The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?

May 19, 2020 at 17:00
by Mike Levy  
Art by Taj Mihelich


The idea of a new, larger diameter wheel standard will have many people reaching for their pitchforks and the caps lock key, but what if there's a good argument to be made for a 32" wheel? Or even a 36er? For as much as many of us love shiny new gear, we're a cynical bunch when it comes to the kind of wholesale changes that another wheel size would require. Then again, given that we've already been down that trail on 27.5" wheels, many of us against our will, a weary opinion would be completely reasonable. And expected.

But if 29" wheels on a trail bike make many things easier, what would happen if wheels got even larger? And should someone who's 5'5" be on the same wheel size as someone who's 6'5"? You guys asked in the comments, so we put some feelers out—and surprisingly, got confirmation that at least one brand is currently testing both 32" and 36" wheels.

Former World Cup and National racer Travis Brown leads Trek's Field Testing program where he's currently experimenting with the two larger wheel sizes to find out how they compare to bikes that we're more familiar with. There's no need for that pitchfork anytime soon, though, with Brown stressing that his 32er and 36er are for pure research and development purposes only; there won't be an even bigger-wheeled Top Fuel anytime within the coming few years, and maybe never at all. The idea, Brown explained, is for them to find out what's possible, what works, and what doesn't.

We called up Travis to get the lowdown on Trek's weird-wheeled prototypes, where they excel and where they fall short, and to find out what the stopwatch says about them. Spoiler alert: Bigger is faster. If you want to read the interview instead of listening to it, you can see our entire conversation with Travis here.

Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever else you get your podcasts.



THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 8 - DO WE NEED A LARGER WHEELSIZE STANDARD?
May 13th, 2020

Will your 26" tubes even fit?!

Hosted by Mike Levy and featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike Podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Previous Pinkbike Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?
Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?
Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?
Episode 7 - Wild Project Bikes

Hit us in the comments with your suggestions: What do you want to hear us talk about? Would you be into watching a video version, or are our dulcet voices enough for you?


Should there be an even larger, 32" or even 36" wheel size option?

You've listened to the podcast first, right? Assuming 27.5 and 29 remain unchanged.




218 Comments

  • 18 11
 I agree. I don't even want a 29er. I still want to be able to 180 and 360.
  • 15 6
 @DaFreerider44: Bigger wheels wouldn't be for anyone wanting to do those things, of course.
  • 18 3
 @mikelevy: they would be great for riding sidewalks.
  • 19 5
 @mikelevy: Bigger will be for everyone once they try and create a new standard. Just like 27.5 and 29. It gets to the point where you can't upgrade, you are required to replace. I don't have 5 grand to drop on a new bike every 2 or 3 years. These developers need to understand we don't always need new standards!
  • 22 0
 I want them so big I can go float down the river on my wheels after I’m done riding.
  • 15 9
 @Sularma: what products are you struggling to upgrade right now?
  • 33 1
 @brianpark: I just want to be able to buy a new enduro fork that I can use my quill stem with. Is that too much to ask?!?!!!11
  • 6 0
 Forget 35" wheels I want a gas powered pogo stick.
  • 18 7
 @brianpark: Nothing at the moment. Just 2 years ago I got rid of my 26' and bought a boost 27.5. Now boost is obsolete and people are pushing super boost and 29... My bike isn't even sold in the same standards anymore. My wife is short, if you picked out almost any top of the line 29 trail bike for her, when you factor her height you're back with 27.5. These constantly changing standards are a tax on recreational riders. I don't want to be forced to change because someone else wants to chase a KOM.
  • 12 1
 @Sularma: super boost was only ever pushed by a coupe of manufacturers, and even they are rolling back to boost now.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: they're mainly to stop your big girls blouse from dragging on the floor
  • 10 0
 @brianpark: I can say on a related issue, which is frame/hub sizing, I have a perfect pair of wheels I can't use on a new frame unless I spend another ~$200 on them to go to Boost.
  • 20 16
 @Sularma: "I don't want to be forced to change because someone else wants to chase a KOM."

Interesting. Progress is always a tax on people who are happy with the status quo, that's fair enough. But a lot of people aren't satisfied with the status quo either.

As media we have a vested interest in change, of course, but I do want bikes to keep improving where possible—even if I don't chase KOMs.
  • 1 1
 With the nimble handling improvement of current 29. We are able to extend the roll over to 30".
  • 11 0
 @Sularma: you lost me at “boost is obsolete”.

Lol. Boost is the go to. Everything is still available in boost. If you’re riding a boost bike, you’re fine. You’ll be able to upgrade it for years to come. There’s no problem. It just means you can’t buy the new pivot or the new knolly you want and bring the wheels with you. But boost is still the de facto standard for almost every brand.

Now I’m not saying that will last forever. But for now it’s not a problem.
  • 1 1
 See, I came late to the party, but I'm here to say yes. Yes we do. Sky's the limit.
  • 5 2
 @brianpark: but is it really progress to produce more and more plastic and metal shit plus carbon monoxide in even tighter product cycles just so that our prosthesises are 0,031% more fun?

I mean I really had way more fun since I was that crucial half second faster on my 29er last time I rode my hometrail but still...
  • 3 0
 In order to maintain full control of the bike for aggressive riding (the kind we like to do) you need to be able to shift your weight over the rear wheel. Therefore the physical barrier is determined by your inseem and bb height. Can't do much about the first one (thicker soles?), and the second will comprise cornering and handling.

Shorter riders already get arse buzz with 29 rear. Maybe for ridrs around 6.5 ft a 32/29 mullet combo could work.

I'd like a 40/36 beach cruiser please :-)
  • 10 6
 ITT: Pinkbike bros who fondly remember the anti-29er rebellion before eventually acquiescing and buying a 29er themselves

32 and beyond could absolutely make sense for taller folk. Sorry for your loss manlets
  • 4 0
 Also no. The industry has always pushed change for changes sake simply to pull dollars. I ride steeper trails than I rode in the early '90s but I still climb them. My equipment is better designed so I ride better. I'm on a 29 short travel FS so clearing logs and rubble is easier and I can brave an enduro slope for a change of pace. My concern is with what the industry seems to be working toward. Super large heavy wheels and frames wouldn't seem to suit down country if that's the description of what I ride.unless it's slaved to a motor which is where they'd lose me.
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: I want wheel so big can fit inside them, not really a bike but more like a unicycle, I have see motor bikes like that?
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: This seems like changing things for the sake of changing things. And yeah, we know it's in the best interest of your livelihood, but I'm pretty sure 99.9% of people would choose having the status quo over the viability of pinkbike.com. Sorry bro.
  • 1 0
 @gally-nh: but you need to test new ideas to see if the change is worth making, which is what is happening here. Not every single thing will be ground breaking, but some things will be, and even the lesser things all add up.

I would hope bike tech improves over the next 10 years, rather than manufacturers sit back and go ‘yep, that’ll do.’
  • 4 0
 @tomhoward379: Yeah I understand that. I'm all for innovation but like I said this seems to be doing something for the sake of doing it and opening up a new sales market. And as was pointed out in the podcast there are other things that can still be improved on the bikes we have now. They aren't perfect. I can definitely envision a scenario where 32 becomes some hot new thing that isn't anywhere near being right (like early 29ers) and all of a sudden all the R+D goes into making 32 perform on par with what we already have, leaving the smaller improvements on 27.5/29 collecting dust on the shelf.
  • 1 0
 @SirWonky: That's what she said
  • 6 2
 @brianpark: "Improving" is a highly relative term. Bigger wheels dumb down the trails and allow one to go faster in pursuit of KOMs and podiums. That's it.

Aren't we all about inclusion around here? How could riders under 6'2" possibly ride a 32" or 36" wheeled bike down a technical DH course? Future downhillers will all have to look like Cathro! (no offense Ben, you're the man! All Gid!) Those big wheels, under a tall rider will absolutely be faster than a 5'8" rider on a 27.5er or 29er. Where's the limit? Maybe that's the way things will progress in the sport, riders getting taller and taller to accommodate the larger, faster wheels. I mean it's only about going faster and faster right? "Improving" right?

Yes you have a vested interest in change. Why has the "change" been so focused on "faster" lately? There's more to this activity than that. Little to no lifestyle pieces. Bikes that aren't "faster" are portrayed as inferior. Expand yo mind Craig!
  • 5 1
 This is the problem the bicycle industry, bikes last much longer than they used to so manufacturers need a way to get more sales. Solution: make the current standard irrelevant. It is a known fact that going from 26" to 27.5" was just a marketing ploy. Now 29" with a revised spoke bracing angle needed to happen and made 29" wheels just as strong as their 26" predecessors. Boost has made 27.5/29 much stronger as it doesn't need as much dishing by centering the hub flanges within the rim. It's frustrating as a consumer and I do think sometimes it is just a money grab situation but you can't deny bikes have improved vastly over the last 10 years. I think it's one of those for every 4 innovations a manufacturer changes something that actually makes bike tech better there's 1 step back that didn't need to happen.
  • 1 0
 @NotSorry: It's Friday, you ain't got shit to do...
  • 1 0
 @gally-nh: If 32 becomes an other standard it will be for taller riders, which has been overlooked?
But not every one will be able to get the best out of it!
But smaller riders can use reinforced shorts, until they realize that they need to go smaller at least in the rear?
  • 1 1
 @Sularma: Who is forcing you to change anything? Why not ride the bike that you have since it sounds like you like it?
  • 1 0
 @tomhoward379: Ever heard of Knolly bikes? They are all-in on 157mm and are definitely not 'rolling it back'. If you ever get a chance to ride one of their bikes you will understand.
  • 1 0
 @Skooks: they’re one of the couple I was thinking of. Pivot being the other, who are rolling it back. Even so, that’s hardly making boost obsolete...
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: is a progress a faster time because of a faster bike you ride or you geting fitter and better rider?
  • 1 1
 Only short people say that.
  • 5 0
 Yep, no thank you. Here we are again trying to push yet another standard down the throat of costumers. Apparently building bikes that cost almost as much as an entry level car, and still need to be upgraded every year, is not enough. Shameless.
  • 2 2
 @duzzi: Wrong. They are testing a new wheel size to see if it is worthwhile. Nobody is forcing anything anywhere. What about a bike bought last year, or in the last 5-10 years, NEEDS to be upgraded? If your bike worked before, it still works now. If you want to try something different, you can, but you don’t have to keep upgrading.
  • 3 0
 @Skooks: I do, but I had to buy a complete bike instead of just a new drive train or a new set of wheels because no one was making those parts anymore. The industry decided to go for what was faster because that's where they could make more money. MTB isn't all about racing... At the beginning it was never about racing. Racing brought money to the sport, now that's all they want to focus on.
  • 4 1
 @tomhoward379: Parts have to be replaced as they wear out. As the industry pushes new standards those parts change. After a few years it starts to get hard to find those parts. After 5-10 years it's extremely hard to find those parts and many LBS won't be able to find those parts either because the distributors stop stocking them. No one is forcing anything, yet... But this is the process. It's happened before. Someone wants to make a faster bike, a new standard gets created, an old standard gets replaced, and it filters through the industry because everyone wants to be the first to sell the hot new standard or bike that is winning so they can make money off it. I'm all for innovation, but not everything needs to change because someone wants a faster race run.
  • 2 1
 @Sularma: what parts that were specced on bikes 10 years ago can’t be bought now?
  • 2 1
 @tomhoward379: 8 or 9 speed drivetrain parts are difficult to find. I just looked at two different distributors and both had limited options or no option. I'm not talking about going through Ebay and buying someones old parts. And, everything I did find was low end. Nothing available to replace any of the XT or XTR parts I had on old bikes. As for 26" wheels there was only 4 options, including 1 set.
  • 2 4
 @Sularma: there are 20 odd options on CRC for 26 inch rims. From cheap alloy, to expensive carbon, all reduced from RRP. There half a dozen options for 8-9 speed drivetrains too. They might not be XTR, but there’s a current Box drivetrain that’s 9 speed, and SRAMs EX8, premium 8 speed ebike group if you really want. These are not, unique, hard to find parts. Also, any bike that can run an 8speed drivetrain can run a 12 speed one. To say they are obsolete/not available is almost wilfully ignorant of what is still available.
  • 4 2
 @tomhoward379: I see that you specifically mention 26" rims and nothing else. You can't build a wheel with only a rim. So lets try finding a 135mm QR hub with a shimano HG freehub body on your favorite site. Out of 47 hubs listed on their site there is only 1 that matches. It comes from Hope in a couple colors with 28 or 32 spoke options. Price is $199 for the hub only. There are one or two options from Spank that would require the use of adapters and changing freehubs, not a bad option if the adapters are available but that is not always the case. I've had experience with trying to track down adapters before. As for front hubs it's the same. One option available from Hope, one option from Spank (out of stock) with finding the required adapter.

If you search for wheels there are 10 listings, only one could be a possible option. I say possible because it gives no information about the wheel and it's nearly $800 for only the rear...

You also reference derailleur options, on CRC there are 8 choices. Only 1 is nine speed (BOX Components) and it's out of stock. Plus it won't work with a Shimano shifter if you are trying to replace a broken part so you would need to replace the derailleur and shifter.

If you take a look at suspension forks on CRC there are no 1 1/8" steerer 100mm QR forks available, not even a listing for one.

That's just one distributor that normally carries more options then others. This does sound like hard to find parts to me compared to whats readily available and sold.

One or two options is not the same as an option from every tier level and from each brand.
  • 2 1
 I guess, being in the US, you can’t see all the 8 and 9 speed options from shimano and SRAM on CRC? but there’s 8 speed Altus and Acera, then the same in 9 speed, plus Deore. Then X4 and X5 from SRAM. They might not have XTR written on them, but I bet they work just as well as the top end kit from when 8 speed was current, what, 20-25 years ago? As for hubs, any 142 hub can be converted to 135 QR with different end caps. (If you look on companies websites, rather than just what a shop has in stock, you’ll see loads of different axle options can be ordered (Chris king as an example, plenty others do it)) If it can’t be, then it probably isn’t worth saving, assuming parts can’t be found (I bet thy could be). Forks? Manitou Markhor. Released in 2018, has options for all wheel sizes, thru axle or QR, straight or tapered steerer, 100 or 120mm. Furthermore, there are companies now that can replace tapered steerers with straight, if you really want to hang on to the past. Fox also make the current (2021) 36 with a 11/8 steerer, and 100mm travel, (thru axle mind) for the 831 (dirt jump) range.

CRC aren’t a distributor, they are a retailer, but all the options I’ve mentioned above can be found via a fairly well known website called, iirc, ‘Google’.

It’s also worth knowing that just because something isn’t listed, doesn’t mean it can’t be made by much smaller companies that don’t have mass market presence.

My point being, of you really want to hang on to an old frame or parts (despite new ones being faaar better) you can. Complaining that you can’t get an exact, brand new, replacement of something that went out of production 25 years ago, 8 speed XTR for example, is ridiculous.

This, of course, is ignoring the second hand market, where everything is still available.
  • 3 0
 @CircusMaximus: I put on 48" hoops on my DH sled back in 2014, for sidewalk driften on the streets where I do my liven, never looked back and I'm still grinnin.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/11250296
  • 2 1
 @Sularma:

I can see what you’re saying that parts are becoming less available from top brands, and that is totally a bummer.
But that’s the price you pay for innovation- Where do you draw the line on what’s ‘Good enough?’ You know damn well somebody complained about 6 and 7 speed being replaced with the 8 and 9 speed parts you are happy with... What if those parts never got made?

