Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB beginners

More test ride rumination.

Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
edited June 2013 in MTB beginners
Had a bit of a test ride on two more bikes back to back this afternoon - Trek Fuel EX 26er and their new Fuel EX 29er (both in same spec level, so directly comparable). Rode the 26er first and straight away (to me, as a newbie) it felt very good - plush suspension, light enough, nimble and very chuckable, really liked it. I can't do manuals, but even I was managing small ones on it.

Then I rode the 29er. From the first few pedal turns it felt very good. Really plush like the 26er (same suspension design), but it felt shorter, livelier, more nimble and chuckable than the Rumblefish Pro 29er I demod recently. Even to my inexperienced hands (and feet) you could really feel how much development's gone into making 29ers ride more like 26ers in even just the last year or two, and with the plush 120mm travel, dual chamber shock and those big monster truck wheels it just felt like it would steamroller over whatever you pointed it at (for example, it was noticably smoother riding down a flight of stone steps than the 26er - there were no rock gardens handy).

But (there's always a but), to my inexperienced assessment, the 26er did still shade it in terms of sheer chuckability and throwing it around. Both felt like great bikes, that would be confidence inspiring all rounders. My prejudices tell me that I don't want a 29er, and I don't want to want one, but having ridden two now to see what the fuss is about, I can't help thinking maybe I do. I am confused and bewildered. This must be how closet bisexuals feel... :?

Posts

  • ncnncn Posts: 123
    I kind of came to the same conclusion as yourself, but I really wanted to like a 29er, no matter how many I tried I just preferred the 26 so that's what I bought I must say so far I have zero regrets in my decision :)

    Go for what feels better as ultimately it's you that is going to be riding it.
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    :lol: Is that the MTB equivalent of cross dressing?...
  • BoromedicBoromedic Posts: 96
    It's all down to individual preference really but from experiences with my group of mates I'd go 29er all the way. I had an old Orange P7 fully rigid and needed to upgrade to a hardtail as my wrists and hands were taking a pounding and we were going off to do a 4 day charity bike ride so didn't want 4 days of worsening pain! Without testing any bikes I decided after much deliberation, web browsing and mag reading to go for a Ghost 29er, one of my other mates plumped for a Santa Cruz Highball 29er also. The other lad we were doing the ride with tried both our bikes and wasn't convinced for similar reasons as you mentioned so went for a 26, by the end of day 2 on the ride he was loudly regretting his decision.

    That experience is very much down to the fact we rode 4 days continuously, and isn't necessarily applicable if you don't ride off-road day in day out. However it does say you shouldn't base your buying decisions on how easy it is to pull a wheelie on a 26" compared to a 29er!! (Which was his rationale at the time)

    Everything you said in the OP is pretty much spot on, they do feel like they will ride over anything and I think the bigger wheels have got me out of trouble more than once. They aren't as chuckable though but it depends on what riding you're doing whether that matters, and I don't feel like I'm any slower through tight twisty stuff than any of my mates on 26" bikes. As for 650b, that could well be a great middle ground but all the mags are saying there's censored all availability of tyres and spares etc. so I think that's worth bearing in mind maybe.
    "I should live in salt for leaving you, behind"

    Ghost HTX Actinum 29er
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    If having too much choice is causing you problems, buy a 650B- most shops don't sell the parts for them, lots of tyres still aren't available for them, therefore making your purchasing decisions much easier!
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Boromedic wrote:
    The other lad we were doing the ride with tried both our bikes and wasn't convinced for similar reasons as you mentioned

    Having ridden two 29ers I'm completely comvinced that they work - round Gisburn the monster truck wheels and expensive suspension of the Rumblefish Pro rolled over everything, floating over sections that were battering me on my cheap hardtail. It's just a question of what you want from a bike, and what you want to do with it. If I was a marathon XC type rider or racer then it would be a 29er without doubt, but for tooling round trail centres just for fun, I'm not sure they're necessarily the way forward (despite their obvious abilities).

    650B? As far as i can see that's more a product of marketing than anything else, but it seems manufacturers are set on pushing it, so it could well be here to stay - whether or not it offers any significant advantage over 26" wheels I don't know, having not tried one. I was looking at one of these yesterday though, and it did look very nice (felt light too) - surely it should be orange though:

    Lycan_652_fad54808ba42624ca43df5f37700d869.jpg

    As for riding for 4 days - it wouldn't matter what size wheels I had, cos it would kill me, lol.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    Having ridden two 29ers I'm completely comvinced that they work - round Gisburn the monster truck wheels and expensive suspension of the Rumblefish Pro rolled over everything, floating over sections that were battering me on my cheap hardtail. I

    It's not a very good comparison, that...

    I'm yet to ride a 29er that's as good as either of my 2 favourite 26 inch bikes, but then, I'm yet to ride any other 26 inch bikes that are as good as them either ;) Perhaps they're out there. When I find one, it'll be because it's brilliant not because of its wheels.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Northwind wrote:
    Having ridden two 29ers I'm completely comvinced that they work - round Gisburn the monster truck wheels and expensive suspension of the Rumblefish Pro rolled over everything, floating over sections that were battering me on my cheap hardtail. I

    It's not a very good comparison, that...

    I know - I said at the time of riding it that i wasn't sure how much of the bike's ability was down to the big wheels, and how much was down to the expensive suspension (it was a £3250 bike, after all), but even with my lack of experience you could feel those big clown wheels rolling over rocks, roots, steps etc very well, but at the end of the day I'm not (and never will be) a racer (nor am I interested in any of that Strava bollox), so I'm more intersted in which bike's going to make me smile, rather than which might be fastest according to a stopwatch.
  • BoromedicBoromedic Posts: 96
    Boromedic wrote:
    The other lad we were doing the ride with tried both our bikes and wasn't convinced for similar reasons as you mentioned

    As for riding for 4 days - it wouldn't matter what size wheels I had, cos it would kill me, lol.

    Lol, yeah it was tough going at times, but great fun as well!
    "I should live in salt for leaving you, behind"

    Ghost HTX Actinum 29er
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    About 15 miles off road is the limit for my legs currently, lol. Need to get more practice.
  • BoromedicBoromedic Posts: 96
    I've just received my copy of WMB and they've done an article on big wheels (650B and 29ers) and they point out that a lot of the main manufacturers are moving most of their best name bikes (they highlight Lapierre particularly) into either of them sizes potentially indicating that 26" will become rarer and rarer.

    I personally think the mags do very much like to provide "news" and provoke debate and I am less prone to believe that 26" wheels will be consigned to history. On that bike ride there was 56 riders, some with really expensive high end bikes, and only 3 of us had big wheels, its exactly the same when I go to the trail centres you hardly ever see 29ers or 650's. So despite what they say in the mags, in the real world most people still buy and ride 26" wheels so it would be foolish for any manufacturer to completely abandon them. Plus like ncn says, its all about the ride of the bike you want, big wheels or not!
    "I should live in salt for leaving you, behind"

    Ghost HTX Actinum 29er
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Boromedic wrote:
    in the real world most people still buy and ride 26" wheels so it would be foolish for any manufacturer to completely abandon them.

    Why? The manufacturers can dictate what we ride by choosing what to manufacture. If they say 26ers have no future on new bikes then they can make it a self fulfilling prophesy. If they drop 26ers (as most seem to be doing for 2014) then all the people who are led by fashion, hype and press reviews (and those who queue to buy Apple products) will buy an expensive new bike, while all those who still love 26ers will be forced to go 650B or 29er for their next bike anyway (they're not going to give up riding because they can't buy a new 26er anymore) - it's a win-win situation for the manufacturers.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    Boromedic wrote:
    in the real world most people still buy and ride 26" wheels so it would be foolish for any manufacturer to completely abandon them.

