Toys for the Two Wheeled Set (and the well heeled)


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It doesn’t matter what you ride or how you ride, this is the time of year when the bike biz incites your lust for new stuff.

Whether you ride in shorts or a skinsuit, with hairy legs or shaved, in chunky shoes or carbon kicks, there is almost certainly something in the bike mags that’s got you drooling. There was so much good stuff at the Sea Otter Classic we needed a bib. Everywhere we looked, we saw something that had us reaching for our wallets.

Here’s a small sampling of the stuff that made our list.

Pactimo, Day of the Dead Jersey

If you’re looking to stand out from the pack – and what cyclist wrapped from head to toe in what their friends affectionately call “Spandex” isn’t – look no further than Pactimo’s limited-edition designer jerseys. The Denver-based outfit works with a laundry list of designers, some of whom actually have cycling backgrounds, to deliver wearable art that works.

“You can show up on a ride with something completely different than anybody else has,” said Karl Heidgen, VP of Custom Sales. “Keep it different.”

Pactimo’s been making gear for eight years, and started with a simple idea: Focus on custom kits for individual riders, smallish teams and their private label business. The designer gallery is an opportunity to engage their growing customer base without the hassle of going into the retail space.

The vibrantly colorful Day of the Dead kit designed by Arlene Pederson is available in a jersey with a matching bib for men and jersey/shorts for women. Other designers who’ve worked with Pactimo include Gregory Klein, Kristin Mayer and Miguel Paredes.

Want one? Better move fast. Each design is limited to 100 pieces.

$100

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Colnago C59 Disc

If there was ever any concern that disc brakes would look like hell on a road bike, check out the Colnago C59 Disc. We couldn’t take our eyes off it. It’s a thing of beauty.

Colnago took the C59 and redesigned the chainstays and fork to compensate for the force of braking moving downward from the traditional brake locations. What the bike gains in weight beefing up the frame and fork has been matched (almost) by the weight saved by running discs over traditional road brakes. Look for the weight to keep falling as the technology improves.

So far Colnago isn’t saying whether we’ll see the C59 Disc as a frameset or complete bike, and it definitely did not mention price.

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Smith Pivlock V2 Max

Pivlock shades may not be the trendiest-looking shades, but if you prefer function to form, Smith has you covered.

The Pivlock was designed specifically for athletes, which means you can keep your eyes on the road regardless of what the terrain throws at you. They feature an adjustable nosepiece to keep ‘em where you want ‘em and three sets of lenses: clear, rose and dark. Changing lenses is a snap, too.

They come in a variety colors and are available in the smaller Pivlock V2.

$159

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Moots MX Divide

Moots is no Johnny-come-lately to the big wheel game. It arguably was the first to the table a dozen years ago with the YBB 29er, and it’s upping the ante with the MX Divide.

“Our goal was to build a really well-balanced cross-country and recreational bike,” said company president Rob Mitchell.

Moots drew from its long history of lustworthy mountain rides when designing the MX Divide. It is one oversized titanium tube after another, beautifully welded by builders who can only be called craftsmen. The front triangle joins the rear end via a carbon link, keeping weight down and stiffness up. The ride is plush throughout its four inches of travel, with minimal bobbing.

We can’t wait for Moots to send us one for a thorough and thoughtful review. (Rob, you still have our number, right?)

$4995 frame

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Patterson Transmission

If you have been thinking about a belt-driven commuter bike but concerned about being locked into a bike with meager gearing choices, stop worrying. Patterson’s just doubled your choices.

The Transmission is a two-speed planetary crankset, with internal gearing equivalent to 28- and 45-tooth chainrings. The crankset has been available in a chain version for about a year, and the new belt drive converter lets you run a Gates carbon drive. It couldn’t be easier, too.

“It’s like a Mr. Potato Head,” said Sam Patterson, who invented it. “You can yank one piece off and slide another one on. Super simple inside.”

