I've been thinking a lot about, and researching equally as much, the idea of a 29" bike for myself for XC riding/races. I've currently got a 2012 Giant XTC 26" bike, which I really enjoy as a bike, and while it may not be an expensive bike, it's given me a lot of fun times, and allowed me to blast off in front of guys with much more expensive and fancier bikes. I'm 48, so it's kind of a good feeling when you leave behind fit 25 year olds.
Despite some often heavy, and sometimes ridiculous arguments against 29" bikes, I can see merit in them for the type of riding I do. I've not ridden one yet, so keep that in mind!
The one thing that has stopped me going ahead and buying one, is I've read a lot about what rider height and 29" bikes can mean for the rider. I'm 5'9" and read that it's hard to get a 29" XC bike to suite a person of my height. I know there's probably ways of getting around this with adjustments in bike set up, but Nino Schurter is 5'8" and that's why he asked Scott to make his a Scale 700. Another member of the Scott Team, (sorry, can't recall his name at the moment!), is 5'9" (same as me) and couldn't get the set up right for himself on a 29" bike.
Are any of you a similar height to me who own a 29" bike? How have you found the change? Did you have to do anything to make it feel right? I'm just not sure about whether I'm wasting my time looking at them and spending a lot of money to find out it wasn't a good decision.
My feeling is, that 650b's (27.5") bikes might be a better alternative for me that a 29'er. I'm disappointed that the main manufacturers are not interested to bring out some models for 2013, while they wait and see what the market wants. I suspect there are people like me who would buy a 650b if there was more choice in bikes of this size. Who's going to blink first?
I'm grateful we all get a choice of wheel sizes, and respect the rights of those who choose to ride whatever bike suites them. To be honest, I'm over the "I hate 29'ers 'cause they look goofy!" arguments. Given that 29" bikes have made a big appearance in XC events, I'm thinking I might not be subjected to the "I hate 29'ers just because ......!!!" comments. Seems some of us complain when we don't have enough choices, while there are others who complain because we get a choice of three wheel sizes. I'm glad we don't have that problem when it comes to buying cars, houses, beer etc!
With that said, I'd really appreciate your ideas on rider height and 29" bikes, and 650b bikes.