<==Curious Euros were test riding 29"ers like crazy while the 26"ers stayed clean. (Image by "c_g")
I have to say that I have been very blessed to find two awesome contributors to Twenty Nine Inches, and one of them resides in Europe. Not only that, but he gets to go to the trade shows and festivals, feeding Twenty Nine Inches with all manner of timely European based 29"er news.
I also have believed for some time that the next big push for 29"ers would come from Europe. You could see it starting to happen last year at Eurobike. A few companies made debuts of bicycles and components at Eurobike instead of at Interbike. To my mind, it signaled a shift in thinking on the part of the manufacturers and brands. Now, it would only be a matter of time before more Europeans were influenced by 29"er sightings. What I didn't realize though, was how World Cup racing would influence 29'er thought in Europe.
Last year 29"ers made some impressive gains into the World Cup ranks and this year the trend continued with European racers getting on board 29"er hard tails at some events. This did not go un-noticed by the European mountain bikers, but the biggest surprise is how hard the manufacturers pushed 29"er intros at Eurobike this year.
It all added up to what may be a perfect storm of sorts for fans of big wheelers. Not only were the people interested and curious about 29"ers, there was plenty of product to satisfy that curiosity there at the show. This will now be an interesting thing to watch: That being how the European cycling community reacts to what they have now seen and tried at the show. If the dealers sell through the hard tails they are testing the waters with for 2011, I think it will bode very well for 29'er aficionados all over the world. More components, more bicycles, and more designs will be produced. Already we are seeing several new tire designs being promised at Eurobike 2010.
All that and Interbike 2010 yet to come. This is going be an interesting year in big wheeling!
Have a great weekend and enjoy your Labor Day holiday if you are in the U.S. Ride yer bikes and have a good time!