Ask Pinkbike - Damper Trouble, Adjustable Travel Forks, and 26" or 29" Wheels for Beginners

Jul 15, 2014
by Pinkbike Staff  
Ask Pinkbike Header

Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.



Dorado Dilemma

Question: Pinkbike user niklashelsing asked this question in the Mechanic's Lounge forum: Something really strange happened to my Manitou Dorado today: I did a small jump and the fork made a very strange sound when I landed. It almost sounded a bit like I got a flat, and then the fork was stuck down at the bottom of its travel, rock solid and not moveable. I took the fork apart when I got home and found that the damper rod looked crushed (see the photo below). What's happened to my fork?


bigquotesAh, nothing like a crushed damper rod to ruin a ride, eh? I would know, as the exact same thing happen to my own Dorado back in the early 2000s, and it looks like your older Dorado has suffered the same fate. The root of the problem boils down to volume displacement, or rather, the lack of it. Dorados from 2002 and earlier depended on a closed-cell foam compensator that compressed down as the damper rod was pushed into the cartridge (the sealed stanchion tube), and the foam element allowed Manitou to completely fill the cartridge with oil rather than having to leave an air gap. It also provided back-pressure to minimize cavitation when pushed hard. It was a very simple and lightweight setup that worked well but proved to not be up to snuff in the long run, with the foam tending to break down over time. It didn't take long for Manitou to come up with a better alternative in the shape of a spring-loaded IFP for 2003 that, while weighing more than the foam and introducing some friction into the system, showed to be much more reliable.

So, what happened to your fork? My guess is that you were still running the foam compensator inside your fork, and that it began to come apart recently. The crushed rebound rod came about as a result of the foam element eventually becoming small enough that it could no longer compensate for the displacement of the damper rod compressing into the fork as it went through its travel, and the forces were so high that they simply crushed the thin-walled rod. Your fork being stuck down into its travel was caused by the rod no longer being round and not able to pass through the seal head. In other words, you've done some major damage to your fork, and you might have troubles sourcing the parts you need to get it back up and running simply due to its age. If you want to get your fork running again, your best bet is to look on the classifieds for a used Manitou Stance Kingpin with 170mm of travel - its rebound damper rod features the same dimensions and can be sub'd into your Dorado. You could also require a new rebound seal head if yours was damaged, which you'll need to score out of an old Sherman - the Kingpin's seal head sports a finer thread pitch and won't work on the Dorado's stanchion, but the Sherman's matches and it mates perfectly with OD of the Kingpin's rebound rod. Don't forget that your issue began with that broken down foam compensator, so you'll need to do something about that as well. Start by heading down to your local moto shop, or you can look for a 2003 Manitou Dorado spring-backed IFP assembly. That's a ton of sourcing and work, isn't it? Alternately, you could just pick up a used fork off of the buy and sell...
- Mike Levy

n a

Hydraulic forces made short work of the damper rod in niklashelsing's Dorado.



Would an Adjustable Fork Make a Long-Travel 29er Climb Better?


Question: Marcosksaad asks in a PM: Is there any drawback on spec'ing a RockShox Dual-Position-Air Pike instead of a Solo-Air? My friends who migrated from Specialized Stumpys to the Enduro are struggling on one way or another on climbs and I believe head angle to be the major factor. Wouldn´t reducing the fork travel improve climbing a lot?

bigquotesI am normally of the mind that the fork length is best left alone, but I recently tested the Niner WFO, which has suspension travel and geometry similar to the Enduro 29. The Niner had the Pike Dual Position fork and I ended up using it quite often to sharpen up the bike's steering and climbing feel when I was climbing or riding narrow trails. Some say that the addition of the Dual-Position function reduces the smoothness of the Pike's compression damping, but our test riders did not find this to be true. There are also claims from experienced riders who maintain that shortening the fork stroke actually causes the bike to be less efficient for climbing. While there are probably select bikes or certain combinations of steering geometry that might cause this, my experience with longer travel trailbikes like the Enduro and WFO, has been that a slight travel reduction and the resulting lower stack, and slightly steeper seat and head angles enhance climbing ergonomics. - RC


Niner WFO-9 2014

Niner's 150-millimeter-travel WFO has a slack head angle and a long, 160-millimeter RockShox Pike RCT3 Dual-Position fork. The fork's 30-millimeter travel reduction option sharpened up the slack-ish all-mountain 29er's steering and pedaling feel while climbing.




26" or 29" for Entry Level Rider?

Question: PB user Coryfor asked the following in the Beginners Forum: I'm new here I am going to get my first decent mountain bike. I only have a budget of about $600. I have test rode several different bikes and like them all my question is should I get a 26" or 29"? I don't want this to open a can of worms I'm just wondering at this price point will it really matter what size tire I go with? I'm 5'10" and 165lbs most of the trails around my area are flowy singletrack. Thanks for the help.


bigquotesYou're right, wheel size can be a touchy subject for some people, but it's a valid question, especially for a relative newcomer to the sport. It's certainly a confusing time to be a beginner shopping for a bike, with enough wheel sizes and styles of riding to make your head spin. If I was in the market for a new hardtail (which I'm assuming is what you're looking at given the $600 budget), I'd go with a 29er, especially considering the type of trails you're planning on riding. The bigger wheels will help take the edge off those mid-trail obstacles, and they'll also make it easier to roll through more technical sections, since they can span the gaps between rocks and roots that can cause smaller wheels to get hung up. 29" wheels can also be more forgiving of handling errors, which will be helpful as you continue to progress, and I think you'll appreciate the stability they provide as your riding skills develop. Keep in mind that a 29er will likely be a touch heavier than comparable 26" bikes in that price range due to the larger wheels and tires, but I'd say the performance advantages still make it worth it. - Mike Kazimer

Kona Lava Dome

This Kona Lava Dome is an example of what you can expect to find in the $600 - $700 price range. An aluminum frame, disc brakes and a basic suspension fork should provide a good starting point for the beginning mountain biker.




Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


134 Comments

  • 63 4
 I often find myself with an erection lasting as long as 8 hours during epic rides at whistler, squamish, sunshine coast, north shore, etc. There have been no negative consequences yet although I am concerned about a possible caught-in-the-spokes-type scenario. Is there reason to worry, and what should I do?

Thanks
  • 8 0
 Get a girl that likes to take photo's and bob knobs. You're welcome.
  • 20 0
 I find if I wrap my phallus in an enduro sash and knot it twice it keeps it from getting caught in the spokes on even the most ridonkulous tail whips. Caution though, make sure you use a surgeons knot, or else you risk at mid tail whip spoke-phallus avulsion, which can be fatal...
  • 8 0
 Take a lit match and but it out on your fun bag.....if that doesn't work flick the head 5 times while thinking how sad you will be when the 27.5 fad is over.
  • 6 0
 try eat bacon twice a day
  • 2 0
 @GOrtho I would highly recommend a gyro for less clutter and unlimited "ridonkulous tail whips".
  • 6 0
 If your "erected" penis can be caught in spokes while riding, than it means that you should go to a doctor and check your prostate....
Erection means boner, not a wobbly hanger dude!
  • 6 0
 @badpotato- maybe he meant the spokes of the person riding in front of him? It might go between his arms, over the bars and the sheer weight of his bellend may be sufficient for the end of it to hang down a bit? It's perfectly feasible.
  • 1 0
 Call me a homophobe, but that to me is not feasible at all @gavlaa...
  • 2 0
 You're not a homophobe. However you may be a giantpeniphobe.
  • 57 2
 Nice job PB team. These were all sensible answers for reasonably touchy questions.
  • 51 2
 Pinkbike comments is no place for logic, reason, and appeasing answers! I must complain about prices, wheel size, enduro, and specialized.
  • 9 1
 I agree with moefosho. Let's put it back on track... FIRST!!
  • 9 0
 I agree, breast reduction surgery should be illegal.
  • 1 0
 Great also not mentioning 650b. Especially beginners to the sport don't even need to know about all the embarrassingly different sizes the industry has somehow made. Thanks for your answers!
  • 48 2
 I have a question. I don't have very much money. I have very expensive bike tastes. Will you buy me a Intense Tracer T275, size medium?


