Saturday, September 02, 2006

Eurobike '07: The Tip of the 29"er Iceberg!

The reports are coming in from this years first major bicycle show of import: Eurobike in Germany. This is the first show of the "show season" where new '07 products are revealed for the first time. Of course, Trek/ Gary Fisher/ LeMond has there shindig in Madison, Wisconsin that took place just a couple of weeks ago, and some other pre-show season leakage has been seen, but this is the first big salvo.

I've predicted that Interbike will be "The Year of the 29"er" as far as a show by-line is concerned and Eurobike is showing me that I might just be right about that. Take into consideration that there is almost no 29 inch market share in Europe right now and you might see that the amount of 29 inch product shown there as an indication of big things to come. Here are some of the show highlights and my thoughts on them.

Tire choices multiply: The disadvantages of going to a 29"er are being swept away. One of those disadvantages was tire choice. Not anymore! Panaracer showed the much anticipated and previously heralded Rampage, which is a fully knobbed out fatty that should please those all-mountain and tech addicted riders of 29"er wheels. Other "big" tire news was WTB's new Weirwolf 2.55" Low Tread tire. This looks like a winner for rigid fork riders. The really big surprise was Geax which made it's intro into the 29"er marketplace with it's Saguaro tread pattern in a big, wide looking 2.5" casing. This tire looks really interesting!

Add these to the Bontrager Dry X race oriented tire and the Tubeless Ready System that Bontrager is bringing to market and it's starting to look like almost all the bases are covered in 29" tires. I expect Maxxis to show a CrossMark tread at Interbike for 29" and who knows what else will come up for rubber goodness there! Intense is expected to have 29" tires soon, so maybe they will have some show samples readied.

Other 29"er Goodness: In relation to tires in the news is Salsa's newest version of the Delgado Disc 29"er rim which was shown at Eurobike. Called the "Delgado Disc Race", the new rim will be made available in polished and black ano with a target weight of around 450 grams! That's pretty amazing for a 29 millimeter wide rim! Salsa says to expect the rims to be available sometime in February of '07.

Pace, a European fork manufacturer, has already been selling a rigid carbon fork for 29"ers which has been a good seller for them. They are now going to release a suspended fork for 29"ers that promises to be a high end, reasonably light fork. The show sample looked good.

Finally, Salsa showed a new color for the Dos Niner that is orange and tangerine with some cool pinstipe/ flamey graphics. It's going to join the already available green Dos Niner for '07. The biggest news here is not just the color, but that the orange flavor will be disc only! I suspect that more and more mountain bikes will be disc only as we progress into the future. Are linear pull brakes going to be the next "retro trend"? I'm betting they will be someday.

So, judging from these highlights shown in a market that is said to have no interest in 29"ers, I'd have to say that Interbike will be quite interesting. It just so happens that there is a 29"er market place for 29"ers here, so the release of 29"er info would logically be held off until the show in Vegas. Salsa personnel have said they are holding back some stuff for Vegas, and they already have shown some great stuff. I can't wait!

For pictures and more check out this.

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