Are 26ers a dying breed?

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  • Are 26ers a dying breed?
  • Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    I’m in the market for a new full susser and I can’t help but feel that 26 inch wheels are on their way out. Would I be buying into a dying breed? Sure, there are still plenty left and the burlier the bike the less likely it is to have 29in wheels, but the 2013 range of bikes have really taken 29ers to heart. Scott’s Genius doesn’t even have a 26er option, non-Evo Stumpy’s are 29er only as far as I can see and the whole industry seems to be putting a lot of chips on them. I reckon it will only take a couple of World Cup downhill wins and Cam Zink back flipping a 650B/29er and the 26er will be as good as dead.

    In a few years being seen on a 26inch bike will be the MTB fashion statement equivalent of narrow bars and long stems πŸ˜† Anyone else feel this or will the market sustain both for many many years?

    trail_rat
    Member

    i think 26 will always have a place.

    much as downhill biking nearly big for 24 inch wheels until everyone realised it was crap for downhilling but good and strong for jumping.

    still not worked out 650b , although if they will go in my current race frame and forks i might be tempted to give them ago when decent tires and rims appear for sensible prices.

    rogerthecat
    Member

    Oi, I still have flat bars and long stems!
    And, 26″ wheels for that matter. πŸ˜€

    The userbase for 26″ is mahoosive as are all the manufacturing tools, spares etc, they will be here for a long time to come. And some people just don’t want to look like a kid riding their dad’s bike.

    Premier Icon vondally
    Subscriber

    more likely 26er will remain a very ‘british’ bike like hardcore hardtails and other things ‘perculiar’ to the UK.

    I do think 26ers have a very strong place in the market……more options in the market better for bike companies?

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    26″ wheels will always have a place in the market.

    It’s all about choice.

    Sadly it’s some of the major US companies that are trying to force everyone’s hand and not offer any choice any more, but if you look at the big players from elsewhere they’re all still offering 26″ wheeled bikes at pretty much all price points.

    29ers are great for lots of people. 26″ wheels still suit a lot of people too. 650b is IMO providing an extra choice for the sake of there being one, but we’ll see what the market says to that in a few years time anyway…

    mrmo
    Member

    26 will be around a while but will slowly disappear. The manufacturers have decided the future is 650b and 29, and end of day they decide what people can ride. Progress…. or planned obsolesence…

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    more options in the market better for bike companies?

    Maybe, but there are enough options for the consumer without having 3 different wheel sizes. I was in JE James the other day looking at the new Stumpy and the new Trek Fuel. Both are essentially designed with the same type of riding in mind but the Fuel was 26in and the Stumpy 29in. Wheel size is a purchasing decision I’d rather not have to make to be honest 😐

    druidh
    Member

    In a few years time, 26″ bikes will only be spotted at trail centres and other facilities purpose-built for them.

    Rorschach
    Member

    They’ll still be arround, how many stumpy evo’s do you actualy see on the trails? The silent majority probably still ride 130mm 26″ hardtails.

    In 5 years time though that may well be different.

    Personaly I’d not go back to 26″ XC bikes and will probably ‘upgrade’ to 29ers as and when my current bikes wear out or break.

    Progress…. or planned obsolesence…

    Anyone got a clue what the ratio is between people ‘upgrading’ and people buying a new bike becasue the old ones FUBAR?

    bland
    Member

    You do realise that 29ers are purely the product of a marketing department in distress after years of flat lining sales.

    Thats it, purely a product designed to increase full bike sales, hence why big bike companies havent adopted 650B as you can run the wheels in a lot of frames, 29ers mean a full new bike sale.

    26″ will be back in Vogue once 29er sales flatline.

    If it was any better to run a bigger wheel then surely MX bikes would have done it first as the spend on development is far bigger over there (and they havent).

    All a load of marketing BS and you have been taken in by it im afraid

    Rorschach
    Member

    Why are you afraid?

    Premier Icon dknwhy
    Subscriber

    6 year old hardtail 26er here (recently converted to single speed). So are you telling me that I will be more niche in future??!!

    When I come to get a new bike, i’ll probably opt for 29er as I do more XC stuff anyway so I guess it’ll be more suitable (i’m media led to believe). If I were opting for a second bike rather than a replacement, i’d opt for a 26er for swapping bits/spares etc.

    Best bit for you is to test ride both and see what works for you.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Sadly it’s some of the major US companies that are trying to force everyone’s hand and not offer any choice any more, but if you look at the big players from elsewhere they’re all still offering 26″ wheeled bikes at pretty much all price points.

    Not sure I agree with that – Scott are Swiss, and have slimmed down their range of 26″ wheeled bikes, Giant are Taiwanese and have done likewise, OK Specialized are probably the biggest advocate of them, but they’re hardly alone. Is any manufacturer still doing a full range of 26″ bikes?

    In answer to the OP’s question – in some market segements: yes. As a whole, they will always exist.

    scruff
    Member

    29ers are just for Roadies with no technical skills.

