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i knew the whole uncle thing would catch on eventually..
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Personally I don't think 26ers are going Dodo. There will always be good 26″
150-170mm frames to choose from, and maybe even a rebirth… many riders don't
like the noticeable flex, and they're just not as playful . Banshee has
interchangeable rear drop outs to accommodate either size wheel, maybe more
will fallow. I would go with the 26″ 160mm Pike.
Are you saying you notice a rigidity difference between 26 and 650?i can't say
I have ever been able to discern that. An issue that may hasten the decline of
26 is product development. Ibis, for example, are only making their new wheels
in 650 and 29. And few new tires are being developed in 26. There will always
be replacement parts of some sort but the quality and selection will gradually
Cam physics do not lie, larger radius means less lateral stability and more
weight, why are you denying simple science. The first thing I noticed on big
wheels was sluggish response and noodle flex when digging into corners hard,
are you riding road or something green perhaps?
Yes, sales unfortunately affect product development, and the masses have been
strategically brainwashed by pro riders, example cough Wade promoting 29er…
I see him on the trails all the time, but strangely enough NEVER on big wheels
And who cares about 26″ product development, the best has already been
developed! Minion DHF HR II - DH dual, Tubeless, EXO, 3C, Maxx Terra, Super
Tacky, Singly ply, 2.1- 2.5
And If you think Schwable fixed 650b think again, those tires are serious $
Thanks for pointing out the folks that are still trying to keep 26 alive.
I definitely think that at least for the foreseeable future, we'll have some
bike manufacturers still producing 26″ frames, or offering options like
Banshee does. If in a few years the industry decides it was wrong and people
still want 26″ bikes, fantastic! Unfortunately, a lot of money has gone into
making sure 27.5/650b stick, and if the races I watched this year are any
indication, it's not slowing racers down.
As long as that's the case, I am mentally prepared for a change. Just how I am
prepared for a change to electric vehicles no matter how badly I'll always
miss the raw sound and feel of a proper engine, or to accept that TV's will
just come with 3D built in regardless of the fact that I have no interest in
it, or that my phone's battery will continue to suffer because consumers have
bought into skinnier and skinnier.
All industries make decisions that aren't always greatly beneficial to the end
user but if their marketing teams are strong enough, they'll make a ton of
money doing it. If pros get fat cheques to promote new technology, good for
them. I can't say I know anyone that would turn that down. Whatever toothpaste
you use was decided based on the same principles. It's up to us as the
consumer to do our research and decide what works best for our personal
As for me, I just want to ride my bike. If that means in 5 year's time 26 is
gone, it's unfortunate. But I'll get over it. Or maybe I won't and my small
wheeled bike with it's archaic aluminum frame and I will live happily ever
You misunderstood me Michael - and implied things I didn't say. I've heard of
this physics you speak of, and I'm in favour of it - but I didn't deny
anything. Maybe have a look above if you doubt me. What I said, in less
detail, was that I have spent a lot of time on 650 and I've never been able to
notice excess flex when compared to 26 - even in back to back testing. Other
factors are noticeable to me - but not excess flex. Have you ridden a 650
bikes or are you talking about 29? Which ones? Maybe you have more experience
on them than I do.
You also seem to be implying that I would welcome the demise of 26, but that's
not true either. I only own 26″ bikes - and I'm not planning on selling any of
them. On the contrary I have lamented the exodus from 26 publicly.
Have you tried the Schwalbe Magic Mary? A lot of riders I respect are raving
about it. And it's available in 26 as well.
Green trails? Road? Cold dude, very cold.
Hey Uncle Dave,
Thanks so much for the extremely thorough response to my question. I do
apologize for not including my current fork or a reason for changing.
My bike was built on the east coast as a more lightweight setup, so it still
has the 2010 140mm Fox Float 32 RLC it got back then. I just had it rebuilt at
Suspensionwerx last summer, and you're right, it has been a big help. It still
performs well as I do not get nearly the amount of time to ride as I want to.
I suppose the real reason for changing it up is because the good folks in
marketing have convinced me I need 20mm more travel, a fatter axle and more
rigidity in order to call myself a mountain biker. That said, I also
apparently need a carbon frame, a shorter stem, wider bars and a 1x
drivetrain. Last year already saw the upgrade to the wider rims and xtr trail
brakes that I needed to stay relevant 😉
The Tracer frame I am on, as you know, is adjustable from 140 to 150 rear.
I've noticed that I prefer the way the rear end performs better on the north
shore in 150 mode. However, I don't like the balance as much with the 140 fork
as I do when it's in 140 rear. In an effort to get what I am hoping will be a
better feeling balance and overall experience I have convinced myself 160mm
front will sort me out (whether it does or not is probably all in my head).
That brings me to the current dilemma. Buy a fork that was built for 26″ now
and take the hit again in a year or 2. Or set myself up for the future now and
remain sad when in 2 year's time I have 2 year old technology and the internet
makes me feel inadequate again.
