Interbike 2008: What We'll See And Where It's Going

The 2008 version of Interbike is just days away and already we have seen some hints and sneak peaks from several companies. Here’s my take on what we expect to see and where technology will take 29″ers in 2009 and beyond.

Travel Increases: One of the known quantities about this years Interbike is that we will see long travel 29″ers take the spotlight. Niner’s W.F.O. 9 will bow as a rideable demo rig at the Outdoor Demo and we have also learned that LenzSport will be showing a six inch front and rear travel bike at the show as well. Several things have happened and are happening that will be conducive to the appearance of even more long travel 29″ers in the near future.

First we have Marzocchi’s re-entrance into the 29″er fork offerings with the 29″er version of it’s 44 model. However; we are also hearing rumblings that another long travel fork will debut at the show that will be huge news. Expect to see more news about long travel 29″ers once ths fork becomes public knowledge.

Secondly, we have Salsa Cycles Gordo rim, which along with Kris Holm’s 29″er rim will give 29″er freaks a proper wide rim to securely mount the coming larger rubber that will blow down the last remaining walls of resistance to making long travel 29″ers a reality. These two developments are huge, but other technological advancements are also coming into play which I will touch upon in a minute.

Fisher Superfly Single Speed

Black Gold: Carbon has taken most of the cycling industry by storm and its advancement into 29″er territory will continue at a more rapid pace. Expect to see several hartails introduced at the show made from the black material. Carbon forks in suspended and rigid versions have been with us for a few years now, but expect the offerings to expand here as well. Wheels are becoming more commonly made from carbon fiber and you can expect that more 29″er carbon rims will show up in Las Vegas.

Schwalbe Furious Fred

Flyweight Rubber: Many companies have been rumored to be, or have shown prototypes of lightweight racing rubber for 29″ers. Expect to see some of these models to be shown for the first time at Interbike. Don’t fret if you are searching for a wider set of shoes for your 29″er that is more aggressive. There will be something to see for you as well!

Interestingly, the tubeless ready concepts will be more prevalent, but will not be UST certified. A source close to a top tire company told Twenty Nine Inches that most if not all 29″er tires introduced in the future will be tubeless ready, or recommended to be used with sealant. Because of the high cost to have a tire certified as UST, most tire companies feel that they can produce and market tubeless ready tires without the UST label. A “fully air sealed casing” on a 29″er tire that carries a UST designation is not probable at this point.

Haro Ally SS
Marin Alpine Trail

Sub-Grand 29″ers: In a category that will be squeezed by higher prices across the board, expect to see more offerings shown at Interbike in reaction to sales that went beyond expectations in 2008. Several models in this range reportedly did very well, and dealers are said to be asking for more sub-grand 29″ers to stock on their sales floors. Don’t expect to see anything much below $700.00 though, since prices for 2009 are expected to be 15% to 20% higher than 2008 prices for the same models.

Niner tapered steer tube compatible head tube

Future Tech: In more “roadie influences mountain bike” news, it was reported at Eurobike that component makers FSA and SRAM are now proliferating offerings in the “BB-30” bottom bracket/crank standard. Look for this technology, (already offered on Cannondale 29″ers), to become more widely used on 29″ers. Why? Because the technology offers designers several advantages that current bottom bracket technology doesn’t. The BB-30 shell will allow for a bigger down tube interface, and a slightly shorter down tube. These two advantages will make 29″ers stronger, less apt to be torsionally flexy, and lighter weight. The BB-30 road cranks have significantly reduced “Q” factor as well, which may allow designers to actually expand shell width from the commonly used 73mm slightly with BB-30 mountain chainsets without adversely affecting the “Q” factor.

Tapered steer tubes were bound to show up on 29″ers and Niner is the first to employ this advancement on their stunning new W.F.O. 9 model. I fully expect designers of 29″ers to take advantage of the tapered steer tubes bigger contact area for downtubes and stiffer fork/frame interface on future models.

Components Optimized For 29″ers: I keep hearing from different sources that future 29″er products will be optimized specifically for 29″ers instead of adapted from 26″er technologies. This has huge implications for 29″er freaks everywhere. Having components designed from a clean sheet with just big wheels in mind will revolutionize the parts you and I ride in the future. Want evidence? Look at Salsa Cycles Gordo and Semi rims, or at Bontragers newer tread designs, or at Niners new proto type carbon fork, all which are, or will be 29″er only products. Then one has to consider the new SLX front derailleur from Shimano, the cage of which is angled to better clear tires when the derailleur is in the inmost position. It’s almost as if it were designed specifically with 29″ers in mind.

Speaking of front deraileurs, and the lack of them, 29″ers will benefit here as well. The direct mount derailleur as seen on the Niner W.F.O. 9 is going to be an oft used piece on future 29″er FS designs. The SRAM Hammerschmidt will also be seen as it eliminates the front derailleur all together. This will free up dseigners to come up with longer travel 29″er designs and not have to be constrained by traditional front derailleur standards.

It is going to be a big show for 29″er freaks this year, so stay abreast of all the latest with Twenty Nine Inches as we prowl the Sands Convention Center for all that is 29″er related.

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No Responses to “Interbike 2008: What We'll See And Where It's Going”

  1. MMcG Says:

    Is that Haro AL or Steel?

  2. Guitar Ted Says:

    That is a haro Ally SS. Ally= aluminum. 😉

  3. MMcG Says:

    I think I like her sister Mary better then! 😉

  4. Oderus Says:

    Mary may be better ride, but Ally is a cheap date and she still likes to get dirty 😉

  5. Anon Says:

    “29”er freaks” – ha! I love it

  6. Fluffracka Says:

    Did you just hinted about BIG tire??? Droooool…

  7. MV Says:

    BB30 Q-factor is the same as any other system, not smaller!

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