There is currently a lot of chatter going on around 29ers and they are becoming ever more popular and with every bike brand seeming to jump on the band wagon..Im wondering what real peoples experiences are of them.
It seems to me (so Ive been told) that the riding that I do, Ill benefit from one. Trouble is I also have another couple of bike things in my head..
The whole thing about rigid forks and 29ers doesnt seem to stack up for me - I ride a Kona Blast HT and without the front suspension fork (its knackered, but you get the point) it wouldnt appear to take any bumps at all..
I have also been reading a lot of biking stuff recently and have thought about avoiding the main stream brands now ( I have owned Konas most of my life) and am thinking about a niner (way too expensive) an on one - Id have to go to the showroom to try it out - up North (Im in the South of the UK) or looking at something else
Would really love to hear your thoughts on:
29ers in general (I am aware of all the articles and sites on them but want to hear from every day mtb'ers)
Rigid forks and 29ers
Buying a niche brand bike or sticking with a manufacturer like Kona - could go for the Kahuna or Trek - could go for the Cobia or Scott
Hey Matthew- I am new to this site but a long timer on MTBR- I just lurked here for awhile!
I started about 25 years ago on 26" full rigids, went to 26" front susp for a long time and many bikes/suspension lengths. Then I raced a carbon softail (rear susp of 1", no linkage-it just flexed chainstays) and stepped up to a full suspension 26. I got bit by the single speed bug on a 26 and then bought a 29 inch SS with 80mm fork in front. I have also rode 29 inch Full suspension for a while too-but it was too heavy at the time and lighter bikes were astronomical in price!
I have always kept the 29 SS and here is the facts and feel. Fact is, a 29 inch tire will roll over small rocks, roots and bumps better and smoother than a 26. Some people say it is not true. It is backed with science though, so maybe those folks who still deny believe the Sun revolves around a flat Earth too.
Feel wise- I can back it up. Some say a 29 accelerates a little slower and by physics- it should. Although I saw a dude do the math and a light 29 rear wheel accelerates faster than a heavy 26 wheel on paper. Another thing is turn in. When 29 inch bikes first came out, most did turn kind of lazily. However- the bike engineers on most of the brands have adjusted frame and suspension fork geometry to help with this. In fact, Gary fisher G2 geometry really was supposed to help. I will say if you ride a 29 like you rode a 26- you will definitely have trouble with steering. You need to change your technique a little just as you would if you rode a rigid, front or dual suspension bike-no matter what size.
My 29 SS has won some races against geared 26 bikes and I have had more than one person marvel at my prowess in the turns. But that is my technique and specialty. I never could jump so I will take at least one good skill!
With a 29'r- I like front suspension only. rigid is just too much for me, but a rigid 29 does soak up the small bumps much better than a 26 rigid. A fatter tire that has more air volume with a rim using quality double butted stainless steel spokes can mimic having one inch of suspension. I know I probably gave you more than you were looking for-but there is no real clear cut answer. Some people like apples and some don't. But you never know until you try!
I would suggest test riding one first. Check with your local bike shop if they have a demo program. I own a 2010 Diamondback Overdrive Pro model and for my "type" of riding I think it's terrific! Of course your opinion of the handling of the bike and the terrain you ride will dictate if a 29R is right for you. I should mention that I was skeptical of 29Rs a few years back, but like many others after riding one I was hooked!