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Poll: what size wheelz for your next DH bike?

What size wheelz for your next DH bike?


  • Total voters
    53

shelteringsky

Monkey
May 21, 2010
255
212
Useless poll time...

So with more and more WC racers having made the switch to the 29er DH bike this season, do you think you'll make the jump to the bigger wheel size for your next DH bike purchase and why?

(Oh, and I understand that it's virtually impossible to buy a 26" DH bike these days. If you intend to keep riding your 26er for the foreseeable future, just select that option.)
 
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Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,882
1,131
IMO the answer really depends on who you ride DH with (or who you compete with if racing).
When people I rode with started jumping on 650b bikes, it only took a few runs (swapping bikes, then swapping wheels back and forth on my own bike) to realise that to go the same pace as them I'd either have to take on more risk / ride closer to the edge with 26" end deal with an increase in pain / fatigue, or just flat out go slower.

Of course bigger wheels means course changes over time that aren't always the best, and you create a whole load of new problems like adding a tonne of weight for equivalent strength / flat resistance + geometry compromises (check the CS length on a 29" V10 - it's a joke).

How much I want a 29" DH bike: zero.
I firmly stand with "if everyone has it it's not faster", just wastes money throwing away stuff that works for privateers.
But on the other hand, once the sponsored friends start getting handed 29" bikes, I'll probably (sadly) jump ship just so I can still ride with my buddies without having to take on greater risk or fatigue to hang with them.

I'll definitely start with the mullet (again), it's definitely the most fun part of these wheel-switching phases.
 

mykel

closer to Periwinkle
Apr 19, 2013
3,512
2,178
sw ontario canada
Poll is invalid - No OG hockey hair listed. :think:

27.5/26 werkz for this old fool. :dirol:

What about the total hard-core dudes running 26/24 - gotta be at least a couple of those old bois left.

Bloody ageism. :disgust1:
 

Bike078

Monkey
Jan 11, 2018
499
337
27.5/26 werkz for this old fool.
How is it? I'm gonna run this combo on my new 27.5 hardtail, which currently has 26 fork and wheels, since I tried a 27.5 hans dampf and it fit even with a fender. Based on price I think I'm gonna go with a 27.5 2.4 dhr 2 on the front and an onza ibex 26 on the back since someone is selling one cheaply.
 
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Gary

"S" is for "neo-luddite"
Aug 27, 2002
3,801
2,049
UK
But on the other hand, once the sponsored friends start getting handed 29" bikes, I'll probably (sadly) jump ship just so I can still ride with my buddies without having to take on greater risk or fatigue to hang with them.
Surely your incredibly detailed and intricately set up suspension and brake tuning to the Nth degree makes up for this?

#264LYF I'm old. It's cheap now and still plentiful. There's no way I can match the 20 something WC level racers anymore. But I can still hold my own just fine with my own age group on half worn 26" 60as with more style than most old goats no matter what wheels/bikes they're using.
 

Happymtb.fr

Turbo Monkey
Feb 9, 2016
1,359
715
SWE
How is it? I'm gonna run this combo on my new 27.5 hardtail, which currently has 26 fork and wheels, since I tried a 27.5 hans dampf and it fit even with a fender. Based on price I think I'm gonna go with a 27.5 2.4 dhr 2 on the front and an onza ibex 26 on the back since someone is selling one cheaply.
That's how I run my hardtail! I went for a 27.5 front wheel when I found an older 36 RC2. it works fine even if the difference is not night and day compare to the mighty smaller wheel size. I compensate to get the same ride height and got all that comes with a longer trail and a slight reduction of the vibration since the bigger wheel filters a bit more. The 26" wheel at the rear kept my BB nice and low.

Back on topic, I sold my DH bike last year since riding parks was too much for my TBI injured brain. I don't know yet when I will cope with it again (riding trail is ok) but when the time will come I will have a hard time deciding between top of the line 2nd hand legendary 26" bikes sold for peanuts, the 29" offering that will probably have matured a bit then and the now returning freeride bikes like the Commencal Supreme SX...
 
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Bike078

Monkey
Jan 11, 2018
499
337
That's how I run my hardtail! I went for a 27.5 front wheel when I found an older 36 RC2. it works fine even if the difference is not night and day compare to the mighty smaller wheel size. I compensate to get the same ride height and got all that comes with a longer trail and a slight reduction of the vibration since the bigger wheel filters a bit more. The 26" wheel at the rear kept my BB nice and low.

Back on topic, I sold my DH bike last year since riding parks was too much for my TBI injured brain. I don't know yet when I will cope with it again (riding trail is ok) but when the time will come I will have a hard time deciding between top speced 2nd hand legendary 26" bikes sold for peanuts, the 29" offering that will probably have matured a bit then and the now returning freeride bikes like the Commencal Supreme SX...
Cool! Excited to try it out. I liked thd 27.5 front wheel when I tried it on flat ground. Back on topic!
 

Nick

My name is Nick
Sep 21, 2001
20,503
8,281
behind you, don't wait up.
If I bought another dh bike it would be 27.5, but that's just out of necessity so I didn't have a 29" dh bike.

Another year on the dhr.


(but I wouldn't mind cruising around on a new v10 this year either)
 
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Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
18,322
2,439
01776
If I buy a new DH bike, it'll be a 29er (that commencal is smoking). that being said, it's not likely I'll buy another DH bike for a considerable period of time (like 10 years?). I don't get many lift days, so I'll either sell it and buy a backup wheelset and DH tires for the "enduro" bike, or keep the 26er and ride it forever. I built that bike to last, and 26" wheels are stronger for the same weight. I don't race these days, just ride for fun, so I'd rather have something that's strong and cheap than has slightly higher rollover and is slightly faster. Besides, smaller wheels jump better and half the trails these days are all flow garbage, so I may as well enjoy it!
 

SuboptimusPrime

Turbo Monkey
Aug 18, 2005
1,582
1,491
NorCack
My 26 bike (GG/DH) is probably indestructible from a pragmatic standpoint at the level (not racing just for fun, not a horrible hack) and frequency (10ish days at bike parks) I am riding. Biggest downside to sticking with 26 is that very few companies are making the newer rubbers in my size (would love to have TR DH rubber from Maxxis). May try the new Schwalbe stuff since at least they are supporting nanowheels and people seem to say the new compounds are pretty good.
 

fwp

Monkey
Jun 5, 2013
256
213
Surely your incredibly detailed and intricately set up suspension and brake tuning to the Nth degree makes up for this?

#264LYF I'm old. It's cheap now and still plentiful. There's no way I can match the 20 something WC level racers anymore. But I can still hold my own just fine with my own age group on half worn 26" 60as with more style than most old goats no matter what wheels/bikes they're using.
anymore?
:blah:
 

rockofullr

confused
Jun 11, 2009
7,343
923
East Bay, Cali
How is it that frame geometry scales to body size but people are convinced that one wheel size is better than the other?

How about big people (Minar) get big wheels and regular people (Gwin) get regular wheels. Anyone remember how garbage Danny Hart looked on a 29" bike?
 

Loki87

Monkey
Aug 24, 2008
169
136
Salzburg, Austria
How is it that frame geometry scales to body size but people are convinced that one wheel size is better than the other?

How about big people (Minar) get big wheels and regular people (Gwin) get regular wheels. Anyone remember how garbage Danny Hart looked on a 29" bike?
True.
What i also find very interesting is how most people are always talking about how an enduro bike descends just as good as a downhill bike and how they can not justify owning a dh-bike anymore, but when it comes to downhill bikes suddenly everyone REALLY desperately needs bigger wheels to go faster :brow:
At this point it´s not even the industry bullshitting us anymore, it´s just the people bullshitting themselves.
 

shelteringsky

Monkey
May 21, 2010
255
212
How is it that frame geometry scales to body size but people are convinced that one wheel size is better than the other?

How about big people (Minar) get big wheels and regular people (Gwin) get regular wheels. Anyone remember how garbage Danny Hart looked on a 29" bike?
Wheel size obviously has more impact on rollover and cornering/traction than frame size.

Not sure that I buy the 'wheel size for height' argument for 29er DH bikes. Sure, 29ers will fit taller riders better. But let's face it, it's not about size. The guys riding 29ers are simply after the competitive advantage of the bigger wheels, which is nullified as soon as other riders adopt them.

