the great wheel thread?

bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
26? 650B? 29er?

so some random thoughts from me on wheel size as it's going to be an intersting 2008 with not two, but three wheelsets in play. the key factor IMHO will not be if the tire companies jump on (which they likely will and already are), but how heavily they bet. so, here goes:

26: the front runner. i think it'll remain the wheel of choice for most people. it's known, it's comfortable and it's dependable. it can also be built bullet proof so it'll likely be the mainstay of the DH/FR/DJ world. i just don't see a need for a bigger tire wheel in those applications but what do i really know. the low rotational weight is favored by many pure XC types as well.

29er: this is a single speeders dream...especially if it's rigid. the ablitly to just 'roll' things that hang up a 26 is great. the cut down on the 'chatter' is also great. from a pure XC perspective, it's my opinion that even with the "sluggish" handling and greater rotational weight it's the right choice. i know these wheels can be built up stronger but as stong as a 26"? i don't know. add a front shock and you've got all the plushy goodness you need.

6-FIVE-OH-BEE: i'm actually really interested in this wheel size. it seems to be a really good blend of all that is good about both the 26 and 29er sizes: the larger rolling wheel, elimination of the twitchiness, lower rotational weight and the "flickability". the application seems to be perfectly suited for an agressive XC type rider who doesn't shy from drops but also isn't hucking 10 footers. the fact that it's easily "retrofitted" on to a 26" frame also works in it's favor. pending how things go with the size next year, i could see myself picking up a hardtail version of one of these for everything around here. especially if it's steel.
 

TonyC

Active Member
27.5ers.. will confuse more people and spark more pro/con arguments.
From 26" to 29" is pretty substantial, but 1.5"..humm I guess every inch counts ;)
It seems like every brand is jumping on the 29er wagon. At least the industry is finally catching up with tires and forks.
FWIW, I'm going 29" again next bike.
 

hardtale70

She's Gone From Suck to Blow
Shop Keep
Again, 26 is as good as gone.The industry is consolodating everything and moving into cross componentry. Losing 26 and just using 650-700 makes everything much smoother w/ manufacture and supply..............
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Again, 26 is as good as gone.The industry is consolodating everything and moving into cross componentry. Losing 26 and just using 650-700 makes everything much smoother w/ manufacture and supply..............

I just don't see it from an economics standpoint. Supply is driven by demand. If one company stops making 26" stuff, other companies profit considerably. You can't just say that path X or Y is how it's going to be and so it goes. With such a low-margin market already that would drive many, if not most, of the manufacturers out of business.

The only way it happens is if demand becomes overwhelmingly for 29er stuff and then companies can take the risk of dropping 25% of their sales and go full-on 29er. But what bike manufacturer can stand to lose 5% of their sales let alone 25%?
 

anrothar

entirely thrilled
26: definitely the way to go for park/slalom/dirt jumping.

29/26: best application in my opinion would be downhill. the larger front wheel, if built strong enough, would definitely be a benefit there. rear wheels just take too much of a beating though in dh.

29: for anyone over 5'9", i think it's the way to go. the 'sluggishness' is utter nonsense. choose an appropriate gear, equivalent to a 26er, and you'll barely notice a difference, and then only likely on pavement. just avoid stupidly heavy tires out back and you'll be fine. and they are plenty flickable. jake, if you're having trouble flicking the mary, i would look to those goofy ass handlebars for blame, not the wheel size. :D they have performed very well for me in tight twisty stuff as well. once you learn to trust that extra traction, you realize that you can just push the front end into turns and rocket right around them. i've yet to find a situation with my normal xc riding(which includes alot of climbing, tech, some drops, launching off every rock i see and searching out rock gardens) where i would benefit from a 26" wheel. 29ers also kick 26ers' panzy asses when it comes to rolling over logs and through rock gardens/boulder fields.

650b: a perfect match for 29" wheels for our smaller statured fellow riders.
 

NJ Jess

Active Member
650B, hurray

I'm for the 650B because I'm short. Besides,....what we think is NEW,....has actually been around europe for a couple years.

Also, using a 650B for road bikes will allow beefer road bikes to use cyclocross tires. Therefore, find and old 12 speed and some 650b wheels,...and you have cyclocross.
 
I'm for the 650B because I'm short. Besides,....what we think is NEW,....has actually been around europe for a couple years.

Also, using a 650B for road bikes will allow beefer road bikes to use cyclocross tires. Therefore, find and old 12 speed and some 650b wheels,...and you have cyclocross.


650B has been around Europe for a loong time,.... remember Jess,.. we were just talking about it the last time we rode.

I suspect Grant Peterson from Rivendell is one happy puppy these days. He's been tooting their horn for years.
 

bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
26: definitely the way to go for park/slalom/dirt jumping.

29/26: best application in my opinion would be downhill. the larger front wheel, if built strong enough, would definitely be a benefit there. rear wheels just take too much of a beating though in dh.

29: for anyone over 5'9", i think it's the way to go. the 'sluggishness' is utter nonsense. choose an appropriate gear, equivalent to a 26er, and you'll barely notice a difference, and then only likely on pavement. just avoid stupidly heavy tires out back and you'll be fine. and they are plenty flickable. jake, if you're having trouble flicking the mary, i would look to those goofy ass handlebars for blame, not the wheel size. :D they have performed very well for me in tight twisty stuff as well. once you learn to trust that extra traction, you realize that you can just push the front end into turns and rocket right around them. i've yet to find a situation with my normal xc riding(which includes alot of climbing, tech, some drops, launching off every rock i see and searching out rock gardens) where i would benefit from a 26" wheel. 29ers also kick 26ers' panzy asses when it comes to rolling over logs and through rock gardens/boulder fields.

