The debate between 26″ and 29″ mountain bikes will never go away. There has been many articles written about the topic, and many tests done comparing the two. For years, I was one of those riders that wanted nothing to do with a 29er…that is until I rode one. Only 5 minutes on the bike and I was a believer and advocate for the 29er.
Owning five mountain bikes, there’s only two that I ride…my Redline MonoCog 29er and my Motobecane Fantom 29. The other mountain bikes that I have, I use for friends to ride. But when I let someone try my 29er, they don’t want to give it back. They’re hooked too.
The naysayers will tell you that a 29er takes longer to get up to speed and a 29er doesn’t handle as good in tight twisty singletrack. Both of my 29ers handle very good in the tight twisty terrain. Physics might prove that a 29er takes longer to get up to speed, but over a 2 hour race, lets face it, that few second longer getting you up to speed, make no difference. But, what is a difference is that once you get up to speed, that speed is faster than a 26 inch. That, my friend, you cannot debate. The 29er wheel will also go over obstacles easier allowing you to maintain your momentum. This will also smooth out your ride making a hardtail ride smoother. And, because the 29er roles over obstacle easier, you don’t have to pick and choose your line as much as a 26″. This means a straighter faster line. Add it all together, and you are still faster than a 26″ wheel mountain bike.
Read the singletrack.com article Revisiting the Rancor: 26 v. 29. About a year ago, they did an in depth comparison of 26″ hardtail, 26″ full suspension and 29er hardtail.