The Yeti

I was riding the trails last night thinking about riding 26" vs 29" wheeled bikes. I don't think I have a preference right now to be honest. A 29er does things well that a 26" can't, like keeping momentum. I noticed right away that I was pedaling to keep my speed quicker than I would hit the gas on my 29er. Roots, especially those that aren't straight across the trail, were easier on my 29er. Climbing steep, especially more technical climbs, are easier. Riding my 26er I had to work a bit harder to make it up the steep climbs that my 29er rolls right up. To add though, the Yeti is way taller and I'm not used to the higher front end to get up and over the bike. My second day on it I made the climbs, however there was a bit more grunting and more body english to go up.
A 26" has its very own things that a 29er couldn't compete with, however. For starters, I have never been able to accelerate out of a corner like I can on a 26" bike. I can't whip around a corner on a 29er like I can on a 26" bike. Floating in the air on a 29er does not feel the same as it does on a 26". The landings feel quite different too.
I have no complaints about either bike. A 29er rolls over things nicely, however I found that I work a lot harder to get over taller log overs than I realized. Popping a wheelie takes a lot more effort on my part on my 29er than it does on my 26".
I'm not disappointed by either ride.
I remember having a conversation with Kent Eriksen when he was building my hardtail a few years back. We spoke about how we go back n forth between short top tubed bikes vs longer top tubes with shorter stems and 29er vs 26ers, full suspension vs hardtail, etc. It's not that we feel one is better than the other, but we sort of like change. The difference. We get used to riding one for so long, and we adapt forgetting that we've adapted. So then you get on a different bike, for me 29er hardtail to 26" full suspension, and all of a sudden the traits that the new bike excels at are just that much more excellent. It's new and exciting and fun!

As far as the Yeti is concerned I was nervous that I would hate it at first. I hate the flat tire feeling and the hang up on log overs I remember experiencing on my Blur. I struck my pedal a lot on my Blur too. Anyway, after getting over the initial weirdness, which only took me about 15 minutes actually I had a blast! I'm a fairly aggressive singletrack rider. I like to attack the trail. I like to drop in, I like to lean, essentially I really like handling my bike. With the 68 degree headtube I found the small ravines, the downhills way more fun. I don't know if fun is the word, but I felt like I didn't have to get back off the rear of the bike. I just dropped in. I felt like I had more control. I realize we don't have huge drops here or very long downhills, but still, everything is short and fast here and I noticed the difference right away. I sort of touched on it above, but I was a bit nervous coming off of the 29er back to a 26" when it came to the logovers. My worries were put to rest right away. I thought I'd have that endo feeling as I hit the other side, but with the longer fork, this wasn't an issue at all. Not that it would have been an issue, just something I would have had to get to know again. It was so much easier to get up and over them, way less effort. I had troubles climbing steep ups on my first ride out. I didn't know how to get over the front end so it ended up wandering on me causing me to have to put a foot down. The second day it was fine. I'm sure I'll have issues in the snake put, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's funny how quick we adapt; I sat on my Form last night and it already felt low and long.
Hopefully I'll get to ride again later on today.