Dave Lev of TI Cycles used a belt-drive Transmission on the rig that won “Best Experimental Bike” at this year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show. We saw a few other manufacturers chatting Patterson up at Sea Otter, so you’ll probably see them showing up on other rides soon.

$299

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Cardo Communications System

Trying to chat up your riding buddy can be a frustrating experience. Even chatting up the stoker on your tandem can be a challenge. It doesn’t have to be.

Cardo has been making motorcycle Bluetooth communication systems since 2002. You can see where this is going – the company has designed a helmet-to-helmet system specifically for bicyclists. It can accommodate three riders, and with a range of half a mile, they’ll hear you complaining about the pace before you fall off the back for good.

Once they’ve dropped you, you can pair your headset to any Bluetooth device so you can listen to your iPod or call home and ask for a ride.

$269.95 single / $469.95 pair

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Yeti SB95

Spotting this at Sea Otter was a bit like catching a glimpse of Bigfoot – we’ve heard it existed, but never expected to see it.

Yeti’s big-wheeler is so hot the Golden, Colorado, company can’t build ‘em fast enough. And for good reason. This is a bike you can spend all day on, riding just about everything from technical twisties to fast fire roads. Built using Yeti’s very own Switch Technology and redesigned with the 29er platform in mind, this five-inch trail bike looks to be loads of fun. The SB95 has a low top tube providing ample stand-over height, it’s through-axle compatible and has short chainstays. This bike would be great for riders transitioning from a 26er.

“It’s pretty damn fun and it will make you faster on a lot of trails,” said Dave Ziegman, Yeti R&D/Test Rider.

Want one? The line starts behind us.

$2250

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Kappius Hubs

How many points of contact are enough?

Russ Kappius kept asking himself this question, mostly because he didn’t think guys like Shimano have enough in their rear cassettes. He gave the whole design a serious rethink and came up with his own number. That number is 240. (even my favourite Chris King Hubs only have 45 teeth)

That’s an astronomical figure, given that the average rear hub has between 18 and 36 and even the incredibly awesome Industry Nine Hubs have 120. To accomplish this, Kappius redesigned the hub, clearing out the area beneath the cogset to install an oversize spline. That spline sits atop an externally mounted drive. We’re still wrapping our heads around it, but Kappius claims the system is stronger, with less play and better power transfer.

The goal was building a bombproof hub that doesn’t weigh a ton and is super easy to use. He appears to have succeeded; his mountain bike hub weighs 269 grams, and the cassette slips right on. No chainwhip or cog tool required.

And the sound? Oh, the sound. It’s like angry bees on steroids. We’re not sure our riding partners will like it, but we love it.

$699 rear / $299 front

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Shimano Shadow Plus

Shimano is trickling down the rear derailleur stabilization tech from its flagship XTR mountain group to those of us without sacks of cash to spend on gear. The new Shadow Plus system promises fewer dropped chains, better control, less slap and a quieter ride.

What’s not to like?

Well, the tech carries a heftier price and a bit more weight than the current Shimano offerings. But they believe the advantages outweigh the drawbacks and the resulting shifting stability makes switching a no-brainer.

Of course, SRAM offers similar technology, called the Roller Bearing Clutch. So there is that.

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Camelbak, All Clear

Few things suck more than having to drink nasty water or not being able to drink it at all. Camelbak is here to help with a UV system that purifies water in just 60 seconds.

It couldn’t be easier. The UV bulb is built into the cap. Pour in water, turn the indicator on, swirl the whole thing around a few times and wait. An LCD screen tells you when you’re good to go.

Camelbak says the system eliminates more than 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Yummy!

$99

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Danny Shane, Cross-Hybrid polo

Danny Shane’s been making jerseys for about two years and introduces the Cross-hybrid polo, a top designed to be worn after you get off the bike. A fashion piece, if you will.

Each jersey is infused with white ash, produced by burning bamboo, and said to be breathable, light and stink-resistant. We tried one, and everything Danny Shane says is true. These jerseys are comfy. And plaid. Very, very plaid.

“We’re really inspired by the European cycling culture,” said sales manager Christian Beer. “Argyle has been popular, but nobody has done the plaid before.”