Thanks
  • 2 0
 I'll take an Intense 951 Evo size medium
  • 12 0
 I'm not going to be so selfish, all I'm asking for is some Enve wheels and an X1 drivetrain and Guide brakes and a 3 day trip to Rettalack and new Schwalbes and a weeks paid vacation and a private tutorial with Manon. Please?
  • 4 0
 Oh, and don't forget I want to be riding like Brandon Semenuk in 2 hours...
  • 12 0
 I want a cookie.
  • 1 2
 Mmm.. private.. manon.. Smile
  • 49 24
 God forbid you learn proper technique and line choice on a 26er first. Just buy a 29er and roll through everything with your arms locked and your brake levers in the fully horizontal position. When it comes to ride something above your head you'll have no technique to fall back on but you can just buy a more expensive 29er with even more travel to get you through!
  • 17 3
 Haha I recently introduced a friend to mountain biking and put him on a 29r first off, then i got him to try my 26" on the last trail... Both bikes were cheapo hardtails with very similar spec, he loved the 26" way more and was annoyed he'd had to ride the 29r the whole time before haha.
  • 15 1
 I agree with you, but I still feel like riding a 29er is harder to maneuver and might actually benefit someone once they downsize. When I get off my Enduro 29er and back on my DH rig I suddenly feel like I can corner and correct my trajectory again. I guess there are 2 ways to look at the situation.
  • 33 11
 By that train of thought I assume you ride a rigid 26" hardtail, and that you can smoke all the local racers on 29ers with your godlike line choice. Get over yourself. 29ers are great beginner bikes, especially if you can't afford a decent fork (for $600 he's looking at Suntour XCT/XCM). The big wheel goes a long way making up for the lack of any kind of small bump sensitivity. As for "no technique to fall back on".... it's a freaking hardtail. 29er or not, it's not gonna cover up too many mistakes.
  • 5 5
 God forbid you go thru a period hating off-road riding because you bought the 26er instead until you learned the skills people who've ridden years take for granted.
  • 20 4
 Do we really think riding a wheel 3in larger makes life that much easier? I rode a Slash 8 the other day as a first 29er experience and didnt care for it at all. The 27.5 I rode was fun but I think its all a bunch of over argued shit with little relevance. Let someone buy what they want and ride it how they want. I own 3 bikes with 26 and one with 20's. Dont think I will be going any bigger than the 26 for any reason, thankfully we have freedom of choice in what wheel size we choose.

I think that is what started WW1. Frans Ferdinand was all about the 29ers.....
  • 11 13
 Seriously? The question is about a $600 entry level bike and you use your ONLY 29er experience of a Slash 8 as the basis for your lame argument?!
  • 11 1
 I'm pretty sure you can develop proper techniques better on a 26" bike. You'll need to choose your lines a bit more carefully and you can corner a bit more easily. Two good things to start with - master cornering and learn to pick up the best line.
  • 18 1
 Based on this argument beginners should also start riding on rigid forks, with narrow bars and cantilever brakes. I know I did and 20+ years later I'm still exceptionally average, so I think I disprove the theory that learning on a bike that makes certain things harder will make you a badass.

Having said that if I was buying a $600 bike I'd get a second hand 26er, purely because the drop in value means I'd get a better bike for the money.
  • 7 1
 I just recently upgraded to a 29er last year after riding 26 for 16 years and really don't feel too much of a difference. I had a long break in cycling for about 6 years between 2004 and 2010, and it seems like my riding skills off-road improved after this long break. a friend of mine attributes this to the advances in frame, fork, and suspension technology, but not so much my skills. Being a not-so-great downhiller my whole time as a cyclist, I really don't think I push my bikes hard enough to really feel the difference between wheel sizes, or even forks and frames with varying head angles for that matter, to make a very informed report on any differences. What I have found in my years of riding is that fast people, for the most part, are fast no matter what they are riding. Give Peaty, Gwinn, Ratboy or any other pro on the WC circuit a wal-mart bike and as long as it doesn't break they will probably be faster than all of us. A lot of it is natural talent and the natural size of one's balls. If you can push a bike hard enough to feel the difference in one wheel size from another, then I would say that you're a pretty good rider who will probably ride fast no matter what wheel size you choose.
  • 1 0
 I'm pretty sure the Slash is only available w/ 26 & 27.5. I own a f/s 26 and a hard tail 29. If I was buying an entry lvl bike I would start with a used 26" hardtail with a low stand over height. After 1 or 2 years of improving my skills I would demo the heck out of every wheel size and ht/fs. I'm 5'9 and my trails are more xc than DH, but I'll probably get a 27.5 for my next bike, full sus with 150-160 travel. These new bikes are just so plush!
  • 1 0
 I'm getting really annoyed with this wheel size thing. Westwardho that is not how I ride my 29er at all. Nor is it how i ride my BMX, my 26" 4x bike or my 650b hard tail. A bike is a bike and you get on it and just bloody adapt. Riding different wheel sizes doesn't make you a worse or better rider. A ridiculous comment.
  • 3 0
 @elbandido77, rigid fork is not helpful in any way, but it's not bad to start with a hardtail bike as you'll get used to how to use your body for absorbing the bumps. This is also good think when riding. Cruising everything on a straigth line is fun thing, but you will not learn that much from it. Everybody is talking for how some bikes are forgiving, but to learn you need to make a mistakes, so forgiving bike is not always the best thing. And I don't get why you speak of narrow handlebars and cantilever brakes. I don't say to ride bikes from past century, but to ride a bike that will help you to develop some skills and techniques. It's you, not the bike that needs to cut off the mistakes during a ride.
  • 8 0
 "Cruising everything on a straigth line is fun thing, but you will not learn that much from it."

So 29ers let you cruise everything on a straight line now?? Have you ever actually ridden one? You guys are crazy. How many of you have actually ridden on a $600 bike lately? Most of you are riding on forks worth more than that. Go ride a 35lb hardtail with a barely damped coil fork and tell me that for your money you don't want something that rolls a little smoother.

Yes they ride differently, and maybe some of you love trail chatter, idk. But it's f*cking stupid to say that 29ers are going to hamper your development as a new rider. Go ride a f*cking BMX if you love line choice that much.
  • 5 7
 Dude, 29ers are soo gay
  • 5 0
 I'm not gay and last time I checked I like pussy and guess what......i ride a 29er amongst other wheel sizes.
  • 1 0
 @bkm303, I meant the big travel full suspension bikes, not the 29ers Smile
  • 1 0
 God forbid that you go through a period of hating off road riding cos you bought a 26"? Haaaahaaahahaaaahaaaaaa!

Jesus christ deeeeight. Get some perspective. Due to a sudden and unexpected lack of dh bike last year, I was forced to ride my normal dh trails on my 26" single speed jump bike with a front brake and some heavier duty tires chucked on. You know what? I had the most fun I've had in years. Even when I got a new dh rig my mates had to coax me back onto it with tales of actual real traction in corners and being able to feel your feet at the end of a run.

Seriously, buy whatever bike makes you smile, and for just flowy singletrack 29 makes a lot of sense. As a beginner you will appreciate the stability and the straight line speed will give you a taste of the thrills to be had, but if you want to experience everything mtb has to offer then buying the numbest handling of the wheel sizes might limit your horizons somewhat.
  • 3 3
 Again... lack of pespective on the part of the 29er haters... you've had a DH bike and you have a singlespeed jump bike... you're not in any way a entry-level rider, yet you want to spout out how entry-level shoppers should go...
  • 1 2
 I dont hate 29ers at all. I was just trying to give a more balanced perspective than 26 will make you hate mountainbiking.

