Guided and Self-Guided
Mountain Biking and Walking Holidays
So I bought my first 29er mountain bike - yep, fell for the hype - the biggest sales in Mountain Bikes just now are 29ers. I am glad that I did, the 29er is perfect for the sort of riding that I do. Age has caught up with me. I am no longer looking for those hugely technical bone breaking opportunities - although I still get a blast when they present themselves. It's now more about wheels on the ground and covering distance at a reasonable pace and in some comfort.
The pros and cons of big wheels are well documented. The pros - smoother, rolls over lumps better, climbs well, covers ground at speed. The disadvantages - cornering, less agile on tight windy stuff, accelerates slower, braking takes more effort.
Whilst all of these points are generally correct they hide the basic fact that it's primarily not about the bike or its wheel size it is about the rider and how they like or tend to ride.
If you are new to mountain biking you may want to start with a 26er because you will develop your core skills quicker; the 29er is more forgiving and will iron out some of your riding errors. The 29er is not boring though and you still need the skills to deal with what the trail will throw at you, you just have a split second more time to deal with it. My experience to date does not indicate that the 29er is any quicker over my training rides but I do feel a little less tired. Perhaps it makes it easier.
A quick note on climbing. The 29er really does climb well where you can maintain momentum but, for those short sharp sections of changing steepness where bursts of acceleration are required, the 29er requires a bit more effort to get it going; acceleration is a tad slower on a 29er.
Smaller wheels require more skills than the 29er. If you ride like a BMXer then stick with 26inch wheels, if you spend a lot of time pumping the pedals and covering ground, go for a 29er. It is as simple as that.
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