The gold standard of the mountain bike industry is arguably their 29-inch models. Whether for racing purposes or for enthusiasts or even casual cyclists, the 29-inch mountain bike provides a wide range of choices — from the very high-end to the reasonably priced ones.
Here is the list of the 5 best 29 Inch mountain bikes that we reviewed today. We hope you will find it helpful.
- Schwinn S29 Men’s Mountain Bike
- Eurobike X9 Mountain Bike
- Vilano Blackjack 3.0 29er Mountain Bike
- Mongoose Tyax Comp Adult Mountain Bike
- Sirdar S-700 S-800 29 inch Mountain Bike for Adult and Youth
What Are 29 Inch Mountain Bikes?
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When we call a bike a 29-inch mountain bike, we are referring to a bike type that is specially designed to be ridden in the mountains — and thus, a mountain bike — and that bike has a pair of wheels with a diameter of 29 inches.
To put things into perspective, bike wheel sizes start from 12 inches for toddlers, and kids’ bikes have up to 26-inch wheels. Adult bikes typically have three wheel sizes: 26 inches, 27.5 inches, and 29 inches. Thus, 29-inch mountain bikes are the mountain bikes with the biggest standard wheel sizes. (Of course, you can have custom bikes, and there are some exceptional bikes besides custom bikes, with over 30-inch wheels).
So, is having bigger wheels better than having smaller wheels? Well, while there are pros and cons for both sides, the short answer is yes: 29-inch mountain bikes are the best mountain bikes on the market.
Advantages of 29 Inch Mountain Bikes
It used to be that 26-inch mountain bikes were the standard for mountain biking for over three decades. Here is a review of the best 26-inch mountain bikes. However, since 2010, the 29-inch bike has revolutionized the mountain bike industry with its numerous advantages. These are detailed below.
29-inch mountain bikes are the standard for mountain biking today, and so you can bet that most brands — big or small — manufacture 29-inch mountain bikes. That doesn’t mean you won’t find 26ers or 27.5ers, but 29ers will be the featured mountain bikes on sale.
This also means that the latest technological advancements made in the bike industry are catered to 29-inch bikes. Bikes of other wheel sizes may or may not receive the latest updates, at least not immediately. Therefore, if you are a bike enthusiast or like to keep your finger at the pulse of the latest happenings, you’ll for sure want a 29-inch mountain bike.
One major reason why 29-inch mountain bikes are so widely available is that modern frame geometry is catered to them. In contrast, 26-inch mountain bikes do not have that luxury.
The current trend in frame geometry is progressive geometry. This means the reach is longer, the head angle is slacker and longer, the top tube is longer — basically, a longer front center. The current frame geometry also allows more customizability. You will have much more legroom and can adjust your seats.
Mountain bikes are built for having low rolling resistance, and the bigger the wheels, the less the rolling resistance. This means 29-inch mountain bikes are great at dealing with rolling resistance.
But what exactly is rolling resistance? It’s the resistance or inertia or force that works against your bike rolling over obstacles on the road. As we know, mountain bikes are designed to ride on unpaved terrain, meaning they have to handle tiny rocks and twigs, and other dirt. The bigger wheeled 29ers can quite easily plow over these road hurdles. A 26-inch mountain bike also has traction to go over small hurdles, but they are significantly less capable of doing so than 29ers.
How significant is the rolling resistance discrepancy between a 29-inch mountain bike and a 26 inch one? Well, you might scoff at the difference, as it’s just about 5%. Yes, 29-inch mountain bikes have only about 5% more roll-ability than their 26-inch counterparts. But we kid you not: this 5% difference really adds up on a journey. And not only is the cumulative difference noticeable, but you will also feel the world of difference in this 5% difference in rolling resistance.
Some interesting bits of nuance here. You see, 29-inch bikes are faster than 26-inch bikes. But their acceleration is lower. This means that since a bike with smaller wheels is more nimble, it can pick up speed more easily. This helps with turning corners, and also if you stop and start a lot, like due to heavy traffic.
However, the advantage of 29ers over 26ers and also 27.5ers is the top speed. Although the 29-inch bike can take slightly longer to pick up speed, its maximum speed is higher. Why exactly is that?
It’s due to the larger wheels. If we pit a 29er against a 27.5er and a 26er, and if all three bikes have the same gears and quality components, then the 29er will take first place, the 27.5-second place, and the 26er last place.
Say, you go at 100 rpm (rotation per minute). Each rotation, however, won’t be the same for the three bike types. The 29er will cover more distance simply because of the larger wheels, and hence, its speed is the highest. Makes sense? The higher speed, like the rolling resistance, may not seem all that much at first glance, but really makes a difference in longer rides.
Yes, 29-inch mountain bikes edge over the competition even in terms of stability. As we know, mountain bikes need to be especially stable as they are designed for riding off the road. This is also why most mountain bikes have suspension technology.
29ers have more stability due to their larger wheels and added traction. As more of the tires come into contact with the ground, more traction is built up, grounding you even more. What’s more, the heavier weight adds to the stability.
Things to Consider When Buying a 29 Inch Mountain Bike
Now that we know that the 29-inch mountain bike is the king of mountain bikes, we also need to know how to select the best out of 29ers. A lot of variables may come into play, the simplest one being price.
Naturally, the 29-inch mountain bike, being the most technologically advanced and mainstream, costs more than its 27.5 and 26-inch counterparts. However, it’s not as simple as to say that all 29ers cost more than all 27.5ers and 26ers. You can get a costlier 26-inch mountain bike than a 29-inch mountain bike, though in that case the quality of the 29-inch mountain bike will be entry-level and that of the 26er being quite top-tier.
We have mentioned that the reason why 29-inch mountain bikes are more expensive than the other two adult mountain bike sizes is that more modern tech is designed for them. This means that you can upgrade your 29er whenever new quality components come, which you wouldn’t be able to do with a 26er. Therefore, even if you buy a low-end 29-inch mountain bike now, you can slowly upgrade it once you get the hang of using a 29er or once you have committed to cycling more often. You don’t have the luxury of overhauling a 26er, though.
Most mountain bikes today have suspension technology. They have suspension forks attached at the front and the back. The forks absorb shocks that inevitably occur on unpaved and hilly terrain.
Mountain bikes without suspension are called rigid bikes. It’s quite dangerous to ride off the road in hilly areas without suspensions attached to your mountain bike.
Mountain bikes with one suspension fork attached to them are called hardtails. The suspension fork is attached at the front. Hardtails are lighter than full-suspension bikes, and so are faster. But they are less stable.
As for mountain bikes with two suspension forks attached to them — one at the front and one at the rear — they are called dual suspension or full suspension mountain bikes. 29-inch dual-suspension mountain bikes are quite stable and offer a very smooth riding experience. However, they are also quite heavy due to the two suspension forks, and for the extra frame, geometry is needed to hold the forks.
In downhill climbing, it is better to use a full-suspension mountain bike. Otherwise, you’ll feel quite a lot of bumps on your back. However, when climbing uphill, the dual suspension technology may do more harm than good, as it will feel like climbing a steeper hill than you already are. In that case, locking in the rear suspension will be a good idea. Look for a rear-lock-out option when buying a full suspension bike.
Also, keep in mind that full suspension mountain bikes will obviously be costlier than single suspension mountain bikes. In fact, high-end ones will cost many thousands of dollars! For example, the best full suspension mountain bike under $4000 in 2021 is perhaps the Santa Cruz Blur C R Build.
There are two main types of brakes: rim brakes and disc brakes. And while both have their pros and cons, we suggest you opt for a bike that uses disc brakes. Beware that you cannot switch back and forth between the two braking systems and experiment with them both on the same bike.
Rim brakes exert force on the rim of the wheels whereas disc brakes work by the means of a rotor on the hub of the wheel. Disc brakes outshine rim brakes in several areas such as more customizability and durability in weather conditions. However, they are also more expensive than rim brakes.
That said, we will consider disc brakes to be an advantageous feature in our review. But do keep in mind that rim brakes will work fine enough and will be cheaper as well. Check out the blog section for a comprehensive discussion on different kinds of bike brakes.
Typically, 29-inch mountain bikes can accommodate rider heights of 5’8” to 6’4”. If you are 5’6”, you can also try a 29er. Rider comfort is subjective to a great extent. But in general, people with heights of around 6 feet tall will greatly benefit from a 29-inch mountain bike rather than a 26 inch one.
Wheel size itself does not determine the appropriate rider height range. Frame height also plays a factor. For example, the typical frame height of a 29-inch mountain bike ranges from 17 inches to 23 inches. Other things like saddle height and inseam height also matter. Fortunately, the best 29-inch mountain bikes have easy seat adjustability.
Modern bike frames are made of aluminum or carbon. Carbon bike frames are typically only made for high-end bikes, whereas aluminum frames are more mid-tier bikes. We do not recommend heavier steel frames. Opt for an aluminum bike frame if you are on a budget.
In competitive cycling, every edge counts, and the carbon make of your 29-inch mountain bike might very well provide the edge you need. It’s super lightweight. However, it is also more prone to damage. Therefore, if you don’t care for speeds or a heavier bike, you can opt for steel frames. Aluminum bike frames provide a happy middle-ground. It is both relatively lightweight and sturdy.
5 Best 29 Inch Mountain Bikes
1.Schwinn S29 Men’s Mountain Bike
Schwinn is known as the original American bike brand. It provides high-quality bikes at reasonable prices, and this S29 model is one of them.
This is a dual-suspension mountain bike with an aluminum frame and dual disc brakes. Featuring 21 speeds and Shimano shifters and derailleurs, this is one of the best 29-inch mountain bikes out there. You also get a helmet and a water bottle holder if you pay some extra cash in the package deal offered.
The frame height is 18 inches, so the suggested height range is 5’9” to 6’2”. While this is a low end, we feel it will be appropriate for a large range of the population. We also feel it ranks high enough to be considered the best full suspension mountain bike in 2021.
2.Eurobike X9 Mountain Bike
First of all, we gotta say: Wow! Look at the design! The black and neon green color combo, with the gorgeous wheel design to boot, isn’t the only choice. If black and green don’t vibe with you, you can choose to select the silver and redone. And, whoa, both are rocking pieces of art.
Looks aside, Eurobike X9 is arguably the best 29-inch mountain bike under $500. Dual suspension, dual disc brakes, aluminum frame, and Shimano parts! What more can you ask for? Oh, and there are 21-speed options as well.
The frame height is 19 inches, also on the low side. But if you’re around 5’8” to 6’2”, this 29er will suit you great. But even if you’re a little shorter or taller, you can still ride it, as rider comfort is subjective. What’s more, pay a little extra cash to get a 2-year protection plan and a waterproof phone case holder in the package deal.
3.Vilano Blackjack 3.0 29er Mountain Bike
This here is our first hardtail bike on our list.
This single suspension 29-inch mountain bike, though, is quite a good beginner’s mountain bike. It has 24-speed options, mechanical disc brakes, a front suspension that provides 80 mm travel, and has a lockout feature.
The frame size is a bit on the lower end, being 17 inches high. We feel people of heights around 5’7” to 6’1” will be accommodated well by this 29er. This product also offers a package deal containing a bike seat and a water bottle holder. All in all, this is also a contender for being the best 29-inch mountain bike under your budget.
4.Mongoose Tyax Comp Adult Mountain Bike
Enter a high-end 29-inch mountain bike. Also, despite the high price, it’s a hardtail, not a full suspension bike, so you know that the high price warrants top-tier quality.
The frame is made of aluminum, so you get a good balance between price and quality. There are lock-on grips for better and more secure gripping of the handlebars. There is also a kickstand for sale in a package deal with the product.
By the way, if you want, you may want to get a 27.5-inch wheel mountain bike which this Mongoose Tyax model offers. Specifically, there is a Sport and an Expert 27.5er you can choose as alternatives. There are also frame choices from Small, Medium, and Large.
Overall, it is arguably one of the best 29-inch mountain bikes under $1000, if not the best 29-inch mountain bike for the money, period.
5.Sirdar S-700 S-800 29 inch Mountain Bike for Adult and Youth
This is a beautifully crafted versatile hardtail bike with no fewer than 27 speeds. Even though the frame is short, at 17.5 inches, the bike supports riders of the height range 5’7” to 6’5”. Lovely.
A lock-out feature is present which gives you the option to convert this 29-inch mountain bike into a rigid bike with no suspension. Moreover, dual disc brakes are used. This product has a package deal offer too, offering a waterproof zipper bike pouch and a 5-digit combination bike chain. Overall, it’s arguably one of the best mountain bikes under $1,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
A 29-inch mountain bike is suitable for what height?
6 footers, rejoice! 29-inch mountain bikes are a blessing for tall people. Yes, they can make do with 27.5ers and even with 26ers to an extent. However, the importance of rider comfort should not be underestimated, especially for an avid cyclist.
But what about those of us who are shorter? Well, besides the wheel sizes, the frame height also matters, as discussed. Most of the 29-inch mountain bikes we reviewed have a low height limit, so riders who are at least 5’8” can ride one.
A 29-inch mountain bike is suitable for what weight?
While the exact parameters will depend on the particular bike, a reasonable estimate is around 300 pounds. Some of the best 29-inch mountain bikes are touted to have a maximum weight limit of 330 pounds. This means that the vast majority of us can ride a 29-inch mountain bike without worrying about our weight. However, also keep in mind that any extra baggage, including bags or in-built racks, does count in that weight threshold.
I don’t like the high saddle height of a 29-inch mountain bike. What can I do?
Well, good for you then that you can adjust your bike seat’s height. And you can even do that in a snap, as some of the best 29-inch mountain bikes have the quick release facility for easy bike seat adjustment.
A Final Word
If you noticed, all of our listed products are under a thousand bucks. Even good full-suspension models. Why? Did we intentionally pull off on listing some big names on our list?
Yes and no.
Yes in the sense that we did not list the best 29 inch Specialised or Trek mountain bikes. One reason for that is their prices are too overwhelming for most of us. Here is a Trek Bike review for those interested. You can also search here for a 29-inch mountain bike: target.
However, mostly no, because the ones we did list are also big name brands in their own right.
The main reason we picked these mountain bikes is that the quality is uncompromised. In other words, you can find here the best 29-inch mountain bikes for the money, and also in quality. Even for competitive racing, the last two 29 inch mountain bikes are top-tier mountain bikes. The other three can also more than hold their ground (literally and figuratively). In short, these are uncompromisingly some of the best 29-inch mountain bikes on the market, and they also don’t break the bank!
Steven is a professional cyclist and his passion is cycling. He has been cycling for the last 6 years and he loves using bikes while outing as well. Based on his experiences with the different types of bikes; he is sharing his opinions about various bikes so that a beginner can start right away. Find him on Twitter @thecyclistguy Happy Biking.