Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tall Towpath Rider? Try a 29er!

This post was inspired by a recent inquiry we got via email:

Q. I am 6 foot 4 inches. I ride the Towpath Trail about 50 to 100 miles per week. I'm thinking a mountain bike with 29-inch wheels in a 23-inch frame size would work well for me. Do you have a bike like this?

A. There are a lot of good choices for bicycles for avid Towpath Riders.

A "traditional" hybrid bike is usually our first recommendation for the Towpath Trail. These include the Raleigh Route 3.0 and Route 4.0, and the Giant Cypress and Cypress-DX.

2012 Raleigh Route 4.0
All of these bikes provide a very upright, comfortable design that works well for casual and occasional bicyclists. The Raleigh models come in a 23-inch (XL) frame size. The Giant models also come in an equivalent X-Large size, which they call a 22-inch frame.

For any rider looking for a more sporty-looking bike that can handle unpaved trails, plus have the flexibility to tackle commuting in all conditions, the relatively new category of "performance hybrids" fit the bill. These bikes, such as the Raleigh Misceo and Misceo 2.0, have a more aggressive riding position compared to traditional hybrids; and usually have higher-quality components to handle the rigors of more frequent riding.

2012 Raleigh Misceo
Plus-size folks who ride plus-size mileage may want to consider a 29er mountain bike for their Towpath adventures. What's a 29er? A traditional mountain bike has 26-inch wheels, while a 29er is designed around the larger-diameter 700C rims found on road and hybrid bikes, but with fat mountain bike tires. (Need a primer on wheel and tire sizes? See this article -- Tech Talk: Know Your Tire Size.)

With a 29er, you get the best of both worlds--the larger diameter wheels are more efficient (like a road or hybrid bike), but you still get the flexibility of riding off-road terrain. Even if you don't plan to ride technical off-road trails, you get the confidence of knowing the durability of a mountain bike is with you for the long haul.

We have a variety of 29er mountain bikes in stock ranging from the entry-level 2012 Raleigh Talus 29 ($649.99), to the full-suspension 2012 Giant Anthem X 29er 2 ($2,399.99), to the race-worth carbon-fiber hardtail 2012 Giant XTC Composite 29er 1 ($2,499.99). All of these can be ordered in Extra-Large (22-inch) frame sizes.

2012 Giant XTC Composite 29er 1
For those looking to take a serious adventure wherever the road leads them, and wherever the road may end and the trail goes, Surly Bikes offers the Ogre, an all-steel rigid 29er (no suspension) mountain bike designed from the ground up for all-road and off-road touring. For the 6-foot-4 (and over) rider, it's even available in an XX-Large (24-inch) frame! We've got one with an 18-inch frame in stock that you can check out and test-ride. It's also available as a frame and fork only, so we can build it up using any components to suit your needs.
Surly Ogre

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