Progressive geometry design has resulted in better handling and fit for 29ers, and we are now seeing more longer travel models with larger wheels, which were once reserved mainly for hardtails and cross-country bikes. Today's 29ers also have a lower standover height, which makes them more approachable for smaller riders and those just starting out. A longer tire contact patch also means 29ers will often roll through holes and over other obstacles that a small wheel might get hung up in. If you're looking to upgrade your bike and you haven't ridden a 29er recently, give one a try! They've come a long way over the past few years, and there is a now a broad selection to choose from.
While many riders have historically preferred 27.5-inch wheels for park and downhill riding, we're seeing 29er sales start to outpace 27.5. But riders some are still choosing 27.5 over 29, because all things being equal, many find that smaller wheels are easier to bunny hop and manual.
Some riders are also starting to mix wheel sizes, running a 29-inch wheel in the front and 27.5 out back to get the best of both worlds. Pros like Loic Bruni pioneered this set up at the World Cup level this year, and we think this could be the future for gravity riding!
If you're not sure which wheel size is right for you, we recommend test riding both to see which one appeals to your riding style and suits where you ride most often.