The advent of 29er mountain bikes (aka 29-inch wheels) is nothing new. But as manufacturers refine geometry and suspension perks, larger-wheel rides are now the new norm. New bikes are slacker but better climbers, and you still have the roll-over-everything advantage of 29″ wheels.
So if you’re replacing a tired ride, saddle up, and you might learn you’re a better mountain biker than you thought. These picks from the latest crop of 29er mountain bikes cut weight, carry speed, and add control—leaving no reason not to go big.
These 29er Mountain Bikes Let You Cover More Ground With Less Effort
1. Canyon Strive
Best for Technical Speed
One feature separates the Canyon Strive from the rest of the pack: thumb levers adjust the bike’s shape mid-ride. Click in for stiffer rear suspension on climbs, then release to a lower, more slack shape to descend with 150mm of travel (and 170mm front). The “Shapeshifter” complements a full carbon frame for a crisp, ripping ride.
[From $3,999; canyon.com]
Best: Rugged Distance
The Transition Spur’s long and relaxed geometry, with 120mm front and rear travel, makes it a rowdy rig despite its more conservative suspension numbers. It’s a Transition, so it crushes descents, as expected. But the Spur does it without sucking on climbs. It’s all-day-epic capable, though not the top choice for the Lycra-clad racer crowd.
[From $4,499; transitionbikes.com]
REEB Cycles ReDikyelous, built for technical steeps and all-day romps, proves that hardtails are no longer for beginners and ounce-counting XC nerds. Long and slack, with a low center of gravity, its whopping 150mm of travel and hand-built steel frame—nimble enough for pump tracks, stout enough for bike-packing bags—shred any terrain.
[From $2,365; reebcycles.com]
Snappy and playful, fast and light, Ibis’ short-travel Ripley 29er rings in a bit over $3K when you opt for the aluminum “AF” frame. Designed for demanding riding, and adept in technical terrain, the all-mountain ripper has a more aggressive shape than its carbon cousin, with the same modern trail-bike geometry and ultra-efficient DW-link suspension.
[From $3,199; ibiscycles.com]
Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Expert
You can make the highly tunable Stumpjumper an even more aggressive enduro-machine with off-trail adjustments (to flip chip and headset). With 150mm rear travel (160mm front), it’s the best-pedaling Stumpy that Specialized has made: precise, agile, and bob-free on climbs. Bonus: Internal-frame “SWAT” storage can hold a 22-ounce reservoir.