Yeah. It’s not new to me either. I’ve seen people in NYC playing that and also bike polo.

Seeking advice from mountain bikers. I’m looking to get back into it after a nearly 20 year break. As I have been educating myself about what bikes & features are available and what I might buy I find myself in a confusing spot regarding bike frame size.

I am 5’4" and wear 28" inseam pants, but those are even a bit long. Some bike shops have advised that I could go for a small or a medium frame and other bike shops have been adamant that I should choose a medium frame because then I can have 29" wheels instead of having to settle for 27.5" wheels that come on a small frame. When I have tested a couple of bikes out, I can stand over the top tube of a medium bike, but only juuust barely without much extra clearance.

My question is if 27.5" wheels are that much of a disadvantage compared to 29" wheels or if I should just get used to having a slightly taller top tube and learn to avoid hitting it when I step off my pedals on uneven terrain? Are larger wheels a nice to have or a game changer?

The answer you don’t want to hear: it depends

I have two mountain bikes, one with 27.5 and one with 29 wheels.

My small bike is a bit too small for me, but it was an early lockdown purchase and I just got what I could at the price, and as my last mountain bike was 15 years prior a smaller bike felt fine for me.

However I don’t regret buying it at all, because it taught me all I needed to know after not mountain biking for 15 years.

Then I got a 29 full suspension bike (the small bike is a hard tail) and in this case I intentionally “sized up” in terms of frame, because I was aiming to maximize comfort. To get the reach and rise correct (simply put: distance and angle between the seat post and the handlebars) I bought new handle bars with a slightly different shape, and the bike fit perfectly.

So the questions I got to ask are:

What kind of trails do you plan on riding the most? If you just want to go on bike rides and do a bit of trail riding, there isn’t any big benefit to 29 wheels.

If you want to do rowdy enduro or DH tracks, 29 wheels are really nice to have, but then the biggest benefit for you would be a full suspension bike, and at that point you won’t be able to run 29 rear wheel anyway, because at your height it’ll be buzzing your ass any time it gets steep.

Personally if I was your height I’d go with the smaller size and the 27.5 wheels, because modern bikes are plenty comfortable enough you shouldn’t worry about the marginal gains of the larger wheels.

If you are going with a full suspension frame, look into a “mixed wheel” or “mullet” setup with a 29 front and 27.5 rear, which is pretty common now on performance bikes.

My final advice can only come after I know the type of bike (hard tail or full suspension) and if you give me the name of your local riding area so I can look up the trails.

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That all makes sense. I was looking at a hard tail for this purchase. I plan to ride mountain trails and established mountain bike parks in the foothills and mountains near Salt Lake City, Utah.

Get yourself a 27.5 bike that fits comfortably, and then in 1.5 to 2 years time, when you upgrade to a full suspension bike, you can reconsider and get yourself a mullet.

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