Archive for December, 2006

Sweet Spot

December 31, 2006

Traded my fave Spot 26 for a new Spot 29’er with a Pace carbon fork. Best d*mn mtb I’ve ever ridden!

fixed Kona Unit

December 31, 2006

back wall of Queen City Cycles in Springfield MO
around dawn

fixed Kona Unit

December 31, 2006

first mt-fixie for me and it is a hoot!

Look Both Ways Before Crossing

December 30, 2006

The end of another year. A milestone to be marked. A point to be crossed. Well, they always taught me to look both ways before crossing, so here’s what I’m seeing concerning 29″ers.

In 2006 I fully expected to see a breakout kind of year as far as 29″er offerings were concerned. When it came to bikes, I wasn’t dissapointed, and actually, I was quite surprised. Going to Interbike was an eye opening experience from the standpoint of the marketing of 29″ers. More companies jumped in than I thought with more bikes than I imagined. This was good and bad.

The good thing was the push into full suspension territory. This will be a testing ground. If accessory manufacturers see that the bikes are selling, they are more likely to make the commitment to tires, forks, and wheels more suitable to all mountain/ free riding type bikes. The other good trend I saw in 2006 was the geared only, hardtail mountain bike with 29 inch wheels becoming available in complete form from established bicycle companies. Again, if sales in 2007 are brisk in this category, more parts will be requested for OEM needs and that usually translates into more aftermarket pieces as well.

The bad side was the flooding of the market with even more single speed 29 inch wheeled bikes. Sure, the choices are good, but when so many are available, only a few will win out with good sales figures. Relate that to what I wrote in the above paragraph and you have the opposite effect to what is desired. That said, there were some really cool and interesting single speed bikes that came out in 2006. I suspect that the single speed offerings will level off, or even decrease come next years show.

The accessory offerings for 29 inch wheeled bikes were promising in 2006. I saw several new tires, new wheel designs, and a couple of forks. The offerings covered the range from already available to sometime in the future. So, with that, let’s look the other way now, shall we?

Forks: After tires, this is probably the one product seen as “holding back the movement”. Tire desires are slowly being met, although the “true” free ride/ all mountain tire has yet to be realized. The forks are the one thing seen as being the dam holding back future progress. Many point to Fox or Rock Shox as being possible “saviours” here. I think that the big travel forks for 29″ers will be a long time coming. The engineering and materials concepts needed to make the leap into 29″er territory are huge. The physics involved are very different than 26 inch forks. I think that the enormous commitment for such a small market isn’t in the cards now. Sometime down the road? Maybe.

What I think we will see in 2007 is a new company or two that will offer 29″er forks and at least one and probably both of them doing it with a “29”er specific fork offset”. This will help the designers of 29″ers make smaller sized 29″ers easier to develope and encourage further developement in the OEM side of 29″er bikes. We will also see more and varied 29″er tire offerings. This is already a well known fact, so no big deal in prognosticating that one! We will also have more 29″er specific rim choices with at least three to four companies making new designs available in 2007. Add to this the complete wheel set offerings that will be popping up and 29″er fans should be pleased as punch come summer time ’07.

So, it looks good looking back and to the “front”, all the way up and down “29″er Avenue“. I think crossing over this New Year milestone will be an exciting and fun time for 29″er fans everywhere!

IRD and Panaracer To Release FireXCPro 2.1 for 29ers

December 29, 2006

Interloc Racing Design (IRD) has completed an agreement with National Tire Co. of Japan (Panaracer) to co-produce the famous FireXCPro mountain bike tire in a new 29 inch version. The FireXCPro 2.1 has been arguably one of the most loved tires of the last 10 years and this fact had not been lost on IRD. IRD had been encouraging National to make it for over a year. The new Fire will be manufactured by Panaracer, but released under the IRD brand. Detailed specifications are not ready for release, but the width will be 2.1″.

This follows a similar successful co-production agreement to produce a FireXCPro for cyclocross, which IRD released as the CrossFire in mid-2006. Production is will begin soon with the new Fire due in stores as early as March of 07.

IRD FireXCPro 29er

Surly KM

December 28, 2006

Surly KM

December 28, 2006

Surly KM

December 28, 2006

Greetz from Belgium

Zion 737

December 27, 2006

This frame rides great. best bang for your buck out there. Quality of the welds is very impressive. Thanks JensonUSA!

Kona Humu 29er

December 26, 2006

This bike started life as a beach cruiser. Now it’s my 29er Fixed Gear SouthPaw Polo Bike.