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Intense Hard Eddie

Intense made its rep building big-travel bikes for the downhill set, so it’s a surprise to see it wandering into hardtail, 29er territory. Hard Eddie is a bike those of us who aren’t into big air can love.

Hard Eddie frame comes in at impressive 2.7 lbs, with 135 mm, 142 mm or single-speed rear dropouts. Regardless of whether you’re building a lightweight single speed or put a freeride rig with 100 mm of travel, you’re covered. This is a smoking-hot package from a bike company with legit cred.

$1889 frame / $430 rigid fork

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Teva Links Mid

To anyone who was actually around in the 1980s, the thought of Tevas being at all cool may seem wrong on many levels. But the company has come out with a freeride mountain-specific cycling shoe that is, dare we say it, fashionable and functional.

The Links Mid is, as the name suggests, a mid-height cut of the brand’s popular Link mountain shoe. It’s got flexible armor across the toe, a sole designed to play well with pedals and something called ion-mask technology to make them waterproof.

Light, comfortable and stylish? Yes. Seriously. Look for them by the end of May in any color you like as long as it’s black.

$120

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2013 Giant Anthem X Advanced 29er

The number-one-selling full suspension bike in Giant’s stable gets a revamp for 2013. The top-of-line version now has a carbon fiber front triangle and is lighter, stiffer and sexier.

The Anthem X slimmed down and stiffened up. Giant claims the new frame is 7 percent stiffer up front. The headset is the super-beefy Overdrive2, and the impressive girth of the downtube makes it appear the Anthem will take anything you throw at it. This is one stunningly attractive race-ready ride, with a claimed weight of 23 pounds.

It’s also insanely expensive. The range-topping Anthem X Advanced 0 will run you $8,900.

“The catch, if you will, with composites is obviously price, so we will continue to sell the aluminum version,” said Andrew Juskaitis, Giant marketing. “It’s the hand labor that goes into producing a frame like this. There’s no way around it. There is no way to automate it. This is something that takes a long time to build by hand.”

Road Racing – how exciting can an end of stage be?


this was very exciting … watch from about the 45min mark….

Iljo Keisse (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won a dramatic stage 7 at the 2012 Tour of Turkey in the city of Izmir, surviving a crash on the final bend with 1km to go.

Keisse attacked his six breakaway companions 6km from the finish and held a 40-second lead over a charging peloton into the last turn when disaster struck. While gingerly making his way alone around the sharp bend, nonetheless Keisse’s front wheel slid out sending the 29-year-old Belgian to the tarmac. The picture of calm, Keisse picked himself up off the pavement, put his chain back on and sped onwards down the final straight to the finish.

All of the Belgian’s breakaway companions were swept up inside the flamme rouge, but Keisse managed to just hold off the surging pack led by Marcel Kittel and Alessandro Petacchi to secure the biggest victory of his career and continue his team’s excellent run of form in 2012.

“I’m over the moon about this victory,” Keisse said. “Here in Turkey my condition is improving day by day. Every day I was a little bit better. Also yesterday I tried to get in the breakaway without luck. Today I chose the right move. The guys in the break were really motivated. In the final I felt strong. I knew that If I kept going on it was possible to arrive until the finish.”

Bulgaria’s Ivailo Gabrovski (Konya Torku Seker Spor) remains at the top of the general classification, 1:33 up on second-placed Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana) and 1:38 ahead of Danail Andonov Petrov (Caja Rural).

The Tour of Turkey concludes on Sunday with a 121km stage in Istanbul.

heart in mouth time

Pedal on Parliament Edinburgh


pedal on parliament was amazing. Came across from Glasgow on the train

best kind of luggage

and then joined up with another Brompton rider who showed me a nice way down to Leith on the cycle path (old railway)

Joined up with a feeder ride in Leith

small leith feeder ride

then on to the park where the crowds got bigger and bigger

an hour before the start and already 1000 bikes

then a wait for the off

clogged meadow road

then down the royal mile

clogged pt2

and eventually to parliament where we could barely hear a word of the speeches on a feeble PA … but message to holyrood is strong if a bit silent …

FROM Pedal on Parliament SITE Just wow. When PoP thought of this we wondered if we might get 300 riders out. Then we raised our sights a little and started to hope we’d see a thousand. As we stood at the top of Middle Meadow Walk and saw the bikes come pouring in from all directions we began to think we’d started something big but we didn’t know how big until the head of the ride reached Holyrood while the back was still leaving the Meadows. The police’s conservative estimate was that 2,500 of you were out there pedalling on Parliament and we suspect it might be even more. In fact, we think that more people turned out to ride with us than have even signed the petition, showing the depths of feeling that was out there among people to see safer cycling.

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There will be more as we digest all the great photos and videos, blog posts and testimonies that have been pouring in since the moment the ride started to assemble in the Meadows. We’d like to thank you all who turned out – not just for turning out but for being such a great, good natured and patient crowd. We’d like to thank the police for their assistance at a ride that turned out to be up to ten times larger than they were expecting. And, with a few grumpy exceptions we’d like to thank the people of Edinburgh for allowing us to have our moment in the sun – and in many cases, cheering us on.

Please, keep posting your pictures on our Flickr group and adding your stories on the Facebook group, keep tweeting them your videos and blog posts, and keep signing the petition(which will be up for a few weeks yet before we formally lodge it with the Scottish Government. And keep watching this space – we need to keep in contact because, for all the warm words from our politicians at Holyrood today, changing government policy to bring about the real changes needed to make Scotland a cycle friendly country. We’ll let you know what happens next soon, but for now the (exhausted) people who brought you Pedal on Parliament are going to have an early night…

Smirk – cycling helmets that you want to wear …..


Smirk Masks is the brainchild of Mirco Erbe, known to the world as Smirk. He started out as a graphic artist and became art director at a big German TV station before jacking it in and starting to make masks. He began the business a year and a half ago, taking early inspiration from hockey masks.

“We do masks for every performer, or whatever else you need it for,” says Smirk. “We also do custom masks. You can use all our masks to ride your fixie if you like, although that was just an idea we had to give the people the chance to look as cool as their bikes.”

 

manga rabbit

 

“Everybody likes the masks/helmets, more or less. It’s funny, each individual has their own favourite mask, but not everyone can afford one because it’s all handmade and we try to achieve the best quality. That means our masks are quite expensive… but worth every penny.” Prices start at 1000

mtb travelogue through Scotland


i love this video – simple narrative story and looks like an adventure …. nicely done guys.

400km 7000D+, Scottish breakfast, sheeps, 3 cowboys and me for a backpacking WeekTravel in Scotland !

Fort Williams to Inverness by Singles & bikepark as the Wolf Track of Laggan,
We arrived the day of the MTB Ben Nevis Tour.

Video Self-produced with a basic 550D and monopode
With the MTB riders of travelingexperience during their Friends backpacking trip in sept / oct 2011
(Nicolas Marchais – Pierre Tsikis – Fabien Leduc – terravtt.com)

Direct edit & shoot by me – Pierre Managed the Gopro captures (endings stuff)

Thx much to Todd from Arms for the music use
Go and listen to them : myspace.com/armsongs
And lukhash.com -“Hi-Land-Coo” for the endings…

Next step, soon In Bretagne so… “stay tuned” 😉
Thx for watch till the bonus ;))

For all those friends that did the Paris Marathon


Maybe today you are thinking that running 42.195km is not so difficult after all. Remember however the stage fright that increased as you approached April 15.Running a marathon, whether you are a beginner or an old-timer, is not a joke. 

Running 42.195km is always an adventure, especially in Paris where the beauty of the course offers a mixture of experiences. The effort is the same as elsewhere, but it’s accompanied by a visit of some of the most important sites of the city of light. Of course, this is one of the reasons that the Marathon de Paris is an important stop for runners of all levels and nationalities.

