A 29er for Scottish mountains??

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  • A 29er for Scottish mountains??
  • Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    I know we’ve done the 29er thing to death, but most discussions seem based around riding trail centres. So I was just wondering what the collective wisdom of using them for big days out in Scottish mountains was. I notice that the “group test” of “Lakes bikes” in this monh’s mag was all 26″ bikes (despite having a Gyro) on test last month.

    I guess a 29er should roll over the rough ground a bit easier, but what about the sort of tricky descents that tend to define these days out? Would you pick a 29er to come down Glas allr shiel from Lochnagar (or any similar rocky descent), for example?

    Cheers

    Andy

    Premier Icon Clink
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    I’m sure loads of people will be on with shed loads of experience soon (sanny?).

    I’ve ridden a Yelli Screamy down a few Cairngorm descents and a 2Souls Slim Jim down Cadiar Idris.

    I don’t know the descent in question, but look here for lots of big mountain days on a 29er

    http://drj0nswanderings.blogspot.co.uk/

    I would imagine a Tallboy LTc would be perfect for big mountain days with rocky descents (if you can afford one!).

    Turnerfan1
    Member

    Just took my Anthem X29 round some Welsh mountains and it coped pretty well.I would be guessing a bit more travel and some strong wheels round Scotland.Thinking Trance X29 or Santa Cruz Tallboy LT with flows.
    Thanx,
    Max

    devs
    Member

    The LTc wasn’t around when I got my Tallboy but the shorter travel version does the job pretty well.

    cynic-al
    Member

    arguably bigger wheels roll ovedr the rocky tech descents better, some may feel the steering slower tho.

    Makes sense to me.

    Premier Icon roverpig
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    Thanks. Just to clarify. It wasn’t a question of whether a 29er would cope. You can ride pretty much anything on pretty much anything I reckon. More a question of whether you would choose a 29er over a 26″ bike if you mainly rode (or aspired to ride) natural Scottish mountain trails.

    Cheers

    Andy

    I had a Rumblefish 2 for a short time and once i fitted hope hoops it would go down anything…..

    Premier Icon Clink
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    More a question of whether you would choose a 29er over a 26″ bike if you mainly rode (or aspired to ride) natural Scottish mountain trails.

    Personally yes. But I choose to ride a 29er everywhere so I’m biased! 😉

    flatfish
    Member

    I rode a 29er hardtail in the Cairngorms today and I’ll be riding one tomorrow.
    It was fine.
    HTH

    yep – i prefer my 80mm race 29er to my 120mm trail 26er in scotland/alps (trail). find it handles slow techy and fast flowy better than the 26 – better over bumps/rocks and holds momentum better, and rides like a dream on fast flowy stuff

    no handling probs at slow speed as the HA is quite steep.

    26er is in bits at the mo…

    will be taking it to the himalayas in dec…

    Premier Icon bedmaker
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    Tallboy LTc does it for me 🙂
    [/url]
    Untitled by LOVATSTOVES, on Flickr[/img]

    And my Honzo was equally good really, massively capable hardtail
    [/url]
    DSCF5729 by LOVATSTOVES, on Flickr[/img]

    A superlight carbon HT with the Honzo geo and clearance for huge tyres would be ace for making the hikeabike that litle easier and the downs still fun.

    heihei
    Member

    Rode a Spesh carbon Camber round the peaks last week and thought was awesome in the rocky stuff. Reckon it’s bigger brother the Stumpy would be about perfect for Scotland.

    Premier Icon Sanny
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    I reckon a longer travel full sus 29er would be great for the big mountains. I’ve got a pair of 140mm 34s waiting to be put on a frame but am faffing over what to get. I like the look of the Giant Trance X, the Tallboy LT, the Transition Covert and the Commencal Meta AM 29. I tried a Horsethief and it felt really nice. It flew down the Lairig Ghru and was no slouch up it either.

    Whatever bike you are riding in the mountains is the right bike as you’re in the mountains!

    My gut feel is that bigger wheels would roll better through the Glas Alt Shiel rock gardens a bit more easily than my 5 Spot. I’m looking forward to put the theory into practice.

    Cheers

    Sanny

    munrobiker
    Member

    Our riding group has only 1 29er (hungrymonkey) and I think te last time I went up and down a big mountain in this country with him he was on his 26er (Snowdon I think Tom?). He does use his in the alps though.

    Otherwise, all 26ers- if you puncture more than once (which is fairly likely) all your mates all have the same tube.

    I think 26ers just suit that twisty, stop start nadge-core™ that you get on mountains better- the sort of thing where you have to stop and hop a bike around corners and over a narrow rocky chute.

    http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/2011-a-year-in-mountains

    http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/2010-a-year-in-mountains

    Premier Icon firestarter
    Subscriber

    You can stick a 26er tube in a 29er if you have to, it still works

    Bedmaker, great photos! Where were they taken? Got a hankering for some proper mountain stuff, been too long…

    Yetiman
    Member

    I’m going to find out soon enough……my new Nicolai Helius 29er will have to be pretty good if it’s going to be a suitable replacement for my Nicolai Helius FR. This is a pic of the demo bike but once the frame arrives it will be built to a similar spec with 140mm Fox 34 Floats and Float CTD shock, Stans Flow rims and Hammerschmidt. Based on my experence of the demo bike I’m fairly confident that the AC 29er will cope with pretty much anything.

    Premier Icon boxelder
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    Mine’s a HT and built pretty light. Compared to similar 26″ HTs I’ve had, it’s possibly better descending, maybe not the stop-start stuff mentioned above. The disadvantage I find is keeping the steering on really steep climbs – if you can carry speed, it’s better.
    I choose a beefier build 26″ for big hills in the Lakes.

    Showing pics of the Nicolai stops now, you hear me! 👿

    aye, last time we rode a bigun together it was snowdon on my 26er.

    horses for courses an’ all that, i’m just more comfortable on the 29er for all round riding.

    clydebuilt
    Member

    I’ve switched to 29er this year (Titus Rockstar) and find that I get down the nadgery natural stuff much better, less chance of going over the handlebars on roots/rocks steps I’m finding, helps with my flow…

    Premier Icon bedmaker
    Subscriber

    First pic is near the top of Beinn Fhada looking down to Loch Affric in the distance. Second is Carn nan Gobhar , Strathfarrar. Both great days out.

    As Sanny says, these days are much more about the place than the riding. Often the ratio of good flowing descent to carrying and pushing is tiny. The descent often involves a fair bit of hard on the brakes/sitting on the back wheel slow descending.
    I think I’d have enjoyed either of the above routes almost as much if I’d been on any old cheap hardtail with a sus fork.

    I’ve been riding 29’ers recently. I spent a lot of time on the Commencal Meta AM 29 and it was a LOT of fun. I honestly don’t think I’ve ridden any other bike that would be as fast over general ‘enduro’ type terrain. It’s slack, low and the suspension works great. Fox 34 up front is a fantastic fork. For Scottish stuff you’d need the rear mudguard for the shock though.

    More recently I’m riding Orbea’s new Occam 29. It’s a full on bling build with carbon wheels. I’m just back from a week’s tour of the South Pyrenees and have been doing a lot of big riding with uplifts and I’m amazed at how it’s handled it all. I’m really enjoying riding the bike, occasionally I’m running out of travel but not very often. It’s really agile, stiff and precise.

    One thing that I think is really important for rough riding is the wheels. They were definitely a weak point on the Meta and the stiffness of the Occam’s wheels is really noticable. Worth getting the right rims for your riding.

    Here’s my review of the Commencal Meta AM 29.
    And here’s my initial review of the Orbea Occam 29. More to come soon!

    bonesetter
    Member

    My somewhat bis suggestion would be a Rocky Mountain Element 970 which I have just bought. It’s a climbing beast and it’s short CS’s & not quite so slack HA makes for long term fun bike

    Dr Jon’s ti animal is a nice bike but looks very AM & stiff. Same geo for a grand is the Raijin which has a gorgeous flex, or if you want more travel then the FSR 120 is a superb bike

    Had a new Trance X 29er (demo) out today for a few miles on some woodsy singletrack….
    ……felt good, maybe a bit light on grip at the front end would be my only neg comment.
    Prob a reasonable choice for scottish mountains !!!

    bonesetter
    Member

    Giant’s new 29er Trance X looks a great bike

    Premier Icon bowglie
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    Hmm…sounds like we might be looking for a similar bike! To give you an idea of where I’m at – I’m an experienced rider of 29ers (er….and 26ers), and am still looking for that elusive ‘do it all 29er’. I prefer natural trails to trail centres and do most of my riding on
    local Dark Peak trails, with occasional trips to Scotland and Lakes.

    I currently own & ride a Specialized Camber Comp 29er (also have some 26er FS and 29 HT’s), and have demo’d a fair few 29ers. If you can afford it, the bike I’d strongly recommend is the SC Tallboy LTc, as to me, it felt like the perfect handling and travel balance for tough technical natural trails. I demo’d the alu version, but it felt a bit dead & disappointing compared to the carbon – FWIR, the alu frame is knocking on 7lbs!.

    Personally, I’ve found some of the other ‘trail’ 29er FS’s to have too long a front centre to give them the manouverability in tight techy terrain, and unless you’re really on the ball and keep your weight over the front, and exaggerate the lean in turns, these long front end 29er can run wide. The most notable exception to this that I’ve tried was the Anthem X29 – slightly long chainstays for getting the front wheel up easily, but pretty manouverable. The only criticism I had was that I felt the suspension could do with another 20ish mm of travel for bombing fast natural descents – oh, and being super picky, I felt that the wheelbase was a little bit too biased towards the rear – if they could shift the BB back 15-20mm whilst keeping the wheelbase the same, it’d be perfect geom.

    FWIW, I like the geometry of the Camber 29, and it’s fantastic around trail centres like Kirroughtree and Dalby – it also cruises up natural rough climbs. However, on very fast open natural descents the suspension can feel a bit overwhelmed – have tried fatter tyres/different tyre & suspension pressures, but again, like the Anthem X29, maybe a little more travel with the same geometry would be good.

    Whatever 29er full-sus you get for rough natural trail use, I’d suggest investing in the very best (stiffest & lightest) wheels that you can afford, becuase IME, once things start getting a little lairy, wheel flex can really become apparent, and can potentially be a bit of a control issue.

    Anyway, I’ll stop yarning on!! Basically, IMO, as it stands at the moment, the carbon Tallboy LTc is by far the best option.

    Hope this lot is of some use & good luck choosing.

    Premier Icon Chainline
    Subscriber

    Yetiman you’re gonna love it 🙂 That there demo was my ‘other’ frame.

    Sanny, given your list you should seriously consider the new Nicolai AC. Probably cheaper than the SC LT too.

    Gratuitous Nicolai AC/AM pic. Golspie Scotland.

    P9100352

    In answer to the OP. YES I would ride my 29 on Natural Scottish stuff every day of the week.

    bonesetter
    Member

    bowglie – you’re bang on the mark with your post. I’ve just bought the Rocky Mountain Element 29er (pic above).

    My priority was an efficient pedlar and 100mm travel. I have a FSR 120mm and this is too much bike for my usual riding. The SC options were just too much money, and the VPP is not quite as efficient as RM’s (and Giant’s Maestro), plus the Anthem’s ~18″ CS’s don’t make for a ‘quick’ handling bike in the twisties. Idemo’d Whyte’s M109 S and the super slack front was slow. The Element (& TB/Anthem) have steeper HA’s which as a long-standing slack fan, am coming around to the idea slightly steeper is more long-term fun

    I’d not hessitate to get one if I was buying a ~5″ travel bike.

    I prefer thingking of wheel size like any other facotor in geometry. Only this one lets you make the bike stable at high speeds (momentum in the wheels), easier to turn at low speeds (steeper head angles), makes it pedal efficiently (needs less suspension, 5″ 29ers compare to 6-7″ 26ers), grip better and roll through rocks better.

    I’ve taken my rigid swift down some hairy decents. It’s dissapoiting how little there is between it and it’s far more expensive AM-FS 26″ stable mate! The Pitch only wins when multi-tasking is required (go round a corner, with rocks, no grip, ona 1in3 off-camber) and you can just let the suspension deal with the track while you deal with keeping it upright.

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    when i owned my ventana el capitan, it was ridden over some scottish mountains, and welsh ones and lakes ones too.
    the el capitan is about as robust a 29r frame you can buy.
    and built with some tough wheels, 200mm discs and the new 140mm forks, it would make a perfect big mountain bike, both for home and abroad.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    So 29er owners reckon they’ll handle Scottish mountains, others still prefer 26″ and some want a short travel FS. The latter surprises me a bit. Personally when I’m coming down a rockey descent I want at least 140mm of margin for error. I think I’d tend to lean more towards a Five/Rocket than a shorter travel 29er, but it seems that (despite the efforts of the marketing folk to create an AM category) natural trails are an area where there is no clear “right bike for the job” as the day could include anything from steep ups to steep downs and even a fair bit of pushing or carrying. Anyway, as Sany and Bedmaker pointed out, once you get into the mountains it’s not about the bike anymore.

    Thanks for all the responses though. Very interesting.

    Cheers

    Andy

    Premier Icon boxelder
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    Canyon have come up with the ‘Alpine touring’ category – which makes sense for a 120/140 tough but lightish bike with reliable kit.

    Premier Icon Chainline
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    That there Nicolai is 150mm Travel. Can be reduced down to just under 120mm in about 1min in approx 10mm increments without affecting (static)geometry. Its running the Fox 34 up front. With the German:A Criterion which has infinite travel adjust, fork, you could run it where you liked. They are also bringing out a 140mm version due early next year.

    But generally I agree. 29ers can do all of those things, but so can other bikes, really depends what you like. If you’re not sure, try some out, as Yetiman did with Gravity-Sports Nicolai AC/AM.

    So 29er owners reckon they’ll handle Scottish mountains, others still prefer 26″ and some want a short travel FS. The latter surprises me a bit. Personally when I’m coming down a rockey descent I want at least 140mm of margin for error. I think I’d tend to lean more towards a Five/Rocket than a shorter travel 29er,

    That’s the thing, you don’t need that muh travel on a 29er as they don’t get bogged down in rocks in the same way 26ers do. And the shorter travel makes them feel more instant despite the bigger wheels.

    I think 26ers just suit that twisty, stop start nadge-core™ that you get on mountains better- the sort of thing where you have to stop and hop a bike around corners and over a narrow rocky chute.

    Yup 29ers don’t suit that type of riding becasue they dont need to stop start in the first place, I’ma lways amazed how much stuff mine just rolls out of despite having no suspension!

Viewing 34 posts - 1 through 34 (of 34 total)

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