So, back on topic: 29 or 36 for xc muni…
For shits and giggles, I took the 36er to one of my local haunts for a little ride. First I did some easy single track, then worked my way up a rocky hill, then rode out some double track with a few little rooty sections and a couple water crossings. A shortish jaunt, what I would consider beginner mtb or easy xc muni riding.
Now I’m not going to claim to be a super muni rider, but I ride okay and can generally manage anything that is bikeabke for the average joe. And though I am not a regular 36er kind of guy, I can ride one just fine. That said, for the following reasons I would never call a 36er a muni or even an xc trail uni:
The inertia, centrifugal force, whatever you want to call it, the 36er has a lot of it, which makes any movement much more energy intensive and slow. This is no more obvious than when I had to meander through rocks and roots.
Second, the sheer weight of the 36er and bulk of the 36er makes everything harder, from bumping over a root to managing an irregular surface, it’s just a whole lot of uni.
Finally, there’s the tire, or should I say “lack thereof”. Let me count the number of time I slipped on a sidehill of slid from a root. Tires with slick sidewalks and lacking knob IRS do not make for good off road riding. And all this on an easy trail that was quite dry.
In summary, though some very talented riders may be able to manage a 36er off road, it is not for the average rider to think that this is true for most people. Don’t buy a 36er for trail riding, it just ain’t that unis bet use by any stretch.
You wanna go fast on trails and feel the wind in your hair?
Get a 26/26/29 guni, all the benefits of a 36er without all the “fat”