothing is going to beat the 29" SS setup there, at least the first couple of years.

It's cool to hear your results have gotten better since the switch, for a racer, what else is better evidence? Rock on!
 

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And He was Not
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I hear Ya'

I heard and read all the numbers about gear inches and whatever, I still say it feels like there is only 1 tooth difference in a 26 than a 29. I'm turning WAY bigger gear ratios on my 29. Maybe I got stronger overnight, not sure there. All I know is the ratios I was running on a 26 is 1 tooth off, everywhere I ride, and sometimes I think it is a little spinny. :rolleyes:
 

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Similar experience here.
Although I put most of it down to the fact the 29er weighs 24lbs and everything else I ride is more like 28lbs with heavyish wheels.
But currently have a 54" gear on as that's what was on it over the winter on the flop side of the fixed. Would normally be riding a 49" gear in winter but that wheel needs new bearings. On the 26" wheel bike it has a 50" gear on and it feels damned hard to ride. But I put this down to fat mud tyres and hefty weight in comparison. The 29er felt easier in the summer but this was not noticed in average speeds.
I like the way the bigger wheels ride in relation to obstacles so I'll be sticking with them even though I'm pretty sure I'll be just as happy on the same weight 26" bike. Any rolling gain is down to the tyres on it and I've not noticed accelerating or climbing to be more difficult. Again lighter bike makes this easier in the head.

As for gearing I'll be back on the smaller gear now I have some bearings and when spring comes along back onto the 52" gear. I will put the 54" on during the summer to try it out but at the moment I feel like I'm going to blow after 2 hours on it. It's pretty steep around here and there is basically no flat. Maybe for SSUK06 ;0)
 

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There is no shortage of incomplete anecdotal evidence to support the contention that 29ers make certain people faster, but that does not make for reliable, repeatable observation. There are plenty of emotions and subjective feelings, but a lack of objective information regarding how much peak and average power the rider is putting out. There is also no reliable comparitive information regarding training intensity, duration or frequency.

We need to see a fairly large group of experienced riders (at least one group with little or no experience on 29ers, and one with a lot of time on 29ers) doing repeated laps under controlled conditions riding power meter-equipped bikes in order to be able to say with any authority whether or not there is a difference in speed, and if that difference has more to do with the bike or the rider. That will give us a snapshot showing what the difference is at one point in time under those particular conditions with those particular bikes.

As for whether or not the use of a 29er can make a rider faster over time, that will be more difficult to prove statistically. One would need a larger group of matched, randomized subjects, split evenly between 26ers and 29ers and followed over a significant period of time, with baseline testing and regular retests over time.

None of this is impossible, but it is too expensive and time-consuming and the results would not provide any meaningful benefit that would be proportional to the effort expended.

Find a bike (or bikes) that you like.
Ride lots.
Have fun.
Spectator sports are for those too lazy or boring to live lives of their own. Get out there and do something!
 

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Daner said:
We need to see a fairly large group of experienced riders (at least one group with little or no experience on 29ers, and one with a lot of time on 29ers) doing repeated laps under controlled conditions riding power meter-equipped bikes in order to be able to say with any authority whether or not there is a difference in speed, and if that difference has more to do with the bike or the rider. That will give us a snapshot showing what the difference is at one point in time under those particular conditions with those particular bikes.!
Christ. Count me out of that one. Can't we just ride and smile...

I had a similar experience to you John... went from 32:18 on 26in wheels, to 32:18 on 29ers, and cleaned my test hill faster than ever...

Newbikeitis?

Same experience if I was "made" to run 32:16??

Just playing Devils Advocate :)
 

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I wouldn't want to do it either, and it would be a big waste of resources to find the answer to what is essentially a non-problem, that's why I wrote that it wouldn't be worth doing.

Edit: (I should have written: "In order to really answer these questions one would need to..." instead of "We need to...") We most assuredly do NOT need to do anything of the sort! :D

I just don't like it when people extrapolate incomplete information from a sample size of 1 and apply them to the rest of the world at large. We aren't curing cancer here, just riding bikes. That's enough, don't you think?
 

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Isn't it funny how we humans feel the need to numerically quantify all of our experiences? I used to ride with a guy who was so obsessed with his heart rate and average speed that he missed all the scenery along the trail. It wasn't until he got home and uploaded the data from his handlebar computer onto his PC that he decided whether or not he had had a good ride. Are 29ers more efficient than 26ers? The better question would be, what in the world does efficiency have to do with an afternoon in the woods with your friends?
 

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Joe Sausagehead said:
Isn't it funny how we humans feel the need to numerically quantify all of our experiences? I used to ride with a guy who was so obsessed with his heart rate and average speed that he missed all the scenery along the trail. It wasn't until he got home and uploaded the data from his handlebar computer onto his PC that he decided whether or not he had had a good ride. Are 29ers more efficient than 26ers? The better question would be, what in the world does efficiency have to do with an afternoon in the woods with your friends?
That's so true. All the data acquisition gizmos are for the birds unless you're a "serious" racer looking to maximize results. The only gadgets I bring along are my watch to tell me that I'm late getting to work, and cell phone to call work to tell them I'll be late.

I'll admit that I've been guilty of staring at pics of my bike on my laptop before it dawned on me that the actual bike was sitting right there in the room in front of me. What a dumbart!
 

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NMBP
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Amen!

Joe Sausagehead said:
Isn't it funny how we humans feel the need to numerically quantify all of our experiences? I used to ride with a guy who was so obsessed with his heart rate and average speed that he missed all the scenery along the trail. It wasn't until he got home and uploaded the data from his handlebar computer onto his PC that he decided whether or not he had had a good ride. Are 29ers more efficient than 26ers? The better question would be, what in the world does efficiency have to do with an afternoon in the woods with your friends?
On my 29'er I am more comfortable. Bike fits me better. Bike (Behemoth) is 4 lbs. heavier than last bike. So what. I'm having fun riding, and my body feels better afterwards. Can't even tell you what gears I normally ride in either.
 

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Daner said:
I wouldn't want to do it either, and it would be a big waste of resources to find the answer to what is essentially a non-problem, that's why I wrote that it wouldn't be worth doing.

Edit: (I should have written: "In order to really answer these questions one would need to..." instead of "We need to...") We most assuredly do NOT need to do anything of the sort! :D
It certainly could be undertaken by a University research team (that happens to have a high quality grant writer on their staff). Outside of the grant to fund the research, it wouldn't bring in any money to the University. However, it would provide an interdisciplinary project of math and science which most universities are looking these days to research.

Or if somebody wanted to put up the cash, I bet Carmichael Training Systems would be happy to take the money to run a concrete testing on the issues you raise.

Then again, I use a Thudbuster (plenty of discussion and opinion on that product) on one of my 29"er's. Why? It makes my back feel better even if all the data shows I may be less efficient with my power transfer over the course of the ride. Does my back care?:cool:

Commuting to work today and tomorrow I am trying out the XR 1.8's for the first time on the trails.

BB
 

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I like anecdotes better, it's the rider that makes the difference and a good attitude works well.

Even Dave Harris of PowerTap fame loved his 29er, though he seems to have traded his 292 for a Dos somewhere along the line. (Why didn't we see a PowerTap on the 292? Oh fuggetabout it)

From Dave's report of the E 100 (full story)

With no racing since the Durango MTB 100, I was feeling fresh and ready to go. The 50 mile intimidated me in spots from a technical standpoint, mostly because it was rough on the mid-mountain trail, and some of the stage 2 decents were challenging. At the same time, I was flirting with the idea of 29ers. They had become so popular with the endurance crowd, so what the heck, I pulled the trigger on a Gary Fisher 292. Riding this bike was a breath of fresh air! The big wheels rolled over stuff so easily and riding took on a newfound child-like aura. The harder sections of the E100 course were going to be sooo much easier.

:D
 

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glad somebody finally mentioned this...

I had a similar experience to you John... went from 32:18 on 26in wheels, to 32:18 on 29ers, and cleaned my test hill faster than ever...

Newbikeitis?
almost every time i have sunk serious coin into a new bike, especially one i have invested months in terms of design and concept, i've been faster on it than i was on the "old" bike. the new bike has also usually coincided with a spike in my riding hours, since that new bike has been a catalyst to make me want to ride more...

as for gearing, several years ago i went from a 26" ss with 36x18 to a 29"ss with 34x18 gearing. only a slightly larger gear on the 29, but i was faster on it in most places. came unglued something horrible trying to push that gear through a 100 mile race with over 16,000 feet of climbing on it, but even then, my time was only a few minutes slower than my previous best geared bike time.

there's no way i'd call any of that empirical evidence, however.
 

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Under those circumstances it might be worthwhile, for educational purposes. Have CTS team up with somebody at a NorCal University, and use a few of the high school MTB racing teams as subjects.

PS - I haven't had a computer on one of my bikes since 1994, and my HRM is dying of neglect rather than overuse. Just because I know how to train others and do research doesn't mean that I'm into all of that for myself. I don't need more things to measure, keep track of and stress over. God knows I need more time with my bike and my family, not more time with a computer.

