So Wednesday, on my scheduled weekly night ride, I took out the Double Dribble. I hadn't really riden it since I built up the Super Unleaded 29er, so what better time to discuss the pro's and con's.
No this isn't like other reviews where they build two identical bikes (one 26" and one 29"). It also won't be a biased, one sided fluff review either. I enjoy both bikes, I love my 26" SS as well. In fact if I didn't they probably wouldn't be in my stable. The fashion today on review forums (mbtr.com, ridemonkey.com, etc.) is that one discipline is the only choice. Some SSer's think gears are stupid, Some 29er's think 26" wheels are retarded, etc.
Double Dribble- September 2002
This was my second SyCip. I had my dream SS but, I wanted a bike that would be comfortable day after day if I were on an MTB trip or wanted to ride a technical trail (like Noble Canyon). Noble is doable on my SS but, if I want to be able to walk the next day I need an FS.
Most of my friends balked at my decision to get another SyCip. My reasoning was I loved my SS. The ride quality, the attention to detail, perfect sizing were all factors.
I ordered my DD in the 4" configuration since this is an XC bike. I built it up with (new at the time) 2003 XTR components, a Fox F100RLC fork and a selection of gourmet parts including King wheels.
The bike is really well balanced. Even though the front triangle is made of Reynolds steel the bike is relatively light at 26.5 pounds. The shifters took awhile to get used to (Dual Control), the rest of the build worked flawlessly.
Enter December 2006-
The bike still rides really well. The components show some wear but, all in all the bike still rides like it was new. It has been on 3 week long MTB trips including this year when Vanilla aka Todd rode it up in Flagstaff.
Getting back on a 26er took a few minutes to adjust. As soon as I settled in it was like we were best friends again. The steering was quick and precise. The suspension soaked up anything and everything I threw at it. The bike flew downhill like it was on rails. Where have I been all this time?
Super Unleaded 29er- February 2006
Most of you know it as Big Pinky (pink hubs, headset and misc accents would tell you why). BP is my fifth SyCip. I wanted another hardtail and I heard Jeremy SyCip was welding Ti now. So why not order up a Ti hardtail? The more I talked to friends, the more I realized I wanted to try a 29er. So I killed two birds with one stone, a Ti 29er hardtail. By this time there wasn't any wonder who would make my frame, I'll have Jeremy make my frames until either he or I quit.
The biggest decision with the build was the fork. The choices in forks, although more than originally, was weak. White Brothers, Rock Shox, Marzocchi and Maverick were the main contenders. In the end the Maverick made the most sense to me. 90mm of travel, 3.5 pounds, locks out to 50mm (to lower the front end while climbing) and the gourmet factor. I am all about gourmet. For components I wanted to try out the latest in SRAM offerings, XO. I spec's the bike with XO shifters/ rear derailleur, XTR cranks/ cassette/ front derailleur and Hope brakes.
This bike turned out to be really light! Just a tad over 24 pounds for a 29er is pretty light. The detail of the frame is stunning. I talked to Jeremy at Sea Otter he mentoned that this was the first Ti 29er he has built. I really hadn't ridden a 29er before I ordered this bike, other than rolling around the parking lot or test riding after a build. So I didn't really know what to expect other than what I read on the internet.
The bike climbs like a banshee, flows through ruts and is lightening fast on the flats. It does feel quite weird when you first climb on. You feel like you are hovering above the bike. Like driving a bigfoot truck. The steering is also slower. You have to learn to lean into the turns and use your body weight to control the bike.
The two bikes have their own purposes, their own strengths and their own ride characteristics. I am not going to stop riding my 26er's just because the 29er is more well rounded. I am not going to sell the SS because I like gears. Don't hate the other guy because he doesn't share your opinion.
Links you should check out;
Endura Clothing I need to order some of this stuff, looks clean and purpose built.
Samsung BlackJack It's on my Santa wish list
Crank Brothers The shizzle as far as pedals go
DuMonde Tech Smells like Caca but, works awesome
Socks on my feet:
Lou Reed "Sweet Jane"
Bike in the stand: