Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Drinkin' the Kool-Aid

Ridin' my (temporarily mine, anyway) 29er on Trail 100 in Phoenix.
(Photo by Julie)

OK, I’m convinced. Pass me the Kool-Aid, and I’ll drink it.

For years, I’ve read the articles comparing the pros and cons of 29ers, and the results were always the same: Whether you should be on 26- or 29-inch mountain bike wheels depends on the terrain you ride, and your riding style. There’s no answer that fits everyone.

 But I’ve also watched multiple friends become 29er converts. The trend started, unfortunately, right after I bought my beloved Specialized Epic with 26ers. So I happily stuck with it until I decided to try something new on my recent trip to Arizona.

Instead of crating up my Epic and taking it along as I always have, I rented a 29er from Slippery Pig Bike Shop in Phoenix. Within a day or two, I decided it’s time to make the switch. I was rolling through deep, endo-inducing compressions with ease. And I was pedaling over piles of rocks that I would have struggled with on my current bike.

I was reminded of what my friend Julie wrote a couple of years ago after riding big wheels during a trip back east ...

It’s like cheating.

So I’m shopping for a new bike frame. I'd like another Epic, but Specialized isn’t making it easy by not offering the new Epic 29ers in frame-only options, and I want to build my new bike myself, with hand-picked components. Buying a new bike and stripping off half the parts to sell them on Ebay is a hassle I’d like to avoid. And I love the Epic’s Brain valve rear suspension, so buying another Epic is, well ... a no-brainer. Or it would be, if they didn’t try to force me to buy a complete bike.

Fortunately, I have the rest of a long winter to figure this shit out and get a new bike together, regardless of which brand and model it turns out to be.

The Kool-Aid is frozen right now anyway.

1 comment:

Johaun Trimbleson said...

Fully agree with you about 29ers. One word of advice: I rode a 29er specialized epic in AK for a year, and found the geometry to be very restricting and unmanageable. Switched Last year to the Santa Cruz tallboy, and was totally blown away. The VPP provides very efficient climbing, which you'll like from your previous experience with the brain. The TallBoy is just so much more fun to ride than the epic. So much more fun. Give it a try. Seriously. http://www.santacruzbicycles.com/tallboylt_carbon/