Archive for September, 2007

Zion 29er at Moraine, PA

September 30, 2007

Just built Zion 29er with XTR cranks, Rock Shox, Avid brakes, and XTR shifters and derailleurs. Real Design hubs and Sasla rims.

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Niner MCR9 with C29ssmax Wheels

September 29, 2007

Got some C29ssmax for my Niner. They ride great, very psyched to be on tubeless on my 29er now!

Interbike '07: A 650B Opinion

September 29, 2007

The Interbike ’07 show is history. The booths are packed up and being shipped away across the continents. In terms of big wheeled bikes, we didn’t see much of anything earth shattering, but we did see the introduction of modern day 650B or “B” wheeled bikes. What was the overall feeling at the show about these bikes? How will they affect the future of big wheeled mountain bikes in the future? These are a couple of the questions I was putting forth at the show to vendors and attendees alike.

Let’s put one thing to rest right away, the “B” wheels are not going to be “the next big thing”, at least according to the industry folks I asked. That title would seemingly belong to the burgeoning urban/commuter segment. In fact, I heard from one industry person at a mid level company who said that “Anybody who says 650B is the next big thing isn’t going to be listened to. We’re not interested in that.” He went on to say that anybody that claims any wheel size is “the best” has closed their mind and is taking that preferred wheelsize on faith, making it a “religion” for them. I would agree that a discussion is necessary and that fanaticism is only going to divide and confound any progress forward with the bicycle as a whole.

The overall feeling I got was mostly guarded and somewhat mixed. Some places were enthusiastic for what could be done, but most were still trying to process where the wheelsize might fit in to the overall fabric of mountain biking. It’s still not really understood what benefits of the format will translate to consumer interest and ultimately dollars spent.

One of the recurring themes was small sized mountain bikes that could benefit from “big wheel” attributes. It’s well accepted amongst most manufacturers and industry folks that 29″ers are difficult (or at least not a good idea) for folks that are “shorter”. (That height definition is still debatable) The “B” wheels are seen as a way to market to these smaller folk a “big wheeled” bicycle that still works and fits as a 26″er would. This more than anything seemed to be the area that a lot of folks seemed to make sense of the “B” wheeled choice. A few folks; however, found the choice as an unnecessry confusion to potential consumers. Consumers that already are in the midst of processing 29″er wheels and what they might mean for their own mountain biking.

Of course, regardless of what some sitting along the sidelines might think, others have already taken the playing feild. Origin 8, Soma, Carver, and Rawland are all offering the “B” wheel choice for ’08. How their success or failures play out on the feild of marketing will be watched keenly by the folks on either sideline. Then it might be clear as to where the “B” wheels might fit into the future of off roading.

As of now, I think it’s in the court of the consumer. I can see where these “B” wheels make sense, but I do not think it will be anything but a niche market in the off road bicycle world. I also do not think “B” wheels will have anywhere near the impact that 29″ers have had. It’s an inbetween wheel size with inbetween benefits. I don’t see it as offering anything that fantastic as a wheel size. That said, I rode a few bicycles with that wheel size at Interbike that were impressive as mountain bikes as a whole. Perhaps not just because they had “B” wheels either, but impressive none the less.

Will it be for you? Well, “B” wheels do solve some problems in certain areas and circumstances. Certainly they have their place. Time and consumer dollars spent will help dictate the future of this wheel size to a great degree. I for one will be interested to see the outcome. Until then…………….let’s ride!

Interbike '07: 650b Opinion

September 29, 2007

Originally posted by Guitar Ted over at TwentyNineInches.com

The Interbike ‘07 show is history. The booths are packed up and being shipped away across the continents. In terms of big wheeled bikes, we didn’t see much of anything earth shattering, but we did see the introduction of modern day 650B or “B” wheeled bikes. What was the overall feeling at the show about these bikes? How will they affect the future of big wheeled mountain bikes in the future? These are a couple of the questions I was putting forth at the show to vendors and attendees alike.

