Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday News & Views

BMC TrailFox (Image by c_g)
Eurobike 2013: 

Eurobike is done today, and there is coverage all over the place, as you would expect. So, what's the big deal? Well, 27.5"ers/650B is what is the "big deal", and of course, if you had been paying attention, you knew that was coming. The bike industry has made no secret about the swing to 27.5"ers and that it would be coming hard in 2014.

There are some longer travel 29"ers coming out though, like the BMC shown here, so it isn't like it can not be done with bigger wheels. That is not the point though. The point is all about having something "new" and "different" to market to a category that has grown stale in the last five years +, that being the long travel, (150-180mm), All Mountain/Gravity category. It is quite plain that 26 inch wheels will become a shrunken category, left only to the DH crowd, and only just barely at that.

27.5/650B will effectively become the "small wheel size" in three to five years. You will not see 26 inch performance mountain bikes by 2018. They will be dinosaurs. Extinct. Poof!

26" will live on as a kid's sized wheel, which is what it was originally to begin with. The ISO bead diameter, (559), will survive though. It will live on in the form of fat bike tires, and the so called 26+ may also extend the life of old 26"er rims for a time. We will see, but the mountain bike world is seeing a sea change now, and it is a ship steered by marketing.Hope ya'all like the show.....

Updated: Also worthy of note: Turquoise anodized parts are being shown again! (Chris King, Industry 9 wheels) It must be 1995 again! The buzz for fat bikes is now growing in Europe as well.  A few European introductions by small brands and component choices were shown at the show. This could spur more choices in tires and rims. Stay tuned....

2014 Fargo (frt) vs 2012 Fargo
Fargo Comparison:

I just built up a new 2014 Salsa Cycles Fargo the other day at the shop and I wondered what its longer, suspension corrected for 100 mm fork may have done to stand over versus my 2012 Fargo with an 80mm Reba. So I rode the Fargo in to work and did a comparison.

Accounting for perspective in the image, my Fargo is actually slightly taller at the top of the head tube than the newer Fargo. So, I think it is safe to say that the standover is unaffected in comparison to the past couple years of Fargos and adding a 100mm fork is not going to seriously change that.

I also have seen people post speculative comments regarding the front mounted braze ons on the 2014 Fargo forks. I can attest to the fact that reaching a water bottle from the saddle on a fork with front mounted bosses on a Fargo is not a big deal. If it is any more difficult than with the rear mounted bosses, the difference is miniscule at worst. Really.....this isn't even an issue. 

I am pretty stoked on my current Fargo as a mountain bike with its 80mm travel fork, and a 100mm travel Fargo would be awesome. I am currently contemplating getting a Fargo 2, but I have not pulled the trigger just yet. Gotta build the boy's Mukluk 2 frame up first, and that should arrive late September/early October. 

3GR: Unfortunately, I had a close family member die recently, and a funeral where I am to be a pall bearer is happening Saturday. Due to the required travel, I am going to have to bail on 3GR this weekend. I'll be back next Saturday though, and of course, anyone that wants to ride anyway is certainly welcome.

That's a wrap for today. It's Labor Day Weekend here, the last big Summer holiday, and the traditional "end of the Summer" blast. Be safe, have fun, and keep the rubber side down, ya'all!


Unknown said...

GT, I love the blog and really respect your opinion. But, I can't agree that the death of 26" is nigh. In fact, it won't surprise me in the least if in 5 years or so, when the industry starts seeing diminishing returns in 650b...excuse me, 27.5" (we're 'Mericans here, after all) sales, the next "new" thing will be ...26ers! "26ers are so much lighter and faster and nimbler" we'll be told. But anyway, what I really hope is that the bike industry moves away from defining bikes by their wheel size altogether. It's silly at this point. After all, what's a 29er anymore? Used to be just XC hardtails and singlespeeds. There's now 29ers in just about every category, including DH! How about we just have "bikes", and use the wheel size that makes the most sense for the frame design. Or even, shutter the thought, use different sized wheels for different sizes of the same frame, ala the Surly LHT. Which maybe leads back to your dig on 26" being for kids' bikes (i.e. scaled down real bikes). Which it is. But its a great wheel size for plenty other things when paired with a well designed frame, probably mainly when "fun" is more important than "performance". 20" is the consummate kids' wheel size, but boy I've seen plenty of adult BMXer's tearing it up on those wheels.


Guitar Ted said...

@John: I don't take issue with your comments at all, John, but I will tell you that common sense does not apply. Marketing does. I've said all along that the 27.5 thing was something riders were (mostly) not asking for. Consider how 27.5 fell on deaf ears from 2007 to 2012.

Now, suddenly, and without any seeming grassroots support, 27.5 is "new', all the rage, and pushing 26"ers out the back door. The industry will not support three wheel sizes for very long. Manufacturers are going to quit demanding 26"er parts, so fork, tire, and wheel makers will focus on the larger segments of the market to develop future components for. That is not going to be 26"ers. Once Rock Shox, Fox, Mavic, et al, stop introducing high end 26"er components, the death sentence will have been rendered. It will then only be a matter of time before the demise of the performance 26"er happens on trails.

Consider also this- Only ONE World Cup racer is still using 26" wheels for the XC discipline @ Worlds. Everybody else is on 27.5 and 29. It is a portent of things to come.

Steve Fuller said...

I agree whole heartedly on your comments regarding the Fargo fork. For RAGBRAI in 2012, I had two anything cages mounted to the bosses on my current Fargo fork, and then I band clamped two water bottle cages to the front of the fork legs. I had no issues reaching water while riding.

The first time I reached down, I did manage to buzz my thumb with the edge of the Vulpine I had mounted, so you do need to be a little more careful when grabbing for things on the roll. :)

Dave D said...

Have your ridden the new 2014 Fargo solid fork? I am wondering if it rides any different with the slight change in Geometry to 100mm. I am guessing probably not, but am curious.

I am seriously considering the new yellow Fargo. I test road a 20 inch Surly Ogre and Fargo 2013 model. The size felt pretty good, maybe a little short in the top tube on the Large Fargo, but that can be fixed with a longer stem. The XL Fargo was too large. Both bikes were nice, the Fargo felt a bit more comfortable on bumps in the road than the Surly Ogre. Hard decision. For information I am 6'1 and about 220lbs.

Love the blog!!



Guitar Ted said...

@Dave D: No, I have not ridden that fork beyond test riding the new bikes after building them at the shop where I work. They do not strike me as being significantly different than previous Salsa forks and one must remember that tire pressure and terrain will probably make a comparison tough.

I would suggest the large size for yourself.