Also....how long have you been riding deeeeeight?
  • 3 2
 mountain bikes specifically? 27 years.
  • 3 0
 If you have to get a budget hardtail bike, 29er is the way to go. For a 5k full suspension bike, different story. It not cheating when you have no rear suspension and low end parts (especially fork!). Get a hardtail 29er, put some nice cushy tires on it and rip it up!
  • 1 0
 Chill out everybody, you can learn to ride well and love it on any wheelsize. I've enjoyed every bike I've ever ridden and each one has improved my technique in different ways.
  • 5 0
 pinkbike: where 99% of bikers come here to argue about wheel sizes.










I like 26
  • 2 2
 Deeeight you still at it!spouting hate AND being a dick.fuck off already.
  • 2 2
 He pays for a plus account, if anyone is allowed to spew hate its him...
  • 2 1
 27 years. and yet you have a pop at me for not being entry level enough to have a valid opinion. which is somewhat confused in itself....
  • 3 2
 Yep, because I've also been selling bikes to people for 23 years... and I'm a lot more qualified to identify what entry level buyers should be purchasing than you are.
  • 3 2
 Oh really? How long have I been riding and selling bikes then? Oh grand knower of everything. I must say if i walked into a bike shop and the guy who worked there told me buying a 26 would make me hate off road riding I'd start to wonder if I'd walked into the wrong shop. Thing is see, I LOVE mountainbikes. of all shapes and sizes. And thats what I tell my customers....
  • 4 2
 So are you a dick to your customers then to or just on the internet? tough guy.
  • 3 6
 No just to morons like yourself there hiding behind his keyboard.

Again like is typical for this place, there are a lot of morons with computers who have time to post their nonsense and will prattle on about whatever they think is relevant when the question always was about which is a better choice for an entry level buyer, a $600 26er or $600 29er...and given that 29ers now are no more expensive in any way than 26ers (we've afterall had them in production for over a decade). And given that 29ers ride over most terrain that REAL consumer riders encounter, not the fringe on a site like this, 29ers are more fun to ride than 26ers. Its not fun to get beaten up by a bike with low end suspension and small wheels reacting to every little root and rock when they could be rolling over them easier and with more enjoyment. People on here who are "26 for lifers" do NOT speak for anyone but themselves and perhaps their friends. They certainly don't speak for actual consumers, who have been voting with their wallets for a long time now than they don't want to buy 26ers. The only disadvantage to a 29er is it will weigh more, but just like dropper seatposts, there are times when an extra pound of weight is still a good thing.
  • 3 1
 I have come to the conclusion that a lot of these posters are kids (i.e., 15-20 some odd years old).
  • 2 5
 Yep, and summer time means the kids are out of school (whether it be high school or colleges).
  • 3 2
 its no fun getting beaten up by root and rock? 26 will make you hate off road riding? bigger wheels provide more enjoyment because you feel the terrain less? How on earth have you managed 27 years of mountain biking? Have you ever tried road riding? It can be quite pleasant and it sounds like you might really enjoy it.
  • 2 1
 Good for you.
  • 3 0
 Funny, the morons at my bike shop are always trying to sell me something I don't want or need.
  • 3 1
 Deeeight, as i commented earlier, I've introduced a bunch of people to mountain biking over the years, more recently with the 29" wheels its been interesting, everyone ends up with an entry level 29" simply because of the lack of choice at stores, but when given a chance to ride a 26" of near identical spec they have all preferred it, these are real beginners and it seems only wannabe enthusiasts manage to find 29ers better, I've given them a fair chance myself and find them slower on all my local trails, slower to accelerate, slower to turn and harder to pick a good line through rocky and rooty sections so you get slowed down more there too.
  • 2 1
 My point being an actual beginner, out on the trail, from my experience, will find a 26" more enjoyable, easier and more fun to ride than a 29" $600 bike of identical spec. They will notice none of the perceived benefits this website foes on about and will simply appreciate the better manoeuvrability of the smaller wheels.
  • 3 2
 Yup there sure are a lot on morons Deeeight,you being the biggest moron of them all.Just stop the BS,your not contributing anything positive just spouting BS.also you never replied to my comment on anodizing?come on school us with your knowledge ,tell me again that it's .050" thick.dumbass.
  • 3 3
 Except I never said that moron. And go on ranting, it makes me laugh. While we're at it, perhaps you can learn the difference between your and you're. But that's unlikely. Can't teach morons how to use the english language properly.

