Friday, April 01, 2011

Back to the Future!


Aaron brought his old WW from 2004 or 2005 (I don't remember exactly) with him when he came to pick up his new bike, so I snapped a quick picture. A lot has changed - suspension, through axle, disc brakes, 10 speed, tubeless tires, direct mount front derailleur. Neat to see how things have evolved (ok, to be fair, Aaron's old bike was a bit anachronistic when it was new, but still). Or devolved. Depends on your point of view, I suppose.

As an aside, I think the two most important things that have happened to mountain bikes in the last 15 years or so are - 1) tubeless tires and 2) 29" wheels. I was arguing with a friend just the other day - if you had to give up one of those, which one would it be?

Personally, I was pretty torn, and I initially said I'd give up the big wheels to keep tubeless... but now I'm not sure. Luckily, I don't need to actually make that decision!

Edit: Buzz says he'd ditch suspension. I'm not sure that counts, since the first suspension forks are considerably older than 15 years, but for what it's worth, I agree. I'd happily ride rigid in order to keep my big wheels and tubeless tires.

13 comments:

Andrew Brautigam said...

This is America. we don't have to give up ANYTHING.

That said, I'd probably give up big wheels. A slack, fully suspended little wheel bike is a lot of fun, and very raceable, at least to my standard of mediocrity.

zoovegroover said...

I would triple-definitely give up tubeless. I wish I had a 700c mtb 23yrs ago when I had my first of many 26" wheeled mtb's...

Walt said...

I'm not sure. I love my 29ers... but god, I used to have fun with 26" wheel bikes too - and I *hate* flatting all the time (and I'm not skilled enough to avoid all those sharp things in the trail, usually).

So I'm torn. I really can't decide.

Ed said...

Damn! Does that old WW predate my old WW?

I still don't use a tubeless set up.

Ed

Walt said...

Ed -

I don't *think* so, but it is a close call. I would have to dig through my records to be sure...and I'm probably too lazy for that.

They are both old, at least by WW standards.

aaron w said...

The old waltworks is so sweet I promise it is not getting retired. I see long, long days and nights in its future. As for the new one...can't wait to see where it takes me.

John said...

Wow, that's an early tapered fork!

Buzz said...

I would give up suspension.

The best bike I ever had was handmade by Tom Ritchie. All steel, nice fork rake, fillets like the inside of a women's thigh. I set it up with drop bars, bar-end shifters, 180 TA cranks, road pedals ... it would really get up and go. Come to think of it, everything since then has been a total piece of shit. I was a moron to paying money for the garbage I'm riding now.

OK, not only am I dating myself, but an ankle injury has me a trifle peevish.

Walt said...

John -

The fork is much more recent. Original fork was a White Brothers BW .8 - old school.

Buzz -

I would give up suspension before either 29" wheels or tubeless tires, but that's really an older "innovation"...

Mark said...

It would have to be tubeless for me. I like tubeless but I don't love it like I love big wheels. (gave suspension a few years ago, although sometimes I miss it)

MIClyde said...

at 6 foot 6 inches, and having never used tubeless - I'd obviously give up the tubeless. 29er changed how I ride, and may have kept me in the sport.

I still have my 2004 and 2005 walts, both with V brakes - they're priceless to me. Pic to follow, some day.

Fort James said...

I think I would give up the big wheels to keep my tubeless, but like others have said, I am glad I do not have to make a choice here. I just remember having periods where I would get a flat every day. Reading books like Joe Parkin's "Here and gone" reveal just how much tubeless changed race results. Poor Joe seems to have flatted in just about every major MTB he raced. Sometimes multiple times.

steve-o said...

I'd give up the big wheels for sure. I still haven't fully jumped on the 29er bandwagon, but i do think they are fun.