Tuesday, July 14, 2009

29er downhill bikes article at Bikerumor

They clearly didn't do their homework, as both Alex Morgan (BCD) and I have been making them for years, but it's an interesting article. Click here to read it.

I think it's interesting, also, that most of the answers that are given are from a racing viewpoint (ie, slower acceleration, etc). In my view, the focus on selling race bikes (whether that's a V10 DH sled or a Top Fuel XC bike) is a dumb one, because most people don't race at all, and most of the folks who do race don't do it "seriously" to the point that a race-oriented bike is their best choice. Race bikes are fragile (yes, even the DH ones), expensive, and only really useful to fit, fast, serious racers. For everyone else who does a couple of races a year and drinks beer with their buddies afterwards (or beforehand...) riding a comfortable, predictable bike that won't fall apart on the trail and that they're familiar with is a better choice.

I see a place in lift-assisted riding for 29" wheels, and I'm excited about the new WTB 2.5 knobbie tire. Maybe I can finally stop gluing old innertubes inside my Nevegals!

2 comments:

Guitar Ted said...

Walt, I knew of your exploits in the DH 29 realm and am aware of Alex as well. But you know, you custom guys don't make it on the "radar screens" of a lot of these bigger sites. I dunno, but I would also venture a guess that the site in question is pretty much all over the place in terms of cycling focus and maybe that was a problem for them. Just a hunch.

I think there "is a place" for the bikes you have in mind here too, but as I stated in my comments on that blog, I do not think this is where 29"ers will be going in the mainstream, and for sure, the wheel size doesn't need it to be "validated". Whatever that means.

Oh yeah......I totally agree with you on the "racing-centric" views a lot of these companies profess. Weird!

Maybe I could get you to opine a bit more about this for Twenty Nine Inches. That'd be cool if you ever would want to.

Cheers!

Matthew said...

I had a different take on many of those comments. Yes, those companies make race bikes, and yes most of use don't really want to be riding race geometery bikes. But many of the comments against 29" wheels and the associated geometry work against guys who just want a fun bike as much as the guys who want a race replica.

-29ers are longer, making tight technical riding harder

-29ers have a higher centre of gravity - this affects stability and control

-Sufficiently robust 29ers wheels weigh a lot, unsprung weight has a direct effect on the feel and reaction of the suspension.

I'm not saying there is no place in the lift lines for 29ers, but I fail to see any obvious advantage over a well balanced mid travel DH/FR bike.

My 1.5 cents,
Matt