26" or 29" and 1×11 or 2×10?

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    • #239701

      What’s better for slightly hilly terrain 26″ or 29″?  If I go with 29″ what size should I look at (I have an 18″ now, which if anything is a half inch or so small.

      And gear wise should I go with a 1×11 or 2×10?




    • #239707

      It really depends on terrain and intentions with wheel size. You will carry much more speed on a 29er on that sort of terrain.  29er was great for me, its speedy and eats up rocks and roots pretty well with 120mm front and back, fork is currently a bit overly progressive right now though. 27.5 should really be your other consideration though(vs 26″), as its currently the smaller standard. Trails around me are mostly XC style. That being said, after coming off my 2×11 hardtail the 1×11 has been nice. Not having to tune two derailleurs. Sometimes though, I still hit my dropper thinking its going to drop me down to a 24T chainring, haha. I run a 28T ring with a 11-42T cassette and its fine. Considering a 11-46 to make the long techy climbs a bit easier. The 11-42 is fine though, just requires a little extra effort on said sections. I went with a L (about 18.5) and im 5’11 with a 32″ inseam. With sizing as long, as you can run your preferred stem length and bar combo with enough post I think your good(for Trail/XC riding). Ive got a couple inches of post left (dropper) and 70mm stem with 760mm bars (20mm rise). It lifts on climbs but ive been welcoming it on the techy stuff, when i need pure uphill power i just drop to an elbows down position and its fine.

    • #239716

      Gearing is all going to depend on your fitness and how much you value small jumps in gears. I still haven’t made the switch on any of my bikes because I get a lot of use out of the low gearing, and I’m not necessarily obsessed with having the latest and greatest when a 2×10 works just fine for most riding I like to do. When parts fail and I need to upgrade, it might be worth it then, but for now, no biggie.

      29 is kinda where it’s at now though. While 26 is great and there isn’t anything wrong with it, replacement parts like tires and wheels will slowly become harder to find over time if you want the latest and greatest tech.

    • #239729

      For me, wheel size has been a matter of how nimble the ride needs to be.  I’m most at home on a 26″ when the trail climbs and drops a lot with roots and rocks and a lot of tight turns/switchbacks.  Being 5′ 10″ with shoes, I’m OK with 27.5.  I do not like like 29″ as a personal preference.  Just feels cumbersome to me.  I think body dimensions (torso vs. leg vs. reach, etc.) and bike geometry are key to a 29″, at least for shorter riders.  Just my opinion and experience.

      As for gearing, again for me, is more about gear range than anything.  I really liked the range of a 3×9, although admittedly, I never really never reached those last 2 high gears on the big ring very often.  A 1×12 can just about cover that same 3×9 range, just need to choose if high or low end is more important and loose a couple of gears.  And with at least one option I’m aware of for a 11 speed rear cassette (i.e. e*thirteens TRS), a 2×9 can meet, or even exceed, the range of a 1×12.

    • #239995

      I ride slightly hilly terrains and like fast tight corners and twisting trails. Being nimble is more important to me than speed. I am 5′-8″ and ride a 26″ 2×10. I can do 27.5 but, prefer 26 and would not even consider a 29er for my style of riding.

    • #240111

      I guess I’ll “beat the dead horse”, like most everyone has said it definitely “depends”. I cant stress enough the need to find demos taking place to enable you to try various models with various sizes, drivetrains. Or rent a bike from your LBS and see what works for you. I’m 5’8 about 29-30 inseam. I live in North Alabama, my local trails are all mostly rocks and roots throughout. I’d consider my riding type Trail orientated, intermediate to technical. I’m more comfortable on a 29er by far. But I’ve also been on 29ers I hated. So taking some test rides on actual trails you will be riding is the best thing a person can do. The one time I didn’t demo I went solely on reviews and opinions and it came back to bite me hard. Last year I bought a Stache 9.6 solely on word of mouth. went carbon frame and 1x drivetrain and for 6 months I tried to like the bike and despised it. I missed the way aluminum felt, I missed shimano components, I missed 2x drivetrain, I missed 130mm of travel, I missed smaller 29er tires/wheels, etc etc.

      I spent 3k on what to most everyone else was an awesome trail weapon and I’m sure it is but it definitely was not for me. I sold it and tried to go back to the last bike I loved (aluminum SC Tallboy LT) but its no longer made and has become the Hightower. Went to demo a Hightower but realized its only available in carbon and I knew I wanted to go back to aluminum. I demoed and rented a few other bikes about a month until I finally found the one (again). Trek Fuel EX 8 XT. It checked every single box for me on paper (Shimano components, trail bike, 2×11 drivetrain, 130mm suspension, its aluminum). It had all the things I knew I already preferred and all I had to do was test it out, and it was perfect. I’d still say my old Tallboy LT beats it by a slim margin but the Tallboy LT was also $2k more than my new Fuel and I’m more than happy with it and can probably still tweak it some. All I know is the smile of riding came back after 6 months of suffering on the Stache and I’m one happy camper.

      With the cost of these bikes it really makes sense to demo both drivetrains, both sizes, etc etc or you may buy something you end up putting on craigslist shortly there after.


    • #240136

      I’m going to throw this disclaimer before my post: I’m assuming all things are equal like price, build quality, etc etc.

      I would avoid a 26″ wheel because they’ve all but been replaced by 27.5″ wheels (unless you’re solely dirt jumping, then love live 26″!) 29 vs 27.5 is more personal preference if you’re looking at just general riding. Both get the job done well and both have their haters. Regardless as to which one you’ll get you’ll meet someone that will say, “Oh, you should have went with *insert other size here*!”

      As for gearing, it looks like I’m the only one to say go 1x. If you don’t want to lose your climbing gear, get a smaller chainring. If you don’t want to lose your top-end gear, get a larger chainring. If you don’t want to lose both, evaluate how much you really use your climbing gear and your top-end gear and make a decision. A wide-range 10-speed cassette and a regular 11- or 12-speed cassette have plenty of range, IMO. You just need to choose the correct chainring. The ease of a 1x system is also pretty nice once you get used to it. I thought I would miss my 2×10 but after a few rides I didn’t miss it at all and that was 3-4 years ago.
      However, the biggest reason I’m a fan of the 1x system is it makes installing and using a dropper post SO EASY. I’m a huge fan of the dropper post (#bestupgradeever) and having the dropper post lever where the front derailleur shifter used to be makes it second nature to use. Even if the bike doesn’t come with a dropper, having the 1x will make it easier to install and use in the future.

    • #240237

      I’m a fan of 29” but that is a personal preference.

      As for gearing, I actually slightly prefer 2×10 when riding hilly terrain because I can transition from downhill to climbing with a single click of the front deraileur as opposed to cycling through multiple gears on the rear.    But when I’m off the bike, I love the simplicity of the 1x.   No front deraileur to mess with, simplicity, easier to clean the area around the bottom bracket with just a wet towel, etc.     So overall, I’d go with the 1x

    • #240238

      As for gearing, I actually slightly prefer 2×10 when riding hilly terrain because I can transition from downhill to climbing with a single click of the front deraileur as opposed to cycling through multiple gears on the rear.


      That’s exactly what I missed those first few rides on the 1x!
      Once I got it in my head that I needed to dump five gears on the cassette versus one “gear” on the chainring I started to miss my 2x less and less.

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