I am hearing that Norco, ( a Canadian based bicycle manufacturer) may be coming out with a 29"er based on the Nitro hardtail. Purely a rumor at this point, but not surprising to hear as alot of second tier manufacturers are coming aboard the 29"er mothership lately. At least the mountain bikers north of the border will have a home grown choice in big wheels.
Van Dessel Cycles is going to introduce new, upgraded 29"er models to their line up at Pedro Fest later this month. The framesets will be all new and based upon the old Buzz Bomb frames. The new names are Ramble Tamble, for the ss/ Rohloff/ gearie compatible frame- Jersey Devil, for the geared only hardtail with carbon fiber seat stays and- Jersey Devil FS, for the 4" travel, geared only full suspension model. The frames will all have upgraded, lightweight tube sets to appeal more to the racing/ weight weenie crowds.
Panaracer is about to come forth with it's first samples of the 29 inch version of the all new Rampage tire. The 26 inch version is currently in the hands of some feild testers. The tire has a voluminous casing with widely spaced and ramped tread blocks that extend down the sides of the casing somewhat. The knobs are big and squarish in shape, with some grouped together. The tread looks agressive, grippy, and the casing looks wide and cushy. These are supposed to be 2.35 inches wide in the 29"er format. If they are, they will become the instant All Mountain tire of choice for 29"er riders world wide. Look out Exi Wolf! The Rampage models are due out next month.
Although July has just started, I'd be surprised if news of new products for the 29"er market doesn't start leaking out at higher and higher rates as we approach September and Interbike time. Things like more tire choices, 29"er specific rims, and suspension forks are just a few of the rumblings that I have heard about. Time will tell, but the time to be ready for Interbike introductions is right about now. That's why I think we'll be seeing more and more news very soon!
Great Divide Race Update: As of yesterday, there are now only two official contenders for the Great Divide Race. Matthew Lee is still on course in southern Colorado/ northern New Mexico somewhere after leaving Salida, Colorado yesterday with his fork fixed and the roads cleared of debris from land slides. John Nobile dropped out at Steam Boat Springs suffering from a cold that was not getting better. Somewhere out there and last heard from in Montana is Kenny Maldonando, who as yet has not officially pulled out of the event.
I was being cajoled by Mr. 24 to take part in the 12 hour race this weekend at Blue Mound in Wisconsin. I had to resist the temptation though, as I must finish pre riding the G.T.D.R.I. route on Saturday if I am to be able to confirm the route and give some mileages. My last opportunity to ride the course is two weeks before the event on August 5/6th, because on the 22nd of July I am already committed to the Lincoln Boys 162. ( That ride doesn't really have an "official" name, so I came up with that one!) With my calendar already so full, I had to turn Mr. 24 down! Rats! It soundes like a fun event!