Basic Guide to 29er Mountain Bikes
While there have been many advances and true innovations in cycling in the last ten years, perhaps none have had such a profound and reaching effect on the sport as the 29er. The 29er has made previously unapproachable mountain biking trails accessible to beginners who possess little to no skill, and the riders that continue to purchase them over all others have transformed the industry and what it manufactures for at least the near future.
The 29er, or 9er as many choose to call it, refers to a mountain bike’s wheel size, which is 29 inches in diameter. When the wheel size of a bike changes, so does its geometry, and consequently, so does its riding characteristics. Compared to the 26” mountain bike before its mainstream introduction, the 29er offers many advantages.
- A Better Fit for Tall Riders: with a longer wheelbase and a taller profile, the 29er is a great choice for a taller rider. The benefits include better handling, confident cornering and a more comfortable body position.
- A Lower Center of Gravity: this means more stability byway of the relative position of the bottom bracket to the wheel axle. Your body will feel more comfortable and centered as a result.
- An Improved Angle of Attack: the larger the wheel, the smaller the obstacle relative to the wheel. Sounds easy enough and when you encounter a log or a rock, you quickly learn that this is true. A 29-inch wheel will roll over an obstacle faster and easier than a 26-inch wheel.
- Improved Tire Choice: there are many styles of 29er tires, from gnarly deep tread to smooth rolling road tires, making a 29er versatile enough that you could commute by bike one day, and hit some singletrack the next.
- Superior Momentum: a 29er carries a considerable amount of momentum, whether it’s down a hill, or into a corner. If you are used to a traditional 26” mountain bike, this will take some acclimating, but once you are familiar with timing and choosing your lines through corners, the 29er just can’t be beat. The momentum makes handling obstacles and slight variations in the terrain beneath you almost second nature.
- Improved Wheel Contact: the point at which the wheel meets the ground is called the contact patch. The larger the surface contact, the better the grip. In the case of the 29er, more of the tire is physically available to contact the ground and dig into the terrain. Additionally, your contact patch becomes even larger when you run a lower tire pressure – between 20-25 PSI!
With all of these benefits, it is clear why so many mountain bikers have gravitated to 29ers over all others. But don’t take our word for it, experience the thrill and the enjoyment of the 29er for yourself today.
The three wheel sizes available to adult mountain bikers: