Do You Commute On A 29"er?

With the onset of wintry weather here I am in preparation to break out my winter commuter, a 2003 Surly Karate Monkey. You can see more about that here I love commuting on big wheels, especially since parts of my commute are over unpaved trail and a grassy field.

How many of you are commuting on the big wheels? How many are using a 29″er specifically for winter time commuting? Is commuting on a 29″er a bad idea?

Take a moment and go to the comment section for this post and let us know what you think. If you have a great commuting story involving big wheels, type that in too.


No Responses to “Do You Commute On A 29"er?”

  1. SteveV Says:

    If it gets nasty I will. But in the south if we get frozen precipetation, it tends to be ice. I guess I can cut through yards to make sure I get traction.

  2. MattP Says:

    Up until last year, when I lived in Nebraska, I used a bike with ‘cross tires to commute when there was snow on the ground. I feel like the narrower tire cuts down to solid ground better than a large volume tire and doesn’t perform any worse on ice. I used a ‘cross bike or a fixed gear but I assume that a large, stable 29er with 32mm knobbies would be a good commuter. I’m not going to test that theory though because I now live in LA and we don’t have winter.

  3. Brandi Says:

    I commute on TriCross, but in snowy conditions, I am thinking about adding a derailer to my XXIX to make a 1 x 9 any suggestions?

  4. Steve Says:

    I commute year-round in Portland, Or. on a 2006 GF Paragon with WTB NanoRaptors. My ride to work is ~9 miles on road but home is 17 miles, 11 of which is off-road. Definitely prefer the MTB 29er.

  5. Oderus Says:

    I live in Ft Collins, CO and I commute 365 on my 29er. We actually got about 4″ of snow last night and I can’t wait to ride to work. I run 700×32 slicks when it’s dry and Speedking Cross tires when it snows (like today). I keep my knobbies for the dirt, no point wasting them on pavement. I usually switch to a platform pedal as well. It makes those spaztik dismounts easier to pull off when I hit an ice patch at 15mph. My only recommendation is to wipe or hose off your bike when you can. Road salts tear up steel frames, cables, rotors, etc. Needless to say, I love commuting by bike. I sold my car last year when I moved here cause I stopped driving it. I ended up saving about $300/month in gas and insurance! There is something to think about.

  6. Desert9r Says:

    I commuted all summer on my XXIX, (Brandi, convert it!, its worth it) on the stock Exi’s, Fire XCs, and Specialized Nimbus, I haven’t decided if I’m going to go woth small tires again, I blew out the sidewall of a nimbus(38c) in a month, do to the blow-out and wearing out the Fires, I had to put the Exi’s back on and with the geared conversion, and my health I had to by a lighter bike, a Kona Jake, but out of any bike I have owned my XXIX is my favorite ride of all.

  7. Dirt McGirt Says:

    I use my Paragon for everything. Rides to tha sto’, to work, in the woods, to my herbal remedy suppliers house. You know!

    BRANDI: all I have to say is this “one for nine and nine for one”!!!!

  8. AC Says:

    I wish I commuted by bike period. If I did it would be on a 29er because it’s way more fun than my road bike and I have no 26ers.

    Lame excuses I know, but I have to be at work at 6:00am, it’s 20 miles one way, no shower access at work, two young kids and stay at home mom waiting for me…. blah, blah….. You’ve heard them all before.. 😉

  9. ryan Says:

    Yeah I commute by 29er, well sorta. I built up a surly KM this summer for that purpose, but with cyclocross tires. However since my new route involves off-road duty I have been using my 26in single. This is only until I get bigger tires for my 29er, so please don’t hate me. 🙂

  10. choke Says:

    Since my Karate Monkey is the only bike I have at the moment, it is my daily driver. I’ve got it set up with a rack & panniers, front fender, and lights. The weather is usually good here in the Bay Area so phatness of tires isn’t really an issue. The coolest thing about my current setup is that I don’t have to change it to go shopping, trail riding, or whatever. Heck, if I need to get some ‘cross action I only have to remove the rack and fender, mount up my 700×30 Speedmax tires and head out. Current set-up is 46/34/24 x 34-11 w/ dura ace bar end shifters, Midge bars v-brakes, and dia compe drop levers.

  11. DeSalvo Fan Says:

    I commute year-round on a Kona Unit 2-9 with Midge bars, Waltworks steel fork and, usually , Specialized Borough XC tires (about 1.75). It’s ideal for bombing through construction ravaged streets and it rides well enough that it’s fun to lengthen my commute, and I usually do. The few snow days were huge fun.

    Today I have Ignitors on it so I can head into the woods (Forest Park, Portland Oregon) for an hour or so on the way home.

    Oh, and it’s a fixed gear. 36/15 — a great general purpose commuting gear for a town with hills. And you can trackstand for hours on big tires.

  12. Stevo Says:

    I commute to work most days on my Soma Juice. It’s my only bike so it’s a do-all bike. It’s on-road all the way to work for me (25km one way) so I have a set of Specialized All-Condition Sport 700x28c that I use for that and I just swap out those for the Ignitors when/if I ride off-road on the weekends. The Spec’s have been ok but have worn fairly quickly so am looking into replacing them with some more commuter specific tyres – maybe Schwalbe Marathons or similar.

    Living in Sydney, AU, I don’t have any issues with snow or the like but it can get pretty cold during winter – and stinkin’ hot during summer too! – and if it rains after a particularly dry spell the roads can get greasy. My main issues are the poor condition of the roads themselves and fellow car drivers.

    I love commuting with my 29er and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

  13. Desert9r Says:

    Desalvo Fan/anyone-

    what’s with fixed gear mountain biking? it sounds almost suicidal to me!

  14. George Krpan Says:

    Er, ah, not much winter here in sunny Southern California.
    However, I’ll just say that a 29er is the ideal commuter.
    Comfortable riding, sure footed, laughs at bad pavement.

  15. anakcu Says:

    I upgraded to a Fisher Caliber 29 this September that I use for commuting during the week (12 miles offroad, 2 miles in the city each way) and riding trails on the weekends. My old ride was a Dagger F/S (Amp Research B3 rear triangle). Even with it still relatively warm and dry, the Caliber makes the city part of the commute much more enjoyable. Once the snow flies, thaws and refreezes, I am sure I will be choosing to ride in much more often than last year.

    The extra confidence that comes with the big wheels is even more important when the commute both ways is in the dark or–even worse–during astronomical dawn and dusk.

  16. DeSalvo Fan Says:

    Fixed gear mountain biking is not necessarily suicidal, but it could be. For fire road riding and some interesting technical experiences — slow ones — it is pretty fun. It’s the thing that makes commuting on my route entertaining. I have a flip flop and sometimes I use it, but sometimes not when I go off road.

    This site is no longer updated, but it answers the ‘what’s with that’ question better than I can.

  17. simplespeed Says:

    I converted an old 26″ Kona to a 29er commuter. It fits anything up to 700 x 40 tyres so i can still get off raod on the way to work (no mud clearance though). I used to commute on slick 26″ tyres and the difference in comfort with the 29ers is unbelievable. Medium 29er tyres (cross tyres) are made for commuting.
    I have also converted a KM to a fixe commuter with the same tyres, way more fun.

  18. David Says:

    I alternate commuting between my Kona 2-9 and my Kona CX bike. I live in San Antonio so there is no snow or ice to worry about. I have been commuting on crossmarks, and they have been holding up. I do need ot get some semi-slicks though.

    Funny story. I hit an armadillo one morning at 5 AM. I was glad to have the big wheels and tires that morning. Knocked me down, and I swear I heard it chuckling at me as it scurried away.

  19. teaman Says:

    I am now commuting on an Xcal, with Bontrager ACX 2.2″ tires. Am thinking of swapping out for Ritchey Speedmax pro, 35mm — higher psi, lower weight — thoughts? off road capability? better off with something like 1.9″ Kenda Karmas?

  20. choke Says:

    Speedmaxes are great. I just rode a pair of 700 x 30 speedmaxes through San Francisco and some trails in the Marin Headlands today with no problems. I’m currently commuting on them as well.

  21. Desert9r Says:

    after blowing out the sidewall of an armored 38c, I don’t know what to think myself. after hearing people ride on 28s and 30s, IM thinking smaller might be better.

  22. TwoWheels Says:

    I have a question. With the narrow 700×30 Cyclocross tires that I use, they are very hard to install on the wide double walled 29er rims. My frame is disc only and I was wondering if there are disc wheelsets out there that are narrower or possibly single walled that would allow for easier narrow tire changes?

  23. marty Says:

    I commute to work (Heidelberg, Germany). I have a dedicated 29er commuter built up around a Redline Monocog frame and spare parts in the garage. The 20km commute is 50% pavement and the rest is a mix of gravel roads and fire road. Currently I am running the Kenda Kahns (no longer being made), Mary Bar, BB7s, and a Reba which is overkill for commuting but nice if I decide to change tires to hit the trails.

    Traffic is getting so bad that my ride to work at times is quicker than driving. However I may need to rethink my tire choice now that there is ice on the ground.

  24. Art Says:

    I do. My 29er is far more forgiving of poorly lit potholes and my sluggish early morning pace than my road bike. It’s only 1.5 miles to my office, so I don’t need to worry too much about switching tires. Yesterday morning I confirmed that the Moto Raptors handle snow fairly well. The only downside I’ve encountered is that some bike racks are a bit awkward with big wheels.

  25. blütt Says:

    i bought one of those motobecane outcast 29ers on ebay just for my commutes on days when the chicago streets are snowy/icy/rutted. it sounded like fun, the price was right, and so here i sit, waiting for snow. i’ve commuted on it quite a bit in nice weather, and my only real gripe is that it’s so slow compared to the track bike i usually ride. but i’m not thrilled with the idea of constantly swapping out tires, so i’m just biding my time for now. hopefully the stability factor will outweigh the speed factor when a winter storm finally hits!

  26. Hawkeye Says:

    I use my 2007 GF paragon for everything. Killer dirt bike. Switch the wheelset to an extra set, set up with 700×28 panaracer pasela’s, and I’m ready for an early sunday morning (no traffic) street luge. Downhills are a blast. Great street rod for around town.


  27. AC Says:

    Had a change of thinking…

    I started commuting a little over 2 months ago. I decided to ignore my excuses and just do it..
    I’ve pretty much nailed down my route to 26 miles round trip.

    My commuter:
    07 GT 9’r
    Mary bars
    Schwalbe big apples ( heavy, but they rock! )
    43×18 gearing. I started out with 39×18, but as I’ve gotten stronger I upped my ratio.

    I think 29ers are perfect for commuting. You have the comfort and versatility of a mtb plus the benefit of big wheels and tires.

  28. Phil Says:

    I commute on my Specialized Rockhopper 29er . 14miles up and 14 miles back. Give or take a few miles doing light stuff through trailer parks and commercial landscapes. The ride is mostly street. So I haveto possibly look at some slicks. Other than that the ride is niiiiice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: