Chris Sugai: President/Co-Founder of Niner Bikes
What are the advantages of a 29er over 26-inch wheels for DH and AM?
“Twenty nine-inch wheels are better for downhill for the same reasons that big wheels are better for cross country. The longer tire contact path creates more traction and better cornering. The larger wheel’s roll-over performance is better in rough terrain. In an apples-to-apples comparison, the 29-inch wheel has less rolling resistance than a 26 inch wheel. It’s a fact”
What design challenges does the 29er face in order to overthrow the 26er?
“Most people say that a comparable 26-inch wheel is stronger than a 29er, and I’d have to agree in theory that this is a valid point. In real life, though, top wheel builders like Gravy [Steve "Gravy" Gravenites] and well-known wheel companies like Mavic all say that the return rates of 26 and 29-inch wheels are the same, so wheel-strength is not an issue. When we have product meetings, we discuss materials, rim-widths and axle spacing. Wheel-strength is never a topic.
"Limited rear-wheel travel is often brought up as a barrier to long-travel 29er design. For bike designs that use a single-pivot swingarm, the only way to extend suspension travel beyond a certain point is to lengthen the swingarm, and that can create challenges for handling. Niner uses CVA [dual-link] suspension with a vertical wheelpath, so the only limit to how much rear-wheel travel we can use is the bottom bracket hitting the ground.
"Of course, you can build a shorter chainstay with a 26-inch wheel. Most of the design conflicts are due to a spacing issue that puts the front derailleur close to the 29er’s tire. The fact that downhill and all-mountain designs use single or double-chainring cranksets, so Niner can match the present 26-inch chainstay standards."
Will the 29er eventually become the standard wheels size for DH and AM?
“Yes, definitely. History has shown that speaking a non-truth will not hold up. Not just about bikes, but about everything. It may take a week, it may take years, but the truth will always come out. Larger wheels roll better over bumps – it’s a fact. You can find it in textbooks. We have all-mountain and downhillers riding our 29ers and on every course, in every case, the times are lower and the riders are faster on 29-inch wheels.
"For us, convincing riders that the 29er is better is an exercise we have gone through three or four times. First, it was that 29ers were only good for single-speeds, then only hardtails. Editors claimed that they were only good for riders five-foot, nine-inches or taller, and now it’s: '29ers are only good for cross country.' In almost every case, the detractors had never ridden a 29er, or hardly rode one. We know how to make a bike with long-travel. All it takes is for people to ride it, experience what the bike can do and then they will see for themselves."
Niner's latest long-travel 29er, the W.F.O 9, is configured with a 150-millimeter rear axle and a DH shock to handle everything from all-mountain, to all-out park riding.
Owen Pemberton: Engineer/Designer at Norco Bikes
What are the advantages of a 26-inch wheel over a larger 29 inch size for DH and AM?
"Firstly, I don’t feel you can group downhill and all-mountain together, as they are very different disciplines. However, they do share some common traits where I feel a 26-inch wheel makes a lot of sense, so I’ll try to focus on those.
"For all of the advantages that 29-inch wheels bring to the table, there is one major advantage, as far as ride characteristics are concerned, for the continued use of 26-inch wheels - maneuverability. Even the most agile 29-inch-wheel bikes will not match the maneuverability of a 26-inch-wheel bike. A pretty bold statement, but let me explain. The optimal front-centre/rear-centre balance has been developed over years for 26-inch-wheel bikes to give the ideal ride handling. With the larger, 29-inch wheels, it is extremely difficult to get the rear centre (chainstay) length as short as we desire to give modern ride handling characteristics. 29-inch-wheel bikes are now approaching these rear centre lengths, but they are not quite getting there. Even when they get close, this often results in other compromises that affect the ride of the bike negatively (very slack actual seat angles, for example). If you also factor in the larger rotational mass of 29-inch wheels, which can give the bike what is often described as a ‘sluggish’ feel in tight turns, it is easy to see why 26-inch wheels have the edge in terms of maneuverability.
"For aggressive modern riding, the agility of a bike is extremely important. If we look at the terrain riders are tackling on modern World Cup downhill courses, it is often so severe that the rider cannot rely on the bike's suspension and just plow any more. Look at the fastest guys (and girls) on the planet and they seem to hop and skip their way down the hill, pumping and working the bike, taking to the air when the terrain gets too rough. Obviously we’re not all world cup downhillers, but I’ll wager most of us got into this sport because it’s fun (I know I did). An agile/maneuverable bike is a fun bike!"
What are the technical advantages of the 26-inch format over the 29er?
"Here at Norco, we have had great success with our Shinobi 29er and we are really excited about the launch of the new 2012 Revolver 29er. One of the things we have discovered while exploring the boundaries of 29er full-suspension design is an inherent problem with wheel path and chain growth as we push for more travel. Simply put; if you design a 29-inch-wheel bike to have the same axle path that a 26-inch-wheel bike would have for the desired bump absorption, it will result in significantly more chain growth. This is a result of the bottom bracket on a 29er sitting much farther below the axle line of the wheels. Chain growth is a good thing to a certain extent, as it gives anti-squat characteristics that help the bike pedal efficiently. Too much chain growth, however, will have a detrimental effect on suspension performance and the bikes pedaling ability. Axle path and chain growth are both extremely important components of the suspension system of a bike. The success of the system as a whole is a balancing act of all these components. For longer-travel applications, the 29-inch wheel introduces too many compromises to the system."
