For many of us, there is a larger world ahead where our bicycles roll more smoothly and with less effort, than in the present era. As evidenced at the recent North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show, bicycles with 29 in. or 650B sizing are in increasing demand for their grace and efficiency on the trail.
At this point, due to the availability of compatible parts, the 29 inch standard has the strongest following.of the larger wheel standards. Many designers and builders of 29ers have developed geometry that strikes a balance between the early, sluggish 29ers and common 26er handling. One limitation in developing these bikes has been suspension systems. White Bros. was among the first fork manufactures to sign on to the 29 inch standard, followed by Marzocchi, Rock Shox and Fox. Now, virtually every type of rear suspension platform is being manufactured in a 29er, as well, with most offerings in the 3-4” travel range.
The recent fusion between singlespeed/fixed and 29er is more than the product of crusty bicycle mechanics’ opinionated hybridizing. Cyclingnews.com’s extensive testing is showing that 29ers are more efficient in many situations. Less scientific testing has come to other conclusions.
So who should make the leap to 29er? Think of these larger wheels as a continuation of the spectrum of wheel sizes: 20, 24, 26, 650B, 29. The more you like epic rides, are over 5’ 6’’ tall, or are skilled, the more likely a 29er should be in your future. Because minimum standover height on these bikes is about 28.5”, you should be about 5’6” or taller for a hardtail, and 5’8” or taller for a dual suspension bike.
Wild Rose is excited to offer a wide range of 29ers from Jamis, Fisher, Intense, and Surly. Jamis has some great deals on 29ers including the stealthy Exile singlespeed for about $1000. With 8 years experience in 29ers, Fisher has carried over it G2 geometry, with reduced trail forks for better handling, in the HiFi Dlx 29er. Intense has just introduced the Spider 29 with VPP, which is likely the fastest, plushest 29er being produced. And, if you’re looking for old school durability and value, Surly’s Karate Monkey is more likely to take you into old age than your spouse. Come in and take one for a bigger ride.