So after my wife gave me the go-ahead to “spend some money on a bike” and after I sold our third (fourth) car a few weeks ago, I’ve been shopping for a new bike more and more aggressively. This a decent time of year to look for deals because people are trading up mid-season, and shops are willing to start giving some discounts because the season is short and it’s mid-July already.

When I jumped into a full-suspension 29'er about 4 years ago, it was life-changing coming from an old hardtail 26'er that I’d literally had since I was 16. Oh right, you don’t all know that I’m now 38. Yeah, it was time for an upgrade, and WOW, what a change. The big wheels just roll over stuff so beautifully, and having a bit of travel both front and rear totally expanded my horizons on what was possible. It took me a whole summer of riding various friends’ bikes to finally land on this one. It’s been a solid performer for me, but the cost of updating it would quickly be close to the cost of a new one, so here I am.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when I was certain I would get another 29" wheel but wanted to test ride a particular model on a real trail. Well a friend loaned me his bike, but it was a 27.5"+ which just means fatter tires that are nearly 29" in overall O.D. but more importantly, they’re meatier and you can run them at lower pressures for greater traction. This opened my eyes wide because a lot of my rides have long, low-speed, technical climbs, which is the exact advantage of wider tires.

I loved it. Not just the bike, but the fat tires too. So now I’m riding one of these tomorrow:

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This is a Santa Cruz 5010, which, so far as I can tell, was created in their lineup to separate the 27.5 bikes from the 29" rather than making bikes that will accept either size as they did just a year or two ago. I was talking about this bike just yesterday with a friend and we couldn’t figure out where it landed in their lineup, or more specifically WHY it existed, but now I know.

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But then, the 275+ tire is only 2.6" wide and you can clear a 2.5" tire on the 29" bike that I’ve ridden and like already... so that might just be the Golidlocks of the group. We’ll see.

This is the 29'er I’m interested in - the Tallboy - which comes in a better color too:

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The biggest difference for me would be the extra 2lbs of the 5010 over the Tallboy, because I am light and weight really matters to me. You’d have to spend a LOT more to get the 5010 down near the weight of the Tallboy. Fun decision process, for sure. Stay tuned, I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats.