Should There Be a 29er DH Class and 27.5 DH Class at World Cups?

4/27/2017 9:03 AM

Like in moto - 250 and 450 classes - should we split up World Cup DH racing into two classes for differing wheel sizes? (if race day would get here, we could all finally just shut up about all this stuff, but it's so fun to speculate)

More @loicbruni29 vs @gregminnaar #lourdes #loicvsgreg2017 shot by @svenmartinphoto

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4/27/2017 9:13 AM

Ratboy won on 26 at leogang when practically everyone else was on 27. I see no difference now.

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4/27/2017 9:20 AM

Do we not think the advantages of 29 on flats and over roots/rocks/chatter, evens things out once you get into corners?

Sort of like a tire that ROLLS well, vs one that hooks up everywhere but rolls slowly......air rear shock lightweight advantages not being so great when they get hot, etc etc.....know what im saying?

Make an air shock / coil shock class

Wide bar class / narrow bar class

Shorts / Pants class

etc etc....

It's still a MTB no?

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4/27/2017 9:20 AM

Nope. Just ban 29rs. Make 27.5 mandatory. Otherwise we will see 30's etc.

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4/27/2017 9:27 AM

Stiksandstones wrote:

Do we not think the advantages of 29 on flats and over roots/rocks/chatter, evens things out once you get into corners?

Sort of like a tire that ROLLS well, vs one that hooks up everywhere but rolls slowly......air rear shock lightweight advantages not being so great when they get hot, etc etc.....know what im saying?

Make an air shock / coil shock class

Wide bar class / narrow bar class

Shorts / Pants class

etc etc....

It's still a MTB no?

This.

It's a race, ride what you think is fastest.

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4/27/2017 9:30 AM

1994canucks wrote:

Nope. Just ban 29rs. Make 27.5 mandatory. Otherwise we will see 30's etc.

Never say never...but never.

Brosnan couldnt ride a bike with wheels that big, Greenland, etc....aka riders under 6'.

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4/27/2017 9:31 AM

theirs a pretty easy solution to all this

3 classes
juniors ride 26
19-30 year olds ride 650b
old people who should of retired ride 29

then masters now use ebikes

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4/27/2017 9:33 AM

OCsponger587 wrote:

theirs a pretty easy solution to all this

3 classes
juniors ride 26
19-30 year olds ride 650b
old people who should of retired ride 29

then masters now use ebikes

Who rides hardtails?

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4/27/2017 9:39 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/27/2017 9:40 AM

Stiksandstones wrote:

Do we not think the advantages of 29 on flats and over roots/rocks/chatter, evens things out once you get into corners?

Sort of like a tire that ROLLS well, vs one that hooks up everywhere but rolls slowly......air rear shock lightweight advantages not being so great when they get hot, etc etc.....know what im saying?

Make an air shock / coil shock class

Wide bar class / narrow bar class

Shorts / Pants class

etc etc....

It's still a MTB no?

Agreed. This is the F1 of bike performance. if it gives you an advantage run it... but everything has a trade-off.

Maybe the only restriction: has to be made available to the public within one year? (though very likely to happen anyway due to costs of molds etc.)


And Spomer.... you really are bored! (As i constantly refresh waiting for the course preview and MORE PIT BITS!!!!)

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4/27/2017 9:43 AM

275 hasn't ruined DH racing (despite all the comment chatter that it surely would), can't see how 29 will either.

Yeah so maybe it rolls faster and carries speed over the rough bits, but that extra speed still needs to be controlled so it's not like we're going to be watching 4 min of sea otter at Ft William or MSA.

Personally, I think it's beyond rad that consumer mtb tech has gotten so good that racing viable, World Cup level 29ers is even possible. 3-4 years ago it wouldn't have been. I say bring it on!

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4/27/2017 9:43 AM

Zuestman wrote:

Agreed. This is the F1 of bike performance. if it gives you an advantage run it... but everything has a trade-off.

Maybe the only restriction: has to be made available to the public within one year? (though very likely to happen anyway due to costs of molds etc.)


