About a year or so ago, I predicted that the 29"er would become more "mainstream" with more companies entering the marketplace with their own versions of 29 inch wheeled bikes.
Boy, does it ever look to be coming true!
I have documented several entries or upcoming entries into the fray including Cannondale, Fishers new full suspension model, Flyte, Astrix, Redline, Raleigh, Haro, and the new full suspension model from Niner. Added to this impressive array of new comers is a solid rumor of a bike from KHS, maybe two bikes from Marin, and something from Specialized. That's alot of companies jumping in since I made that prediction about a year ago!
What does it all mean, other than a wider choice of bikes? Well, I think that now with so many manufacturers of bikes on board we will start to see the 29"er specific parts choices start to proliferate. Things like forks, shocks, and wheels will start showing up from companies that now can afford to tool up to make these products and offer them as original equipment on new bikes. The original equipment market is a big deal to these companies as that's a big chunk of money for them when someone like Specialized orders up a bunch of Fox forks, (as an example) for a 29"er bike. That paves the way for aftermarket sales to happen, and that's where the 29"er enthusiast will reap the benefits of all these new entries into the 29"er market.
Of course, that's assuming that the new bikes actually sell on bike shop floors! If the whole endeavor falls flat on it's face, we could be seeing nothing more than what we have now, and maybe less. I do not think that will happen. But, it could!
For now, I'm hopeful for the fall trade show season, where I think we will be seeing a story written about the 29"er hitting the market in a big way. Will it be the bicycle industries "holy grail" - the "next big thing"? Who knows? I'm guessing that it won't be anything near what the mtb boom of the 90's was or even close to the now waning road bike boom of this decade. It's just going to be another niche market that will be around for awhile, maybe on the scale of the "free ride/ all mountain" kind of thing. We'll see.
One thing is for sure. This 29"er thing is snowballing into something much bigger than it was before!