Remember back in the 90's when a Wisconsin based company called Trek began to gobble up cycling companies like a Packer fan eats cheese curds? First it was Fisher Mountain Bikes, then in quick sucession it was Klein, LeMond, and Bontrager. Riders and industry types had their undies in a bunch because they thought Trek was the equivilent of a "New World Empire". Well, now it's another Wisconsin based companies turn.
The company in question is HB Performance Systems, or in mountain biker friendly terms, Hayes Brakes. They recently announced that they would be acquiring Answer Products, the company that is responsible for all those "Manitou boingers" out there. So what, you say? Well consider that HB Performance Systems also recently aquired Sun Metal Products, (Ringle' hubs, Sun rims) and Wheelsmith Fabrications, (Spokes and nipples). Some think the goal of HB is to "...manufacture every part other than the frame". I fully expect that all the dim bulbs out there will start claiming that HB is "the devil", and that they are ruining cycling. (Well, once they get wind of all of this)
So, what's all this marketing, business hoo-ha got to do with 29"ers? Well, consider the fact that Manitou is coming off an Interbike where they showed a sample of a new 29"er fork. Consider that Sun/Ringle' makes some killer rims and complete wheelsets. Think about Hayes Brakes and their capability for turning out high quality product and having all of these companies integrating new product aimed at the growing 29"er sector. Getting a picture now? More marketing power, yes, but also more manufacturing firepower and that could lead to some goodies on my 29"er. I'm looking forward to what this might bring.
Let's hope this Wisconsin company doesn't cheese out on us!