The 29er version of the Racer X was made because riders asked Titus to make it. Simple as that... ask and ye shall receive. The principal design goal was to retain most of the essential personality of the 26in wheeled version, but this meant more than just long chain stays for the bigger wheel.
Titus adjusted the geometry to keep the handling lively and used beefier box-section chainstays to reproduce the stiffness of the 26er. Our test bike had alu seat stays, but importers Fat Tread Bikes say later samples will have carbon stays like the 26er. Titus know that taller riders can benefit most from big wheelers so they don't build the 29er in the smaller sizes - although if someone insists they're quite happy to build a custom one for them.
The four bar linkage frame, which has the same carbon clevis link as on the 26er, is accurate in tracking, very efficient in power transfer and has the constantly plush ride that characterises the best Horst Link (you'll find that the swingarm link on the chainstays rather than the seat stays) frames.
You can stiffen or soften the effects of aggressive pedalling and weight shifts via the Fox Float RP23 shock's Pro Pedal damping lever. Finishing detail is the same as on the 26er but, as usual for a 29in wheeled bike, the wheelbase is slightly longer, the head angle is a degree steeper and the bottom bracket centre is below the wheel axle centres. These three characteristics make it a very different bike to ride.
The weight of our test bike was 27.5lb, 2lb more than the 26er Racer X. While it's fair to say that there is a little more metal in the frame, most of that extra weight is purely down to a heavier wheelset, tyres and fork. The spec details are pretty similar to the 26er - if a little less weight sensitive - and the price of the complete bike, £2900, works out at about the same as the 26er.
To make space for bigger wheels without changing the design principles of the frame, the Racer X 29er has about 25mm less suspension than the 26er. You wouldn't guess that when you ride it though, as the big wheels make for a smoother ride than on the 26er because they roll better over the sharp edges of bumps and dips. The less choppy ride also meant that, despite a sub 13in static bottom bracket height, we never hit the pedals on rocks and roots through the corners - which is something we experienced several times on the 26er.
Speed wise, although the 29er is harder work to accelerate out of corners and a bit less animated on climbs and in tight twists and turns, it's easier to maintain momentum once you're up to speed. You'll find yourself braking less into corners, and the smooth-rolling ride is a joy through flowing singletrack.
Traction is slightly better too, because there's more tyre on the ground, and there's an extra feeling of stability because the bottom bracket is below the wheel centres and because big wheels are inherently more stable at speed than smaller ones.
So, conclusions? The taller and heavier you are then the more you will appreciate the 29er Racer X over the 26er. If you're shorter than 5ft 10ish then you'll probably be better off with the slightly lighter 26er.