KH29 for All-Mountain & Freeride

My first muni was a Nimbus 24 purchased last December. When UDC had the killer deal on the KH29, I picked one up thinking it would be fun for some road and XC. But lately, I find my self grabbing it over the 24 for all my technical trail riding. Today I rode the KH29 on the roughest bit of trail that I have done on the 24 and rode all of it. I even made it through one section that I couldn’t get on the 24. Some of this may be due to improved skills. The 29 is faster, rolls over rocks, and I think the biggest advantage is way fewer rock strikes. Nothing worse than a UPD from a pedal-to-rock encounter. A brake on my KH29 helps control excess momentum on drops. It did take a few rides to get used to the little bit of extra “throw” you get on the 29 in a UPD. I seem to have adjusted to it, and don’t find it so scary anymore. The trails I ride have lots of rocks and small drops (6 to 18 inch range) that are often in quick succession. My style is definitely more flow and less hop (other than some rolling hops to get over big rocks). I think I might have to look into getting a wheel built with the new wide 29 rim.

Sounds a lot like me–it’s pretty rare that I grab the 24 anymore, even on the trails that I used to think would be impossible for me to ride on the 29er. But now I’ve even taken a few small steps on those trails with the 36er, which I never would have predicted a couple years ago …

If you do build a new wheel, report back on it to us. I’d be interested in putting a little more volume under me on the 29er, if it works well!

I’m angling to sell my Nimbus 24 to a friend and get use the funds to acquire a 2009 freeride rim for my KH29 (and maybe I’ll pick a riding partner in the deal too). My KH36 just arrived, and now my 29er feels so small and agile.

Sounds like you have a good plan. Having a riding buddy makes it a lot more fun.

My next planned purchase is the new KH seat and handle for the 36er. I need to figure out how to stay in the saddle for longer 30-minute periods of time (never a problem on muni rides, what with UPDs, but a significant issue with the longer rides on roads (paved, gravel, fire) I’ve been taking on the 36er.

Haven’t had the 36 out for a serious ride yet, but the 2009 saddle is comfier than the older model.

Did my first ride with my new wide freeride 29 rim, and tried out my new video camera. The new rim is great for Muni. Here is my first Muni video taken on the ride:

I sold my KH 29er because it just didn’t have the tire availability I needed for muni riding. I also found that it was very high off the ground, which negated the advantage of being able to roll things well. I now have a 26" and a 24", I ride the 26" most days. I’m running a 2.5" tire now, but I just got a 3" Duro to try out. The 2.5" tire has a slightly higher volume than the largest 29er tire (Stout), which helps cushion the ride and allows lower air pressures which help with traction, float, and overcoming hard obstacles. Even with a 26" I still feel like I’m high off the ground for technical riding. I rode my 24" last week and it was far easier to ride, though it seemed kinda twitchy and it definitely doesn’t overcome obstacles like my 26".

I think a lot depends on what you ride in terms of terrain. I ride very rocky and rooty single track that requires a lot of repositioning, esp when it’s wet. Riding a 29er took away some of the maneuverability I needed. I could ride the 24" on everything, but with the 26" I can go faster and the ride is smoother, so sme benefits of the 29er while keeping some of the agility of the 24". One of the nice things abouta 26" is all the tire choice :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing. I’ve been thinking about getting a wide 29 rim too, especially since they’re supposed to be of similar weight as the narrow one.

I’m curious how high of drops you’ve taken it off and if it feels less flexy than the narrow rim. I’m thinking, if I could drop it from 2 feet up, maybe 3 on rare occasion, I would never ride a 24 again. (I don’t have any desire to go higher.) The inability to do 2-3 foot drops on my KH29 without worrying about landing sideways on the rim is really the only reason I ever ride my 24.

Yes, the new rim is very light. I am running it with the Kenda Nevegal. I put the Stout on and rode around my driveway. My initial impression was that it was kind of sluggish. I think that is a function of weight and squishiness. I put the Nevegal on and wow did it feel light and quick. I plan on putting the Stout on for some strictly downhill riding. For varied terrain, it seems like I will be favoring the Nevegal. As far as drops, I have only done one real ride on it with a couple of 1 to 2 foot drops with no problem. I will let you know if I get a chance to do anything higher.

PS: If you want your 29 to feel nimble, just ride a 36er for a while and then hop on the 29er. In fact, after riding my KH36, I find my KH20 trials to be almost unrideable.

I’ve dropped some bigger stuff (4’ and maybe a little more) with a 50mm prototype. It can take it, but the build has to be good or bad things can happen. It’s less flexy than the old rim, which I often had to retrue on the trail. That doesn’t happen as much with the new one. Probably still would be a deal buster if I used a brake, but I don’t and it has become my main wheel. I’d suggest trying it.

The 29er tire ‘selection’ sucks out loud.

Edit: Surviving a sideways landing is probably a lot to expect from any 29er rim.

