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29er Advice

daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
edited June 2016 in MTB buying advice
I'm considering a Boardman MTB Pro 29er (hard tail) on the Cycle2work scheme. I've never had a proper MTB before, I currently have a Boardman Team Hybrid (solid forks) and a Planet X Carbon Road bike.

I'm finding that although my hybrid bike is great on road, it's a pretty bumpy ride off road - as you'd expect, despite fitting Schwalbe Land Cruiser tyres which clearly at least give it more grip. It's OK on fairly smooth paths etc but I've started to think recently about selling it to buy a MTB so I can use it on trails and generally more off road use now and again.

I would still need to use the MTB on road though - hence thinking a 29er might be more suitable. I know it won't be a match for the hybrid in terms of suitability for the road, due to the geometry, suspension forks etc, but if I put my Schwalbe tyres on it (700 X 35) I'd expect it to at least be fairly smooth. Fine for occasional road use I guess.

The price is the best bit - due to a current Halfords offer, plus further discounts and the Tax and NI saving, it would cost me under £400 over 12 months, for a bike that's already good value at £999 looking at the spec (http://www.boardmanbikes.com/gb_en/prod ... -29er.html).

I'd be interested to hear people's views on this - I can't store (nor afford to have) three bikes, and the on/off road use would be roughly 60/40 - hence the plan to fit lighter, more road friendly tyres.

How do others find MTBs, especially 29ers, for occasional on road use - particularly when fitted with smoother tyres?

Anything else I should take into consideration? It seems to be a helluva bike for £400..
2012 Scott CR1 SL
2013 Dolan Dual
2016 Boardman Pro 29er
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Posts

  • BriggoBriggo Posts: 3,823
    I have a Cube Reaction 29'er, fitted with Conti X Kings and Race King tyres which are knobbly but not mega knobbly, on my routes sometimes can include a fair bit of road work and are more than fine for this.

    I dont think you'd need slicks/semi slicks to be honest, the gains in mph would be marginal.
  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    I looked into buying a road or cx bike last year to use in the winter on road when the trials got really mucky or if I wanted to get out for a quick spin but a little short on time. I tried a few out but just didn't get on with the riding position and mainly how the bars felt when using the drops.

    I ended up getting a carbon hardtail 29er which I can quite happily use for 40 mile road loops at a decent pace or combination rides of road and more XC based trails. Most XC tyres roll pretty well on the road and the bigger wheels eat up distance so for me me I found it to be a really good compromise through the winter months or for quick XC type blasts off road.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
    Great advice, many thanks. It sounds like it will be more than bearable on the road.

    Does anyone out there have one of these (specifically the Boardman Pro 29er) who can comment on the bike itself?

    I'd also welcome any views on the spec, good and bad bits, bearing in mind though that it's effectively £400 and the front forks alone are about £300 to buy on their own!
    2012 Scott CR1 SL
    2013 Dolan Dual
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
  • Never realised how capable a CX bike was...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hf4prJL0fQ4

    I'll stick with my 26" XC bike for now though!
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    After a ride with BloggingFit last week I expanded my new bike list to include 29ers and bought one today.

    We'll see...
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    cooldad wrote:
    After a ride with BloggingFit last week I expanded my new bike list to include 29ers and bought one today.

    We'll see...
    Despite me bottling that stupid log drop...?

    Good decision though, what did you go with?
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • The SpidermanThe Spiderman Posts: 5,625
    I bought a Boardman Pro 29er a couple of weeks ago.
    I previously had a Giant Anthem 26er but having tried a friend's 29er was converted to 29" wheels.
    I live on the border if Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire where most of my riding is local ,mainly undemanding xc with ,with a mixture of single track linked by bridleways and frequent road sections.
    For me a 29er hardtail is the ideal bike as the increased rolling speed on road sections is marked,plus the extra traction of 29" wheels on local mud is welcome.
    I'm really liking the Pro 29er, the geometry on the new one is a little slacker and it now has 120mm forks so its pretty confident on downhills but doesn't compromise on speed. The 1 x 11 gearing is great and I find the ratios ideal. The spec is excellent,with no real shortcuts too.
    I have had some issues however with the seat tube and seatpost. When I first adjusted the saddle I noticed there was some roughness felt inside the seat tube. The seatpost was badly scored and when it was removed there were burrs and bits of fine swarf inside the tube. It's been back to Halfords twice now , for them to clean up,the inside if the seattube and is in its second replacement seatpost.
    I posted about this on another forum and several others have experienced the same. Even the display bike at my local store is similarly afflicted.
    It would seem that the factory don't ream the tube, correctly .Not sure if this is the same on all but as soon as I mentioned it several others said they'd experienced the same.
    So great bike but check the seatpost and tube carefully when you pick it up.
    2006 Giant XTC
    2010 Giant Defy Advanced
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
    2016 Pinnacle Lithium 4
    2017 Canondale Supersix Evo
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    cooldad wrote:
    After a ride with BloggingFit last week I expanded my new bike list to include 29ers and bought one today.

    We'll see...
    Despite me bottling that stupid log drop...?

    Good decision though, what did you go with?

    Being me it was never likely to be a new bike, but a hardly used (still had a warning sticker on the cranks) Trek Rumblefish Elite.

    After puncturing both ends on my test ride I'm also investigating tubeless. I feel so cutting edge.

    It was a toss up between that, a Canyon (new was tempting), a Turner 5 Spot (nice but a lot more bike than i can handle) and my heart's choice, a lovely SC Superlight dripping with Tune and CK parts.

    I hope my brain was right, or ir's getting traded in on a new one.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    Nice choice. I very nearly got one of those a few years ago but decided to go 26" with my first FS bike and got a Remedy.

    Definitely go tubeless with it. I've yet to have a puncture with tubeless that meant I had to resort to using a tube to get me home. Even suffered two slices through a minion dhr2 and kept it going until I sold my nomad with it sealing up.

    You doing another SH ride this weekend on it?
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    I think we had Saturday morning pencilled in. I'll let you know.

    I'm heading up this afternoon probably, for a fiddling and adjusting session.

    With a puncture kit.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
    Thanks for the replies, it sounds like it should be a good buy, I just need to make sure I find the time to get organised & use it enough on XC trails to get the benefit of making the change!

    Good tip on the seat tube, I will ask my father in law to use his reamers to sort it - probably better than messing about with Halfords trying to sort it out...

    Any more views/help would be much appreciated.
    2012 Scott CR1 SL
    2013 Dolan Dual
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
  • daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
    A further question - I'm 5'9'' (and 31" inside leg) and not sure what size to go for - the options are 16", 18" or 19".

    I was thinking 18" from what I've read, but would be interested to hear what others think.
    2012 Scott CR1 SL
    2013 Dolan Dual
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    If it helps I'm almost exactly the same dimensions and 18/medium is right for me in just about any bike ever made.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
    Thanks, I have sat on an 18" (different bike but very similar geo) and it felt right.

    I also have a question about the brakes. The bike comes with SRAM Guide R brakes, which unlike the top line RSC model, don't have contact point adjustment, only reach adjustment on the levers.

    Has anyone got experience of the SRAM Guide R brakes, i.e. how you find them? Any comments on how easy they are to set up, bleed, adjust etc ? Any issues with rubbing on the discs, and if so, is it easily adjusted?

    Forgive the daft questions but I'm not particularly experienced with hydraulic disc brakes...
    2012 Scott CR1 SL
    2013 Dolan Dual
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    daveb99 wrote:
    Good tip on the seat tube, I will ask my father in law to use his reamers to sort it - probably better than messing about with Halfords trying to sort it out...

    Any more views/help would be much appreciated.

    Don't go mad with a reamer - increasing the tube diameter by 0.1mm will give you a headache with slipping seatposts. Just check for any burrs and file them smooth.
  • The SpidermanThe Spiderman Posts: 5,625
    The Guide R brakes are superb. I've always previously had Shimano and came from Shimano XT on my previous bike. Plenty of power, nice modulation, nice lever shape and personally not fussed about the extra features on the RSC.

    Yet to bleed it service,but tutorials are available on you tube. Too early to comment on reliability but online reviews I've seen suggest that they are much better than the previous Elixirs.
    2006 Giant XTC
    2010 Giant Defy Advanced
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
    2016 Pinnacle Lithium 4
    2017 Canondale Supersix Evo
  • daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
    njee20 wrote:
    daveb99 wrote:
    Good tip on the seat tube, I will ask my father in law to use his reamers to sort it - probably better than messing about with Halfords trying to sort it out...

    Any more views/help would be much appreciated.

    Don't go mad with a reamer - increasing the tube diameter by 0.1mm will give you a headache with slipping seatposts. Just check for any burrs and file them smooth.

    Thanks, I'll definitely take that approach...
    2012 Scott CR1 SL
    2013 Dolan Dual
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
  • daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
    The Guide R brakes are superb. I've always previously had Shimano and came from Shimano XT on my previous bike. Plenty of power, nice modulation, nice lever shape and personally not fussed about the extra features on the RSC.

    Yet to bleed it service,but tutorials are available on you tube. Too early to comment on reliability but online reviews I've seen suggest that they are much better than the previous Elixirs.

    Thanks, that's good to know.

    So, what's the common consensus here? For £400, minus the proceeds from my hybrid (£300-400 perhaps) should I do this, or hang on to the hybrid but accept that I'm limited to smooth path use and on road (where it will be far superior to the 29er of course)?

