• Welcome to AlpineZone, the largest online community of skiers and snowboarders in the Northeast!

    You may have to REGISTER before you can post. Registering is FREE, gets rid of the majority of advertisements, and lets you participate in giveaways and other AlpineZone events!

What's up with these silly 29" and 27.5" wheels.....???

C-Rex

New member
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
1,350
Points
0
Location
Enfield, CT
I stopped into a bike shop this afternoon, and it looks like pretty much all the really expensive nice bikes (like over $500) now take 27.5" and 29" wheels? That's CRAZY!!!! They told me 29" wheels came from road/hybird bikes and 27.5" came from wheelchairs..........I've never heard of something so absurd!

Unless it's got a 26" wheel, it's not a mountain bike!!!!


Yeah, I'd totally rather ride that sweet Sportek than that carbon Scott...

Dude, where have you been? This argument happened like 5 years ago. 29ers are here to stay and 27.5's will probably end up replacing 26" wheels in a few years. The advantages are proven and the drawbacks are well worth the efficiency and reduction in rolling resistance.
 

C-Rex

New member
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
1,350
Points
0
Location
Enfield, CT
Not for everyone.

I've demoed a few 29ers and found very little advantage for the way I ride.

I feel the same way, mostly. I like trials-y type riding, being more nimble, but some of the 650b's I've tried are really coming along in that respect. I don't see 26" going away but I think the standard will shift to 27.5.
 

Highway Star

New member
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
2,919
Points
0
So, I did some reading.....you guys are telling me that you can actually tell a difference of 1" diameter between 26" and 27.5" (actually 27")...? Really? And that's enough of a reason to spend hundreds of dollar on a new bike.......?
 

WoodCore

Active member
Joined
Jun 15, 2007
Messages
3,190
Points
38
Location
CT
So, I did some reading.....you guys are telling me that you can actually tell a difference of 1" diameter between 26" and 27.5" (actually 27")...? Really? And that's enough of a reason to spend hundreds of dollar on a new bike.......?


Yes!
 

Wyatte74

New member
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
43
Points
0
Location
Southern Fairfield County CT
So, I did some reading.....you guys are telling me that you can actually tell a difference of 1" diameter between 26" and 27.5" (actually 27")...? Really? And that's enough of a reason to spend hundreds of dollar on a new bike.......?

do you actually ride a bike?
I can tell the difference between different saddles or front shocks etc etc that are only slightly heavier or lighter or stiffer or more plush or whatever...any little change can make a huge difference on how your ride rides...although no one said anything about buying a new bike for the sole reason of having a 650b or 29er so...yeah
 

skijay

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
909
Points
16
Location
MA
I did one season (last summer) on a 29er. It replaced a 1995 26" mountain bike. The handling was great but It felt a little sloppy on the flowy singletrack. It could've been the bike and or me. I did like it but found myself selling it on craigslist in February and purchasing a 26" MTB again.

For me I think it's the angle of the head tube that makes the difference. For me a 29er with a 70 degree angle isn't as much fun as a 26" with a 67 degree angle on the flowy stuff, at least that's my opinion.

Off Topic: I sold my one season old 29er on craigslist in one hour and the transaction was completed the following day. Never expected that to happen that fast especially in February.
 

snoseek

Active member
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,211
Points
38
Location
NH
Website
www.bushslastday.com
I thought about it while riding today and I may sell my 29er later this summer and buy a 650 only because there's just too many times on tight twisty singletrack that the big wheels kinda suck
 

bvibert

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Messages
30,394
Points
38
Location
Torrington, CT
Tight twisty single track is my favorite. There's no way I want to sacrifice in that terrain just to roll over some stuff a little easier...
 

WoodCore

Active member
Joined
Jun 15, 2007
Messages
3,190
Points
38
Location
CT
Never really noticed that much loss of mobility on a 29er vs a 26 inch wheel.
 

BackLoafRiver

New member
Joined
Nov 19, 2008
Messages
1,608
Points
0
Location
Augusta, Maine
Tight twisty single track is my favorite. There's no way I want to sacrifice in that terrain just to roll over some stuff a little easier...

I found this to be the biggest issue while on my 29er a few years ago. I noticed a huge difference when coming down to 26" wheels. Of course, I've seen guys maneuver around some nasty tight and twisty stuff on big wheels that absolutely put me to shame.

I wonder what the handling difference (if any) would be on a 27.5? Is the biggest advantage going to be ease in which you roll over?
 

C-Rex

New member
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
1,350
Points
0
Location
Enfield, CT
Moving up to a 29" wheel doesn't mean you can't ride tight, twisty stuff, you just have to adapt your riding style. My friends on 29ers ride the same trails as I do and once they got used to the bigger wheel and longer wheelbase, they were fine. In fact, they were noticably faster since the little rock gardens that would slow me down (especially on climbs) would be much easier for them. In New England, with our rocky, rooty, trails, the big wheels make a huge difference. Somewhere with smoother, more buffed out terrain, like the Pacific Northwest the difference may not be as noticiable. You also feel the difference more on longer rides. After 10, 15, 20 miles the change in turning radius takes a far back seat to the low rolling resistance. Being able to pedal over rough stuff easily when you are super tired is well worth the extra effort in tight corners.

I am one of the last in my group to come around to the big wheels. When they first came around, I thought they were straight-up stupid. Even when I rode one and realized how smooth they roll, I wasn't convinced it was for me since I'm pretty short and most of those bikes have taller standover heights. However, as the years tick by, manufacturers are continuously developing the designs of these bikes and they have found ways to absorb a lot of the negatives that were at first big drawbacks. I'm still not convinced that a 29er is for me, but a 27.5 is a nice compromise that I am banking on really enjoying. I see a Pivot Mach 6 in my future...

pivot-mach-6-13.jpg
 

Wyatte74

New member
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
43
Points
0
Location
Southern Fairfield County CT
God I love Bike porn! ^^
Wish I could afford a new bike...I still can't believe my bike is 8 years old now!
Still rides great but all the new tech and even the aesthetics of some them make me wanna max out my card and just do it! Bah! Sorry a bit off topic so 27.5 seems good
 

bvibert

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Messages
30,394
Points
38
Location
Torrington, CT
Maybe I'm just a hack, but I noticed very little difference rolling over stuff on the 3 29ers I've demoed. I rode them on the same bumpy terrain that I ride all the time on my 26er.
 

bvibert

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Messages
30,394
Points
38
Location
Torrington, CT
Never really noticed that much loss of mobility on a 29er vs a 26 inch wheel.

Maybe not because of the big wheels directly, but I can recall several occasions where I made it through tight sections that had you hitting the extra wide bars you have on there to control that over-sized front wheel. ;)

Of course most of our trails have been 29er-ified to eliminate such sections, so the point may no longer be valid...
 

Highway Star

New member
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
2,919
Points
0
Moving up to a 29" wheel doesn't mean you can't ride tight, twisty stuff, you just have to adapt your riding style. My friends on 29ers ride the same trails as I do and once they got used to the bigger wheel and longer wheelbase, they were fine. In fact, they were noticably faster since the little rock gardens that would slow me down (especially on climbs) would be much easier for them. In New England, with our rocky, rooty, trails, the big wheels make a huge difference. Somewhere with smoother, more buffed out terrain, like the Pacific Northwest the difference may not be as noticiable. You also feel the difference more on longer rides. After 10, 15, 20 miles the change in turning radius takes a far back seat to the low rolling resistance. Being able to pedal over rough stuff easily when you are super tired is well worth the extra effort in tight corners.

I am one of the last in my group to come around to the big wheels. When they first came around, I thought they were straight-up stupid. Even when I rode one and realized how smooth they roll, I wasn't convinced it was for me since I'm pretty short and most of those bikes have taller standover heights. However, as the years tick by, manufacturers are continuously developing the designs of these bikes and they have found ways to absorb a lot of the negatives that were at first big drawbacks. I'm still not convinced that a 29er is for me, but a 27.5 is a nice compromise that I am banking on really enjoying. I see a Pivot Mach 6 in my future...

View attachment 12488

Is that your bike? It's a really pretty blue color.
 

dlague

Active member
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
8,789
Points
36
Location
CS, Colorado
Advantages

  • Larger wheels roll over obstacles more easily. The ability of a wheel to roll over obstacles is proportional to its size. A 29" wheel, which is about 10% larger than a 26" wheel, can roll over 10% larger obstacles. This effect size is largely insignificant. Consequently this benefit has not promoted other industries to consider larger wheel sizes. For instance, off road motor cycles still use 19" wheels.
  • The larger diameter wheels have more angular momentum so they lose less speed to obstacles and rough sections but the same effect can be achieved with larger tires.
  • 29" bikes tend to offer taller riders a more "natural" frame geometry



Drawbacks

  • Increased wheel size, to keep an identical geometry stack size, results in reduced suspension travel. Each millimeter added to the wheel size needs to be deducted from the travel. Many 29er bike producers try to minimize this effect by allowing stack size to grow. The same approach would allow 26ers to have even more travel.
  • Increased wheel weight and rotating mass (the spokes, rim, and tire are all larger) makes the wheels harder to accelerate and harder to brake
  • More force needed to change steering angle due to greater mass and longer contact patch.
 
Top