Saturday, November 26, 2016

Minus Ten Review- 47

Another one that came and got away. Haro Mary XC.
Ten years ago on the blog I was writing about 29"ers coming in left and right, or so it seemed. I started out 2006 with two 29"ers, one that wasn't even built up yet, and ended the year with seven 29"ers! 

The one pictured here was my "thank you" from Haro/Mike Varley for doing that catalog writing for the Mary 29"ers. I screwed up big time when I was asked by Mike about what I wanted. The single speed version of the bike was almost an impossibility, since it was selling through and demand meant that maybe I would never see a frame and fork. I should have waited.  The other thing was that I asked for a size medium. I was such a doofus back then concerning what size bike I would need. It didn't help that I was on the cusp of either a Medium or Large size in many company's sizing schemes. I was often left to guess, and when the odds are 50-50, I typically lose. No matter what Bill Nye says about probability.

The other thing I see when I look at this image is that the frame and fork are on Jeff's old bench. We were finalizing the ideas behind Trans Iowa v3 at that time. Registration was just about to kick off at that time and recon was being done at about the same period as well. This marked a time in Trans Iowa history that was pretty critical. No more point to point courses. No more entry fees. didn't know Trans Iowa once had entry fees? Yes, for the first two years it did. We charged what we felt would cover the insurance fees to cover the event. Year one was easy, year two the fees doubled, and for year three, it was to be doubled again. We weren't prepared to charge one hundred bucks a head for the chance to ride in this crazy event. So, we went with advice we had gotten from the inception of Trans Iowa. No fee to ride.

Part of the T.I.v3 course
Speaking of Jeff, I finally got to ride mountain bikes with him during this time. I think we hit the trails twice during the Fall of '06. Both at Camp Ingawanis. It would be the only times we ever rode bicycles together, ironically. The next Spring Jeff was off to work with Ergon, where he has been ever since.

In other news, I heard solid rumors at this time in '06 that Fox was entering the 29"er fork market. This was huge. At that time, had no one like Fox jumped in with a truly legitimate option for 29"ers, the big wheeled bikes would likely have died off eventually. However; unbeknownst to me at the time, Trek put up the dollars to get a set of lowers made and an offset crown forged for their Gary Fisher line of 29"ers. Gary Fisher would have a one year exclusive on the Fox forks before everyone would be on board in the '09 model year.  

Interestingly, later on I also found out why 51mm was chosen as the offset for the Fox G2 geometry forks, and why this has been the offset that is most used on 29"er forks today. In speaking with Travis Brown at a Trek World event, he related to me that several offsets were tried in blind comparisons with riders located in several locations. In the end, all were convinced that one of the forks handled and performed the best. The one with 51mm of offset.

So, if you've ever wondered how that 51mm offset for forks on 29"ers was arrived at,now you know.


james said...

Hey GT,
It would be real cool if you did a tech geeky post on the merits of a 51mm fork vs a 46 and the head angles that corraspond with those offsets and how that combo affects the handling of a MTB...or gravel bike...or road bike.

Guitar Ted said...

@james: Actually, I've posted numerous times on the subject going all the way back to the beginnings of this blog in 2005. Here's a great example, and a quick, short read on how "trail" affects handling:

I've got loads more in the archives. Perhaps I can get around to gathering it all into one place for everyone.

james said...

About 2 seconds after I posted my comment, I remembered that you had delved into the geometry subject in the past. I did a quick search and sure enough, several articles popped up. Thanks for not rosting me on that.
Keep up the good work.