And Spomer.... you really are bored! (As i constantly refresh waiting for the course preview and MORE PIT BITS!!!!)

yes, i am bored. but don't F1 have restrictions on certain things?

i like ocsponger's idea lol

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4/27/2017 9:46 AM

it's not what's in it..
but who's behind the bars
so let the DH roadies play

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4/27/2017 9:47 AM

general lee wrote:

275 hasn't ruined DH racing (despite all the comment chatter that it surely would), can't see how 29 will either.

Yeah so maybe it rolls faster and carries speed over the rough bits, but that extra speed still needs to be controlled so it's not like we're going to be watching 4 min of sea otter at Ft William or MSA.

Personally, I think it's beyond rad that consumer mtb tech has gotten so good that racing viable, World Cup level 29ers is even possible. 3-4 years ago it wouldn't have been. I say bring it on!

This nails it. Likewise, does anyone care that people use different wheel sizes in enduro? Nope.

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4/27/2017 9:50 AM

sspomer wrote:

yes, i am bored. but don't F1 have restrictions on certain things?

i like ocsponger's idea lol

yeah they do now...but that is where i think the available to public within a year comes into play... some of the tech on F1 would never make it to the public, and it truly was taking the driving skill out of a race... i don't think we are anywhere near where technology is winning a race over skill (someone who was in top 30 last year isn't podiuming this year due to a wheels size).

Can i get a waiver to already have the e-bike?!

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4/27/2017 9:53 AM

The whole point about F1 is that there is a certain car "Formula" which manufacturers have to follow, where there are strict regulations from engines all the way to aerodynamics.

DH is the pinnacle of our sport but it is by no means akin to F1. It's practically the wild west out there for manufacturers. You wouldn't see teams like Red Bull or Mercedes all of a sudden coming out with a drivetrain or a different-sized engine, which can be analogous to an MTB team bringing in a 29er bike.

UCI should stick to a wheelsize (like what BMX does) for downhill and stick to it. Besides, when you look at the business side, the DH bike market doesn't seem to be mature and diverse enough to support multiple wheelsizes.

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4/27/2017 9:56 AM

No point... If 29er's end up massively faster then why would anyone race in a 27.5 class or vice versa... Who'd want to be known as the winner of the slower race?

Racing is about being the fastest.. so if this new (to downhill) size makes some people quicker then why would you wan't to make it slower? Only reason to do that would be safety and apart from the risk of Minnar getting tyre buzz on his cheeks I don't see 29er's causing injury ;-)

I'd say there is some argument for capping the wheels at one size or maybe a max of 29 because free reign gives more of an advantage for big teams with cash to get the most gains experimenting with different things and maybe smaller teams can't afford to spend that making new frames etc... though personally I say let them race whatever they want, what would get fixed next? one make tyre series? flat pedals only... single pivot bikes only?... 2.2 tyre width?... the list goes on and on

A lot of the teams are running custom Geo, Linkages, Shocks, forks, etc etc so the general public can't get an exact pro bike anyway so what does it matter if the wheels are different too?

Look at the EWS field.. theres some people on one size, some on others, seems it doesn't give a clear advantage overall or they'd all be on X size so it's more down to how each rider feels for themselves

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4/27/2017 9:58 AM

Verbl Kint wrote:

The whole point about F1 is that there is a certain car "Formula" which manufacturers have to follow, where there are strict regulations from engines all the way to aerodynamics.

DH is the pinnacle of our sport but it is by no means akin to F1. It's practically the wild west out there for manufacturers. You wouldn't see teams like Red Bull or Mercedes all of a sudden coming out with a drivetrain or a different-sized engine, which can be analogous to an MTB team bringing in a 29er bike.

UCI should stick to a wheelsize (like what BMX does) for downhill and stick to it. Besides, when you look at the business side, the DH bike market doesn't seem to be mature and diverse enough to support multiple wheelsizes.

"the DH bike market doesn't seem to be mature and diverse enough to support multiple wheelsizes."

Don't you see ultimately one or two wheel sizes emerging as the winners? Like what's happening in trail / enduro bikes. This takes time, give it a year and I bet this whole conversation will feel very Spring 2017.

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4/27/2017 10:01 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/27/2017 10:02 AM

If we are going to say we need different classes, then Spomer are you saying that 29ers so much faster that you can't have a fair race?

I fee like the 250 v 450 argument is that a race between the two bikes is that it's simply not a fair race so you need to two classes...

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4/27/2017 10:06 AM

overruled.. UCI allowed the DH roadies..
my bet is Danny Hart will win this season including world's
cheers

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4/27/2017 10:08 AM

Loic has some thoughts - http://www.vitalmtb.com/features/Loic-Brunis-Specialized-Demo,1753 - 3rd audio clip specifically. (his bike looks good!)

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4/27/2017 10:10 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/27/2017 10:17 AM

I say keep it the wild west. I truthfully believe racing is where ideas are developed. You need to let companies and riders push the technology of the sport. We all benefit, and sanctions/rules/classes retard this to a degree.

Because I'm a skier, another ski analogy for you...

Back when McConkey developed the Spatula (first reverse camber/reverse sidecut (snow) ski), it changed the sport forever. It let guys make a turn in places they otherwise couldn't. It made powder skiing easy for everyone. And lets me have more fun than I ever could on the old skis of yesteryear.

But this came at the cost of versatility and hard pack performance. In the big mountain comp side of things, guys were wheelie-ing out of airs and washing out where they would have held it together. There was a trade off. And before we really had it figured out, there was a die hard contingent that wouldn't be caught dead on "rockered" or "reverse camber skis".

These days, we all ski them, (or almost all) and they make the sport so much more fun, I don't think anyone wants to go back* (*so long as the conditions warrant it).

If there were somehow rules in place that kept McConkey from developing this ski, we'd all be worse off. As participants and as top level athletes, the sport would be worse.

Now skiing is different, its mostly a "freeride" (non competitive) sport, pushed by friends in the woods, not as much between the race gates or big mountain contest venues. When it comes to design, whatever works best is what people will run, and the sport is better overall because of this. (well, sorta, pow gets tracked up lightening fast now...)

Let WC DH racing be the lab. The trickle down effect from it is something where we all win. If something works, even if there is a trade off, let them try to develop it. Don't over regulate the sport. We'd be worse off as everyday riders if we did this.

Now, to the question of will 29" DH bikes always be faster I answer, for a lot of riders, yes.

To Stik and others, I truthfully believe a 29" DH bike can corner *better* than a 27.5" bike simply because you have more rubber on the ground. In big open turns where you are still pushing the limits of traction, a 29" wheel will hold more speed.

Now in tight stuff, yeah, sure - maybe not. But then again, the rider who will most benefit from 29" wheels (tall guys) always struggle in super tight stuff anyway...

It'll be a fun weekend!

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4/27/2017 10:14 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/27/2017 10:21 AM

ses emar wrote:

overruled.. UCI allowed the DH roadies..
my bet is Danny Hart will win this season including world's
cheers

I'm still at a lost at why you think 29" means anything regarding to road bike culture...

As for 29" in downhill. It's already happening at the local race level, just look at people like Luke Stroble crushing the PNW DH scene on a Wreckoning.

As a proud owner of a modern long travel 29", I can honestly say that I am looking forward to our big wheeled DH overlords.







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4/27/2017 10:40 AM

ses emar wrote:

overruled.. UCI allowed the DH roadies..
my bet is Danny Hart will win this season including world's
cheers

DServy wrote:

I'm still at a lost at why you think 29" means anything regarding to road bike culture...

As for 29" in downhill. It's already happening at the local race level, just look at people like Luke Stroble crushing the PNW DH scene on a Wreckoning.

As a proud owner of a modern long travel 29", I can honestly say that I am looking forward to our big wheeled DH overlords.







let's bet what wheel size will win this season??

