Techie cyclist can just be so dramatic. Marketing professionals too. Not so long ago the industry as well as many opinionated cyclist announced the death of the 26" wheel. First to the 29'er, then the 27.5, don't forget everyone's favorites the 96'r (yeah you forgot so quickly, you're welcome). Just today I saw the cover of Mountain Bike Action magazine touting the newest, latest, greatest... a mix of a 29" and 27.5" wheel. Sigh.... Relax folks. I can promise you that though there's a lot different choices out there, none will totally dethrone another. Which brings me to my point (I know, you just want me to make it... But the way I see it is you're reading which sorta makes you my captive audience...) 26" wheels ARE STILL RELEVANT. I can hear the collective groans...
That's right... You heard it heard it here first. And no, I'm not smoking anything funny... Or edibles. Or any other strange chemicals... Except caffeine, yeah a bunch of that... 26" wheels are alive and well. Witness the above photo. You're looking at three different wheels there. The furthest wheel is a 27.5 x 2.8, the middle is a 27.5 x 2.35 and the foreground is a 26 x 2.8. Photo's can really make it difficult to judge the size differences but let me tell you... the 27.5 x 2.8 is a fair amount bigger than the 26". I know, who cares???? Well, I do. Why??? Well I'm currently building a bike for a fairly, well, ummm, short (vertically challenged or whatever the PC term is) woman. A 27.5 x 2.8 or 3 ends up making a bike that just has too much stand over height. With the 26" x plus size, I can reclaim almost 3/4" of standover while providing a plus size tire!!! That's pretty significant! What's more, if the rider is feeling like she wants to go into Jane racer mode, she can slap on a set of 27.5 x 2.2" tires and toe the start line while having the same BB height, handling at a loss of weight!!! Hmm, sounds like a win to me!
Just because the industry say's 29'r are fast doesn't mean at 5'2" you should be riding them... Instead, let's get you on some hoops that allow you to not only stand over your bike but be confident in it as it fits perfectly! Yeah, Yeah... The pundits will claim that a 29" wheel rolls over stuff better... It does! But if you're so short that standing over a 29'r becomes a genital rearranging experience you may want to look elsewhere! Anyway.... There's plenty of options out there folks. Explore them with open minds!
I know I'm asking for trouble here... But go ahead, drop your thoughts and comments about having a bike with a wheel size that actually fits you down in the comments!!! Especially looking for comments from folks 5'3 and below as well as 6'2" and above!
David is either found riding his bike or in his workshop working on them!