Let’s put one thing to rest right away, the “B” wheels are not going to be “the next big thing”, at least according to the industry folks I asked. That title would seemingly belong to the burgeoning urban/commuter segment. In fact, I heard from one industry person at a mid level company who said that “Anybody who says 650B is the next big thing isn’t going to be listened to. We’re not interested in that.” He went on to say that anybody that claims any wheel size is “the best” has closed their mind and is taking that preferred wheelsize on faith, making it a “religion” for them. I would agree that a discussion is necessary and that fanaticism is only going to divide and confound any progress forward with the bicycle as a whole.

The overall feeling I got was mostly guarded and somewhat mixed. Some places were enthusiastic for what could be done, but most were still trying to process where the wheelsize might fit in to the overall fabric of mountain biking. It’s still not really understood what benefits of the format will translate to consumer interest and ultimately dollars spent.

One of the recurring themes was small sized mountain bikes that could benefit from “big wheel” attributes. It’s well accepted amongst most manufacturers and industry folks that 29″ers are difficult (or at least not a good idea) for folks that are “shorter”. (That height definition is still debatable) The “B” wheels are seen as a way to market to these smaller folk a “big wheeled” bicycle that still works and fits as a 26″er would. This more than anything seemed to be the area that a lot of folks seemed to make sense of the “B” wheeled choice. A few folks; however, found the choice as an unnecessary confusion to potential consumers. Consumers that already are in the midst of processing 29″er wheels and what they might mean for their own mountain biking.

Of course, regardless of what some sitting along the sidelines might think, others have already taken the playing field. Origin 8, Soma, Carver, and Rawland are all offering the “B” wheel choice for ‘08. How their success or failures play out on the field of marketing will be watched keenly by the folks on either sideline. Then it might be clear as to where the “B” wheels might fit into the future of off roading.

As of now, I think it’s in the court of the consumer. I can see where these “B” wheels make sense, but I do not think it will be anything but a niche market in the off road bicycle world. I also do not think “B” wheels will have anywhere near the impact that 29″ers have had. It’s an in between wheel size with in between benefits. I don’t see it as offering anything that fantastic as a wheel size. That said, I rode a few bicycles with that wheel size at Interbike that were impressive as mountain bikes as a whole. Perhaps not just because they had “B” wheels either, but impressive none the less.

Will it be for you? Well, “B” wheels do solve some problems in certain areas and circumstances. Certainly they have their place. Time and consumer dollars spent will help dictate the future of this wheel size to a great degree. I for one will be interested to see the outcome. Until then…………….let’s ride!

Interbike '07: Floor Highlights: Part IV

September 28, 2007

Hey, another report from the floor of Interbike. The show is in it’s final hours, but the news isn’t! I’ve been hearing some stories and tidbits. Take a look……. Oh! No pictures this time, but I’ll have some stuff up later. Read on!

Shimano 29″er News: I’m hearing that the previously reported wheel set isn’t going to be a rehashed trekking wheel set but a grown up version of Shimano’s 26 inch XT wheel set with all of it’s features. Also, many of you may not be aware that Shimano owns a high end component company called PRO. It’s mainly been distributed in Europe and consists mostly of road based product. However; I’m hearing that a carbon fiber fork that they distribute as a 26″er XC fork is going to be introduced as a 29″er offering. PRO is making a push here in the States, so look for the road and mountain stuff to be getting into shops soon. The wheels and fork will be available by next summer.

Continental Tubeless Confirmed: Continental, who are introducing new 29″er tires here in a few months, will be also presenting the Mountain King and Mud Queen 29″er tires in a tubeless ready and tubed format simultaneously. Thanks to my friend Shiggy for tracking that down. The tires will all be offered in a 2.1″ and 2.4″ size range.

More Tire News: Once again, thanks to Shiggy I have learned that Serfas will be entering the 29″er tire market. They showed a tire here and are planning to introduce many more in the near future. I’m hearing that they expect a major part of their mtb tire business to be 29″er related. Also, CST, the parent company of Maxxis tires is also going to expand upon their lone 29″er offering, The Critter. (Love that name, by the way!) Anyhow, the tires that were pointed out to me as candidates for upsizing looked really good. The 2.4 in particular looked mighty tasty, and Shiggyagreed with that assesment. We’ll keep our ears open for any more rubbery goodness coming from CST!

Allrigty then! Stay tuned for more picture uploads soon!

Interbike '07: Best of Show

September 28, 2007

Hey! Why not? Everybody asks me what I thought was cool, so why shouldn’t you know too, right? Here’s my “Best of Show” props for ’07 Interbike. Enjoy!

Niner Jet 9

Here’s my pick for 29″er of the show, the Niner JET 9. Yeah… the WFO 9 is all that, but it’s still in development and may be radically different than the prototype shown. The JET 9 on the other hand is dialed and coming soon. It’s that bike I suspect will become wildly popular amongst endurance and XC racers. It also has appeal for everyday trail riders in that the travel offered will be enough for a major portion of the riders and will handle, (hopefully) with hard tail-like quickness. I am also very partial to Kermit Green, so sue me! The JET 9: Best 29″er of the Show!

Salsa Gordo Disc

Here’s my pick for the 29″er accessory of the show. It’s the 35mm wide Salsa Gordo Disc rim. There isn’t anything else like it out there. Kris Holm has a rim a bit wider, but the Gordo Disc will be lighter and have a bead lock technology that the Holm rim does not have. When this rim hits in February of ’08, I fully expect wheel builders everywhere that do 29″er builds will be clamouring to get in line for this new Salsa hoop. With the Semi at 30mm and the Gordo at 35mm wide, Salsa will be pretty busy me thinks!

Overall the show didn’t have any real earth shattering innovations, but definitely the holes are filling in as far as what 29″er freaks are looking for in their rides. The future for parts looks good. Stay tuned for particular updates on these two show winners and some tire info coming after the show.

Congrats to Salsa and Niner!

Interbike '07: Floor Highlights: Part III

September 27, 2007

Today starts the second day of Interbike and I’ve got some more 29″er news for you all here.

Shimano 29″er Wheels?: Today it has been reported that Shimano has a trekking wheelset selling in Europe that they are going to bring into the U.S. market sometime in late ’08 as a 29″er wheel set. Whether Shimano will respond to the move towards wider rim extrusions, I am not sure.

The Really Big Tire: By now it’s pretty well known that the big 29″er tire that showed up on Niner’s WFO 9 prototype bike is a WTB prototype tire. The word on the show floor is that the working name for the tire is the “Kodiak”. WTB is supposedly bringing this tire on as an ’09 product, and some minor tweaking to the tread is still planned to help enhance the grip further. The compound being used is a stickier rubber and is meant for all mountain/DH 29″er type applications. I’ve seen this tire mounted up on another bike and it is absolutely the biggest 29″er tire by far, and this was on some Stan’s flow rims. On Kris Holm rims they are even wider! It’s a fact that most all 29″er frames out there wouldn’t be able to swallow this tires girthyness. It’s heavy, but I did get a chance to ride it, and it rolls really well for such a behemoth of a tire. Very quiet. Great traction in corners and for climbing. Think I could score one for the front of my single speed? Please?!

Rocky Mountain Joins The Fray: Rocky Mountain was showing this “Hammer 29er” single speed bike at the show. It’s scheduled to show up at dealers by early ’08 and will feature an eccentric bottom bracket and ability to be geared. Made of Reynolds 853 steel, this should be a relly nice riding bike if the geometry is right.

Lenz single speed FS

Single Speed? Full Suspension? 29″er? You Bet! Lenz Sport, the Colorado based one man band 29″er shop is introducing their full suspension single speed 29″er bike at Interbike. The design works by pivoting around the bottom bracket which eliminates chaun growth and allows the single speed application. I have it on good authority that this bike is a hoot to ride. Another tid bit: Lenz Sport showed some killer snow “bikes” at the show. Basically a full suspension frame fitted with skis, only it’s purpose built for the snow. Cool stuff! (ha ha!)