It would be nice if manufacturers continued their legacy product lines forever, but that’s just not affordable, and stifles the resources needed to move forwards.

Fortunately for us, this is where secondary manufacturers who aren’t worried about a cutting edge reputation can take up the torch and supply that demand. This is no different from any other industry- You can’t expect Sony for instance, to keep selling CRT televisions, but if you really want one, they are available.

Fortunately for you, the world of the high-end MTB bubble is positively littered with 26” and 8 and 9 speed bikes. Parts for these machines will probably be available after our actual deaths. It may not come with an XTR badge, but It’ll work fine.
  • 29 0
 as a 5'1 female, i'll stick with my 26ers. owned 27.5 and 29 bikes and 26 makes sense for me, not one size fits all.
  • 10 2
 I’m a 5’7 guy with short legs and I want a 26er. I have one of the few 27.5 bikes I can stand over somewhat comfortably.
  • 2 0
 Your Enduro is sick anyways! Keep ripping it if it works for you!
  • 2 0
 A fair point, especially for folks on the skinny ends of the bell curve. The solution may be to go larger on the front wheel, but keep the rear wheel reasonable to allow butt clearance and proper front-centre to rear-centre ratio.
  • 2 2
 Why not 27 or 29 on the front though?
  • 2 0
 @coletrane-mtb: why? why do i need a bigger front wheel? because the industry says so?
  • 2 0
 @crysvb: The industry may discover something works better for most people and may recommend it to you, but it may not be better for you, specifically, since you're smaller than average, and even if it is better for you, you don't have to act on it. The industry is just giving you the choice and the information with which to make an informed choice.
  • 3 2
 A good example is kids bikes and wheel sizes that change with height. You have 12", 14", 16", 20", 24" and 26" kids bikes. Why not have 32" and 36" for taller riders. Makes sense to me.
  • 22 5
 And your a bloody idiot if you the k 29ers or 27.5 will stay around.....remember oeople the same was said about 26ers and then overnight everyone stopped making them...
Its about choice they said....
well can i have a 26er then?
no we stopped making those
  • 17 15
 The industry stopped making 26" trail and XC bikes, because larger wheels proved better for that (for most regular sized people) and the demand for them decreased. There are still plenty of DJ and several slope bikes with 26" wheels available... and you can still get 26" wheels and tires without too much hassle.

I don't think that for most types of riding and most sizes of people the demand for 27.5 or 29 will go away any time soon. Less 27.5 trail bikes maybe, but there are lots of smaller riders and kids that the industry will need to provide for.
  • 19 4
 @brianpark: on the contrary. One year industry decided that 27.5 will be the next big thing. Demand for 26 dropped because people got a clear message - we will stop making them, so if you buy one, it will be worthless in two years. I mean, how many people could compare 26 to 27.5 and decided that the former is better? This was not even possible, cause new geometries were made exclusively on 27.5. This was a running herd effect, both for consumers and the industry.
This of course would not be possible if we, the consumers were not such a suckers... Average Joe will buy anything for the promise of performance gain with no effort.
  • 17 4
 @lkubica: maybe we need to do a Grim Donut Regression Edition, designed with modern geometry but 24"/26" wheels?
  • 5 2
 @brianpark: I do not mean that 27.5 is not better. But it is marginally better. Or put differently, change to 27.5 alone is not really worth it.
Used to ride 26, tried 27.5, now ride 29. I would lie if I say I ride faster because 29ich. There are so many variables. I can only say I did not have a wow effect going to 29. I think what matters is: 1. You, 2. Geometry 3. Suspension, 4. Brakes, 5. Wheel size. In this order. I mean for enduro style riding.
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: I can say that I definitely ride faster on a 29er. Never did 27.5, but for racing XC the difference in wheels alone is insane on grassy flats, little rocks, roots, and general rollover. I'm a taller person so 29 (or maybe larger who knows) fits me really well, but 29 definitely made me faster. It's the most noticeable part of the bike that's make a difference for me, even more so than geometry. If I raced DH it would be different.
  • 2 1
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: For sure on mellow terrain 29 is faster, XC races prove it for years. Let alone how much faster (I would argue that what is ages for a racer is not really worth for a Joe), but I ride chunky awkward stuff all the time. So the first thing I noticed when riding a new shiny 29er on the same terrain was - f*ck, now I have to tune the suspension for many days to match the old bike. 29 was actually slower and not because handling, but because of suspension setup and quality. If you have 10cm root or rock, you can literally stick those 29 rollover properties in your ass.
  • 4 0
 @brianpark: I look forward to the year 2064 when you release the video for that.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: How about a wheel so big you can fit inside?
May be that grim donut would work better with scooter wheels?
  • 3 0
 They’ll keep on thinking off new ways to sell bikes even if it isn’t better. Remember fat bikes? 29ers haven’t really taken off so now they’re trying to sell us mullet bikes. The cycle continues.
  • 2 0
 But at some point it will be obvious that there are a couple of sizes that work best for most people. 32' would just be OBVIOUSLY too big for anyone who isn't well above average height. They can't stop making 27.5 because it won't be physically possible for some people to ride.
  • 16 4
 So what slur will the haters come up with for them? ‘29ers are gay’ was such an inspired, nuanced, witty dig, they must be hard at work already.

‘Size doesn’t matter’?

A manufacturer has wondered ‘what would happen if...’ and you all are already slamming it. They don’t normally tell you about it at such an early stage, but it’s called progress, this is how it happens, deal with it.
  • 10 0
 As long as DH courses are straight down the fall line with only a few turns that aren't tighter than a 50 meter radius and XC courses are just straight lines up a hill and back down I think the bigger wheels make total sense!

What I want to see is the 32" wheel to catch on, all teams using them to the point where 29" tires stop being made. Then, a couple old school DH track that are twisty AF and treacherous show up in the WC rotation. That would be fun to watch!
  • 3 5
 I take it you didn't listen to the podcast nor read the transcript of the conversation with Travis Brown then. Travis CONFIRMED that he didn't have problems going around switchbacks on a 36er!
  • 6 1
 @SintraFreeride: there's a difference between negotiating switchbacks and negotiating switchbacks quickly.
  • 3 4
 I love how in the modern age, people still think that 29ers are boats when it comes to turning. Or in general, blame their lack of skill on the bike.

I really wonder if I should just start a business where I get some Chinese company to make some 26" frame with some new random linkage design , then write a lengthy article full of BS engineering (not that you guys would be able to tell) on why 26 is better for trail riding, and then spec it out with AXS/Fox stuff and sell it for $8k a pop.
  • 7 0
 @phops: I've ridden about 20 different 29ers in the last 3 years and an equal number of 27.5s. 29ers just don't handle like 27.5 bikes. Some of the differences are good some bad but for the most part, given that most other geo and suspension variables are close, the 29ers feel like boats. They are fast over rough stuff and on long pedally rides and they can be ridden aggressively but it's more work to quickly maneuver the bigger wheels. This is why we're seeing many new mullet setups. Racers want the speed but they also want the maneuverability. For very tall riders perhaps the 29 f&r feels better but there's a reason guys like Gwin are riding Mullets now.

I'm not sold on bigger wheels obviously. We do need better rear suspension though. High pivot idler designs are a step in the right direction and I believe we'll be seeing big strides in those setups soon. Forward axle paths are inferior. 29 front with a smaller, lighter and more maneuverable rear wheel (27.5) attached to a mostly rearward axle path seems pretty logical for any riding that is more aggressive than standard trail riding. I love the SC Blur on trail rides but once the trail points down at a certain grade for a certain distance the Blur is sketchy AF. Did I just sell myself on the Druid Mullet?

People complain about e-bikes. At what size are huge wheels considered cheating?
  • 1 0
 @phops: That is a guaranteed cash cow! 26forlifers get 26% off!
  • 2 2
 @NotSorry:

>Some of the differences are good some bad but for the most part, given that most other geo and suspension variables are close, the 29ers feel like boats

This is all due to the geo. People fail to undersand this bit.

From the perspective of forces, the thing that matters is the two contact patches, the CG location with respect to those contact patches, and the steering geometry (headtube angle and trail) The ground doesn't care which wheel size you have, it will apply forces on the contact patches based on what the steering input is and the resultant force/torque from that is what makes a bike turn .

If you take a 29 and 27.5 bike and 26 bike, and equate those 3 things (which would invovle different geometry because you would have to have different bb drop for each wheel size to keep the height the same), the bikes would feel identical turning. Wheel inertia moments are negligible.

It just so happens that 29ers are on the avearge longer than 27.5. But if you compare a Trek 29+ bike with a modern 27.5 downhill bike, you will find that the Trek is vastly more agile despite massive wheels.

Also, its a fallacy that longer bikes don't turn. They do, you just have to have more lean angle, which feels weird to some people. You have to give the bikes a lot more input, but they turn just as well as a shorter bike. Google motorcycle gymkhana videos, there is a guy on a Hayabusa, which is a 540lb motorcycle with a 1480mm wheelbase, and the guy makes tight circles in the space of your living room. So the fact that people have trouble getting a 32 lb 1300mm bike around a tight corner is laughable.
  • 1 0
 @phops: I wouldn't a DH bike on a trail that I rode a Trek 29+ bike on and vice versa. With appropriate geometry and travel for the type of riding that one would be doing the smaller wheels are more agile.

Watch Moto Trials. They aren't on Hayabusas.
  • 1 1
 @phops: Couldn't have said it better myself!
  • 1 1
 @NotSorry:

This is how the argument goes: You say that 29ers handle worse. I show you that its not the case, because a 29er xc bike is way more agile than a 27.5 DH bike. You then go on a complete tangent and say that you wouldn't ride a DH bike on a trail.

Like, no shit? Nobody is talking about what bike you would or you would ride on what trail, the point is that 29ers wheel size does not matter for handling, its all in the geometry.

Is it really that hard to admit you are wrong about wheel size?
  • 1 0
 @phops: Wait, so you're saying that bikes with different geometry handle differently? Well that changes the game altogether!

Take two bikes, in the same category, with similar geometry, HTA, wheelbase, reach, stack BB height (not drop), front center and rear center, etc. The 27.5 will feel more agile. In order to make a 29er feel as maneuverable as a 27.5 you have to move the geo towards the XC realm, as you have explained. So with a 27.5 I can have more aggressive and more versatile geo in a more agile package. This is why we're seeing more and more mullets in Enduro and DH racing.
  • 1 1
 @NotSorry:

>The 27.5 will feel more agile.

Wrong. It will feel exactly the same. (I am assuming you implicitly included the geometric trail number in "similar geometry", since you need different fork offsets for 27.5 vs 29, and also same tires, as tire profile can affect handling.)

Again, remember that the ground only interacts with contact patch, and the forces from the ground is what make the bike turn. The ground cannot magically affect the forces it outputs by somehow "knowing" about the wheel size. Physics supersedes any anecdotal experience that you may have with 27.5 vs 29.

>In order to make a 29er feel as maneuverable as a 27.5 you have to move the geo towards the XC realm

You are trying to weasel out. You are correct, take a long slack 27.5 enduro bike and a short 29er xc bike. You would agree that the xc bike is more manueverable. Start reducing geometry on the enduro bike until you reach similar handling to the 29. By your quoted statement above, this is possible.

Now you have 2 bikes that handle the same, with 2 different wheel sizes. This goes counter to your original comment of "29ers just don't handle like 27.5 bikes".
  • 1 0
 @phops: You cannot change the distance from the ground to the axles. You cannot have the same BB drop and BB height with different wheel sizes given all other geo remains the same. For these reasons bikes with larger wheels can never feel as agile given their intended riding category and corresponding geometry is the same.
  • 1 1
 @NotSorry:

>You cannot change the distance from the ground to the axles.

Doesn't matter. Axle to ground distance only matters in lateral wheel flex, which is way less compared to overall fork flex and frame flex. Has no impact on turning in the way that you are describing

>You cannot have the same BB drop and BB height with different wheel sizes given all other geo remains the same.

BB height from the ground is the thing that matters, and you can absolutely have that be the same between a 29 and 27.5 . BB drop does not. You don't pivot around the axles or linkages when you lean the bike, you pivot around the contact patch.

> For these reasons bikes with larger wheels can never feel as agile given their intended riding category and corresponding geometry is the same.

Again, moving the goal post. Now its about intended riding category?

We already proved in the last post that 27.5 bike can handle identically to a 29er, by your statements. Not sure what the point of contention is.
  • 1 0
 @phops: You are wrong. BB drop and axle to ground distance matter immensely. Go draw some triangles. Imagine moving the bike from 10 o'clock lean angle to a 2 o'clock lean angle. The axle of the 29er will have to travel a farther distance to make the same angles, this matters. High amounts of BB drop make bikes feel more stable and therefore less agile. High BBs also make bikes feel less stable. Less BB drop and lower BBs are a good mix of agile and stable. The larger the wheels are the less possible it is to hit a lower BB without huge amounts of BB drop. Caveat, bigger wheels may actually make it possible to turn faster times for racers but that doesn't mean those bikes are more fun. I imagine they'll be pretty boring. Want to make a stupid fast DH bike? Sling the rider between two 36" wheels in a super bike riding position. Fast and boring.

You're the one comparing DH bikes to XC bikes. You don't ride XC bikes on DH tracks and vice-versa. I'm not comparing completely different bikes. Make a 29er feel as agile as a 27.5 or 26 and you have to sacrifice other aspects but the gyroscopic affect remains. 27.5s and 26s sacrifice rollover and carrying of speed (flywheel) for agility vs 29ers. Everything is a compromise. Even larger wheels will absolutely compromise some aspects of handling while improving others.
  • 1 0
 @NotSorry:

>the gyroscopic affect remains

Ok im 100% done with this conversation.
  • 1 0
 @phops: I was done a long time ago.
  • 9 1
 Ah I get it... larger wheels will require new geometry to tuck the wheel and make room for the seat tube! A whole new slew of "standards" will be necessary! The dentists and people who aren't hardcore wont even know the difference!
  • 6 0
 double seat tubes that straddle the rear circus hoop! Just think how much an AXS² double dropper will cost! $1,600!
  • 2 0
 Eh. Make the downtube slightly different and throw in some suspension that isn't a single pivot. Run 157 because it already exists. Pedal rub not a big deal because the wheel is bigger anyway so the chainstays will likely be a little longer. 100% could be done without new standards.
  • 2 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: But then you can't charge double for doppledroppers!
  • 2 1
 There is a changing tide of longer chain stays = better with longer reaches/wheelbases. That's opening the door for larger diameter wheels. There would be too much compromise at some point though, wheel weight and reduced suspension travel.
  • 1 0
 @flattire: Totally. The weight and acceleration will be a noticeable drawback, and it was even with the switch from 26 to 29. I won't be surprised if the industry does add another size though. 32 seems like a nice number.
  • 6 0
 The concept that appeals most is flexing the size of the components to the size of the riders. Smaller wheels with shorter cranks/bars for smaller riders and larger/longer for taller riders. If that means 26 inch wheels on the XS and 32 inch wheels on the XL size, then go for it.
  • 2 1
 That's the angle I'm shamelessly promoting.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: I actually thought that we would be there already. When bike companies sat on the fence and produced two lines of bikes, with the same travel and components, only really differing with a choice of 27.5 or 29 wheels, I expected it to morph into one line based on rider size. They are still fence sitting and bikes at the extremes of sizing have to be compromised in some way.

Telling consumers that the bikes have been optimised to ride the same, regardless of frame size, by resizing not just frame dimensions, but also component sizes, has to be a win.
  • 1 1
 if a 1.5m tall rider have 26" wheels (680mm diameter with tire), a 2.2m tall rider would proportionally have a 938mm radius wheel. So a 37" wheel.
32" would fit a L sized bike.
  • 12 5
 As long as 27.5" and 29" wheels don't go anywhere, might an ever larger option make sense for trail bikes and tall riders? Or should we just stick with what we've got?
  • 28 1
 We have come full circle. We are officially back to the Penny Farthing.
  • 26 3
 Please just stop.
  • 4 0
 @snowwcold55: when will they make DH Penny Farthing a thing?
  • 9 0
 ive just decided to run a mullet with 36 upfront and 26 out back.
  • 13 0
 You only wanted to piss us off to rise click stats. I understand it.
Next time - a 36er ebike prototype Wink
  • 4 1
 Bikes are so expensive and so customised it seems silly that proportional wheel size shouldn't play a part in the future.
People spend ages dialling in cockpit and suspension settings but then I see people who are 5'8" riding 29ers alongside people who are 6'2+. That makes no sense. 29ers are perfect if you're over 6ft but Id have a 27.5" anyday if I was 5'8".
The biggest factor in this is UCI. Only reason mullets are more popular now is change in UCI rules and DHers running them.
Look at road , I'm sure a 32" would be better for a lot of riders and faster but there are standards set and traditions adhered to hence 700c is road cycling.
MTB is the enemy of itself as it is a newer sport. And is ripe to be used explotatively by media and manufacturers.
In the end a sport is defined by the professional competition. BMX, road, golf anything. Make whatever size wheel you want and run it. It wont sell until UCI sanction it.
  • 1 0
 @Shredtheduck: also kind of funny to see how mountain biking was completely different sport back in the day, then it is now. If you watch the first few videos of the North Shore Extreme series you can see the distinct difference. there was no flow, just jank and skinnies, a good rider was able to ride the whole thing without crashing.
  • 2 0
 @Shredtheduck: 700c became the road standard and stayed that way, because road wheels basically only have to do one thing well. Go fast as efficiently as possible.

But there isn't only one type of 700c road wheel. Basically every other aspect of road wheels is evolving, the width for example. Then you've got tubulars, clinchers and hookless-tubeless. Then you've got various aero-wheels, from shallow section to full disc. Then you've got your climbing wheels.... Rim vs. disc brake, it goes on and on.... bike frames and "standards" (frame tire clearance, QR's & thru-axles) have to change as these things evolve.

The road bike is far from static, and about the only thing that hasn't changed is the wheel diameter. But don't bet that it never will just because it hasn't recently.
  • 3 0
 @CircusMaximus: Agreed! The next person who brings out a different wheel size gets my foot up their ass!!
  • 2 1
 Passive aggressive much, either you are for huge wheels or you are stuck wanting to ride 26 inch bikes with canti brakes and a Quadra fork.
  • 1 0
 Yes of course!
  • 2 2
 @krka73: Road bike geo is pretty much static due to UCI rules.
  • 2 0
 Give us mullets
  • 1 0
 @Shredtheduck: I'm 5'6'' and have always been much more efficient on 29ers. I wouldn't put someone who's like 5'2'' on one necessarily... but I'm strong enough to leverage the bike/wheel the way I want, and much prefer its riding characteristics over a 27.5 wheel. There is no rule for wheel size with physical height. It's really all personal preference. I agree with the rest of your points though!
  • 4 0
 For singletrack riding I’m cool with 29x2.3-2.5 tires, and 27.5x2.5 tires for lift served DH. But for high mileage rides like the Tour Divide or Wild West Route,, I’d be interested in trying a rim-tire combo that has the diameter(rolling circumference?) of 29(622mm)x 2.8(~72mm)but with a lot less rubber(weight) and footprint. Hypothetically, a 640mm rim + 54mm(~2.2) tire.
  • 10 0
 That's where I see larger wheels making sense - crushing those big gravel rides, where you're not as concerned about maneuverability.
  • 5 2
 @mikekazimer: I'm as interested in crushing big gravel rides as I am in wheels bigger than 29". Not at all.

I can see how some people are into that though. (Not really).
  • 2 0
 I've found an interesting thing. Bigger tires requires even more contact point. At 26in I'm all good with 2.2 tyres. But they feels waaay too skinny on 29er. Better feels with 2.4-2.6 tyre width. Lools like there is a kind of width-to-height ratio.
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer: kinda gtfo with the maneuverability argument though. I think on techy sections (uphills and turns certainly included) that 29 performs better than a 26. Yeah, if your bike is longer that makes some problems, but that's not solely chalked up to wheel size. Acceleration is definitely compromised when going up in wheels size, but I think maneuverability is the wrong word. I'll take a 29er any day on twisty, tight, chunky tech.
  • 1 1
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: What you just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response, were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on Pinkbike is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
  • 1 0
 @sayrius: I've recently gone back to 27.5 and I'm finding that I corner faster in just about every situation on the smaller wheels. In back to back testing with my 2020 Hightower and 2020 Bronson on a 0.25 section of trail that is slightly down hill with many 90 and 180 degree turns my times were consistently faster on the Bronson. My point is, I don't buy the larger contact point thing. The Bronson has more grip with the same tires. I'm 5'8" though, if I were taller perhaps I would be able to weight the 29ers better.

That being said, on a 5 mile natural singletrack loop my avg speed with the Hightower is faster. I really only care about the sections of trail that put the biggest smile on my face and they are way more fun on the Bronson. If I were focused on racing or fake racing (strava) I would most likely be on a mullet before going back to full a full 29er.
  • 3 2
 @NotSorry: Notsorry that we disagree. I'm not talking trials here either. Give me the choice between a 26er and a 29er for an uphill, tight, techy climb with rocks and roots galore and given similar geometry I'll be on the 29er every time. The rollover advantage alone makes the deal. Yeah, if you're on a 29er enduro plow machine with 170mm of travel and a headtube angle less than a hot summer day in Guatemala measured in Celsius, some smaller wheels might trick you into feeling more agile. However, if your low-speed cornering ability is hampered then that's a problem with your geo and not the wheel size.

In addition, I recommend that when giving feedback you take a more structured and critical approach:

1. First, consider if there are any areas of credit in the original piece and note them. Think phrases like, "It is nice that you brought up the point about..." and then perhaps offer a countering viewpoint.
2. Try to have substance in the response in addition to the appeals to pathos and ethos. Alternately: "At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you rational BECAUSE you didn't consider the certain benefits of smaller wheels like weight, strength, and torque for direction change." The word "because" is very helpful in these scenarios.
3. Avoid hypocrisy in your response. If you are critiquing rambling, avoid rambling by reinstating a single point multiple times in succession with no new information.
4. Bring up certain parts of the original argument that are in error. Quotations help strengthen the argument and offer an opportunity to juxtapose your alternate viewpoint with the original.
5. Offer different supporting or opposing sources to establish credibility.

You can find more information here: owl.purdue.edu/owl/teacher_and_tutor_resources/teaching_resources/effective_persuasion_presentation.html
  • 1 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: That's quite a bit of bloviating just to give people the impression that you're intelligent.
  • 3 0
 @NotSorry: Did you see my username?
  • 4 0
 Ok, I have to comment on this one. The response from me is NO, we don't need them. Here is my justification. I grew up racing mx and being around mx stores. The amount of R&D the big 5 manufactures do is unbelievable. The have their own metallurgy plants. They are that invested they make and design their own special metals for parts. How is relevant you ask well i could go and by a Crf 450 brand new for $10,000 to $11,000 AUD and it would be rock solid! The Wheels, Bearings, Geo, Engine, Electronics, EFI, Suspension, would all be A1 for years providing you do the maintenance.

Lets compare now to the mountain bike world for $10,000 AUD you get the second from the top Specialised enduro, the rims will probably break if you hit the wrong rock (carbon), the derailleur will probably last 3 months, if it doesn't get ripped off. The Suspension is 5 years old it runs cable shifting and doesn't have any sort of engine, and the bearings will probably flog out in a matter of months.

So what i would like from the manufactures sport i love so much is to be more like Honda. Settle on 29" wheels. Now make the bikes all that they can be. Rims that don't break and ding in five minutes, design a gearbox that has no drag and electronic shifting, Bearings that are sealed, Adjustable reach and chainstays and Head Angles. Don't build a bike out of 7075 aluminium move the geo around 5mm put basement parts on it and tell us it costs the same as a crf 450! MTB's are way to expensive as it is so just leave the wheels alone and work on making bikes better more durable and cheaper. That would be what i vote for.

So everyone knows i own an enduro mtb, Emtb, roadbike, and an mx bike, so i'm voicing my opinion as an invested consumer that has first hand experience.
[Reply]
  • 5 0
 Please work with SRAM to introduce two new standards called Roost 32 and Super Roost Plus 36.

Then immediately release a new hub width called Über Boost 158.

TIA.
  • 4 1
 NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! enough with the next best thing, stop trying to re-invent the wheel... just make it better, stronger, lighter
  • 2 0
 My legs are too short for a 29'er so yeah, no.
That said, I fought the 27.5 for a long time, and now I've built my DH bike into a mullet rider. The larger diameter helps, but it was more that I was forced to do this because a quality 26" triple crown fork is becoming really hard to find.
  • 4 0
 36"ers are for amateurs now. What about Patrick Ng's 39"er? www.behance.net/gallery/34035834/Ridiculous-XC-Bike-Interpolate
  • 2 0
 That’s a wild concept! Super strange to see bars behind the fork. I love that the renderings even have a little stick holding up the bike. My inner nerd is bothered though that they called this interpolation instead of extrapolation.
  • 2 0
 I have discovered that if you take every second letter of every word they've said in every podcast, randomise them and then run those random letter strings through a german World War 2 Enigma machine, you will get a link to a page on the Dark web. On that page is clear documentation of the Grim Donut enabling Rampage-like bike skills to any rider while been secretly tested in Utah. Realising that this was the One - bike - to - rule - them - all, and aware of the fortunes to be made - Pinkbike engineered a virus from Richard Cunningham's oldest riding socks to keep the curious and thieving Bike Industry out of Asia until they could produce billions of units to ensure total market saturation and global domination. I'm pretty sure Joe Rogan is going to cover the story any day now.
  • 2 0
 there is a huge market for wheels bigger than 29, most mtbers in my area are marathon bikers, they race 30+ km on flat fire roads every other weekend, they dont care about cornering, manualing, doing wheelies, jumping or anything technical, they care only about finishing those races as best as they can, it is a nice community I'll give them that, very familiar friendly, but as soon as a 32er or 36er comes out, they'll be all over it.
  • 6 1
 This is a joke...right?? ....RIGHT?!?!?
  • 1 0
 If you look at proportions and mimic off-road moto bikes a 29F26R mullet makes absolute sense. Not saying it is the perfect balance but it has worked for the better part of 50 years. As a 29er rider on an XL bike. I have a hard time imagining riding anything larger.
Not discussed here is gearing on a 36er in the back anyway would be challenging for us climbers. What a 24x60?
  • 1 0
 Dirtbike wheel sizes are 21in front wheel with an overall diameter of 28in with tire and 19in or 18in wheel with an overall diameter of between 26in and 27.5in depending on tire size. The equivalent in the mountainbike world would be a 650x2.5in front tire (650b is 23in in diameter) and a 26x2.8 (26in wheel measures 22in in diameter). 29er aka 700cc measure 24.5in in diameter and with a 2.5 tire come out with a diameter of 29.5in.
I run a 24/50 gear ratio on my bike to climb crazy steep stuff but would love a 60T expander cog so I don't have to run a 2x system!
  • 8 7
 Let’s be honest, we don’t need the sizes we have now ( full suspension basically eliminates the advantages of larger wheels).
The industry wants to sell more bikes, so more sizes...


For perspective, go watch the Collective from 2008. Those guys, on 26” wheels, are absolutely shredding Whistler.
  • 1 0
 Thank you for speaking truth.
  • 2 1
 I can’t comfortably stand over any 29ers and ver few 27.5 so screw an even bigger wheel/bike. If I was racing or even competing with myself maybe I’d buy into bigger tires=better performance, but for myself and the majority we want something fun, capable, and comfortable. And that we will be able to buy 10 years down the road!
  • 1 0
 Man maybe learn about moto before you go making statements about them they do have "sizing" and there is optimal fit! Some come with the sizing dif peg position and handle bar position from factory that is sizing the frame has to be the same size because of flex with motor ext.
  • 2 1
 I’m not sure where the upper limit is, but at the very least a 32 inch wheel sounds like it would work great for taller riders. It would be easy to build a 29/32 mullet with a whole lot of travel, and 32/32 at trail bike travel in larger sizes. I don’t like a lot of new “standards” because they don’t result in any noticeable improvement, but a new wheel size could be great for the right person on the right bike.
  • 2 0
 UCI 2025, only 6'7"+ former NBA players racing 36" wheeled DH bikes with 3000mm wheelbases down the side of a hill. Basically the equivalent of a pine car derby but on a bike.
  • 1 0
 As someone who is holding on to a 26 full-squish bike until it breaks. I'm all for this 32, 36 bike possibility. Lets just get it done fast so I don't have to waste money on a 29r in the meantime. 29 is arbitrary, no reason to stop there. I'm with Brian's argument for bike size to human size, I doubt bike companies will want to put that much effort/design in though.
  • 1 0
 If 32" wheels became a thing likely to come with that would be another variation of hub sizing to again improve lateral rigidity. I honestly think the dynamic sizing concept brought up in this discussion could very well become a thing when the major bike companies start using AI to evaluate permutations of geometry against riding performance. Likewise the use of AI will better enable and justify the pursuit of 32" or even 36" wheeled bikes and make it easier to pursue them. The question does inevitably become how many different wheel sizes and variations in geometry can the market really manage? I mean geez look at what we've already got (am I'm probably overlooking some):

20, 24, 26 (albeit not very well support these days), 26 Fat, 27.5, 27.5+, 29, 29+ (also not well supported).

36 may be too far out there, but 32 could be viable particularly in the XC realm. I don't think anything larger than 29 will ever be on a Trail, Enduro, or Downhill bike ...but then we said the same thing about 26 so who knows.

With advances in flexibility of manufacturing, the additional cost for mfrs to accommodate more wheels sizes may not be as prohitibitibe as it once was. You do have to wonder though, does more options during the fuel the trend of very expensive bikes? High prices force many of us to only be able to afford 1-2 bikes, even when we likely would prefer to have 5-6 albeit at a lower pricepoint per each bike. High prices do not allow us to be able have many bikes across many wheel sizes and types. I do agree though, that maybe that is wrong way to look at this and that we should instead be selecting the right size bike for us based on how large/tall we are individually and that wheel size (along with geometry) should scale with rider size. When I worked in a bike shop I would automatically direct riders under 5-10" to 27.5 bikes, and taller riders to 29ers. I would slide those recommendations down a bit though when recommending XC bikes though.
Lastly I agree, will larger wheel, suspension travel requirements would need to be less and less with 120mm being a lot for a 36" wheel bike. Remember the early discussions where 100mm travel 26 bikes were equated to fully rigid hardtail 29ers? Same goes for wheels larger than 29, although I'm also inclined to say there are probably diminishing returns on that philosophy. I highly doubt a 100mm travel 36" would have equivalent performance to a 200mm 26" downhill bike, even that logic would seem to suggest that could be the case.
  • 3 0
 We've got a good thing going right now. 2 wheel sizes that work. Leave it alone. Stop putting little whispers out there someone might take this sh*t too seriously!
  • 1 0
 Everyone (including the industry experts) needs to stop saying the word "standard" and getting angry. A new/updated designs is not a new "standard" for faxks sake's... Did people get pissed off when 200mm rotors came out when 180mm was the "standard"?
  • 3 0
 Can’t imagine getting air on larger wheels. You would loose all the feel. Just like double bagging your shlong, just unnecessary.
  • 1 0
 I don’t mind if bigger sizes become an option, but the smaller wheel sizes need to stay an option for small people like me! I’m 5ft 1. I currently ride a size small Kona Process 27.5 (425mm reach) and it’s the perfect wheel size and frame size for me. I’ve ridden 29ers, but with such a small frame size the bike looks and feels awkward. And, more bike companies are starting to make more 29ers instead of 27.5 bikes, especially for DH bikes and short travel trail bikes.
  • 1 0
 Funny that's the same reach for my medium dh bike from 2016
  • 1 0
 I think we all forgot how it was riding a 26 wheel bike. We all understand the benefits of bigger wheels: it's easy to keep speed, it's more stable on speed, roll over stuff. But there are a downsides. And small wheels is way more agile and nimble in tight corners and technical stuff so it simply takes you less effort. I can easy realize that even by pitting 27.5+ on my 29 bike. It's easier to maneuver and handling feels more sharp and secure.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer @mikelevy If you guys are curious, my last two high end hubs that exploded were a Hope Pro 2 and a Pro 4. I will be trying a DT 350 next. Last two frames were the Mega 290 and Covert 29 both of which were very heavy compared to a lot of similar frames. I went through 3 Covert frames, and am on my second Mega. The Mega lasted two years which is twice as long as any other frame I've had. The front triangle on the Mega seems really stout, but I wonder if I should be riding a bike with shorter chainstays than I prefer so that there isn't such a huge lever arm when I land a little sideways. I build trail bikes with mostly DH components to help them last a little longer, and since making that change I've had better luck with tires, rims, cranks, and bars. I think my trail bike tips the scales at just under 37 lbs which is fine by me, and I would gladly take an extra pound or two on the frame to get a little more life out of it.
  • 1 0
 I will never be able to do what Cedric Gracia did on a Cannondale Profit...I own one OR what the guy in the 2013 ad could do on a 2013 Specialized Enduro...to their fullest performance capacity...I am happy owning both bikes....the closer they get bikes to be like motocrossers the better bike will ride ... mullet seems the way to go!
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Just googled skateboard wheel sizes and they do actually come in different sizes. Standard are from 48mm to 68mm. The exact same ratio as 26" to 32.5". Interesting...
  • 1 0
 So is this an industry feeler because theyre worried tall people don't have access to appropriate sized bikes? Hahaha shameless no doubt. The industry hasn't cared about small left out segments of consumers in years (ever?) Theyre trying to make the current goods obsolete in another 5 years so they can sell another round of "new" marginally different components.

The not so funny thing is that rarely do these "upgrades" make bikes funner to ride - mostly just easier to ride and safer for less fit and poorly skilled bike handlers.
  • 1 0
 I want to apologize to everyone who had their weekends ruined that I asked the "why is 29" the limit?" question after the last podcast. But thanks @mikelevy and team for picking it up!

Related to this: Will professional DH turn into a big-guys sport, like Basketball? I see that 5.2" people can´t ride 36" wheels and if bigger-is-faster, then future generations of DH riders could look like an NBA team.

And one tech question, in case you have time in one of the next episodes: Do you think they will move the freewheel from the rear into the bottom brackets? I know it would never work with a 2x11, but with a working chainguide before the chainring, I only see advantages: Weight goes from the unsprung mass in the backwheel towards the center of the bike and we could shift without pedaling!
  • 1 0
 OK Im way late to the party BUT I ride a 36er well actually a couple of them, Im just a tick under six foot and smash the scale at 300# the advantages out way the disadvantages. My bikes have a wheel base of 49.5 to 50 inches with an overall length of 7 feet so switchbacks have to well placed but not to much differently than my XL Capra, the sluggishness is mostly felt on from a dead stop after that that's a mute point. the gyroscopic effect of the wheels has the same or similar feeling as we had going from 26 to 29 when you go 29 to 36. these bike roll over everything. Also I made a SM/MED for a guy five foot eight the TT crowds the boys a little because it rises a lotto clear the front tire.
  • 3 0
 If the donut doesn’t have it then it’s not practical. That bike is from the future!
  • 1 1
 I am glad to hear Trek are testing bigger wheels. Like with everything brands should test the limits of performance to then decide what future bikes will be like. If brands had done this with head angles and reach we wouldn't be seeing bikes get longer and slacker every year...
  • 2 2
 Im 6'4'' and have absolutely no desire to see a bigger wheel size, 29ers are big enough. We need a 28" wheel for mullet bikes as there is too big of a difference visually between 27 & 29". Then thats it, leave it alone, ride yer damn bikes!
  • 1 0
 This just in, Grim Donut final review postponed due to the lack of foresight to use 36" wheels. Grim Donut 2.0 is in the works and PinkBike will conduct a formal review once the new bike is complete...
  • 1 0
 Its a pain in the ass finding good fat tires in the existant sizes. Cars tires are cheaper than good 29er tires... Please keep alive or optimize existing things instead creating new needs. Our planet is not unlimited !
  • 1 1
 Another good episode guys. I'm intrigued to see where these larger wheels lead. As a tall guy (6'3") I definitely think 32" is a viable option. I think 36" is going to stay relegated to the boutique builders. @brianpark I'm totally with you on more options leading to proportional sizing, but I think your closing remark is flawed. We can't expect proportional sizing, including chainstay length, and not expect pricing to go up. That's more molds, more fixtures, more overhead. I think we're already starting to see it in premium brands, but unfortunately that's where it's going to stay: top level products and brands.

Also @mikekazimer you were a little skeptical of the Trek team testing these larger wheels and it sounded like you were suggesting they should be focusing on perfecting what they have rather than trying something new. But what if 29" isn't the ideal size and they're "perfecting" something that's a compromise in the first place. Not to mention r&d is happening everywhere, in every corner of the market. Some brands are focused on refinement, others are looking big picture and we're all reaping the benefits. I'm happy to hear when someone's trying something kooky. You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
  • 2 2
 I like this place, but why do you keep trying to have a negative impact on the industry via new labels/buzzwords for old products? I was under the impression your job was to report, not to market new product categories and test public acceptance.

At a certain point you aren't journalists but an extension of the bike industries advertising arm. If you're going to continually use this site to test the communities acceptance of "new" marketing terminology you can't be called journalists. The only thing it does is keep the price going up.

30 million Americans out of work and Cannondale is putting out a 4k base model bicycle. This industry sucks and it's because of the people in it constantly looking to extract dollars from the base without providing them a benefit.

The whole trail bike/down country thing wasn't cute. It's actually a big part of the problem that keeps 99.9% of people who don't currently own a nice bike from even looking at one. Annual obsolescence for multiple thousand dollar toys is detrimental to the industry, exacerbating that by constantly making new product categories and shoe horning old products into them while marketing them as some new advancement is just scummy business. It's dishonest. It's the bike industry.

It provides 0 benefit to the consumer, and instead of saying "no we won't let customers get ripped off by blatant marketing speak" you promote it...
  • 8 0
 - Trek, one of the largest bike companies, is experimenting with 32" and 36" wheels. If we didn't talk about this, we wouldn't be doing our job. None of us cycling tech editors are journalists, and it makes me cringe every time one of us implies that we are. At least you nailed that one. Your idea that I'm using the website to "test the communities acceptance of 'new' marketing terminology" is so far out to lunch that I can only imagine the other bullshit you choose to believe. We're all salty about something, I guess. Actually, we wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't tell people about it.

