Captain America 29er?

Have you given any thought to a 29er version of Captain America? How do you think a do-it-all bike with 29er wheels would go for occasional pump and jump?

Thanks, Ben from Melbourne, Australia


Rallying a bone-stock Stumpjumper 29 SS at a BMX track. The stem and seatpost were awfully long — and the 29s weren’t as snappy as 26es, 24s or 20s — but the big wheels erased small mistakes and kept the speed rolling.

Yes, that thought has crossed my mind. Especially now that I’ve swallowed the 29er red pill. If all goes well, I will soon be riding a Stumpjumper FSR 29 Expert Carbon frame with a Fox 34 fork. I’m seeing a Sea Otter DS win on this bad boy.

OK, back to business:

Captain America has proved to be fun, versatile and a great teaching vehicle. He’s a high-end Stumpjumper HT 26 frame built with DJ components: Fox 831 fork, Answer DH stem/bars, Gamut chain guide, Sun Charger Pro wheels, Answer or Point One Racing flat pedals and an adjustable seatpost.

The Captain is optimized for pump/jump/teaching with occasional trail.

If you want a do-it-all bike like Captain America, but you want to optimize for trail with occasional pump/jump, definitely go for 29-inch wheels.

Trail: As we all know, the big wheels make a hardtail way smoother/easier on rough terrain. This is especially noticeable if you’re running a stiff pumpy/jumpy fork.

Pump/jump: I’m telling you, 29ers pump and jump just fine. Especially if the rollers and jumps have longer phases, and especially if you’re not trying to win pump track worlds.

The Stumpjumper 29 SS I tested in 2010 would be rally-ready with a few tweaks.

Lots of companies make burlier/slacker 29er trail hardtails. As a fine example, check out the Transition TransAm29.



Know more. Have more fun!

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9 replies
  1. Ben says:

    Thanks Lee, that answers it! I look forward to seeing pics of the 29er stumpy Captain America. I have been eyeing off the transition trans am 29er. It’s a cool looking hardtail! Cheers, Ben

  2. M. davis says:

    I like it all, just was wondering one thing, a $2400 single speed hardtail? Really? The entire Transition bike is $2400. Are there any 29er’s that real people can afford that you could recommend/talk about. Thank you.

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    Ha! Speed is a question of money. How fast do you want to go?

    The Specialized Carve 29ers range from $1300 to $2000 complete. Rockhoppers are about $1000. The Hardrock Sport Disc 29 is $700.

    Most other bike companies make 29er hardtails at similar price points. There are tons to choose from. Surly Karate Monkeys are cool and inexpensive.

  4. chance says:

    the karate Monkey is BA you could drop a bomb on the B#$ch and it wouldn’t hurt it, but it’s steel and not the lightest thing in the world but it won’t hurt your pocket book. My buddy rides hes, with minor changes from MTB to Cross to long distance touring!

  5. Jeff says:

    I ride a 2010 Gary Fisher X-Cal. I know the price has gone up some but it was in the 1,600 range then upgraded (wheels and dropper post) as I could afford it. It was a bid deal for me to drop that much (drooled for 3 years over a bike) but that was a bike that was a solid foundation I could build on and grow with. Just did a local race where the top 8 finishers were on carbon dual suspension (26 and 29) except for me (2nd place) with my hardtail (geared) aluminum 29er.

  6. Allen says:

    I have a Karate Monkey and wouldn’t recommend it for real ripping. I don’t know if it’s the geometry or what, but I find it waaaayyy harder to manuver and rail corners than on my Giant Trance X (which isn’t the slackest ride either). Of course, a good rider can rip anything, but in my experience I would look elsewhere for a do-it-all 29er SS. I think Kona’s 29er hardtails (including the Unit) and their new long-travel 29er hardtail seem like they could be a good choice.

  7. Billy White says:

    Lee, I am in need of a n
    ew bike and was about to write off 29ers because I want the most versatile bike for the bucks. When you endorse 29ers for pump and jump I’m back on the fence. I own an old copy of Mastering MTB Skills and it really helped to improve my riding. Here is the clincher Brian Lopes is not impressed with 29ers but you highly recommend them. If you are racing them in DH/DS events that require considerable technique I can only assume that they are up for the task. Is Lopes just set in his ways or is it that the level that he operates at demands a 26″ bike.

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