26″ or 29″

I tried the 29er thing for about 5 years. SS, geared, front squish, rigid, everything short of FS, which isn’t really my thing anyway.

Las year I went back to a 26″ HT, and now run full rigid, both geared and SS. The reason for going back was bike fit and being comfortable. I am most comfortable on a MTB when I am “on” the bike rather than “in.” I like to have a more aggressive position with most of my weight forward. One other reason was I just didn’t like the feel of a 29er in tight twisty track, and on tight switchback climbs and descents, the truck rather than car feeling was not to my liking. I may go back to a big wheel if I can find something I feel good on, but unless I go custom I don’t see that happening. I have had many riders tell me I will get used to it, but my feeling is if I don’t feel right on the bike the first ride, its not for me. There have been many 26″ bikes over the years that did just that, first ride felt like the bike was meant for me. And for my current financial situation a custom frame is not in my near future.

Now I do ride my Cross bike off road as much as my MTB, so I guess that is “technically” a big wheel. But the trails I ride that on are different then the trails I take the MTBs on. Its more of a gravel grinder with some trails than a dedicated trail bike.

One more thing, the technical trails around here benefit from a snappy acceleration. I know this can be had on a 29er with the proper geo and build, but I am happy with my 26″ bikes.

I guess it all comes down to preference and the rider. To say that one trail will be better suited for a 29er or a 26er (all the time I hear, on here and in person, that there are certain trails that you cannot ride on a 26″, let alone full rigid) is nothing but someone trying to justify why they ride what they ride. If it fits you, and you like it and feel good on it, does it really matter?

My reasons are how I feel on the bike. Many just feel right on a 29er, and thats great. A bike that doesn’t feel good to the rider is one that doesn’t get ridden.

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