27.5 Guy Switches to 29er

July 29, 2019

By Hunter Swanson. Peak Cycles. July 2019.

If you asked me a few weeks ago about choosing between wheel sizes, I would have said something like this. “If you are shorter or more into downhill choose the 650B, and if you’re taller and more about the up go 29er.” Honestly, I was pretty sold on this idea. I passed the same message along to many people. How many times had I actually ridden a 29’er though? Embarrassingly, only once. And from that one experience, I pretty much wrote off the 29er and assumed everything I’d heard about them was correct. The 29er wasn’t suited for my riding style and since I’m 5’8″ it wouldn’t work for my height either. That is, until a few weeks ago.

One day after work I decided to take out a 29er from the Peak Cycles demo fleet. One of the mechanics in the shop warned me, “you might end up buying one after this.” I laughed, unconvinced that this would change my mind. I grabbed a Stumpy Expert 29er and headed to Green Mountain outside of Golden. Right when I hopped on the saddle, I was reminded of the 29er’s ability to climb. It’s very capable at smoothing out rocks, bumps, and trail irregularities. Much more so than the 650B, in my opinion. Because it’s not getting caught up, it makes the climb more enjoyable and a bit easier overall. I experienced this the first time I rode one, but this isn’t news to anyone, so let’s cut to the chase.

When it came time to descend my mind was blown almost immediately. I was on a trail I’d ridden many times before. I knew how it normally felt punchy and rough on my 650b. But this time around I knew something felt different. It felt oddly smooth. Almost as if I was on a huge boat cutting through rough ocean chop. Like a freshly sharpened knife effortlessly slicing through a cut of meat. I was in a state of pure bliss as I rolled over the loose rocks and bumps with ease. Then came a few tight corners. I was able to take them with just as much speed as usual. I felt the added traction of the bigger wheel. It just wanted to stay planted. But wait? I thought this wasn’t supposed to corner well?

Unsure of whether or not this was due to the bike being different or just the wheel size, I went back to Green Mountain the next day. This time on the 650b version of the Specialized Stumpjumper Expert. After riding the exact same trail on the 650b version, I arrived at my conclusion. The 29er was, in fact, better at descending than the 650B. I continued to ride the 29er over the next few weeks. I took it to different trails all around Golden, ones that I had ridden many times. The most astonishing results I had were on Chimney Gulch. As my go to ride in town, I had recorded over 40 different rides on this trail. But when I descended on the 29er, I shaved 30 seconds off my fastest descent time. Now that is saying something.

After years of holding a false belief, my attitude towards 29ers changed instantly. It was obvious to me. Aside from going straight into “I want a new bike mode,” I learned something along the way too. Despite whatever a spec sheet, a friend, or your local bike shop employee is saying, the ultimate test is to ride as many bikes as you can. It’s easy to get caught up in the details and forget the fact that no two people, or wheel sizes for that matter, are alike. It’s easy for us to put people in boxes. Short people ride 650b’s and tall people ride 29ers. Downhill riders need the 27.5 and XC riders would be fools not to ride a 29er. Try out both wheel sizes and see which one feels right for you. That is the beauty of doing a demo before making a purchase.

Is one wheel size better than the other? Is there a right answer to that question? I don’t know. All I know is that I felt the advantages of the 29er both on the ascent and descent. Faster ups, faster downs, more traction. It can be as playful as the 650b, it just requires more effort and strength. I did notice the turning radius of the 29er to be wider than the 27.5. It doesn’t love super tight turns, but neither do I. All in all I’ve made the switch over to the…darkside? I’m all aboard the 29er train until the next best thing comes along. Maybe a 30.5. Time will tell.

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Best Bike Gifts for Cyclist

December 18, 2014

Bike Gifts at BikeParts.comAre you stressing yourself out looking for the perfect holiday gift for your cyclist?   Look no further!  Surprise and delight your favorite cyclist with our list of best bike gifts for cyclist!

