Ask Pinkbike: Wheel Size, Bike Cleaning, and Enduro Race Supplies

Nov 8, 2016
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.




Keep My 26-inch Trail Bike or Upgrade to 27.5?

Question: Flattire asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: I've got a proper fitting, modern geometry, carbon 26er that is pretty damn nice, yet I keep thinking I should upgrade to 27.5. Is there really a substantial benefit over 26, or has the marketing machine got in my head? Who's got saddle time on both wheel sizes? I ride in the Northwest, where trails are technical and the improved rollover would help, no?


bigquotesKeep your modern 26er until it wears to the point that you would be considering a new bike purchase and then switch to 27.5 inch wheels. Until that moment, I'd suggest fitting your bike with larger-volume tires in the 2.35" range, which near the performance of 27.5-inch wheels. There are benefits to 27.5, like better roll-over, less tendency to drop into bomb holes, and more consistent cornering, but the truth of the matter is that 26-inch wheels are slipping into extinction, and that there are more and better options for tires, wheels and suspension components for 27.5 and 29-inch bikes. I have a stunning long-travel 26-inch Liteville 301 trail bike that I ride occasionally to remind me of my roots. It still rocks, but I'll have to admit that larger wheels perform better, and there are no downsides now that designers have dialed in the correct geometry. - RC

Liteville 301 MK10 side shot
The 26-inch-wheel Liteville 301 had modern geometry before the term was coined. I still enjoy mine.




Preventing Pad Contamination

Question: Pinkbike user @KRad2000 asked this question in the Mechanic's Lounge forum: So every time I want to do a deep clean I pull wheels and pads before getting after it with water and dish soap or Simple Green and a big brush. This process works great if I have the time for a deep clean but I wondering if anyone has found something that cleans well and I don't have to worry about getting on my pads and rotors. I have a feeling Simple Green well rinsed would be fine but knowing how easily pads can sometimes get contaminated and how spendy a new set of Zee pads are I am hesitant to just give 'er a go.


bigquotesI admire the effort you've been taking to save your pads from potential contamination, but the truth is, there's no need to go through all that trouble. Simple Green and other similar products are degreasers - they shouldn't contaminate your rotors or pads. It's oil and grease that you want to watch out for - things like chain lube, or the residue from the bacon you ate for breakfast that can be absorbed by a pad's porous surface. I once had a customer come into the shop that couldn't figure out how his brand new brake pads got contaminated. We were all stumped, until he returned and sheepishly admitted that he'd figured it out - he'd leaned his bike against his barbecue grill, and the grease trap leaked its contents right onto the rotor.

Regarding the use of Simple Green, I'm all for it. It's readily available, inexpensive, and effective - I usually buy a gallon jug of it and dilute it in a spray bottle for general purpose bike cleaning. There are stories floating around about people running into issues after they soaked their chains in it for extended periods of time, but those are outliers, and a quick spritz and a wipe down isn't going to cause any problems. In any case, don't worry about removing the wheels and brake pads the next time you wash your bike, and enjoy the few extra minutes that you no longer need to spend on that part of the cleaning process. - Mike Kazimer

If riders thought yesterday was bad they had a nasty surprise waiting for them up on the hill this morning after deluging rain throughout the night.
Time to break out the scrub brushes and get to work.





Carrying Supplies for EWS Races?

Question: Pinkbike user @bicimundo123 asked this question in the Enduro World Series Forum: I was wondering what the EWS riders are doing to transport their supplies during a race now that most stages seem to be done without a pack? I thought it was regulation to carry certain items and without a hydration pack it seems impossible to stuff enough water, food, and tools into your pockets, or stash tanks/vests


bigquotesIn the EWS series rule book, there are no compulsory items that a rider must carry (except a number board and GPS tracker for the top 180 riders), but there are heavy recommendations and rules against stashing, littering, or handing goods between team crew or friends. Riders must ride self-supported for the duration of the event, and there is often a pit-stop/lunch break at the pits, or food and water stations along the ride. Probably the most overlooked item to carry, against suggestion, is a first-aid kit and emergency blanket.

The choice of whether or not to take a pack comes usually comes down to the individual EWS event and format. I raced some events in 2015 and, for example, in the backcountry wilds of Colorado packs were in favor, whereas the lift assisted event in Samoens passed through the pits after nearly every stage and packs weren't donned.

The general consensus towards riding with no pack is to eat and drink as much as possible when you have chance, stuff your pockets and bike with useful bit and bobs, and hope for the best. After all, these guys are racing against tenths of seconds; all or nothing is widely adopted strategy. Plus, most of the top riders are so well trained and efficient they could probably complete a whole day racing with no food or water.

I raced the Trans-Rezia pack-less earlier this year, and thanks to a bike with two bottle cage mounts and clothing with pockets, I took water, tubes, first aid kit, passport, money, tools, phone, packable jacket, chainlink, pump, co2 and 7-900 calories of dates and had no issues. Even on long 6-8 hour days there were enough places to grab food and water. - Paul Aston




Mitch Ropelato took fifteenth despite a flat on stage six today. How many more EWS rounds before Mitch makes it to the podium
When racing comes down to tenths of seconds, riders often risk it all in the hope of glory.




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


156 Comments

  • 76 7
 Nice post. However, dialing in the frame geometry doesn't change the basic physics of wheel sizes. There are advantages and disadvantages to both wheel sizes, just how it is. There's a reason there are 26" wheels in the rampage, and a reason why downhill racers are happy with 27.5". And there's a reason why enduro podiums have all the wheel sizes accounted for. Choose whichever you want, but good industries tend to provide the choice. Being forced into 27.5" is a sign of a relatively immature R&D development group in mountain biking.
  • 32 1
 Yeah there was a long while where 27.5 and 26 shared enduro and downhill podiums. Heck, the 2012 olympics had all three wheelsizes medal (in an XC race). So clearly the 'performance' differences are pretty minuscule if you can compete at the highest levels and still podium. It really does mean the ride dynamics (ie what you like) is the only important thing about choosing a size. 26 wheel, tire and suspension choices are still quite good, but it's too bad the actual bike frame choices have mostly gone away.
  • 6 6
 @gline1234 An question out of honest interest: which enduro podiums are you referring to?
I have a hard time imagining it was in the last two seasons of EWS racing, but I love the geek stats on this stuff, like when guys do a 26 vs 27.5 tally at Rampage.
  • 13 0
 @Veloscente: Not last two because I don't believe there were any 26" bikes in competition. When 26" was in competition it wasn't just individual races won it was an overall title. Clementz took the first EWS title on a discontinued 26", Graves took 2nd overall on a discontinued 26" too.

Second year of the EWS Graves rode the same discontinued sb66 to podium finishes before yeti put him on 650b for the second half of the season. He went on to take the overall. Pretty safe to say he would have taken the overall on the sb66 too. Those first two years of EWS were great examples of how there doesn't seem to be an advantage one way or the other for enduro racing.
  • 17 0
 I usually just think that no matter what wheel size you choose, if you ride enough you get used to it and reap the benefits of it.
  • 24 0
 @bridgermurray: Agree. I used to buy new stuff constantly but the industry has lost me with the constant changes and lack of support after the purchase. Because of that I've been on the same bike for years and find I'm just becoming more and more in tune with my bike. Most riders would say I'm giving up some potential performance gains but I feel the gains of being in tune with my bike are greater than any component I could ever buy.
  • 2 8
flag sevensixtwo (Nov 8, 2016 at 19:08) (Below Threshold)
 Someone got an online degree in Armchair Engineering
  • 8 0
 @sevensixtwo: because he doesn't think that 27.5 is necessarily better than 26? if you don't think the R&D of the bike industry is scattered right now, then you clearly don't follow current product 'trends'
  • 9 0
 Nice to see a rare mature wheel size conversation
  • 2 0
 imo for a weekend warrior the disadvantage of selling you 26er for a 27.5 is the huge depreciation that you must face. Your bike is as good as it was before 27.5, but now is worth the half.
  • 70 11
 26 for life.
  • 42 45
 will you then either stop riding or kill yourself when 26" frames and components fade like dying stars, which is like 5 years?
  • 17 3
 @WAKIdesigns: 26+ minions (both DHF and DHR II) will be available this spring (per Maxxis). I'd say we've got a while before anything with '26' in the name is completely gone (though it's really only a technicality as the OD is the same as a 2.3 27.5 tire...).
  • 23 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Probably the latter, but only when my large stockpile of 26" minions is all used up, or I snap my frame, whichever comes first. After that, it's "goodbye cruel world".
  • 25 3
 @martis Just came here looking for that comment to put you +1

KEEP YOUR 26" folks !!!!!
  • 52 2
 i purchased a brand new 26 inch wheeled bike last night. and you know what? it is f*cking rad.




(transition triple)
  • 15 1
 I "had" to get a 27.5 bike as it's the only wheel size the bike comes with and it rides great but I can't help but often wonder how it would be with 26(even more fun in my mind). I'd gladly keep riding 26 if there were more options(small tear runs down my cheek)
  • 6 0
 @adrennan: I've been drooling over the Triple since I first saw it. The thing has "fun" written all over it.
  • 16 1
 @martis: well my review is that it ticks the fun box

vote with your wallet if you want to keep 26 alive
  • 19 2
 26" WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE GREAT AGAIN!!!
  • 5 0
 haha thanks for picking up my post pinkbike. Here's the bike in question, nomad C 26er, size XL for a 5'-10" rider

www.pinkbike.com/photo/14020559

since upgraded to 1by. -2 degree angleset, seat slid all the way forward for a effective 74deg seat angle.
  • 8 2
 @WAKIdesigns: 26± is coming, (rocky slayer, wtb has a bunch of 26+ tires). This means new 26 rims. I have been riding both 26 and 27.b and I couldn't tell a difference in the first year second year I could. Im not the fastest duck on the pond and I much prefer 26. I agree a good company would offer choice as apposed to only fishing for the big fish
  • 5 0
 @patrick2cents: maxxis ± size = erryone else's 2.5. I have a minion 26x2.7 and it is smaller than my magic marry 2.3. Please moar 26 gear
  • 5 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I refuse to buy new bikes with 27.5 and especially 29. So I would quit Mtb
  • 9 1
 @martis: You can run 26" wheels on a 27.5 frame. Just makes it even lower and more badass. You may have to rachet a bit more in the gnar, but everyone knows that pedal strikes are just due to bad technique not stupid low BBs.
  • 1 0
 @Gasket-Jeff: Yeah my magic mary = 62mm wide (on an i29 rim) and the 2.8 minion is reported to be 66-67mm wide (in b+ form). That actually sound pretty good to me.
  • 2 0
 @vikb: I considered this, and theoretically it would work without screwing up the geometry too much, especially if you went with some beefy-ass tires.

My 2010 Session has good geometry, and is riding better than it ever has, but there's no getting around the fact that my frame is coming up on being seven years old, and has always been a bit small for me. For the amount of riding I've done on the bike (especially back when I was 40 pounds heavier than I am now), I'm split on whether I should just buy a complete 27.5 bike (probably a TuEs) and swap the best bits (Sensus grips, X01DH, Straitline pedals) onto it, OR buy a great used 26" frame from two or three years back for pennies on the dollar, OR just save my money and ride the Session until I snap the thing in half. Decisions, decisions.
  • 10 0
 Just face it, your 2009 GT fury is your soulmate. Buy a stockpile of 26" minions and pop both eardrums to ignore the haters
  • 1 0
 @sevensixtwo: You know, I've always thought the first-generation Fury was one of the ugliest bikes ever built. I've never actually taken a spin on one, and the post-2014 model looks GREAT, but the looks alone turned me off to the early ones, even when I had the ability to buy one for next to nothing.
  • 5 8
 What a sad existence, to call yourself a mountain biker and base your happyness along with moral code on a diameter of a wheel, especially considering that 26" wheels became the norm for 30 years due to an accident...
  • 4 1
 i think it's pretty naive to think the industry is not have a big 26 comeback in a few years...
  • 1 0
 Flip chips are the future! Same frame that can run both. TR 500 WILL be my next DH bike. If I could afford it, a Maiden
  • 3 0
 @martis: On a DH bike, that you don't ride all the time and don't compete on a serious level, I'd stay with 26, but if you have the disposable income then you can try to go up to the 27.5 versions. It's not going to make you faster, that is up to you to go faster. I went from an intense M9 (26) to a Glory (27.5). Both have similar geometry (the M9 was super adjustable). And I found very little difference I can attribute to the wheel size. The old saying of Don't fix it if it ain't broke is very applicable in this situation. Save your money and take a DH skills course, improving your skills will always pay off more that the equipment.
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: 2 + 6 = 8. Which is right in the middle of 7 and 9. It's a sign. Your logic is futile.
  • 2 2
 @sevensixtwo: Is shall continue irregardless of your calculations
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns: trumps throwing all 27.5&29 into the Taiwan crap can,just heard.full run of 26 frames starting next week in Georgetown.swivel.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Kim un jongxit
  • 3 0
 @panchocampbell: Wouldn't be suprised to see it happen. For all those still interested in 26" look at our page here on pinkbike.

I prefer them because build for build they are stronger and lighter and easier to throw around. And for those who want to say 26" was not scientifically designated or came into being by accident, are you trying to say 27.5 is the scientifically calculated wheel size to make all your dreams and riding experiences come true? Rims and tires will be around for good while with 26". I wouldn't worry about it.
  • 1 0
 @vikb: I asked Cotic about their Flare fully (not the max version). It has been designed around 27.%" wheels but you can run 26" wheels if you can live with the lower bottom bracket. You can even run 150mm forks instead of 140mm forks if you ride with these smaller wheels, so that might help a little. Should be mighty fun like that. You can't put a longer shock in though, in case you're wondering.

I also asked Alutech about their ICB2.0 bike. They simply said you can't run these smaller wheels, won't work well. I guess you can always try if you have something kicking around. But the whole bike has already been designed to be be low with those big wheels so it is definitely going to be more of a challenge.
  • 37 1
 Fuck me. I'm not sure how the type of person who at this point ask whether he needs to upgrade wheelsizes is able to even decide what to eat each day.
  • 25 11
 Disclaimer: I own a 275 bike. I love 29ers. I like plus bikes. But RC, bejezus... you like 275 over 26" for improved roll over? Front falling into holes - really? Going back to the roots with LiteVille 301? It's like liking Boost for shortening chainstays or straight downtube for increasing stiffness of a carbon frame... yes 275 offers better tyres, geometries, but that has nothing to do with the increased diameter, rather puroposeful dying off of 26" products. Suspension? Ummm no... my Fox 36 Van RC2 from 2011 is a better fork than my 2015 Lyrik RCT3. It's suppleness to anti-dive/anti bob ratio is noticeably better. And I have word of 2 respected suspension specialists for it.

Chillin with da pina-coolayda aye? Big Grin
  • 17 0
 I agree, I honestly don't know what the cornering comment was, more predictable??? 26 turns better, it's physics!
  • 6 0
 @russthedog: Yep.

When it was just 29 vs 26 it was like:
Marketing says 29 climbs better - Physics says no
Marketing says 29 corners better - Physics says no
  • 4 3
 @russthehog - not sure if trollin'
@StackingItSince1991 - I think you use word "physics" to describe a non existing diety. The science of physics has no mouth nor cannot hold the pen. It doesn't say anything. 26" wheels are not better than 29" wheels, they just are 26" wheels and 29" wheels. Now certain wheelsizes IN CONJUCTION with many other variables are more or less SUITABLE for certain purposes. A person who omits the compound effect of many changes that took place since last serious 26" bikes were made (revised geo, wider rims, new tyres, new shocks) and boils it down to outer rim diameter is simply unqualified to have a meaningful opinion or has a temporary blackout. No, outer rim radius increase by 12,5mm has consequences that are hard to MEASURE and PERCIEVE. The best test for it is to put 26" wheels with according rim and tyre type on a 275 bike. The only change will be BB height. Symmetrically, people who were putting 275 wheels and tyres on 26" frames and forks EXPECTING a breakthrough are imbeciles.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I wasn't trolling, to over simplify all I intended was to say a smaller wheel requires less input to turn therefore is easier to manage. No doubt there are a lot of other considerations but that doesn't remove that one point. Hence I don't know where the comment comes from, in what way is out more predictable? Bb drop? Design a 26 with equivalent bb drop... Tyres? Rake or trail? Really there not factors of wheel size per se. Maybe taking more effort is what he means to result in being more predictable? My experience personally has been different when comparing 26 to 29.

On another note the baby went to sleep on time tonight so I got a short night ride in on a new trail that was awesome so I am pumped. I was riding. 27.5 and my mate 26 if you want to know, which I'm guessing you don't!!
  • 1 2
 @russthedog: Cornering Bejesus... everything matters in cornering> head angle, Bb height, tyre type, tyre pressure, amount of suspension, suspension setup, type of pedal, stem, handlebar width. Then what kind of corners? A 26" DJ bike will turn great on a tight berm on a pumptrack and will feel like absolute sht on a offcamber in open field on Mount Saint Anne track. 26 corners better, yea and hardtails make you a better rider and Jesus loves you. Bollocks bollocks bollocks, there's nothing to talk about - I'm off...
  • 1 0
 @russthedog: 26" bikes (meaning the long travel bikes we're generally talking about here) didn't have BB drop for a reason: to do so, you have to get the BB height below 13.5". Having ridden a bike with a BB below that height, you don't want one. The amount of pedal strikes was ridiculous.
  • 1 1
 @groghunter: what I learned livig in extremely rocky area where you do most of rides by pedalling on bumpy single-tracks is that A-people having issues with rock strikes pedal way too much instead of using whole body movements to get over sht. You can btch on low BB if your bashing/taco gets hanged up on obstacles. I almost never hit rocks unless my heart rate is above 190 and I pedal blindly to get close to a KOM. Other than that my crank arm is never pointing down when BB is over a rock, step or a root. And we have sht loads of them in rather big sizes. Currently my HT has BB at 29cm - no pedal strikes, a few more scratches on the bash. Few more practice sessions with Ryan Leech courses and accidental bash strikes will be non-existent or extremely intentional.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: You've never ridden a bike with a sub 13" BB. The difference is that you start getting pedal strikes on smooth sections of trail, not that tech sections get harder. I literally got pedal strikes on smooth, low angle corners that I was pedaling through. You might be able to get away with it with 165mm cranks, but there are better solutions, like not putting the BB that low.
  • 1 1
 @groghunter: I just told you I ride a bike with 11.4" BB... with 175mm cranks...
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Seriously dude? LET ME REPEAT MYSELF. "26" bikes (meaning the long travel bikes we're generally talking about here)"

We're not talking about hardtails, because what their BB does during suspension compression is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. It's has no bearing on this argument. Shit, how high do you think the BBs are on BMX? right around 11.5" but it DOESN'T f*ckING MATTER, because they don't have suspension.

Put that 29cm BB height on a bike with 6" of travel, & tell me how good it rides.
  • 2 0
 @groghunter: guys, don't feed the Waki
  • 13 2
 From previous tests the difference in speed between wheel sizes is 0,5% if you switch to 27" and 1% if you switch to 29", IF staying on exactly the same bike and set up, just the different wheel size version of the same bike. BikeRadar recently did a test about tyre widths. Might not have been the most scientifically perfect test, but results showed switching from 2.0" tyres to 2.35" tyres made him 1 second faster per minute. So that's roughly 1.5% faster just by switching from one end of the common tyre widths to the other end. If this test is accurate that would mean that 26x2.35 rolls equally fast as 27x2.25. So, are you willing to spend a crazy amount of money for a different that is so small that with all the changing factors that mountain biking throws at you, won't make you a faster rider in general? For racers it might be interesting (al though XC racers would rather ride 29" and not 27"), but for the non-professional riders I think it's not worth throwing your 26" bike away for. I do get the point of 27", when things can be made better; why not? So when you buy a new bike it's cool to switch to 27", but it's totally not worth the money purely to upgrade wheel sizes.

Do you want to make much more improvements for much less money? Look at tyre set ups. The correct tyre pressure can save you a couple of watts. Switching from Small Block Eight tyres to Racing Ralph Evo saves you 10 watts per tyre. Switching from butyl tubes to tubeless saves you 5 watts per tyre (based on a +- 2 bar tyre pressure).
  • 32 1
 From previous tests I've personally conducted, switching from beer to water post-ride could also result in a 2% to 4% body mass reduction. Such reduction could impact your overall times by over 5%. This supports the hypothesis that if I would not be such a fatty I'd be faster...but what fun is that?
  • 11 2
 The biggest thing I learned from riding different bikes with different wheelsizes, in the last couple years, is a healthy skepticism that somebody with a 'modern geometry 26" ' isn't looking at their bike with a bit of rose tint. They do exist, don't get me wrong, like RC's Liteville, but geometry has been progressing so fast, that most bikes released before 2014, while still good, aren't quite there compared with new bikes from the last 2-3 years. & we all know how many of those bikes released since 2014 have been designed for 26" wheels. To boot, even when a new 26" bike is released, many are from conservative brands, that may be sticking with older geometry. Combine both factors, & a true modern geo 26" is a rare unicorn.

I also think that the larger wheels have helped bike geometry in positive ways, which is a something that's been largely ignored, in favor of talking about their rolling traits exclusively. Many/most 650b & 29" bikes have BB drop, which makes bikes feel better in corners, but most 26" don't, because it ends up giving you unusable BB heights (I've underforked a 26" due to a spec mistake from the manufacturer, & let me assure you, you've never had so many pedal strikes, in completely unwarranted sections of trail.) The other thing I would mention, which RC wrote an article about a few years back, is that there was zero experimentation on fork offset until bigger wheels showed up on the scene, & a lot of the other benefits of modern geo are made possible by those longer offset numbers.
  • 3 1
 @Mattin Well said.
  • 3 0
 A year and half ago I bought a banshee spitfire (in the next size up as well for longer reach ect) so I could swop everything over to carry on running 26" but could still run 27.5" as and when I wanted to. There is a difference in handling and speed, enough for me to prefer the bigger wheels, enough to justify the swop properly not
  • 1 2
 @groghunter: You were going ok until the bb height bit
  • 1 0
 @groghunter: my XL nomad with a -2 degree angleset, and seat slid all the way forward pretty much exactly matches a new 27.5 M-L nomad

www.pinkbike.com/photo/14020559

HA= 65 deg, SA = 74 deg, front centre 29.8", BB=13.5" Voilla!
  • 3 1
 @groghunter: agreed, but my process 167 is one of those unicorns.
  • 2 1
 @flattire: "with a -2 degree angleset" do I really need explain how that's a whole different kettle of fish?

Also, there's more angles to a bike. For instance, your 13.5" BB is likely above your resting axle height(www.bikerumor.com/2012/06/15/650b-test-project-1-the-norco-sight-gets-converted shows a 26" axle height only being 13 3/16".) A 650b bike, on the other hand, gets close to a cm of BB drop from the same BB height(www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/nomad doesn't actually list the BB drop number, but you can see from the geometry image that the BB center is below the axle.) Sure, it sinks below the axle height with sag on both bikes, but the 650b will be further below, & every mm makes a difference in cornering.
  • 3 0
 The one major component that no one seems to mention when debating wheel size is the most important piece of the puzzle, the rider. You can have a 3-4 year old 26 inch bike and a brand new 27.5 with "modern geometry" and the limiting factor won't be the bike if the component spec is the same. People can argue geometry, offset ( which some people think was adjusted to benefit the current bikes in a vacuum, not realizing the larger wheels necessitated the changes in offset to get the correct trail numbers ), and slew of other changes that were marketed to sell bikes. The fact remains the bike doesn't pedal itself. Yes there are performance advantages that you may or may not feel on a 27.5 inch bike, I could argue that some of them are genuine, and some of them are the placebo effect. If you're out there, pedaling, enjoying yourself, regardless of wheel size you're stronger, faster, and more proficient than the next guy with the latest and greatest technology who doesn't ride.
  • 2 0
 @groghunter: once again bike manufacturers ignoring moto design, why? I could have made millions if i had just copied their stuff, which all of my riding buddies said wouldn't work. riser bars, short stems, inverted forks, disc brakes, negative travel, fork offset, adj wheelbase. I feel robbed when getting of my moto and get on my bike, but they are riding so good these days. It just took 25 yrs
  • 1 0
 @basalt: Well, they still haven't embraced different wheelsizes for front/rear, though there's a few rumblings these days, like the Foes. That said, I still look back at the way my Big Hit cornered & miss it a bit.
  • 2 0
 @groghunter: unicorns do exist. Look at Cotic (bfe)
  • 1 0
 It all depends on what kind of trails you ride.
  • 2 1
 @groghunter: My 2011 Enduro XL has a 66.5 h/a and 477mm reach. Mmm, I've seen numbers like that on brand new "revolutionary" 2016 bikes. Rode a Jeffsy briefly the other day. It rocked, but didn't make me want to sell my 'old" bike. My rose tinted specs are working great :-)
  • 1 3
 @headshot: goodie for you. Enjoy your 135 QR style rear dropout.
  • 1 0
 @flattire: Same geo as the GT team distortion 26er I built up to years ago. wheel base is about 1138 ish. The bike rails and is so much fun... btw Ive been running a 650b up front in factory float 36 26er fork. (2.3 650b 3c dhf) fits fine.
  • 2 1
 @groghunter: id rather have a QR in the back and a threaded bb than a new creaky press fit bb and a thru-axle rear hub.
  • 3 1
 @groghunter: Shame dude, you have bought the hype and can't contain yourself. My QR works great and gives zero problems. No broken axles or working itself loose like the screw in ones sometimes do. I bet you would not be able to feel the difference either...
  • 1 3
 @headshot: If you really think you can't feel the difference between thru axle & QR, on one of the least stiff rear suspension designs on the market, then you really do have no idea what you're talking about. I'm a lightweight, & I can feel it easily.

But you're also the one who's talking about head angle & reach like they're the only angles that matter, so I shouldn't really be surprised. Please tell us about how 650b is a scam, we've never heard that one...
  • 3 0
 @groghunter: Lets just leave it at that. You are a lightweight.
  • 1 3
 @headshot: No no no, keep telling us all how bikes haven't really gotten better in the last 6 years, we're all fascinated by your genius. truly, yours is a staggering intellect.
  • 8 0
 If 26" are good enough for semenuk to win rampage on.... they're good enough for me. I'd say that win, on that size wheel, bought the 26" wheel an extra year or two.
Disclaimer: my stable includes 27.5, 26, and a 20" to keep me honest....my 27.5 does see the most action tho....
  • 6 1
 The main difference between 26" bikes, and 27.5" bikes isn't so much about wheel size, but about geometry. Geometry has changed so much since 26" wheeled bikes were the norm. Long, low and slack are big advantages in most technical terrain. That said, if you are riding the rolling smoothies of Florida, it probably doesn't make much difference.

That, and weight. Sub 30lb enduro bikes are out there, and if that fits your riding style, hard to find a 6" travel bike sub 30lb in a 26" version.
  • 6 0
 Too right... its all about geometry. A 26" bike with LLS geometry will be quicker than a 27.5 with average geometry.
  • 1 0
 There are actually plenty of 26" frames with a new school geometry. And about the weight: if you use the exact same parts, only the 26" version of it instead of the 27" version, the 26" version will actually be lighter. I mean, look at forks, rims and tyres. Except for the Step-cast version of Fox you can still find a 26" version of any decent fork out there. Same with pretty much any rim and tyre. Maybe they are (sadly and shamefully) not producing it anymore, but you can still find them with great discounts at (online) shops or super cheap in second hand.
  • 6 2
 Depending on your fork, a 27.5 front wheel gives a large percent of the benefits of larger wheels, and slackens the geometry, which may also be an additional plus. I did it with a Blur XC years ago, and it made it a much better bike...imho
  • 6 2
 1. Oh boy that wheel size debate. If you have a good bike, go ride it.

2. No you don't want the degreaser on your pads. Degreaser may be the wrong term. It isn't some kind of anti-matter for grease, making it disappear. Instead it dissolves grease and takes it along. So if you have clogged up grease around the fork seals and it meets the solvent, it dissolves and drips down (and part of it also back into the fork lowers, taking the dirt along with it). It could indeed introduce the grease to your pads and rotor. The solution? Don't bother with degreaser/solvent all over your bike. You could use it sparingly on your drivetrain (using one of those devices like Muc-Off and Park Tools offer) to trick the clogged up dirt out of there. But for the rest really, don't. Overzealous cleaning is bad. Kona says so, Santa Cruz says so, I say so too.

3. Some enduro racers have their water bladder integrated in their body armour. Anneke Beerten has been working with Alpine Stars to develop theirs back when she was still riding for Specialized. I noticed current team mate Martin Maes uses that one too. Many other brands also allow you to store a water bladder in their body armour.
  • 3 2
 You're more right than you know, you shouldn't even use those chain cleaners anymore, either. In the bad old days, you had to degrease your chain to get all the gunk off, but now chains are much better made, so they don't get gunk on the inside of the rollers as easily, & are impregnated with high quality grease, grease you don't want to wash out unless you're a roadie looking for extra watts on race day, who doesn't mind burning up a chain.

For the rest of us, you want to keep that grease in there as long as possible, as it's better than any lube we can put on afterward, & does a lot to increase longevity. All you want to do on modern chains is wipe them off, & treat them with a bit of chain lube to help shifting & prevent rust.
  • 1 0
 @groghunter: I'm curious about your sources, own experience? Bike mechanic opinion? Employee at Shimano?
  • 1 0
 @groghunter: try castor oil. works great.
  • 5 2
 @groghunter: Don't live anywhere dusty, eh? You don't strip that factory grease off before riding in Arizona or Colorado and your chain looks like a shag carpet after your first ride. Takes a lot more then just wiping it off too. That's some sticky shit. I use Rock'n'Roll Gold as my dry conditions lube of choice. It was also the 2nd top performer in least watts lost in those Velonews tests. Only thing ahead of it was a parafin dip, and who's got time for that, I need to ride.
  • 3 0
 @TucsonDon: I'm in Tucson. I've been riding there for 12 years. I grew up elsewhere in Arizona. So no, I do live somewhere dusty.

& again, all those places like Velonews test for is efficiency(they even say in some of their articles that they saw accelerated wear.) f*ck efficiency, I ride an MTB. I want my chain to not need replacement every few months because i stripped the stock grease out of the rollers. slap it on, drop some purple extreme on it, wipe it off after a few rides, relube, ignore for months at a time. I used to degrease my chains. they lasted far less time than they do with what I just outlined.
  • 3 0
 @Uuno: I did an experiment after an old hand said the reason my chains wore out quickly was because I used degreaser to clean them. Regular thorough degreasing reduced chain life down to only 1000 miles, no degreaser ever meant I got 5000 out of a chain (to 1% chain wear).
  • 2 0
 @groghunter: Interesting. In fact my approach always used to be as you do now. I never got why you'd want to remove the grease inside that actually drives the dirt out while the chain is moving. So ever since I started riding mtb I never subjected anything to a degreaser. Half a year ago I decided it might be worth a shot if it prolongs the life of chain and sprocket so I got that Park Tool chain cleaner and Muc-Off cleaner. But I didn't use that consistently either. I can't say anything about durability. I recently started climbing in a heavier gear, got an oval chainring which is aluminium instead of steel, we've got seasons here so that matters as well. I don't measure mileage, I don't do lab tests. Technically I should measure pedal revolutions as it is about the movement of the chain, coasting and pumping the bike don't account for chain wear. Basing it on mileage would be a roadie thing to do. I don't care about highest pedaling efficiency, more about durability. I think the chain stretched .75% in two months or so at which point I take it off, store it and put on a fresh one. I was surprised that my cassette had already developed enough burrs for the new chain to skip. Maybe that doesn't happen so quickly with a "dirty" chain as that is abrasive enough to deburr/polish the cassette? The chain pressure causes the burrs and that accelerates if the burrs stay on, just like with a kitchen knive.

