Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Separating The Sheep From The Goats

As I get more and more involved in the testing and riding of different 29"ers and some of the proprietary parts that go along with it, I am realizing one thing. Some of this stuff is going to go away. Yep! You won't be seeing some of the bikes and some of the parts that you can lay hands on now in a year. Maybe less.

Alot of this has to do with the sheer economics of things and alot of it has to do with.......well, how can I say this?.........Stupid things. Yes, that's it,........ stupid things.

First, the economics. There are so many single speed/ do-it-all frames and complete bikes out there for '07 that I can not believe that all of them will survive to see '08 or '09 catalogs. The market for 29"ers, while growing, isn't really going in that direction. I mean, how many 26 inch wheeled single speed bikes are flying out the doors of shops? See what I mean? There has to be more 29"er single speed complete bikes available from major bike brands than 26"ers. I just can not seem to remember a time when so many single speed bikes were available.

The market won't support all of these SS 29"ers and it wants geared 29"ers that are mid-priced. And the whole she-bang is quickly going to move in the direction of All Mountain full suspension once the details of designs are worked out for 29"ers. Some bikes, like Niners R.I.P. 9 are already there. The SS 29"er glut will subside, mark my words!

Then there are the stupid things. Stupid like, Hey! Look at our new full suspension 29"er that will blow everybody else out of the water........wha?......Reba forks hit the down tube?.....uh....wait a minute.....(crap!).......Nevermind!" Yeah, stupid stuff like that is really happening out there. Tire clearance issues, fork clearance issues, and geometry that hasn't been well thought out plagues several 29"ers out there. The evolution of the species will weed out these weak examples and they will become endangered species, if not extinct, in short order. Then the engineering side will come into play a little later on. Who did their homework and who didn't? Well, it's hard to say, but the scrap pile won't lie, and it's gonna get higher before it gets figured out. 29"ers put a lot different stresses on things than 26"ers do, so the best designs that are well executed will survive. (I'm betting that the only things that'll survive a nuclear holocaust are cockroaches and Karate Monkees, but that's just me!)

Whatever happens, it'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. However, I just don't see alot of these "bigwheeled goats" making the cut. That's my take.

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