.... street or real technical tracks with lots of short corners, 2 situations where any mediocre 26 will pummel even the best 29 money can buy.
Why am I less than totally convinced by that statement
And anyway, I reckon that a lot of apocrypha always surrounds 29er's. Like the "exploding/self-destructing" wheels - I've ridden with lots of people on 29er's (some of them very fast and hard riders) and I've never seen a single wheel issue present itself.
And the "weird steep head angle" and "weird handling" ones - I have four bikes which have 29" front wheels and they all have perfectly normal, erring towards slack if anything, head angles. They don't steer and handle weirdly, rather the exact opposite. They handle like good handling bikes should.
The "steep head angle" bit comes from the early 29er days, before people started making longer offset forks specifically for them and were just using longer 26" forks but with the same offset and so steepened the head angle to counteract the resultant increase in trail caused by the larger wheel radius.
You can move on now, those days have gone.....
In fact, it's the front wheel that most benefits from being larger, in my opinion (the pushing the wheelbarrow versus pulling the wheelbarrow up a step analogy) although many people will cite increased rear traction as being a similar advantage.
So why do I have all these 69ers (two Hummingbirds, a Carver, and a Top Fuel) cluttering up my workshop and no 29ers? Simply because I've been riding one or another for the last four years, I've championed them to anyone who'd listen and I've grown to like them and know how to make them work well for me. Or so people tell me, anyway.
So would I have something like a Niner SIR 9? Yes, at the drop of a hat - green please and singlespeed of course. In my dreams though - I can't spend any more money on bikes in the foreseeable future.