The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 97 – Can we predict the future of mountain biking?


It’s a shame that we really can’t get past this conversation 29, 27,5, 26 … and that the ultimate story is just “29 for everyone”. I wish the conversation was a bit more nuanced about how the 29 front wheels are ideal for quite a bit of mountain biking. And 29 rear wheels are ideal for cross country and trail riding. 27.5 is ideal for certain levels of downhill, freeride / jump, and technically even for some trail / enduro if we are talking about very tight turns but without crazy rocks / roots.

And then even at 26, most people just go yeah that’s a rider wheel and that’s good. But it goes a bit beyond that and there are currently brands that respond to the idea of ​​slopestyle, jump / pump track or even flow trail. And you know very well that they are funny. the NS Clash, the Giant STP, the Commencal HT XS. And as the industry will never stop growing and developing, there is a place for the 26ers and it’s not just the single-speed hardtail riders. And that does even more since when you admit how close 27.5 (actually about 27.1) is to a 26 wheel … and how the Commencal 26/27 mule style has a lot more implications of use as a dirt jump.

And I say all of this just because like many I switched to a 140mm 29in and it’s funny because even at those numbers I feel exactly how Henry says where that takes away some of the “current thinking” of riding compared to my previous bike (130mm 275er). I like some parts of the bike, but checking my Strava it doesn’t blow anything out of the water. Narrow trails I’m actually a bit slower, wide trails I’m a bit faster. But often I find myself on parts of the trail where I curse the huge wheels and insane wheelbase as I struggle to turn my front wheel around a corner.

Being ‘struggling economically’ and needing just one do-it-all bike, I think a 120/130 650b or mullet bike would be perfect for me and my local trails. And when I see other riders on things like 29in by 180mm and I’m on my 29in by 140mm and looking at the tracks we have locally and how we ride … I really feel idiot. It’s like those big city dudes who have crazy trucks that never see the dirt. Simply stupid …


Wiley C. Thompson