We need someone to do some comparative testing. Identical conditions, similar riding frequency, differently maintained chains. Who could be bothered to do that?
  • 1 0
 @Uuno: pretty sure RC said something similar back in is Mountain Bike Action days
  • 2 0
 @Uuno: Sorry to not respond to your comment, for some reason didn't see it before. Anyway: It's come from a huge chunk of sources over the years, too many to list, & anyway, a lot of them were articles on various websites that I'd be hard pressed to find again. Not a great answer I know, I prefer to cite my conclusions, but in this case, It's basically impossible, though you might find some of the same stuff if you do some research.

As for mechanics, it depends. the ones that live & breathe racing generally do everything they can to make their chain more efficient, & ignore the durability aspect, this caries on to their advice to customers as well. & some just want to sell you a chain cleaner. But the ones I know that don't fall into either of those slots generally don't degrease.

Shimano is cagey about the matter: I looked it up last night, & their current chain manual says to clean the chain with detergent cleaner, & goes into no detail on whether that means soaking it or just scrubbing it. "detergent cleaner" is also not really that descriptive, though it doesn't sound like degreaser to me, more like a typical bike wash product. What lube you use makes a difference too, one of the big reasons I use Purple Extreme is because it doesn't leave heavy residue on the chain, I used White Lightning at some point in the past, & that stuff required scrubbing to get all the waxy residue off.

Finally, yes, personal experience has informed me on the subject as well. I've used a lot of different lubes over the last 20 years of riding bikes, & gone to various extremes with cleaning, including soaking chains in Golden Degreaser for multiple days. That was generally what I did in the 9speed days, & I replaced chains quite frequently. These days, with my current minimalist regime, I have to remind myself to lube the chain, because it just works, & I can't remember the last time I noticed a really worn out chain. Usually make some change to the drivetrain that requires a new chain before I wear them out these days. That's not all lubrication, though, modern chains are far more durable than they were in the past. Part of the reason they're so much more expensive.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: "I never got why you'd want to remove the grease inside that actually drives the dirt out while the chain is moving." The only reason is that if the grease gets contaminated with too much grit, that would accelerate wear. In the real world though, it doesn't seem to happen often, & in fact, displacing that grease seems to allow the grit to get inside(not shocking for anyone who understands why grease is used over oil in this application.)

As for the cassette/chainring, I don't advocate obsessively cleaning those either: The residue on there is chain lube, & leaving it there means the cog/chain interaction is lubricated rather than dry. Dry interaction is one of the biggest causes of wear.
  • 1 0
 @groghunter thanks!
  • 2 0
 @groghunter: Ha, excellent. I've been doing it right for years and when I recently started to follow general recommendations, I actually started doing it wrong. My approach used to be to just let the dirt dry, then brush it off. Works a charm. Shifting wet mud with more water never worked well for me, just makes more of a mess. Just like when you're baking bread. If you want to clean your hands afterwards, use flour, not water.

Back to the old ways then. It sure was easier, didn't expect it to be better.
  • 2 0
 Sheldon Brown said not to use degreaser on chains. Rohloff say it too.

Interestingly, Shimano discovered you could extend the life of a chain by about 10% by flipping it over now and then.
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: Cool, wasn't aware of that. Does that mean running it backwards, upside down or both? Funny it happens to be Shimano saying that. Whereas most (if not all) their competitors used those closing links making it easy for you to take chains on and off, until recently Shimano was a lot more fiddly with that breaker pin.

Now we're at it. Until recently I used wet chain lube exclusively. I wasn't bothered that it got slightly more messy in dry conditions as I thought it just took best care of my drivetrain. Worked fine actually, just like the rest of my maintenance regime. But I changed that recently and started using the dry lube this summer. What's your take on that? I wouldn't mind going back to wet lube exclusively if that is better.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I read that fact many years ago before they came out with the HGX chains. I'm not sure which way it was flipped. I agree on the lack of quick links on Shimano, but I usually add one to make it easier to clean drivetrains and flip it then.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Your questions about wet lube vs dry lube is why I run Purple Extreme. Unlike most stuff on the market, it's a synthetic, and, IMO, combines the best traits of dry lube & wet lube.
  • 8 0
 What's the explanation for "more consistent cornering" with 27.5" wheels?
  • 2 9
flag preach (Nov 8, 2016 at 13:38) (Below Threshold)
 :-) Purely subjective, but there is a super sharp turn on one of my local trails right after a jump and right before another jump...I tend to "snap" into it and out of it quicker now on the 27.5 than on my 26er...
  • 10 0
 There is none because they don't
  • 6 0
 @Darknut: Exactly right, that confirms the marketing dot points have won
  • 3 0
 @richardcunningham
  • 2 0
 @dangerousdave: Oh yeah, I'd love to see PB editors back up their articles. I'm definitely interested in this one.
  • 1 0
 Contact patch is larger?
  • 4 0
 I would think how tall a person is and how long a torso a person has would make different wheel sizes choices more or less noticeable. Someone 6 feet tall will have a higher center of gravity than someone who is 5 feet tall. And if the person has long legs, then the weight distribution would be different too. I think the taller you are, the less noticeable the difference between 26 and 27.5. How high the saddle is too. There are so many factors beyond just the wheel size that makes one setup feel different than another beyond wheel size.
  • 7 0
 I would like to see any rider complete an EWS with no food or water.
  • 2 2
 same, the less EWS riders means less EWS coverage which means a chance for real disciplines and real biking to get coverage for once.
  • 1 0
 @THCBikeCo:
Not sure what that has to do with my comment but last time I checked Enduro is basically "the peoples" mountain bike race.

Ride up and ride down as fast as you can.
  • 5 0
 I would like to see enduro go back to what its supposed to be about so no outside support each day, no running back to the pits between stages to have body or bike fettled and fuelled. I would also remove the feed stations organisers provide Leave the pits in the morning, back at the end of the days stages, take what you need with you. That is supposed to be the essence of the sport
  • 1 2
 @Tmonster2301: might be "the peoples" mountain bike race but when you have a market full of doctors and lawyers and rich people the "peoples" mountain bike race just becomes another opportunity for big companies to force unnecessary new industry standards on us.
  • 7 0
 26" should always be an option I'm gonna make sure
  • 3 0
 if the industry gave us the choice to buy all three sizes then we could see what people truly wanted instead of obsoleting one size and claiming that the other was not selling well. i think next years standard should be a boost in common sense.
  • 2 0
 Erm. Don't ever put degreaser on your disc pads. disc brake cleaner spray, if you must (IPA is better and cheaper) but never degreaser. You will ruin the pads. So yeah, removing your pads, or at least covering them with a plastic bag, when you wash the bike isn't a bad idea.
  • 1 0
 Tbh I genuinely think PB should just remove the entire "should I remove my pads before cleaning" question and answer, because the answer is essentially the worst possible advice that could be given.
  • 2 0
 I was also curious about the "EWS race supplies" question... so basically they just pass through the pits enough times so that they don't have to carry stuff? It always confused me seeing these guys riding a 50km race in sunny summer weather with some guys not even having a water bottle. I go through a full 750 ml bottle on a basic 10km ride!
  • 3 0
 I ride both 26 and 650b on a regular basis and never notice the difference. I suggest finding a frame that suits you and forget about the size of the wheels.
  • 4 1
 It's almost like all the bike company came together and decided to kill 26er cause they know it's much stronger. More wheels more money muwhahaha
  • 1 0
 So can you clear this up for those of us who are confused: you do or you don't like 26" wheels?
  • 2 0
 so much love for the 26" stuff yet when it comes times to sell them , no one looks at them . I have 2 and have had no luck selling them , everyone wants the bigger wheel stuff .
  • 2 0
 Yup. Sold both my 26" wheeled bikes this spring because the writing is on the wall for secondhand sales. I probably got got $1000 less easily just because they were 26". I figure if I had waited any longer I'd have basically been stuck with them, resale value too low to actually get enough money to get me near buying another bike. As it was, I sold 2 bikes to buy one bike.
  • 1 0
 @groghunter: pretty much how I am at , I have 2012 with little use and a 2015 with decent use and neither one wants to sell , and too move them one has to give them away .
  • 2 0
 @cheetamike: If they're both for you, best advice I have is to do what I did: ackowledge the market realities, sell them for less than you want, then use the funds from both to get you into one new bike. You can always grow the stable again a year or two down the road.
  • 1 0
 @groghunter: a buddy owns a shop and he is hoping to trade me for one of my bike,s . it is perfect for what he wants , if that happens I am going to get a HT and ride that and collect parts continue to try and sell the newer bike .
  • 5 3
 I wrap my rotor and caliper with zip lock bag and some tape. Seems to stop the contamination in my experience. I'm sure condoms would work just as well.
  • 17 1
 Surely condoms would be a terrible idea? Lube must be the last thing you'd want on your pads and rotors?
  • 4 0
 He surely uses lubeless ones
  • 1 0
 Ribbed, bro.
  • 5 0
 Shower caps work well...
  • 3 0
 Whoever came up with boost+ is genius! Must have been a slow day at the office.
  • 1 0
 I run a 27.5 2.5 front and a 27.5 2.25 rear on my Liteville 301 and love it! I will be going to 26" 2.8 on my 301 as soon as maxxis releases them! ???????? All kinds of options! ????
  • 1 2
 Blast it with water from a high pressure hose (staying away from the BB and wheel bearings and the fork/shock seals), wipe it dry, re-lube the chain - finished. Works great at removing built up crud from the chain, cassette and derailleur pulleys, and no need for degreaser, detergent or solvent of any kind. If you want it to look shiny afterwards you could rub the frame down with car wax. Been cleaning my MTBs that way since early 2009, and I've not had to replace any bearings in that time.
  • 2 0
 27.5 is not an upgrade! There's nothing wrong with my 26 NomadC. I'd rather upgrade my components.
  • 3 1
 My ebike, 26" lls, jet wash everything and stash stuff under bushes
  • 1 1
 29s are so boss. Out on the open trail they just flat out roll. Like a boss. Big wheel keep on turning.
  • 2 0
 Bikes are fun
  • 2 3
 What MTB has room for two water bottle cages? Must be a hardtail?
  • 1 0
 Most hard tails have at least one and many bikes on the xc end of the spectrum have two
  • 1 0
 My transition bandit 2014, 150mm/140mm
  • 1 0
 there,s a couple Rocky,s that fit dual bottles
  • 1 0
 @Neechy: I had to google a Transition Bandit to see for myself. So the other cage is on the bottom. Does it work in practice? I imagine you can put a bottle there, and then put the empty bottle down there. That's cool to have the option to carry another hour's worth of fluid.
  • 2 0
 @piersgritten: I still use the old school water bottle. But one bottle doesn't go far enough with me, so I end up putting more bottles in my pack.
  • 1 0
 @jorukfundan: Cannondale Scalpel
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