This Niner bike with American Classic wheels was shown at this years Eurobike. Is Europe on the verge of accepting the big wheels?
Throughout my time on 29"ers, Europe has been a market place that has been highly resistant to the idea of a "wagon wheeled" mountain bike. In fact, I have heard in the past that the never would accept them.
Well, all I have to say to that is the old cliche' "Never say never!" Especially now that there seems to be a hint of hope that the big wheels are going to grow in popularity in the Old World.
To say that the big wheels have taken root there is an understatement. The last two Eurobikes have shown an increase in the numbers of 29"ers shown. I have personally seen the numbers of hits to this blog from foreign countries increase steadily over the past two years. Many of those hits represent individual national 29"er forums, or mountain biking forums that host small groups of big wheelers posts.
Then recently, a thread has popped up on mtbr.com that I have found very interesting. This thread has shown me that the 29"er is truly an international phenomenon. There are pictures and rider stories from all over the sub-continent and the thread is an eye opener for sure. Certainly there is still much resistance to the idea of 29"ers, but there is also enough evidence of things happening that I feel that now it is only a matter of time.
A matter of time before 29"ers.......what? Become as big as they are here? Hmm.......that is a tall order and maybe not likely to happen. Of course, there is a long ways to go for the 29"er in North America. The future looks bright all around, the current economic crisis not withstanding. I look for 29"ers to become bigger parts of the cycling marketplace both here and abroad. 2009 should be an interesting year.
There is only one thing that concerns me about this Old World 29"er stuff: Does this mean I will have to go to Eurobike next Fall? (shuddering at the thought of the length of a Trans Atlantic flight.)