don't be angry kram
I'm not angry that there's more than one wheel size. I just don't like people making out like I'm being unreasonable if my number one choice is not bigger than 26"
there are great bikes in all wheel sizes.
I agree. But what is great for one person is not necessarily great for another. I've ridden some crappy 26ers and I've yet to throw a leg over a 650 or 29er I like. Been on plenty of 26ers that feel amazing in the first 10 seconds even though I'm not used to them. But I'll keep an open mind particularly about the new nomad. If it's clearly better, I'll be a convert. But it needs to be better and not just shiny.
i'd argue that wheel size has far less effect on ride quality and characteristics than does geometry, suspension design and tuning, the right balance of stiffness and compliance in the right areas, and component choice (especially tires).
If you took two bikes that were completely optimized, with the same tires, suspension, materials and components and all the geo was completely dialled and you can't notice a difference between the wheelsizes, then you probably aren't paying attention. It's up to you to decide if you think one is better than the other, but surely you can admit there will be a difference, can't you? And if there's a difference, you will have a preference (which may differ depending on terrain). And that preference will be the same as some people and the opposite of other people. Whether that difference is bigger or smaller than 1D of headangle is arguable I suppose, but I really don't see from my experiences so far that it would be anything but a reasonable amount bigger.
the tallboy was a miracle, arguably the world's first great 29er.
I'm not going to argue that the Tallboy isn't the bike of many people's dreams. But there's no way I would be able to ride one down Larvacide or Labour of Love. I'm not big enough. I can't even get my ass to clear a 650B when things get really steep with sharp turns. That makes it a great bike for some people and a crap bike for me. Partly because of my size, but mostly because of the majority of the riding I do. Maybe I would grow to love it if I actually rode Hoods or WOM or Recycle, but I didn't ride any of those this year at all.
the bronson isn't a great bike, but some 27's are truly great, like the new kona's - you should try one. i doubt you hated the bronson because of its wheels, but rather its weird harsh mid-stroke, a distinct difference from bikes like the nomad.
This isn't directed at you, but it seems funny that the Bronson is often touted as the killer 650 bike to rule them all until someone comes along and says they don't like it. But hey, I agree with you that it's not great so I won't argue, but my biggest complaint was the handling, not the suspension (even though that sucked compared to a push linked coil nomad, but no surprise there). I didn't like the Norco I rode either, and the brief time I spent trying to get a converted carbine to drift didn't end with anything positive to say. Perhaps the new Kona is different. But here's quick story for you… recently my friend went for a ride with a guy who was on a gen 1 nomad that was falling apart. At the end of the ride he saw a new 650 Kona in the guy's car and asked what was up with that. He said it was his, but he was selling it because he didn't like it and would rather ride his bucket of bolts. Maybe I wouldn't agree, and I'll happily have a go given the opportunity, but clearly not everyone likes it; even some people who've dropped the cash.
i love my stumpy evo 26 and my 29er hardtail equally. it has nothing to do with their wheel size, they're just well designed bikes.
I can totally understand that you can like more than one bike. Maybe you would actually consider riding your 29er hardtail down Trespasser, but I suspect you would prefer your Evo. And that's really what it comes down to; horses for courses (and individuals). I love riding my 26 hardtail once a year in the bike park down Original Sin, Shale Meister, Goats optional lines etc, but if you told me the industry was only going to make hardtails from now on because they are more efficient and they don't want to have to carry stock of multiple frames, I'd be an angry little man.
This isn't intended to be another rant, and hopefully sounds more like a reasonable debate. I want to try a new nomad when they are out. I love SC bikes but I think they sucked it on the Bronson especially when they are sending their pros out to ride them in World Cup enduro when they have a way better bike for that. But they may really nail it with the Nomad and if they do I will buy one. But I'm not going to get any taller than 5'8", and last time I rode a 650 down Labor of Love I got hit in the ass with the wheel enough times that I was walking by the end of Dope Slope, so it's going to be interesting to see how they can get around that one.