Will 29ers Impact 2018 World Cup DH Results?

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11/21/2017 8:20 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/21/2017 8:37 AM



Really? 29er DH talk already? Of course, what else are we going to talk about until Croatia?

Minnaar has found his bike. He's a 29er dude for sure.
Loris went back to 27.5.
Jack Moir seems sold on the wagon wheels.
Danny on his Mondraker and the Commencal crew went back to 27.5 mid-season (although had Remi stayed healthy, would he have remained?).
#eddiewouldgo rode big wheels.
When Gee was healthy he was on big wheels
Junior World Champs were won on a 29er.

With plenty of time for development and training, do you think we'll see more big wheels racing this season? If we do, will results be impacted?

Will 29ers Impact World Cup DH Results in 2018?


and here's a fun photo from fontana this past weekend. cole picchittino's bontrager 29er rims w/ writing on them. looks like #'s on non-drive-side spokes and some other hieroglyphics. but we all know trek is down for the big hoops.



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11/21/2017 9:38 AM

I think most of the full teams will be on 29ers. I think it was clear that Loic went back only due to the steepness of Val di Sole, and Danny Hart commented as well, he's got the ass tire burn to show it. I think instead of the "me too" cram a 29 into the existing frame so we don't get left behind will be replaced with the production ready steeds like the v10. Will they be faster at every venue? Probably if the riders have had enough time in the offseason to get up to speed on them, they're figure out the intricacies, and then because everyone is on the same wheel size, it will again not matter.

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11/21/2017 10:01 AM

I think that yes the 29 inch wheel will have an impact, in that it is another tool to help riders find a bike they feel comfortable on and go fast with. I don't think it's such a clear cut advantage in and of itself as we perhaps thought after a couple of races this season. In other words, on some tracks and for some riders, the 29er is a better bike, therefore yes it will impact the results. But not always and not because it's automatically and inherently faster everywhere.

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11/21/2017 10:35 AM

iceman2058 wrote:

I think that yes the 29 inch wheel will have an impact, in that it is another tool to help riders find a bike they feel comfortable on and go fast with. I don't think it's such a clear cut advantage in and of itself as we perhaps thought after a couple of races this season. In other words, on some tracks and for some riders, the 29er is a better bike, therefore yes it will impact the results. But not always and not because it's automatically and inherently faster everywhere.

I agree, I think that for some riders the new 29er DH bikes may help unlock potential that was stymied on 26 or 650b just because the bike works better under them. This may be something ever more present than last season as there’ll be more teams with a 29er as a proper option and the riders will have had appropriate time to decide what they want to ride. So maybe we’ll see a few more names up in the top 10 that we’re not used to? Sounds good to me.

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11/21/2017 11:06 AM

In my opinion, the biggest impact of the 2017 season is arguably from 29ers.

What would the overall look like if Minaar didn't encounter his slew of mechanicals?

This points us to the age old debate of 29er wheels and tires that can stand up to dh. Would his bike have held together w 650 b? This topic could certainly change the trajectory of the 2018 season.



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11/21/2017 11:55 AM

Now that riders have the opportunity to become intimately acquainted with how they ride during the offseason, there's no question that DH 29ers will have an impact on the results. All it takes is a thousandth of a second. Many of the teams that rushed to jump on them mid-2017 season only to return to 27.5 will no doubt be testing things out again. With time on their sides many of them will make it work.

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11/21/2017 12:08 PM

sean08 wrote:

In my opinion, the biggest impact of the 2017 season is arguably from 29ers.

What would the overall look like if Minaar didn't encounter his slew of mechanicals?

This points us to the age old debate of 29er wheels and tires that can stand up to dh. Would his bike have held together w 650 b? This topic could certainly change the trajectory of the 2018 season.



Gwinn won the overall with just as many mechanical issues as Minaar and on 27.5" wheels... it all boils down to what the racer is comfortable on, I believe Laurie Greenland did back to back tests on all 3 wheel sizes and said he preferred 26"!

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11/21/2017 12:23 PM

Seems like the big guys like 29'ers and the little guys don't. I wonder if there is any correlation there...

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11/21/2017 12:50 PM

While 29ers are absolutely faster, using them in a consistent and dominating manner will be a generational upbringing type thing, much like clipless pedals. Give it another 8 years or so and most of the race bikes will be 29ers and it will be considered weird to be on anything else.

