I've been able to ride my bike! I mean, between the cool weather slowing things down in the shop, and Charlie helping out, I've had a little room in my schedule for mountain biking. And because bike mechanics are like swimming sharks- if we don't have a bike project going, we'll die, I've put together another bike for my newly acquired trail time. It's not a new bike, per se, it's been re-purposed from other bikes and parts. You know, like recycling. I'm being very green about my project bikes.
Why didn't I set up this bike for off road riding in the first place? Oh, I don't know... I had a bunch of dumb excuses. I wasn't sure that a 29er would be a good fit for a short-ish gal (although, technically I'm taller than the average woman). 29ers are getting to be popular, and I'm anti-popular (scarring left over from being named in the top three of the middle school 'dork list'). The frame I had is on the heavy side (and in my humble opinion, on the ugly side). I'm trying really hard to eliminate bike purpose overlap in my collection- I already have a single speed mountain bike. You know, excuses, excuses. I really like riding a single speed off road, but my 26" rigid bike, is a little rough to ride on my favorite trails around here. Well, it was one of those really rough rides that motivated me to try out the 29er.
So what's the verdict? I really, really like it! All of the things in the 29er 'pro' column are true. Better traction? Yes. Better at tackling obstacles? Definitely, even without suspension, I noticed this right away. Higher bottom bracket? Yes, very enjoyable. What you find in the 29er 'con' column (like increased rotating mass of the larger wheels slowing things down) has to do mostly with speed and weight of the bike. I'm not fast, and the frame/fork aren't light to begin with, so those drawbacks don't bother me. I haven't taken it out to any super technical trails yet, but so far I don't have any complaints about how it handles in tight, twisty stuff. Overall- two thumbs up. It looks like I'm going to have to re-purpose my other SS MTB... Oh well, it's good to have a project going.