So I am not sure how much that changes the differences between angles and
height, but judging by your response, it could improve my experience but could
potentially leave me in the bushes with a broken bike and a hole through my
In case my sarcasm isn't abundantly clear, I am aware I don't need any of
these things to have a great time. However, as money is saved, I would like to
upgrade as I go in an effort to replace aging equipment and improve my ride in
a reasonably affordable manner.
Thanks again so much for all the information! I truly appreciate it and am
loving the 'Ask Uncle Dave'.
Also, thanks to all the other commenters for their input.
I couldn't find the info for your 2010 fork, but the 2014 Fox 32, 140mm, 26″
has an AC of 510.9mm. I would assume the 2010 is the same or close to it.
Your jump up to even a 150mm 26″ fork is going to be almost an inch. But you
will probably feel quite a bit of benefit moving up from a pinner axle. If it
were my money, I'd probably buy a 650b Suntour Auron, stick it in 150mm mode
and try to gain back some of the rise on my headset, if possible. The AC of
the Suntour is 540mm in 150mm travel mode. 29mm will slack out your head angle
about a degree (+ a tiny bit) and raise your bb by about 15mm.
That's awesome Dirk, thanks! I couldn't find anything for my fork either so I
am happy I came here for help.
Slackening my head angle is definitely something I'm looking forward to, and
my bb could definitely come up a bit
there is no 27.5″…. it's 650b.
I seem to recall that back in the early days of 27.5 some people were using
26″ X Fusion Vengeance forks with 27.5 wheels as the A-C distance allowed them
to fit. I had one on an older bike and it was a pretty good fork, for not a
lot of money.
You're nearly there, but go the whole hog and fit a 650 pike and 650 wheel. I
have done this on my 2013 Stumpy Evo and it is ace. Looking at it you'd never
know, but riding it you would. BB up to a sensible 339mm (it was far too low)
HA down to a modern 66 degrees, WB increased by 10mm and grip up to 650
standards (I also have a 2015 Orange Five 650 so know the benefits of bigger
hoops!) yet retaining the agility and acceleration of the old 26er Stumpy.
This is a great bike and is far quicker than it was with 26 front end, it also
has better balance in the air and manuals easier. I love it!!
Thanks for the suggestion! I always wondered if anyone out there was doing
what you've done. I just put a new 26″ wheelset on last summer though, so
they're sticking around for a while. Last year was wheels, brakes and a full
Suspensionwerx tune. This year hopefully forks 🙂
A couple of other possible variables to consider for this change-out (I went
from F36 160mm 2010 to 160mm 650b Pike, and -1 Angleset to 0 degree headset):
1) forks have gained tapered steering tubes over this time. As a result I had
to change out my zero stack lower headset cup, to an external cup. So the
effective AC length grew >2cm rather than the 1cm I was expecting
2) I'm no expert on trail/rake so won't attempt to explain what to expect; but
fork offsets have also increased on 650b forks. Potentially you will also feel
a subtle change from this also
Overall the new geometry I got was not as good as what I had before, so I
ended up also getting some offset bushes and this sorted things out for me
Last point: Avalanche could also be considered for the old fork?
Thanks Toby. The offset and it's effects are not something I had really
understood before posting the question. I definitely need to consider this
before making this change.
Thanks for the mention Dave! One other factor to consider is that running a
26″ wheel in a 27.5″ fork means you'll have more axle offset. In theory, this
is a bad thing because it means you have less trail. Trail is essentially the
amount of self-aligning leverage that your steering has; it's the distance
between the tyre's contact patch and the steering axis (if you were to draw an
imaginary line out from the headtube all the way to the ground), and bigger
wheels require more fork offset to keep the same amount of trail. This means
you'll end up with slightly less planted steering, but on the plus side your
front wheel will be a little further out ahead of you on steep stuff (which is
similar to the effect a slightly slacker head angle will have). While it'll
feel a bit weird at first, it's not an unreasonable or unrealistic setup to
Thanks for the info Steve. I'll definitely keep this in mind when making my
I really like this uncle Dave thing. The guy can write and seems like a cool
Could we have links to those anti 27.5 articles? I'd like to read them 🙂
Mostly just articles about 26″ deals and how silly it is to sell all your
stuff for cheap. Team Robot had something tiny, but I can't find it now. One
of the other guys had a little something detailing a cheap dream 26″ build.
Not much of a backlash, I will admit. But something.
There was this one.
Might be worth checking out a fork like the MRP Stage that has one model
approved for 26 and 27.5. It's a pretty incredible fork.
I'd second that. MRP stage is a great fork. But, with the amount of 55rc3's
out there for dirt cheap, its going to be hard to justify the $$$.
FYI: The 55rc3 can run both wheel sizes with a 44m offset, plus its the most
dopest ti sprung goodness. Wayyy plush. I saw one in some classifieds with an
Avy damper for like $400. Just be warned, it is 170mm travel with ac height of
555mm, so you'll want to drop in a -1.5 cup in that angleset. Oh, and Fu#$
27.5, for serious.
Thanks everyone, I'll look more into all the other forks recommended here.