Tuesday, September 20, 2005

29"ers About To Take Off?

I work in the bicycle industry, which is always looking for "the next big thing". Way back in the 70's, it was the fitness craze, and the bicycle industry benifited greatly. Then in the early 80's, it was the mountain bike craze. Finally, in the late 90's, until now, the "pavement sector", including road bikes has really been hot. Along with the rise in hard surfaced riding, the downhill/ freeride/ all-mountain category has arisen. What's next? Well, some say the 29"er is next!

We get an industry paper at the shop called Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Everyone in the industry refers to it as "BRAIN", an acronym of the rags title. In the latest issue, there is a glowing article on 29"ers entitled, It's Big Business:29-Inchers Are More Than Big Wheels. Remember, this article is aimed at industry people from CEO's at all the big bicycle brands on down to the local shop rats at your bike shop. The article attempts to reveal that what is thought to be an oddball movement, not worthy of pursuing, businesswise, is actually making big bucks for some. It shows how some companies are investing heavily into parts, accessories, and research and developement of 29 inch related gear and bicycles. Apparently, some companies are willing to bet big dollars that this little movement is about to go bigtime. I think they are right. What do you think?

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