Congratulations to the thousands of finishers who crowded the pavement and beat the cobblestones of the capital with enthusiasm and perseverance. A big bravo for joining up with the ever-growing family of women and men that have faced the challenge of running 42.195km and who have pushed their limits to win the right to wear the 36th  Marathon de Paris medal around their neck.

You have done it. You followed a training plan for many weeks (and maybe many months), and your training has paid off. You changed some of your eating habits, slept more, and saw your friends less. Preparing a marathon often means sacrifice. In consequence, the after race period should allow certain pleasures, small and large.

Disc brakes on mtb, cycle cross and now finally on roadie porn


colnago 2013 C59 Disc

Colnago has beaten the other top-end bicycle manufacturers to the punch and unveiled their C59 Disc road bike at the Taipei Show in Taiwan. The C59 Disc, based on the popular C59 frame used by team Europcar, comes equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, carbon wheels, and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2. The use of Formula hydraulic discs and Di2-enabled hydraulic drop bar levers sets the C59 atop the disc road bike genre.

The C59 Disc has an all new rear end that has been reinforced in key areas to accept the Colnago-branded Formula R1 calipers and 140mm rotors. Similarly, the fork is totally new and, like the frame, can only be set up with disc calipers.

Formula’s hydraulic and electronic levers power all the braking and shifting, and the dual-purpose hydraulic levers set the C59 Disc apart from the current pack of disc brake road and cyclocross bikes. Colnago also released the Artemis Disc wheel, which is what the C59 Disc will be rolling onto the showroom floor with. The wheels have 24 spokes front and rear wich, most importantly, use a mountain bike-standard 135mm rear hub. That means that any mountain bike hub can be used in the 135mm dropouts of the C59 disc.

Along with the C59 Disc, Colnago also released their Prestige Disc cyclocross bike. While less flashy than the C59 Disc, the Prestige Disc still uses Shimano’s Di2 group paired with SRAM BB7 brake calipers. Like the C59 disc, the Prestige Disc will accept 140mm rotors and the rear hub is spaced to 135mm.

Do discs have a place in the roadie world – what do you think?

616 Bicycle fabrication


following on from the reblog below look at these 650b beauties …. they also do a 29er for taller bods …. here is their site in full glory

We are all 29er junkies over here, but let’s face it not all size riders belong on a 29″ wheel. Over the years, we have observed many shorter riders grinding through trails on a 29″ wheel. What really caught our eye were the angles of a frame that seemed so whack to have to accommodate for the shorter top tube length but yet still allow for sufficient tow clearance. We decided there had to be a better option, so we turned our sites on the 650b.

Our intentions from the beginning were to create the best riding custom steel 650 to feed this niche. What we discovered is that the 650 is not only the optimal bike for a shorter rider but it is also one of the most fun rides for a rider of any size.

A smaller wheel equals better leverage to the rear tire, plain and simple. In our prototype process, we noticed immediately the quick off the line response especially riding a technical trail with many switchbacks. The front tire seemed to roll over everything and cut through sand just like a 29er. Overall we knew we were on to something. Matched with our custom steel formula we created the fastest xc riding machine on the planet. Frame weight: 3.5 lbs (medium).

  • Hand selected tubing per customer ride preference
  • 4mm custom poured headbadge
  • Laser cut stainless bridge plate with logo
  • Custom laser etched ID plate with customer name, serial #, tubing used,  and year it was built
  • Decorative lug head tube piece (per customer request)
  • Custom paint with painted logo (no decals!)
  • Custom geometry per customer request (additional charge may apply)


fat bikes are fun – love this article

All Seasons Cyclist

This past winter a lot of cyclists in the Upper Midwest bought Fat Bikes with the intention of spending many hours riding in the snow. In fact, the long-range weather forecast for the Chicago area called for “the worst winter in a generation.” As it turned out, this past winter was the mildest in modern history and we didn’t get to spend much time on the snow at all. However, that doesn’t mean you have to hang up your Fat Bike and wait for next winter! Fat Bikes are a blast to ride on off-road trails.

Fat Bikes, like the Surly Pugsley and the Salsa Mukluk, are best known for their wide tires. The standard Surly Pugsley has 65mm wide rims, and the rims on the Surly Moonlander are 100mm wide. My Surly Necromancer Pugsley has 85mm wide rims and the tires are 4″ wide. In the winter you…

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The joy of cycling


who wouldn’t smile on a brompton

John Buno Adventures.com - Your Travel guide on Cycle Tours and Backpacking Trips in the Philippine Islands

‎”the joy of cycling is when you go to a new place and discover more about yourself than actually where you’re going”- johnbunoadventuresvisayas_ride_0131

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Is 650b one winning step closer to being adopted …


The recent UCI XC world Cup stage win has really opened the debate about 650b wheels again …. So why would you care about 650B mountain bikes? Well, there has been a lot of debate about wheel size in the mountain bike industry. The basic premise of the wheel size debate is that we came to our current standard of the 26″ wheel somewhat arbitrarily. The standard of the 26″ wheel size was established long before mountain bikes came around. So nobody can say that 26″ wheels are and always will be the perfect size for mountain bikes.

If this all sounds familiar, it should. This is the same argument the 29″ wheel crowd has been using for years.

So you might wonder why we don’t actually know what wheel size we should be using. Well, in most cases it comes down to cost. It is very expensive to make new tooling for different size tires and wheels, so you can’t just try anything out whenever you want.

Then there is the establishment issue. Nearly all of the advancements in mountain bike geometry and technology have been based on 26″ wheels. If you just change the wheel size, nothing says that all of the old established standards with 26″ wheels will still work. As with most engineering problems, there are both positives and negatives to almost every option. So, new design optimization may need to take place for each wheel size.

So why 650B? The people behind the 650B movement claim that with 650B tires you get all of the same advantages of the 29″ movement (lower rolling resistance, better traction, smoother ride, etc.) with less of the disadvantages (geometry limitations, toe clearance issues, higher center of gravity, suspension travel limitations).

Much of this may be true, but as I always say, you should get out on a bike and see for yourself if it works for you.

One cool thing about these 650B wheels is that some fork manufacturers are now giving them the OK to run in their standard 26″ forks. This will take the 650B movement a long ways down the road to longer travel without other sacrifices.

I find the idea of looking into different wheel sizes appealing, but I think it may be a long time, if ever, before we as an industry can say what wheel size is best for any type of riding and any type of rider.

If we take the arguments of both the 650B and 29″ movements to extremes, we will end up with custom sized wheels, tires, and frames for each and every rider.

I think in the end here, the bike industry will learn some lessons from all of this and we may end up with some better options for different sized riders and different types of riding, but don’t expect wheels to go through a rapid evolution. There is way too much invested in the 26″ wheel for it to go away anytime soon.

wheels vs rock

From his interview – this answer sums up my belief in this topic …

Are there courses that the 29er is good for still?

It depends on your riding style and how tall you are. I would say the most XC riders they are between 170-180 cm, and at that height the 29er is not the best size.  You are more between the wheels and not on the wheels. For all those riders 650B is the best choice. Also for acceleration you feel it is lighter you don’t have a heavy fork, everything is lighter so in my eyes for XC it is the perfect size 650B. 29er makes sense for tall racers, or if they are not riding that aggressive. I talked to a lot of other riders that are not riding Scott and they said that they want to have from their bike makers the 650B. Im sure in 2 years in the world cup, there will be more 650B bikes than 26″ and 29er.

via BikeMagic

Lat month at the start of the UCI World Cup, held in South Africa, with Swiss rider Nino Schurter opening up his account with a stunning victory. While Nino was sipping champagne after the race, the internet was alive with the news that he had ridden to victory on a mountain bike with 650b wheels.

2012 is threatening to mark the biggest upheaval in the development of the mountain bike since, and the debate is all about wheel size. From the beginning, despite a few brief flirtations, the mountain biking industry settled on 26in wheels, and in the couple of decades since we’ve been blissfully enjoying 26in mountain bikes. In recent years the subject of the best wheel size for mountain biking has risen to the top of the agenda.

