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Which Mtb wheel is better?

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How tall are you? I prefer a 29er, but I'm 6' 3".  What kind of trails do you or do you plan on riding? 

6'2" Singletrack and off-road trails mostly dry, loose rocks, roots and rocks

They say 650B is the new fashion.

Well at 6'3" I found that the 29er feels a lot more comfortable. MTBs with 26" wheels feel like I'm riding a kids bike. The bigger wheel is also better for getting over obstacles such as your rocks and roots. If all other things are equal, I'd go with the 29er. 

Do you have other bikes with 700c wheels (same rim size as a 29er) or 26" wheels? that is another factor - you'd have less different sizes of tires and tubes if you stuck with a size you already have. 

Joe Glinka said:

6'2" Singletrack and off-road trails mostly dry, loose rocks, roots and rocks

I am 5'9" and ride a 29er, I absolutely love it. I used to ride 26" wheels, with the upgrade I roll faster and move over obstacles easier. It was difficult to learn to navigate it on tight twisty single track but not so bad now that I am used to it.

Although its the same size bead diameter, I dont think you would have any tires or tubes in common with a 700C road bike.

Tony Adams 6.6 mi said:

Do you have other bikes with 700c wheels (same rim size as a 29er) or 26" wheels? that is another factor - you'd have less different sizes of tires and tubes if you stuck with a size you already have. 

I do actually have a Lemond 700c Road Bike and my Dad rides a Trek 29er GF Edition. I did watch some videos of 29ers making a big difference of climbing on slippery roots and rocks much better than a 26er and the rolling resistance is increasingly better. i am definetly interested in looking to buy a 29 inch wheel bike like the Trek X-Cal, that looks hell of a ride! By the way are any of you going to be competing in the Palos Meltdown?

I might do Palos Meltdown... it will depend on what else is going on that weekend. I had conflicting events happening in the city last year. 

I will for sure be heading to copper harbor, MI over labor day weekend for the trails festival. I know lots of people in Chicagoland attend but I don't know who they are. 


Joe Glinka said:

I do actually have a Lemond 700c Road Bike and my Dad rides a Trek 29er GF Edition. I did watch some videos of 29ers making a big difference of climbing on slippery roots and rocks much better than a 26er and the rolling resistance is increasingly better. i am definetly interested in looking to buy a 29 inch wheel bike like the Trek X-Cal, that looks hell of a ride! By the way are any of you going to be competing in the Palos Meltdown?

Unless you are a small person and have overlap problems with 700c wheels but not with 26" wheels, I can't see how one's height has any bearing on wheel size.

Have you tried riding them? The larger wheels feel way better to me. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, on a 26" MTB it seems like I'm towering over a child's toy compared to the feeling of riding a 29er. Since taller people have a higher center of gravity it feels like it helps to have a bike to match. It is of course pretty subjective. Do you do any mountain biking? Confidence and connection to the bike is pretty significant when one is plummeting down a hill on a dirt path strewn with obstacles. Those few inches make a difference. 

 
David P. said:

Unless you are a small person and have overlap problems with 700c wheels but not with 26" wheels, I can't see how one's height has any bearing on wheel size.

Tony,

No, I've never ridden "29er"/700c for MTB work, only 26" and 650b. I don't doubt your, and others', point that they can give a distinctly different feel on singletrack - only why a rider's size is any real consideration for wheel size in any functional sense beyond avoiding toe overlap on very small frames with 700c wheels. Sure, really big frames generally look better with larger wheels but this is just an aesthetic issue and IMO isn't much of one with modern MTB frames with heavily sloping top tubes and really high head tubes. I've been mountain biking since I was 13 (I'm 38) and it was almost the only kind of riding I did until I started doing more and more on-road riding beginning in my mid 20s. I am one of those people who finds something he likes and then keeps it, and I've had the same mountain bike (a 1993 Bridgestone MB-4) since 1994; I have ridden my Rawland as a MTB a handful of times also (that's the 650b) since the MB-4 is getting an overhaul. I have always been kind of a wuss, so plummeting down hills at tops speed was never my thing, though. Not to mention that I can count on one hand the number of time in 25 years that I have been MTBing on something that was not fully rigid. Riding my sister's modern full-suspension MTB on ricky trails in CO was a revelation, and if that's the kind of stuff I rode I'd want something modern, but for smoother cross-country riding I'll take fully rigid, and I bet wheel-size differences are less evident there anyway.

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