Stocking stuffer ideas are first and foremost! We mentioned in our post, Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Cyclist, traditionally, stocking stuffers are smaller gifts that tend to pale in comparison to the main gifts under the Christmas tree. But with some creativity, don’t be surprised if our ideas for stocking stuffers turn out to be a big hit on Christmas morning.  The usual suspects for stocking stuffers include multi tools, tubes, bottles, socks, head warmers, arm warmers, shoe covers, gloves, lube, energy bars, gels, chews and similar items.  Smaller items that pack a big bang in your cyclist training regime include heart rate monitors and coaching gift certificates.

Combine these ideas with some items better placed under the tree, and you’re sure to delight your cyclist.  And what might these gifts be?  The very items that make cycling fun!  This list of gift items includes a variety of cycling apparel: jerseys, shorts, tights, jacket, cycling shoes and…..a new bike!  A  new road bike, mountain bike, or even a fat bike might just be the very gift your cyclist is hoping Santa will deliver!

Another option – give the gift of experience!  These are gifts that delight the whole year long!

Gift a Bike fit –  Does your cyclist complain of hands falling asleep while riding? Or shoulder or neck pain after a long ride? A bike fit isn’t just for professional riders – they are for anyone who rides whether they are a beginner or advanced rider. A bike fit helps ensure riding comfort but it also impacts technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries and how an athlete rides. Consider the gift of giving your favorite cyclist a bike fit for Christmas. Not only can we help them with the fit, but we carry all the bike parts required to get the bike in the very best setup for their riding needs.  Give us a call (303) 216-1616 or stop by the shop in Golden to schedule your bike fit.

Demo a fat bike!  That’s right! Fat bikes are all the rage – they thrive in snow, sand, desert, bogs and mud as well as riding what is considered normal mountain biking.  In fact, fat bikes are the fastest growing segment in the bike industry.  Book a fat bike demo for your favorite cyclist that will up the giggle factor to their normal winter riding program. Who can’t smile while riding a fat bike?

Gift an App that keeps on giving – Smart phones, apps, and technology are paving the way for increased year round fitness. Consider giving the gift of paid apps to help keep your cyclist on track. The post, Top 5 Apps for Cyclists for Off-Season Fitness Gains, offers great suggestions including Lose it!, Strava, and Sleep Cycle.

We’ve talked about gifts for your favorite cyclist, but what about the bike?  There are Gifts To Give Your Bike for Christmas! You haven’t forgotten about the two wheeled friend, now have you? Show some love for the bike this holiday season.  Get it some presents!

Your favorite cyclists’ bike’s #1 holiday wish would be to drop the weight – on bike components that is!  Consider getting a high quality wheel set.  A good wheel set impacts ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  Maybe purchase some new, lighter tires on your wheels. Another option is to reconsider the current crank set and pedals setup. You can help your favorite cyclist shave some weight there while also selecting lighter handlebars, a lighter saddle, and seat post.  Loosing weight never seemed so easy!

And last but not least, what is a cyclist dream gift?  Bike parts! What cyclist doesn’t love bike parts? Whether it’s a new shifters, brakes, seatpost, or fork, your favorite cyclist wants it.

See how easy it is to make your favorite cyclist smile this Christmas?  Happy Holidays!


Wheelset Buyer Guide: What You Need to Know

March 28, 2013

Unquestionably, wheels matter!  They impact ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  The question is, once you’ve decided it’s time for a wheel upgrade, how do you know how to select the best ones?  There are different wheel types, a variety of options for tube or tubeless wheels, and ideas to consider in tubular wheels, rim shape, spoke count, and hub options.

While it seems like it can get overwhelming, it’s really straightforward.  We answer these questions on a day to day basis in our  Peak Cycles Bike Shop in Golden, Colorado.  Whether you are thinking about road bike wheel sets, mountain bike wheel sets or just getting some thoughts together on wheel buying parameters and how your wheel set will affect your overall ride and other bicycle parts, this video will guide your way.

Wheelsets demonstrated in the video are available in our shop or on the bikeparts.com website.  For your convenience, here are some suggestions to consider in your wheel set upgrade.

Ride on!