Why are we even on 26in wheels in the first place? The reason the Repack riders used 26in wheels back in the 70s and not the more common 700c road wheels around was down to one simple thing: tyre choice. There simply weren’t suitable tyres for off-roading in the larger size. Cruiser bicycle manufacturer Schwinn however produced bikes using 26in wheels, which came shod with fatter tyres, much more suitable for blasting down the tracks those long haired guys were racing. In those early years mountain biking moved swiftly, and there was very little discussion about wheel size. 26in was simply adopted as it proved to work reasonably well. 30 years later and that debate is now raging.

In the years since the first mass produced mountain bikes, there’s been some who have held firm that 26in isn’t the best for mountain biking. 650B is claimed in some quarters to be the best size for mountain biking. It has long since been the solve resolve of French cycle tourists, but if we go back to 1951 we discover that a young group of cyclists, the Velo Cross Club Parisien (VCCP) could claim to have invented mountain biking. Only they never realised it.

They adapted their 650b touring bikes for off-road use  – there’s even YouTube footage of those early cyclists in action. Suspension forks were borrowed from mopeds and improved brakes and gearing were the main changes that allowed these pioneering cyclists to embrace the essence of mountain biking that we take for granted today. If this movement had gathered a little more momentum who knows how the sport might have developed. It could have been very different. Maybe we would all be riding around on 650b mountain bikes already?

Instead the industry continued with26in. Then, along came the rise of the 29in wheel size, in recent years we’ve seen an explosion of 29er bikes. 2012 really does seem to be the year of the 29er.  Gary Fisher pushed the concept of 29in wheels, larger at 622mm diameter than the 559mm of 26in wheels and 584mm of 650b.

The first manufacturer to attempt to bring a 29er to market was Bianchi in 1989, when it brought out a bike with 700c wheels and components like flat bars, thumb shifters and a triple chainset that we would recognise today as standard equipment. It didn’t catch on. By 1995 it was quietly dropped from the Italian company’s range. Gary Fisher, an early adopter and pivotal to the rise of 29ers, brought out his first big wheels bike in 2002.

Now, with the support of most US brands, 29ers are going global. European brands have been forced to follow suit, with 29ers featuring in the catalogues of most medium to large size companies. They’re creeping into more bike shops and more bike sheds and garages across the country, and more people are considering a possible purchase.

So 29ers are the future? Perhaps not, as a 650b mountain bike (a Scott Scale) has just gone and won the first round of the UCI World Cup. This sent shock waves through social media networks like Twitter over the weekend as thousands visibly recoiled in disbelief. Is the future now 650b?

Does 650b offer the best of both world?  That’s the question on many people’s lips. The handling could feasibly feel more akin to a 26in (as it’s only marginally better) but with some of the highlighted benefits of 29ers; increased rolling speed, momentum, smoother and more stable ride over rough terrain, more traction. Another advantage of the 650b wheel is the more vertically challenged people will be better able to get a good fit – we’ve seen some drastic solutions taken by sponsored riders forced to ride 29ers to get the handlebars low enough to replicate a fit they happily achieved on their previous 26in bikes. And we know how racers like to slam their handlebars and get as low as possible.

That’s largely a reason  Nino is said to have chosen a 650b from a choice of three wheel sizes. And of course there’s the weight advantage, there’s no getting away from the fact smaller wheels are lighter.

What does it mean for mountain biking though? Is there space for three wheel sizes, is the industry really wanting to offer the huge range of bikes that the three sizes would clearly need?

And do the public have the appetite for three wheel sizes? Is the industry gambling with people’s patience and money? Or is this leading us to have a debate about the size of our wheels that we’ve never properly had in our young sport.

What do you think?

PS

If you liked the video at the top here is the longer version – he seems to make absolon pay every time in the technical rock garden … greater skills …. bigger wheels …. who knows