@Ctd07...and my experience has been that most beginners, especially ones who will be riding flowy singletrack as the original questioner described, prefer 29ers to 26ers. Same as Mike told him.
  • 3 2
 Yah you did admit it your the moron and have no idea what your talking about just spouting shit and acting tough,pretty cool.and fuck your grammar.
  • 2 1
 What did people ever learn to ride flowy singletrack on before 29ers..... Ill just keep hiding behind my keyboard and 26 in wheels
  • 2 3
 Why would I admit to something I didn't do, to satisfy some moron baby who has to swear and act tough to feel like a man from the safety of his computer over 3000 miles away?!
  • 2 3
 @Vps13... well before 29ers they used full suspension 26ers... and before that they didn't ride flowy singletrack because there wasn't much effort into building that 15-20 years ago. The normal trails back then were slow technical singletrack, or fast flowy fire roads/double track stuff, that you didn't need much travel at all to ride.
  • 3 2
 Well you did say your stem has .050" of anodizing on it ,i called you on it ,you edited your comment and sulked off like a little bitch.Clasic Deeeight.
  • 2 3
 Sure I did, so you've got zero proof then... typical troll response I'd expect from a moron like yourself.
  • 2 1
 flowy singletrack didnt exist before 29ers? This gets funnier and funnier the more you comment. Seriously man. I'm starting to think you're some sort of pro 26 double agent trying to make 29er riders look like a bunch of idiots...
  • 2 2
 No proof per say,you deleted the comment, but you know you said it and that's good enoough for me.and by the way what the f*ck is 4/10ths.Dumbass.
  • 2 0
 its like 2/5ths but rolls over rocks better with NO DOWNSIDES WHATSOEVER!!!
  • 18 0
 Where's WAKI?!!!
  • 33 16
 26" FTW!
  • 16 13
 26" FOR LIFE
  • 4 2
 10" for feet
  • 3 0
 10" for cock or so my wife says
  • 1 0
 Wheel size has no correlation to d!ck size.... or does it ?
  • 10 6
 probably the amount of dick you can take in the ass with 26's being none and 29ers being a lot lol
  • 4 0
 I have a problem with your theory poah... I ride a 26" bike, but I l can take a boatload of dick in the ass. Cheers.
  • 1 0
 you probably ride with a XC lid and goggles though lol
  • 1 0
 what about 20", poah?
  • 3 0
 False. I ride with a Viking helmet and a welding mask.
  • 1 0
 20 inch is a kids bike you sick pedo f*ck Razz
  • 15 0
 As long as your new beginner bike has some wheels on it you're good to go. Tyres are helpful too unless you're name's Gwin.
  • 14 1
 When anyone so much as mentions a wheel size on pinkbike, there is no doubt in the world that you are not opening up a very large can of worms.
  • 19 7
 No. Just allowing the cavemen to smash their keyboards & produce "26" FTW!!!" comments.

