Jeff, my interest was pique by your comment, “As a taller rider, …” I’ve always thought that larger diameter wheels might be better for taller rides, and smaller diameter wheels for shorter riders. But as I read online, it seems that the larger diameter wheels are promoted as independent of rider size and essentially advantageous to all. Of course I’m not thinking of fit. That’s dependent on frame size and design. And I’m not thinking of the typical advantages of large diameter wheels (e.g. rollover). I’m thinking more of how high the rider is above the ground relative to their own height and that feels and maybe affects handling. And maybe there are other things to be consider for larger and smaller riders verses wheel size. Any thoughts???
Right, it’s complicated. Changing just one variable (wheel size) affects others like BB height, so it’s not like bikes and components are simply sized proportionally to the rider. And yes, some things about wheel size (like roll-ability) apply equally to everyone.
But we do see wheel size being dependent on rider size, particularly when it comes to women’s bikes. For example, the Norco Charger is specced with 27.5″ wheels for sizes XXS through S, while sizes S and up feature 29er wheels. I believe Trek does the same for some of their smaller bikes.
There are most definitely other things to consider for taller riders as well. Geometry measurements like reach and wheelbase will depend on height, as will other things like crank arm length, handlebar width, etc.
Just imagine Shaq jumping on a 29er, even a size XXL with 800mm bars. The bike would look tiny and weird, completely out of proportion.
Big 29ers work for smaller (ahem) riders too. I’m 5’9″ ride a Wreckoning and love it. There many great options for long travel 29er All Mountain/Enduro/hard Trail/Light Freeride/or whatever you wanna call them bikes. Beyond the Wrecker, I’ve also ridden the Enduro/Stumpjumper 29er (last years models), Kona Process 153 29er, Orbea Rallon, Trek Slash and the Santa Cruz Hightower LT. I look forward to riding the Ibis Ripmo this week. They are all decent, but the Evil remains my favorite.