    Suppose it boils down to my real need for off road use - which is limited currently, but not if I get into it.....;)
    2012 Scott CR1 SL
    2013 Dolan Dual
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
  • The SpidermanThe Spiderman Posts: 5,625
    The Pro 28er is perhaps more versatile but overkill if you never take it off road. With slicks it will probably not be much slower than your hybrid and it dies give you the option of getting into more demanding off road trails........
    2006 Giant XTC
    2010 Giant Defy Advanced
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
    2016 Pinnacle Lithium 4
    2017 Canondale Supersix Evo
  • daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
    That's what I thought, thanks.....

    Question on the forks - I can't seem to find out whether they have full lockout capability, does anyone know? They are the RockShox Reba RLT Air - 120mm travel. I've also seen lockout on handlebars mentioned?
    2012 Scott CR1 SL
    2013 Dolan Dual
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
  • The SpidermanThe Spiderman Posts: 5,625
    The Pro 29er is perhaps more versatile but overkill if you never take it off road. With slicks it will probably not be much slower than your hybrid and it does give you the option of getting into more demanding off road trails.
    2006 Giant XTC
    2010 Giant Defy Advanced
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
    2016 Pinnacle Lithium 4
    2017 Canondale Supersix Evo
  • daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
    Update - bike ordered :)

    Thanks for everyone's input, looking forward to getting the bike towards the end of the week hopefully. Seems like a helluva bike for £400 after all the discounts - full SRAM GX, SRAM Guide R brakes, Rockshox Reba RLT forks, Mavic rims, Conti MK tyres, and it only weighs 11.5kg which I guess is pretty good for a 29er.
    2012 Scott CR1 SL
    2013 Dolan Dual
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
  • daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
    Brief update......I'm picking up the bike tomorrow evening.

    I'll be checking the seat post for the aforementioned score marks, anything else I should check? The guy who is building the bike does seem to be a proper enthusiast, but who knows what could be lurking?

    Can someone give me a quick list of what to check to make sure it has been built properly?

    I can think of a few, but there must be more:

    Brakes (pad clearance, rubbing)
    Wheel alignment & trueness
    Gear adjustment
    Headset / stem tightness
    Look for any scratches or marks
    Plus the seat post of course..
    2012 Scott CR1 SL
    2013 Dolan Dual
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
  • The SpidermanThe Spiderman Posts: 5,625
    I think you have everything covered there.If you haven't had air forks before get them to show you how to set the sag,rebound and compression.Theres also lockout with a threshold adjustment which determines the force required to overcome the lockout function.
    Also wheels have thru axles rather than quick release so get them to show you how to remove wheels.
    2006 Giant XTC
    2010 Giant Defy Advanced
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
    2016 Pinnacle Lithium 4
    2017 Canondale Supersix Evo
  • The SpidermanThe Spiderman Posts: 5,625
    So did you pick it up? How are you finding it?
    2006 Giant XTC
    2010 Giant Defy Advanced
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
    2016 Pinnacle Lithium 4
    2017 Canondale Supersix Evo
  • daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
    Yep, picked it up. Seat post was scratched as expected, so they have removed the burrs and I have a new one. Everything else seems to be spot on, though the gears need a tweak. Just removing all the damned reflectors etc, fitting a couple of bits then I'm heading out for a short test ride...
    2012 Scott CR1 SL
    2013 Dolan Dual
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
  • daveb99daveb99 Posts: 273
    First ride completed early this morning! 8 miles, half of it off road (canal tow path, grass, gravel, mud, tree roots etc) so quite a demanding first MTB ride especially with the path very close to the water at times....

    No climbing other than the road sections.

    Loved it, gears definitely need some adjustment as I had more chain noise than expected and it slipped into a higher gear a couple of times. It's SRAM GX - any tips?

    Also locked out the forks for the road sections, I noticed there is still some compression though, is that normal?

    Finally.....tyre pressures, they seemed very hard, which is good for road of course but I might drop them a bit. What pressures are good for XC stuff, 40-50psi perhaps? I will check them shortly to see what they are currently.

    Obligatory photos here https://m.imgur.com/a/yzGnN
    2012 Scott CR1 SL
    2013 Dolan Dual
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Parktools, link below, for all tech stuff.
    Forks will still move - it's not a lockout.
    I use between 25psi and 35psi depending on terrain, tyres etc. Normally front aound 25 and rear about 30.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,156
    If the tyres seem hard then drop them down a touch, I hate the wallow in tyres so run them mildly higher, mountain kings I ran at 40psi though the much bigger and burlier hans dampf I run at 30psi.

    a old MTB I use for parks/canal commuting I run 40psi on nobbly nics which are broadly like Mountain kings.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    I use ground controls at 40psi for xc riding as i prefer a firmer ride and it works well for my needs. They grip well and have very consistent handling. Mainly ride fire roads, single track, bridleways and byways. Occasionally ride in trail centres but not that often.
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