Oh look, there is one now.
  • 3 0
 What about a 26" for the rear tire, and 29" for the front?!
  • 8 0
 Then you would have a 27.5
  • 15 0
 Thats what they call a 69er
  • 5 1
 rule number whatever: pick your wheel size, then be a d**k about it.
  • 2 0
 I have a tacoed wheel, where do I fit in?
  • 12 0
 In fast food restaurant
  • 2 0
 Trek had a 69er. Very cool looking bike, the one I saw was copper colored and was a single speed. Not sure if it came as a single speed, and though I see the guy that was riding it now has a full sus spesh 29er I haven't seen his 69er in 4 years.
  • 1 0
 Ventana El Chuco. No way I'd buy one, though I do kinda miss my old Big Hit now & then. that bike was so predictable, very confidence inspiring(for the time.) Now days, you can even find the 24" DH rubber for it, unlike when I bought it.
  • 3 0
 I am holding out for a 58er...after all if 29er is awesome...then a 58er would be twice as awesome! Big Grin
  • 1 0
 A 58er can be achieved now... take a 24 x 2.5 back tire and either a 650B x 2.4 or a 29 x 1.8 labeled front tire... presto, 58er.
  • 11 2
 Let me see if I understand this correctly:

I have heard/read over the years about how 29"s; a) are worse at cornering, b) are harder to get up to speed, c) are nearly impossible to maneuver, and d) have weaker wheels,

So, using basic logic, this tells me that if I have 2 riders on the same trail, it would be best to put the lesser rider on the bike that is easier to corner, get up to speed (less rotating mass), easier to 'flick' around, and has tougher wheels to withstand hits a lesser ride might put on them. The rider with more skills would be better equipped to handle the bike that requires more work to do the same thing.

As I grow older, I see myself moving exclusively to 26" bikes with more suspension since they blow through stuff with far less effort and take much less of a toll on my body. Bikes for life!
  • 2 0
 Regarding cornering and maneuverability: I've spent a lot of time on 26 and 29 inch wheels. Neither of them is more capable than the other in these regards! You have to corner more aggressively on a given corner on a 29er than a 26er, but you are rewarded with better traction which essentially equalizes things. 29ers take a bit more effort to throw around, but are every bit as capable. The first time I rode a 26er after a long stretch of 29-ing I immediately washed out the front end on the first corner, but adjusted quickly and it all went back to normal.

I really enjoy switching bikes every so often to spice up my riding.
  • 3 0
 Regarding the adjustable fork on a 29'er, I concur that this is the way to go. I am running a Fox Talus which allows me to drop or raise the suspension by one inch. When I start up a steep ascent dropping the fork down does help with steering and keeping the wheel planted on the ground. When I head back down the trail, I just flip the fork lever for instant downhill geometry and additional suspension.
  • 2 0
 I wish SRAM made a travel adjust remote for the Pike. I've found that my bike climbs far better in the lowered 130mm position, but I rarely reach down to lower it.
  • 3 1
 All wheelsizes are fun but for entry level where components are heavy smaller is better. Cheap 29" wheels are slow to accelerate and change lines.
They do mask some trail chatter that the cheap fork won't and offer some extra traction around turns. But they do feel slow and way harder to throw around.
Higher end wheels and 29ers become as playfull as anything else.
  • 5 1
 would everyone stfu about the wheelsize debate. for fucks sake just enjoy riding a bike you twats, wheel size doesnt matter.
  • 2 0
 And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!
  • 4 3
 26 or 29 er.....get a 27.5! And follow this 10 easy steps

1 For 600.00 get a Motobecane...wait for the mail.
2 Save some extra money for protective gear,
3 Gas for the car pool is very important.
4 Get some burguer and beer...More important!
5 Make one of those ahhhhh, oooohhh, waaaaaoooo! jumps and broke the frame
6 After cry, get a real frame (used one )on PB...wait for the mail.
7 Spend a night putting you bike, back together!
8 Get some beer and friends to celebrate your first bike rebuild.
9 Take a nice pic and upload in in PB so all of us can make some comments.
10 Run! Run Forest, Run! (Drink beer is optional)
  • 5 1
 I'm so done of this wheel thing but out of the information I gathered 26" is more hardcore and awesome.

Thanks pinkbike.
  • 2 0
 I have both a 26 and 29 bike. Hard to say which I like better but I admit I find myself riding the 29er more. However, I feel the 26er is more playful with the two bikes I have.
  • 2 0
 "Wheel size can be a touchy subject for emotionally immature internet trolls who like to explode matters of personal preference into all-out war."

I think this phrasing makes more sense.
  • 2 0
 One disadvantage is of the DPA pike is that you cannot use the (in my opinion extremely useful) bottomless tokens, as you can with the solo air spring.
  • 1 0
 Has the source of the mysterious "drivetrain drag" when dropping the fork been figured out? I'd use the dual position on my lyrik more if it wasn't so noticeable. Feels like I'm pushing a harder gear.
  • 1 1
 This is just off the top of my head but maybe its setting the linkage and chain in an almost stretched postion giving you an awkward fixed feeling position that isn't relatively common to what you are used to.
  • 1 0
 I have noticed the same thing on my DPA Lyirk. I have put it down to the attack angle changing as I lower the fork, resulting in more weight over the front wheel pushing the tyre nobs harder into the on coming trail. Once I have recentred my body weight (or forgotten about it) the effect 'appears' to not to be as noticeable. Could be all in my brain.
  • 2 2
 26" may allow him to find tricks are more possible. More stand over. Better table top clearance? 29 why not ride 40" wheels! Lol even 27.5 is not 26" when it comes to a jump. Tried and tested. I would even go 24"! Once your in 29 everything changes!
  • 2 0
 Is this on the smooth singletrack he'll be riding?
  • 6 2
 5'10 on a 29er come on.
  • 2 0
 I thought it was a dwarf on a Penny Farthing.
  • 2 0
 Bottom bracket height, peddle strikes when the fork is lowered. Not such an issue if you have "over forked" your bike.
  • 1 1
 or on a 29er, with their inherently better BB clearance. but even, then pretty sure nobody needs a fork that goes from 100mm to 80mm (HA! I had one.)
  • 2 1
 +1 for the dual position pike its essential for steep technical climbs, at least for my tallboy ltc anyway, feels like a barge if not. Although I hate the white....
  • 5 1
 26" for life
  • 1 0
 I would go at most 27.5 for a beginner before I would go with 29 if u wanted to go with a bigger wheel wtf. 26 would even be better too.
  • 1 0
 Super funny, I just bought the same lava dome pictured above. For 600$, it's hard to beat. It's fast and fun. The fork is terrible, will be switching that out soon.
  • 2 0
 The niner wfo is without question the most appealing 29er available. Mainly because I will never buy another specialized.
  • 1 0
 first mountain bike was 26 then when i got back into it years later in 09 got 29er. now a 650b. dont discriminate. participate.
  • 2 0
 The Manitou Mattoc uses the foam compensator.
  • 3 0
 I'm sure its a highly updated system
  • 3 0
 True, and it will be interesting to see how it performs in the long run. This is a concern, but I suspect that the foam in the Mattoc is of much higher quality. Not that it won't ever breakdown, only that it will likely take much, much longer to happen.
  • 1 1
 29er for a 5'10 beginner?! Yeah because you'll hardly get your hands on a new 600 dollar
26" Hardtail in the future
  • 2 1
 Be a beginner forever if you start with 29s.
  • 2 4
 For the beginner bike, you might spend a little more and get this 650b hardtail, that is a great deal.
www.vitusbikes.com/mountain-bikes-2014/sentier-275-2014
  • 2 1
 Was looking at that myself recently for a cheap HT, but it's out of stock in my size. Vitus has some good deals on 9ers too (even better deals than the other 29er AM HTs: On-One Parkwood, DB Mason, etc).
  • 1 3
 AHEM. Specialized Pitch. $549 for 650b wheeled hardtail radness.
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