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Pslide's unscientific and pretty much useless comparison of 26" and 29" wheels

Pslide

Turbo Monkey
Ever since I through a leg over the prototype Prime a few years back, I thought that this thing has got to be as fast as my DH bike. It rolls over stuff like a monster truck, flies great, it's light, amazing cornering grip, blah blah blah. So 2 years later I finally get to 7 springs, fired up Strava (first potential source of error), and did some comparative runs which I think were pretty close, not exactly fliers but I'm a bit out of practice anyway.

Here is a handy comparison chart:

Legend Mk2 (26")Prime Proto (29")
SizeLXL
Head Angle64°67.5°
Wheelbase47.3"48.4"
Chainstays17.4"17.8"
BB Height13.7"13.2"
ForkBoxxer WCFox 34 Float 140mm
ShockCCDBFox DH Air
TiresBontrager FR4 2.35 HandcutsMaxxis Ardent 2.4
Weight38 lbs33 lbs
Time: EC11:501:51
Time: 007-Glades-Helens2:272:22

So the Prime was 5 seconds faster on the more pedally and less technical track (007). There are some big fast berms in the Glades which I thought might show up the 29in wheels weakness, but they weren't bad at all.

The Legend and the Prime were about equal on the more technical EC1 track, which has tighter berms and some rocky areas. I thought the Legend would be much faster, as it felt more secure and planted and easy to toss around compared to the big wheels, but in the end they were about the same.

Overall, I was much more comfortable on the Legend. I was probably riding the Legend at 70% of it's capability, whereas I felt I was riding the Prime at more like 90% of it's capability. The Prime was less forgiving and sketchy in spots, but considering it has 3" less travel that's too be expected.

I felt like I was riding on top of the Prime and cornering felt a bit more "tippy", where as on the Legend I felt like I was riding in the bike and it had great stability and really natural in corners.

I guess the biggest surprise was how the 29er wheels really did smooth out the rough stuff. They felt like they added a couple inches of travel to the bike. Some of the fast berms had a bit of choppiness to them which the Legend handled fine, but to my surprise the Prime also handled them fine due to the bigger wheels. The big wheels also seem to shrink rocks and roots before your eyes and I carried better speed over rugged sections.

Overall, my choice was the Legend, although I'd race on the Prime if it was on a pedally track like 007.

Is there room for a 29er DH bike? I used to think yes, the advantages of 29er wheels would outweigh the negatives. I'm not as sure now. It just doesn't feel quite right. There's a reason why Intense and Trek tried it and it didn't go anywhere. I guess 27.5 will be where it's at...

I finished my day back on the Legend and can't remember my last run. Another rider "Joe" found me face down knocked out on the trail! As I came to I realized I was in pretty bad shape, but was able to eventually stand. They took me to the medics and later to the hospital. Concussion, bruised kidney, blood in urine, major trail rash, and hyperextension of my hip tendons which basically means I can hardly move my legs. But no broken bones or major internal injuries. I'm hobbling around on crutches. My TLD Carbon D2 had major scratches and is cracked on the side, if I wasn't wearing my neck brace...well I hate to think what would have happened. But want to say thanks to all the guys I rode with and helped me out, and the medics. Really great people on the hill that day. Fond memories despite it all!
 
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Cant Climb

Turbo Monkey
May 9, 2004
2,687
10
7 Springs is not real DH though.

It's part Bike Park and part "back yard DH".

ohhh....Hope you heal up, that sounds horrible.
 
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Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,363
1,203
01776
da fuq?

"oh, another anecdotal wheel size comparison...ho hum....oh wait...damn!"

I hope you're OK dude. Get well soon.
 

amishmatt

Turbo Monkey
Sep 21, 2005
1,178
321
Lancaster, PA
I'd guess the lighter weight of the 29er was a big factor at 7. It's pretty flat and pedally, especially the Glades.

Where did you crash/wake up?
 

mattmatt86

Turbo Monkey
Feb 9, 2005
5,354
10
Bleedmore, Murderland
While I appreciate the comparison (I love my 29er), 7 springs isn't the place for comparing a DH bike to anything. I raced there once a couple years ago and thought it was a joke that the race was actually called "DH". I'm pretty sure the guy that won my age group raced on a Specialized SX.
 

Pslide

Turbo Monkey
Yeah, fair enough, 7 springs is flat and lame compared to most. Especially 007.

The steeper it gets the more I'd favor the Legend. The rock drop under the lift felt a little hairy on the Prime.

I was found napping in the middle of EC1. I don't have any memory of the crash, but I'm pretty sure it was when you pop out of the woods after the switchbacks, there is a little double and I was just beyond that. Very tame part of the course, don't know what happened, might have slipped a pedal going into it and got bucked over the front?
 

atrokz

Turbo Monkey
Mar 14, 2002
1,556
79
teedotohdot
So in conclusion, the DH bike is faster on a DH course, whereas the 29" trail bike is faster than the DH bike on trails. And, DH bikes are more apt to injure you.

Mind is blown!
 

rav400

Monkey
Aug 31, 2009
178
6
The Right Coast
Pslide,
Good riding with you on Sunday. I was riding on the white M6 with gold handlebars. Were you able to get back home ok? Heal up quick.
 

Pslide

Turbo Monkey
Yeah, wife and her friend came and got me. She's a saint. And she's got to dress my wounds twice a day!

So, if I follow the logic, 26" bikes are dangerous? Holy crap, your right...I can see it clearly now! Look at the statistics! Matti, Dan A, Rachel A, Sam H, Cam Cole, on and on...all had big crashes on 26" wheels! Never crashed on 29". And how many championships also thrown away due to 26" wheels? Sam Hill in Val di Sole, Steve Peat in Les Gets... It's all crystal clear now!
 

blindboxx2334

Turbo Monkey
Mar 19, 2013
1,347
100
Wets Coast
HA love this place.. i thought everyone just thought you were crazy by all the 'get well soon' notes.. but i see otherwise now.

get better buddy!
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,363
1,203
01776
but it's not! 650b is 650b and not 27.5.

I'm also not totally sure how all this stuff isn't linear. Not that I do science for a living or anything.
 

William42

fork ways
Jul 31, 2007
3,719
354
I'm hobbling around on crutches. My TLD Carbon D2 had major scratches and is cracked on the side, if I wasn't wearing my neck brace...well I hate to think what would have happened. But want to say thanks to all the guys I rode with and helped me out, and the medics. Really great people on the hill that day. Fond memories despite it all!
Fist bump. Going through the same thing with a broken ankle, hope you heal up as quick! People helping you out when you just took a bad fall and incapacitated is one of the best things ever. Hope your legs/hips heal up quick