One of the most heated debates in bike technology at the moment is between adherents of the relatively new "29-inch" wheel size for mountain bikes and users of regular wheel sizes. Over the next couple of weeks we'll be taking a look at the pros and cons of the new format. To start with, Cyclingnews mountain bike editor Steve Medcroft looks at the passions stirred by a recent article on the topic.
After we published a short feature about Durango-based ultra-endurance mountain biker Dave Harris' performance test between his 26-inch and 29-inch format bikes, Harris received a lot of feedback. “I got quite a few comments on my blog,” he says. “There were a hundred-ish emails in my in-box too (all but a couple are positive, thank goodness), and the (mountain biking) forums are going nuts over it.”
Cyclingnews received its fair share of feedback too. Ryan Atkinson, assistant brand manager for Gary Fisher, Lemond and Klein Bicycles, wrote that he felt Harris' study lacked scientific credibility. He alluded to way Harris' went about his comparison of the two formats with a point summed up pretty well by reader Jay Parkhill of Menlo Park, California. “…it sounds like this test was run between a full suspension bike and a soft tail. It is very nice that Mr. Harris tried to normalize gearing and tire choices, but the difference in frame designs seems like a huge uncontrolled variable.”