I was recently contacted by the web genius behind the Crooked Cog web network to do a series of articles about the geometry of 29"ers. Well, some of you long time G-Ted blog readers might remember the series I did last fall on bicycle geometry called "Geometry Class". I am ressurecting the series with a few new tweaks for Twenty Nine Inches, so go check out the first installment.
The series is rather timely in light of the recent dust up over the cyclingnews.com 26 versus 29 test. It's important to see that the two wheel formats have entirely different geometry requirements. This in turn makes riding a 29"er a wholly different experience than riding a 26"er. They both must be handled differently and are not at their best until you learn how to unlock their potential. Those hopping onto a 29"er for the first time are probably not going to experience the very best performance that 29"ers can offer. It takes awhile to gain the knowledge of the nuances of the wheel format.
Having this series will start to help you to see why these differences are so important. One thing I can say is that any small change on a bike that you are used to can be felt immediately and feels much "bigger" than it really is. For instance: I can really tell the difference in power and feel if my seatpost slips just a couple of millimeters! Or if my handlebars rotate just a smidgen, my hands get uncomfortable. Just think what adding all the differences a 29"er brings to the party will do to a rider that has always ridden 26"ers. You can get your contact points all lined up, sure......you'll be comfy that way, but the handling characteristics will be so different that it might just seem un-doable for you. Just hang in there! Help is on the way. Read the rest of the series and hopefully it will unlock the ideas that will lead you to understanding the 29"er and it's peculiar traits.
Look for updates about every week.....or less.......whenever I decide to submit the copy to Twenty Nine Inches, that's when you'll see it!