- We just reviewed a load of amazing bikes that cost under $3,000 and UNDER $2,000 USD, and there are tons of similar options out there. They're all much, much better than a $6,000 bike from five years ago. The industry doesn't "suck," it simply needs to make money like any other industry. If you want to piss one someone's cornflakes, why aren't you talking about everyone who has their hands in the pie before the bike gets to you? The industry does not suck; you're POV sucks.

- And yes, I totally get how "The whole trail bike/down country" thing and how it "keeps 99.9% of people who don't currently own a nice bike from even looking at one." ?????????????? Wait I don't because that makes no sense at all.
  • 1 1
 @mikelevy: "Your idea that I'm using the website to "test the communities acceptance of 'new' marketing terminology" is so far out to lunch that I can only imagine the other bullshit you choose to believe."

Nice attempt at a personal insult there Mikey. But what are your polls for if you aren't selling that information back to advertisers? The bike companies have people that follow this website and view the reactions from the community. To say it doesn't happen when these companies post under their company handles in the comments is ridiculous, Mike. It's dishonest.

You can take shots @ your "peers" but some of them are actually journalists, don't shit on them because you decided to take your career in the direction of a corporate shill. You're basically and instagram influencer. Some of them have integrity.
  • 3 0
 It’s getting close to time for government intervention.
  • 2 0
 Kudos to Kazimer for not yelling, he sounded like his head was going to explode.
  • 3 4
 Yes we do need an even larger wheel size at least road, gravel and xc does. If Nino or Emily Batty find 29ers rideable, then 5’11” + people can and should run 32” wheels. Outer diameter of road rim with 700x25c tire is like 27,5 x 2.0. Roadies riding mostly on flat, should totally run much larger wheels, they can make it into 700mm. A metric wheelsize. Their bikes are silly short anyways and run stupid long stems.
  • 8 0
 Roadies’ bikes are short wheelbase with long stem because it is the best geo to tuck into the slipstream of the peloton. The closer everyone get’s their bodies, the less wind can affect those in the middle. I understand why recreational riders of any kind, but especially mountain bikers need to get away from road race bike geo/standards, but as bikes for winning road races, they are highly evolved.
  • 2 3
 @Swervsroundsquirrels: sounds reasonable what you say about road racers, but I did mean amateurs indeed.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Word, recreational drop bar riders are now riding bigger wheels- 700c x 35+ all road/gravel tires on 23mm id rims are much bigger than 700c x 23mm slicks on 19mm id rims. And with bikes meant to ride a lot of pavement, aero profile/ crosswind ‘catchiness’ might become a diminishing return.
  • 1 0
 700cc x 25cc is actually around 26.5in in diameter so say 26x2.2. But I do agree Roadbikes would probably perform better with bigger wheels and I would add different geometry.
  • 2 0
 @Swervsroundsquirrels: lol! Roadbikes are as efficient as they are WITHIN the restrictions of the UCI rules NOT within the limits of what is possible.
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: "Their bikes are silly short anyways and run stupid long stem"

Wrong. Stay in your lane grandma.
  • 2 1
 @SintraFreeride: i am honestly looking forward to Road and gravel geometrons. Zero sarcasm here.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: That makes two of us. I made a cad drawing of one a while back:
www.instagram.com/p/B7-wiiCC5dh
  • 1 0
 How about just 1 giant wheel with a Fox 72 on it. That thing would roll forever. Might be hard to ride with the saddle on top of the stem though.
  • 1 0
 I'm old and slow and very happy with my 27.5 wheels. I'll just sit back and watch what people decide and see how long I can run what I've got.
  • 3 0
 when shitty riders think wheel size will help them progress ????
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy I keep on expecting you to say "Welcome to Pinkcast!" and then a huge commotion from kazimer and Brian saying it's the Pink bike Podcast
  • 3 0
 I do exactly that but they always edit it out Frown
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: that's terrible news. Also, Pinkcast is a terrible name.
  • 4 0
 @el-brendo: it's better than the phase he went through where he tried to always start videos with "hey Pinkers..."
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: HEYYYYY PINKERS!!!!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy @brianpark I think we need a HEY PINKERS sticker now.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark @mikelevy I identify as a pinker now. Please make it so I can put that as sex on my profile!
  • 1 0
 Ideas for the industries... what about a 28 inche wheel? or 28.5 or 27 or 29.5? They did not teach you this in business school right? LOL
  • 1 0
 Probably the most interesting podcast yet. I am very hesitant on bigger wheels. Hell I still have several 26s however my stache 29+ so an absolute blast.
  • 2 0
 We will all hit our bums if wheels get any bigger.
  • 3 0
 The thing is, gigantic wheels dumb everything down so much that you don't even need to stand up anymore. Just strap in and ghost ride yourself down the trail!
  • 3 1
 short king here , 27.5 feel big for me , I'll never ride 29 or even bigger
  • 3 0
 I think it’s great to have options that work for everyone. People under 5’6” might never want a 29er, but that doesn’t mean larger sizes aren’t a good idea for people on the other size of the height spectrum.
  • 1 0
 I'm waiting for the new supercaliber 36ers 69mm x 169mm rear end, 69° fork rake. Can't wait!
  • 1 0
 Ventana USA builds 36 ers for a co. I remember called
Dirty 6 ers maybe ? NBL players were the customer
Type
  • 2 0
 Unless you play in the NBA current sizes should suffice!
  • 2 0
 FFS... another wheel size!?
  • 4 3
 I'm 6'7, 29in wheels feel/look like I'm on a bmx bike! Look at Ben Cathro, makes his xxl 29er look dinky. I'm all for 36ers
  • 1 0
 Mike Levy hosts podcast from retirement home in 50 years titled: Do we need a smaller wheel size than 32"?
  • 2 0
 6' 3" here and 27.5 is still the best
  • 2 4
 Can we all agree to boycott the first company to bring our a new wheel size (like stop buying everything, let's send all of treks bikes to jenson etc if they try to roll this out)? We can complain all we want. If we vote with our wallets maybe they'll listen.
  • 2 0
 No, what we need is a new bottom bracket standard!
  • 2 0
 Question: are there World Cup rules limiting wheel size?
  • 1 0
 Monocycle!!!!!!!!!!!
Can ride over anything & even do backflips or frontflips just by pulling on the brakes?
  • 1 0
 When does it become the tire is too large for the trails?
  • 4 0
 when they tire cant get into a berm
  • 2 0
 They should just drop the bike and get a motorcycle and stop forcing the rest of us to change because they want to push a new standard on the industry.
  • 3 2
 @Sularma: No one is forcing you to change anything.
  • 1 1
 @pacificnorthwet: Not yet. Just a matter of time.
  • 2 1
 For large people a large wheel is great. Bring it on l say!
  • 2 0
 29.5 would be perfect
  • 1 0
 More speed needed for the same amount of fun? No thanks.
  • 1 0
 Sorry for giant people .... :-/
  • 1 0
 27.5” is the largest I’ll ride unless penny farthings make a return.
  • 1 0
 Would a 36, 32 mullet bike be know as a 26er???
  • 1 0
 Question for next week
What is the latest update with Pinkbike academy?
  • 1 0
 26" defines me as a person and I will never turn my back on 26"!
  • 1 0
 If wheel size is so important how come I still have KOMs on a 26"?
  • 1 0
 like bootys aren't getting sucked into wheels enough already with 29s
  • 1 0
 how on earth are you supposed to climb a 32 inch wheel??!!
  • 3 4
 Doesn't surprise me that Trek is at it again - pushing more proprietary standards up their asses!
  • 1 0
 Yes pushing so to speak ... Shatting more standards out their asses ! Really Mad
  • 1 1
 Gravy popcorn....
  • 2 2
 Cringe
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