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Stick to 26 or go 29?

KevancycleKevancycle Posts: 3
edited March 2015 in MTB buying advice
Hello everyone,

I currently own a 26" aluminum XC HT which weights around 10.5kg (23,1lbs). I use it mostly for training but also race on it in XCO events, around 10-15 races per year. I am not a pro (obviously :P) but I take my training and races seriously and place between 1st and 6th in my category, depending on the course. My free time is limited, therefore, I do not have the luxury of spending additional time on training.
In the next few months I am thinking of an upgrade but I do not know which way to go... I really like my 26", the way I can throw it around in trails, thus, I have only tried a 29" twice but they both were lower end bikes and I didn't like the way they handled nor could I sense a better roll over obstacles.
So now I am in a dilemma. My 2 options would be:
A) Get a Scott Scale SL 26" frame and change some other components like saddle, pedals etc to get the weight down to 9kg (19.8lbs), which would cost me around 1.500€ and in the future invest in a xx1 groupset which would lower the weight to around 8.4kg (18,5lbs) or
B) Wait a little longer and save up to get a Cube Elite C68 Pro 29" which costs 3.000€ and weights 9.8kg (21.6lbs) and invest on that in the future?

Would a 9.8kg 29" be faster than a 8.4kg 26"?
I'd really appreciate it if mostly XC Racers would answer my questions.

Thank you in advance!

Posts

  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    edited February 2015
    Njee is probably best placed to answer your questions having just swapped a 26" (FS but lightweight) for a 29" HT.

    As for which would be faster, well that depends on the course to an extent, but all the data I've seen suggests a 29er would still be faster as the quicker roll would upset the circa 2% increase in total weight.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    You called...

    As Rookie says - I swapped from a 20lb 26" FS bike to a 19lb 29er hardtail at the start of last year. Took a little bit of getting used to (not much), but I'm now quicker virtually everywhere, up and down, on the 29er. I'd say from a 26" hardtail the difference would be even more marked, but realistically you're taking pretty small margins.

    I'd not buy a 26" wheeled xc race bike now though, no chance. However I had the luxury of a relatively unconstrained budget, so there was no real weight penalty.
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    I like the feel of 26ers myself and will stick to them but accept that 29ers can be faster over distance - I'd go with what feels comfortable. Anyway, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxfrykeSNCE
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • shindigshindig Posts: 173
    I went with 27.5. Seems to roll better that 26", but the bikes dos feel a wee bit "gangly". Tried a couple of 29ers,but being a short-censored (29" inseam) did not like feel of them nor the aesthetics. Looked like clown bikes. I still have a 26er FS in my stable and will keep it.
  • Thank you all for the replies!
    Passout, I have seen that latest video and it's also a reason why I am sceptical about switching to 29.
    If the advantage, in a let's say 60min race, is less than 1 minute that is something I can live with since I am not a pro racer and considering the fact that I already do good with my alu bike against guys with carbon 29rs.
    I guess my next move would be to try a 29" similar to my current bike and then decide which way to go...
  • I've recently changed to a 29er HT and it is much quicker than my 26. What it loses (if anything) on the tight sections it more than makes up for on the climbs and grass sections but it doesn't always feel faster - be aware of that.
    Having said that I do think size (I'm over 6ft) and where you ride (xc in the south) are both very important and need to be taken into account.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I made the swap from a 26er orange evo o2 last year to a kenesis ff29. I run the 29er rigid with tubular wheels for racing. The 29er is definately quicker. I noticed it the first time i went out on it. I have other 26er bikes and none can match the 29er for pace over a good distance, on short pieces of trail yes but as the miles rack up the 29er simply saves energy. On the road the 29er rides more like a road bike with regards to pace. So if you want pace go with a 29er. There maybe some area like on very twisty tight trails were a 26er but over a lap how much tight twisty stuff is there really.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • mark~pmark~p Posts: 52
    Shindig has probably the most appropriate comment. It is all about what size fits. The 29" frames simply have to be bigger and if you are not tall the bikes are too large. There are one or two manufacturers that only produce the small frame sizes in 650b and if I remember correctly, some someone does it as a 26".

