I tried to put into this picture as many issues as I can think of. These are things that must fall into place in order to achieve the elusive "optimal performance". We are all after optimization, even if we think of getting a do-it-all bike, it has it's specifics and well we must optimize it so it can do as much as we ask it to do... rider, machine and element must match!
I am also tired of this wheel size debate: an incredible mix of pseudo science on one side and unconditional denial on the other, while everyone in between seems to be covered in both shits. You must agree it is hard to raise above it when you hear so much nonsense and good points from both sides... so yes the wheel size is a factor indeed, but why do we assume that is makes it all better or screws it totaly? Thy who likes playfullness of 26" wheels throw the first scrub. Thy who is about performance throw his race results. And if you are really into performance how is the service state of your bike? How's your wheel attack angle against all the bearings in your bike, suspension maintenance? Are you sure you can turn those anodized dials right? For instance drive train wear can minimize it's efficiency by 10%? This and this many clicks of Hi/Lo speed compression and rebound, sag readjustment for that particular track in those conditions, but how's the 300mm of our own suspension doing? How are our arms and legs, their shape and how have we prepared the movement patterns controlling them? How about tyre size vs tyre wear? I don't put fresh rubber every two, three rides, are there people putting on new tyres for their Strava KOM attempts? Do we turn the knobs at e ery trail head? We fight so many wars and have so many preferences, (clips vs flats?) what makes us think that we are making the best choice for us? What experiences have led us to this conclusion: that tyre is ace! So many talk science lately, "it's simple physics" while even pros rely a lot on what feels right.
Yea, the PROs! The race results - excellent scientific data that can justify any argument, when you can hardly find a sport with more variables. Off course PROs got mechanics who make the bike better than new, they have coaches who check them up and composevand readjust programs on the fly but... why do you care for someone else and his bike? I thought your own bike is what really matters. And we have a bloody nerve to call Pros biased for riding what they are given to ride - We are usually our own sponsors, mechanics, suspension engineers, coaches, doctors... a self made guru tends to have a fool for apprentice - as much as I hate that sentence, it's quite true
It is all fine, nobody tells you that you should to care for all those things, I'm no coach throwing pathetic motivational slogans with the soundtrack from The Gladiator in the background. Let's just not get too zealous about one part of the great picture, let's not tell people that 'this is what poor riders ride" or "get book on basic physics", because after all we are all role playing and it does not matter in which league we are playing fair to ourselves :)
I announce the Rant as finished !