Hard tail 650 or 29r ?

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  • Hard tail 650 or 29r ?
  • reedspeed

    Im in the market for a hard tail ,& can’t decide which way to go ,650 or a 29r !,I’ve not really got a budget but I like fox forks & hope brakes !..& British stuff,but I’ll listen .. So talk to me n gimme some ideas as it’s a minefield !..

    Just to add,I’ve got a very well specced five pro 36’s etc,and want this as a second bike,if this helps !..so for anything aggressive like peaks etc this would be the weapon of choice !..

    Personally? 29 for a hardtail.

    Premier Icon funkrodent

    Depends on what you’re going to be doing with it (to an extent). Short travel for XC pedally stuff and relatively tame trail centres, then it’s 29 all the way. If you’re going to be riding more extreme terrain and want a bike with medium-long travel and slacker angles then you would probably be better off with 650b. Very subjective though.

    Premier Icon kelvin

    To be the opposite/partner of a 26″ bike with 36s on it? A 29er with 100mm forks.

    Personally, it will be a 650b build next. My 29er rigid is great, but it feels a bit big through the tight and twisty stuff. I’m intending on building up a 140mm 650b hard tail soon, just waiting on some insurance money so I can begin.


    A light build 26″ HT could also work, and be a chunk cheaper.

    I built up an OO Whippet (100mm SIDs, XT 2×10 Gruppo, Crests), and the lack of weight really makes a difference in the fun + chuckability stakes (Polar momentum). It works great at places like Sherwood Pines for example.

    I’ve had a 29er HT, and as a cruiser it was great, and for sure more comfortable on long rides. Surprisingly fast on roads (over took a fair few roadie MAMILS with it). It was just less fun.

    Full disclaimer here: the 29er was a _lot_ heavier (Specialized Hardrock), I bought it whilst working abroad to tide me over for 5 weeks.

    Would love to try a proper light weight racy 29er (or 650b) for a fairer comparison, but my bike fund is currently earmarked in the opposite direction (160mm + burly), and the Whippet is good enough for me as a non racer.

    Of course you could even try a cross bike…


    29er for sure, unless you want 120mm + travel

    I should add – 29er for a hardtail for riding in ‘normal’ conditions.

    My next bike (160mm susser) will be 26″ as I intend to use it in places where the riding is more challenging than my locale.

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