Anyone go from 29er back to 26"?

Discuss light weight issues concerning mountain bikes & parts.

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by boots2000

I would like to hear from riders who have owned and ridden 29ers and then went back to 26".
I have put 2 years into 29ers- nice ones too. Currently have a 2012 s-works Epic.
I like it for long climbs and open ,but it seems pretty terrible on technical terrain (at least for me). I have a hard time getting it around downhill switchbacks on singletrack-seems like I almost stop the bike mid turn.
To be fair I am not the greatest technical rider. I am sure I could work to improve my technique.
Anyway, I have decided to go back to a 26" Epic- wondered if others had same experiences.
I am 5'10, about 64 kg and ride a medium size Epic 29er.

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by climr

I don't know anyone that's gone back. It took me a while to get used to it but I wouldn't go back to 26" at this point. But I guess after 2 years if you were going to get used to it you would have! Around these parts 26" XC bikes are pretty much a thing of the past. Our last fast group ride had maybe 20 people and 1 person was on a 26".

26" is better in tight stuff for sure, but the benefits of the 29er outweigh that for me. Maybe you need to try a 29er with a short chainstay?

If 650b was a bit bigger I think it'd be perfect for the trails around here, but as it is it's just not enough of a difference over a 26" wheel.

by Weenie

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by boots2000

If there were any 650b full sus race bikes comparable to an Epic or Scalpel I would be all over it.
I am not down with hacking a 650b on my own.
I want the fork to be right, clearance to be optimized, and geometry also optimized for the different wheel size.

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by krzysiekmz

Someone recently posted a modified 650b Epic here. He does race and ride the bike as it should be. Maybe worth a look?

When you go back to 26'' epic you may as well try to run it 650b to see how you like it.

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by socratease

For me they have different purposes. I don't feel as comfortable on my 29er on super technical descents as I did on my 26", possibly because I'm now on a 20# race bike, however, almost everything I ride up and down, I'm faster on.

The places where 26 suit me better are when there are hairy drops to be taken, as well as extremely rocky, ledgy, technical sections that require a lot of trials type maneuvers.

The next bike in the stable will probably be a stumpjumper evo with a lyric on it, maybe a blur lt or a nomad. I'll be using those to supplement the 29er.

I have found that I look harder now for rear tire characteristics. Specifically, where I ride, I'm looking for a much meatier front tire than rear tire, so I can skid the rear around corners. This at speed is typically faster than I used to take stuff.

My previous boss is the texas 40+ master's state champ. He switches between 29 hardtail and 26 full suspension depending on what he feels like. Wheel size don't keep him from winning.

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by checky

Yes, me.
I throw my 29er away, cause my home trails are tight with lots of sharp turns & very small but steep climps and I have to sprint & accelerate over & over again. 26er is much more lively here & riding it makes much more fun as with the 29er on these trails.

But I also like the advantages of the big weels, therefore I will test 650b now :)

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by tambo731

I have been in the market for a new steed for quite a while now. Being 5'7", I am hard pressed to dish out a couple of grand on a 29er. I've test rode a few 29ers, but was not all that impressed. I love that "flickability" that 26ers have. The 29er made me feel glued to the ground. My riding style seems to fit the 26" wheels more than a 29".
I have been doing lots of research on 650b. KHS and Jamis has a couple of nice 650b bikes. I may go with a 26" rear with a 650b front hardtail though.
Ride, crash, recover, and ride again.

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by Sandal

i owe a 29er and use it solely for marathons and long rides, esp. mountains, where fatigue starts to play big role and crunching downhills starts to pay off. For pure recreational and competative XC 26er is my definite preference. Not that i went back from 29er to 26, but i'm just not going to migrate to 29 in XC. 26 is so much nimble and appropreate on short-time and technical courses. :thumbup: i've also run a few 26VS29 tests on local trials and i'm actually a very little bit faster on 26er on the short XC courses. So it's a marketing hype for me that 29er are better everywhere - it's just not ture ;)

PS i'm 6 feet tall and 150lbs weight.
weight concerned = good, weight obsessed = bad!

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by jmilliron

Yes, I've gone back. After several years of riding and racing HT 29ers. Mostly Lynskey Ridgelines.

Wanted a FS bike and I wasn't really digging how the FS 29ers handled on the tight single track we have up here in Northern California. Picked up a Yeti ARS5c for cheap on closeout and absolutely love it. Plush, nimble and still pedals well.
2013 Wilier Cento1 SR || 2009 Ridley Crossbow || 2011 Yeti AS-R 5 Carbon

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by ww4

I went from 26 and bought 2 x 29er, one rigid and other front suspension but not FS. From my experience, 29er is good in tech DH, tight turns no, stable all round yes, and Tech climb but you need momentum otherwise you need lots of power to get going.

I'm back to 26 now and I have to work hard and be carefull going down on tech rocky decents.

If your not tech rider then 29er is it.

Either way its the rider choice of weapon (26, 650b and 29er), whatever rocks your boat?

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by stephenjames

I raced 26" for years and switched finally just recently and found it good but not initially all theat much better I didnt think. Going back to 26" opened my eyes though and I'll be staying with 29" now! There are places where 26" still works well though for sure

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by thisisnotaspoon

Have a look on the Dirt/MPORA website, they do a couple of tests of 120mm 29er Vs 140mm 26er, and 140mm 29er Vs 160mm 26er.

The conclusions are the same. The 26" feels fast down the hill (it's a DH/enduro orientated magazine after all) for both riders, but the clock doesn't lie and 29ers faster by a comfortable margin even though it feels slow.

I've not ridden a 29er FS bike but I'd offer the oppinion that a 29er with 100mm travel will be as efficient as a 26er with the same travel, so just as quick up hill on a smooth track, but faster down?

To answer the original question, I've 'gone back' but only in the sense that my newest bike is a 26er, but it's built for fun rather than going fast! the 29ers fun too, but I'd not take it down the dirtjumps (well I have, but it's hard work!)!

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by qwop

Its hard to beat the amount of fun you will have on a 26". While I do ride a 29er for racing, it's always refreshing to ride my 26er rigid single speed which, in its current setup is slower downhill than my 29; however, with an identical spec as my 29, i'm sure I'd only be going a bit slower but having much more fun with it.

General rider, trail rider, etc= 26


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by thisisnotaspoon

Its hard to beat the amount of fun you will have on a 26".

A BMX? Makes some of the tame'er trail centers seem like a lot fo fun.

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by boots2000

I have done about 9-10 hours on my new 26" Epic. I am not any slower on long fire road type stuff. I am faster in technical situations, and generally more comfortable on the bike.
My conclusion is that there is no ideal wheel size- it is more what you like and what you are comfortable on.

by Weenie

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