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27.5 vs 29er vs 27.5+ with Peaty, Warner, T-Mo and Friends - Video

May 27, 2016
by Fraktiv  

For Episode 3 of Soho Bikes TV we gathered a “who’s who” of UK downhill and enduro talent (and Rob), and headed out of London to hit the trails at BikePark Wales to test the following:

- Is a downhill bike faster than a modern enduro bike on a UK downhill track?
- Which wheel size is faster down a UK downhill track; mid travel 29er, 27.5 or 27.5+?

We taped off the most technical downhill track at BikePark Wales and used Action Sport Timing’s race-timing system to gather data from the riders on their different bikes over multiple runs. The timing data showed which bikes were fastest…but the rider discussion and feedback showed that drawing definite conclusions isn’t actually that simple.

Insightful results, provocative opinions and plenty of laughs in the most exciting episode of Soho Bikes TV yet!

Once you've heard what the riders have to say, let us know what you think about which bike and wheel size is best in the comments section below.

Soho Bikes TV. Photo by Chris Davison

Soho Bikes TV. Photo by Chris Davison
Soho Bikes TV. Photo by Chris Davison

Thanks to everyone at BikePark Wales for hosting us, the marshals, the riders, Chris Davison for the photography, and Chris Roberts from Action Sports Timing.

Presented by Rob Warner. Soho Bikes TV is produced, filmed and edited by geebeebee media. Additional cameras by Ben Cornish and CineCloud.

Watch previous episodes of Soho Bikes TV here:
- Soho Bikes TV Episode 1: Warner interviews Peaty and Ratboy
- Soho Bikes TV Episode 2 - With Greg Minnaar

MENTIONS: @BikeParkWales / @trek / @TransitionBikeCompany / @FMD-Racing / @Burgtec2004 / @geebeebee

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fraktiv avatar

Member since May 14, 2008
227 articles

  • 236 5
 It's not about wheel size- it's about the size of your smile at the end of the run. Some want to go fast, others want to go sideways. I'm glad we have such a wide choice of bikes so we can all find something we can fall in love with.
  • 20 4
 I agree with that, I suppose that the biggest smile for these guys comes from stepping on that podum though, in which case fastest is best and with 10 seconds being gained by josh lewis going to a 29er on a 3min track it looks like he has some thinking to do, how many places is that at an EWS if you gained even 5 seconds per stage over your old bike?!
  • 34 7
 Let me correct you slightly... "Its not about wheel size it's about the size of ones gonads and ability to go fast on a bike." Peaty or TMO would beat all of us on a hardtail from the 90's.
  • 24 6
 @fartymarty: He would beat us, sure, but thats a ridiculous comparison isnt it and not what this film was attempting to do - This was a comparison of different bike same rider and what it showed was that 29ers are just plain faster than 650b trail bikes.
  • 9 9
 @Racer951: I do agree that 29ers are faster than 650b (although I haven't ridden a 650b - but they're damn close is size to 26). I ride a 100mm travel 29 hardtail and its quicker than my mates 160mm enduro bike on flatish singletrack. Hence a 130-140mm travel 29er will be rapid and probably my next bike.
  • 27 1
 It's the rider not the bike. Tracey nailed it.
  • 22 1
 @gavlaa Thought Tracy had a good answer when she was asked what was most fun. If speed is how you define fun, then 29er. If it's playfulness, then 27.5

'Fun' is subjective of course and different depending on the rider.
  • 19 3
 Hahahahah, killed me when rob slammed tahnee.

"2seconds up, don't worry I fuc#ing checked"
  • 26 3
 exactly, long life 26" Wink
  • 6 1
 I wish they told us what bikes they used though, and how similar (or not) the geometry was. A large portion of the time difference could have been that the bike was more or less downhill focused, meaning the wheel size may have been more (or less) responsible than we credit it for...

I think I saw a SC HighTower in there? Surely it would have been best to use that one frame and keep all variables the same but for the wheels?
  • 3 11
flag endurocat (May 27, 2016 at 7:28) (Below Threshold)
 At the end of the day if speed is your thing, then just ride the wheels that are winning races. In this case the 27.5 is killing it!
  • 5 0
 @slimboyjim: I think in the case of josh and rowan the 29ers they rode would have been either a similar or much less DH oriented build. Josh's bike would have been a hightower and his regular bike that he put 10 seconds into a Bronson, I imagine you would see 15+ seconds on the Bronson if he was familiar with the bike and the setup had been tweeked to suit.

Rowans 29er had 110mm of travel and he was close to his 160mm time....
  • 26 3
 29 ain't dead
  • 5 0
 @fartymarty: Just snagged a trek fuel ex 9.9 frame and built it up with 130mm pike..By far the fastest fullsusser I've ever been on..
  • 6 10
flag bohns (May 27, 2016 at 7:50) (Below Threshold)
 @GBvip37: 26 is fading into the vaults of yester year! But enjoy..
  • 4 1
 @enrico650: Tell Callahan that..
  • 6 0
 @bohns1: tell that to my 3D printer
  • 3 0
 @bohns1: I'm welly jelly. A 29 Remedy is on my list.
  • 20 6
  • 8 1
 @Boardlife69: True that - not just in terms of speed, but also in terms of enjoyment. Riders at that high a level can wring the most out of any of these bikes, and truly take advantage of their strengths without being affected too much by their weaknesses. Here's the thing, though - most of us don't ride at those levels. I'm a decidedly worse rider than any of the folks featured there. For me, this comparison doesn't do much. Sure, I know they all tell me that a 29er is faster and more stable, and 27.5 more playful. But I'm a big dude with marginal skills - so I can't take advantage of the playfulness of the 27.5 to its full extent, but I can benefit from the stability of the 29er - and because I'm a big dude lacking subtlety in my movements, that helps me out (as my jerky body English would overwhelm the smaller wheeled bike and make it hard to really rail a turn). A smaller rider of similar (lacking) skill would much prefer the 27.5 - they'd be overwhelmed by the big bike. We punters don't have the skills to compensate for the weaknesses of each of the different designs - so we find the one that most caters to us, i.e., the bike most forgiving of our weaknesses.

And that's before you factor in where you actually ride, and how fast.
  • 22 0
 @jon123rjk: Tracey had a lot of good answers
  • 4 3
 @jon123rjk: I think that sums up the video for me.
I am still having fun on my antiquated 26 inch. I would like to move to a 650b though.
  • 8 1
 @bohns1: In case you don't follow him on social media , he was riding the trails for the Ireland event most
of the winter.
It's like trying to beat Rude or Graves on the Colorado event.
Let's not forget that Graves won Colorado on an 26" SB66
  • 2 5
 @enrico650: Do you know who T-Mo is?
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: dont think you'll be disappointed..I'm really digging these shorter travel 29ers
  • 4 1
 @enrico650: Nope don't follow him..Nonetheless I think 29 just fits us tall lanky basterds far better than 27.5..I've owned them all and I'm faster on 29 as well..Just feels like 26 to me at this point..Without the circus bear on a bike look..lol
  • 2 3
 @bohns1: I can respect that.
No way a 27.5 will fit the really tall guys.
  • 4 2
 @captaintyingknots: Tracy Moseley multi World DH champion and 3 times Enduro Worls Champion.
  • 6 2
 So far I prefer my bikes like a prefer my women, not plus size! Although as I age and my skills fall off maybe i'll switch to the "plus size needs love too" mentality...
  • 5 3
 @enrico650: Huh? Define really tall. Minnaar and Peat are over 6'3" tall, and Atherton is about 6'2". They won World Cups and World Championships on 26ers. Kelly McGarry (RIP) was about 6'6" and took second at Rampage on a 26er. Maybe by really tall you mean over 6'6". I'm 6'4" and my Tracer 275c fits great.
  • 2 0
 @bohns1: I know I wont be. I am just waiting until I can afford a gearbox 29er.
  • 3 2
 @enrico650: and while everyone else was already on 650b.

Long live the yeti SB66!!!
  • 8 2
 That's exactly the point. Fun!

Max speed is not the thing for everyone and 0.5 of a second will not make a difference in anyone else's life but top racers. But still the bike industry seems to make you feel that going faster is the only thing you can do on a mtb - they even stopped producing 26' bikes on these premises. It's terrible - with so many people using them feeling abandoned and with a 2nd rated product. Video after video they try to make you feel you need a new bike as your old one is rubbish.

With so many 'new standards' of faster and faster bikes coming out every year (all obsolete and losing 80% of their value within 6 months of purchase), I am keeping my 26' bike until it falls apart. After all I have life warranty on it! I will never be able to go as fast as the bike can handle it anyway!
  • 2 0
 @Ziph: Haha, cracked me up as well, and the wave blooper at the end too
  • 1 1
 @herzalot: Good for you.
  • 2 1
 @Racer951: He is racing a 29 hightower this year for the EWS. This video must have been shot before the season started. And it definitely helped him decide to ride the 29
  • 2 0
 @herzalot: I'm 6"3 and simply love having the in the bike feel more than the bear on a circus bike crampedness...Yes, if I was doing rampage id be on smaller wheels to..but 99% of us aren't. For general trail riding with some good hits and speed that can't be reckoned with...I choose 29 all day long!
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: Not concerned about the drag! Personally I don't think we'll be there for awhile yet..Even when we are ...They will really have to be something to get me to change.
  • 3 0
 The other consideration we all seem to be missing is the track - it would be nice to have a pov run so we can see how long the tight and twisty or straight and fast sections are. The more of the latter is expect the 29er to excel, and the more of the former the 650b to...
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: they would beat me using a 3 wheeled shopping trolley!
  • 1 0
 @slimboyjim: Yeah I was hoping to see POV of 50 Shades of Black, ridden by Peatty Smile
  • 2 0
 @Ziph: boom
  • 75 1
 T-Mo....only two uplifts...unreal rider...
  • 42 0
 And by far the best comments.
  • 35 0
 Absolutely -- And she's articulate and confident. Very refreshing to hear her view of this, especially in contrast to most of the lazy platitudes that we've all heard already.
  • 35 1
 @BridgitWolf: I've also seen her helping the mechanics clean the bikes post race while everyone else gets drunk or goes home. She's the most inspiring professional athlete I've seen. She should be running the British Cycling MTB program.
  • 8 0
 A) T-Mo is a freakin' legend and I could only ever hope to be a tiny fraction of the rider she is, either in skill or physical condition.

B) 4 pedal ups at BPW ain't that hard. I've never used the uplift because I'm incapable of planning ahead and booking it and I'd done like 8 runs in a day starting midway through the morning.

@BridgitWolf Like a very few other riders (Minnaar and Vouilloz for instance) she seems to approach bike racing like top level professional racing drivers do - intelligent, methodical and meticulous!
  • 71 1
 Great piece, summary as I interpreted it, fastest bike on this DH track = DH Bike, Fastest non-DH bike on this DH Track = 29er, most playful bike on this track = 27.5. Most unsuitable bike on this track or any track with rocks = 27.5+
  • 28 4
 What they didn't point out is that DH bikes are 27.5. As such fastest to slowest 27.5 x 200mm, 29 x 140mm, 27.5 x 160mm.

How fast would the following be.... 29 x 160mm, 27.5 x 180mm or even 29 x 200mm???

I still think there's a little way to go before the debate is done and dusted.
  • 24 49
flag torero (May 27, 2016 at 5:51) (Below Threshold)
 26 or die. Fuck 27,5
  • 4 0
 @fartymarty: Yes! especially as all the above are bikes you can buy (though the 200mm 29er is admittedly a bit specialist)
  • 4 0
 @integralnz - I was stunned by all the punctures they reported. All those runs with non-+ bikes, no punctures (from what I could tell from their commentary).
  • 5 0
 Having ridden everything but the 27.5+ I would tend to agree whole hardheartedly.
  • 3 0
 @integralnz - Very true. I rode this track a couple of months ago and it is ROUGH. A proper DH track and way rougher than my local so called "downhill" tracks. I'm not at all surprised that the DH bikes were quickest. I ride a 140mm travel 29 front, 27.5 rear by the way Smile
  • 5 0
 @tremeer023: The 29er and 27.5 combo is a winner. Slacker headtube angle, you don't fall into the holes and ping of the rocks, but still get the pump off the rear.
  • 46 0
 Unless yer racin' It's all about the Skidz n Wheelies.
  • 3 0
  • 41 6
 Looking for 26"
  • 14 11
 26 would have embarrassed the bike companies and all there ridiculous wheel sizes by being way faster that's why they were left out
  • 12 10
 You'll find them about halfway down the trail when the 29ers are at the bottom,,,
  • 3 3
 @Imnukepf: whatever u need to tell yourself!
  • 4 2
 @Scribbler: BikeRadar has done a decent research about that (unlike this amateurish video above), 29ers are about 1% faster than 26" on XC trails. The difference actually was in the uphills. On the descents 26" was the fastest, but at the same time it cost the riders more energy. Thereby 26" is fastest on short descents, 29" is fastest on flat, climbs and on super long exhausting descents.
  • 18 2
 This is one of very few times when I see a title of the article and I am not only not scrolling all the way to the comments, I was actualy affraid to...
  • 14 1
 I think there's a massive unfair comparison when riders are on thier OWN bikes, the bike they've been riding for months and are 100% comfortable on and used to
Put em all on unfamiliar bikes

Oh, an throw an average Joe in there too
  • 44 1
 I think that is one of the most suprising things though - most of all riders apart from Tracey use 650b as their own bikes, yet so many of them were faster when on the 29ers, bikes that many of them had never ridden before and were still capabable of putting many seconds on their familiar bikes.

Thats pretty amazing, you could expect even larger gains when they are familiar with them.

One thing i find completely astounding is that these guys race bikes, many for a living yet have done none of this testing themselves?! - Insane!
  • 15 0
 @Racer951: I am guessing Tracey (and the guys at Trek) have done testing which is why they ride 29.
  • 16 0
 I'll volunteer mate.
  • 10 1
 @fartymarty: You are right there, and like you say I imagine the reason the Trek team are mostly 29er rieders - I was most amazed at Josh Lewis really, his 10 second gap over the bike he races and rides day in day out was pretty amazing.
  • 4 0
 @Racer951: I guess some of them don't have sponsors who have made a 29er with the right travel and geometry
  • 5 0
 @Racer951: I agree totally, my take is ..... If you're gunna do one of these comparison tests then if should be over several days riding one bike per day , playing with Susp and tyre pressures. Then and only then you can see who was faster on what bike ! But really enjoyed the film anyway !
  • 13 0
 Bike comparisons and the like aside, I thought it was just a really good 'show'. When do you ever get a bunch or top flight riders together and just have a good ole chat about bikes. Relaxed and casual, Soho Tv seem to have a really nice vibe nailed when it comes to this, almost like the days of TFI Friday (British viewers). Nice formula keep it up and give us more.
  • 29 14
 26" aint dead!
  • 33 22
 Its not just dead - its dead, buried and forgotten!
  • 11 3
well my ride wears a size 26 but I think I aint dead or buried yet (forgotten maybe so) cause where I usually ride doesn't look like a hell, and sure as hell it's not a heaven either.
  • 9 1
 @Racer951: Just by the media. There's million of us that don't fall prey to aggressive propaganda. The urban legend will live!
  • 1 3
 No it's not dead, just obsolete!
  • 1 0
 @Ricardo-Sa: Imho, the problem is even 26 diehards are thinking twice before buying 26 now, even if there are still many of them around. Only continued demand will sustain 26. They tried to kill 29 too but somehow it refuses to give in. Time will tell if 27.5, 2.8 plus tires will do the job.
  • 2 0
 @AlexS1: Unfortunately you are right. But it pisses me right off as 'our hand' is being forced. I want fresh parts but I am really happy with my bike(s). I also know that they are worth 10x less than they are really worth. I am not really sure how long the industry can continue to take the piss, but people will get fed up to be told year after year that their top bike is now obsolete. I predict a stagnation in the near future. Bike industry is no different from other industries. Getting back the confidence of the customer will not be as easy as losing it.

