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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:14 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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I've been working the odd hour in my local bike shop recently and have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of 2012 stock. Reading through the Specialized press releases I could clearly see the inclusion of more 29'er bikes. The shops owner returned recently from a Specialized trade weekend and mentioned that 70% of Specialized's sales in the US in 2011 were 29'ers (not sure if this was 70% of mtb sales or 70% of all sales, probably mtb).

Anyway, looking through the 2012 catalogues most of the cheaper end mtb's are 26" and the more expensive stuff...29"! Now I'm not against progress and new tech, but if I want a new xc bike with a decent spec (and from Specialized) it looks like I'd be stuck with a 29'er!

Being 5' 5" "tall" I think I'd look a bit odd on a big wheel bike, but it looks like this is the way the industry is leaning.

Anyone else noticed this big shift?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:14 am 
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Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Yeah...
I'm 6.1 and riding a 29'er I felt like a 12 year old again riding dad's mountainbike! lol
26'er all the way!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:16 am 
Gold Trader / rb Rider / Special
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Yeah i agree with you.
There is a hug influx of 29'er's.
Although i havent ridden one yet, im not ready for 29er just yet :?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:29 am 
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Certainly my part of the world isn't ready for 29ers.

Core high-end MTB customers in Denmark are age group 40+ and most of them are not even aware that such a thing exists - and when given the option they always go for a 26" option. Most of them are even struggling to get their heads round the idea of a cyclo-cross bike or a full-suspension rig.

Only people I know who ride 29ers work in bike shops!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:35 am 
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I always thought that (trends) like the 29'ers were consumer lead
but in the case of Specialized I feel its them not us thats doing the
leading. I'd like to say at this point Im a keen Specialized rider.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:54 am 
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Its not surprising really, I'd be interested to hear the American market share but I reckon its near 50/50. Europe has been slow on the pick up but this year has saw many Euro manufacturers introduce multiple models (Focus introduced 12 models I think). Like them or loathe them they are here to stay which for me is a good thing.

I'm totally convinced in the with the big wheels, far superior to a 26er in most/alot of cases. I cannot see me buying a new bike that doesn't have 29" wheels. The pricing and second hand maket sees me still buying 26ers but not for long. I see my next 2 moderns being 29ers anyway, replacing their 26" counterparts.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:37 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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I'd love to take one out for a few hours and see what they're like. The cheapest Carve (Specialized's xc 29 hardtail) is £1k, and the spec is really low end for the money. I can appreciate that the price of mtbs is rising and 29" stuff isn't mainstream so still costs more, but I'd be disappointed for £1k.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:45 am 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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kaiser wrote:
I'm totally convinced in the with the big wheels, far superior to a 26er in most/alot of cases. I cannot see me buying a new bike that doesn't have 29" wheels. The pricing and second hand maket sees me still buying 26ers but not for long. I see my next 2 moderns being 29ers anyway, replacing their 26" counterparts.


Could you convince someone else? What are the benefits? More wheel momentum, better roll over obstacles? The drawbacks? More inertia to overcome, heavier wheel/tyre combos? I have never ridden a 29er but am interested in the concept, though not completely convinced. Interestingly Geoff Apps was always a believer in 29" wheels but was mostly held back by lack of tyre availability.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:52 am 
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EarlofBarnet wrote:
I'd love to take one out for a few hours and see what they're like. The cheapest Carve (Specialized's xc 29 hardtail) is £1k, and the spec is really low end for the money. I can appreciate that the price of mtbs is rising and 29" stuff isn't mainstream so still costs more, but I'd be disappointed for £1k.


You do seem to be paying around a £200 premium (comparing rockhopper and carve) but I guess thats the mainstream advantage of 26er's at the moment.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:11 pm 
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firedfromthecircus wrote:
kaiser wrote:
I'm totally convinced in the with the big wheels, far superior to a 26er in most/alot of cases. I cannot see me buying a new bike that doesn't have 29" wheels. The pricing and second hand maket sees me still buying 26ers but not for long. I see my next 2 moderns being 29ers anyway, replacing their 26" counterparts.


Could you convince someone else? What are the benefits? More wheel momentum, better roll over obstacles? The drawbacks? More inertia to overcome, heavier wheel/tyre combos? I have never ridden a 29er but am interested in the concept, though not completely convinced. Interestingly Geoff Apps was always a believer in 29" wheels but was mostly held back by lack of tyre availability.


It'd be hard to totally convince someone all I can say is read read and read some more then decide if you want to make the leap. You will find many people waxing lyrical about their 29ers and as many naysayers mostly saying they look odd. Unfortunately I don't think a test ride is often enough to really show you what they can do, whilst you don't have to learn to ride again there are things your mind will stop you trying because you can't do it on a 26er.

The benefits for me, are most noticeably the roll of the big wheel. I have a rigid and singlespeed which I reckon highlights this the most, its almost like a suspended bike but maintains the accuracy of a rigid. Small bumps are dispatched easily and your flow is unaffected by trail obstacles that would slow down the smaller wheel. The increase in carcass size makes for a very grippy and comfortable ride but not at the expense of speed. The bikes also tend to sit you between the wheels, in the bike as it were rather than on top, which also also makes for an entertaining ride. I've found I can get up steeper hills and down more technical obstacles, tackle trails at a higher average speed and its the bike I generally pick out first nowadays.

Downsides? Well the bike I have is a fond of staying on terrra firma, even mild drop offs are a bit of a pain. I will attribute this to the bike though. New models are coming out with geometry to tackle this if you wish. Price is still high as EoB mentions, second hand stuff is coming through and on one have been championing them for a while and prices are pretty fair.

The myths about slow turning, only for tall folks hard to accelerate are all slowly being proven wrong. You can now get a 29er to do more or less what you want it to.


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