I have an 29" LaPierre Hardtail. What is the difference between 29" wheels and smaller ones?

I'd like to know this not only for single trails but also on the road and / or downhill trails.

  • Clipless pedals are irrelevant, so I have removed it from the post.
    – Batman
    Oct 15, 2014 at 20:01
  • 1) It's something different to sell. 2) But it's not actually different because these are 700c components relabeled, so less inventory, less manufacturing setup, etc. Oct 15, 2014 at 22:44
  • They're wide 700c components for MTB, though.
    – Batman
    Oct 16, 2014 at 0:37
  • Light 29er rims make for great touring and commuting rims; the wider inner width gives a nice tyre profile with more predictable cornering when using wider (28-35mm) slicks.
    – Emyr
    Oct 16, 2014 at 11:36
  • 1
    29er pros: you can post on the STW forum and smugly call 26 inch wheels obsolete. 29er cons: people with 650b wheels posting on the STW forum will call your wheels obsolete. It's a tough call all round. Oct 22, 2014 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


Pretty much been done to death with evangelistic enthusiasm on many forums.

Smaller wheels - more agile and responsive, lighter/stronger, easier to control

Larger Wheels - roll better over small obstacles therefore considered faster in straight lines, lower tire pressures (due bigger tire) provide more traction off paved roads. Slower to accelerate (debatable how much the difference really is) due more rolling weight.

Don't for 650's - between 26" and 29"

I grew up on 26", and switched to 29er a few years ago, my wife recently got a 650B. On the road the 29er is better, on tight, technical (i.e. have to slow down significantly into corners then accelerate) the 26" has it all over the 29'er in every way. My current preference is my wife's 650B as it suits my current riding best, but bike geometry probably plays as big a part.

You height will play a part - I would not recommend a 29er for someone under about 165cm.

  • A lot of shops won't have 650b wheels in stock. 26" you'll find pretty much everywhere and 29" a bit less common, but still very common.
    – Batman
    Oct 15, 2014 at 20:01
  • Granted my 29" is a step up in bike over the 26" bike it replaced but I feel like it does everything better.
    – paparazzo
    Oct 15, 2014 at 20:14
  • @Batman - Where I live 26'ers are becoming department store and kids bikes. Many bike shops now have mostly 650B's on the floor, as its only the really big shops that can afford to carry a good range in all sizes. Samller shops stock 650B's as they can sell up from 26er or down from 29er and avoid otherwise walk-away customers.
    – mattnz
    Oct 16, 2014 at 0:45
  • Indeed. It seems like Giant has pretty much dropped nearly all 26" bikes, similar for Specialized, etc.
    – Batman
    Oct 16, 2014 at 1:00

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