Do they really expect everyone to throw their bikes in the bin and get a new one every year? As you say, who is going to buy obsolete material? It's sad days of overconsumption and throw away...
  • 2 0
 I think the actual percentage of the market of wheel size, would show the majority will be running 26" by a long shot. I wouldn't just go out and buy a 27.5 or 29 just for the sake of everyone else having one. Nor for the fact all the media and manufactures pushing for it with advertisement. There aim at the end of the day is to sell to make profit. So everyone jumps on the bandwagon of,"here look this is new buy this!" hoping that they will. 26" wheels have been good enough for the many past decades and there still fine now.
At the end of the day its about going out to ride and if you have something you enjoy riding why spend another £2k plus just to fit in with the media? there is no point! its false economy, It just takes away the meaning of what Mountain biking is about. If your lucky and need a new bike and have the money to spend ,buy one. But 26" is perfectly fine and always will be in IMO!
  • 1 0
 @AlexS1: Good luck killing 29..
  • 1 0
 @Robson1991: Funny , I rarely see 26 on any of the trails I ride anymore..Ya there's the occasional die hard still but its rare.
  • 1 0
 @bohns1: @bohns1: I'm actually hoping to get myself a long travel slack 29er.
  • 1 0
 @AlexS1: Ya just got the Trek fuel ex 9.9 2016 frame and built her up with 130mm pike...What a blast..allows that xc speed with aggressive trail manners ..Almost can hang with the remedy on the downs but climbs better..????
  • 1 0
 @bohns1: Good on you for getting the fuel ex. I'm sure its lighter and nimbler as well. Trek is a little expensive over here.
  • 1 0
 @AlexS1: Ya it was expensive over here as well..My dealer gave me a bit of a deal on the frame but still ..Almost $4g for a frame is pretty crazy..Thing is ,I don't have fancy cars,trailers,boats, jet skis, or motorcycles ..So its all good ???? dude!
  • 10 0
 I think it really comes down to what you want out of a bike. Not all of us race and for me having a bike that's fun to pop off stuff and throw about a bit is more important than out and out speed. For others being the fastest down (or up) is the main motivation. Different strokes for different folks eh Willis.
  • 2 2
 That's what Tracy said, she thinks fun is speed.
  • 2 0
 @AlexS1: I think fun is both ..I love hitting hits at speed getting more distance...For this ,I still choose my 29.????
  • 1 0
 @bohns1: 26 then my man Wink With similar effort I doubt you'll get as far on a 29er.
  • 2 0
 @AlexS1: had 26 ..No I was not getting as far..The speed carried on my trek fuel ex 9.9 into the hit propels me exponentially further without question..Like I said I love both..26 is slow as shit ..
  • 1 0
 @bohns1: Got your point there...
  • 11 4
 But then there was Graves on a 26er Yeti who won the EWS - he hasn't done nearly was well since things moved to 27.5. Means nothing but its a fun fact.

26" for DJ and the odd free ride bike - 29er for everything else - maybe in ten years?
  • 1 0
 I think we should have kids bikes on 29'+++ - teach the to go faster from an young age...
  • 8 1
 Here's a suggestion: for the rest of the humans on Earth who would likely clock somewhere between 8 minutes to a trip to the hospital on this track, get some reviews from advanced, intermediate AND beginner riders to increase the likelyhood that you will relate to the comments...an 18yr old with no experience in drinking doesn't give a damn that the scotch has a bouquet of rosewood but would likely like to know that this one leaves you with less of a hangover...
  • 11 1
 Wanna try that 150mm trek 29" now
  • 11 3
 26+. The best of all worlds. I wonder how long until the industry catches up?
  • 4 0
 wondering when we're going to see another mix-match wheel sizes on the bikes... 27.5 boost front, regular 27.5 rear. or 29er front, 27.5 rear tell ya though, bike companies are sitting back laughing at all the drama they created
  • 3 1
 I've been thinking 29plus front and 275plus rear. Could be a riot.
  • 3 1
 @Spittingcat: having ridden something similar you definitely notice the 29+ when things get rowdy. Is it incredible stable allowing you to plow through just about everything? Yep! But that comes at a cost while in the air. In my opinion 275x2.8 is about the limit of where tires start to feel funny and less playful, but for a bike to easily cover ground (like bikepacking or long distance rides), 29x2.5 or 29+ just keep turning, long after you've lost interest in being rad.
  • 2 2
 I would want to try 29,2.5 front and 27.5,2.8 at the back for my hardtail.
  • 2 2
 I'm the king of Frank-N-Bikes... I have been a bunch of 69er bikes with leftover parts --- one of the frankNbikes I made for one of my kids is a 29er front with 700x38 rear wheel. limit tires clearance for the rear wheel but, the bikes rips. several years ago, Trek made a 69er full squish --- way off radar it didn't sell well --- go figure. motocross bikes often have mixed match sized wheels so, IMO, it's nuttin' new that's for sure. I bet a bike like the Tr500 would be pretty rock solid if a owner set it up with a 27.5 front, 26 rear.. willing to bet a 29er front 27.5 rear would rail real nice
  • 10 3
 where is 26 in this test..26 forever
  • 7 0
 it would of been good to throw in a 26" just for comparison's sake
  • 3 0
 From the results I imagine it wouldnt have faired very well as a trail bike but I am sure it would have come close on the DH bike.
  • 5 0
 Well done video. Lots of fun. Shows you how much fun a bunch of mountain bikers can have together riding bikes no matter what bikes they are riding.I love mountain biking!
  • 6 0
 "The timing data showed which bikes were fastest…"

So show us the data.....
  • 1 0
 Exactly what I was thinking. Watched a 22 minute video to end up not finding out the results....
  • 5 0
 This is entertainment; this is FUN bike media. Thanks Warner and all you UK riders. All iver the world, we all love the UK biking vibe. Cheers mates!
  • 5 0
 Ride bike park quite a lot bought a 2015 canyon ex vertride...26" wheels keep it old school haha
  • 11 5
 Stop with the 27+ crap and give the racers 29ers
  • 5 4
 Plus tyres are only a few years old compared to 29ers which have been around for a lot longer. Give plus tyres a few years to develop specific treads and casings and I am sure things will be different.

There is possibly a middle ground around 2.6-2.7" that maybe the best of both worlds...
  • 6 1
 @fartymarty: There is no magic casing coming. Look at the technology of top DH and enduro tyres which has been coming along for the past 20 years and then the number of punctures in every major EWS/ WC DH. By and large humans are a certain weight, with a certain power in their legs, with a certain ability to drag rolling weight around all day and currently the best you can get are the top-of-the line Maxxis/ Schwalbe tyres with protection. + tyres will either go for the protection and will feel noncompetitive to lump around to say the least or they will go for acceptable weight and will have to compromise on protection.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: so err those 2.7 minions that I've had on my bike for years now.........
  • 4 2
 @fartymarty: Any casing developed to make 27.5+ lighter and more durable will also be available in the other sizes negating that difference no?
  • 1 0
 @nojzilla: 2.7 Minions were great. I use to have a pair as well. I thought they stopped making them.
  • 4 0
 Not sure on that bur I get mine from CRC. An I'm the type of fat Bastard that still pinch flats on dual ply. Not really interested in anything less
  • 3 1
 @aribr: @browner: The issue at the moment with plus tyres is the lack of options. I am running 29 plus and there are maybe 6 different tyres you can get (Surly - K+DW, Vee, Chronical, Trek... maybe a few more). 27 plus is slightly better but still there aren't as many as 27 or 29. As noted weight is going to be the issue. It's all a trade off. Wider rims = thinner walls = more rim weight etc. This is why I think we will get to 2.6-2.7" as a sweet spot certainly for trail riding. Racing is a different matter. It is also why you can run carbon rims for trail riding and DH but not for Enduro.

I do love the plus tyres on my bike but they do have issues.
  • 1 0
 @nojzilla: Have you tried setting them up split tube tubeless?
  • 2 0
 @nojzilla: those 2.7 minions measured more like a 2.5. Maxxis used to have inaccurate tire measurements. Their newer tire models have are more accurately marketed. The same size of tires are offered, they're just correctly labeled now.
  • 1 0
 @nojzilla: The old Minion 2.7 was pretty heavy, not really 2.7 at all (quite undersized, more like a 2.5) but also stonkingly good.

I'd love to try the new proper Plus sized Minions… and screw the weight, they'll still be fun.
  • 1 0
 @Spittingcat: Surly Dirt Wizards have a similar tread profile to a Minion and you can get them in 27plus if so inclined.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: The Cube guy mentioned 28 in the previous article, so brace!!!
  • 8 6
 I think 27.5+ needs to marketed for casual or beginner riders. Those are the people who will benefit from them, once a riders ability improves they cause more problems than they solve.

Increased grip whilst cornering and climbing.
Smooth small bumps and give a cushioned ride on gentle trails.
Stable at low speeds.

All useful stuff for beginner riders looking to gain confidence.

Need to be run at low pressures to have a useful increase in grip.
To avoid weight penalty they must be constructed with thin sidewalls.
Undamped compression leads to getting bounced around at higher speeds.

These disadvantages mean that for more competent riders on more advanced trails the performance increase is negligible (see the times in the vid) and the chance of puncturing or folding the tyre over skyrockets as soon as you give it the beans.
  • 9 6
 Plus size works wonders in areas with terrible trail conditions, deep sand, deep mud, swamp. I have plenty of trails with sections unrideable on regular tyres. They do hold gems in between shtty mud pools and swamps though. So plus size is a true explorer's weapon. Also a DH track is the worst place to test them and I would also reserve "how fast they are" judgment to those who could get down that track under 4 minutes. Finally I don't think plus has ever been marketed as faster. I rode Trek Stache 29+ and it's been a really sweet ride, I could consider a plus bike as my third bike. It gets wobbly in corners but in general the feel, sht plowing factor, and climbing ability are fantastic. Plus is truly bringing a new quality to the table, which cannot be said about 650B without having to think about it for a looong looong time
  • 5 1
 I have to disagree with you here mate. Having ridden dh in the past and for the last 6 years enduro bikes before they were called enduro bikes I think that one of the main areas the plus bikes should be marketed are on trail HTs. Having recently bought a pine mountain 2 for initially just goofing around on, I've genuinely fallen in love with hardtails all over again and on my local tracks in afan, wales it isn't much slower than my 160mm fs, it does have its drawbacks admittedly but man it puts a smile on your face. Essentially it should be a trail riders or enduro riders "other " bike. Don't get me wrong for out and out speed the bigger bike wins but for fun and taking it back to your roots it always makes you want to " do one more run ". Like a roadie has they're winter bike, the plus hardtail is ours.
  • 4 0
 They make a ton of sense on a hardtail but not for a fully
  • 1 0
 Give a Ferrari to a new driver and see what happens
  • 3 0
 @Ricardo-Sa: give an older Porsche turbo to a noob (like me) and see what happens
  • 1 0
 At the beginning of the bit talking about the bikes they used, Rob made a comparison to fat bikes when discussing the plus bikes. To be fair actualy fat bikes probably wouldn't have been any better or worse on the test track they used... bigger surface to puncture due to tire construction but until that happens, gobs more traction.

The tire bounce is of course trail condition dependant. Where I ride (and I've been riding my fat almost exclusively this spring so far) its rock...rock...rock...more rock...and exposed tree roots... this whole area is basically bedrock with a few feet of topsoil in most places. The difference between too soft and too firm on a proper fat bike is about 2psi. On plus bikes its a bit larger operating range (say about 5psi) but if you get it wrong the results are the same as with fats...you bottom the tire or you ricochet like crazy thru stutter bumps. It really comes down to the tires though... bikerumour just published rolling resistances for 8 models of 4 inch fat tires and the best result wasn't even the lightest tire nor the shortest knob height, it was simply the best casing construction (the lightest tire in fact had the worst wattage numbers).


IF some brand made proper plus tires for riding a trail center course like the one in the video, perhaps we'd see better times from more riders on them. Unfortunately the testing was limited by what the riders brought to ride of course, which is why one guy was on a 110mm travel 29er where Tracy had her 140mm 29er enduro bike. It really came down to who sponsored who... and what models that bike sponsor offers that the test rider had to work with. Since some plus tire setups DO fit some existing 29er bikes... it would have been interesting to see riders who brought 29ers running plus wheelsets instead (assuming they had one that could do that), rather than switching the whole bike.
  • 1 0
 @deeeight: there is still no point in testing a fatbike or a Plus bike on a DH track against other bikes. They excell in the terrain you describe and ride more than well everywhere else. They redefine the word all-round or do-it-all bike. DH bike on another hand is completely useless outside steep, bumpy track. Even XC racing bike on semi slicks can do more than a Dh bike.
  • 6 0
 They switched from coffee to beer faster than any of the bikes on hand.
  • 4 2
 www.pinkbike.com/photo/13538208 fully rigid 29er, single speed vs big squish, gears...

place we ride is rocky, super rocky in some places --- I have no problem keeping pace with the big squish and I am riding platform pedals. if I was clipped in and had suspension, I'd be flying

SIDE NOTE: I've been laying off the SPD pedals for a while cause I'm pretty much convinced my knee's are paying for too many years riding big-bikes clipped in. Thinking about it, tossing a 38 to 40lbs bike under you, clipped in, that's years of pulling motions on the knees.

I gave up the SPD's for more than a year now. Only occasionally I will use them -- the knees seem to making a recovery
  • 2 0
 I agree with ya on everything, buuuut you went rigid after being concerned about your knees?
  • 2 0
 You my friend are the g.o.a.t.
  • 2 0
 Well that's a load of horseshit right there,I have a full rigid 29er and a 130mm full squish 29er and you must be riding paved paths if your rigid is faster.And I've been on SPD's for 23 years and no knee pain,YOU must be doing something wrong.
  • 2 0
 @rideonjon: Wow Mr Jump to Conclusions --- if you want to get into a pissing match. so, I only got 10 years on ya but geez, you're pretty uptight to spout off a comment like that.

I'll go into a tick more detail so you can better understand where I'm coming from.

1. single speed 29er vs big full squish --- yeah, I can pace the rider I'm talking about no trouble at all and I'm talking about a very specific spot not saying in general -- not talking about races, talking about just riding... the guy I was riding with was riding an Intense 951, bad ass bike, sweet ride too and he's a very good rider. There was hardly a time I could keep pace with him.. sometimes he was slowing me down. But again, we were riding a very specific trail. Not saying I'd take a rigid 29er over a full squish, just saying they don't give me any trouble. for 29ers, I prefer just a riding frame, front suspension it nice but, have zero problems just riding a silly light fully rigid bike.

2. I have been using SPD and flat pedals just as long as you. I'm willing to bet probably longer... been selling bikes since 1991, name of the shop is actually Pedal Shop (hence the screen name PedalShopLLC). I think I know a thing about pedals. Besides, you seriously cant say SPD are better for the knees over platform. That's one reason why so many companies offer different degrees of float.

3. I didnt go into it but yeah, I'm sure SPD's are part of cause for some of the knee problems I have these days. I also had a really bad wreck on a motocross bike when I was 19 -- F'd up my right knee really bad. sorta messed up my left knee cause I was forever over compensating, battling the pain in the right knee.

I didn't go into it, I was also a hard core fixie rider for several years.. +/- 10.... did some hardcore single speeding XC races for about 6 as well. as in, when I raced, all I used was single speeders.. grand total, been riding single speeds for probably 20 years total (the whole time, using SPD's)

4. riding freerider and DH's with SPD's is also not good for the knees for same reason riding fixie isn't. it's that pulling motion when you're getting air of a trail feature. with a FR/DH, you have a 38, 39, 40lbs bike under you, yanking at the knees several times during any given ride any time you send the bike into the air. I don't like riding FR/DH with platforms ---- (several reasons why, I won't go into).

5. I didn't go into it but, I also work in an industry where I'm standing 6, 7, 8 hours, take a break and go for a ride ... I work hard, play even harder.

**** for me, riding rigid vs riding suspension has no difference on the knees... I ride light, very light... it's the lower back might be more of a topic for which is better for the body.
  • 5 0
 Thanks Rob and everyone else involved!!! This was educational as well as entertaining.
  • 4 0
 Anybody notice at the start of the video the rear tire is flat on the 27.5+ bike. That's a common problem for aggressive riders on light weight + size tires..
  • 2 0
 If you watch the video, they talk about the flats quite a bit
  • 5 3
 Although it was really fun to watch , this was hardly insightful...Specific tracks requires different tools, perhaps the 29" was quicker on THAT one specific tracks given specific conditions of both the track and the rider but it doesnt necessarily means the end results would be the same on an different track
  • 4 0
 Having ridden 50 Shades of Black several times (my favourite trail at BPW) it has everything as they described I the video so I can't think of a better place in the UK to test a bike... Off camber roots, tree lined chutes, a couple of road gaps, berms, rock gardens... All linked with sections you need to pedal. If you can pin it in there, you can pin it anywhere....
  • 4 0
 this was a great video and I enjoyed watching it! for me, a 29'er trailbike with wide ass carbon rims FTW! I do want a DH bike though!! Big Grin
  • 2 0
 It would be cool if Pinkbike included a rolling speed test for all of their bike reviews. The test would consist of descending a known, smooth incline plane with a rider of know weight (i.e.150lbs), constant (i.e.30psi) tire pressure and tread (i.e. Maxis Minion), similar shock settings and zero pedaling. Would be interesting to see how all the wheel sizes and bikes within wheel sizes stack up.
  • 1 0
 Great watch! I love these group comparisons As said a thousand times everything depends on the rider. I've only ridden 26's and 650b's. I love the maneuverability (pretty sure i spelt that wrong) of the 26" tire when i'm at the skate park and smaller dirt jumps but for all my trail riding the 650b is a much better ride! Maneuovers easy while rides comfortably over everything it seems. My guess is i'll end up with a 120-135mm travel 29er for fast open runs with few features. A 150mm 650b downhill for fast, technical park riding. N a 110mm 26" DJ for my jumping. Currently got a 2012 giant reign, and an 06 haro 0werx. Both 26", feels very comfortable on the haro, (16.5" hardtail/DJ) (small i know! But i ride skatepark with it as well and doesnt feel like a child's bmx when i ride haha) My giant reign could definitely use bigger tires though.
  • 7 2
 i just googled collie alsation cross, dont blame him one bit for stopping!
  • 2 0
 I'm surprised at the low pressures they were running in the + tyres, I've spoke to a few + size riders and they said they had to have really high pressures to stop the tyre folding over in berms.
  • 1 0
 Im running 15f 16r in my Knards and theyre a little squidgy when pushed hard. They are a 1000g 29x3 so quite a light tyre.
  • 1 0
 shits N giggles - I was thinking about turning a DiamondBack for a shop demo.

the Mission (27.5)
the Catch (27.5 boost)

after watching this video.... hmmm.... maybe a longer travel 29er. I can rip through rocky trails on a rigid 29er.. add squish to it, oh boy.
  • 2 0
 Great video. What a cast of riders. Love to have heard Chris Porter's times tho. Presume he did the runs on bith versions of Geoemtron as there's a 650 and 29 available. So a VERY similar bike.
  • 2 0
 The funny thing was - the smaller the wheel the most the fun! The bigger the wheel the fastest. So if you want to race ride a 29er if you want to have fun then have a 26'. And take the fattie to the beach!
  • 2 0
McGazza, Stevie, Dunlop and Mirra are shredding and society thrives on the one way arguement that "29er's are GAY"
Come 2016
"29er's are f*cking badass" and everyone dies.

Enough said...
  • 1 0
 Watched the full video to find out they didnt end up giving us the average times of each bike Frown
Would have been cool to see the real results of the test instead of a cheesey "everyone's a winner" ending.

Apart from that it was a cool video and I enjoyed watching it. Just missing the final results...
  • 1 1
 to experience it for myself
For me plus bike suits me better. haven't had any issues yet with pinch flats, bike much more fun and gravity times faster. It feels faster uphill and on flat as well although I've not done any times to check. Plus it looks so right with those tyres on. Great video guys and girls. Looks like you had a blast of a day. Top entertainment RW.
  • 5 1
 I freaking love this series, I really hope they keep with it!!!
  • 1 0
 Great banter, interesting results. Interesting point with the 27.5+ tires not being durable enough for racing. I'd rather go for a 27+ instead of a 29er with it's all personal preference.
  • 1 1
 Ive thought for a while now that it may all end up going 29. From xc race to enduro. Only pure dh may hang on to 27.5??
I went 29 on my xc race hardtail a couple years back and was amazed at the 'roll over shit' ability. Especially on the climbs.
Pole bikes out of Finland make a crazy 140mm trail weapon, evolink 140 29 tr. 64.5 head 480 reach and 1284 wheelbase in a medium size!!! Brrrrrrrpp
  • 3 1
 This was already done by Bike Radar
See: "26in/27.5in/29in - What's The Fastest MTB Wheel Size? - Part 2" at youtu.be/kxfrykeSNCE
  • 2 1
 And, here is the other one that included the 27.5+.:
See: "27.5+ Vs. 29er - Which Is Fastest?" at youtu.be/w6TMA2vI8bA
  • 2 1
 @ryknown: BikeRadars testing was actually accurate, serious and showed the results. None of this you could say about this Soho Bikes video. Still an entertaining video thoug, but not informative at all. Glad that BikeRadar actually did it properly.
  • 2 0
 Still on 26 here. 2 wins at the weekend at the SDA Glencoe (gnarly track) for 26" wheels....
We were all smiling. Much fun was had by whatever wheel size we rode.
  • 3 0
 definitive . no more discussion required .
  • 6 3
 The people want 26 want the people has not buy them.
  • 9 10
 The age old wheel size debate is one of the dumbest issues I've seen in any sport I've taken part in.

We've let 3 inches and 3 different sizes that mean almost nothing on their own, divide the mountain bike community.

Although it's really just typical in-group out-group behavior. The most vocal of these groups seem to be those that for some reason feel fiercely loyal to an inanimate object, the 26in. wheel. They feel that all change is bad. They've become comfortable with the standard and see no reason to ever deviate. Now, on its own, this attitude is ok. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinions about anything. Where it starts to get childish is when the martyrdom sets in. "26 aint dead" blah blah blah. Simply because something new exists, a group of people feels like they are somehow being marginalized. Guess what, shit changes - welcome to life.

The whole thing is childish really. I've seen less division over politics.

I can only hope that anyone who feels so strongly about a wheel size goes on to live a marginal existence where their choices and apparent lack of basic understanding can't affect anyone negatively.
  • 5 0
 @slowjams : I don't know anyone riding 26 who has any problem with things "moving forward" or with there being other wheelsize options, do you? Its semi-retirement annoys so many folk because it still works, is still fun, but isn't being supported well by much of the bike industry, despite still being in use by so many riders. Remember, the #26aintdead thing came from a bike company who had been singing the praises of 29ers for quite a while before that, and were also developing 275 and 275plus bikes, so vocally saying you have fun on a 26, or that you'd like it to be available for those wanting it, does not imply that you're some kind of "one size should fit all" zealot. There are of course some of those keyboard warriors when it comes sticking to one wheelsize only, but it's a strawman to suggest that anyone who happens to be vocal about a wheelsize is that single minded.

Loved all the chat in the video by the way, a lot of people who really know about bikes, and how to ride, talking complete sense. A must watch. Not dumb at all. Fun.
  • 5 0
 @Spittingcat: slowjams is probably one of those riders that spent $10,000 on the latest bike and gets regularly overtaken by 26ers,
  • 3 0
 @Slowjams : yes I hate moving forward. That's why I have a narrow-wide chain ring, wide range GX drivetrain, Schwalbe aerothan Evo tubes etc on my 26" bike and why I'm saving up for a Thomson Elite dropper post.

The thing with 27" is that the 25mm difference with 26" (ERTRO is 559mm on 26" and 584 on 27") is not worth replacing your wheels, tyres, forks and frame for. Especially not since its been proven that the difference is less than 0,5% in speed and purely upgrading the wheelsize costs you a fortune. Selling your bike purely because it's 26", to buy a 27.5" is a stupid and useless thing to do. And that's what the industry is trying to push down our throats.
  • 2 0
 So, the answer is the 'best' is the one that you ride once you are used to the track at the end of the day?
  • 1 0
 I only ride my trail bike so I can hang out with my riding buddies, but that gets boring. Then I take off with my DH Bike, more smiles per miles!
  • 5 2
 I will "Never" own a 29'er.
I will Ride 26 as long as I can.
  • 3 1
 Interesting video, BUT...29ers can't pump trail features? Guess I should stop doing it then.
  • 1 0
 Please everybody say ONE MORE TIME!!! ONE MORE TIME!!! ONE MORE TIME!!! . Ok is the last one, 26 TWENTY SIX IS THE LUCKY NUMBER!!!
  • 1 0
 They just missed to test combo,29 at the front,27.5 rear,might be the ultimate bike?
  • 1 0
  • 3 0
 Tahnee is pretty cute.
  • 1 0
 I think Tracy is, also more articulate.
  • 2 1
 I wish they had Ratty and Hart on the crew just so i could hear em speak. love it.
  • 2 0
 This video rules. Made my night. More please.
  • 2 0
 Refreshing video to try to cut through the bike industry bullshit.
  • 1 0
 When will the 26+ be coming out
  • 3 3
 What's with the flashing all the way through.... it's like a tap dripping in the background, really f ing annoying.
  • 2 0
 36C 24 36 ...
  • 1 0
 Very cool insight an interesting!
  • 3 1
 Wagon-wheeler 4 lyfe!
  • 1 0
 More Soho Bikes TV, please!
  • 1 0
 Should have had GMBN coome test with them!
  • 1 0
 Enjoyed, thanks for sharing. *thumbs up*
  • 1 0
 "Make your own mind up." Damn straight.
  • 1 0
 This was an awesome video.

"Up by 2 seconds. I f*ckin' checked"
  • 5 6
 More riding less talking!
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