BruceBrown said:
It certainly could be undertaken by a University research team (that happens to have a high quality grant writer on their staff). Outside of the grant to fund the research, it wouldn't bring in any money to the University. However, it would provide an interdisciplinary project of math and science which most universities are looking these days to research.

Or if somebody wanted to put up the cash, I bet Carmichael Training Systems would be happy to take the money to run a concrete testing on the issues you raise.

Then again, I use a Thudbuster (plenty of discussion and opinion on that product) on one of my 29"er's. Why? It makes my back feel better even if all the data shows I may be less efficient with my power transfer over the course of the ride. Does my back care?:cool:

Commuting to work today and tomorrow I am trying out the XR 1.8's for the first time on the trails.

BB
 

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Where is all the emperical evidence that a lightweight HT 26er is faster than a FS 26er or a SS 26 is faster than both?
I think we mostly rely on feel or lap times to determine which is better. I think it will all come out in the wash after the next few years. If 29ers are faster they will start dominating races. If they are funner they will start dominating trailheads.
So far I like mine. I like the long top tube and how it feels nailed to the ground vs. my past two 26 inch bikes. I really wonder if the 26er designers are doing something wrong by insisting on short chainstays and shorter top tubes particularly on FS bikes. People slamming seats way back, going with bent back seatposts and having to add stacks of shims, high rise stems and high rise bars to get a decent riding positions. Forget about the kiddy wheel statements perhaps the culprit is the kiddy frames?
I also wonder if 'flickability" is way over rated. I think over just a few miles per hour it gets to be too much.
Lots of food for thought.
 

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Sofa King We Todd Did
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Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Way to totally geek out the sport and suck the fun out of it. Holy crap, who gives a toss (some of you do, apparently, but I meant it as a rhetorical question). Why the dire need to put finite conclusions to something that might not be able to be defined in a finite fashion?Why this 'complex' with 29ers, so that one needs to continually prove that it's an out-and-out superior bike to the 26"-wheeled bikes? Wait, I get it - this is the MTB version of a small penis syndrome, isn't it. Something's amiss, so one feels overwhelmingly compelled to continually overcompensate for their choices by comparing those choices to those of others, is that it?. And how comes these debates are the liveliest when it comes to 26"-wheeled bikes vs. 29ers? How come no one's up in arms trying to get to the bottom of 104mm BCD crankarms vs. 110mm BCD cranks? How come no one's trying to sort out the eventual winner between 6" disc rotors vs. 7" disc rotors vs. 8" disc rotors?

Why? Because when you overanalysis is boring and geeky. With far too many variables influencing any comparison, there's no way in hell any level of sound conclusion can be reached. Ever.

One person's "educational endeavor" is another person's "total effin' geekdom". I was coming to the 29er board to learn more about my 29er options for bits and parts, maybe ogle some 29er pictures. But with every other thread seeming to try and 'justify' the existence of 29er bikes over their 26"-wheeled counterparts, this place is quickly turning into the most boring place in the universe since Josh Saviano's fan club.
 

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Ya gotta have watts

As a 26er and 29er rider I've come to the conclusion that the key to all of these discussions is simply one word: POWER. If you have wattage to spare or have been a slackard and not using your power, then the transition to 29ers is easy and offers instant gratification. If you are light, don't put out a lot of watts AND are a high cadence spinner then you might not be Mr. 29er. If you mash, then you'll find your gearing on a 29er whether you swap out chainrings or not. But, if like me, you were already running a 42/29/22 then you'll find some issues -- or at least I did when racing the 29er. Slower acceleration out of corners and the first ever sore knees. So, regardless of the anecdotal and soft scientific studies, I've come to my own and personal conclusion. Race the 26er and recreationally ride the 29er. Works for me.
 

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Recovering couch patato
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I value the opinion of MTBR members, most I know I've picked up on these very forums.. If MTBR members like a prodct, I can safely puchase it, and won't be disappointed.

Let's see how many MTBR members we can come up with that tried 29" SS and went back to 26" SS.
Hundreds (or even thousands?) of MTBR members are riding 29" SS and loving it. Tall or short, athlete or couch patato (I qualify as either).

I can come up with only one at this point, Fast Freddy. I seem to remember he had a KM, but sold it to ride his custom Ti 26" SS bike. Are there more? Must be...
 

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Vongrief said:
Totally agree with SpinWheelz.Get over it and just ride your "Freaking Bikes"or start a new forum for you engineer,scientist types,you guys are wasting precious riding time on this earth.
You know you guys don't have to read or respond to this stuff if it doesn't interest you. Some find it more interesting than others.
 
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