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Santa Cruz dilemma...

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7/21/2021 6:26 AM

Hey Vital MTB Crowd
I have a small (well for me its a big deal) dilemma and maybe you guys can share your thoughts on it.

I am currency on a SC BRSN 2021 Model and have been riding this bike for some time now...having trouble adapting to this whole MX trend thats happening. Its just doesn't feel right having spare parts for both wheel sizes if you only have 1 bike, right?
Anyone else?

Was maybe thinking about upgrading to a full 29" (Hightower)..been riding 27.7" for a while, time for a change?

Thanks guys @ VITAL keep up the tidy work.


7/21/2021 7:23 AM

i think the spare parts thing (tires and tubes if nothing else), is a valid point. flatted a rear 27.5 the other day and didn't have a spare 27.5 tube handy to keep it rolling. it was an inconvenience for a minute. that's not a major hurdle to overcome IMO, but dual-wheel format requires some planning if you're prone to wrecking things.

i'm not that tall w/ short legs. i love 29ers on most trails but really like the small wheel out back when things get steeper.

is wheel buzz a consideration for you and your trails?


7/21/2021 7:45 AM

Thanks Spomer for the quick reply.
The area is live in (Alps) has literally in every direction different types of trails...home trails are steep and rocky, high alpine with flowy bits - so generally both wheel sizes will work.
As an active rider, wheel buzz shouldn't be a problem.

I'm 5.6" am have been riding 27.5" for a long time, tried some 29ers and liked them too.
The current situation here in Switzerland is that due to the COVID crisis, only complete bikes are available - no frame sets, so I will have to build up a new bike anyway.

I get the benefits (on paper anyway) about the whole MX format, but I should consider just staying with one wheel size.


7/21/2021 7:46 AM

I was on a full 27.5 V3 Bronson last season, then a GG Smash full 29 this season, and now just picked up a Bronson MX.

Tubes - You can actually use a 27.5 tube just fine in a 29 wheel (and vice versa actually), so you really only need one size of spare tube.

27.5 V3 Bronson - handling on that bike was telepathic for me, although it could be a handful when things got hectic in natural terrain, and I wanted a bit more reach.

29 - I have shortish legs, and rear wheel interactions caused some crashes. All involved rock drop offs in steep chutes, outside of those situations wheel interaction wasn't an issue, although there were many times I wanted the back end to come around quicker/easier. It's more confident than the V3 Bronson in technical terrain and when speeds pick up.

Bronson MX - unfortunately I didn't get in a full ride before breaking my hand, however initial impressions are that its easier to change directions even though the wheelbase is the same as the Smash, and the front end retains the feeling of being able to point it into rough terrain with confidence. I can't comment on how much more the rear gets hung up as I haven't had any time to tune it yet.


7/21/2021 8:04 AM

Im on the Bronson MX as well and really enjoying it. The bars can feel a little high when you're just sitting on the top of the trail, but its giving me a ton more confidence riding to be more aggressive. Never worried about grip when it starts to get rowdy and its been fun exploring different trails knowing whatever I come across the bike can handle.

As for carrying one tube for mixed wheels, anyone try shortening a 29in tube by rolling it up?


7/21/2021 8:05 AM

Full 29 is fast in the right conditions, but also a handful in others. If your trails are difficult to carry speed on, either by trail design or rider, I would not go full 29. There are a couple spots at my local spot that never gave me trouble before running 27.5 with a shorter rear and and wheelbase that was 50mm shorter than my new Enduro. My local stuff is more hiking trail/old school tech than most places though. On bigger steeper terrain the new bike is hands down much faster, almost as fast as I am on my dh bike.



7/21/2021 8:16 AM

Thanks for all the comments, I am sure that all the wheel sizes have their ad / disadvantages. Not really sure I am ready to ride this MX train - and to be honest the MX bikes look horrible in my opinion.
@yzedf - glad to hear you had your experiences already, I will not be going full enduro - more of the likes of the Hightower...I like pedalling and the rough stuff.
I don't want things to be easier, I want to challenge myself with new stuff and maybe the change to 29 will do just that...


7/21/2021 8:27 AM

won't a 27.5 tube fit in a 29 tire?

The biggest downside I can think of in terms of "spare parts" is not being able to swap your front tire to the back when the back tire wears out. I can't think of other spare parts that swap between front and rear wheels...


7/21/2021 8:34 AM

I ve tried wagon wheels and never went back to 27,5 or 26. And my wife riding a mx Liv: PIA to manage sets of tires/ spare tubes / wheels


7/21/2021 8:44 AM

Just switched from my V3 Bronson to a Ripmo V2. I have to say that the new generation of 29er are amazing. Zero issues with slow steering or accelerating. A good buddy of mine is on a Hightower and really likes it. MX wheels aren’t my thing but can see why they attract riders. can’t see myself ever going back to 27.5.


7/21/2021 9:01 AM

A couple of things to note. I am in accord with what has been said thus far. As for tubes (disclaimer: I haven't had to shove a tube into any tire in over three years since running inserts and using plugs when needed so for local sub two hour rides I don't carry one) a 29er will work in anything and can't imagine what other oddball parts you'd need to keep around that would be wheel size specific. I'm guessing that yr Bronson is the previous model that is 27.5? If you like it as a 27.5 so be it. You wanna "challenge" yrself then just ride shit that scares you, maybe get a hardtail or a single speed.

The above said, I'm 5'7" and have ridden 29ers for the last 4+ years. I attached a report I posted on an Evil forum below regarding this subject. The only downsides I mention below, but switching my bike to a MX set up cured those. Good luck.

Wreckoning V3 MX report/review: I built my medium V3 up last September/October and rode it in it's standard 29er guise until about a month + ago. Yes, it ruled, but being vertically challenged at 5'7" I did get some rear tire taint buzzes on some steeps. After the new Insurgent dropped and after reading an article about a mulleted Wrecker on NSMB I became Little Wheel (my GoT name?) curious. I always have ran it in X-Low and with my 170 Fox it puts the HA at a cool 63.5 degrees as well as lowering the bb to approximately 13.4". Had I put it in Low it would of had the same geo as it did with the 29er wheel. However, that super low ride feel kicks way too much tuchus to forgo. I had 170 cranks on it and I had to be a bit more mindful of pedal position, but then switching to 165's fixed that. So to wrap it up, Pros of going to a smaller wheel out back: It A. spins up/accelerates faster, B. has better clearance/no taint shaving due to my short legs, C. corners even better (lower bb, more flickable) and my favorite D. gets off the ground easier. Cons: None for me, but probably would not make much difference to someone over 6" tall. Some MX/Mullet bike reviews I've read say they notice the rear wheel hanging up more going down/through rough stuff, but I haven't noticed this. I guess having to build a new wheel and buying new cranks is a con, but I did it all relatively inexpensively. Lastly, the first Evil I spent any time on was a Calling which I still think is one of the most playful hooligan bikes out. Adding the Little Wheel poured some of that spice into the Wrecker stew for me. Ride on! Party.



7/21/2021 9:49 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/21/2021 9:56 AM

Inside the last 2 years my recent bikes have gone from full 29 - 27.5 - 27.5+ - Mullet - back to full 29. The only spares that were affected where tires, which wasn't an issue since I don't really run the same tire F & R anyways. I see it as really coming down to personal preference in the how the bike handles. Bike sizing and terrain might influence whether a mullet setup is better for you than full 29, or maybe you just like a more playful bike. As was mentioned, you can get a tube to fit either of those wheel sizes without any fuss on the side of the trail.

On the Levo I used to have, I really liked the 27.5x2.8 Eddy Current rear with the 29x2.6 front. But those are heavy tires that I wouldn't want to pedal around without assist. The ebike is gone now and I'm back to 29" on a short travel trail bike. My personal feeling is now that the geometry of the bike seems to make a bigger difference in handling than wheel size.


7/21/2021 10:23 AM

I've religiously ridden 27.5 since 2016. Lot of miles on that size, even went out of my way to get my current new bike (2020 sight) in full 27.5.
Bought my dad a new Optic and rode it probably a half mile on a mellow trail. I can say in confidence that my next bike will have at minimum a 29" front wheel. Haven't decided on the rear as of now. I'm not too hung up on the MX vs. full 29" thing yet. I'm 5-7 with normal or slightly long legs and do not feel any concern about tire buzz with a 29. If it came down to it and the bike with the correct geo that I was set on buying had a option between MX or full 29" I'd probably give the MX a shot. But if the bike I wanted was 29" only then I wouldn't hesitate.


7/21/2021 10:40 AM

You can use a 26 tube on a 29er just to finish the ride until you get home. It’s also a lot smaller to carry it with you than a 29 tube.

