|Are all old 26" mtbs destined to become townies?|
Anyway, I always figured that 26" wheels would be the domain of down hill oriented riding. That all changed when the "enduro" thing came around and every five inch to six inch travel platform that was formerly 26" wheels suddenly became "new" with the 27.5" wheel and the "enduro tag". It was "new" and you had to get one of these. What got missed in all of this was that the 26" wheeled bikes were almost identical to the 27.5" bikes besides the wheels, which were marginally different in performance. Marketing? Forced obsolescence? Whatever it was, it pushed 26 inch wheels off the radar and onto the back burner of mountain biker's consciousness.
I predicted a few years ago that when companies quit introducing new products like wheels and forks in 26" versions, that the 26" platform was going to die. Well, it is happening now. Forks are being introduced and there is no mention of a 26" version. Wheels are being produced with no mention of a 26" option. Only tire companies are quietly keeping pace with new 26" options to match their newest 27.5" and 29" rubber options. It won't be long before even this begins to stop happening for 26" wheels. Even down hill bikes are beginning to be more and more the realm of the 27.5" wheel. I would never have had thought that.
I wonder if in five more years or so that the tire rack at the local bike shop will have lots of tire choices and a couple hooks off to the side with the 27 X 1 1/4" tires, old 26 X 1 3/8ths tires, and the "old" mountain bike standard of 26" tires. It sure seems that things are headed in that direction now.