Posts Tagged ‘full suspension 29er’

News: Intense Tracer 29"er And Soul Cycles Forks

September 3, 2009

Here are a couple of interesting tidbits. One from Eurobike, one from the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Intense Cycles Releases New 29″er Tracer

Grannygear, our correspondent based in California, files the following report on Intense’s newest wagon wheeler shown at eurobike:

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Tracer 29er as seen at Eurobike

This pic is making its way around the net as I write this. 4.75″ to 5.75″ of adjustable rear travel is the buzz. It will be interesting to see how they tweaked the much debated front end geometry that the old Spider 29er had. I imagine this will be quite a bit slacker and I would bet they stiffened up the rear triangle on this one as well.

I’ll add that for the uninitiated, the “much debated front end geometry” was the very steep 73 degree head angle. Jeff Steber, owner of Intense, said back in the day when they were developing the Spyder 29″er, that he wanted it to handle like his 26″er did. Well, at that time the offset on suspension forks was locked in at 38mm. Now with that figure more in the range of 44 to 46mm, it is obvious that Intense will need to accommodate for the new fork offsets. I fully expect the head angle on the Tracer to be relaxed by at least two degrees, but time will tell.

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Soul Cycles has their Generation 3 forks ready to be painted. (pic from Soul Cycles blog)

Soul Cycles New Forks

Soul Cycles has released information on its Generation 3 forks for its Hooligan and Dillinger frames. (The Hooligan is a 26″er model, but the forks would work for 29″ers and 650B) The new forks will be disc only and devoid of any rack and fender mounts. The geometry has been changed to reflect the newer fork offsets, but axle to crowns remain the same. Here are the pertinent numbers along with colors that will be available:

Hooligan Fork:
– 455mm axle to crown
– 42mm offset
Colors: Pearl White, Pearl Root Beer Brown, Gloss Black, Gloss Clear

Dillinger Fork:
– 485mm axle to crown
– 45mm offset
Colors: Pearl White, Pearl Root Beer Brown, Pearl Midnight Blue, Gloss Black, Gloss Clear

For more info see Soul Cycles.

29"er DH: The Final Frontier?

September 1, 2009

Despite the many views purporting that 29″ers are not going to make a good down hill oriented rig, (And I have held that view myself), there are some who are willing to push the envelope of what is possible with the wagon wheels. Of course, it isn’t as easy as one might think. Frame design has to be very carefully engineered to keep the wheel base, bottom bracket, handle bar height, and chain stay lengths within reason. Not only that, but there needs to be components to match, such as tires, rims, and forks.

These things have kept most 29″er down hill rig dreams just that: Dreams. However; with the advent of longer travel 29″ers, the component manufacturers have started to address the needs of this sort of rig in a way that now makes a 29″er down hill rig even more feasible than ever before. That is not to say it hasn’t been done before. No, there are already 29 inch wheeled down hill rigs out. WaltWorks design comes to mind. However; a new design that is currently being tested is now probably the most promising design with big wheels yet. That is from the mind and hands of Devin Lenz and his LenzSport Bikes company. Check out this rig………

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LenzSport prototype DH rig.

Here are some hard numbers on this proto:
* 175mm travel on both ends.
* 14.25″ BB height.
* 65.5* HTA.
* 17.25″ CS.
* 6 speed, 13-28 cassette.
* 38.5# as pictured.

So far the feedback has been very positive, but there are still some challenges ahead. If things get sorted on this front, it may well be the “final frontier” for 29″er bikes and will certainly be a surprise to those who for years said “it can’t be done”. Interesting times for big wheeled fans, to be sure!

Big Wheeled Ballyhoo: Trail Report/Big Mama Update

September 1, 2009

I was happy to get out and check over the site for the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo for a short period recently. This place is amazing. Okay, let’s imagine for a minute that Nebraska is something other than what most folks think. (In other words, not flat!) Yeah, yeah, I know. You don’t believe it. Nebraska is boring. Well, if you think so after this post, you’re just being stubborn! Check this out……….

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Western Nebraska is “Big Country” in a good way!

One thing that most folks don’t realize is that the “interstate”, (I-80), is built to use the path of least resistance through Nebraska, just like the railways used, and the wagon trains before that: Right along the Platte River valley. (“Platte” means “flat” in French) Get away from the Platte valley, and you’ll find a much different Nebraska than you ever thought of.

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Down hills are tough, steep, and fast at Potter’s Pasture.

That’s what we have found at Potter’s Pasture, an amazing landscape that is at once beautiful and surprising in its unique makeup. Potter’s Pasture is just what the name implies: a grazing land for cattle which roam freely about the approximately 1600 acres of ground here. The cattle do a unique and cool thing to the land. they make “cow paths”, yes, but because of the nature of the soil, these paths evolve into ruts in many places. These can swallow a rider whole in spots. Kind of like riding in narrow trenches, only at really steep angles!

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The cows create challenging trails that make riding a ton of fun out here.

The nature of the cow’s trails are such that you have barely enough room to keep your pedals, handle bars, and at times, your shoulders from contacting the trail. It is like a 3D single track: At once narrow in a lateral plane and a vertical one. But that isn’t the whole story here. Not by a long shot. Climbs are long, gradual, steep, and you are definitely going to need a granny ring here. Many times there are step ups created by roots, and technical moves are called for quite often. The down hills range from fast, wide open, rippin’ types to switch backed, slow speed, tree lined, and exposed. The way a trail you are on changes is fun in this way, because one downhill can have all the aforementioned traits in one run!

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Negotiating some rooty step downs.

The soil is a “loess” type. Very silty, fine, and tires get a great bite in it. Knobby tires with good traction are recommended here. I also found that a dual suspension rig was really the ticket to ride, but we had fellows on hard tails on our ride that were having a blast, and even single speed rigs have a place at Potter’s. I chose a Big Mama, which I have reviewed for this site. There were also two other Big Mama bikes on this ride as well. All were set up differently, but this bike was a perfect platform to base a ride of Potter’s Pasture on.

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Chad and MG piloting there Big Mama rigs through some Potter’s pasture goodness.

The full suspension 29″er rig is tailor made for Potter’s Pasture with its rooty, step down, and technical descents. The way the Big Mama handles this is awesome and climbing is where I thought the Big Mama was really tops here. The traction necessary to step up over roots, and dig in on the steepest sections was quite evident. I think lots of rigs are capable at down hill runs, but the nimble handling and climbing abilities of the Big Mama were really the thing that impressed me. All three of us cleaned really tough climbs and we were told afterward that we were “walking away” from the other bikes being ridden in the group on the ups. Pretty impressive.

In my opinion, I have always thought Salsa Cycles philosophy on the Big Mama was a perfect fit for a remote, back country type ride. Potter’s Pasture bore that out for me in spades. It is a reliable, fun, capable handling rig that I never thought was holding me back. Even set up with the 120mm travel Reba Team fork, which jacks the bottom bracket height far beyond what Salsa designers intended, this bicycle was really sharp. Maybe a tad bit tippy in a couple of really tight switchbacks, but doable all the same. In the 100mm setting, the bike would definitely be even better, and my riding companions bore that out for me. (Both having 100mm travel forks on their Big Mamas).

So, that’s the report on the site of the 2009 Big Wheeled Ballyhoo and a bit of a Big Mama update. Check out the event if you can, or if you are ever in the area, it is worth a side trip to Potter’s Pasture to taste the “big country” of western Nebraska.

All Photos- Credit: Kyle Vincent

Foes Racing B-29: Sneak Peek!

August 26, 2009

We saw the Foes Racing B-29 prototype at Sea Otter earlier this spring. However; Brent Foes said there needed to be tweaks and redesigns of some of the frame details before it would be approved for limited production. Well, it looks as though that day is nigh.

The frame has been undergoing several revisions and now will be offered as a frame with the Curnutt damper at the end of September for an MSRP of $2999.00. There is said to be a Fox RP23 option in the works which is slated to become available in January.

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We are working on getting a first ride of the production frame after Eurobike next week. Stay tuned for more……

In other Foes news, the Cyclistsite, our sister website, is working on getting a ride and report on Foes racing’s commuter rig, the Pasadena. Click the links for more.

Salsa Cycles Big Mama: Final Review

August 17, 2009

The Salsa Cycles Big Mama is the companies first stab at a big wheeled full suspension rig, (if you don’t count the soft tailed Dos Niner), and is squarely aimed at the trail category with its four inches of suspension travel in the rear. Here is my final thoughts on the bike after riding Big Mamas off and on for over a year now.

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I have had the unique opportunity to ride the Big Mama set up in entirely different ways on two different frames. The production version frame shown here is set up with a Reba Team at 120mm travel and I have also spent significant time on one of Salsa’s pre-production samples set up with Fox forks at 100 and 120mm travel. I have ridden Big Mama’s in varied terrain ranging from quite rocky and slippery, to tight and technical. Buff single track to rooty trails with steep, punchy climbs. The Big Mama has been satisfying in most every way, but as with any bicycle, there are a few nits.

First of all, the issue with intermittent chain suck. I will tell you that I took every precaution against it happening,(lubed chain, good parts in decent condition), but I found that a certain quirk of the frame design makes an occasional chain jam a problem. The Big Mama has a massive forged bottom bracket/main pivot piece that leaves little room between it and a 32 tooth middle chain ring. If the suspension is cycled just right, and the rear derailluer kicks the chain up just so, it will jam between the forging and the chain wheel. This happened twice to me during my testing. Fortunately, in my years of experience, if I feel any resistance to pedal pressure that is odd, I don’t pedal through it, but if you do, it may make your day come to a screeching halt. Obviously a few different drive train choices will eliminate that issue, but if you run a standard crank set up, (mine is an LX 42/32/22) then you may want to be aware of this potential problem.

The only other minor nit was that the powder coat gets marred kind of easily by the cable housings, and there are several places that this happens at on a Big Mama. I used some clear tape to ward off the onset of unsightly marks. Too bad there isn’t some way to avoid this, but it is only a minor complaint. Otherwise the powder coat has been pretty durable on this sample.

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Handling And Performance: As I have stated in previous updates, I have run the Big Mama most of the time as seen above, with the Rock Shox Reba Team 120mm travel fork with the Maxle Lite 20mm through axle. This set up yielded a higher bottom bracket, and slightly slacker angles. I didn’t feel it hurt the performance of the Big Mama at all. A more “XC” approach does give the Big Mama more of a hard tail feel when you mash the pedals, but the snappiness still is there with the slightly slacker set up. An XC set up also makes the Big Mama turn a bit quicker, but I could pilot the Big Mama around the tight twisties just fine, and the stiff chassis was a big reason why. With all the forged bits and the Maxle, the Big Mama is going where you point it. Slow speed technical maneuvers are not shaky, or vague feeling. I only detected the slightest bit of flex at very intermittent times from this bike. Overall, I would rate the chassis quite highly against many other bikes.

Suspension Performance: The Big Mama is unique in that it does not have a rear pivot near the rear wheel axle. Instead, it relies on some amount of seat stay flex, much like a Dos Niner’s chain stays flex, to allow for the suspension to operate. I never noticed anything odd about this set up. My only nits with the suspension is that it seemed a bit overwhelmed in terms of rebound in situations where several medium sized trail obstacles were hit while seated in quick succession. Things such as smaller branches/roots in the 3-5 inch diameter range, or when several depressions in the trail surface were hit in a row. The suspension seemed bouncy at times in these situations, but this was a rare occurrence. Probably something a good suspension mod could take care of for a particular rider. Otherwise I would say that the Big Mama has a good range of adjustability, damps the trail chatter really well, yet retains a “connectedness” that some designs wipe out with the trail you are riding on. This is more a personal preference thing, perhaps, so take it with a grain of salt. I happen to like the feedback I get from the trail, so I am okay with the Big Mama’s ride in that sense.

I found that in big hits the Big Mama has a bit of a ramp up in compression at the very end of the stroke, but it isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t a “bottomless” feeling stroke though either. Again, not bad, just different. Depending on your personal likes, the Big Mama can absorb small trail chatter very well. I found the stock setting for my weight worked well in this sense. The suspension seems to be really active even on climbs, which I found to be a great asset in getting me up and over some steeps I haven’t been able to conquer on any of my other rigs. Granny ring climbing is fine, slow speed mashing is a bit of a bob inducer, but not bad if you are seated. Quite acceptable actually. Standing and climbing taxes the design the most, but switch the ProPedal over and it takes much of the bob out and it feels very hard tail like, especially when locking out the fork in combination with the ProPedal.

I had no issues with getting all the travel on the biggest hits. Overall, a very good performing suspension design, with a tilt towards the stiffer, more trail feedback sort of feel than some other designs. Downhills were a piece of cake, and the Big Mama cornered through fast turns and rolled over obstacles in its path with aplomb.

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Conclusions: The Salsa Cycles Big Mama is a bike that bridges the gap from XC to All Mountain. As I was exploring its intended purpose as an “all day trail bike”, I couldn’t really find any holes in the design. My nits are all minor and could be easily addressed. The suspension performs in a well mannered way with the rider being able to feel the trail, yet not get bitten by it. It isn’t the “magic carpet”, “buttery feeling”, or “bottomless” suspension feel other bikes may possess. But it does have a snappy feel when it is time to motor, it climbs steeps like it has tank tracks, and can bomb a downhill just fine, thank you very much.

The chassis is solid, very rigid laterally, and as Salsa intended, it seems to be very durable and trustworthy. It is light where it can be without sacrificing this, and I appreciate that from a design intended to be ridden all day, most anywhere. As I found out, it can be successfully set up in a few rather different ways, so riders can build up the frame option into a more personalized tool to satisfy more closely their intentions. It isn’t an All Mountain chunk rig, and it isn’t an all out full suspension XC rig. However; if the Big Mama is used as your “go to”, every day trail bike, I don’t think you can do a whole lot better in the four inch travel 29″er full suspension category.

Thanks to Salsa Cycles for supplying the frame for review.

Gary Fisher 2010 Rumblefish 29"er: Update

August 10, 2009

“Trek World”, the dealer preview of Trek and Gary Fisher Bikes 2010 lineups is set to take place this week and Mr. Fisher himself is crusing the show floor and posting up images on his Twitter pic feed. Here’s a few teasers he has posted today on the upcoming Rumblefish FS 29″er….(Note: All images from Gary Fisher’s Twitter Pics)

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Here is the bottom bracket/swingarm area of a frame on display. (Note: Not stock color. Fisher and Trek use white frames to demonstrate features to dealers and show attendees) The bottom bracket will use “drop in bearings”, but there is no word on which standard it is that is employed. We’re betting it is BB90. Note the direct mount for the front mech.

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Detail of the shock mount on the demonstration frame.

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An image showing the actual bike. Gary Fisher states that it will have 120mm travel. This frame is looking rather like the 26 inch Roscoe frame and design. At Interbike, I got a chance to ride the 26 inch sled and I thought it performed very well. If the Rumblefish can attain to the level of performance that the Roscoe has, then I am thinking it will be one of the hottest full suspension 29″ers for 2010. Time will tell.

For fun I looked back and here is what I had to say about the Roscoe on September 28th, 2008:

Now why in the world do you think I would be riding this bike? (Think: The Future). The Roscoe was a really fun trail bike with an incredibly stiff frame, plush suspension, and the ABP brake pivot system, which I found to be extremely effective at reducing the rear brake chatter going into corners. Perhaps……just maybe someday we’ll be seeing something like this with a bit bigger wheels coming from Fisher. It would only make the design better, of course!

Looks like “that day” is upon us!

Stay tuned for more….

Gary Fisher 2010 Rumor: Rumblefish FS 29"er

August 5, 2009

An anonymous reader has tipped us off via the e-mail link that Fisher’s newest full suspension 29″er, dubbed the Rumblefish, will be available for 2010 in two models. Here is what we know so far:

Rumblefish 1 & 2. Aluminum frame & swingarm(?), 110 mm travel rear ABP, 120 mm front thru-axle. Dual chambered Fox rear shock & linkage design like the Superfly 100. Think of a 29er Roscoe. The claim is that the Rumblefish is designed for more “technical terrain or more demanding rider”.

The Rumblefish 1 is slated to have a Shimano SLX drivetrain, the Rumblefish 2, a Shimano XT drivetrain.

When we know more we will post, but this will be a very anticipated rig. Rumor has it that it will replace the HiFi line. Stay tuned!

Niner Pushes Envelope With W.F.O.9

July 30, 2009

Niner Bikes, who are totally committed to selling only wagon wheeled rigs, have often been at the forefront of 29 inch technology. Pushing companies to do 29 inch related components and taking those and building some pretty classic bicycles like the R.I.P.9 which is a highly regarded full suspension 29″er trail bike. Now with the introduction of the W.F.O.9, Niner Bike’s own Steve Domahidy wasted no time in putting together the slickest looking 29 inch wheeled down hill oriented frame yet.

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To be fair, other down hill 29″ers have been done before, WaltWorks comes to mind as well as a couple of others. This; however, is definitely the best looking package yet, and with the technology on board, it promises to be a good performer as well.

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Featuring the ultra rare- ultra expensive Manitou Dorado fork, the W.F.O.9 pictured here has the fork limited to address the bigger front wheel. The Dorado is an “upside down” design, with the sliders at the wheel’s axle and the “lowers” being on top and attached to the triple clamps. This eliminates the need for a fork brace and therefore allows the use of a larger diameter tire with only a travel limiter to keep the tire from bottoming out on the lower triple clamp.

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The travel on this Dorado was reduced from 203mm to 175mm and apparently it is easy to do. Is the Dorado available from the factory as a 29″er fork? Possibly. It is a semi-custom product. For $2750.00 you can find out. (That’s just for the fork mind you.)

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According to Niner Bike’s Facebook page, Steve is playing with a Rock Shox Vivid damper now. The rear end of this W.F.O.9 is the 150mmOD version and the travel is 5.5 inches. This bike also features the WTB Kodiak tires which should be available through Niner Bikes in a few weeks.

It will be interesting to see what the performance of this bike will be on true DH type courses. Time will tell. Stay tuned for any updates we get. (Editor’s Note: All images were forwarded to me by a reader via our e-mail link. Thanks!)

Santa Cruz Tall Boy 29"er FS: Update

July 23, 2009

Some new information has surfaced via the Santa Cruz blog, “104bronson” and here is the latest on this technologicaly advanced rig set to hit the dirt late in 2009.

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Here’s some of the text from the latest blog posting….

“Carbon fiber frame – This’ll be our third carbon fiber bike, and the more time we spend working with the material, the more we are able to push into new definitions of stiffness and strength. Following in line with what we were able to achieve with the carbon Blur XC and LT models, we’re kicking around Tallboy frames that weigh right about 5 pounds (with shock) and are so insanely flex-free and fun handling that they blow all our earlier assumptions about big wheels and chassis flex right out of the water. Tapered head tubes, massive but super light chainstays and rear triangles, absolutely rock solid frames, and they’re still around 2 pounds lighter than most of the similarly targeted competition. Super stiff, super strong, super snappy.

VPP suspension – The Tallboy will have 100mm of travel. The lower link features the same 15mm aluminum pivot axles, titanium hardware, angular contact bearings, grease ports, durability and ease of maintenance as found on our Blur LT. There’s also a carbon fiber upper link, with the same trick hardware and angular contact bearings on the big axle. Clean, neutral pedaling without bob or feedback, and plush bump eating suspension performance across the board.

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Dialed geometry – Big wheels work well for a lot of people, but are a godsend for the big and tall set. As such, we’re sizing the Tallboy all the way up to XXL – which comes with an appropriately Andre the Giant approved 25.9″ top tube and 45.6″ wheelbase. All Tallboys otherwise feature the same short and stiff 17.5″ chainstays and sweet handling characteristics. They’re designed to excel in the “fun to race, really fun to rip singletrack, go for a big huge ride and come home with a sore face from grinning all day long” spectrum of riding.

Amazing weight claims and stiffness claims for a nearly four inch travel rig. It will be interesting to see how users will eventually kit these out, but if the claims are true, we fully expect to see rigs down near the 22.5-23.5 pound range. Price? As they say, if you have to ask………

Stay Tuned!

News And Rumors: Big Tires And Full Suspension Rigs

July 14, 2009

The news keeps coming on the 29″er front. This time we’re talking about big tires, long travel 29″ers, and new full suspension rigs. Take a look to see what the latest happenings are in the Wagon Wheeler Universe!

WFO_Complete_smallThe W.F.O. 9 is finally about to hit the trails!

W.F.O. 9 To Hit Trails Soon! In a few weeks, W.F.O.9 bikes with 5.5 inches of C.V.A. suspended rear travel will be hitting the trails. The bikes, as we have reported before, will signal Marzocchi’s re-entry into the 29″er fork market with the 140mm travel “44” model featuring travel adjust, a tapered steer tube, and a 15QR through axle.

WTB KodiaK 2.5 Inch Tire: Also featured and exclusive to Niner Bikes on the W.F.O.9 is WTB’s newest monster 29″er tire, the Kodiak 2.5″er. I have ridden early prototypes of this monstrousity, and I can tell you that it will not fit in many bikes available out there. It is a big, wide, heavy meat of a tire, but for its intended use, it is perfect. And this production version is said to be much improved. Niner Bike’s Steve Domahidy had this to say about the tire in a thread about the W.F.O.9 on mtbr.com:

They are 2.5’s with Super Track DNA rubber compound, inner peace anti-pinch flat, and Aramid bead (to save a little weight). We prototyped DH casing and wire bead and they were too tight to put on a rim and weighed too much. We felt like this was the best way to go for an all mountain/big hit bike. The tires will retail for $60 per tire and will be available through us directly or your local Niner dealer.

No word on exact weights, but expect this tire to be well in excess of 1000 grams, perhaps in the 1400-1500 gram each range. For aggressive, down hill oriented, “chunky gnar-gnar”, (Don’t ask!), this tire should be king.

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Rocky Mountain Altitude Coming Soon: The Rocky Mountain Altitude 29″er full suspension rig is in beta test mode on the East Coast at this very moment. (I hope to get some detailed ride info shortly) I reported on this rig in my Sea Otter coverage earlier this spring. The Altitude 29″er features 120mm of rear wheel travel with some very unique features such as the pivot at the drop out which is positioned on the chainstay in such a way as to avoid the Horst link patents, a tapered steer tube, and something Rocky Mountain is calling “Straight Up” geometry. The Straight Up philosophy is that the seat tube needs to have a steep static angle, (Rocky says 76 degrees) which sags into a proper seat angle when the rider is on the bike, (approximately 74 degrees).

The bike also features a hydro-formed tube set with a tapered steer tube and a widely flared seat tube where it meets the bottom bracket shell. This is done to provide a flex free chassis. The design of the seat tube forced Rocky Mountain to find another way to mount the front derailluer and they went the direct mount route.

The bike looks promising as an all day, endurance type of bike that should be quite interesting. Stay tuned for any further updates.

Finally, in a blog post on the possibilities for down hill 29 inch rigs, Bike Hugger invited some industry types to weigh in on the subject. In the post, a guy from Banshee Bikes identified as “Jay” lets on that they are working on a 29″er full suspension rig. He is quoted in the piece as saying, “Even at this moment Banshee is designing a 17.3” chainstay 5” travel 29r and the challenges to maintain those numbers are tremendous.”

While the challenges are certainly stout, it will be interesting to see what this gravity driven brand might bring to the table for a full suspension 29″er. This one will bear watching!

That’s it for this edition of News And Rumors. Stay tuned for further developments. (Hint: Something will be leaking very, very soon that will be a big news item in the cycling industry concerning 29″ers.)