Does riding a 36er make you soft?

I’ve been through several phases of riding my 36er more vs. riding my 29er more, and it always seems that I struggle more when I switch to the 29er than the 36er. Has anyone else experienced this?

I think the difference is that I can muscle up more with my 29er than with my 36er, so I tend to ride more challenging terrain and steeper climbs with my 29er. I still climb with my 36er. I just never go up anything that requires a slower “funky chicken” climbing mode.

Does anyone ride their 36er almost exclusively and maintain a high level of fitness? I wish I could figure out how to really train on the 36er, but it seems to lend itself to spinning fast a lot more than grinding up big climbs. Spinning fast seems to be good for developing technique, but my fitness seems to suffer without the slower paced 29er climbs.

I ride my 36er primarily for fun, but also to augment my daily, much more strenuous MUni rides. Most of my 36er riding is done on the beach bike path, and rides vary between 10-20 miles, with longer rides now & then.

I do like to use 114mm cranks and maintain a consitent 12-14 mph average, so I know after a solid hour or two of non-stop spinning, I’ve had a decent workout. I also modify my 36er to “MUni mode” for occasional trail and trIal riding. There’s nothing quite like bombing down the singletrack on a bigwheel!

I only ride my 36er now and find it to be a decent workout for the amount of effort i put into it (which is little to none…it just gets boring riding by myself). I go about 24 miles once a week, but I mostly ride because of school (senior projects should be banned) and I really do not find time or patience to practice on anything else. I am considering getting a muni, though. Maybe that will regain my interest.

Just go climb hill after hill after hill …

It takes discipline to push your self to regularly ride up long steep grades. Then when you get in good shape you have to stick with it. Stop for more than 7 or 8 days and you will start to loose what you have gained.

I have two or three sets of long steep hills that I regularly ride. Try making one or two days a week “double up day”, doing every hill twice every where you go. Some recommend waiting 48 hours between doing climbing repeat days. The weeks following completing the STP when I trained for the Ride 542 - Mt. Baker Hill climb. I would ride the climb once a week and had two other climbing repeat days. I cut over 45 minutes off my time.

If you want to get good at spinning fast and true, get a set of rollers and practice on them. Find a place to put them where you can hang onto something for forward/backward balance. The rollers will really teach you to be smooth. Try riding one footed on a 36 on rollers. Makes a good work out during winter months.


I typically do climb a lot on my rides and fairly regularly. I guess the problem is that, for example, the workout I get from an hour of 29er climbing feels much more well rounded than an hour of 36er climbing. It seems that, aside from high rpm short crank spinning technique, the skill set required to ride my 36er is a smaller subset of the skill set of my 29er rides. Maybe the problem is that there aren’t enough long mid-grade roads right around my house suited for 36er rides.

Does riding a 36er make you soft?

Hell no, if anything it gives a sudden rush of adrenaline which is how i got my 44.8km/h speed on my 40" coker.

Now people like Madison (Ducttape) and my little cousin want to top that speed and i can’t wait till that day. :smiley:

Mixing it up is the way to go for training. Cyclists do intervals mixing sprints and recovery. They’ll have some training days where they focus on pushing a big gear while on other days they’ll work on spinning.

Mixing in 29er or muni along with Coker riding is a good way to get the variety and different training objectives. Mixing up the Coker riding as much as the local terrain and trails allow is also good. Do hills if you have them, do some XC Coker muni, ride dirt roads and dirt road climbs. Mix it up.

I find the opposite.

I love to climb steeps on my 36er. I have also developed a lot of transfer skills in muni riding from Cokering. I can climb off road so much better from practicing riding steep on short cranks after dark of when trails are snowy. I also find that longer cranks help me to cruise steeps as fast as many bikes.(up only :angry: ) I like ride Lookout Mountain to Buffalo Bills Grave (2800 ft) near my house in Golden when its crowded with bikes. I find my urge to pass as many bikes as possible on the way up ensures that I get an awesome workout. When i ride alone I don’t push myself as much but it is still a beautiful ride and a great workout. Without significant hills to climb I wouldn’t be as psyched about Cokering for fitness.

I’m still waiting on pictures of that.

BungeeJoe - you mention rollers as a training tool. Do you have a preference on type or brand of rollers?

I agree, but what I’m finding is that my ideal 29er/36er mix of training seems to be around 95%/5%. That’s not much of a mix. It’s more like an occasional ride on the 36er to work on spinning.

I don’t like riding my 36er on roads so steep that they require long cranks. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I’d much rather reduce the wheel size than increase the crank size.