Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday News And Views

 The "Fat Fargo"
27.5+ Makes Headway:

I've been carefully watching the Eurobike and pre-Interbike mountain bike introductions, and one thing is becoming very plain. The industry, (as I figured they would a long time ago), has dove head first into the 27.5+ wheel size and not so much on the 29+ wheel size.

The new introductions I've seen or heard about are from Cannondale, Fuji, Specialized, Marin, Turner, Salsa Cycles, Scott Bikes, and a couple of others that escape me right now. All offering B+ wheels for 2016. How about 29+?

Other than the Salsa Deadwood and Trek Stache for 2016? Crickets............

I know folks think I am "anti-29+", or whatever. I am certainly not that at all. However; all you have to do is count where the introductions are and see that the industry isn't going full-on for 29+. The introductions are not there. The numbers, so far, do not lie. It appears that, while 29+ isn't going to die, it isn't where the industry is putting its eggs. This, from my viewpoint, is why I am saying 29+ won't be the big deal some folks seem to think it will be. That's all.

If I was so against it, I wouldn't have bought a set of wheels and tires to set one up, now would I? (More on that soon.) It's just that a really big diameter wheel isn't going to work for a whole lot of the cycling populace. B+? That's a much, much better fit for more people. So, I think what we are witnessing makes a lot of sense.

The "Muktruk" 29+ set up I had
One thing about that diameter that didn't work for me was how it jacked up my Titanium Mukluk's bottom bracket height. The bike was designed around 3.8"-4.0" tires, which have a smaller diameter by almost two inches than a 29+ tire/wheel has. When I stuck these wheels on my bike, I found that bottom bracket was uncomfortably high, as in almost too high for me to mount the bike reasonably well high. That and the way those wheels rolled with the Mukluk just didn't sit well with me, so I sold off the wheels and tires to fund a nice acoustic guitar for Mrs. Guitar Ted. But, I wasn't done with 29+ wheels. Nope! I've been working slowly on something all year, and I hope to get this together sometime soon. It will be 29+, but on a frame that was designed for such a big diameter wheel. Then we'll see just how it really works for me where I live.

My motivation has always been that Borealis Echo I tried with the 29+ wheels on it, so I think it would make a fine wheel platform for mountain biking/off roading. I just have to get the right geometry matched up with those big wagon wheels, then we'll see how it all goes. I also want versatility, and I am not building a dedicated, 29+ only bike up. I just don't see myself needing that. Not all the time, anyway.

A quick Trans Iowa V12 Announcement:

I just wanted to give the Grinnell Steakhouse a quick shout out for agreeing to be the host site for T.I.v12's Pre-Race Meat-Up. We've had six years of meetings there ever since Trans Iowa v6, and the Grinnell Steakhouse has always been stellar partners with Trans Iowa. Their hospitality, their easy going nature, and great food have been so appreciated by myself and others over the years. It's become "Checkpoint Zero", the defacto "Trans Iowa Family Reunion", and just a great place to have the pre-event meeting over the years. Little known factoid: Our first "Meat-Up" was held during the Steakhouse's first year of business there in Grinnell, so we've grown together over the past six years.

Okay- that's a wrap for this week. Have a great weekend, ride bikes, and be safe!


Wally Kilburg said...

I just drool over that Fat Fargo....sigh.....

youcancallmeAl said...

29 inch wheels with wide tires have too much rotational inertia for efficient cornering.

glenn said...

In your opinion, will there be an eventual face-off between 27.5+ and 29 wheel sizes?

Guitar Ted said...

@glenn: If by that you mean- "Will there be an elimination of one of these wheel sizes?"- Then I would answer, "No. That isn't going to happen."

27.5+ isn't light, and by definition, it isn't going to be the "go fast/XC racer's choice. 27.5+ also isn't probably going to cut into the fast, nimble trail riding category either. On the other hand, it will stick around as a choice that brings more traction, stability, and comfort to those who value those things above speed, nimble handling, and lighter weight.

What I believe 27.5+, and to a lesser degree, 29+, will cut into, and has already- is fat bike sales. Fat bikes were poised to become an alternative XC/trail bike choice across a wide spectrum of the mountain biking populace. I believe the "plus sized" wheels are going to not only eliminate that, for the most part, but actually build upon that potential base of riders that fat bikes may have gathered had "plus" sized wheels not happened.

MG said...

While 29+ might not be for everyone, it's all I want/need. I don't have a "normal" 29er anymore, because quite simply, I didn't ride it anymore. Between my fatbike and my 29+, I have all the tools I need to do what I want to do off road.