|Big, aggressive 29"er tires? (Image courtesy of C. Artman)|
And while the industry goes gaga for "enduro" racing and the focus is shifting towards the series growing up around that style of riding, there has been something going on quietly over in the corner just outside of the limelight: Bigger, more aggressive tires, longer travel forks, and bikes to put them on for 29"ers are happening. Right now.
If this all would have happened three years ago, it would have been grabbing all the attention of riders everywhere, but I wonder how many folks even are aware that Rock Shox introduced the Pike for 29"ers with 150mm travel, or that Specialized and Trek have long travel 29"ers available now? You just don't see a lot of buzz about those items. Then there are the tires: Maxxis is bringing out two versions of the Minion, and a Highroller II, WTB has the Vigilante, and Schwalbe has introduced an even burlier tire than the Hans Dampf dubbed the "Magic Mary".
Yep, this all would have been considered a really big deal in 2010, but now it is kind of flying under the radar, which I find interesting. It just goes to show you that the manufacturers marketing machine is doing a bang up job of pushing this enduro scene and the mid-sized bikes being pushed for that niche of the sport.