The Basics of 29er Mountain Bikes

The Basics of 29er Mountain Bikes

Extolled by many and detracted by a few, the verdict is now clear: 29er Mountain bikes are here to stay.
While claims that the traditional 26-inch mountain bike is headed for extinction may be premature, there is no doubt a growing number of mountain-bike buyers who are voting for the 29er.

The Pros and Cons of Bigger Wheels

29 Inch Wheel
So what’s the attraction? 29ers offer several big advantages over their smaller-wheeled siblings:
  • Better momentum once rolling, meaning more progress for less effort and faster rolling over open terrain.
  • A larger tire contact area on the trail, giving better traction and control when climbing or cornering.
  • A higher “attack angle,” meaning the wheels roll over trail obstacles with less impact, reducing fatigue and smoothing out the trail.
Riders report that a 29er gives a feeling of enhanced stability and control, decreasing the “sketchiness” of the riding experience. This means fewer on-trail panic attacks and more confidence and comfort.
Sounds great, but what are the downsides? The tradeoffs are minimal: a small weight penalty for the increased wheel mass and slightly slower initial acceleration from a stop. That’s it!

Who Can Ride a 29er?

Many people can get a good fit on a 29er, but there are fewer sizing options for short riders (male or female). Why?
The main issue is the standover clearance. A 29er is often taller than a comparably sized 26-inch wheel mountain bike and may be too tall for smaller riders. Toe overlap with the larger wheel and an incorrect handlebar height are other potential concerns for shorter riders. Many 29ers are therefore available in medium, large and extra-large frames, with small frames and women’s specific frames just starting to catch on.
If you are under 5’6” tall, a 26-inch mountain bike is still likely to be a better fit. If you’re 5’6’ or taller, you should be able to find a 29er model to fit you. Riders more than 6’ tall can rejoice: You’ll definitely enjoy a more natural riding position with the size and frame geometry of a 29er.

Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »