This article has been translated using Google.
In Poland the most popular wheel size - 26 ", sometimes called mountain bike or stock. We look at the characteristics of the bike itself and how its characteristics affect the ride.
A few words about the parts
Trial cycles with 26 "wheels are the evolution of an ordinary mountain bike, and in the beginning, the trialmen danced to dirt, dual and street, with suitable forks, bridges, steering wheels and drive.
In contrast to the 20 "bike, the mountain bike has two rims of the same diameter, the front is narrow and has a width of about 35mm. The rear oscillates around 46mm, which in combination with a thick and high tire (about 2.5") improves stability on obstacles. And increases the blow in the hands of experienced players. In the front wheel, tires that are wider than 2.1 "are rarely used.
In the 26 "trial bike we find a single-speed drive. The characteristic gear in the 26" bike is 18:15 - the rack on the crank is 18 toothed and this is mounted on the hub 15. Some use a lighter gear ratio of 18:16. Free run or so called. The clock is on the crankshaft - this is a solution that is typical of all trial bikes and makes the chain rotate even when we stop pedaling. The cranks are 170mm or 175mm long.
In amateur bikes we find a front disc brake, while professional bicycles are usually equipped with two jaw brakes. Do not use rear disc brakes because the large diameter of the wheel makes the brake less rigid and the bicycle loses precision. Hydraulic jaw brakes for the trial are highly specialized systems with tremendous braking force. These brakes release braking characteristic of this discipline and serve only to lock the wheel - never to slow down the bike.
The frame of the 26 "bike has a characteristic 4-bolt brake attachment, which is often combined with an integrated booster to improve the stiffness of the brake. The hooks can be horizontal, rarely vertical and have a 135mm spacing of less than 116mm. Worm-acentical pads which, while rotating, dangle of the pin in the frame by pulling the wheel away from the carriage and tightening the chain.In the framework with vertical hooks is well hidden under the frame the derailleur-like tensioners.
Bridges on 26 "bikes are relatively long because the frame geometry requires the steering wheel to be high, with a common size of 150mm and an angle of 35 * .In older bicycles, shorter and lower bridges are installed which coincide with the outdated geometry of the frame. Highly bent, with a width of up to 740mm, makes it easy to maintain balance and control over your bike.
Forks in trial bikes are shorter than those found on bikes for street or dirt. They have a length of about 405mm which perfectly matches the geometry of the frame. They are made mostly of aluminum, are lightweight and durable. They are fitted under the 4-bolt disc or jaw brake. Older forks may have mounts on the v-brake. Popular for carbon fiber forks, they are a more durable and lighter alternative to aluminum forks.
The 26 "bike is about 1kg heavier than a 20" bike - amateur models weigh about 9kg and professional bicycles are around 8kg. Low weight makes the driver less tired during driving. This is particularly appreciated when driving on natural obstacles and competitions.Enough of this theory. How does this affect riding?
When boarding a 26 "trial bike for the first time, we will be amazed at how high the crank is and how heavy the body rests on the shoulder girdle, thanks to the high lift height that facilitates maneuvering on obstacles and increases the ground clearance under the bike. The heavy load of the hands disappears as we go to the rear wheel - we notice that jumping on the rear wheel is fabulously light.
The 20 "bike jumps primarily with the body and the bike follows us - in the case of 26", the bike jumps more and more.
The big bike forgives the mass of errors - it does not require absolute precision during the jump. You can knock out even 15cm lower and we will still be able to keep up. Large wheels are easier to tackle with complicated obstacles; They roll through the inequalities that slow down the wheels. "Because the position of the bike 26" is much higher than the 20 ", all obstacles seem smaller, which makes learning easier for those with mental blockade.
Sounds like a good solution for beginners?
For absolute novices, not necessarily because of instability and high center of gravity. The advantages of the 26 "wheels will begin to be visible after a few months of learning when we have already mastered basics such as balance, pivots and bumps on two wheels.
In the article on bikes 20 "we wrote that these bikes require a lot of dynamics from an athlete. Of course we can ride on this bike dynamically, then our performance will be really impressive but not everyone has the power and speed to do it - no matter what bike they have. In that case, the 26 "bike will be a much better choice than the 20". The space for maneuvering the body is bigger, so we have more space and time to gain momentum before the jump.
So the 26" is great - no downsides?
Sure it has some. Trials riders are used to this and most probably do not even realize that this bike is more or less as manouvreable as a loaded truck. Given the evolution that can be made on it, this is a weird trait that is especially evident when moving around the city.
Returning to the trial itself - the 26 "bike is less stiff than the 20", although we will notice that difference only when we have some experience. Of course there are bicycles on the market exceptionally stiff but their price is high. In practice, less stiffness is most noticeable on the complex obstacles and front wheel moves. The 26 "bike while jumping to maintain balance can run sideways, forward and backward, requiring more focus and control.
With rim brakes, we have to rely on regular servicing to maintain high braking force. Several times a year we should cut the rim, clean the blocks. More often than 20 "bikes will also encounter wheel damage - easier to concentrate, dunk or rim, as well as pierce the tube. Overall, the 26" rear rims have become a replaceable item considering how large the holes are now.
Is height a factor when choosing a 26" bike?
Yes. Avoid running 26" bikes if you are shorter than 170cm.
What about moves, tricks and going big?
If we look at the performance of the best players in the world, they are close to each other regardless of whether a person is 20 or 26. However, amateurs clearly see that people riding on 26 "wheels jump higher and further. Interestingly, in terms of technology, ie mastering the complex obstacles, amateurs driving on 20".
As for evolution itself, we do not do bunnyhop on a 26" bike unless we have oldschool geometry. There are two touch-hop techniques available for this wheel size, and the first one is very effective where we have short run up. The second requires a longer runup, but it significantly improves the jump. The 26 "advantage is noticeable also when jumping from the edge - they are much easier than on a small bike because the bike does not run away during a jump. On natural obstacles, it is easier to place the wedge in a position where the obstacle is between the wheels - or the bridge where we are aligned between the two obstacles. It's harder to master slanted surfaces especially where we're going down.
I have no idea now...
Meet up with some local riders and try out a few bikes. Alternatively, look for groups on Facebook where local riders congregate.