Thursday, October 20, 2011

The "EveryBike" Theory

My friend in California, Grannygear, has a concept he has called "The EveryBike", which is basically his take on 29 inch wheeled bikes coming out now that are blurring the lines between XC/Trail, and in some cases, even a touch of All Mountain goodness thrown in there.

Of course, these bikes have existed in 26"er size for several years now. Usually 5" travel full suspension rigs like the Santa Cruz Nomad, or the Ibis Mojo.

Mojo- Sub-23lbs
These bikes are often in the 5-6" travel range and are lightweight for the long travel and toughness they bring. Light enough for XC duty with your friends, and burly enough to do a serious outback ride with serious drops and long climbs.

Truth be known, these were the class of bikes that caused their riders to laugh at the big wheels, because they never thought they'd see a day when the versatility and fun factor would be challenged by anything with 29 inch wheels. That is changing fast though.

Is that day here yet? Are big wheelers giving these bikes a run for their money? I think if we're honest, that day isn't quite here yet, but it sure is dawning. Bikes are coming for the model year 2012 that will begin to chip away at the hold 26 inch wheeled bikes have had on this category for years now.

Diamondback Sortie Black 29
29"er bikes are getting there, but many have a ways to go yet. Take for instance this Diamondback Sortie Black 29 I rode for Twenty Nine Inches recently.

This one has 120mm travel front and rear, so it's in the ball park travel-wise, but it is heavy. (27lbs plus as seen here) That weight will have to come down some to get it competitive with the 26"ers. I think it could definitely get there in carbon fiber. For an alloy frame, it's probably close, but not quite there.

The other thing that "isn't quite right" is the geometry. I think the Sortie's 70 degree head angle is likely a hair on the steep side, but it is okay. The real kicker is the 18 inch long chain stays. While I thought the Diamondback was a lot of fun, I bet it would be even more so with 17.75 inch chain stays.

Close, but not quite there.......yet!

New Lenz Sport Mammoth
But there are some bikes coming very soon that may make a bid for the "EveryBike" with 29 inch wheels.

These bikes will have slightly slacker head angles, longer travel suspension, and lighter weights overall. Some will be carbon fiber, of course, but even aluminum bikes will begin to appear that will stake out a claim as a "stable killer".

The bikes won't be all-out AM/Trail bikes like the Banshee Prime and their ilk. No, these will be capable, (perhaps), of some light AM duties, but these will primarily become the bikes that the 26"ers before them were: XC capable, with weight in the ball park of an XC bike, but having "longer legs" than an XC bike would, being capable of doing most trails really well.

My "poster child" for this genre of 29"er is the new Lenz Sport Mammoth. A five inch travel, decently light weight full suspension bike that has short-ish chain stays, big tire clearance, and geometry that will take it from the XC trails to back country epics with ease.

Of course, it isn't the only bike coming that will push this concept even further. You can add bikes like Salsa Cycles Horsethief to this mix, perhaps, and for sure, Specialized's Camber comes to mind. Ibis will even add their own bike to this genre in the Ripley, which will be coming out.......sometime!

Is an "EveryBike" right for you? I'm thinking it will be for a lot of folks.

Note: All rights to the name "EveryBike" are attributed to Grannygear and any references to "EveryBike" here or elsewhere must give credit to the source, or bad bike karma will find you!


mw said...

i wanted my old tracer to be that bike, but man, you had to kick start that sucker to go faster. i rode the heck out of it tho until i made to switch over to 29 SS as my everybike which is alot more painful but fun still

jdc said...

These bikes will develop simply because this will be what the average 29er convert from 26" wheels will expect and demand. I don't have a problem with it as long as the major manufacturers remember to keep those headtubes short. (I'm expecting to see some fairly horrific department store 29ers as the trend goes forward). The last thing we need is a bike that requires a stepladder to get onto. I'm waiting to see if the good folks at Surly will combine two growing trends and give us a 29er Moonlander. :D