Seems like everybody is coming out of the woodwork this year and saying that they will, or are introducing a 29"er. Kind of reminds me of 2007 again! The thing is, this time it is different.
In 2006 there only were a handful of companies doing 29"ers. Surly was still selling a lot of Karate Monkeys, custom builders were still making a lot of Karate Monkey knock-offs, and everyone was waiting to see when single speed, do-it-all bikes would stop being introduced in favor of some full suspension and hard tail specific bikes. Then during 2006 and on into 2007 a lot of companies started selling 29"ers that hadn't before. It was a welcomed thing, and helped elevate the "niche" to a full on "sub-category" of mountain biking. 29"ers were not going to fade away!
Now in 2010 we have seen companies that swore they would never, ever do a 29"er introduce one, (Yeti), and companies we thought would never, ever do one make some, (Canfield), to seeing more and more companies expanding their lines and introducing their first 29"ers in some other cases. So what's up? Why all the fuss?
It seems that the market is feeling that 29"er mountain bikes are primed for expansion, and are the "hottest category" in mountain bikes right now. Expansion seems imminent- In Europe, where 29"ers are just starting to crawl out from under the rocks there, to marketing numbers that point to big wheel mountain bike sales that are increasing, while others stay stagnant, or are in decline, it seems that now it is time to......well, to excrete or get off the crapper, to put it bluntly.
What is going to start happening is that with all the choices coming down the pike, the average aficionado of big wheeled-ness is going to start glazing over while the younginz just coming up are not going to differentiate between the two sizes of wheels so much. It will all combine to make 29"ers "just mountain bikes" as we move forward from this point. Some will have big wheels and do this and that well while others will have smaller wheels and do that and this well. It'll be just like the choices between 100mm of travel or 120mm of travel. Big, fat tires, or faster skinnier ones. Jumping in the air bikes, or XC race weapons. Big wheels or small ones. See what I mean?
It always has been "just another bike", and I've always said so, but it really will be down the line as time goes by.
Note:In regards to the "Bike Shop Tales" it looks as though I will pick that back up due to the few, but very encouraging comments from yesterday. Thanks to all who took the time and effort to replay. I appreciate it very much! Look for a new "Bike Shop Tales" next Tuesday.