Is Bigger Better?

The question that might never be answered…

There are many pros and cons for each wheel size.  Mountain bikes with 26″ wheels are generally quicker and lighter, but in order to get similar ride qualities between the two, a 26″ bike will require more suspension than a similar 29er bike.

The Pros: A 29er’s larger wheels roll over rocks, ruts and roots easier than a 26″ wheel. Think of it this way, you are riding over most obstacles and not into.  The contact patch is larger due to the larger diameter wheel…more tire on the path at all times = more traction. Coming from my roadie background, the 29″ wheel (700c) will make me feel more at home (ride height). 29er bikes are showing up big time in the racing scene too — check out the latest 29er wins by clicking HERE.

The Cons: Larger wheels need larger frames…add the two together and you get more weight than a comparable 26″ bike. The larger front wheel needs more frame clearance when using a suspension fork, so therefore you end up with a high front end.  This often requires a negative degree stem and also makes the bike easier to fit for taller riders and not as easy for shorter riders (toe overlap, handle bar height, stand-over height can create issues). Due to the larger wheels and frame, the bike is less agile than a 26″ bike, so tight singletrack, switchbacks and large rocky sections will be a bit trickier to ride.

This isn’t exact, BUT…

Say you are driving down this fire road:

Would you rather drive this? (26″ XC Hardtail)

Or this? (29er XC Hardtail)

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My Niner

What’s this blog about?  I’m about to begin building a Niner Air 9, but so far all I have on order is the frame itself. I plan on acquiring all the rest of the parts over time.  Why not blog about the progress…it will help me speed up the process of purchasing the parts and get me on the trails that much faster.

Here’s the beauty shot of the frame:

About me?  I began mountain biking back in 1995. Hopped on my first road bike in 1997.  Dabbled with both for a while until slowly migrating to just road biking, where I’ve worked my way up the ranks of road racing (I love crits). I work for Ritchey / Syncros, made a trip out to The Downieville Classic this year, borrowed a co-worker’s mountain bike and relived my days riding on dirt.  I fell back in love with the sport instantly…which is why I’m now building myself a 29er. Needless to say, I’ll be building this up with some killer new Syncros parts as we go.

I can’t wait for my first ride.

Check back often, subscribe to the blog or load up the RSS feed onto your reader to keep an eye on my progress.