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29 inch tire vs 26 wheel

In Switzerland last year my racing buddy gave me his 29 inch Specialized Stumpjumper mountain bike to ride. (don’t tell my first bike “peppy” a 26” tire specialized Rockhopper)   I’ve been a bit of hold out for 26 inch due to the technical control smaller tires give.  Yet seeing how easy those big tires make going over large obstacles and big drop offs might make me a convert and buy one on the spot.  Not to mention biking in the shadow of Mt Jungfrau and Mt Eiger added to sheer amazing love of the ride!   We did a fairly easy 40 mile tour around Interlaken up into farms of the sheer valleys. 
29 inch tire mountain bikes are growing in popularity in the last few years.  Most originally regarded them with skepticism, yet they made it into hearts for a trend of proud new Shiny Mountain bike owners.  I few folks on the CU racing team and a Swiss team told me to try them earlier but I held out!  Sales in 2012 were remarkable coming close 2nd to electric bikes. 
Pro vs Cons
Pro large wheels navigate obstacles easier.  They give better stability with more tire to ground surface area which grants better coefficient of friction  I>E Climbs hills easier!  You can also get faster speeds on your bike in the bigger tire!  This is pretty great biking Rocky Mountain Passes in Colorado.    The trick is they use the 28” rim.  The 29’r bike simply uses a different tire. 
Starting con was the large price!  Now though with enough sales the prices are becoming better.  Especially for a starving college grad like me.  Now they are only slightly more expensive than regular 26” mountain bikes.  Also now you can find the parts and pieces i.e. “components” without back ordering or internet hunting as much.  Your local store like Boulder Cycle or Community Cycles should be able to help!
Another pro I loved was obstacles were easier.  Great if you’re bushwhacking down a mountain side.  I was surprised how much control I could still maintain!    Take a rock or ditch.  Drive over a blockage in a Honda civic, then drive over in a truck, and you have easier time traversing! 
Con could be there is less agility than a 26” inch wheel mountain bike.  On real technical trails you can’t be quick as much and the larger bike/ frame/ wheels do weigh a bit more partly due to the redesigned components.  Whichever you use though you will become accustomed to their own quirks. 
What’s the best option?  Researching like using this site as I hope to give links to great sources for technical data soon.  Also run down to your local independent bike shop and make a relationship with a pro bike mechanic.  REI might have killer warranty yet smaller places have much better life relationships.  Take for example my favorite back home
So, how to choose a mountain bike? Try it out before spending $. For example, an 18 inch frame size does not correspond to the same measure of 26 inches wheels bike, as it is even larger, so testing in advance is a must.  If you want online purchase I know a few places to order :)
We took a look at some entry-level models offered by several manufacturers and we’re ready to introduce them to you in this article. For most manufacturers, prices for entry-level bikes start with 600 euro and stop at 1500 euros; dollars are about the same. If you feel ready to make the big step, make sure you have your inspiration with you, and choose your favorite by ride feel and fit! 
If you’re in central Switzerland look up Mika.  He’s an awesome riding buddy! 

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