Which size 29er?

Lee – Good day! I wondered if there was any science to the sizing of 29er frames. There does not appear to be much in the way of resources available on the subject and the manufacturers occaisionally list recommended rider sizes for frames but leave the fit to the Local Bike Shop. In looking at Titus frames, for example, the large 26er frames closely match the dimensions (effective Top Tube, that is) of the Medium 29er frames. In choosing a 29er frame, is there any reason not to maintain the same effective Top Tube as one would on a 26er?

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Hey Jeff,

Your cockpit should be the same on both bikes.

Theoretically, the bigger wheels on a 29er necessitate longer front and rear ends. Front end so the wheel doesn’t overlap with your foot, and rear end because they have to cram that mongo wheel into the stays.

Get your 29er to match your 26er as closely as possible. If the top tube is longer, then rock a shorter stem. Yeah, sweet!

Why bother?

29-inch wheels roll over rough terrain about six percent more easily than 26-inch wheels. That’s a noticeable difference, especially if you like to cover max miles with min effort. 29ers are a real hit among ultra-endurance racers.

(begin ramble)

– 29ers are bit less nimble than 26ers, but I believe a good rider can learn to rip on anything.

– I rode a 29-inch Lenz Sport last year at ultra-rocky Left Hand Canyon, and, despite the crappy suspension, I really liked the bike. I could see rocking a 29er Enduro SL, especially here in the “Rocky” mountains. … Brandon Sloan, do you read me?

– Trek has a new XC bike with a 29 front and 26 rear. Cool: You get a short rear end with an easy-rolling front wheel. I’ve been wanting a DH bike like that. … Earth to Sloan … 🙂

(end ramble)

8 replies
  1. leelikesbikes says:

    Ah yes, I can’t be saying stuff like that w/o substantiation.

    The rear end was fine, but the White Bros fork — I forget which model — wanted to dive through its travel. The spring rate seemed OK, but I guess the valving wasn’t right for me. The fork rode really low, and it was a bottom-out king. … That could be a function of my riding style and a truly gnarly trail, but still: After the ride I thought, this would have been awesome with a different fork.

  2. Phillip says:

    Although I haven’t tested out Trek’s 96er design, my singlespeed mtb is set up that way. It rolls really well and overcomes the initial acceleration issues typical of 29ers with the 26 in the rear.

    Wasn’t there a time when rolling a 26″/24″ set up for dh popular? Almost similar in concept.

  3. chris says:

    Lee, do you think that this 29er thing is just going to be a fad like big hair and tight rolling your pants in the 80’s? Or do you think it is really here to stay?

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    Hmm … The reduced rolling resistance is a definite advantage .. and several big companies are making 29ers … and component makers are making parts for 29ers … and there are more and more tire choices … so it seems like there’s some momentum.

    Some would say that 26 inches was totally arbitrary in the first place.

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