A recent article on the Gary Fisher website has some in the the 29"er circles stirred up. Written by Fisher-Subaru team member Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, it details his initial responses to riding a 29"er Rig single speed and his thoughts on using 29" wheels for short, XC type events. Not mincing his words, I see where he is coming from, and I do not disagree. I think there are some valuable things to note here, for 29"er afficiandos.
Jeremy notes that the weight of the tire and wheel was a little troublesome for him in the 29" format. He mentions that Bontrager Wheelworks have been working on the problem. Interesting. I do know that this "problem" is not insurmountable, as there already exists at least one super light, super strong wheel choice for 29"ers in the form of the Industry Nine wheelset. Bontrager Wheelworks will come up with something pretty cool, I'm sure.
Then there is the mention of Rock Shox coming up with a lighter fork for the 29"er. I suppose that could be done, but to get below 3lbs., where the 26"ers are now with their XC forks I think is not wise. As far as suspension goes, I'm not sure it's really needed for many Norba type, XC courses. With the way 29"ers roll over stuff, and as stiff as most pros run their front shocks, I'd think that the already available Bontrager Switch Blade fork would do the trick for them. But what do I know, I'm a clydesdale anyway!
Jeremy notes that he is eager to try a 29"er on a race course someday if the weight problem is addressed to his satisfaction. I think that without even having raced one, he has helped improve the breed already. Not that I would buy into anything that comes out of this at all. As I said, I'm a big dude and that lightweight, XC type stuff is a breakdown waiting to happen for me. However; I'm excited to see what comes of this, as many are swayed by what the pros do, and technology seems to be driven by racing to a certain degree. In the end, even I may find a benefit or two from the on-going developement of 29"ers as pro race rigs.