    Try them for size and see how they feel. If you can get to a demo day or one of the shops that hires out at a trail centre, give the different wheel sizes a go. I personally tried a 27.5 but in the end just did not like the feel and stuck with my 26" and did some upgrades.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Hogwash, I know two people who are both 5'3-4" and ride 29ers, Emily Batty (phwoar) isn't tall and rides a 29er just fine, it may look a little strange, but the frame fits and can be ridden just fine, after all the cockpit on a 29er doesn't have to be any bigger than on a 26er, the rear centre has to be longer and the overall length is longer, but the cockpit, no.
  • WindyGWindyG Posts: 1,099
    It has to be down to what suits each rider, i am 5'6" and for me a 29 just didn't work and a 27.5 was perfect, but my mate is the exact same height and build to me and rides a small frame 29 and loves it but couldn't get on with a 27.5.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    WindyG wrote:
    It has to be down to what suits each rider, i am 5'6" and for me a 29 just didn't work and a 27.5 was perfect, but my mate is the exact same height and build to me and rides a small frame 29 and loves it but couldn't get on with a 27.5.

    Don't get sweeping generalisations like this. Wheelsize is one part of a bike. I don't believe that you couldn't find a single one that 'worked'. It's a personal preference for sure, but agree with Rookie you can make a 29er work for folk shorter than 5'6".
  • WindyGWindyG Posts: 1,099
    I was being very general with what I said, overall I just mean it's a personal thing with whatever size of bike or wheel size you choose.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Wheelsize is just one part of what makes a bike ride a certain way. You can't choose based just on wheel size but that combined with geometry and suspension design defines how a bike will ride. One 29er can ride completely different to another.
    If you rode a Kona Process 111 back to back with a Specialized Camber 29er you wouldn't believe the difference, they are 29ers with 110mm suspension but ride so differently.
    The only issue with some small 29ers is that your foot can touch the front wheel in tight turns when forwards pn the pedal.
  • mark~pmark~p Posts: 52
    The Rookie wrote:
    Hogwash, I know two people who are both 5'3-4" and ride 29ers, Emily Batty (phwoar) isn't tall and rides a 29er just fine, it may look a little strange, but the frame fits and can be ridden just fine, after all the cockpit on a 29er doesn't have to be any bigger than on a 26er, the rear centre has to be longer and the overall length is longer, but the cockpit, no.

    In what way is it hogwash? To name just two, Santa Cruz and Yeti both have some ranges where small or extra small are only available in 27.5 and large is 29. One would assume that the designers do understand what they are doing and have made that choice for a reason. In MBUK fairly recently there have been some reviews where small has only been available in 26 or 27.5. What works for one person does not have to work for everyone. At the end of the day it is more important to have a bike that you enjoy riding rather than something that conforms to current trends.
  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    The Rookie wrote:
    Hogwash, I know two people who are both 5'3-4" and ride 29ers, Emily Batty (phwoar) isn't tall and rides a 29er just fine, it may look a little strange, but the frame fits and can be ridden just fine, after all the cockpit on a 29er doesn't have to be any bigger than on a 26er, the rear centre has to be longer and the overall length is longer, but the cockpit, no.
    Not sure using Emily Batty is the best example being a pro rider that has the legs to motor along a bigger wheel plus when racing doesn't really need to worry about the practicality of everyday use as you are simply riding flat out for 90mins or so. For your average rider at that height a 29er is potentially hard work to get going and manoeuvre. There has to be a cut off point for frame sizing on a 29er and for some it may still be too big at that sizing.

    Trek themselves use 27.5" on their smaller sizes until 17.5" when they offer the 29er option so there must be a general consensus that this is the way to go as I doubt they would spend out the money on R&D for nothing. Not saying it's right but there must have been enough testers of the different sizes to think the same for them to come to that conclusion.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    A 29er is hardly hard work to get going, and once going it's easier, as for manoeuvrability, well that applies equally to all sizes, as for slating mentioning a pro rider, how about reading the post you quoted about two friends (both female as it happens) who are short and quite happy on 29ers?

    A 29er can fit (the point being made earlier that they apparently didn't) a short rider just as well, they may not be what the rider wants, in the same way they aren't what I want and at 5'9.5" I fall into your OK category.
  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    The Rookie wrote:
    A 29er is hardly hard work to get going, and once going it's easier, as for manoeuvrability, well that applies equally to all sizes, as for slating mentioning a pro rider, how about reading the post you quoted about two friends (both female as it happens) who are short and quite happy on 29ers?
    Eh? Wasn't me quoting I'm afraid so I guess you got all flustered and confused after you thought I was slating you for quoting Emily Batty. Which I wasn't. Applying pro rider applications to the average person just isn't ideal. A racing situation will demand different equipment to a recreational one.
    A 29er can fit (the point being made earlier that they apparently didn't) a short rider just as well, they may not be what the rider wants, in the same way they aren't what I want and at 5'9.5" I fall into your OK category.
    OK category for a 29er, not ok for wheel sizing as the overall ideal fit compared to 27.5". If you were to read back.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Eh? Wasn't me quoting I'm afraid so I guess you got all flustered and confused after you thought I was slating you
    The Rookie wrote:
    Hogwash, I know two people who are both 5'3-4" and ride 29ers, Emily Batty (phwoar) isn't tall and rides a 29er just fine, it may look a little strange, but the frame fits and can be ridden just fine, after all the cockpit on a 29er doesn't have to be any bigger than on a 26er, the rear centre has to be longer and the overall length is longer, but the cockpit, no.
    Not sure using Emily Batty is the best example being a pro rider that has the legs to motor along a bigger wheel
    Certainly looks very much like you quoting me, unless you have been fraped or have got so "all flustered and confused" you've forgotten?
  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    The Rookie wrote:
    Eh? Wasn't me quoting I'm afraid so I guess you got all flustered and confused after you thought I was slating you
    The Rookie wrote:
    Hogwash, I know two people who are both 5'3-4" and ride 29ers, Emily Batty (phwoar) isn't tall and rides a 29er just fine, it may look a little strange, but the frame fits and can be ridden just fine, after all the cockpit on a 29er doesn't have to be any bigger than on a 26er, the rear centre has to be longer and the overall length is longer, but the cockpit, no.
    Not sure using Emily Batty is the best example being a pro rider that has the legs to motor along a bigger wheel
    Certainly looks very much like you quoting me, unless you have been fraped or have got so "all flustered and confused" you've forgotten?
    Nope I think you are still all confused. I am on about you mentioning about my posting about two female friends which wasn't me. As I did say in my last post.

    To me, to you. To me, to you...
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    This is confusing me now. It's a valid point that Emily Batty isn't necessarily representative of riders in general (sadly), but Rookie's friends aren't Emily Batty (again, sadly).

    I don't get the "hard work to get moving", whilst like for like a 29er is very slightly heavier there's not much in it, they're not exactly a slog to roll!
  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    njee20 wrote:
    This is confusing me now. It's a valid point that Emily Batty isn't necessarily representative of riders in general (sadly), but Rookie's friends aren't Emily Batty (again, sadly).

    I don't get the "hard work to get moving", whilst like for like a 29er is very slightly heavier there's not much in it, they're not exactly a slog to roll!
    It was simply that smaller riders may well find 29ers harder work to ride and using a pro wasn't the best example to prove otherwise. The rolling thing was comparative to a 26er if making the step up.

    Not sure where the Emily Batty association came from. Would have been pretty cool though.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    But is it a noticeable difference when you 'step up'? I don't think so, at all. The difference between tyres will be more than going up to a 29" wheel.
  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    You would have to ask someone using the smaller frame sizes to know. This takes us back to the likes of Trek offering 29ers from 17.5" and upwards and how they came to this decision. Did enough shorter test riders prefer 27.5" over 29er on the smaller frames or is it a marketing ploy?

    Having made the transition yourself I assume you found no really difference by the sound of it. If it were me looking at a light Carbon race style Hardtail I would go with a 29er.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    No, I mentioned them you twit, you quoted it! Try reading what I wrote properly instead of what you think I wrote....
  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    The Rookie wrote:
    No, I mentioned them you twit, you quoted it! Try reading what I wrote properly instead of what you think I wrote....
    Ah fair enough. Happy to admit when I have FUBAR'd.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Cool,
    Like I said I have two female friends, neither are tall, both ride 29ers, both are fairly serious cyclists 9as you'd imagine) and one actually has 2 29er's one geared and one SS, both get along just fine.

    As Njee mentions, a 29er on good tyres will take off just as well as a 26er on heavier tyres, while clearly the same 'quality' 26er will launch a wee bit faster, there isn't really that much in it.

    As it happens I ride a 26er, I just didn't like the way a 29er feels in tighter corners and as riding for me is about fun not speed (per se), so I've stuck with a 26er.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    The comment about 29er being slower to acclerate is not somethkng i have found. Mine accelerates very well quicker than all my 26ers but the wheels are lighter overall. A fors the size thjng there are no gneral rules. The bike has to fit and what fits best will depend on the geometrh of the bike. Too much argument in this thread based on generalisations.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
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