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4/27/2017 10:54 AM

ses emar wrote:

let's bet what wheel size will win this season??

No need, its going to be 26"

But seriously, no one in their right mind would say that 29" are going to sweep everything this season. It's not going to be the Syndicate 1-2-3 tour all year (probably). The gains are probably going to be 2-3 seconds per race, which still allows for someone to royally mess up a section and end up way behind and unable to catch up.

What you will see, is similar to what you saw when 27.5" came out. Yeah, there will be results, but more importantly there will be people just going faster (hypothetically). It will become something that you wont be able to ignore.

While its important to see results during race day, where you will see if the hype is real comes from if they manage to be consistently faster in time practice, qualifiers, and across the race season. You'll hear it from the racers before anyone else.

The fact that someone like Greg Minnaar is pushing for this means that there is probably something to 29" wheels in DH.

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4/27/2017 11:27 AM

fireant wrote:

No point... If 29er's end up massively faster then why would anyone race in a 27.5 class or vice versa... Who'd want to be known as the winner of the slower race?

Racing is about being the fastest.. so if this new (to downhill) size makes some people quicker then why would you wan't to make it slower? Only reason to do that would be safety and apart from the risk of Minnar getting tyre buzz on his cheeks I don't see 29er's causing injury ;-)

I'd say there is some argument for capping the wheels at one size or maybe a max of 29 because free reign gives more of an advantage for big teams with cash to get the most gains experimenting with different things and maybe smaller teams can't afford to spend that making new frames etc... though personally I say let them race whatever they want, what would get fixed next? one make tyre series? flat pedals only... single pivot bikes only?... 2.2 tyre width?... the list goes on and on

A lot of the teams are running custom Geo, Linkages, Shocks, forks, etc etc so the general public can't get an exact pro bike anyway so what does it matter if the wheels are different too?

Look at the EWS field.. theres some people on one size, some on others, seems it doesn't give a clear advantage overall or they'd all be on X size so it's more down to how each rider feels for themselves

For Enduro, having the Law of Gravity extrapolate an advantage upon mechanicals is not as much of a rigid factor as with riding Downhill.

Like - Uphill Racing and E-Bikes.


...oops, this is out of a VitalMTB thread from March 2020. Time to upgrade servers, or remove the Laundrymat WiFi from my phone.


Sent from IJim

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4/27/2017 12:02 PM

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4/27/2017 12:21 PM

sspomer wrote:

yes, i am bored. but don't F1 have restrictions on certain things?

i like ocsponger's idea lol

F1 restrictions are usually related to cost, safety or to make the cars more even. None of these are real problems in WC DH. Bikes are not 6 figure machines yet and there is no need to limit speed for safety or to slow down the faster guys.

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4/27/2017 12:54 PM

Ill tell you one thing 29er DH bikes *might* ruin:

DH bike sales for the entire industry for 2017. DOA. Kaput. Finnito. Laters pajama boys. Just as the selling season gets underway.

If all the hype about 29er times proves true and the 29er posse puts big gaps into the 650b posse, DH bike sales will take a massive hit in 2017 as people wait for the new crop of 29er DH bikes. Considering that this is a segment already struggling with sales, and also that there are loads of new rad ~160mm 29ers (with more dropping soon) which are more than park/dh worthy for the average consumer, things could get ugly.

Clearly it's not that the 650b DH bikes all of a sudden suck, but resale value will drop out the bottom like 26" did and who in their right mind would make that 4-8K investment other than a 1%er (ya feel me Stick?)? Bad sales of DH bikes = less $ companies have to support DH (DH bike sales already don't pay for themselves in most cases..."it's a branding exercise") = a potential problem.

Just saying....it could be a problem. I hope not. Maybe SCB is preping to drink everyones milkshake and already has that bike in production and soon to be shipping. Molds don't pay for themselves...same for fork molds.

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4/27/2017 1:22 PM

I think it will just depend on what the rider wants out of the bike. I like my Hightower for fast, flowy trail/AM riding. But in steep, techy braking it feels really awkward. It gets stood up in downhill corners, and the rear wheel feels huge when rolling over a log/ledge on a steep pitch. I also have to brake much harder to slow those big wheels down. If you ride wide open Cali/Colorado DH tracks where you're pinned all the time, 29=faster, smoother, safer. But if you're riding dark, greasy, steep tech in PNW/BC, for me a 27.5 wheeled bike is easier to control and gives me more confidence. Your results will vary, but I can't see 29 becoming the dominant wheel size for all brands. Maybe an adjustable geo setting that allows either wheel size like all the 29/27.5+ bikes available now would offer the option to run both depending on what the consumer wants. I noticed a chainstay adjustment on the new V-10, perhaps SCB is going this route so they don't eliminate any potential customers.

As far as racing rules/regulations, I say UCI DH should be like the Group B days of WRC. Full unlimited product development and testing to figure out what is the fastest. That is the true spirit of equipment-based racing, and if 29 can be faster than let it happen. But there is still a rider involved, so the combination of human and machine matters most. The fact that we have so many frame designs and so many different setup preferences amongst riders who still manage to come within in hundredths of seconds of one another means the bike is only doing so much. It provides the foundation for the rider to perform at their best, but training, diet, personal motivation/competitiveness, and clear mental focus are just as important.

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4/27/2017 1:38 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/27/2017 2:28 PM

DubC wrote:

Ill tell you one thing 29er DH bikes *might* ruin:

DH bike sales for the entire industry for 2017. DOA. Kaput. Finnito. Laters pajama boys. Just as the selling season gets underway.

If all the hype about 29er times proves true and the 29er posse puts big gaps into the 650b posse, DH bike sales will take a massive hit in 2017 as people wait for the new crop of 29er DH bikes. Considering that this is a segment already struggling with sales, and also that there are loads of new rad ~160mm 29ers (with more dropping soon) which are more than park/dh worthy for the average consumer, things could get ugly.

Clearly it's not that the 650b DH bikes all of a sudden suck, but resale value will drop out the bottom like 26" did and who in their right mind would make that 4-8K investment other than a 1%er (ya feel me Stick?)? Bad sales of DH bikes = less $ companies have to support DH (DH bike sales already don't pay for themselves in most cases..."it's a branding exercise") = a potential problem.

Just saying....it could be a problem. I hope not. Maybe SCB is preping to drink everyones milkshake and already has that bike in production and soon to be shipping. Molds don't pay for themselves...same for fork molds.

If I had to bet, I'd say 27.5" bikes stay the norm for most downhill applications. At least for those under 6' and especially for those who "just ride park".

Racing isn't the only reason to ride a DH bike and outright speed not the only thing that counts (well, for me it is, but I still pretend to race!)

Point is, I think it'll be an option, the same way its an option in enduro. 29er has long been a thing in enduro and its not the end all be all right? Why does everyone think it'll be the end all be all in downhill?

For Minnaar, Peaty (if he still raced WC), Florian, or anyone tall/lanky, it'll just plain fit better. For the small guys, it'll be awkward.

Remember, 27.5" was only a minor change from 26"...closer to 1/3 of the way to 29", not 1/2. That's why it took off so easily and that's why 26" was killed. They were too close and one was just barely better than the other.

29" is much bigger than 27.5. Having these two sizes makes a whole lot of sense, just to fit people more appropriately.

now I'm babbling. again.


EDIT: A great example - Yeti. I'd argue Yeti has one of the best 29" enduro weapons in the world but Richie, who isn't small (but not tall) prefers the SB6, Cody too - who is 6', has rocked a 29" bike in the past, generally is seen on the SB6 as well.

I know what I'd ride if I were racing for Yeti (5.5c!), but this just goes to illustrate my point. Different strokes for different folks. This is why the proliferation of the big wheel into DH is rad. It gives us more choices for better fitting bikes. Fit and geo, after all, is the biggest factor in picking a bike...

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