Minnaar's claim that he "finally has a bike that fits properly" is a clever bit of misdirection. Somehow he managed to get most of his 20 WC wins and become the GOAT on 'unridabru' smaller wheeled bikes that didn't fit him properly....
 

kidwoo

Artisanal Tweet Curator
Aug 25, 2003
30,036
6,162
The old timey times
The guys riding 29ers are simply after the competitive advantage of the bigger wheels, which is nullified as soon as they have to turn

Minnaar's claim that he "finally has a bike that fits properly" is a clever bit of misdirection.
There are lots of misdirections on wheels that don't turn. Into trees. Bushes.....sasquatcheses
 

toodles

ridiculously corgi proportioned
Aug 24, 2004
3,824
2,345
Australia
Not sure that I buy the 'wheel size for height' argument for 29er DH bikes
Nah seriously small riders and frames just don't fit 29er bikes with 8" of travel without having weird geo or restrictions on body English. For taller, long-legged riders its a complete non-issue. For smaller ladies and gents, getting your crack waxed unexpectedly by a 29er Magic Mary at 50kph is a bit off-putting.
 

Jm_

sled dog's bollocks
Jan 14, 2002
13,805
5,440
AK
True.
What i also find very interesting is how most people are always talking about how an enduro bike descends just as good as a downhill bike and how they can not justify owning a dh-bike anymore, but when it comes to downhill bikes suddenly everyone REALLY desperately needs bigger wheels to go faster :brow:
At this point it´s not even the industry bullshitting us anymore, it´s just the people bullshitting themselves.
Those people are on crack, the reason we don’t own DH bike is we don’t DH every weekend and can’t justify a bike taking up space that we use once in a blue moon and then get made fun of for still having 26” wheels. Seriously tho, DH, 29ers, fat bikes, e-bikes, all bubbles and they all go through a cycle of intense popularity and then die down to respectable levels. Lots of gravity enthusiasts (that are not poseurs) that can’t justify owning a DH bike anymore.

But, the guys that show up on the new 8K enduro bike with pads and new POC helmet and oversized jersey so they can walk up the climb and slowly (fast in their head) make their way downhill are and will always be poseurs.

The same cycle will continue.
 

rockofullr

confused
Jun 11, 2009
7,343
923
East Bay, Cali
Wheel size obviously has more impact on rollover and cornering/traction than frame size.
Just like a longer ski will get you over rough terrain easier and provide a longer edge and therefore more cornering ability? Therefore everyone must ski on 180+ skis.

Oh wait!

The length of your ski is proportional to your size. Notice I said "proportional" not "determined by" as different styles of skiing, different conditions and different goals will also dictate the length of the ski. Just as it does in biking.

A smaller person actually needs less force to change direction and therefore needs less traction. They will also be more affected by increases in mass and inertia. There's lots of reason why a smaller person doesn't want the same size equipment as a large person.

Nah seriously small riders and frames just don't fit 29er bikes with 8" of travel without having weird geo or restrictions on body English. For taller, long-legged riders its a complete non-issue. For smaller ladies and gents, getting your crack waxed unexpectedly by a 29er Magic Mary at 50kph is a bit off-putting.
Larger wheels will also push the bike higher off the ground. The rear end can be dealt with by making the BB drop some crazy number like -15mm but the front end can't be fixed as easily. As we all know from the slammed front end wars of the mid 2000's, front end height (stack height) effects your ride.

Lets take a medium Commencal Supreme DH for example (since it's available in 27.5 and 29) and look at the geo.

275 v29 geo.png


You can't tell me the bike on the right won't work better for bigger people just based on those geo numbers. It's a bigger bike.
 
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shelteringsky

Monkey
May 21, 2010
255
212

And why are you talking about skis??

I said that wheel size will have greater implications for traction/rollover characteristics than frame size. Are you seriously disputing this?

Obviously a frame that matches your height etc. will be ideal. You don't need 29 wheels to achieve this. Like I was saying, I think this argument that 29er DH bikes exist so that taller riders can have a bike that fits them is a red herring. The real reason is the competitive advantage that the bigger wheels offer. Why did a shorter guy like Danny Hart try a 29er? The Syndicate (as well as Intense IIRC) tried to get the jump on everyone at the start of last season by rocking up with 29er bikes while the rest of the field was on 650B. Kind of a shit move with an advantage that only lasts as long as it takes other companies to jump on the 29er bandwagon. Race to the bottom sort of stuff. It's a shame that there wasn't a 'bro code' for wheel sizes like there was for skinsuits.
 

toodles

ridiculously corgi proportioned
Aug 24, 2004
3,824
2,345
Australia
It's a shame that there wasn't a 'bro code' for wheel sizes like there was for skinsuits.
Skinsuits were actually banned through a combination of UCI and public indecency laws, although I think a bro-code kept the helmet visors. I think Loic and a couple of other guys hinted at the wheel size thing being a good idea as to not disadvantage stumpy riders.

As I've said previously, taking into account the wisdom of The Incredibles - "once everyone is a super - no one is". If everyone is on 29er wheels then who do you have an advantage over?
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,295
1,692
Seattle
Lets take a medium Commencal Supreme DH for example (since it's available in 27.5 and 29) and look at the geo.

View attachment 128704

You can't tell me the bike on the right won't work better for bigger people just based on those geo numbers. It's a bigger bike.
The 29er is a bigger bike, but that doesn't need to be the case. They could have just made the 650b bike that big. That's got nothing up do with wheel size and everything to do with the design choices that they made.
 

HardtailHack

used an iron once
Jan 20, 2009
3,323
1,042
Lets take a medium Commencal Supreme DH for example (since it's available in 27.5 and 29) and look at the geo.

View attachment 128704

You can't tell me the bike on the right won't work better for bigger people just based on those geo numbers. It's a bigger bike.
Wow, I wonder why their 650b DH bikes are so short but their AM/EN bikes are just a bit longer than average? I wouldn't have considered my current bike as anything out of the ordinary but the WB is almost as long as a 650b XXL Supreme.
 

ChrisRobin

Turbo Monkey
Jan 30, 2002
3,240
130
Vancouver
As much fun as a 29" DH bike would be, I'm sticking it out with 650b. It was a pain switching from 26" to begin with. Plus I can't get to Whistler as much so there's no point in getting a new anything for DH. If 'had' to upgrade, it would be to an M16 from my 951EVO.
 

Electric_City

The orangutans are loose!
Apr 14, 2007
1,679
513
I know a woman who's probably 4' tall, maybe... She had a 26" Titus extra small frame and couldn't stand over it without tilting it a little. She's a good rider and a level 3 ski instructor too. She asked me one day "Brian told me to get a 29'er so I'm going to start looking. Any recommendations?". I told her to go to Hunters Gallery. She asked "they sell bikes?". I said "No, they sell guns so you can kill Brian.". The handlebar would literally be in her line of sight for fuck sake. Bigger, bigger bigger ... That's what everyone's pushing. Bigger wheels, bigger bars (35mm and 800 wide too!), bigger tires, bigger cogs.

Brian and the other 100+ people that told Rose to get a 29'er have all sold theirs and now ride fat bikes.

Keep in mind that they all "read the reviews" and were on the "29'er forums" and EVERYONE loved theirs. I was the one holding back! "You NEED one". Yet while riding with them and being the fattest guy, I would keep up with them and lead the end of the ride. After these 20+ mile rides, did anyone then tell me I "need" a 29'er? Nope! Their mouths were shut till next Thursday.

They're not for everyone. The XC race that I patrolled this past weekend proved that. Nother story, nother time.
 

Cerberus75

Monkey
Feb 18, 2017
398
142
Nah seriously small riders and frames just don't fit 29er bikes with 8" of travel without having weird geo or restrictions on body English. For taller, long-legged riders its a complete non-issue. For smaller ladies and gents, getting your crack waxed unexpectedly by a 29er Magic Mary at 50kph is a bit off-putting.
I'm 5'6" and ride a canfield Riot. A 29er trail bike makes sense for me. But I still buzz my ass with the tire with more travel than 140mm the chainstays will need to be longer not to castrate myself. I wouldn't want much longer chainstays since being short , short stays make it easier to move the back around. (True for everyone but 17.5 feels like s bus to short guys)