Brian Lopes testing 29ers?

Uh oh, the end is nigh.

If you have the book Mastering Mountain Bike Skills 2nd Edition, you know what Brian has thought about 29ers:

“Wagon wheel bikes .. circus bikes … Barnum & Bailey …”

“I don’t see any reason to ride one. I’ve heard about all the benefits, but they don’t accelerate as quickly. I hear they roll through stuff better, but I never have problems rolling through anything.”

“It’s a bike for people who are old and lazy and need something better. If you have an aggressive riding style, you’re not riding a 29er.”

Well, as seen on Twitter:

As much as Brian thinks he hates big wheels, he sure loves winning. Now that he’s ditched gated racing for XC and Enduro, all-out acceleration isn’t as important as overall speed and efficiency. Let’s not forget Adam Craig is killing it on a 29er.

If I was Brian, I’d be thinking:

• I can out-sprint, out-corner, out-pump, out-think and out-compete most of the guys out there.

• The top XC dudes have higher sustained power than I do, and there’s not much I can do about that. (Heck, I’m 40 this year, and I only have another 20 years at the top.)

• A 29er would help me carry more speed under sustained power, effectively reducing the top XC racers’ advantage.

• I can learn to rip any bike.

• Any Ibis I ride is going to be dialed.

• I should test 29ers on various courses and let the clock do the talking.

• I know people will give me grief for riding a 29er, but — hey — as long as I’m beating them who cares?

That’s what I’d be thinking. If I was Brian.


Update from Brian:

Well I just got done shredding some sick jumps here in Bend, OR and I wouldn’t be hitting them on a 29’r. I can see where they can be faster on some courses, but those usually aren’t courses which are very fun or ones that I would pick to ride. Races are held on all different types of courses and sometimes those course are boring, not technical, or whatever else that may be suitable for a 29’r. You are right, I like winning and there will be some races I do which I may have to pick that bike to improve my chances, but I’ll do what I can to avoid them. I like responsive, quick handling, lively bikes that I can throw around. Tractor wheels don’t produce this.

Know more. Have more fun!

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