After ignoring the wheel size debate for years, I finally have a valid contribution to the argument. I have always thought that the 29 inch wheel is too much, too much gyroscopic effect, too much change to geometry etc. most wagon wheel bikes you sit on top of rather than in. For the tight technical trails in the UK I don’t see the benefit, but here in WA where a lot of the trails and races are a bit more open and less technical it makes more sense. However, for my personal riding style (on the edge of control making continual last minute steering effort) riding a bike that needs more body English is not what I am looking for.
Welcome the 27.5 wheel. I personally thought it was marketing hype until I tested one. I started thinking that a 26″ wheel may be a disadvantage for xc racing in WA when almost everyone is on 29ers. I was looking for a short travel lightweight rig with 27.5 wheels. And then I walked into my local Giant dealer and saw the new 27.5 Anthem Advanced. After a test ride I must say I was pretty impressed. It had both great climbing and descending ability, I certainly noticed the better rollover benefits of the bigger wheel, and it was almost as nimble as the trusty old 26″ wheel. I was sold, so after a huge 25% discount, I was the proud owner of a 27.5 Anthem advanced.
I have ridden it about 4 times now and it is significantly faster than my stumpjumper on trails, particularly those xc trails. More to come on that bike and it’s mods later. Now all we need is a good range of wheels and tyres for the 27.5 converts 🙂