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Gee, didn't we post a FAQ?

Rolls over technical obstacles better with less effort and loss of momentum. Lower rolling resistance. Better low speed stability through rock gardens and around switchbacks. Better high speed stability. MUCH better tracking through deep sand, snow and mud.

Downsides? More weight. Slower acceleration. Different handling that can take a while to get used to. Tricky fit issues for riders under about 5'5". Limited tire and fork selection, though MUCH better than a year ago, let alone two.

Handling need not be slower, especially on a hardtail. Fishers' "Genesis" geometry creates a longer wheelbase and slower, though more precise, handling, and they're the only 29"ers a lot of riders have test ridden. But 29"ers can easily be as quick-handling as their 26" cousins if they're designed with that goal in mind: my Vulture 29"er and my Karate Monkey are the best (and quickest) handling mountain bikes I've owned.
 

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Not a one

There are absolutely no advantages to 29 inch wheeled bikes. They are slower everywhere. Always. Like all other gods of all things Velo posting here, I ride them just to give all the slow people a better chance of keeping up..............................Just kidding. Try one and see what you think.
 

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Not having to put up with all that was wrong about going 26" when it happened in the mid 70's. All adults outside BMX rode 700c bikes for speed, on and offroad. Our pioneers started funky re-welding on kids bikes with fat 26" tires. Had they convinced a tire maker to ofer true 700c fatties, I think this would have been the 26" forum for small people and dirt jumpers trying to get better tire and fork selection.
 

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Hmmmmm.....

Cloxxki said:
Not having to put up with all that was wrong about going 26" when it happened in the mid 70's. All adults outside BMX rode 700c bikes for speed, on and offroad. Our pioneers started funky re-welding on kids bikes with fat 26" tires. Had they convinced a tire maker to ofer true 700c fatties, I think this would have been the 26" forum for small people and dirt jumpers trying to get better tire and fork selection.
Strange revionist history. At some point, off road tires had to be made at pretty significant expense. As you pointed out, since the dawn of time, all adults had been using 700c/622mm bsd size for off road. Off road pioneers obviously knew about 26"/559 mm bsd rims and tires, and 700c/622 mm bsd rims and tires. Since the true ATB knobby had to be made from scratch, why was 26"/559mm bsd chosen? Or just maybe, all adults really were not using 700c/622mm bsd off road all along.

Wheel size was such a regional thing. In the USA, 27"/630bsd was the norm, in France it was 650b/584mm bsd, in most of Continental Europe, the 28"/700c/622mm bsd was fairly popular, and in England loads of 650a/590mm bsd was the deal.

And at the dawn of ATB times, plenty of folks were using plenty of different wheel sizes all around the globe. No way you can say ATB riding was invented in "X" locale, at "X" date. So at the dawn of Commercial ATB times, 26"/559mm bsd was picked for the versatility, ease of design and construction of a burly off road bike for many different rider sizes, etc. NOT just a fluke that 26" was arrived at. It still took a lot of dough to develop the first 26" ATB tire. Geezo. Look at Bontrager's cutting down 700c 36h rims to make the first real light and strong ATB 26" 32h rim. The 700c was there first, and the 26" had to be evolved.

But to the original poster, the greatest 29er advent has to be that some folks that were ripping around on late 1980's ATB technology have finally come into the next millenium by picking up a new bike! New bike stoke. The rest of 29er advantages are debatable.
 

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From what I read and was told, 26" was chosen because there were 2+" tires that came in the size. Required to NOT flat tires all the time, as happened with 700c x 40mm. I you'd put enough prssure in the 700c skinnies, they'd be worthless off-road. The 26" fatties were fatter to such a degree that it was worth it, and pressures could be low enough to ride the ofroads well. when the first dedicated MTB tire was made (I'm not that educated on the matter), they might as well have gone 700c for the same cost, to not have to put up with off rim sizing and simply re-use cyclo-cross wheels they were already riding offroad.
But it was 26" bikes going offroad, so 26" it was. Not a single 700c fatty (2") was made to even try whether smaller really was better. Gary Fisher told me he wish they'd handled matters a bit differently back then, as for him 29"ers are just better bikes, and that's obviously what he wants for his customers, better bikes.
 

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Or maybe

Mr. Scary said:
Depends on your height and power output. I'm an Expert level XC guy, but at 5'8" and 125 lbs I could never come to terms with the bigger wheels. I went back to a 26". For a taller rider, or somebody that is less skilled in technical terrain they are good bikes.
Or maybe it allows a technically skilled rider to use a quicker tire in technical terrain, thus more efficiency overall.
 

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sparrow said:
But to the original poster, the greatest 29er advent has to be that some folks that were ripping around on late 1980's ATB technology have finally come into the next millenium by picking up a new bike! New bike stoke. The rest of 29er advantages are debatable.
That is the most honest answer I've heard on this forum.
 

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anden said:
Why do 7-year-olds like 20" wheels and 11-year-olds 24" wheels?
Yes, and at 13 it's time for your first 26"er. I got a 58cm Giant at 13, which later grew on me.

It's it odd that the rule of proportions goes out of the window once a rider is tall enough to ride the holy 26"? (S)he can grow another foot or two and remain on the magical wheelsize in perfect harmony.
 
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