Video: 26 Ain’t Dead

26er Video

26ers are under attack and in the crosshairs is the bike most of us started with, the 26er hardtail. While sales forecasts may not show growth in this segment, they are still incredibly fun to ride. Do you still ride yours?


About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • WANNABE says:

    Because I am a total WANNABE, I feel as though I have to ride as pro as possible. So, I can no longer have fun Mountain Biking, but instead I feel the need to buy the lightest carbon fiber 29er my inheritance can get me.

  • carver says:

    Have not ridden a 26 in years. tried a 29 this season it was a hot mess lol
    650B is all I ride. Bury the 26 and save a few 29rs for the xc riders who want them.

  • Maxman6000 says:

    26 wheels and flat pedals to boot, just proves it’s more
    about the rider than the wheel size

  • Vytas says:

    I dont care about the inches, but this video is cool, I like the way you ride, man.

  • XR600 says:

    Great riding vid.
    I want to stay with 26″
    Especially when on full suspension.
    No matter what they do with 29 or 650B, they could always build the same bike stiffer. lighter, with shorter stays, and be more fun to ride if they stuck with 26″.
    If I could have literally 6 of road bicycles in my garage, then I would for sure have a 29 hardtail and and a 650B full suss or similar in there somewhere, as I like all bikes. I would also have a rigid, a fat bike, a cyclocross bike etc and ride them all.
    But 26″ will always be my preference for MTB.
    I hope the day is not to far away when the A-holes in the bike industry return to them, but there will be a lot of mixed wheel size combos and the like to be exploited first!

  • aliikane says:

    That guy is just ripping on a hardtail. Shows everyone on full suspension bikes that we aren’t going fast enough. Haha.

  • ginsu says:

    Jeez, I through out my 26er when I read the Press Release on 29ers like last decade…in fact, I saw some teenager on a 26er Wal-Mart bike and I beat the crap out of him and gave him my 29er because I felt bad about it afterward, and I know 29ers are old school so it gave me an excuse to get rid of it because I ride only 650b now anyway.

  • JimmyDee says:

    Yes, I have two bikes, both 26. One is an old hardtail I now use for commuting sometimes that has just been upgraded over the years. The other is a medium-old Cannondale Perp 1 that will probably never die. I have a brand new wheelset for it and tons of custom parts.

    It’s stronger, more versatile and more awesome than any newer FR carbon bike on the market. It can DH if I need and between the custom remote lockout (true lockout) coil shock and the rotor cranks and QR, I can ride it *to* the trail as well, not dependent on a gas vehicle. 36.5lbs is getting up there for weight, but not terrible considering the strength.

    I’d consider a larger wheel diameter for a city commuter, but I am not very tall, so I’m quite happy with 26″.

    Oh and I actually happen to understand the physics of the differences between the sizes, so I’m not sucked in by silly marketing claims.

    The wheel will roll better because of momentum. The more rotational mass and the farther it is from center, the more it will feel stable. But the opposite is also true. Lower rotational mass and closer to center makes it more nimble and faster accelerating.

  • ahaha says:

    This guy is faster than exactly 100% of MTB forum members despite riding a hardtail 26. Yes, he’s faster than the “If u can’t spend $5,000 then don’t bother” fatass “extreme bicycle collector” club.

  • tim walsh says:

    That kid can ride, no doubt about it. On a hardtail, no less. I feel like the larger wheel sizes have been forced on us to keep up bike company profits. Of course, ride whatever wheel size you want – but keep the 26″ for those who want a bike that handles.

  • patrick says:

    Good to know that a bike that rewards skill (and isn’t for the lost roadies) is still out there (I’ve been looking at BFe’s for a while, love cotic).

  • Rafael says:

    Tried a 29er, Too sluggish to get it going. Too long to get right in the air. The big wheel was just about impossible to turn in some tight switchbacks, I am short so it looked like a circus bike. Had a nasty crash trying to jump it (land it) and broke my humerus, a rib and tore my labrum, I have not tried any 650b so I don’t have an opinion yet. But between the 26er and 29er,,,the 26er wins hand down because it is just more fun to ride and that is what mountain biking is all about.

  • Mattias says:

    It’s not the size that matter guys, it’s how we use it…

  • James says:

    ‘Great riding. The kind of stuff a 26″ HT is great for, no debates, even if 95% or more of us are not capable of that level of almost 4-cross riding.
    —My personal comment on wheel sizes beyond that has no relevance to anyone else and is biased by whatever I own or my general perceptions of how I fit into this very broad thing called ‘mountain biking’ goes in here. I hereby recognise I am wasting my time posting on the internet on this topic. —
    A rider on one of three wheel sizes, some point between 0-200mm travel, any number of gears including 30 or just one and my own choice of handlebars’

  • bryan says:

    I own and ride bikes from all disciplines of the spectrum, 26ers, 29ers, downhill, carbon roadbike, singlespeed, fatbike, (although no 650b’s yet), blah blah blah. I’m really getting tired of the wheel size bashing thing and it’s starting to piss me off how stupid some diehards can be. If you don’t like it, ride whatever you want and STFU already!

  • Chinman says:

    Just goes to show it’s not the size of the sword, but the fury of the attack that is important.

  • john says:

    need help…..just standing 5’3″ in height, as a beginner how do i choose a right size mountain bike for me?

  • Steve says:

    Many good comments above. This video and conversation make me miss my 26 Turner Nitrous! Just can’t wait to ride.

  • bottom feeder says:

    What are you 12?

  • john says:

    So glad to see these comments! I love my 26ers, I have one 26 FS that is a total blast to ride, a rigid 26 SS bike and am starting to build a third. 26’s are light, agile and completely valid for any terrain!

  • Dave "doesn't normally leave replies" Jones says:

    Damn, I just got a 26er…

  • Cookie says:

    I’m waiting for the 36ers to catch on so there are better tire choices. 36 inch fat bikes are truly the way of the future (why go around stuff when you can roll over it nestled in between 2 tractor tires). Gary Fisher just needs to “invent” that idea too (oops, just gave away my secret plan to make millions).

    And don’t forget, DH’ers used to run 24s in the back. There needs to be another revival!

  • the dirt bike kid says:

    nice message cookie haha.

    first of all 26 inch wheels are the king!

    the bike company’s now days are trying to get us to buy a new bike all the time
    and there not making good products.

    example u can’t take a industry standard wheel size 26 inch and say its dead
    it been there for 30 years

    the bike companys did not do there research and development on the 29 inch wheel is a joke u can’t take a road bike wheel size and expect it to perform the same way
    in dirt not even dirt bikes use that wheel size

    lets do some research and development of are own guys
    The wheels on a dirt bike differ in size from front and back but other than that have the same features. The front wheel typically runs bigger than the rear wheel which offers a more comfortable ride over rough terrain. You can get front dirt bike wheels between 18- and 21-inches. The rear wheel ranges between 17- and 19-inches. The small rear wheel maximizes the acceleration efforts of the dirt bike.

    so here the solution to there problem you need wheel sizes numbers to be 1 inch

    26 inch bikes are here to stay you can run both wheel sizes if the frame geomtry allows
    27 inch bike are here to stay you can run both wheel sizes

    you also could do a dirt bike setup like 27 inch wheel on the front and 26 inch on the back

    and cookie i have seen 4x cross hard tail bikes that can run either 24 inch wheels and 26 inch wheels lets also not forget guys they never really made 24 inch wheels in adult frame sizes in the mountain bike world they did in the bmx cruiser class

    lets not forget the 20 inch wheels either they never had a chance in a adult mountain bike either

    26 and 27 about 1 inch difference

    24 to 26 inchs no big deal

    but 26 to 29 wow 29 is crap not even dirt bikes use that setup

    all i ride is dirt
    all i ride is hardtails i love 4130 cromoly i am a bmx trail racer as well i have ridden
    alot and i don’t care for all the new gimicks

    right before i went to college i got this mountain bike in college i was broke as hell
    i was pissed right when i got it disc brakes came out i needed a new bike i was sold
    lemon so i went old school and sup up a huffy bike with dope parts always a fan of rim brakes and 1 pc cranks even got some custom made sky way mags on that

    my point is all ride the crap out of any thing its the rider who makes the bike go
    not the sales company

  • the dirt bike kid says:

    instead of worrying when the next inch wheel comes out why not have a wheel size
    that will be able to take any tire size example a wheel that can take tire sizes
    20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 like a dirt bike people

    hey any one remember the old
    diamond back bmx bike that was a 7 speed now thats a mountain bike

  • the dirt bike kid says:

    last night i could night sleep with nightmares of wheels sizes

    i thought to my self today 650b 27.5 theres not alot of tire choices
    hopefully that will change in the future

    dam it they don’t make my favorite tire tioga comp 3

    so you know what time it is guys and get sick with it
    research and development R&D
    so today i called up a local dirt bike shop and talked a mechanic
    and said hey i want to take mountain bike hubs and put dirt bike rims or hoops on
    them with dirt bike tires he said wow that sounds cool it will only work with disc
    brakes of course and if the frame geomtry allows its holes line up
    of course no probelm

    then i asked him whats the bigest wheel they make for dirt bikes
    he said 26 inch dude is the bigest they make nothing more

    thats when i knew 26 inch was king then it got me all thinking

    remember those times riding your mountain bike up a 45 or 65 degree hill
    on the mountain bike trails guys and your climbing half way up and you look
    back your bikes not going any where and u just see your tire spining and no
    traction your like what the hell!!

    then it dawned on me this whole time remember when 29ers came out the big gimick oh they roll over ever thing haha what a joke!!!!!!

    the problem is we don’t need a biger wheel size

    what we need is a fat tire bike they roll over sand ice snow mud
    they roll over every thing guys 26 inch is king!!!!

    650b u have a place in my heart for 1975 27.5 keeping the funk alive
    retro all the way

    650b 27.5 is not made in the dirt bike world
    it has its place in the mountain bike world the mountain bike gods or hall of fame made it back in the day with ritchey bikes but it did not become the industry standard back in the day when it was introduced in 1975

    it does have its place in the mountain bike world no remembers how they rode or handle

    back in the day it was hard to find tires and tubes mostly special order
    in the 80s it was like a euro odd ball wheel size that never took off

    the mountain bike hall of fame people had to make this choice back in the
    day and they choose 26 inch wheels for a reason and this issue came back up again
    in the 80s they tried to bring them back

    650b 27.5 is a european wheel size for sure i am retro kind of guy my self
    i think they could be good but i can’t remember what was bad about them
    does any one remember lol

  • the dirt bike kid says:

    its time to do some more research and development guys

    when they first came out they said they can roll over every thing
    what a joke!

    fat tire bike
    has 26 inch wheel size and can roll over sand mud and snow

    dirt bikes
    don’t use a wheel size bigger then 26 inchs
    confirmed by a dirt bike shop

    650b 27.5
    retro all the way keeping the 650b 27.5 1975 funk alive
    the story on this wheel size is interesting

    the wheel size was created by ritchey bikes in 1975
    i read this in a magazine and they still make this mountain bike hard tail today

    now thats not what i remember back in the day!

    yes the wheel size was created in 1975 but its was a european wheel size
    that did not catch on

    what happened was the founders of mountain bikes
    had to pick a industry standard
    they got into fights about which wheel was better

    in the 80s they again tried to bring the europeon 650b 27.5 wheel size back
    you had to special order your tires and tubes all the time and there
    was not alot of brands or companys making that tire size was a odd ball
    hard to find back then

    the 650b 27.5 wheel size was popular in euro in the 80s

    there was a guy i recall who use to ride the 650b 27.5
    in the 80s was old guy who loved euro bikes he said he loved the wheel size

    no now days its been so long no one can remember how they ride or handle

    and theres not alot of brands and companys making 650b 27.5 tires
    right now i am sure it will change in the future but not many seem to be
    supporting the euro wheel size

    some people say its too new right now it will catch on
    but the truth is its not new
    i am retro guy my self i say keep 26 inch and euro 650b 27.5

    yeah its euro wheel size dudes get use to it lol

  • rad says:

    whats up dudes i have to say 26 inch wheel accels way faster off road then any other wheel size.

    yeah that whole 650b thing is a euro wheel size,
    they act like its new but its not been around for many years.

    i have to say 26 inch wheels are by far the strongest wheels size
    i build my wheels up with chrome hoops and 14g spokes with brass nipples
    there bomb proof!!!!! and i use rim brakes so when the brake pads hit those chrome rims they stop on a dime.

    i hope they make some 650b hard tails with rim brakes
    and of course some chrome hoops too!!!

    559 wheel ain’t dead it will become the industry standard again
    thats 26 inch for those who don’t know lol

    659b will always be the other option
    euro wheel size

    you would think salsa and surly would catch on the whole 650b wheel
    by now

    can’t wait for the 650b single speeds to come out have a bike thats does it all
    26 and 27 inch wheels

  • rad says:

    yeah 559 and 650b bikes are here to stay

    i am sure the bikes frame geometry will stay 650b or 27.5 inch so you will
    be able to run 26 inch and 27.5 inch wheels

    with disc brakes u can run any wheel size u want

    they should make a bike with rim brakes to do any wheel size
    20 24 26 27 inch wheels

  • shred says:

    i wish the bike companys would still make high end hardtails in 26 inch wheels

  • short geezer says:

    I know several old school riders like me (White Rim/Slickrock on a steel Rockhopper) who clearly can tell, and say the 29s are more sluggish to turn, fail on tight trails, weigh more, more momentum to overcome in climbing/starting, with the rolls over things hype being of little real world value, especially when well-adjusted shocks accomplish the same thing w/ 26s. I added a front disc (Cable Avid- light, trail servicable but no issues) which did make a difference, but still run V brake rear, because it’s far lighter, and once you can skid the rear, what more do you gain from a disc, really? I’m still using the 13 yr old Grip Shifts but SRAM derailleurs are crap, flopping loosely after a year or two, versus Shimano’s decade or so at least.
    I blame SRAM for the current drive train insanity much like the BB dementia of the past ten years, but don’t know who to single out for the wheel size frenzy.
    The argument over constant changes of dubious merit is not moot, or a matter of taste, because typically once the switch occurs, support goes away soon after – either directly, or because parts and replacements are conveniently unavailable; THIS is the criminally negligent aspect of manufacturers planned obsolescence and the cost is borne directly by every consumer forced to “upgrade” because nothing else is available. Triples are far more versatile, wide-ranging, and appropriate for the majority, but they’re so outre (oh yeah, lowest gear on a 29er is like 11% higher than a 26) and soon won’t even be available, just watch- the frames won’t take front shifters, “a concession to changing consumer demand”. Ha

  • rad says:

    whats up short geezer i am formerly the dirt bike kid and shred
    i did my research and 26 inch wheels are the best!!!!!!

    here’s my test results

    26 inch wheels
    they accel faster up hills
    they turn better
    there stronger wheels for jumping and abuse
    you can get them in v brakes and disc
    u have way more tire options

    after studying wheel sizes in the dirt bike world
    i noticed that they ride 26 inch wheels and nothing bigger
    when u look at a dirt bike you will notice that a skinny wheel in front
    and a fat tire for the rear wheel which gives traction

    look at dirt bike races like enduro racing they ride there
    dirt bikes in the coil factorys, the country, rivers, 90 degree dirt hills that are cliffs
    how the heck they even get up them is insane on a dirt bike lol!!!!

    my current bike is a hard tail with v brakes
    aluminum frame
    one day i went to go hit the trails up
    i was climbing this hill this hill had to been about 70 degrees
    i attacked if perfect with speed to get up it
    i get half way up the hill and my bike stops and i am still pedaling like huh?
    i look at my rear wheel is spining and no traction

    now keep in mind the tread on my tires is good

    and i was riding standing stright up on my bike

    after that day of riding i knew some thing was wrong
    my bike was not getting any traction due to the bike being too light
    rear wheel was not making any contact with the dirt due to no weight or preasure
    on the bike seat

    to correct this problem
    there are a couple of different ways
    you could ride a heavier bike frame by riding steal 4130 cromoly,
    tange, prestige, are the kings in the bmx world for steal
    some of the lighter ones are renyolds tubing and columbus tubing

    you could also ride a heavier wheel set with a steal bike frame
    you could ride a wider tire

    the problem now days is the weight ratio with bikes
    yeah every one wants them lighter and faster but there so light theres no traction
    there so light your breaking parts like there cheap china crap and there not there high end parts.

    the parts are so light that they break and not reliable
    heck when i first got my bike i snaped the chain right in half
    people at the bike shop said yeah your puting out some toq u need a higher end chain

    your almost better getting a cheaper bike not worry about breaking [email protected]#

    so what i came up with was some thing interesting
    if u get a fat tire bike you can run normal 26 inch wheels as well
    best of both worlds

    26 inch fat tire wheels roll over every thing

    but you can also take a fat tire bike and run normal 26 inch wheel up front
    and then run a fat tire wheel in the rear like a dirt bike setup

    no one knows how the fat tire bikes perform in a mountain bike race world yet
    but i can tell u this much

    26 inch fat tire is here to stay and its going to rip in the dirt of the race world a new one

    kiss 27.5 and 29er good bye and say good bye to the cross country racers
    wearing spandex when they race in the woods

    cause we wear motor cross helmets and jeans and when we race on hard tails
    new world order of trail racing you sissy’s and we also bring bmx trail racing to the table too

  • rad says:

    oh yeah lets not forget u can get rim brakes for a fat tire bike too
    if u do custom frame build

    and lets not forget any bottom bracket u want yes triple chain rings are nice
    don’t let the industry idiots bring u down man heck i don’t even think they
    ever did a bike shoot out of

    fat tire vs 27.5 vs 29er vs 26 all i can say is this
    if fat tire rolls over sand snow and ice and mud and is king in the dirt bike world
    haha get ready to buy a new bike

  • rad says:

    hey short geezer i like what you said about this whole being forced to upgrade
    is lame its always the parts companys to blame

    i think its time shorty we make a gyro that works with a geared bike
    with front and rear deriler and of course that triple chain ring LOL

  • rad says:

    26 inch wheels should be the industry standard
    dear bicycle company’s the standard 26 inch wheels are the best for racing
    up hills off road

    fat tire bikes are the worst for racing

    29er bikes are road bikes and cruzing around town the wheel size
    does not handle good off road peroid !!!!!!

    smaller wheels climb better and accel faster you need that for off road riding
    its hard to get wheels spining off road

    bmx bikes have small wheels for just this reason

    the bike industry is on the 29 trend to get you to think its better
    so they can make a $ale

    wheel size should be a choice by the consumer!!

    not by what the bike company’s decide to make!!!

    every bike company should make a high end 26 inch hard tail in there product line
    there’s no excuse for this people

    bike companys don’t allow you to pick what kind of setup u want
    if u want rim brakes it should be an option etc……..
    there is no custom complete bikes with options u can choose what u want your bike to come with from the factory this is the down fall of bike companys
    and it should be no different then picking the color of your bike

    thats how cheap and far it should be

    if dell computer company can build you a pc the way u want it

    then why the heck why not!!!

    its simple pick a bike in the product line u like and pick what options u want the bike to have for the stock price $ you should have tons of options for the stock price to get the options u want weather its a wheel size or rim brakes drops outs grip shifter what ever u want steel al ti 26 27.5 29er what ever your heart desires

    but know this the standard 26 inch wheel is the best!!!
    and once the 29 inch wheels crazy is over with!!!

    standard 26 inch wheels will rise again !!!
    thats how there going to get you to buy a new bike

  • No change ! says:

    Never change 26″ wheels & tyres, no matter, how much are 27,29″ advertised ! MTB with huge wheels is look’s ugly, like some “bling bling” style cars !

  • chubacabra says:

    RIP 26’er your time came and gone.And you quit blaming the industry for trying to make a profit. You wanna make the same amount of money your whole life? 26 sales were soft anyway, it was time to shoot a little life into it. If the world thought like the die hard 26er’s we’d still be using flip phones without internet, OK grandpa?

    • GuyOnMTB says:

      “RIP 26′er your time came and gone… 26 sales were soft anyway”

      You obviously don’t follow DJ.

  • rad says:

    26 inch wheels are coming back!!! good luck trying to buy one used confirmed 2 or 3 years 26 inch wheels will be back people miss
    the playfulness of the wheel size and in march 2017 buyers guide of mbaction magazine 26inch wheels are king to give riders more options you have frame builders
    making 26 inch hard tails like crazy and companys like voodoo got a awsome line of 26inch hardtails. we had the 29er and boy was a peace of crap does not fit smaller riders nor taller riders dam foot hits the wheel when it turns now and 27.5 the old 1975 odd ball wheel size still not as strong
    as 26inch and not as fast as 26inch phsycis has proven 26 inch is the fastest
    and standard in the motorcyle world of dirts bike now we have 26+
    who cares when the dam industry idiots going to get it right!
    26 inch bmx bikes are out now 26inch is on the rise!!!!!!

    26inch don’t lie!!! power to the 26inch cause we will out race you!
    say could bye u industry dorks keeping the standard alive
    one frame build at time
    26 inch on the rise
    sincerely best regards
    yours truely
    the dirt bike kid
    eat my dust 26 inch don’t rust

  • rad says:

    were bring it back !!!!

  • pjm says:

    Hey dummies…..Our history on wheel size is clear. In the 1800’s bicycles had wooden wheels and 29-ers and 28-ers. Unfortunately, these wheel sizes were not as versatile as 26-er FAT, as dirt bikers understand. Oh my! Really? You mean, we abandoned 28 and 29ers in the 1920’s? You mean my 29-er was determined to be obsolete in the 20’s?!?!? Now everyone knows the inconvenient factual history of wheel size. 26-er wheels are stronger, lighter and faster to accelerate and decelerate. 26-ers are quicker. FACTS. Logic and physics are just too much for our 29-er group-thinkers to accept. The vitriolic slams coming from the 29-er crowd is clearly based on lack of knowledge:pure ignorance. When someone tells you “26-ers are for children” the alarm bells should go off. Those of you who say that should be spanked….You know who you are..Back off…

  • mythump says:

    29 inch BMX Bike
    The T29 29 inch BMX bike aluminium frame is 12 percent stiffer and 20 percent lighter than steel and you need it on a bike this big. Aluminium is rustproof and it dampens vibration 50% faster than steel. Its stiffness (lateral) gives frames a real fast feeling because the transfer of pedalling force is so immediate. For for a nostalgic feel we incorporated a looptail rear end. Besides the nostalgia of this design, the circle and all forms of it are the strongest shapes. This is proven by simple physics. The T29 29 inch BMX bike has both front and rear disc brakes. This provides incredible stopping power, superior speed modulation, and better all-weather performance than traditional rim brakes. When you pull on a disc brake equipped lever, the resultant braking force is much more consistent. This reliability allows you to accurately judge how much force you need to apply in order to achieve the expected braking result.

  • thepartsguy says:

    I had my 23 lb 26er Fuji SX stolen this summer. Looked at a larger rimmed replacement bike but I started in the road bike crowd in the late 60s so as I wasn’t going back to a 30+ lb ride. I found a 90’s StumpJumper M2 FS that I rebuilt and repainted to be nearly the same bike as my Fuji but aluminum instead of steel. It came in at an ounce lighter even with a heavier DH front fork.

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