On paper, 29 inch mountain bike wheels are faster and more capable than any other, it’s just simple physics. Unfortunately real world testing means it comes down to a whole host of factors – rider size, trail conditions, personal preference and more.
One thing that cannot be denied however is that 29 inch wheel technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Many brands are now choosing to spec their top enduro and trail bikes with bigger wheels. We’ve long been converts to big wheels and we’re glad to finally see the rest of the industry coming round to our way of thinking.
Nine 29ers made it into our 100 this year and, in no particular order, here they are:
YT Industries Jeffsy
YT were far from the first to produce an agro 29 trail bike but we reckon this has only given them the time to pitch the numbers just right. A 67.6 ° head angle, 1206mm wheelbase and 32mm bottom bracket drop make it eerily similar to a Specialized Stumpjumper, not a bad act to emulate truth be told.
The Jeffsy is bedecked in Fox with a 34 Performance Elite holding things together at the front. It’s a supreme fork but we could just as easily picture this bike with a 150mm 36 to allow it to really plough. The rest of the componentry is just as solid.
An Eagle drivetrain only compliments the Jeffsy’s solid climbing performance with extra range.SRAM Guide brakes, e*thirteen wheelsets, Race Face finishing kit, everything else here has a feeling of ‘deluxe’ but, as usual, the price just doesn’t seem to add up. Pay your €4499 for this and you’ll still feel like a criminal.
Nukeproof Mega 290 Comp
Nukeproof is a brand that’s totally focussed on the harder hitting side of mountain biking and we can totally respect that. Now they’re launching a full scale assault on the Enduro World Series with Sam Hill we’re starting to truly see what the Mega platform is capable of.
The 29er version of this frame makes its second appearance in the 100 this year. In our mind, if you’re after a big wheeled, aluminium enduro bike, this is the one for you The suspension tune of the fork and shock, balanced geometry and modern sizing all play well with the larger 29″ wheels – this is a sorted bike, ready to charge hard in rough terrain.