Thursday, June 16, 2011

26er or 29er? The Time Has Come.

Gotta have the white one!
The unthinkable has happened.  I have a crack in my beautiful Soul Cycles Hooligan.  It is not a big crack, and it is not in a catastrophic area (where the upper rear triangle meets the seat tube), but it has increased slightly.  So now the question.  Do I stick with a 26er or go with a 29er?  If I was ever going to get a 29er, now would be the time.  Well, lucky for me, Chad B., owner of Soul Cycles is going to warranty the frame and send me a new 16" Dillinger in white (26" is no longer being made).  I bought the 26" frame because I heard great things about their support and customer service.  All I can say is Wow!  I would urge anyone considering a 29er to check out the Dillinger (can be run SS or geared)...commercial over.   So now I just need a fork, wheelset and tires; all other parts will be swapped over from my Hooligan (unless I decide I need a new stem, grips etc.).  ;)

To help make the "29er transition", Matt R. hooked me up with his buddy Alex who runs  Alex is going to allow me to demo a few bikes in return for honest reviews, and I get the experience of riding a 29er on real trails.  The first bike I tried was a Specialized Camber Elite.  This is a 30+lb. Full suspension 29er in a size large.  When I first sat on it and rode around the parking lot at San Lee I thought, "Don't like it...too big, too bulky etc."  Interestingly, about 1/3 through the ride, I was sold.  I was clearing all the rocky areas and even clearing tight switchbacks (up and down hill); clearing areas I sometimes dab on my 26er.  Naturally, this bike had no problem sticking to a line so downhills were bombin' fun!  Next up, Specialized Epic Carbon!

Also a big thanks to Kelly and Vanessa for letting me borrow one of their 29ers.  Kelly and I spent some time making Vanessa's geared Salsa El Mariachi into a Single Speed that I could use for a few weeks.  the 15.5 inch frame is a bit tight (and the bike is a tank), but I will just put on a setback post and a longer stem (from 70mm to 100mm) and it will be nice.  Also, before I knew I was getting a warrantied frame, several riders (Dave and Nate to name a few) have offered to let me Demo there bikes to give me a solid 29er feel, very cool, thanks guys; beer is on me.

Mmmm, looks delicious!
I was given a lot of crap from my friends for riding a 26er.  And I gave a lot back by defending the smaller wheels.  I still feel like I don't need a 29er, I have done well on my 26er, but I must admit that I have experienced the advantages of the bigger wheels (better rolling/traction...); and the so-called disadvantages (handling/turning...) turned out to be irrelevant.  Guess I will need to change my blog and email to get rid of the "26".  I will get to that right after I finish eating some crow.

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