Video: Stephen Matthews - 29er Shred On The North Shore

by MEC 
 
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German engineered Ghost Bikes are available exclusively at Mountain Equipment Co-op.

Rider - Stephen Matthews
Title Photo by - Sterling Lorence
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134 Comments

  • + 70
 Honestly, the 29er just doesn't look as fun to ride.sick trail and rider tho!
  • + 26
 thats what I was thinking, the bike just looked sluggish even though the rider was obviously trying to make it handle quickly it looked unresponsive to his input
  • + 4
 M9er - yes I agree. The clock will tell you that 29er is faster (thx to Dirt Mag ekhem... ekhem, kheeee) but not your senses. Anyone promoting the idea that 29ers can be ridden the same way as 26ers - message me 5 years from now. In the message, please state the nr of top bike movies of SINumbers caliber in which you have seen someone riding a 29er. As movies are about spectacular riding, the bike stuck to the ground will have a bad time with getting thorugh the interviews to get the role...

Now, please remember vids of Voreis in Retallack, Ratboy on Blur TRc, and try to imagine how would those vids look if even the best of the breed like Stumpy 29evo and Tallboy LTc were involved. Got a picture?
  • + 17
 Looks like he's bored. Its fast but doesn't look like he's having anywhere near as much fun as he would on a well dialled 26".
This has been proven by many.. 29ers aren't the way for technical trails, so please stop trying to flog them off as if they are manufacturers!!!!!!!
  • + 8
 before it escalates: this vid is cool, nice filming, nice riding, great scenery - I really enjoyed watching it.

But in current "political climate" putting "riding a 29er" in the title is just asking for trouble, those comment boards would be way different without it - don't make the same mistake, just a tip. But off course if you decide not to play political games - I make my deepest kudos to you Big Grin
  • + 3
 fair play to the rider for manuvouring that big old gate, didn't look that nice to flow, the pumping looked a little awkward. not for me, but then there are plenty of horses for courses
  • + 20
 You guys say he looked bored? He looked like he wasn't having fun? He looked sluggish? Couldn't pump? Did you watch the same footage as me? The only way to tell the difference is to film that rider on that trail on a 26er - the difference in style would be marginal at best.

The difference between 26" and 29" is bigger in your minds than in reality, just as it once was in mine after over twenty years on 26".
  • - 4
 At least I mean - they are way less spectacular to watch ;D

To ride? less fun for me, but I haven't ridden a modern super 29er like SC Tallboy.
  • + 5
 Meh, the 29 looks slugish and harder to transfer lines.
  • + 2
 You're right it is in our minds.. I have way more Fun on two6!
  • + 7
 In such rooty terrain a 29'er is perfect. It means you can rise the trail with a lesser travel bike, and not get so hung up on roots. Before you decide 29'ers are [a number of ignorant things] why don't you just get out and try one?
  • + 2
 EllioMoose - it was the first time 4 weeks ago when I rode my 29er alongside my buddies (all on 26ers) and in our technical root and rock infsted terrain, it was clear that I am slightly faster than I would be on 26er, especially on uphills - BUT I couldn't jump and fool around as much as they did. Those bikes don't turn as fast and don't jump as well, I can only assume that to really use a 29er you need adequately bigger speeds and trails. On tight, XC stuff - they are faster, but feel slow thus less fun. The ride which took me 2,5h on a 26" HT in good shape, I finished in a 2h on 29" not in my best form - true. But I was not focusing on bike handling experience.

Some people like apples more than oranges.
  • + 7
 Watching this video is depressing. I live in the wonderful state of Wisconsin! We just got our 3rd big winter storm. I'm just wanting to ride the trails and get ready for races in may already....sigh
  • + 7
 My 2013 Stumpy Evo carbon 29 frame will be here today. Here's a video for all you doubters and haters (not of me). Enjoy!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mbYedxjoD4
  • - 2
 WAKI, I rode and back tested a tricked out Tallboy against an SB66, 575, Foxy, MojoHD and my own Nomad (stock and how I run it modified), same weekend, all but the Nomad on the same day.
The worst bike for climbing (most fails on technical climb) was the Stock Nomad followed by the Tallboy, both a country mile behind the others. The best for climbing was the modified Nomad.
As for descending all but the Foxy blew the tallboy away, the foxy was only slightly better. Judged on pedalling and carrying speed down possibly the UK's hardest trail centre black run.
I am a design engineer of nearly 20 years (scary thought), so tests tend to be relative and relevant to what I want out of a bike.
  • - 9
 Next year everyone will just be complaining that no one is making 26" all mountain bikes and everyone is only doing 27.5" and 29 ers. So no matter how un-fun you think a 29er is, it is here to stay and 26" wheels are the one on the fence.
  • + 43
 no f*cks to give about the 26, 29 debate. I saw a dude shredding a bike and having fun.
  • - 5
 that bike looked flexy and sluggish. he'd be so much faster on a 26.
  • - 4
 It is the rider not the bike. A featured video from MEC promoting their bike line and trying to push the 29ers to new riders (trends...) or those who can't (or refuse) to handle tech riding. This is just matter of how much PB gets paid for this type of thing or having that RC guy talking crap about 29ers.
  • + 9
 I'm curious how many of you would have actually noticed that he was on a 29er had it not been stated in the title.
  • + 3
 Don't need to see the title to know a 29er when I see one, not against them just not my gig.
  • + 5
 Can't understand why everyone is so threatened by 29ers - get over it.
  • + 0
 @ maxman: muskie's comment can answer that question for you.
  • + 3
 Little confused about your comment taletotell, as I wasn't asking a question. I was just commenting that 29er is an easily recognizable wheel size and not often confused with a 26, especially with people who know their bikes. As for Muskie's comment,I think there is some truth to this but I still don't think 26 is going anywhere soon, might faze out over time but there are two many of them out there for manufacturers to suddenly ignore the market. More likely three well sizes for the foreseeable future. That's why I just bought a mojo HD, gives me the choice if 650b starts to rule the world. With our riding group all are welcome regardless of wheel size, but if you come dressed in Lycra we will take the piss out of you.
  • + 5
 @ iamamodel I could not disagree more...I ride with a shop owner who has been riding 29ers for 5 years solid. We both ride 26" DH on the same course he usually beets me by 3 to 4 seconds every time. When we are both on 29ers he beets me by probably 10 to 20 seconds not quit out of site on our trails, but close to it! My only defense is I do not ride 29" bikes that often.
BUT when I am on my 26" SC Butcher and he is on his 29" SC TallBoy LT I am all over the brakes going into corners to keep from running over him. Out of the corners I have to take different lines as my bike seems to out accelerate his!(whether this is acceleration or just being able to carry more corner speed I do not know) but down the straights depending on the trail we are pretty even except when you have option lines were you can either hop and pump over roots and logs or rail around on outside berms I seem be able to make time. When I am in front I can get a decent 5 seconds or so on him most runs. He LOVES 29er's and praises how much fun he has on them but even he admits on DH style trails he is slower but still prefers the 29" bike I guess its personal preference.
  • + 1
 Sorry max. i meant noahcolorado's question
  • + 2
 @nissmo - my point was about the difference in how much FUN you can have.

And when it comes to time, sure my 26" Trance is faster than my 29" Anthem on a downish hill run, but there are mere seconds in it. My fastest downhill times were set while racing a Super D, and I haven't had a good crack at equalling those times on my Anthem 29er.

Most rides are done in a loop - the vast majority of riders don't have lifted access. A 29er will always be faster in a loop (both my XTC 29er and Anthem 29er SMASH my Trance 26er in a loop).

Everyone spends more time pedalling uphill than they do going downhill - the ratio could be 3:1 or 4:1 on out-and-backs, depending on the steepness of the trail. If Bike X takes one hour to do a certain climb, and then 15 minutes to descend, and Bike Y is, say, 5% faster up a hill, and 5% slower down the hill, bike Y will get the faster overall time. And that's why I race 29ers for anything that lasts more than ten minutes.

As one of my racing buddies says "We only race for fun... and it is more fun when you win!"
  • + 2
 @ iamamodel - I completely agree with most rides are a loop, and I will admit on flats and climbs I can smash a 29 almost as fast as my rode bike! I was responding to..."The difference between 26" and 29" is bigger in your minds than in reality" I for one can say I am not anywhere near as fast going down my local trails on a 29" as on a 26"... Since I do not race XC and I only climb to rail going down... for me suffering a little more on the climbs just makes the descents that much more fun!

However I have been riding my butcher this winter as a 27.5" so come spring I would like to do some more back to back runs with 26" vs. 27.5"
  • + 2
 nissmo127... I think your findings (which mirror mine) would make a great article on here, comparing the difference over time also.
  • + 1
 betsie - That would be a great article and long term test! With several companies now offering "convertible" frames I think it could be very cheap and easy to do!
I need to write little update soon as I have been getting a lot of ride time on the 27.5 in the muck both climbing and descending. Here in the Willamette valley it never gets warm enough to dry out or cold enough to freeze so it is just all mud all the time! Not a bottomless mud but a lot of red clay that sticks to everything and slick slimy brown loam with enough roots, rocks and leaves covering up branches to make life on the trail very interesting, it's like riding a slip and slide! 100% of the guys I ride with this time of year are on 29" bikes so the pluses and minuses are really easy to spot!
  • + 1
 I have timed Strava runs for over a thousand kays on my Trance 26", a thousand miles on my XTC 29er, and five hundred km on my Anthem 29", plus I do statistics and maths for a living, but you guys go right ahead...

I'm taking my toys and going home. Frown
  • + 1
 You guys are funny. Talking about how your AM bike is faster than a XC bike on DH. Really?!?! Who would have thought...
  • + 1
 cool iamamodel... I have a small amount of engineering, maths and statistics experience..... Smile
  • + 3
 It's all fad really. Hate Justin Bieber because it's the cool thing to do. Rag on fixies because all the DH bros are doing it. Now you have a reason to hate 29ers! Because it's the cool thing to do on PinkBike.
  • + 3
 hate bieber, but dress like him. kids make me smile
  • + 1
 @ dualsuspensiondave - I was not talking about a XC bike. I am talking about Long travel (LT) 29" and Butcher neither are a XC bike by any stretch! Both are meant to be "all mountain" so I think its a good comparison, no?
  • + 2
 @ iamamodel - I was talking about all three not just 26/29". I don't own a 29" but I am very fortunate that I can use one of the shop demos whenever I want. I started riding my "convertible" at the end of summer when most of the trails were blown up. I found myself sticking with the 26" at first unless the trail had a lot of flat pedaling, rock or climbing.
Now its Muck weather and I find myself sticking to 27.5". Now I'm thinking to myself come spring time what will be my choice and why? Am I the only one who is doing it? Is there something I am missing...etc.

Yes there have been a couple of tests they have been short term some even just a day of riding. Nothing long term one rider three different bikes(or two with a convertable 27.5/26") that's what I would like to see.
If someone has access to 26, 27.5 and 29 on a daily basis over the course of a season what do they choose more often and why? Do a monthly update to keep it fresh....
If you could do this for each region that would be amazing! Northwest, Nor Cal, SoCal, Desert Southwest etc..Because what I ride in the NW is nothing like what I have rode in SoCal.
Do I want to see just raw data...sure! But I would also like to see what people "feel like riding" you know normal stuff like I was out all night and it pedals better with a hangover! ...It descends better if I'm not on my "A" game...this setup is just fun and I don't care how it climbs or descends

I'm taking my toys and going riding!
  • + 1
 I could guess what toy I would prefer for different types of riding. Long flowy stuff where speed is king, but there are less hills or rooted xc I would take a 29er. Give me a tight winding down hill on rough stuff and I would take DH. If I need to pedal to get to the DH I'll take a 26" enduro style rig. Same with a groomed FR jump course.
I'd love to try a 27.5 since I can't have a lot of bikes and 60%+ of my riding is xc, but enough is the other stuff that I wouldn't have as much fun on a big wheel. Maybe it is the mix for me. How do 27.5's stack up in the enduro racing? That is my kind of stuff.
  • + 3
 OK: each wheel size has their pros and cons, but it really comes down to what feels right. Sure, a 29er might not fly as easy as a 26er (I should know, I have both), but the big wheels just keep on turning. With climbs and technical shit, that really helps. But 26ers are really flickable and fun. So there is no argument over which is "better," because everyone is a different rider, and everyone should ride what feels right, or just go ahead and have both.
  • + 1
 Maybe I'm just weird but I wouldn't mind a 650b dh bike and a 29er xc bike but a 26er am bike (also wouldn't mind having the money to pay for all that) I love my slayer because it's so flickable and just overall fun which my supreme dh v3 could never be anywhere near as flickable and pump able, can't we keep am bikes fun and make dh bikes faster? I won't be buying a non 26 anytime soon but it's food for thought
  • + 1
 @ mfbeast12 - That's kinda the point(pros and cons) some guys can hardly afford one bike let alone two. So if you had to pick just one what would it be? I think you would need to break it down into maybe, Category...Style...Region.

Bike Category - I like a little bit of everything but I like fast descents on steep single track with rocks and drops so: All Mountain
Style - I ride 80% for going down 20% for everything else taking after Fox you could group it in Climb / Trail / Descend: Descend
Region - NW Oregon Cascades/ Washington our trails tend to be very different from most of the country...

