Swiss MTB stalwart Christoph Sauser compares 26ers and 29ers

Opinions are like, um, eyeballs — everybody has ‘em. And when it comes to 29ers, well, the opinions come fast and furious.

So who better than Christoph Sauser — MTB cross-country and marathon world champion, two-time overall XC World Cup winner, Olympic medalist, staunch advocate of 26ers and, yes, European — to add his opinion to the 26 v. 29 mix.

On his blog, Sauser explains his findings after he and his Specialized Factory Racing crew tested Specialized’s Epic 29er and 26er while in South Africa. The results, “the big wheels made me go faster, both up and downhill,” are surprising — or not.

“The most recognizable performance point has been, how much more energy I saved towards the end of my runs, and as a result of this I was faster in both ways. I stayed focussed, sharp and had more energy left. At the beginning of the uphill run the 29er felt more like a big fish in the water. Never thought I am going to beat the 26er time, because the 26er felt so light and explosive. It took off like a race horse, but calmed down after mid way, and had to concentrate more.

“After I have beaten the 26er uphill time with the big wheels I thought I am going make a even bigger time difference in the downhill…”

Sauser goes on to say that the Epic 29er will be his weapon of choice for endurance races and rougher rides, but for World Cup XC racing Sauser says he’ll stick to his tried-and-true Epic 26er.

Read on at Sauser’s blog Video: Sauser at 2010 Sea Otter Classic