Wednesday, October 17, 2012

the death and dying of the 700c/29er in FGFS pt II: the wheel sizes

the first installment was pretty much a base layer to build upon. the history of FGFS is a short one, to be quite honest, and that's not really the stuff that will get people talking. this is one post that's going to cause a ruckus. here, i'm going to try to weed out the pros and cons of both wheel sizes.

three inches of separation
last time i covered the history which began with the majority of the riders running 700c then ultimately ending up with the majority shifting to 26". what happened? what did people see within probably about the span of a  year that changed almost everyone's minds?

(daniel torres)

it's funny how the MTB world made a really big deal about 29" but that whole deal doesn't necessarily roll over to the FGFS world. because of their larger circumference, they roll over things a lot less violently- this is why torey thornton looks crazy smooth when it comes to rolling down stairs. the bigger wheels allow for a larger patch of contact with the ground. this means that there's a better feel for the ground and softer landings. the 29er/700c can also hold a little bit more air (but that doesn't necessarily equate to higher pressures). more air between the rubber and the rim creates (yet again) a smoother ride. the one that really stands out for me is the fact that the bike travels further with a 29"/700c with a smaller crank revolution. this means that if a 29er and 26" were put head to heard in a drag race with riders running EXACT same cadence, the 29er would win.

(joe mckeag, post 700c)

this all sounds nice- a smoother ride, a more efficient crank rotation, blah blah blah. i said before that some of these things don't equate to FGFS. in MTB, 29" gives the effect of about 1 more inch of travel in a suspension fork. we don't use suspension forks. a bigger circumfrence means a longer spoke. longer spokes are weaker than short spokes. weight weenies hate anything that can add weight, so a bigger wheel is obviously not the best. the bikes definitely feel (and most likely are) big. for a small guy like me i kinda look silly on my bike because it's so big. then there's accomodation- we know longer stuff is weaker than shorter stuff and that counts for tubing too. all around, a 29er/700c will have longer tubing than a 26" specific setup. then there's sacrifice of barspin clearance, and agility sacrifice.

personally, what i saw as a huge push for 26 was cost and accessibility. since 29 is a relatively new thing in MTB, the selection of rims is a lot smaller than the 26" selection. take into account not many manufacturers are dedicated to 29". a residual effect of the selection also makes 26" alot cheaper than 29". you can find 26" tires and tubes alot easier than a big 700c or 29". personally, i have to search for a really specific tube; a 29" presta with a relatively long stem (shut up, i know i'm a fucking relic). some bike shops wont have that. on the other hand, 26" is so accessible even some grocery stores even have 26" tubes.

Deal With it TV - Nick Koo from Matthew Rice on Vimeo.

stylistically, i think you can really see a difference in riding with 29 compared to 26. 29" seems like it leaves little room for error, where as 26" leaves room for correcting. what i mean by that is the 29er rider would need to work a little harder to get a trick straight but a 26" rider can correct on the fly. look at 700c/29er rider 180 as opposed to a 26"; in most occasions a 29er rider won't hop to correct (well it's because its harder to do that), whereas 26" hop correcting is almost second nature.  then there's the fakie thing- because of that extra tallness in the front and the contact points of the tires, you will see 29er fakie riding being really smooth. 26" with all the new developments in having a tigher geo creates a fakie experience that's alot more squirrely. but that's just me. i see one of you guys is pissed at this comment.

i know i'm missing some stuff here, so if i have, please comment and fuel some discussion.



Dildoeater said...

the fuck are you talking about?

bhsk said...

a whole lotta nothing brother. 

Koo said...

Dude. This makes me want to ride -_-;

steve said...

I never tried riding 26" so I don't have any input I just like riding 700c. I never thought I should switch just because everyone else is there's nothing wrong with my 700c frame so why change it or try something when my bikes not broken? Riding 2.10 29er tires I feel like i'm on a monster truck nothing better.

bhsk said...

i love that part about the bigger wheel size. the feeling and knowledge that you can run over everything and anything. i run 2.1's too- they're so ridiculously fun. 



bhsk said...

Preposterous, even.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Xjohnathan3 said...

700c <3

Cody said...

my logic is as follows: we started on tight handling track bikes, then we enlarged everything to accomodate large tires so our shit didnt break, now we are going back to our tight handling and  (relatively) the same diameter wheel as we were on our 700x23c track bikes.

Cody said...

akin to the late 90's BMX era of overbuilding everything and riding 48 spoke wheels. fuck that noise.

bhsk said...

i know that feeling man. thanks for adding to the discussion

Finn E Zygowski said...

almost all of the bone deth dudes ride 48 hole wheels still.