Surprised by 29'ers

PB Forum :: 29ers
Surprised by 29'ers
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Posted: Jan 7, 2020 at 3:01 Quote
So i've only ever ridden 27.5 bikes. I'm 6ft flat and ride a large in every bike ever.

Many years ago my sister in law rode a Sz small Giant 29'er. I jumped on it for fun and did a car park ride. The wheel size felt so silly to me and thought "I'm never buying a 29'er".

Fast forward to 2016 and I helped a mate purchase a bike and due to his size and frame (he is a big lad at 6ft 3 ish) I got him onto a Fuel EX size XL 29'er. So agian for fun I gave our local trails a couple of laps on it and it felt like I was riding a boat around. I hated it. It was big and bulky. Again I swore to be never a 29'er.

I went through a few 27.5 bikes since then and had an absolute blast mostly trail bikes and psuedo Enduro bikes (2019 Canyon Spectral AL 6.0). I had a big crash last year and sold my Spectral and swore to not get back onto a bike. I still followed the trends of bikes though and I noticed 29'er having such a resurgence in modern bike designs. Pretty much every enduro bike is a 29'er or is an option to be. Constant reviews and articles on how good and how fast modern 29'er were. But I could still only think back to my very limited expeereincce with them and wrote them off.

Fast forward to now and I'm lured back into the sport for fitness and well I just miss riding bikes. So i've been looking at aftermarket trades and second hand bikes to get back into it. and boy did I find a beauty. A middle to late aged gentleman had a 2017 Yeti SB4.5 up for sale in as new condition for second hand prices. But, it's a 29'er.

I studied it and studied it, reviews raved, it was carbon, it was modern enough, and it was a bargin. But I was so nervous of 29'er wheels. I thought bugger it, its too good of a deal to pass up and bought the bike.

Here it is:

2017 Yeti SB4.5 (Carbon)
Fox 34 140mm
Upgraded to 2020 Fox DPX2 shock (114mm bike)
Raceface 760mm Bars W/ Yeti grips
50mm Raceface Stem
SRAM Guide R brakes 180F/160R
SRAM XO1 1x11 drivetrain
DT Swiss M1900 Wheels 29"
Maxxis DHR II 2.4 Front/Maxxis Ardent 2.4 Rear

I was absolutely blown away by how this bike rides and handles. the 29'er wheels roll so god damn fast but combined with the shorter then modern traditional bars you can still steer the bike around as if its a 27.5. It's a super stiff bike and I believe thats what helps it feel so responsive on the trails.

I am so impressed by how the bike and 29" wheels feel I'm not sure I could ever go back to 27.5's. And I never expected to ever say that!

Posted: Jan 7, 2020 at 6:35 Quote
Nice bike! I currently ride 27.5x2.4, but rode a top end 29x2.4 rental last year. My next bike will be 29x2.4-2.5.

Posted: Feb 25, 2020 at 15:45 Quote
I have a very similar story. Rode a few early 29ers around and absolutely hated them, felt like a bike on stilts. More recently pedaled my dads pivot 429 trail around (previous version) and same thing. Fast forward to today, I demoed a 29er yeti sb130 and loved it, couldn’t even tell it was a 29er. Same story with a Kona process 153 and Santa Cruz megatower. I went from making fun of the clown wheels and vowing to never buy one, to now having a megatower on order. It really is a testament to how far geometry has come and truly thinking about how the bike works with bigger wheels.

Posted: Mar 8, 2020 at 13:34 Quote
Personally, I've actually never ridden a 27.5 bike. I went straight from 26 to 29. Also, being 6ft 5in, I've always struggled to find a bike that fits properly. All the bikes I've had over the years, I've always just went with the largest option available. And that hasn't changed. However, currently with my 2019 YT capra in size XXL, I finally don't feel like I'm riding a bmx bike. It fits me perfect. Or at least, it is the closest I've ever had to a "perfect" fit. I could even go with something that has a little more reach. I too was a little worried about the 29" wheel thing at first. I did a lot of research not only on the bikes I was considering, but also on how people were generally feeling about the wagon wheels for the type of riding I like to do and also taking into consideration my size. At this point, I think I'd feel awkward going with anything smaller. All my worries about 29'er disappeared after the first ride. I do feel like I could literally plow through and over anything. And the faster I go, the better it is. Obviously, the bike also is a factor here.

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