Why a 69er?

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The new Trek 69er is creating a bit of a buzz in the 29er land. I think it’s mainly because of its ridiculous price, but that’s just me.

RL demoing a Trek 69er

But why would anyone buy a 69er bike? Well, before we get there, let’s quickly define what a 69er bike is. A 69er or 96er as Carver likes to call them, is a bike with two different sized wheels: a 29 inch wheel on the front and a 26 inch wheel on the rear.

What was Trek & Carver thinking when they built such a bike? The idea was to combine the best attributes of a 29 inch wheel with the best attributes of a 26 inch wheel. Those attributes for the 29 inch wheels are it’s ability to roll over obstacles better due to a lower angle of attack, higher volume tires allowing for less air which then equals to more contact patch on the ground. I won’t go into these advantages since they’ve been well documented on this site before, here.

The Original 96er by Carver bikes

The 26 inch wheel has two things working for it:
1. it has a weight advantage over the 29 inch brethren. No matter what you do, physics say that a 26″ wheel made of the same material/componentry as a 29″ wheel will always weigh less.

2. a 26 inch wheel is able to get up to speed, or accelerate faster due to its smaller size. This is seen in different tests: MBA’s two “Gary Fisher Paragon” test and the Mythblasters 29er Video, to name a couple.

Some people have also tried building a 69er bike on their own. I’ve heard that it’s a do-able bike project. It’s do-able if you have the right kind of 26 inch bike to begin with. Most people suggest using a 26 inch bike with at least 4 inches of front travel. The more inches in front the better as this will compensate for the larger 29er fork you will have to fit up there to accommodate the larger 29er tire. Having a longer travel front will not throw your geometry off as much as having a 3 inch travel 26 inch bike and throwing a larger 29er fork on it.

Conversion pictures (taken from mtbr.com forum):

For more info on the Carver’s lineup of 96er bikes (the Original, Titanium, Full Suspension) click here.

For more info on the Trek 69er, click here.

2 thoughts on “Why a 69er?

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