Mountain Gear

26 Vs. 29: Test Tools

Using equipment readily available on the market — Garmin's 705 GPS unit and a PowerTap Disc hub — testers are able to compare what it takes to propel big- and small-wheeled mountain bikes.

Test data was downloaded in Garmin's Training Center program and through the third-party, Training Peaks, online software.
Test data was downloaded in Garmin's Training Center program and through the third-party, Training Peaks, online software.

Test Tools: Garmin’s Edge 705 — $500
CycleOps PowerTap Disc Hub — $1600

Our test protocol depended on two training products working in tandem to record the data and monitor our output, all in an effort to present reliable results and a repeatable test. We used the heart rate, ANT+ power and GPS functions of Garmin’s top-end 705 cycling computer and the ANT+ transmitting PowerTap disc hub. These two items allowed us to capture more data than any other combination of tools and the results of the test can be better trusted because of it.

For the test we were able to modify the number of fields displayed on the Edge 705 unit’s screen to best track the information in real time. The PowerTap hub was easy to zero at the beginning of each test session and seemed to produce accurate consistent results throughout our testing. We did double check the incoming power data by using both the PowerTap head unit and the Edge 705. Aside from a slight lag on the part of the 705 we were happy with how both devices communicated and recorded data. We looked at our data in Garmin’s Training Center program and through the third-party, Training Peaks, online software. I found this combination to be a powerful test tool, which correlates directly into a powerful training tool.

Find out more about the 29er Vs. 26er debate.

Average Lap Time Average Speed (mph) Max Speed (mph) Average Power (Watts)
29er hardtail 13:39 13.71 23.96 219.9
26er full suspension 14:36 12.9 24.6 220.5
26er hardtail 15:00 12.5 23.5 225.0