    Specialized very nearly have. Giant look to be following. And any company that's gone big sticks for 650b will want to- they're parallel lines, it's expensive to run both.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    There'll still be plenty of older bikes around and demand for bits. My oldest mountain bike is 26 this year, and even my nicest bike is over 5. Most people don't change their bikes every year.
    Generally just fat Audi driving banker types and students wasting my taxes.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    In fact the combined ages of the bikes lying around here is approaching 100. So even older than me.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • BoromedicBoromedic Posts: 96
    Why? The manufacturers can dictate what we ride by choosing what to manufacture. If they say 26ers have no future on new bikes then they can make it a self fulfilling prophesy. If they drop 26ers (as most seem to be doing for 2014) then all the people who are led by fashion, hype and press reviews (and those who queue to buy Apple products) will buy an expensive new bike, while all those who still love 26ers will be forced to go 650B or 29er for their next bike anyway (they're not going to give up riding because they can't buy a new 26er anymore) - it's a win-win situation for the manufacturers.

    I get what you say, and to a degree your bang on that the hype led Apple buying crowd (not a fan myself) will buy whatever products they are sold like sheep really. That said manufacturers still can't ignore their core markets and if you read a lot of forums where most of the hardcore MTB'ers hang out there's not much love for the big wheelers around and bizarrely even a lot of misplaced hatred in some corners!

    Even on that ride a few of the hardcore carbon framed full susser guys were viewing our 29ers as some form of witchcraft, with the odd kind of prejudiced comment thrown in. We were expecting to be ducked and then hung! So that demand for 26" will always be there I think and if it does drop out of fashion for a while, give it a few years and it'll be the next big thing! Stuff always comes around full circle (pardon the pun), and even if the major manufacturers drop 26" there'll always be the smaller guys like On One etc. who will cater to whatever as long as there's a demand. The marketing people will try and lead it where they want to go so you can give them your money every 5 minutes, doesn't mean you have to spend it though; and a lot of people on here and other forums are a lot cleverer than the marketers and companies think.

    Bill Hicks says it best though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo
    "I should live in salt for leaving you, behind"

    Ghost HTX Actinum 29er
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    edited June 2013
    Boromedic wrote:
    demand for 26" will always be there I think and if it does drop out of fashion for a while, give it a few years and it'll be the next big thing!

    That's exactly what I said recently, lol. We're obviously both cynics :wink:

    I'm already hung, but I don't think getting ducked sounds much fun, ha ha :lol:
  • BoromedicBoromedic Posts: 96
    Boromedic wrote:
    demand for 26" will always be there I think and if it does drop out of fashion for a while, give it a few years and it'll be the next big thing!

    That's exactly what I said recently, lol. We're obviously both cynics :wink:

    I'm already hung, but I don't think getting ducked sounds much fum, ha ha :lol:

    Hahaha!

    Yeah I reckon being cynical these days is the only way, too many cnuts trying to prise money from your wallet. If you think bikes are bad try playing guitar as well, the basic design of them and the amps you play through hasn't changed for decades yet the amount of snake oil manufacturers try to flog you is unreal, like the £20 mains cable that will make you play like Jimi Hendrix, honest guv.... God damn marketing men!!!

    Based on your saddle thread have you plumped for a Boardman 29er then mate?
    "I should live in salt for leaving you, behind"

    Ghost HTX Actinum 29er
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Boromedic wrote:
    Boromedic wrote:
    demand for 26" will always be there I think and if it does drop out of fashion for a while, give it a few years and it'll be the next big thing!

    That's exactly what I said recently, lol. We're obviously both cynics :wink:

    I'm already hung, but I don't think getting ducked sounds much fum, ha ha :lol:

    Hahaha!

    Yeah I reckon being cynical these days is the only way, too many cnuts trying to prise money from your wallet. If you think bikes are bad try playing guitar as well, the basic design of them and the amps you play through hasn't changed for decades yet the amount of snake oil manufacturers try to flog you is unreal, like the £20 mains cable that will make you play like Jimi Hendrix, honest guv.... God damn marketing men!!!

    Based on your saddle thread have you plumped for a Boardman 29er then mate?

    I don't play guitar, but in my last job i worked with a guy who does, so got an insight into that world, and couriers occasionally turned up with expensive boxes from Thomann.de site, including one rather large one that contained a very heavy and presumably expensive amp. He wouldn't normally admit how much his purchases cost, but I did manage to eventually weedle out of him how much he'd paid for a handbuilt Tony Iommi replica, built by the guy that makes Tony's - £kerching... I know what you mean about cables - you can spend ridiculous money on hifi interconnect cables, and there's plenty of stupidly expensive HDMI cables out there that perform no better than a £10 one. I've been into motorbikes for 20 years, so have a healthy cynicism toward marketing hype and overpriced tat.

    After much deliberating (some would say fannying about) I bought the last brand new boxed 26er Boardman Team FS full susser that Halfords had on Tuesday, for £849.99. My heart wanted something fancier (and I nearly pulled the trigger on the £1400 2012 Trance X2 from Paul's Cycles), but I figured the Boardman was just too good a price to turn down, that I'll still be the weakest link on the bike, and if I keep it maintained and tidy then I can ride it for a year while my skills develop (and the whole wheel size debate plays out a bit more), then sell it next Spring for only a small loss if I want to upgrade, or go to bigger wheels (I'm going to take the white saddle & grips, bars and pedals straight off and keep those boxed up, then refit them if/when i sell it to make it look good for potential buyers). It's not the flashest bike out there, and my magpie side would've liked something tricker, but my head won (for once - I've got about nine grand in my Triumph that's sat under a cover and hasn't even been ridden since the end of last summer), and it just seemed the most sensible thing to do. And the whooshy noise the Rockshox Sektor forks make is quite cool, lol.
  • BoromedicBoromedic Posts: 96
    Hahaha, your story about your mate rings very true at this end!

    The thing is with most hobbies/interests the only way to get really good at something is to practice till whatever limbs/digits/muscles you use bleed and scream in pain. Marketers know though that in this day and age everyone wants a quick fix to make them the next Clapton or in this forums case Steve Peat etc. so they are able to sell you the next bling thing that will instantly transport you there but most people will never have the skills to really make the most of it (and I include myself in that bracket!). Clapton still sounds like Clapton even if he was playing a £60 amp and a pawn shop guitar, and I'm sure Peaty would make most of us look like mugs on a full sus Halfords Apollo!

    Nice bikes them Boardman Full Sussers and by the looks of the tyres etc your buying you should have a well sorted bike soon enough. Your plan sounds good as well, at least that way you've got time to adjust to whatever happens in the bike market. That whooshing sound is ace, my Reba does the same and it sounds mega!!

    Good luck with the bike and lets see some pics once she's dirty!
    "I should live in salt for leaving you, behind"

    Ghost HTX Actinum 29er
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Boromedic wrote:
    Hahaha, your story about your mate rings very true at this end!

    The thing is with most hobbies/interests the only way to get really good at something is to practice till whatever limbs/digits/muscles you use bleed and scream in pain. Marketers know though that in this day and age everyone wants a quick fix to make them the next Clapton or in this forums case Steve Peat etc. so they are able to sell you the next bling thing that will instantly transport you there but most people will never have the skills to really make the most of it (and I include myself in that bracket!). Clapton still sounds like Clapton even if he was playing a £60 amp and a pawn shop guitar, and I'm sure Peaty would make most of us look like mugs on a full sus Halfords Apollo!

    Couldn't agree more. My Triumph's a serious weapon on twisty rural roads, and I can hold my own as a road rider, but anyone on a BSB grid could kick my censored on their paddock scooters - in any hobby/sport/pastime the gap between the top people and us mere mortals is immense, and they can do things with their bikes/guitars/whatever that we can't even comprehend, never mind hope to emulate. Your post there reminds me of this, lol:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8dZwXnMrRU

    :lol:

    Nice bikes them Boardman Full Sussers and by the looks of the tyres etc your buying you should have a well sorted bike soon enough. Your plan sounds good as well, at least that way you've got time to adjust to whatever happens in the bike market. That whooshing sound is ace, my Reba does the same and it sounds mega!!

    Good luck with the bike and lets see some pics once she's dirty!

    Cheers. I've not been out on her yet, need to give her a good check over (I don't trust Halfords builds), correct a couple of faults and get her trail ready, but I'll be sure to take some pics when I get her up to Gisburn. Took a couple of pics of the standard bike this evening, gonna start a thread in the bikes section (and from past experience I always take some pics of any new vehicle before ragging it, in case it gets unexpectedly smashed to pieces, lol.

    The whooshing noise reminds me a bit of the brake hiss on my old TDR 250, I always liked that.
Sign In or Register to comment.