The Last In Line

A few years ago, it was a common thing to find “The List”. You might remember “The List”. It was a run down of all the companies offering complete 29″ers. It was pretty easy to rattle off the names back in 2006. Folks with memories running back even further will recall being able to put all the frame builders into 29″ers and the sole mass manufacturers of 29″ers on “The List” with ease. Well, eventually “The List” got too big for most of us and the fun in remembering those companies on it was lost. Now it’s easier to name those not on “The List”.

Conspicuous companies missing from the 29″er ranks have dwindled to a very small, easily remembered “list” of thier own. Trek, (albeit with Fisher in the fold, some might argue they do have 29″ers) and Giant being the biggest names here in America. Specialized was on that list until just recently. With these two companies conspicuously missing from the 29’er ranks, will we ever see them make a 29″er?

I think that it might be far more likely to see a Trek 29″er first, and here’s why: The Trek dealer base that doesn’t also carry the Fisher line is a bit envious of the sales being racked up by Fisher dealers. This is especially true in the Mid-West where 29″ers are doing quite well. I have heard whispers from Trek insiders saying that they wish they could offer 29″ers. Will it ever happen? I think it could, but in a way it may not be a good idea for Trek to offer a 29″er.

Trek would be unwise to cannibalize sales from the Fisher side with a 29″er offering that wasn’t different enough to warrant attracting a different customer. Perhaps Trek would be wise to enter with a $1000.00 and less line up, leaving Fisher the “upper” end. However it would play out, it would be a tough nut to break and not hurt Fisher sales in the process. That said, a 9.9 Trek OCLV carbon hardtail would be a fun bike to see on the racing circuit. Or a 29″er Fuel. Possibilities there for sure.

Giant, on the other hand, probably will not enter the 29″er market until something happens that until now, hasn’t shown any signs of happening at all. That being the 29″ers acceptance by Europe and the rest of the world market. Giant has a much larger prescence in these places than it does in the U.S. and outside of the American borders, 29″ers are not quite on the radar screen yet. While some inroads are being made in Europe, the progress is slow, and it may be that 29″ers never catch on at all in many Old World locations. I think Giant may be the very last in line, if they ever do a 29″er at all.

Finally, one has to wonder, does it matter? So what if these companies and others never introduce a 29″er? It’s not imperative to the future of the wheel size. 29″ers are certainly an established part of mountain biking now, albeit a small part of that establishment. I think in the final analysis that if Trek, Giant, or any other company not into 29″ers does in fact join “The List”, then it will most likely be a high quality, well engineered product that will be a great addition to the 29″er arsenal.

At least it had better be!

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No Responses to “The Last In Line”

  1. dicky Says:

    Ronny James Dio rides a 29’er.
    Oh yes.

  2. dicky Says:

    Ronnie James Dio rocks a 29’er.
    Oh yes, the Sunset Superman is down with the sickness.

  3. Dust Says:

    What about the emerging popularity of Trek’s 69er? Or will that be TOO weird for the Trek dealers that don’t carry the Fisher line?

  4. Cloxxki Says:

    Here in Europe, Giant offers 29″ cruisers with the fattest of fat slick tires. FOR KIDS. Honestly, aimed at 2 frame sizes from fullgrown adolescents. Singlespeed, girls, etc models are available.

    Look for the Triple X series of bikes.

    If Giant markets 29″ for kids bikes now…what’s coming our way fo adults?

  5. Dirt McGirt Says:

    Hopefully NOTHING comes from Giant. Nothing.

    That is all….

  6. Guitar Ted Says:

    Dust: Well, the 69er has some hotbeds of activity, but it pales in comparison to the 29″ers that Fisher dealers are selling. Are 69ers too weird for some Trek dealers? Yes.

  7. Vandal Says:

    Why would someone make a youth 29er? The proportions would be totally out of wack for short people. That’s just odd.

  8. Wes Says:

    *fingers crossed for a 29’er from Yeti*

  9. Kenzo Says:

    Plenty of 29ers appearing here in Australia….

    I think with a high proportion in the Brisbane area.

  10. professed Says:

    Lots in Sydney and Canberra as well Kenzo.

    Yeti – please a 29er ASR SL with tight chainstays !

    So what about Giant…..?
    If they make a 29er MTB they are bound to be ugly – the Specialized spawn were horrible and mutant enough ! There are enough ugly bikes in this world.

  11. mg Says:

    The only people that think Trek needs to release a full 29er is likely a Trek-only dealer who doesn’t also stock Fisher. A dealer that’s got both Trek and Fisher has it covered.

    As far as Giant goes, sure they’ve got a strong value proposition, but for me, they hardly represent a compelling purchase option to actually purchase and ride. But that’s me… You know my tastes/priorities. So if Giant never comes to the 29er table, it certainly won’t break my heart.

    Ironically, Tomac was another company I never thought I’d see a 29er from, however I was speaking with Tomac head honcho, Joel Smith recently, and though he didn’t overtly confirm that a 29er was in development, he admitted to me that it would be a good idea for them to develop one, based on the trends in the US market (especially in his local market, where 29ers rule the roost). It was also clear to me from our conversation that 29er-specific geometry has been more than a passing thought in Joel’s mind. Don’t quote me on this, but I think a Tomac 29er could be a possibility… but I’m a total speculator on this one. We’ll see if it comes to fruition.

  12. Davidcopperfield Says:

    What a hypocrisy! Trek is already “stealing” revenues from Fisher because Fisher does 26ers. It won’t be much different if they “stole” also on 29ers’ side.
    When Fisher suspens theproduction of 26er? Probably when they will be enough forks to cover all varietes of MTB sport from touring to DH.

    I want a Trek top fuel 29er.

  13. Jonathan Gennick Says:

    I’ve long wondered why Trek has skipped past the 29er size only to focus on the so-called 69ers. Is it possible that when Trek purchased Gary Fisher, that part of the deal was that Fisher got an exclusive on 29ers? That’s pure speculation on my part. I’m just trying to think of a logical reason for the lack of a Trek 29er.

  14. Cloxxki Says:

    The kids’ 29″ers are great fits actually. Today’s kids are barely smaller than 1976’s adults (except for G. Fisher perhaps), and even back when those adults made early MTB’s, they used 26″ wheels which were kid-specific at the time.
    Kids have grown, and been fitted with proportionate wheels. Adults, are still with 28/29″.

  15. Cloxxki Says:

    I just realized the Giant Triple X come in a 59cm which fits HUGE. I’m getting one.
    Someone will have to custom re-locate the rear axle for me though, it’s sitting 95mm above the BB as stock.

    Check this out :
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/nl-nl/bikes/lifestyle/1461/29790/

    White bike I’m going to get for my mom. Apart from the color, it’s my and my mom’s demands for a new bike together.
    Maybe not a kids bike after all, but I’ve seem many of the M’s out there under school kids, I’m telling you.

  16. a.lo Says:

    I agree with you, Ted, Trek will have 29er before we probably expect it. Although the 69ers have their niche, Trek has never been a company to walk to far away from the mainstream, often ditching their ‘concept’ bikes just as they are finding their place.

    I also agree that it would make more sense for Trek to do a sub-$1000 29er but I feel that is more of a dream than them releasing a 29er at all. Unfortunately, Trek has slowly priced themselves out of the ‘entry-level’ market completely. Granted the entry level 29er is drastically different than the entry level 26er, but let’s just see what they did when they released the first 69er… interesting concept but for the $2,500 price tag definitely was not a bike for the ‘novice’ that was being tempted by the big wheel phenomena.

  17. Dirt McGirt Says:

    JONATHAN: Trek purchased the Fisher name in 1996 Gary really hadn’t been working on 29ers yet, so I don’t believe that was the case. I think it probably has to do with the recent revamping of their full suspension line-up (a multi-million dollar investment). We will probably see some big wheels soon from them. On both front AND back, though.

    Wait and see, my friends, wait and see….

  18. Davidcopperfield Says:

    @ Dirt McGirt
    The question is when? 2016 or 2030? At that time our grand sons will rejoice at riding them. Giant, Santa Cruz, Schwinn, Ghost will not be and don’t want to be the part of big revolution, having said that they will wait and use common available forks (by that time 29er apparel will have proliferated much) and build ordinary bike with 622mm hoops for MTB. They will not have to invest and convince both first the for&tyres manufacturers and customers to switch. The economize now by holding out. Try to convince the whole world that their wheels are too small- it will cost gazillon dollars + demo rides even in Afganistan, Iraq and in the middle of desert for poor villagers to switch.

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