My fav is definitely the 29er for all around use, but I would not give up the KH24 just yet. I still enjoy it on some steep downhills

When I first started riding the 29er, the extra height was scary after being used to the 24, but after a few rides I got used to it, and now it’s not a big issue. I guess I’ve become accustomed to the stiffer ride from not having a 3’ tire. The low pressure, high volume tire is definitely a plus in soft sand (which I hate riding in). I think the 47mm 29 rim will do better in sand than the 38mm.

Looks like a great place to ride Tuscon!

I’m enjoying the wider rim on the 29’er too. I don’t think of it as a replacement to a 24 though, just a better 29’er off road vs what it used to be.

Um, no disrespect, but judging by that video that looks more like XC riding to me! At least what I’d consider XC compared to the Free-ride and All-Mountain terrain I’ve ridden. Perhaps its more of a question of ability level and confidence? On the other hand if that is terrain you typically ride then, yes I think you’re definitely using the right setup. 29er or 26x3. Unfortunately most of the terrain I ride is way more technical and I couldn’t imagine doing it on anything larger than a 24". Again maybe this is a question of my ability level! :slight_smile:

I think there’s a wide range of what people consider XC or not. I’d agree that the video looks like what would be pretty easy XC on a bike, although videos always flatten things out a bit, so it is hard to tell. I find people who ride mountain bikes or ride with mountain bikers tend to describe much harder stuff as being XC riding.

I know I have caught people out by describing stuff on rides I’ve led as being quite technical XC riding, and they’ve turned up expecting wide trails and no rocks, whereas I meant like bike riders mean by XC, in that you ride the uphills as well as the downhills, and you don’t need a massive suspension bike with monster tyres to ride it on a bike. ie. no big drops, but roots, rocks, tight singletrack etc. are all there. I don’t really think of easy really wide firetrails, canal towpaths etc. as xc muni at all, they’re just road riding without the cars.

I’ve seen proper black graded downhill bike trails ridden on a 29er so it is possible to ride technical stuff on a 29er. It is just harder. Personally I find the 26 has a nice combination of speed and a jolly fat tyre to keep things rolling. I always find with the 26 I can expect to ride things, whereas with the 29er I am surprised at what I get over, but it always seems hard work on the technical stuff, even after I got in loads of miles of muni on the 29er for 6 months in New Zealand (every time I’ve travelled since, I’ve just taken the 26 and not worried about road riding).


I’m with Joe, it depends a lot on your skill level and what you ride. I can usually ride my 26 x 2.5 well enough to stay up with my son, though lately I’m having trouble in highly techinical places where he was managing well in his 24 x 3. Last night I changed out tires to a 26 x 3, will be riding it tonight, so that’ll be the test of whether I still need a 24 x 3.

I can’t see getting a 29er for mixed use, since it really isn’t a muni as much as a xc uni. If I wanted an XC uni, I’d try a 36er since that’s where the speed is at, though a 26er Guni might be fun, though a little twitchy at high speeds I’d imagine :astonished:

Here are definitions from the Kris Holm website:

Cross-Country Mountain: This involves riding longer distances on technically moderate trails.

Freeride Mountain: This involves riding technically challenging trails where the objective is to ride the most difficult terrain possible, typically downhill.

All Mountain: This is a crossover between Freeride and Cross-country riding. It involves climbs and descents of technically difficult trails over longer distances.

Looking at these, I would say most of my riding on the 29 is XC and moderate All Mountain. I interpret Freeride as hopping down boulder fields type of riding, which would be 24 territory. The trail in the video posted here, I would consider a mix of XC and technical XC. I do ride some trails that I would consider All Mountain. I will have to go out with the video camera and see what everyone thinks. Steep sections of trail with multiple rock drops, water bars and steps of 6 to 18 inches I would consider above XC. But maybe others disagree.

I prefer a 29er over a 36er for general XC MUni riding because the current 36" wheels are still significantly disproportionately heavier than a 29" wheel. The 29 gives the flowy feel of a larger wheel, but it’s still snappy enough to maneuver through tighter technical sections that I don’t feel comfortable blazing through on a 36er. Also, the snappiness makes steep uphills more manageable.

GUnis, like single speed 36ers, are actually pretty stable feeling at high speed, but once again you have to be comfortable taking whatever terrain at a high enough speed to notice the benefit. Anyway, I gave up on having a GUni because they require a significant amount of maintenance, and I have just as much fun without.

What makes the trails “intense” around here are their steepness and occasional logs, roots, and rock gardens to roll through. So, regardless of whether you call that XC or not, I think a 29er is quite suitable. There really aren’t trails here (like in SoCal) that are essentially a series of sharp rocks to hop down. I agree that those types of trails are better on a fatter tire than is currently available in the 29er size.

My sentiments exactly.
(except for the Guni - since I don’t own a guni and can’t really comment)

Around here is more tight technical XC riding with lots more rocks and roots to get through and logs to go over. Even on a MTB, I rarely can sit in the seat since I ride a hard tail and it gets thrown easily. I dont think for here a 29er would work well. But I’m sure my 24er will be perfect for me! I think some others would like a 26er on the local terrain. I think a 36er would be impossible here. I would be amused to see it ridden though lol.