Photo of my son and I after a few laps on Whoops at Phils Trail Complex in Bend, Oregon. I have been taking my son to Bend for Mountain Biking the last 6 years, we make about 3 trips there in the summer. The photo above was taken Memorial Weekend in 2009 it was my last trip with my then favorite ride the Specialized Stumpjumper Pro FSR that I had been riding for a few years.
When I got back I moved to the Trek Remedy 8 and sold the Stumpjumper. I really liked how the Remedy handle rough trails and climbed like a mountain goat.
I’ve taken this bike to Sun Valley, Idaho for a week of riding, it has gone to Fruita, Colorado, Moab Utah to ride the Whole Enchilada, Hood River, Oregon, McKenzie Bridge, Oregon and many many many trips to Bend then all over Washington. The bike even after five years has been and continues to be one of my favorite rides.
I also ride a 29er Specialized Stumpjumper Comp it was my foul weather bike or what I would commute the 24 miles to work on. Recently handed down to my son who is now nearly as tall as I and has out grown all the other bikes in our stable.
For the last year or so I had been entertaining the idea of a new bike. Sticking with the Remedy line maybe this time go 29er then started looking at the 27.5.
It is really hard to find any real answers in the reviews, forums or tea leaves on the benefits between the 26, 27.5 and 29er. I read and watched everything I could find and talked to many. I like the 29er does great on the flats or long climbs it does ok in the tight twisty trails.
Finally I went to the bike shop to do some test rides to find out first hand on all three wheel sizes. I rode each multiple times and even went up a frame size. The medium I am current riding does feel a bit small in the cockpit. The large felt like a better fit for me even though I am only 5’ 10”.
I ended up going back to Singletrack Cycles in North Bend a few more times just to reconfirm before I committed to a purchase. Even test rode a few XC focused bikes and still prefer the geometry of the Remedy.
When I rode the 29er version it was a fun bike to ride, when it came to tight turns it did great, but did take more effort to get moving again through those tight turns. It also did not have that zippy feeling you get when you whip a 26 wheeled bike through the turns. The 26 and 27.5 both felt very similar both have that zippy feeling as you whip around those tight and twisty trails.
In the end it comes down to personal preference, you just need to go ride a few and pick the one that feels right for your riding style. That is probably why I can’t find a review, article, etc that would resonate with me and say yes this is the one you need.
After many many test rides I went with a Large Trek Remedy 9.8 27.5 Carbon. The bike just felt right and after 8 rides on some fun trails it still feels like the right bike for me.
As for my old Remedy 8, it has plenty of life left in it and now is now my son’s new ride.
This year instead of Bend we are heading to Winthrop, WA for our Memorial Weekend Mountain bike trip. Winthrop has some great riding many of the trails offer fantastic views, while I’ve been there several times it will be my son’s first trip.