26 inch MTB vs 29 inch MTB

November 1, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Bike types

If nothing else the 26” vs 29er debate gives us bicycle junkies something new to talk about, as the usual debates around hard and softails, Shimano or Sram, mountain bikes or road bikes were getting a little overdone. And in our shop we hear a variety of opinions from avid supporters to detractors and almost everyone in between. Often the physical size and weight of a rider has something to do with their preference. Here are some broad points of difference, which may assist in formulating your own opinion, but until you have ridden both, you are unlikely to finally decide one way or another.

The larger wheels of the 29ner mtb are likely to make the following improvements;

  1. larger foot print enabling better grip, better stopping power (although a larger rotor may have the same effect) and improved traction.
  2. Better stability when attacking steep climbs by reducing the front end tendency to pop up, due to the slightly longer wheel base.
  3. Are less likely to endo when riding off drop offs, or climbing pavements.
  4. Are perhaps a better option for taller riders.

However, the 29er mtb is also like to;

  1. Add extra weight to the size of the wheels, through robust design providing strength to absorb lateral forces (particularly during sharp cornering at speed)
  2. When compared to 26 inch mtb’s they will accelerate slower and be generally less responsive at low speeds during tight situations.
  3. Arguably not as fast as a 26 inch mtb in the climbs.
  4. Some have geometry problems and are probably not suited to short riders.

Is the 26 inch mtb going to be replaced by the 29 inch mtb, not likely. Does a 29er eliminate the need for a softail, not particularly. Is there a place for both, most definitely.

line drawn in the sand, and the two sides actively debating for their personal choices. And after listening to a considerable amount we seem to think that if your 6 feet tall and over, you’ll probably be inclined to move towards the 29er and anything shorter you may not. Since the advent of front and rear suspension mtb’s and possibly the introduction of carbon frames and components, this is probably the most significant change in mtb design in recent times.