Just a thought that may make it less confusing when trying to explain bike choices what may be great for a All mountain Descend rider in Oregon, may suck for a All mountain trail rider in Arizona.
  • + 3
 @ nissmo - I haven't ridden 650b yet. When Giant comes out with one, then I will. Perhaps I will only have to wait five months when the 2014 stuff comes out?
  • + 1
 @nissmo127: That's a good point. But my two bikes probably have a combined value of $1800, its not like I have a Tallboy LTC and a Nomad Carbon (but that would be very nice indeed).
  • + 1
 @ iamamodel - I would encourage it I've been having fun with my 27.5 conversion! I'm also waiting to see if transition or santa cruz is going to have a proper 27.5" All mountain/Enduro rig for next year?

@ mfbeast12 - $1800 for 2 bikes is still a small fortune to some of the customers I see....I have a friend who just bought one of my used frames and is going to spend the summer working to put it together...Even after I donated brakes,cranks and some odd bits he may not be able to ride it until the end of summer.
  • + 1
 @nissmo127-
I am still on my parents' budget. The second I turn 18 my hard-earned coin is worth a lot more.
  • + 2
 Sadly mgbeast, when you are on your own you will have no money because you have to pay for all that stuff your parents did for you. I recomend getting as much good stuff as you can now, while you don't pay rent.
  • + 2
 @taletotell: I am aware of that. My thoughts exactly.
  • + 1
 I need to pinch a 29er for a real test of several days, to see what it is really like for average riding (not that I ever do average riding though). I always remember the Niner being the nicest I have tried to date.
Last time I was out with someone with a 29'er (tallboy) they avoided the very technical climb, choosing to pedal around on the access road, then when it came to going down that trail, which was full of loose rocks and was very wet, then ended up walking sections because they could not turn sharp enough to flick around the bigger loose rocks, or pop over them. Kinda made the climb harder to swallow. Then when we were on the flat later on a very technical section, they were pushing as they could not get the tyres to dig in to get enough traction, and the bike was too long and cumbersome to lift over the technical bits, adding to the few corners where you wanted to be out wide and turn hard/last second where the steering precision was not there. Strange to be out manoeuvred by a Nomad with a -2 degree angleset fitted!
  • + 1
 In my experience, 29er beats 26er evidently in terrain and applications having small or medium amplitude of climbing/descending and speed. It is just outstanding at carrying speed and keeping momentum. However if terrain demands often change of speed, where sze and type of obstacles changes very often it's advantage diminishes - let's say a terrain in which you would use dropper post nearly every 2-3 minutes (like where I live). We have to be clear here though: there is not that much of it in the world.

One thing I noticed on technical stuff on 29er is that it's rolling over capability indeed allows you to focus a bit more on looking ahead, just like riding a DH bike vs 6", certain size of obstacles just stop being processed by your brain. Problem comes when you find yourself in a situation of a bigger gap between bigger stones, as 29er is much harder to pop over such things. ON 26 I am focused all the time on ways to go over stuff and it is easy to pick up air anytime, so in such situation I have not that much probs of getting the bike over a 1ft deep, 2ft long gap between microwave size rocks. On 29er though that is a serious "holy shit!" The effort to pick the 29er up over such thing is comparable to making a really decent bunnyhop on 26". So this "easy rolling" can be treacherous. It numbs your instinct a bit. And to relate what Betsie wrote, when speed goes down and the size of stuff forces you to negotiate between them, my 29er really struggles, and I hate this momentum driving me forward when slowing down on really bumpy stuff, kind of turn lag.

Fast trails with little blind corners is where 29ers shine, the one in the vid seems great for 29er too, but I'm sure I'd have lots more fun on 26er to look for launch spots to go over those roots instead of plowing through them.
  • - 1
 seriously fuck off already argue on the forum
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  • + 19
 As a cyclist, I kinda feel sorry for those who like to pigeonhole themselves into a small facet of this fun sport, and hate on anyone who doesn't fit into their tightly-bound mold of what is cool. Ride bikes!
  • + 2
 I think eventually people will not dwell so much on wheel size as they are now. Hopefully the hate will get boring, actually it already is, and eventually people will just see them as different size wheels that improve the sport and make it more interesting, and not different genres. I would rather dwell on the fact that I'm near one of the best riding areas in the world and go celebrate the trails, cause this footage got me fired up to ride.
  • + 2
 +1 Protour - shikokukichiguy - I live in a part of the world that is almost 100% dominated by 29" bikes and have little to no gravity scene except for a small core group. Unfortunately unlike on PB 26" and gravity are the ones who are always hated on they have even gone so far as to negotiate getting our DH style trails closed for more XC style trails!!! I have even gone out to rides with my Enduro bike and was told "DH is not the image we want to project" I ended up riding another trail loop with a friend rather then join the ride. I really hope with the longer travel 29" and 27.5" bikes some of these gravity haters will calm down and see the light
  • + 1
 It wasn't long ago when there was a huge sympathy towards 29ers under some vid or bike test. Just as there was a huuuge prop for balloon wheels under this weird article. Just as there are really mixed feelings on 650B, instead of pure hate.

This is a semi-pop site - this "29er" in the title of the vid had no chance of not getting the whole thing into trouble. Im glad he put it there though.

And bikes are indeed different for different locations. I was always saying - if you ditch 29er for being a bike for poor riders, then get a bike with shorter suspension. There are as many lycra shorts deserving smacking as fullface helmets.
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  • + 15
 29er you say?

youtu.be/15_Y3_eRfOU

Great trails, great rider, just imagine how he could have shredded on an old school 26" wheeled bike
  • + 2
 tooo damn funny!!
  • + 2
 I thought it was a cool video in all, but definitely not my definnition of shredding.
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  • + 12
 I've been riding 29ers for a while now. I can assure you when i ride with my buddies that have 26ers, we all have just as much fun. The smiles are equal at the bottom of the trail! Ride on!
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  • + 8
 Well of course here goes the normal 29ers suck 26 for life stuff. I have rode both high end 26 and 29ers. For the area I live in and the riding I do I like a 29ers. But I know that some areas 26 inch bikes will be better. Why after years of having 29ers can we just let them be part of mountain biking without freaking out when people ride them in areas we normally see people riding 26 inch bikes. Biking is biking just go have fun.
  • + 6
 Amen. It's not cool anymore, any people are just flaunting their ignorance. It used to be easy and fun and everyone thought you were so damn clever for bashing 29ers, but get over yourselves and stfu about it already. Let people ride what they want and quit trying to convince the world your wheel size is better. To both sides of this stupid 'debate'.
  • + 10
 I wonder for how many people it's more resentment than just being critical/haters. It's not that I hate 29"/27.5" wheels, 15mm front axels, 142mm spacing, 11 spd, tapered forks, etc it's just I resent the cost. Bikes I spend thousands on are depreciated in value faster, I have to special order everything and wait a week or so b/c the LBS cannot afford to stock every option/size, and I have to replace the whole drivetrain b/c I can't find a rear derailer in the right spd. And for what benefit really. If the guy was riding a 26", 9spd, 135mm spacing etc on this trail would he have had any less fun. Options are cool but not at the cost and inconveince for just difference without real improvement.(I have ridden 29er bikes and they do roll better but there are trade offs that have been stated an endless amount of times).
  • + 1
 More options leads to less satisfaction no matter what choice you make. This fact is supported by various studies. That said, improvement of the technology and differentiation to different styles and terrains means there are going to be options. It has its headaches for sure and some of us get left behind for a while too. I know. I ride a 26er with a 135 axle and I like it just fine, but have less options it seems like when I wheel hunt because the tough wheels all run a 142 now. I use a 2x9 and if I want a new derailleur next year I'll need a whole new wheel and drive-train. Lame. But as long as we look for better ways to do things there are going to be new options. We just have to live with it.
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  • + 9
 The bike just looks a bit awkward to handle and enjoy to me - no 29er for me
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  • + 8
 Weird... Looks like he's just riding bikes to me...
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  • + 3
 It seems like most of the people that don't like 29 have not ridden on one extensively. I love how a lot of 26 riders hate on 29 but can't wait for 27.5... really?! I have a couple 26 and a 29 for my trail bike. They BOTH shred hard!!! It is all about YOUR skills! If you can shred a BMX you can shred a MTB. Same can be said for 26 and 29. Also. this wheel thing is more of a marketing ploy than you can even imagine... I work in the bike industry. I have a BMX friend and... are your ready for this? 22 inch BMX will be making its way to the market in the future. More comfy than a 20, but more flickable than 24/26... where have I heard this before... Quit arguing about wheel size and just go out and shred!!! Bro.
  • + 4
 EzE01 I was just wondering how many ppl rippin on 29 have ever really ridden them. I for one have never ridden a 29. I can tell the rims are bigger but skill will overcome almost anything, that n practice
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  • + 4
 Why do I never hear anyone talking about the benefits of 29ers for guys like myself who are in the 6'4"+ height range? A size XL 29er looks proportionally the same as a size M 26er. Really big dudes need really big bikes.
  • + 2
 Totally agree. Very few people seem to notice that my bike is a 9er because it looks in proportion to my frame and body size. I do however get a lot of comments that my front chainring looks tiny and say that my rotors are only 160mm when they are actually 180mm. I've never been so comfortable on a bike in o life before.
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  • + 3
 I'm sick of people talking shit about wheel sizes. I just moved from a FS 26 to a HT 29 and haven't had this much fun on a bike in a while! If anything, the 29" wheels are smoother and the bike is just overall just more smooth! Stop bitching about how "the wheels make me corner slower" or "they'll taco because I shred so hard", it's all how you ride the bike. The only negative effect is that it's slightly more difficult to go around a tight, uphill switchback, and even then it's not much different. Rant = over
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  • + 3
 Nice riding. Better flow than I would have riding the same stuff. The 29er seems like a good fit for him.

The tires are a bit on the thin side no? Especially for winter riding around here.

Which trails were these? I'm assuming Seymour, but can't exactly recognize them.
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  • + 2
 I believe much of this debate about 29'ers not handling as well as 26'ers boils down to rider size and terrain.

At nearly 6'2" I find that my Transition Bandit 29 is a great ride, but it took me months to learn how to ride it aggressively like it's 26-in cousin. Not something your going to experience from a quick loaner of a friend's bike. For someone less tall, the new 27.5 (650B) wheel size might be exactly the right fit for you if your looking for that additional roll-over capability.

IMHO, there are perfect trails for the larger wheel size, and perfect trails for the smaller wheel sizes. No wheel size is perfect for every trail or riding condition. I would agree that the general consensus is correct: 29 / 27.5'ers for fast point-and-shoot trails, 26'ers for the tight and twisty trails or those that you want to get a lot of airtime and style on.

Own both and grin ear-to-ear!
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  • + 2
 Nobody mentioned that this looks to be a very large guy. The wheel size actually looks proportional for him. Great riding - got me stoked to ride - and that's the point of a video. What wheel size someone prefers makes no more difference to me than what chainring size they like to run. Let's debate 38 v 34 tooth! Why no love for odd-numbered teeth?
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  • + 2
 I went to 5 bike store in my aera with one of me friends to buy a new bike, he wants a 26" 150mm trail bike because that's what he had before, no problem with that. The thing is, most store had a proportion of nine 29ers for one 26", and one of those store only have 29ers. And the sellers are actively pushing the 29ers over the 26" and that was not in my imagination. There won't be any choices to make in a couple of years. So don't tell me to ride what i want, we are pushed to buy this thing as this will become the only option.
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  • + 3
 The trail had no real jumps to get much air off,more a flow track.The 26ers wouldn't have been any better at getting some air on this trail,but I do agree 26ers jump better.Possibly the shorter wheel base?
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  • + 1
 I just built up my pops a ht 29". It doesnt feel bad. I for one miss the ht feel, and those wheels are so damn big you dont neccesarily need the suspension. I'm still nervous about the wheels though, even at just 140 lbs. That's whythose wheels stay down and dont get sideways...it is xc afterall
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  • + 1
 I don't care how quick or efficient. They look stupid and un-engaging. Personally I need to love how my bike looks which has a big bearing on how I perceive the ride. I need faith in my kit. That and I don't want to gamble a few grand on a bike for a quicker time on Strava. So what if you got back to the carpark first! How much fun did you have on your shorter time on the trail? That said if all I ever rode where steep climbs and lowpy, lollaping downs and I had a bad back and a lycra fetish....
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  • + 1
 I've never ridden a 29'er bike but I reckon you would be able to go faster in the same gear on a 29'er given the larger wheel circumference. But in saying that, the amount of torque would be lower so acceleration and hill climbing ability would be decreased. But having the bigger wheels would mean it would be able to roll over certain obstacles like a root or rock on the trail easier and coupled with a good suspension system, your loss of speed after rolling over such obstacles would be minimal.

In theory, a 29'er good aspects are: more stable at lower speeds as the wheels' increased rotational inertia has more of a gyroscopic effect on the bike; better bump absorption; and faster gearing ('cause of the bigger wheels). The negatives of a 29'er would be: the increased rotational inertia of the larger wheels makes it harder to turn the wheels, so acceleration isn't as quick; the wheels would be heavier, so climbing a hill will be harder due to the increased weight of the bike; and because the bikes are bigger (and in most cases, heavier) than their 26 inch brothers, they are not as agile, making tighter corners or slaloms a bit trickier and some tricks harder to perform.

As I said, I've never ridden one (a 29'er) but using my knowledge of physics, I've drawn up this hypothesis for the advantages and disadvantages of a 29'er bike, hence the "In theory" at the start of the second paragraph. So to conclude, a 29 inch bike would be perfect for downhill, in my opinion. There's my five dollars input on the 26/29 inch debate anyway.

Hope you enjoy...
  • + 1
 You're on the right track but think about geometry, not just the wheels. That's where the big advantage lies.
  • + 1
 ...or disadvantage.
  • + 1
 A lot of the science of it is in the wheels. But yes, the frame geometry would be slightly different to try and compensate for the disadvantages of the bigger wheels and have an influence on the overall performance of the bike. I'm not a hater of 29'ers, I'm actually quite curious as to how they would really perform on a trail rather than me just making assumptions based on the physics of the wheels' sizes and what not.
  • + 1
 Think about the BB drop. 40mm lower than any 26"...
  • + 3
 It really depends on the rider. I'm faster on a 29 through tight sections, I use the grip to my advantage and I have always loved a slower turning bike. The bike goes where your head and eyes do, no matter what you are riding. The slower handling actually smooths the transitions out from turn to turn as they are not as sudden and prevents the wheel from losing traction. Of course I ride a medium 29 and a large 26. Climbing is almost always faster on a 29 no matter who you talk to that has ridden them. The one downside and only downside that I have found with 29 is the acceleration, but if you ride an AM 29 fast, you'll never know it because of the momentum that you carry and the extra traction the larger contact patch provides. The geometry of the bike is a huge difference. I believe that most people on here have not ridden a proper 29 AM or 29 enduro style bike on a DH/ jump line trail. Before I did, I thought for sure that 29 was for XC, and 26 was for anything burlier than that. Then came the stumpy evo 29 that I test rode on some DHish/ jump line trails. Unreal how much more fun I had on this bike than any 26 that I rode. When setup properly (run the suspension a little firmer), man this bike comes alive. I jumped over every little thing that I wanted to, even jumped better than the 26 and I could plow through whatever I wanted. I kept traction in spots I would normally kick the rear wheel out in (fun until you destroy your knee from laying a foot out), and I was way faster everywhere. The point is that physics is your friend, however geometry also goes hand in hand with this. No reason to compare a XC or light trail 29 to a proper AM or enduro 26. Apples to oranges, and each to their own. One last thing, one really has to push their limits when riding an AM 29 and when one does, the 29 will come alive. Cheers!
  • + 1
 Well said, Dave. It's good to hear how well a 29'er performs by someone that rides one extensively. Yeah I can imagine you don't want to run the shocks too soft on the 29'er. All this talking about riding 29'ers makes me want to go and try one. They do sound like fun bikes to ride on haha.
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  • + 1
 Nice Video Mathews!! And everyone who is to narrow minded to accept that there are different styles of bikes with different wheel sizes and they are all fun in there own way needs to ride more bikes. Its not sacrilegous to try something new.
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  • + 1
 Everyone gets butt hurt when you say you enjoy your wheel size, who gives a f*ck what you like, they are all fun. It's preference right? Isn't that now why there are 3 common wheel sizes? And honestly most 29 fellows say go out and ride one, like we haven't??? It is 2013 after all, most of us have had extended time on 29, shit my hardtail is one!
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  • + 3
 I'd love to ride that trail on a 29er, or whatever wheel size they gave me. Maybe that makes me a little less "hard core," but whatever.
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  • + 4
 Damn, so much discrimination. Sweet trails. Rider was getting down smooth and having fun. Enjoyed it. Bikes, all bikes.
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  • + 4
 One Does Not Simply ride 29er!
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  • + 3
 I'd love to see the kids on here try to keep up on their 26". It'd be hilarious.
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  • + 1
 So many awesome elements here (riding, scenery, music and editing)! However,I just couldn't escape the feeling of being restricted/weighed down. So trippy how this evokes such a physical feeling. Just no escaping 26er DNA.
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  • + 3
 Nice to see a clean simple video when most the VODs these days are like 50% slow-mo 'roosting' bullshit.
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  • + 4
 that trail looks like an absolute blast!
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  • + 3
 OMG his flow looks off and his pump is all sluggy. You guys are all gay. Get over it and ride what ya like.
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  • + 1
 Stunning trail and great riding - my next bike is not a niner tho - waiting for my Reign 1 to be delivered. Maybe I'd change my mind about big wheels if I spent some time on one - don't know.
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  • + 0
 He looks like a good rider, and no offense to him, but that bike just looks goofy. It just looks like too much bike and so much effort to move it around. I've ridden 29ers, and i'm going to have to say no thank you. Will you pinkbike peeps please not kill 26" wheels for me?!
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  • + 0
 I Had a 29er and it feels unstable like I was to high from the ground unlike my 26" bike there has to be a point where a wheel does become to big or small to perform over certain terrain do we have Downhill bikes with ,29" wheels.
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  • + 1
 Every 29" vid I've seen the rider gets it done but in a much less ascetically pleasing way. It's not the appearance of the big wheeled bike that's awkward, it's the way the rider corners and jumps that looks awkward to me.
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  • + 0
 Great trail! I'm not into 29er geometry myself, preferring 16.5" chainstay for lots of pop, but here's a possible side benefit to the 29er thing. Maybe people will stop putting so many ^^##@%&(* switchbacks in the trails because 29ers are harder to corner. Win win?
  • + 1
 Not sure why you think a 29er is hard to corner. Have you ever ridden one???
  • + 1
 What's not to like about a 67-68HA & 16.3" CS?
  • + 1
 Too much rear weight bias for a trail bike that's what,
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  • + 0
 Mathews! What happened to us, man? We never talk anymore. We used to talk about our feelings. What, now that you're big-time you don't talk to the little people? That is bull-crap. I taught you how to do wicked skids! I taught you how to do bar-turns! Doesn't that count for anything? You've changed, Stephen. You've changed.
  • + 0
 You gotta come out to Vancouver! Let me know next time you're out here, Bruce! Get in that Pil van with Reg and do a winter road trip, the conditions are great! I remember the first time I rode with you! Down at Millenium with my brother, Doug Fink, and a bunch of the old CC crew. I think it was this night: www.pinkbike.com/photo/93594 Keep it real Bruce!
  • + 0
 Ha! You rule, Stephen. As a matter of fact, regarding this year's spring, road trip, there's talk of heading to the coast instead of just shredding 'Loops. I only have Belladonna, my trusty, yellow whip (she's a good girl, soft and squishy, and she can totally take a punch), so I can't pedal up stuff, but we all probably just want to drink beer and do shuttles anyhow. The usual. I'm also doing a Whistler tour with some fellows from Oddawa. We will look you up for sure. Count on it. Yee-doggie!
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  • + 2
 Love to see the local trails be in videos on Pinkbike! Love livin in Van city, and just look at all the greenery.
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  • + 2
 special ghost effect.. woop woop!
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  • + 1
 Bike looks poopey. Don't hate 29ers specifically, just think they look ugly. Riding style looks great.
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  • + 1
 Whatever id shred this on a 36er for sure
but ive heard 32.65477" is gonna be way better
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  • + 2
 You rock Stephen Matthews!
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  • + 2
 I thought Lycra was a prerequisite for riding a 29er, seems I was wrong.
  • + 0
 Technically, if you are talking about the rider needing to wear Lycra to be on a 29er, it would be a co-requisite.
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  • + 2
 cool 29er vid, enjoyment for a change
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  • + 2
 Cool vid. Great editing. Super fun looking trail 29er, 26er, or 27.5.
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  • + 2
 Would have been much cooler looking on a BMX bike.
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  • + 0
 first time i seen a 29er look fun and loose, and probably the last, good bye big wheel gimmick even if the vid is good
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  • + 2
 Why saddle so high?
  • + 1
 Seems like a tall guy. And the stuff he is riding has a lot of up and down, and the bike doesn't look like it comes with a dropper post. So probably easier just to run the saddle high.
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  • + 2
 Matthews is THE SHIT!
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  • + 2
 Nice ridin homeboy!
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  • + 1
 Ya bud! Be callin ya in march for a tour...
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  • + 1
 hey 29ers: do you even shred bro?
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  • + 1
 don't judge a bike by its video
  • + 1
 Better to judge a bike by a video than by a picture haha. At least you can see how it performs on the trail. Though, if it's a shit rider, (s)he'll make the bike look like absolute garbage...
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  • + 0
 I miss old school shore videos: skinnies, drops, steeps.....
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  • - 1
 29ers are GAAAAYYY!!!
  • + 9
 Shit mountain bikers say lol
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