What are the chances that 29er designers can match or exceed the potential of the 26-inch format?
"For downhill/freeride applications (180 millimeters - plus), the short answer is slim to none. The topics discussed above are just some of the more significant reasons why. There are other considerations, such as bike fit - big wheels and big travel mean increased stand-over height and handlebar height. Wheel-strength is also a big issue, but I do expect 29-inch-wheel technology will continue to improve. For trail and all-mountain applications (140 to 160 millimeters), it is less clear cut. 29ers can definitely bring some significant advantages to these disciplines, however, the agility of a 26-inch wheel is still what a lot of people want out of an all-mountain bike."
Owen Pemberton designed Norco's flagship Aurum downhill racing bike. The Aurum, is said by many, to have no peer in the Northwest's ultra-technical terrain.
Cool FeaturesSubmit a Story to Pinkbike
RSSPinkbike RSS Feed
What's wrong with giving the consumer a choise? Loosen up and ride what you like. Don't hate.
I would also like a 29er dj bike, I'm not into real tech rideing and just want to jump and have fun, all the good dj bikes out there are so small and not fun to ride for me.
And I would not recomend a 29er to a person who hasent ridden before since the 26" bikes will let you get used to rideing easier and learn the basics before going over to the bigger bike wich will take atm a lot more skill riddeing if you want to ride the tech stuff you do with a 26"
And like many of you all have said, Chris speaks only for 29er and Owen takes up valid points although I do not like people who are saying things are "impossible" although today I also would say there isent much going on in the 29er DH genre. So I wouldent say this will be set in stone since I'm quite sure in the future we will have one or more persons coming up with some new linkage designes that will be perfect for a 29er only, time will tell.
i guess only time will tell.
Put the focus on things that are actual problems instead. Like deraillers that get smashed all the time..
On a very few Super D courses a 29er might be faster than a 26". But not for most enduro-style races, which is the more prevalent trend in All Mountain-type racing these days. Definitely no way a 29er is faster than a 26 in DH racing, unless you are racing racing on the lamest track ever!
The bottom line for me is that when I'm going downhill, 26" bikes are more fun, which really is the most important factor to me. The fact that they are also faster in almost all DH situations makes this a non-debate. I used too be more open minded about 29 ers, but I'm getting a little annoyed by the delusional arrogance like we see from Sugai.
There are also geometry issues with 29" DH bikes. If the head angle is slack enough, then the wheelbase is too long, and if the the wheelbase is short enough, then you can't have the slack head angle. Unless you go with a super short top tube, which wouldn't work either. I would like to try aDH bike with a 650b front wheel, that might work...
"This is a technical and somewhat fundamental issue.
Basically the Tallboys 29er suspension platform with 100mm of rear wheel
travel and a 100-120mm fork is too large of an overall package to fit into a
smaller/compact frame without a lot of compromises. The technical reason is
that to make a smaller frame size on the tallboy we would need to make a
whole new swingarm and lower the upper link/shock mount which then requires
a redesigned shock rate and leverage ratio and probably a different shock
size to work with that. There would still be lots of toe overlap at the
Fundamentally, smaller size riders will fit better on 26" wheeled bikes in
the same way that juveniles and kids fit better on 24", 20" and 16" wheeled
bikes. The benefits of larger wheels do not outweigh the drawbacks at some
The Medium size Tallboy has a top tube length of 23" and a standover of
29.1". This is actually fairly compact as far as full suspension 29ers go.
Probably still a little big for you at 5'3" though. We would recommend our
Blur-XC model -
Thanks for your interest in Santa Cruz, and let me know if you have any
I was so impressed with Santa Cruz for their honest response....unfortunately I don't own one of their bikes, but I would recommend them based on awesome customer support and honest, rational feedback!
I agree, however, with that in mind, why stop at 29"? Obviously that theory only works to a point and then other compromises take over, so simply stating bigger is better because it rolls over more is only part of the equation. I want to hear why he stops at 29, and not 31 for example.
Sugai --> Can you really back this up? Are we talking about a nature path in Florida or a DH course? Your credibility on this topic is suspect at best.
It would be nice to here someone more credible defend 29'r DH.
Um, I spy, with my little eye, an RP23 and a QR skewer.
Based on this whargarbling "argument" of a post, I betting the next most "controversial" issue we face as mountain bikers will be whether these new-fangled carbon fiber DH frames can actually handle the rigors of DH riding. One side will be someone who says yes, and present reasons why. The other side will be a guy who will tell us a story about how he heard that his friend broke a carbon fiber frame and when it broke it failed catastrophically and, like, he hurt himself and if it was an aluminum frame it wouldn't have happened.
If you find it easier/faster to ride down the trails you ride with a 29er then so be it. This is like the age old debate of making trails easier or more difficult at bike parks/hills in so many ways... if you like riding easier trails then ride/build those, just don't ruin things for people who already enjoy it as it is.
Just remember that 'BEST' can be a pretty f@#!^g relative term!
Try it for a weekend THEN go back to your 26" DH rig and see what happens.
It is a fun bike to ride, but I wish the rear triangle was stronger. The rear was replaced and I still prefer it to 26 for all types of mtb riding but dj/trials... for that 26" is big enough.
Wheels are strong enough if you build them with DH in mind (I used 36h flows on SS hadley DH hubs), and the dorado/ccdb is a sweet combo... the 2.5" WTB Dissents are nice too.
I can see the use of both, but not the use of ONLY 29 so I'm probably never going to be a convert n the way Sugoi think we all will be. Now the Banshee Rune II and the BlkMrkt Roam are bikes that can truly do it all aye (I'm really considering a RuneII, haven't heard anything about the Roam but it's dead sexy IMO). All three wheel sizes on one bike?!?!?!?!??!?!?! f*ck YEAH, sign me up. It'd be awesome to have 3 sets of wheels for one frame, I could see that being perfect for long roadtrips where you mght be riding trail one day then hitting the park another, stop off for a quick Enduro race then back out for a backcountry epic all one one frame. Sugoi is just drinking too much of his own kool-aid, 29's will never "replace" 26s entirely, but they'll suplant them for some riders, and that's fine, but what he's preaching is pure marketing spew and I probably wouldn't buy a Niner bike just because I don't care to support a company that's presented in that way. Next thing you know he'll be touting skin-suits and steep head-angles. Guys a ponce IMO.
As for the return rate of wheels, I would hope that Sugoi is comparing apple to apples, and looking at, say Mavic C29ssmax vs 26" Crossmax ST/SLR. But I guess we don't know what he included in his numbers.
29ers as fuel for a fire doesn't sound like a bad idea . . .
Just kidding. The lbs has been pushing 29ers on the yuppy roadie population for a few years now, and I gotta say, it gets them onto single track. Seems like these are just right for the roadies who aren't sure they want off the roads. I think of them as training wheels mostly. They are nicer to people who haven't figured how to work with the trail instead of against it and they are very nice for covering a lot of miles on those fire roads, which is what the roadies love to do.
I figure that when i'm a geezer I'll buy myself a gold colored toyota avalon and a 29er and use it yo get me around. Until then, as long as I can work the flow of the trail on a smaller wheelbase with more flickable, sturdier wheels. I will.
A SS 29er for commuting to college daily might be nice though . . .
I hate 29 inch wheels when going downhill, it's just too much wheel for comfort. Not to mention the lack of maneuverability over the 26 inch wheels.
The 29 inch wheel is a climbing advantage, that's all I see it as.
Even if the 29 inch wheel DH bike is massly produced, I don't give a shit, I'm sticking with 26.
I mean, why the f*ck are we even arguing this? I thought it was common knowledge that 29 inch wheels are not for DH.
Correct me if i'm wrong.
But 29er wheels will never be used for downhill, I think 140mm travel is the most that they should be used on.
I ride a Spesh Epic 29er and it's awesome for descending, feels like a 120mm trail bike, I've never found maneuverability a problem but on a downhill track like champery it wouldn't be easy I don't think
Apart from the plenty of other riding of 29ers I've done, I once got a RIP 9 and Giant Reign in the same parking lot for a certain test, each with similar stem lengths and bar width etc. I pump some flat turns on the Reign and I get a good speed going and propel myself around the car park without pedalling. I then try the same thing on the RIP 9 and I find I can't do it anywhere near as well. It turns too slow and is slow to flop from left to right. I keep switching between bikes to make sure. Now in the tight singletrack I love that is a deal breaker. If I was back on the long straighter trails of California, then a 29er makes lots of sense, but if you go down to the woods today you'll find the 26er is king.
As Waki correctly says above... "It depends".
Back to the actual topic instead of the reps:
Wheel strength and rigidity also plays into the handling characteristics of the bike. Lateral strength can't be a non-factor in wheel building (which is how we ended up with the 110mm and 100mm hub standards, as well as 135 and 150. Am I right?). Even if Niner doesn't discuss the strength of wheel builds for now, it will have to come up in engineering if they try to build a DH 29er. They're going to have to face up to the loss of lateral rigidity in conjunction with having to deal with making the whole thing a bigger (and therefore more sluggish) bike.
Not saying that it's a terrible idea altogether. With 6 billion people on the planet and all the world's terrain to ride on, it has to have an application somewhere. It's just significantly less likely that it'll be the best choice for the average downhiller.
Judging by the quality comments here - negative, positive and otherwise - PB chose the right men for the job.
The smooth, balanced, skilled, experienced trail riders that I ride with all want the smaller wheels; it's not for lack of trying the bigger wheels either. Beginners, XC racers, and the guys without technical handling skills all love 29ers.
But rather than interview a company guy who has an interest in the sales of NOTHING but 29ers, and a guy from a company that does both 26 and 29 bikes, it would have made more sense to have asked actual professional riders with experience in DH/FR. I would have for example picked Wade Simmons to debate for 29er (as he currently spends most of his time ON a Rocky Mountain Altitude 29 when riding the North Shore) and oh maybe Brian Lopes who rides for/helped develop of Ibis's Mojo HD. It doesn't hurt the debate if you went with them as both brands started out with 26er bikes, and have now begun to offer some rather nice 29er models so as factory riders they'd have access to pretty much any bike they'd want to ride and compare.
If they really wanted to stick to a company engineer to poo-poo 29 DHs, they could simply have gotten someone from Trek who tested a prototype 29er DH bike last year and then decided NOT to take it to production status, and then they could give reasons as to why it didn't work out fot them.
And when the other guy has product meetings and doesn't even mention wheel strength as a problem maybe he should realize he's missing something important and for that reason and many others be concerned about the future of his company?
Theres definitely a place for 29'ers. Mostly on hippie hardtail bikes. But when you really want to shred a trail that isn't basically road biking on dirt i think its pretty obvious where we'll be in the near future.
I do agree that a bigger wheel rolls over stuff better.
Seems to be more to it than that though eh?
@ tandlis: They can't do slack headangles either since it puts the front wheel so far out.
As some other people said I'd much rather have them put efforts into eliminating real issues such as rear derailleurs than spend so much time "solving" something that wasn't problematic in the first place.
Also keep in mind that 29er bikes require less suspension travel to achieve the same effect of a 26" wheel bike, as a lot of the small bumps are smoothed over by the larger diamter.
Its the reduced manouverability that is a big deal of me though. Longer suspension can be compensated for using clever linkages or pedel platforms, but large wheels are difficult to compensate for.
Interesting. I'm 5'6" though, so it doesn't seem like I'll get to try one that fits me well anytime soon haha.
Another thing I noticed when switching over is that you don't need as much travel because the wheel doesn't go down into holes and between rocks as much. I went from a 6" trail bike to a 5" 29er and my 29er feels like it has more travel and descends more confidently. So while a 9-10" travel 29er dh bike may never happen, I don't see any reason why a 7 or even 8 inch bike would not be competitive on the DH scene.
The ways in which manufactures can use various suspension designs, tube bending, and other stuff these days I do not feel the stand-over height, or bar height is a limiting factor- obviously chainstays will need to be a hair longer. The only real hold ups I see in the 29er renaissance is the fork choices- there is only one right now and it will be tough to get the other big 3 making a new fork. Also the perception of 29er wheels, people bash em all the time here but according to that survey most haven't even ridden one. Maybe before you talk smack on 29, go ride a few and see why many shops are selling em 2:1 over 26. After all who decided 26 was the best size anyway? the advantage 26 has is that it came first.
Knowing that bike handling skills and fitness has alot to do with what we are talking about, I think they do have their place for certain riders and terrain. 29 has certainly been out long enough that at this point they should have already been prevalent on the DH, freeride, enduro scenes BUT they are not. It isn't about materials. It's just about design applications, right? Sugai's "truth" is not mine and claiming it to be mine 2wks, 10yrs or whatever it takes is pretty simple self-preservation mode. Plenty of truths for all of us like gravity, and girls are soft, beer is food, a good post ride burrito is essential, but prophets on bikes (not so sure).
IMO, to each your own. I'm 6'6" and i like riding 29ers. they're just more proportional to me. I'd gladly ride a DH 29er (that intense 2951 looks sick), but there are definitely people who shouldn't. Who'se place is it to tell someone what kind of bike they should ride anyway?
What I find (and am curious to see if I'm not alone) is that the learning curve from 26 to 29 is much less steep as it is when you get used to the ride of 29 and try to get away with the same riding style on a 26. I was actually quite surprised how accustomed I got to being "lazy" on the 29. They really do hide a lot of mistakes and allow you to ride a bit more "sloppy."
This is part of the reason why I think the mid-level 29er hardtail is gaining so much market share. It's allowing entry level enthusiasts and newcomers to the sport feel more confident right off the bat.
I consider myself a well rounded rider. Having a background not only in DH, but also having competed in Time Trials, Road Racing, Cyclocross, XC (on both 26 an 29 inch bikes) and also 5 years of working in a shop, 3 of which were as a mechanic I can probably say without arrogance that I've a pretty good idea of what a bike can and cannot do.
My take.. 29ers are fast. They cruise like no tomorrow when given enough of a runway, and the 29er I rode I would say handled really well (Niner Hardtail), but in rocky, rooty, or rutty conditions the bike began to feel unstable. Mainly because even though a larger tire does smooth out smaller bumps.. when hit with a much larger bump, the kind even a DH suspension can't suck up all the way, it simply requires more energy to control the bike. More energy means, more recovery time, which means increased risk of crashing, or loss of more time.(Tried this a few times with a fully 29er, as well.. results appeared the same, but haven't been done enough to be conclusive, also the hardtail 29er was compared to a hardtail 26er. that's how I feel I can make that claim without being biased).. In the end.. it resolves down to more work, with a lower risk of success.
All I can say, is that all I ride "rocky, rooty or rutty conditions" (because that's all there is on the East Coast) on a 29er. I'm not a particularly good rider or anything, but I have a blast on my bike.
Also, bigger wheels means heavier wheels, heavier wheels equals more unsprung mass, which means worse small-bump compliance, which means less grip. That's a very small factor but when a few extra mm of rubber on the floor is being citied to give better traction, I feel it's also worth consideration. XC, yes, some all-mountain bikes, possibly, but DH, no.
29ers... They accelerate like an hummer h1, roll over stuff like that hummer, and corner like that hummer.
27.5ers... They accelerate like a jeep wrangler, roll over stuff like that jeep, and corner like that jeep.
26ers... They accelerate like a bowler nemesis, roll over stuff like that bowler and corner like that bowler.
Or put it another way, 27.5 (650B) is the goldielocks of wheelsizes. Not too big, Not too small, just right.
Jamis bikes is pointing that out in a big way, they offer all three wheel sizes. For full suspension cross country, they start at out with a 26er at the lower end price range and then end with a 29er at the top end because 29ers do cost more to begin with, and for pure XC racing they are proving a better choice. Again the trail bike category begins with a 26" size wheel model at the lower end but at the top end its a 650B size model. For trail riding bikes, the size is just better. Now for their AM offerings, its 26ers and that's it.
Now given that 650B mountain bikes only got going about five years ago now when Kirk Pacenti began to offer full knobby tires made for him by Panaracer (the Neo Moto 2.35, basically a variant on the Pana Rampage tread) and velocity started offering rims (Blunts) and now has been adopted by several mid-level brands, four major tire companies (Panaracer, Vee Rubber, Kenda, and Schwalbe), six big name rim/wheel companies (Notubes, American Classic, VelocityUSA, Sun-Ringlé, Alex-Rigida and Weinmann) and at least two fork companies (White Brothers and X-Fusion), its only a matter of time before development starts shifting towards bigger travel and bigger width tires (2.35 is as wide as they come currently).
In 3-5 years, 650b will be the dominate wheel size for MTB.
XC will be 650b and 29"
Trail, AM, DH will be 650b
DJ will stay 26".
UCI killed 4X.
I'm not sure about 29ers with more than 120mm of travel, not sure about 29 full sussers. But a 29 hardtail makes perfect sense. Furthermore 29ers for higher people makes perfect sense as well. After getting eyes familiar with 29ers, a 26" XL+ hardtail looks to me like a 26" M with 24" wheels - really stupid.
After all I'm 99% sure the answer to the question 29 vs 26 is: IT DEPENDS
The only bike design that i can realistically see working with 29'' wheels is a Zerode.
He just sits there draws these big wheels, calculates stress on elements longer than necessary, and gets more and more sour everyday... until the pressure gets unbearable and he commits a triple shotgun murder
It's easier to sell someone a brand new 29er with all kinds of life changing benefits then trying to sell them another 26er that has some differently shaped tubes and an auto-sagging shock.
Plus, if you're a "real" biker you need like 15 bikes and one of them needs to be a 29er
Chris Sugai spending the money to put a 36 page Niner catalog in the middle of MBA seems to have bought him some good press too. MBA was pretty non-commital about 29ers until Niner's ad spend stepped up.... For better or worse, lots of people hang on every word MBA prints.
I have 29ers, a rigid ss, a hardtail and a spesh stumpy 29er fsr and I love them. I will not go back to 26 inch for how and what I ride now. But, and it is a big BUT, is there a market that is not being considered right now when we talk about a 29er DH. I like to call it the fat dad market. It is people like myself. I am 35 I have two little girls and I ride when I can, I am by no means a racer or any where near competitive shape. I use to love DH (here is that BUT) but I am not a DH Racer, I am a shuttle whore or a park rider. I go out for shits and giggles, hanging with friends (other fat dads) and just enjoying the day that goes with it. I want to know why companies are not selling 29er park bikes, yes it will be a little heavier then Danny's DH uber bike, don't care if it is fun its going on a chair lift so 35-40lbs is ok with me. A 7 inch park bike could be a cool thing, don't try and sell it as a podium winner, sell it to the fat dads who want to pretend that they could win, then drink a beer and lie about how much air they got on the last run.
P.S Dear Pinkbike if you are going to have an article on the potential of 29er DH sled why on earth would you not include LENZ and his PBJ. He claims it is competition ready, but at least he has actually built the damn thing. I think it is my fat dad bike, If I could convince my wife that clothing, shoes, girl guides and dance is all a waste of money for our children.
In my opinion replacing 26inch wheels with 29s in DH would take all the fun and bumps out of it making it a lot easier, and wheres the fun in that? It will no longer be a sport that sorts the men from the boys.
My point about wet mud is also correct, now obvious 'mud' is quite vague, but you'll see I specified mud that sucks you down, like the type we often see in the UK. If the mud has a tendancy to pull at the tyre, it's due to a low pressure on the rear side of the contact patch, as the tyre attempts to pull away from the mud as it rolls through it. If the contact patch of the tyre is larger (and it is) and all other things are equal, the force required to roll the tyre through the mud will be greater.
No, I haven't spent any time on a 29er, and I'm not saying I shouldn't, or that no-one should. All I'm saying is the man on the left was being biased towards a standard he's clearly advocating, and he wasn't being entirely truthful, objective, and factual. Whether or not the Norco engineer was, I don't know for certain, but I didn't spot anything that was so glaringly spun in his responses.
With that, I'm done on this discussion, whether you want to reply or not.
..24" should make a come back i think ..cant remember what DH bike it was.. specialized i think.. but I'm pretty sure it came with 24s it was awesome anyway!
as soon as i ride a bike with 24s it instantly comes alive and the whole bike becomes so agile and fast.
I did a 2 hour demo on a Giant Anthem 29er and it didn't do it for me. I ride a Blur LT2 w/ 650b front and rear and it is the awesome, though I admit most of the advantage of the 650b comes from the front wheel...
Not sure 650b will ever take over, or have a huge market share, but I don't care...it works for me.
Why do street race motorcycles use 17 inch front and rear?
If you think there's no connection, think about suspension technology, hydraulic brakes, wide bars, short stems and Arron Gwin!
To be fair if a 29er wins Megavalanche and a 29er wins a pro DH event then I'll rethink and eat my boxers.
On another part of this topic entirely. I ride very rough terrain with sharp rocks and thorns. Practically the only tires that can take this abuse are Maxxis Minions. Which weigh a hefty 850g each. I dread to think how much a 29er version would weigh, maybe just too much unsprung weight for me.
SO what is important is overall wheel diameter (rim plus tire). Now you can get the same diameter with different combinations eg the old Nokian 24x3.0 tire came out at 26.6" which is about the same as a 26x2.0.
Modern dh wheels are around 27-27.5" and modern MX bike wheels are 26.5-28" (rear wheels still a tad smaller).
Now the 29" wheel is bigger than BOTH! Sure MX experimented with the 23" rim back in the day but that didnt last long.
Time will tell what happens in MTB.
2. Current MotoGP bikes use 16.5" rims. 500cc back in 1999 they were on 17.5 then went down to 17 in 2000s then 16.5 and even went down to 16" at one point even on the front!
yeah, this isn't a very good approach to this non-issue. about 10% of these comments have been totally on-point, the rest are just the same old loyalties.
Pinkbike, this sort of discussion needs to happen in a roundtable discussion with the pertinent parties able to point-counterpoint to get real perspective. just sending out a for email and waiting for a response is prone to the sorts of answers Sugai gives (it's marketing). get 2-3 people in a room and post what happens (just delete the expletives)
FTR i own an Air 9 Carbon and a RIP 9 (as well as a 26" XC and a Pugsley) and my personal bias towards XC and trail is 29. my bias is 26" for DH/AM. i'm open to change, though.
Why I'm sticking with 26. End of story for me. If it's one aspect of my riding that needs addressing, it's technical switchbacks. You can't fight simple math. You just can't.
Otherwise, leave the DH boys with their 26" wheels and give AM riders the choice. I for one much prefer the speed, strength and maneuverability of a regular sized wheel on my AM and previous DH bikes
I do remember at the Masters Worlds in Sun Peaks, Canada where some dude had a 29" carbon home made bike with skinny tyres, that was a few years back though!
it will give you smoother ride, and it wont add any weight compared to the 29" wheels
Sure, they do better on UCI's mellow XC courses, and would probably fair better on something like the Mammoth courses from the 90's. But in this day and age with the current style of DH course, it's clear what will evolve as being the better of the two.
The perfect middle ground for both wheelsizes. I say leave 26" for DH and DJ categories and try 27.5 for XC & AM, and 29ers for full XC.
Ride them all first before you post an opinion, get the facts straight. Nothing wrong with having multipole wheel sizes, as long as they are being used correctly. Nobody should tell you that there is only one option for everything. Gee NINER, what a surprise you believe only in 29ers for everything, what would your name be if you didn't....SIXER?
Notice that 26er guys are open to some options but hardcore 29er guys think it's the answer to everything. Despite poor geometry, inadequate frame sizing for smaller riders, poor front derailleur clearance, limited suspension designs, limited tire width, and a complete mistake for terrain that limits your momentum, there are so many people still trying to convince the rest that it's perfect.....REALLY?
- a Haro Beasley hardtail
- an Eclipse Hero Carbon Full Suspension
I own two 29er bikes
- A Salsa Dos Niner Softtail
- a GT Peace 9R multi full rigid
And everything else is 26ers (and I have many of them). I had been thinking from now on it was going to be nothing but 650B builds but since I wanted a fat tire winter bike... I'm in the process of doing a Salsa Mukluk and that's technically a 26er (albeit with tires that when inflated measure 29 inches in diameter).
I ride pretty much only XC but the technical aspect of the trails changes quite a bit in the area I live in, and while I enjoy the Dos Niner for the fast open flowy singletrack/doubletrack stuff, for anything I need to steer quicker I'd rather use the 650B bikes. I don't use the GT 9r at all myself (while it was my first 29er, its now simply kept to use as a loaner bike) anymore, and I've hardly ridden any of my 26er bikes this year.
However I would love to see a 200mm travel fork for a 29" wheel. I could then use it on a frame made for a 26" bike and finally get the height in the front that I crave for and can no longer achieve with the forks of today (would use a 26" wheel obviously on the front and not a 29")
Generally though a 29 inch bike looks less good.... and looks sell, In bike psychology the big wheel is associated with your grandma's shopping bike or your road racing bike, it always will be. the 29 will always look a bit rough next to a 26. 29 tyres also look horrible, like road tyres, the treads might not need to be as big as 26er tyres but they still look horrible. When did you see a motocross rider with smoother looking tyres? and think wow that looks cool. ( ok unless its supermoto, but thats on tarmac!)
They are selling a lot of 29er bikes.60% vs 40% in some shops, The real point is when we can all have electric bikes that are just as light as normal bikes and allow us to be lazier uphill and get fatter. All technology evolves to make our life easier, however I choose to walk uphill with skins on my skis, not take the lift. (Because I like it) . So at the end of the day the 29er just brings another choice to market, when I originally rode in the 90's the only gear options was shimano now there is SRAM everywhere, whats SRAM>>> i've never heard of it.....I was out for 13 years.... now its one of the most recognised brands. It's all business my friends, and it makes jobs and money for people, which is good.
29er is just really more choice, Surfing, Kitesurfing, Motobike riding, all of these sports go through these marketing changes and equipment developments, MTB is next.
If there are more advantages to a 29inch wheel, Sure I dont see why not.
But If the advantages dont outweigh the advantages of the 26er,Why would you bother?
Maybe it will all come down to personal preference?Some people might like the advantages of the 29er compared to the 26er or some people might prefer the 26er to the 29er.
I've ridden a few 29ers and found some to be better handling than some DJ bikes on tight terrain . As regards the COG on a 29er it is infact lower , as the BB sits lower in relation to the hubs so you get better stability in corners . I really do think 29ers will be the future even in DH .
/theory based on suppositions.
However for the beginner or weekend warrior who might not be able to, or want to bunny hop, jump, manual, or simply pull up over some of the smaller obstacles, the 29er might be a substantial benefit. If that's what it takes to get more people riding/building trails its a good thing, but I don't think I'll ever own one, and it would be safe to say that they will never be a serious contender for the DJ market.
For this comparison I would say the 29er is equivalent to my Burton T6. Its a beast. Stiff, fast, longer, and super stable. Never feel like your going to lose an edge and it just eats up bumps and chatter at high speeds.
The 26" would be more like my all mountain/freestyle board. Softer, shorter, more agile, but less stable at high speed.
If I'm ripping some wide open bowl, or some groomers, the big board is the way to go. But take the thing into some steep woods and trees, and its horrible. It just can't be maneuvered properly in there when actual obstacles like trees, rocks, drops, jumps etc are involved. I think this is more eqivalent to what a modern downhill course is, and the shorter, more agile board just works better.
Bike companies will have to run two lines in the mountain biking category, the 29er line and the 26er line; like they are already doing.
seems like 29er believers are typically either 1) lame hipsters or 2) road racers that mountain bike.
-Crazy chain slap
I then moved to a 26er and have abused it far harder than the 29er and not even a HINT of a buckle in a wheel. And a chain guide to stop chain slap.
Sampled the 29er pie and didn't like it.
I say it depends on the track and some pro's may have two bikes.. (ie Angelfire DH - 29 yes please, Idaho Springs DH - 29 no thanks)
My Ideal set up would be:
- 24" DJ
- 26" slalom/4X
- 650B DH/Park
- 29" XC/Trail
ha that will never happen..
Saying it doesn't make it true. I question his claim about rolling resistance as well.
For the time being, for me, I think 26" wheeled bikes provide a better overall riding package.
26" for mountain bike riding.
29" for some mountain bike riding.
After riding a 29er, I feel better for it, knowing the marketting hype.......is just that.
If all the top riders always have the best technology, the only incentive to develop better technology is that it sells more bikes as everyone else has to keep up. Watch the recent Lars'n'Bars Klunking video; fun is independent of technology!
This really would be interesting and fuel hours of endless misinformation and opinion fueled argumenton internet forums!
Actually it reminds me of 8 minute abs, 7 minute abs, 6 minute abs. Why is 29" the optimum? Why not 30", 31, 32"?
I think there could be a place for them on some courses. Definitely they will be more stable at speed simply because they are bigger and roll over bumps better. On balance though, if there is a change to 29" as the norm it's going to take a long time. Certainly I don't see many people being overwhelmingly positive on this board.
I'm not against 29" wheels but I've never ridden them and have no burning desire to do so. Commercialism is a powerful thing though, and as soon as the bean counters at three or four big companies realise it's a chance to sell a new bike to everyone who has a 26" currently, Hart, Gwin, Hill, Atherton, Minnaar, all on 29" wheels for WC courses which they will do if that's what they're paid to do, how long is it going to be until everyone jumps on it? A year or two is my bet!
Sould be discusing Sealed bike drives in stead!!!!!!
Sealed bike drives?
Sealed bike drives?
Sealed bike drives?
Sealed bike drives?
Sealed bike drives?
Really if we want to go faster DH we should ride on road bikes on Tarmac roads in the mountains. Hmmmm isnt that road riding?
I thought as Mtbers we like rough terrain and bouncing around, suspension is for control, but we all like to see our suspension move more and in control not less. Why dont we sweep and polish the DH courses so that all the riders go faster?
Really it is about bike classes. You dont see an mtb rider competing in a bmx competition with a MTB bike. It is a different class. A simple rule change from the competition authorities saying that to enter you must use a 26 inch bike. Then the 29" has its own class. Then all arguements are closed, its like super bike verses MotoGP, both are fast but they are different classes of bike, and you need to be damm good to ride them.
Who knows, maybe in 10 years we'll probably gonna see some weird asymetrical designs, such as single sided swingarms, high pivots, interconnected/non-independent suspension, and maybe the return of the linkage fork. Bike industry is running out of interesting things to market They can only work on tweaking the head tube, BB, and other oversized diameter tubing improvement so much. Maybe see a rise in forged parts to replace the fad in CNC anodized stuff too.
26" for life
I see so many 29ers smoking 26ers on the UCI DH race circuit.
Sounds like a pitch for 29ers sales
Bring the 29er that will be more versatile than that......... Not gonna happen soon.
Long story short, I cant see 29" becoming a DH standard in a million years, as for AM, I think it will become a mixed bag; they will likely continue to become more common in the XC world.
Like it or hate it, that's the way I see it.
In my opinion the 29" can replace the 26" only if there will be more spokes and each spoke should be at least 3mm diameter .
For other purposes, a larger wheel with more tire may be a mixed blessing. More traction and contact patch, but more effort required to manipulate the wheel path.
I own a 29er steel hard tail. 26lbs built weight with 100mm fork. It is an XC weapon. It feels like a nitro powered drag racer. Goes real fast in a straight line.
My jump bike will be 24"
My bmx will be 20"
And its staying that way.
No 29" wagon wheeled clown bikes for me
Wait nevermind.……I DON'T WANT TO WATCH HIM DIE!!!
Over and out.
As for the traction thing... "rolling over" thing easier does not neccessarily mean "better traction". Imagine a giant wheel. The big wheel will only hit the crests of the bumps, a smaller wheel with good suspension travel will be in contact with more dirt a greater percentage of the time.
the intense is still the nicest DH 29" I've seen. Trek also has been experimenting with 29" DH bikes.
You could not be more ignorant. 29" wheels are simply 29" wheels, they are unique to themselves and are NOT 700c. If they were then they would be called 700c. If you were to actually measure a road wheel you would see that they are closer to 27.5" in diameter which would make it closer to the 650B. Your theory is completely unfounded and FALSE.
What other useless and false information are you spreading out here?
700c rims are the same as 29er rims. 700c tyres are the same size as 29er tyres. Please calm down and admit your knowledge failure.
For example: "(The Aerowarrior can also be used as a 700c trekking rim, or XC 29er with Disc brakes.)"
But perhaps you are more intelligent than a rim/tyre manufacturer?
If so, then see here: singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/700c-or-29er-are-they-the-same.
getting back to the 24" market, product selection is very limited
I used to run a front 24" which made the bike more agile for woods riding but now I live in the alpes where speed is king.
I still think 650 with 26 out back might have potential even in DH.
but if you want to try , be my guest
Best Trolling done ever in PB.
I like to ride DJ with 26" as I'm taller (6ft6") than most, but for the benefits of manouverability, weight and other things such as pumping into kickers, in general people will always prefer 24".
I think that evolution of the products, and manufacturers pushing the technology, will see that the 29 WILL have a place in DH in years to come.
Also, a common theme in all these posts, is the people hating on the 29ers, dont seem to have ridden them, or dont have an informed opinion.. Not saying everyone, but it seems like a lot of peeps have the old "if it aint broke, dont fix it" mantra going on.
I own both 26 and 29, and love each bike for different reasons. I am sure there will come a day where the 2 meet, where you get the benefits of both geometries etc., in one complete package. Specialized Stumpy EVO 29er this year is a pretty mean package, rides like a dream, and is not too far off of that long travel DH feel bike.
With the surge in 29ers this year, i wouldnt be surprised if your bike name companies ( Specialized, Trek, Scott etc) are reading all these debates, and saying, if people think it cant be done, we will do it!!