    Big market /good idea in America where most of the riding is on fire roads.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    You do realise that 29ers disc brakes/suspension forks/dropper seatposts/9 speed transmissions/10 speed transmissions/single ring set ups/tubeless tyres/riser bars/short stems/wide bars/flat bars/lock on grips/clipless pedals/flat pedals are purely the product of a marketing department in distress after years of flat lining sales.

    FTFY. Still agree?

    MrSalmon
    Member

    I’ve not ridden much at all this year, but on a stroll round Cannock with the OH a couple of weeks ago I was struck by how many 29ers there were about- at least as many as 26″ from what I could see.
    I’m looking at getting back in the saddle this year and am also wondering whether to ‘upgrade’ to 29.

    But I think rogerthecat is right:

    The userbase for 26″ is mahoosive as are all the manufacturing tools, spares etc, they will be here for a long time to come.

    Although I can see the nicheness of 29ers and 26″ being basically reversed in the next couple of years.
    650b makes a lot of sense but personally I don’t think the market will support 3 sizes and since 29ers are getting established I don’t really see it becoming as big.

    Premier Icon soulwood
    Subscriber

    I have a Solaris and a Soul, and in the “summer” of last year I was seriously considering selling the Soul and making the Solaris my main mtb. I must add that I run the Solaris with rigid carbon forks. However this extremely wet autumn & winter has turned fast swoopy perfect 29er trails into boggy mud-tech trails, with hidden branches in 5″ deep bogs. I have found my 26″ wheels, with the more choice for mud tyres especially, much better at dealing with these trails. The clearance at the rear is better, and one thing I have found with 29ers is the short headtube puts you closer to the spray off the front wheel, meaning the 26er is again better in the mud-tech trails. So I don’t think 26″ will go away, especially for FS and especially for British trails. I haven’t ridden my Solaris now for over 3 months, but come the British Summer (you know, warm rain and only 2″ mud bogs) I will be out on it again.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    All a load of marketing BS and you have been taken in by it im afraid

    Not at all. I’m just reflecting what I’m seeing in the shops and in the mags which is that 29ers are edging out 26ers as the “standard” wheel size.

    Not a troll either, believe it or not πŸ˜€

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    I just don’t get why people are so anti different wheel sizes. What makes 26″ the perfect size that everything else is for ‘roadies’ or woefully unsuitable etc?

    What about Sam Hill (IIRC) testing 650B? What about when (not if) the Rampage, or the DH World Champs is won on a different wheel size?

    If smaller is better why don’t we ride 24″ wheels? Or 20″? Or 12″? or 25.9″?

    People accept that there are plenty of advances that make things ‘better’ – you can choose if that means faster, more fun, safer etc. But wheelsize… no. 26″ is right, and everything else is just marketing bollocks.

    Rorschach
    Member

    with 29ers is the short headtube puts you closer to the spray off the front wheel

    I was enjoying that cup of tea as well πŸ˜•

    trail_rat
    Member

    “is the short headtube puts you closer to the spray off the front wheel, meaning the 26er is again better in the mud-tech trails”

    [comicbookguy] worst reason ever [/comicbookguy]

    fit a mudguard.

    druidh
    Member

    I’ll do this again…

    There is no inherent “magic” about the choice of a 26″ wheel size. It’s a question of what was available when the guys in the States were first getting in to marketing “Mountain Biking” and it was then adopted everywhere. If they had chosen 650B or 700(29) then we’d not be having this discussion now.

    The overwhelming majority of Mountain Bikes sold in the UK (and Europe) are NOT taken onto terrain where the 26″ wheel size has an advantage. They are used on streets, tow-paths, purpose-built cycle lanes and the occasional land rover track. Most of these buyers would be better with what the Euros call “trekking” bikes – 700c wheels, flat or butterfly bars, 60mm front suspension, mudguard. However, the marketing of Mountain Biking as a lifestyle has swept them along into making the wrong choice. For all of these buyers a 29er will make a lot more sense. For the remainder (the STW hardcore amongst them) 26″ will be the niche choice for more “technical” riding.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    There is no inherent “magic” about the choice of a 26″ wheel size. It’s a question of what was available when the guys in the States were first getting in to marketing “Mountain Biking” and it was then adopted everywhere. If they had chosen 650B or 700(29) then we’d not be having this discussion now.

