All-mountain 29er?

Hey Lee,
I want to get a full suspension 29er and ride the terrain that an Enduro or Nomad would shine in. However, it appears as though most, if not all, of the 29ers are built for XC racing. Are you aware of any that are beefier than others?

A 29er eh?

Well, 29ers do roll more easily over rough terrain. About 6 percent more easily. If you’re into covering max trail with min effort, 29ers seem to make sense.

As for ripping a 29er all-mountain style:

Alex Morgan’s proto 2008 bcd Vite 29 DH bike. After the details are sorted out, I think a 29er could work very well in DH.

Your tire choice is limited. Kenda makes a Nevegal in 2.2. Alex Morgan at BCD has been testing a 29er DH bike, and he’s running that tire. At the Angel Fire G3, despite “running a touring road tire cut in half and layed inside next to the side wall with a cut 29 tube around another 29 tube,” Alex flatted in both racing and training.

Frame travel and geometry is definitely skewed toward XC and trail riding. That makes sense, because that’s the biggest market. The only all-mountain 29er I know of is the Lenz Sport Behemoth. For now you’re limited to five-inch forks. BTW: Despite my constant needling, Brandon Sloan at Specialized refuses to make a 29er Enduro. He says the bar would be way too high, and the wheelbase would be ridiculous.

I’d ask myself these questions: Why do I want a 29er? What terrain do I actually want to ride? Can’t I rip that terrain on a trail-oriented 29er? For most people, that answer should be yes. Modern trail bikes are very capable, and 29-inch wheels make them even more so.

If you are the type of rider who actually wrings out an Enduro or Nomad, I say stick with 26×2.5 tires. For the time being, anyway.

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Also read: Which size 29er?

7 replies
  1. Mike E. says:

    I’m messing around with a Gary Fisher Hi Fi Delux. It comes with the Fox 29’er fork, and Bontrager tires which are not too shabby. This bike can slay trail, but I wouldn’t want to send it into the air too hard. And reviewing the rear set up, its not very beefy at all, but I would enter a Super D on it just to see how it performs.

  2. nobody says:

    the uci rulebook limits the o.d. of mntbike tires to 29 inches … a true 700c dh tire with a 2.5 volume will likely exceed that , making them illegal . i think a 2.2 is as big as its gonna get

  3. nobody says:

    another problem not addressed with 29 inch front wheels is that the increased radius of the front wheel totally throws off the whole rake and trail concept , which nobody in the industry seems to understand . essentialy ‘trail’ is the same thing as ‘castor’. the ‘castor wheel’ effect is best observerd on the front end of a shopping cart… not exactly the type of steering axis geometry you might want for any , much less all , mountain .

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