Ten years ago I purchased my first “real” mountain bike. A Gary Fisher Sugar 3. I started racing shortly thereafter, and have never looked back. In 2005 I threw my leg over a Gary Fisher 29er hardtail, and since that time – over four years ago – I have not ridden a 26-inch wheeled bike. I’ve hardly even considered the prospect. I’ve been happy with the big wheels. And as they say, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
But there is one problem. I have severe Bike Decision Disorder. It’s symptoms have played out here in this space numerous times. I thought I had my mind made up, but then, on a whim, I rode a 26-inch full suspension bike last night, the Gary Fisher Supercaliber. I expected the bike to feel sketchy, twitchy, and generally unstable. It didn’t. At all. In fact, it felt light, and fast, and nimble. I was grinning from ear to ear at how fun this toy bike was to ride. Not too mention, the paint job is dead sexy.
So now what?
Good question. But the chances of me racing on little wheels next year are very high.
I know that the Church of the Big Wheel will most likely have me excommunicated for even considering this idea. And I suppose that is their right to do so. And I also suppose it would be counter-productive to share my revelation at the 29er forum on MTBR. If I did that, not only would I be excommunicated, but probably crucified as well. But from an entertainment prospect, it could be…worthwhile.
Of course, I am not denouncing 29-inch wheels. I love the big hoops. And will continue to ride my Rig (assuming I actually pull the trigger on the toy bike). The real lesson in this is that bikes are fun. Pure and simple. 26er, 29er, full squish or hardtail – it doesn’t really matter. A well built bike is going to be fast and fun and grin-inducing, regardless of any evangelical zealotry surrounding its wheel size or paint job.
Ride what you love. But do ride.
As Minhas PedaladasNovember 12, 2009
The most important is that you keep riding your bikes. Have fun.
KCNovember 12, 2009
Have you looked at the 2010 Gary Fisher Hi-Fi’s? It appears that Gary Fisher has scaled back and is only making 29 inch race bikes, but not so much 26 inch. That is my assumption anyway when looking at the website. I guess though you don’t have to ride a Fisher. You could do a Trek or something else.
JasonNovember 13, 2009
I no longer own a 26″ wheeled bike and have rode, a HT, ST, and FS 29ers for the past couple years. Having said that, I am seriously thinking about staying with a HT 29er and moving to a FS 26″. I love my 29ers, but in tight switchbacky stuff, with a lot of starts/stops the 26″ wheeled bikes just perform a bit better. Either way, a ride is a ride even if you’re on a Huffy.
JeremyNovember 13, 2009
I have been drooling over 29ers for a couple of years, but haven’t made the leap just yet… and now I am at the point where if I buy another bike – my wife is going to crucify me – regardless of the size of wheels!
Rick S.November 14, 2009
Stay with the 29er. It looks good with the beard.
BPNovember 19, 2009
Oh, sounds like you’ll have a ton of fun on a new 26″ FS bike. They all (almost) ride so well now-a-days. I have owned 7 different 29’ers and then made a discovery as to the difference in comfort during long rides/races. Since then, I have been solely riding FS 26″ bikes the last few years. Of course, having said that, there may be a 29er HT coming in to the stable for 2010…but only as a part time mount. I enjoy your blog. Keep up the epic-ness.