No doubt the bigger wheel's can cover more ground and like soph said,they can make you feel more stable with more wheel size,and here is where the debate get's it's spark and turns into a blazing fire of curiosity.I said in one of my earlier post's here on this thread that the big wheel thing is just the same ol' same ol' that manufacture's use to sell you a bike.And it's such an old(as in old west technology like wagon wheel's)that nobody uses it anymore and the bike manufacture's are using this OLD technology as leverage to capture your curiosity and sell you technology that was essentially used for the fronteirsman that had no road's and were going places in wagons that were for the most part very unpredictable roads that were not maintained and could have any number of obstacles that could take out a wagon wheel and leave you and your wagon stranded in the middle of nowhere and leave you to the elements,wildlife,or the many gunman roaming the country side looking for easy pray.Those bigger wheel's were used because the smaller one's would break down alot easier than the bigger one's in the respect that bigger wheel's have alot more potential to just roll over the rut's,rock's,pothole's,and whatever obstacle's interfereed with there travel's.Now,here is where a person either turns left in the fork in the road or turn's right in the fork in the road.They either think the 29er is a wheel that can make there trail's more user freindly and just roll over stuff or a person can turn right and go with the 26er wheel and forget about trying to relive our fronteir day's gone by because we dont have the same problems they did and plus the fact that technology has come soooo far that using a bigger wheel just does'nt have any justification like it use to.Now,I dont have anything at all against someone feeling sentimental about our fronteir day's and the technology that was afforded to them back then,but I gotta say;the point to evolution is that we live on the cutting edge and live with the changes that come to us wether we like em or not,and to me riding the 26er is where your riding skills are going to bennifit you the most and that is where I am at in my personal riding,I want all I can get out of it.So that is why I dont see the 29er thang the way you do,although I do feel sentimental about those "wagon wheel's" because I do so adore our fronteirsman for being the icebreaker's they were so we could live on this amazing land and ride our mountain bike's on it.
So,to explain just a little more to my point,skill wise the smaller wheel will keep you sharper and the bigger wheel will keep you,,,,,,,,,,,well,less sharper.Like I said,if they could have avoided using the bigger wagon wheels,they sure the hell would have.They did not need them if the roads were more user freindly.I just think that even if you are looking for the absolute most technical and obstructed trail you can find,we have the technology already built into the bike's we have(w/o 29" wheels)that can already do whatever a 29er can do plus more(including keeping your skills sharper).The 29er wheel's remind me of cruiser bike's,imagine if you were to take a cruiser bike out on the trail,it's slower,doesnt react quick enough to your prompts when riding (aggressivly),and just generally cant get out of it's own way.So if you like to "CRUISE"the trails instead of riding aggressivelly,then you my freind have an excuse to use the 29er wheel's.I challenge you to get a cruiser bike and put on some mountain bike handle bars and take that thing for a spin on a good technical trail with at least a few good technically rocky downhill drops and see how well that goes for you.I feel that that bike will pitch you up and over the top of it like a 7 foot wrestler on saturday night wrestling.hahahahahaha.
Seriously,the bigger wheel's might feel good(sentimentally)although the smaller wheel's(technologically)are making you better(as in,a better rider).
quick,,,ride across the rainbow,before it turns to black.
Clydesdale Rider @ 300 plbs.
2007 Stumpjumper elite with a 2008 Fox Talas 32mm.RLC fork.