I m 170cms, 27.5 for 3 years, and I m on a medium Sentinel for one year now. I love the bigger wheels, and although I miss the 27.5 on more slower technical trails, I will never go back. For us, shorter fellas, the rear tyre touching the ass on the steeper stuff, is a problem, but with me it only happened a couple of times in the beginning, then I adapted.

If I were you, I would ride the bike for a couple of months more. Try a diferent stem or a diferent handlebar rise before you spend money on the Hightower. As an example, on my personal case, ( Transition Sentinel) I ve started and insisted for a long time with a 40mm stem, 15mm spacers underneath: bike was good but not amazing! I was thinking about selling the bike but before that I tried a 35mm stem with a 5mm spacer underneath and it was an instant success! Your bike is good, maybe it’s just a set up thing for you.


7/21/2021 10:57 AM

hbelly13 wrote:

A couple of things to note. I am in accord with what has been said thus far. As for tubes (disclaimer: I haven't had to shove ...more

Hey mate

I remember you from mtbr (hell belly). We both had Banshee Rune and I always liked your posts, some good insights you had.
You’re on Evil bikes now? Great looking bikes, that’s for sure!
Anyway, ride on man 🤘🏻

Ps: sorry for the off-topic guys


7/21/2021 11:16 AM

@hbelly13: Thanks for the review on your Evil, sounds interesting.
Regarding "scaring" me when I say the trails here are rad...I did spice it up thought and built a Comic BFE 27.5 Hardtail and that thing was awesome...sold it because it was either the Bronson or that.
I never thought there would be so much rider input in this forum, but its good to hear that no everyone has the same experiences.
Its a tough decision - maybe I should try something new and just go with it.


7/21/2021 12:27 PM

Nunes76 wrote:

Hey mate

I remember you from mtbr (hell belly). We both had Banshee Rune and I always liked your posts, some good insights ...more

Hey man! Yeah empty beer dot com became a bit tired. I still have nothing bad to say about Banshees and I'd still be riding one had I not gone over to Evil. I switched four plus years ago and haven't looked back. The Wreckoning V3 is the second one I've had with a V1 Wreckoning prior. They've both ruled. The MX set up has been an eye-opener and has worked incredibly well for me. Ride on!


7/21/2021 2:41 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/21/2021 3:01 PM

My last three bikes have been: 2018 YT Jeffsy (27.5), 2019 Transition Sentinel (29er), and 2021 Specialized Status (MX). As mentioned by others, the only real parts concern for MX setups versus same sized wheel setups should be wheels and tires. I break a lot of stuff so I'm currently running DH wheels on my MX rig to mitigate the issue. Also, luckily, my fiancée still rides the Jeffsy so I have a spare 27.5 rear wheel I can steal if I really need it. On the tube side, I only carry a 27.5 and just stretch it to fit the front if needed.

To each their own on wheel size preference, but in my opinion, combining the small rear wheel with modern long/low/slack geometry, and short chainstays (gasp!) of my particular MX bike you really do get the best of both wheel sizes. For me the advantage of a MX bike over a full 29er is supposed to be nimbleness, quickness, and flickability. I don't race - I ride to get sideways, hit jumps, (attempt to) manual/wheelie as much as possible, and hoot and holler with my buddies. If you are similarly riding to have fun and not to win Enduro events, I'd tend to say why not tinker with the setup some more? Perhaps it was a suspension tuning or fitment issue, or just not enough time on a different feeling setup to get comfortable?

Is my current setup the best climbing or fastest trail bike I've ever ridden downhill? Definitely not. But after about six months of riding time, it's definitely the most fun bike I've ever ridden - and isn't having fun the main reason we're all doing this?

It really is a personal preference thing so no hard feelings if you just don't jive with the feel of a mullet. If you are building a race rig, feel free to ignore these points, although there has to be some merit to MX setups with a good chunk of the WC and some EWS teams running them too. I'll let someone else argue which setup is fastest though...


7/21/2021 5:49 PM

What spare parts are 27.5 or 29 specific besides rims and tires? Wheels (pre built) are front and rear specific anyways and most people choose to run different casing or tread design tires front and rear so I don’t see how this changes the spare parts you would keep (spare rear wheel and a couple of tires?).


7/21/2021 9:09 PM

parnifel wrote:

Thanks for all the comments, I am sure that all the wheel sizes have their ad / disadvantages. Not really sure I am ready to ...more

Hightower is a rad bike and something I might choose if I didn’t also have my hardtail. So many great choices out there now…



7/22/2021 12:27 AM

I’m 5ft 6 and have ran full 29ers since 2018. My first one had super short chainstays and quite short reach and I did buzz my butt a fair bit on it. I got a medium santa cruz megatower about a year and a half ago and have had no problems since, the bike is balanced in the longer chain stay setting and I only really have to move alot rearward to get that front wheel in the air out of turns, I’d say if I touch my butt about once a week and I usually ride 5/6 times a week. My local trails are all quite steep and awkward and I can get on perfectly fine with full 29. My big issue with mullet bikes is all my old front tyres, I like just rotating old fronts to the back for winter mud, it seems like a massive waste to throw away a partially worn tyre. Saying all that don’t buy the hype of wheel size in general, I regularly climb 15000 feet a week on all the same trails local to me and have done for years, since 26” wheels where all we had and I still don’t think things have gotten light years faster, your bronson is a sweet bike, I’d happily ride that thing all day long no matter what size of wheels it has. Forget about wheels and love the bike you have.


7/22/2021 2:54 AM

Thank you so much everyone for the tips and trick regarding the MX discussion.
I have decided to stick with 27.5 inch wheels and move towards the 5010 from Santa Cruz and install a Cascade Link fpr the full 150mm front / 140mm rear...will be the right bike for the riding I still plan to do.
Stay healthy out there and take care


7/22/2021 5:56 AM

The best rear tire is a worn front tire, this is one of my biggest issues with mullet setups. You can't swap fronts to the rear and completely wear the tire out. With the prices of tires and the environmental aspects of them I really like to make sure they are completely smoked before I replace them (unless its a race weekend then I'll swap some freshies on).


7/22/2021 6:31 AM

I mainly ride 29ers, but many of the guys I rode with are still on 27.5. They more than keep up and possibly have more fun on their bikes.

So it depends on the rider in the end . In my opinion, a capable rider on a 27.5 will shred. But if you want to race, then yeah 29ers go further and a tad faster. But they’re not as much fun, especially if you’re shorter


7/22/2021 8:46 AM

This has been nice to see everyone's opinion on the MX setup. I was riding 27.5 for the past 5 years, then moved on to the full 29er and I've been happy with the change (I'm 5'8.75" almoooost 5'9"). I'm currently on a medium 2021 Arktos 150/135 that is compatible to be MX. After reading this, I kind of want to give it a shot as I think I need to buy the new link and new wheel (super boost hub). This would be the biggest hurdle for me as I'm looking at spending more money after spending a lot of money. But I like options and I think that's the best aspect of the MX bikes.


7/22/2021 8:47 AM

2014 V10 baby. No need for anything else. 34.5 w pedals!


7/22/2021 10:21 AM

You live in Swiss Alps and are replacing a 2021 Bronson because it looks horrible--could there be a sadder story? Maybe you got the wrong frame size


7/22/2021 10:38 AM got the plot wrong, I am currently on the V3 Bronson 27.5 / the Bronson V4 MX is the topic here. Mixed wheel sizes...


7/22/2021 12:42 PM

Ceecee wrote:

You live in Swiss Alps and are replacing a 2021 Bronson because it looks horrible--could there be a sadder story? Maybe you ...more

Let’s start a gofundme for this poor soul


7/23/2021 11:35 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/23/2021 11:36 AM

Did anyone mention that you lose the ability to rotate your front tire to the back when the back tire wears out and buy a nice, sharp new front tire?

I know a lot of guys who do that on the regular.

I've a full 27.5 trail bike & a full 29er DH bike. I get my ass eaten by that rear wheel on the DH bike when I try to toss it around. You also get sketchy when you hit a shelf or shelves or rock or root and need to make a turn afterwards with the big wheel.
That last part makes a 29er rear the worst case scenario for someone with short legs like me. I'm 5'10" with a super long torso and stumpy legs. Can't get far enough back on a 29 rear to not risk endo or at least the sensation.

Sure long DH & trail bikes now try to push you into the middle to keep you from having to get rear wheel bias, but damn that's really where all the fun is...being able to drop your heels and get that hard cut or last second save.


Trouble Maker. Here to spit truth in the form of sarcasm.