650b: a perfect match for 29" wheels for our smaller statured fellow riders.

sean, i have zero issues with the mary. i can move the bike around just fine. i was trying to be somewhat objective in terms of the wheel sizes and the "flickability" is something that has come up again and again w/ the anti-29er crowd..
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
What is flickability?

When I tried the KM I was simply faster on both the SASS and Woody's old POS Cannondale. I'd like to try more but I'm not basing any decision on philosophical arguments either way.
 

bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
i was referring to 'some peoples' observations that the 29ers were a bit sluggish as compared to the 26" flavor. i don't notice the sluggishness, but when i actually do ride my 26" bike, i don't feel nearly as stable. to me, that's the biggest reason NOT to ride it and another reason why i'd be very interested in the six-fity-bee.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Is that flickability?

The Mary is a fairly heavy bike, no? That's certainly going to feel more stable/solid.
 

anrothar

entirely thrilled
norm, flickability could be interpretted in a few ways, but in this case most likely means the ability to easilly move the bike around, to jib and jive through the rocks, catch a little style in the air.
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
Big big big assed wheelers

I am now a full time time 29er pusher.

In my mind if you are 5'-9" or taller you can only find gains on a bigin wheeled bike.

After riding a few dual sus 29ers this week i am more sold than ever that I can actually climb, decend and even JUMP on the biggies.

I got a bit cocky banging out some mega speedy DH runs on a 29er Moots4" travel bike and the bike saved my ass. I am CERTAIN that i would have been over the bars fo shizzle if I had been on the mini me wheels.

I am super glad to see the new wider El Gordo Rim from SALSA in 29er. This will make a killer rear wheel for bigger guys (and gals) or folks who like more air under their tires..

I am very happy to be alive and kicking as a mt biker in 2007-8. The bikes that were cutting edge in 1987-8 were a long way from here..

Can't wait to see what the next 20 years will bring.

peas

J-
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I don't need no stinking bike to have style.

I imagine it's the same as people saying they're lethargic. When I rode a different KM earlier than the "more stock like" KM it was zippy as hell but it had an unrealistically light wheelset. Still, it certainly wasn't lethargic. I'm sure the 29er gets a lot of snap judgements from people with 26ers who don't want to hear they "have" to replace their stable of 5 bikes now.
 

bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
norm, flickability could be interpretted in a few ways, but in this case most likely means the ability to easilly move the bike around, to jib and jive through the rocks, catch a little style in the air.

i was going on seans line of thought...the weight is not what i was referring to. i'd bet all of homer's donuts that my full squish fuel is heavier than my SS mary yet the mary feels far more stable. the x factor is the wheel size.

edit: as a guy that j would refer to as "bigger" :)D) i'm excited about those salsa rims.
 
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Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I would imagine there are plenty of 26ers that you would feel stable on and some 29ers you wouldn't. You're just comparing one bike, which is full rigid, to another bike, which is full suspension. Not sure that qualifies as an objective measure on 26 versus 29 bikes.

Personally I would be interested in test driving a race-caliber, geared, and at least partially suspended 29er but who has something like that to demo?
 

walter

Fourth Party
I would imagine there are plenty of 26ers that you would feel stable on and some 29ers you wouldn't. You're just comparing one bike, which is full rigid, to another bike, which is full suspension. Not sure that qualifies as an objective measure on 26 versus 29 bikes.

Personally I would be interested in test driving a race-caliber, geared, and at least partially suspended 29er but who has something like that to demo?

Norm, I have offered you my Cdale many o' times, at 24 pounds, not the lightest, but a good 6 or 7 lighter than the dump truck.

What I find odd in riding two 29ers of different materials, is that even though the Mary is almost 3 pounds heavier, I find it easier to ride, easier to handle, and more comfortable over the long haul. The rigid fork adds to the precision and stability. I may get crushed by other riders on full squishes, but my bike goes where I point it.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Norm, I have offered you my Cdale many o' times, at 24 pounds, not the lightest, but a good 6 or 7 lighter than the dump truck.

At some point I'll take you up on that. Hopefully sooner than later. I'd like to take it up to JH and to the race loop and see what kind of lap times I can pull.

What I find odd in riding two 29ers of different materials, is that even though the Mary is almost 3 pounds heavier, I find it easier to ride, easier to handle, and more comfortable over the long haul. The rigid fork adds to the precision and stability. I may get crushed by other riders on full squishes, but my bike goes where I point it.

For my needs, a FR bike just won't do. I can't say that I feel like I have problems controlling where I point it, at least when I'm not at race pace. Though I will admit that the suspension may help me not notice.
 

bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I would imagine there are plenty of 26ers that you would feel stable on and some 29ers you wouldn't. You're just comparing one bike, which is full rigid, to another bike, which is full suspension. Not sure that qualifies as an objective measure on 26 versus 29 bikes.

Personally I would be interested in test driving a race-caliber, geared, and at least partially suspended 29er but who has something like that to demo?

true, completely opposite bikes in almost every respect, but that's all i got. that and one ride on BobW's KM which sold me on this whole goofy 29er thing.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
true, completely opposite bikes in almost every respect, but that's all i got. that and one ride on BobW's KM which sold me on this whole goofy 29er thing.

Without question I'm sure there's a 29er out there that would "make" me faster. There are 26ers out there as well. But who has the money to try them all? My biggest road block right now would be that I don't want to drop another $2-$4k on a bike unless I know it's "the one". I mean if I buy another race bike, it's going to be a Bitchin' Camaro type bike. Otherwise why bother?
 
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