    My point exactly.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    I just don’t get why people are so anti different wheel sizes

    I’m not anti it as such (in fact my other rigid MTB is a 29er!), I just wish there wasn’t a choice. Every time I bought a bike in the past I never had to concern myself with wheel size. I knew a road bike would be 700cc and a mountain bike 26inches and the shops had tyres and tubes to support that. It’s not like you can swap and change like you can with every other component on the frame. If you make a decision to go 26 or 29, you’re stuck with it. That’s what makes the whole purchasing process harder and less fun (and arguably even more reliant than ever on test rides).

    andrewh
    Member

    The olympic podium had all three wheel sizes on it. And same in the women’s race. And a mix of HT and full-bounce too.
    Maybe it’s nothing to do with the bike, maybe it was down to the skill and fitness of the riders…
    .
    I have a 26″ flat bar, 100mm hardtail XC bike, with 3×9 and inner tubes. Bar ends too. How niche is that!
    .
    And I agree with Tortoise, there are far too many ‘standards’, not just for wheels. It used to be great with limited options (eg forks, 9mm QR for XC, 20mm bolt-through for DH). Now we have 9mm, 20mm, QR20, 15mm 15/20mm-tapered, all available in 1 1/8″, 1.5″, tapered and 1.25-cannondale size. I make that 20 different fork options. Throw in three wheel sizes and we have 60! Or 80 if you count 24″. Spares will be (are!) a nightmare.
    .
    I remember when went from 1″ quill stems to 1 1/8″ threadless. Yes, it was another new standard, but everyone got together and agreed on it, or at leas joined in and didn’t bugger it up for years.

    Premier Icon soulwood
    Subscriber

    @trailrat – I have fitted a mudguard, but due to the arch less rigid carbon fork and crown the only available one is Peatys DH crud guard that fits on the bars. This leaves less room on the bars for other such items like lights etc. It has to be a guard that covers the front of the wheel as its the spray that is blown back into your face from the top of the wheel. Maybe nobody else has experienced this?

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    I’ve just seen that the Intense team will be racing the downhill World Cup circuit on 650B…

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Comment wasn’t really aimed at you ST, more comments like:

    29ers are just for Roadies with no technical skills.

    and

    You do realise that 29ers are purely the product of a marketing department in distress after years of flat lining sales.

    If it was any better to run a bigger wheel then surely MX bikes would have done it first as the spend on development is far bigger over there (and they havent).

    All a load of marketing BS and you have been taken in by it im afraid

    Which just show total ignorance IMO.

    soobalias
    Member

    mine dont appear to be dying
    how will i know if they are dying

    jekkyl
    Member

    There is a whole load of public who aren’t yet even aware that there is such a thing as a 29″ wheel mtb. You can see them every day cycling to work on halfords/argos specials with rusty chains and black faring round the tiny forks. I reckon 26″ will be us for a LONG time yet.

    grum
    Member

    If smaller is better why don’t we ride 24″ wheels? Or 20″? Or 12″? or 25.9″?

    Not a great argument. If bigger is better why stop at 29″ wheels. What’s wrong with 32″ wheels?

    I don’t think many people are particularly ‘anti’, but some people don’t like having a certain standard rammed down their throats.

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    If they had chosen 650B or 700(29) then we’d not be having this discussion now

    no we’d be saying “this new 26″ wheel size is supposed to be lighter, stronger, more nimble and faster accelerating but I reckon it’s just marketing BS due to flatland sails on HMS specialised”

    Premier Icon superstu
    Subscriber

    I hope choice remains and 26ers stay put (especially as I am picking up a new 26 inch hardtail this weekend).

    Sales of 29ers are self-perpetuating if that is the only option when buying new. It will be interesting to see if 650B gets adopted, but for me (having not ridden one) I’m not sure if the percieved advantages would warrant me updating what I normally ride.

    Oh, and it would be nice to read a review of a bike at some point without the same arguments for/against wheel size and just reviewed on it’s merit as a bike!

    mrmo
    Member

    There is a whole load of public who aren’t yet even aware that there is such a thing as a 29″ wheel mtb. You can see them every day cycling to work on halfords/argos specials with rusty chains and black faring round the tiny forks. I reckon 26″ will be us for a LONG time yet.

    Now try getting a SID WC in a few years to fit a 26″ bike.

    Best comparison is getting 7spd cassettes, yes you can, but try and get it in XTR or Dura-ace.

    If it was any better to run a bigger wheel then surely MX bikes would have done it first as the spend on development is far bigger over there (and they havent).

    It’s funny because it’s not true!

    Road front wheel ~17″
    MX front wheel 21″

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    probably a daft question, but where did the 26inch wheel standard come from in the first place ? Was it stumbled upon, developed through trail and error, derived from mx or what ?

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    Best comparison is getting 7spd cassettes, yes you can, but try and get it in XTR or Dura-ace.

    that’s the sort of thing I would worry about but can’t see it happening (I may be being hopelessly naive tho)

    probably a daft question, but where did the 26inch wheel standard come from in the first place ?

    just what the “fathers of MTB” had available at the time in the US, UK roughstuff-ers were running 29″ i think (again cos that’s what they could get hold of) IIRC

    mtbmatt
    Member

    You do realise that 29ers are purely the product of a marketing department in distress after years of flat lining sales.

    Thats it, purely a product designed to increase full bike sales, hence why big bike companies havent adopted 650B as you can run the wheels in a lot of frames, 29ers mean a full new bike sale.

    Those are the words of someone who really doesn’t know what they are talking about.

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