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11/21/2017 12:52 PM

While the main Commencal Vallnord team of Thirion and Nicole went back to their 275 bikes, Amaury Pierron stuck with his 29er and ended up 2nd in Val Di Sole. I'd wager the success/failure rate of the 29er in 2017 was in part a reflection of how quickly riders could adapt to the bigger wheels on the fly with limited testing time and development of the bikes. Last season it seemed like a few riders and teams were at least curious if a bit tentative, then Minnaar and the Syndicate crew caught everyone with their pants down right out of the gate. Given a full offseason to test and develop the bikes seriously, it seems likely we'll see a whole bunch more riders confident and comfortable on new 29ers in Croatia.

I wouldn't be surprised either if all this sorts itself out the way it has on the EWS, with some riders preferring one over the other but neither having a sustained or distinct advantage. But with the more limited number of variables to a DH track/race run this might not hold true across both disciplines. 5 months to go.....

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11/21/2017 2:08 PM
Edited Date/Time: 11/21/2017 2:09 PM

Wow, how are we back to this again? It all just seems like hype and speculation with little to no data to prove it. Remember Commencal were saying their 29ers were '4 seconds faster' then their 27.5 bike? If so then it's a miracle Gwin and Brosnan got 1 and 2 in the championship given every tenth counts. I'm happy Minnaar's found a bike that fitted him, but lets be real here, his results were no different than any other season... The same can be said of the previous season for Loris and Luca. The only exception is maybe Jack Moir, but even he was on a hot streak before jumping to the 29er.

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11/21/2017 6:34 PM

general lee wrote:

While the main Commencal Vallnord team of Thirion and Nicole went back to their 275 bikes, Amaury Pierron stuck with his 29er and ended up 2nd in Val Di Sole. I'd wager the success/failure rate of the 29er in 2017 was in part a reflection of how quickly riders could adapt to the bigger wheels on the fly with limited testing time and development of the bikes. Last season it seemed like a few riders and teams were at least curious if a bit tentative, then Minnaar and the Syndicate crew caught everyone with their pants down right out of the gate. Given a full offseason to test and develop the bikes seriously, it seems likely we'll see a whole bunch more riders confident and comfortable on new 29ers in Croatia.

I wouldn't be surprised either if all this sorts itself out the way it has on the EWS, with some riders preferring one over the other but neither having a sustained or distinct advantage. But with the more limited number of variables to a DH track/race run this might not hold true across both disciplines. 5 months to go.....

Worth noting, the vallnord team was on rockshox and (cant recall), not maxxis tires. White Amuary was on Fox and Maxxis. Could have been the components more than the bike. The Fox and maxxis 29'er parts are a bit more well proven.

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11/22/2017 2:11 AM

general lee wrote:

While the main Commencal Vallnord team of Thirion and Nicole went back to their 275 bikes, Amaury Pierron stuck with his 29er and ended up 2nd in Val Di Sole. I'd wager the success/failure rate of the 29er in 2017 was in part a reflection of how quickly riders could adapt to the bigger wheels on the fly with limited testing time and development of the bikes. Last season it seemed like a few riders and teams were at least curious if a bit tentative, then Minnaar and the Syndicate crew caught everyone with their pants down right out of the gate. Given a full offseason to test and develop the bikes seriously, it seems likely we'll see a whole bunch more riders confident and comfortable on new 29ers in Croatia.

I wouldn't be surprised either if all this sorts itself out the way it has on the EWS, with some riders preferring one over the other but neither having a sustained or distinct advantage. But with the more limited number of variables to a DH track/race run this might not hold true across both disciplines. 5 months to go.....

longroadtonowhere wrote:

Worth noting, the vallnord team was on rockshox and (cant recall), not maxxis tires. White Amuary was on Fox and Maxxis. Could have been the components more than the bike. The Fox and maxxis 29'er parts are a bit more well proven.

Proven to blow up. . . Ask Greg Minaar.

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11/22/2017 5:32 AM

Only if they actually help someone win who would otherwise not have won but for his big heavy wheels. If everyone is on big heavy wheels then they will have had no impact whatsoever.

As an aside, i have just arrived in 2018 with a brand new boost equipped, 27.5 (almost plus sized 2.6 tyres) enduro bike. The most positive thing I can say is that it pedals brilliantly and the rear suspension is on another level compared to my old bike.

As for the wheels, they are bigger and heavier and roll well but I actually prefer my more nimble 26" wheels when I get into the rocks. I can only imagine the difference between 27 and 29 DH wheels and tyres must be a similar experience - potentially faster but definitely less nimble and fun.

This is why a steel 26er hard tail frame is on its way to me right now.

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11/22/2017 7:39 AM

it will really come down to rider preference. Not everyone feels comfortable on the big wheels, and there are pros and cons to both wheel sizes that can be an advantage or a weakness depending on the course, conditions, etc. if all competing manufacturers have a competent bike in both wheel sizes, it gives their riders another "tool in the box".

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