Sun Equalizer rims

Sun Rims Introduces New 29″er Rims: Sun was showing a pair of rims dubbed the “Equalizer” which were 29.5mm and 31.5mm wide each. They were single eyeleted and both in black anodized finish, disc only. A new complete wheelset called the “Charger” for 29″ers was also shown

Skate On Down To Your Local Mart Store Tony Hawk, the well known skate boarding star, has inked a deal to have his name branded on a line of mart bikes. The line just so happens to include this full suspension bike and a hard tail as well. I guess the movement is complete now. I’m going to have to find a new muse…….maybe a 36″er………..”B” bike maybe…………I don’t know!

Niner RIP

September 27, 2007

Me & my RIP on our way to the win at the Stump Farm 6hr solo race, and overall 6hr solo series win in the Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series.

Interbike '07: Floor Highlights: Part II

September 27, 2007

TOP SECRET!!

Okay, sooooo…..like this tire, yeeeaah. It’s supposed to be top secret, but somehow or another ended up on the show floor today. Hmm………I think I might know someone that has ridden it (heh-heh!) Yep, and that’s all I have for ya on it. I am sworn to secrecy and might forfeit something precious if I spill the beans.

Continental tubeless?

Another tire mystery. A Continental tubeless 29″er tire? I’ll have to consult the great Shiggy on this one. I saw him about the show today, and he never fails me.

This is a prototype from Origin 8, as were most of the other big wheeled bikes they were showing. This particular one got a huge dent in the top tube during shipping, but since it is their lone example of the bike, it was shown regardless. It’s called the “Recon 29er” and other than the frame and fork, most of the spec may be changing including the paint. The price will be north of a grand though, that much they were sure of. It’s got a highly manipulated tube set, which is done by means of hydro forming. It’s got your carbon seat stays, sliding drop outs, and plenty of tire clearance. We’ll be getting more detailed information in a few weeks on this and other Origin 8 big wheelers, so stay tuned.

Many of the companies are showing similar models to last year, but there are a few budget 29″ers that I will be detailing soon, more “B” bikes, and some high end stuff in my next posting.

Interbike '07: Floor Highlights

September 26, 2007

TSL Niner protos

Welcome indoors and to Niner’s surprise introduction of their TSL 9 titanium frames. These are primarily shown as a look into a possible future offering from Niner. Niner will be gaging interest in the two versions which were shown to see which might actually make it into their line up. The frames are butted and tube diameter specific titanium for each of the versions. We’ll be keeping tabs on what Niner is getting for feedback on these two bikes.

Jet nine detail

Jet 9 in kermit green

Here’s the much anticipated Jet 9 which I am hearing will be available come February of ’08. There have been some design details that have been changed in relation to the suspension pivots, but it looks as though the bike is headed towards final prduction. This Kermit Green example will be representative of what a final version will look like. (Yes, the color will be Kermit Green!) An annodized black version will also be available.

jet nine detail

Here’s a detail shot of the linkage showing the nice red annodized bits. I like ano!

Rock Shox U-turn Reba

The really big news with the Jet 9 is that the rumors of a Reba U-turn fork are true. This is exclusive to Niner for ’08.

Here’s the hinted at rim from Salsa. The Gordo Disc 29er will be 35mm wide and offered in anodized black only. Availability is scheduled for February.

Gordo Disc detail

Here’s a detail shot of the cutaway Gordo Disc. If you look closely at the rim bead, you can see the bead lock technology of this rim which is said to keep your tire seated even during a flat condition and allows for super low pressures to be run. How’s sub 20lbs psi sound with tubes?

Here’s the Semi Disc 29″er rim which in effect takes the place of the now discontinued Delgado disc. Both the Semi and Gordo rims feature the previously shown rim bead lock technology and also have welded seams. The Semi measures out at 30mm and will also be available in February of ’08.

Origin 8 650B bike

Origin 8 surprised everyone with the swanky “B” wheeled bike at the show. Made up of a combination of aluminum with carbon stays, this “B” wheeler looks pretty cool. Add a carbon fork up front and this looks to be a pretty cool bike for the Origin 8 folks.

Any questions as to who came up with this Origin 8 “B” wheeler are answered here.

Another surprise find was this alloy hardtail single speed/geared capable number. Origin 8 has really hit the alternative wheel size market with more offerings for ’08.

Take a look at this Origin 8 carbon 29″er fork. It looks to have removable canti studs.

More coming tonight!