The reaction to some of the recent 29"er news from Sea Otter is a little interesting. It seems as though some folks out there are thinking that there is a shift in the place that 29"ers hold in the marketplace and that shift has some people thinking a little differently about the big wheels.
The "bandwagon" effect: Some folks think that the swell of interest not only by manufacturers, but by some potential riders, is nothing more than "trend hopping". Companies do this to make a buck with a "me too" product, (read steel, hardtail, multi-purpose drop out, single speed 29"ers) and people do this to make sure that everyone else knows they are on the cutting edge of cool. The funny thing is, once these two things happen, the 29"er movement will no longer be a trend or cutting edge cool. These two entities are their own buzz-kill, which is rather ironic.
The "more is better" camp: There are alot of riders that say more selection is good. That the parts that are 29 inch specific will grow in variety because of the growth of this market segment. I can't help but think that these are folks who long for the days of the full page, fine print advertisements chock full of reduced price 26 inch goods that used to appear in the mountain bike mags. They have a view that someday 29 inch tires, forks, and wheel sets will be as plentiful as their old 26 inch parts were and still are. Sorry! That's not going to happen. We'll get more variety, no doubt about that, but always on a smaller scale than 26 inch offerings. That's just the way it is.
The "it's ruining everything" bunch: You know these guys. The ones that bail out as soon as the "weird factor" is gone from whatever they are into. If it's "popular", then they are out. That's the bunch I expect to see on free wheeling, long travel unicycles next. You heard it here first!
The "this is lame, let's ride!" group: I like these guys the most. The ones that just don't care what the manufacturers think is the "next big thing". The ones who don't care if we think that they are in a cool niche, or a popular wave. They think lists like this post has are stupid wastes of time, are divisive, and totally unnecessary. They just want to ride and ride what works for them.
I agree with the last group. Let's ride! It's the thing that matters most. To these guys and gals I say, "To those about to ride. We salute you!.........................Bang!
Don't forget to check out the Sole Power Days report on Mr. 24's site for some manic pics of yours truly.......if you dare!