A little interview I did for BikeRumor.com
posted by Editor - July 13, 2009 - 10pm EDT
After watching footage from the first few UCI World Cup downhill races this year, we’re sitting around the office blown away by the speed at which the riders could seemingly fling their bikes over some seriously gnarly roots, rocks and drops. We also noticed that some of the rocks and root “cavities” (the gullies between big roots) seemed to occasionally be just a hair too much for the bikes, forcing the riders to navigate around some obstacles rather than bomb over them.
Not being big downhillers here, we got to wondering why no one was running a 29″ wheel on a downhill mountain bike…at least on the front. As we all know by now, a 29er’s larger wheel rolls over stuff easier, and some of the bits on the World Cup downhill courses were seemingly just beyond the capability of a 26″ wheel to get over (even with 8″ of travel!), but could have been tackled by a 29er.
So, in typical Bikerumor fashion, we called the experts. Lots of them. We wanted input from big brands and small, global companies and boutique DH specialists. We also wanted a dedicated 29er brand…so we went overkill and interviewed the folks from Specialized, Foes, Banshee, Norco, Santa Cruz and Niner and asked them the following three questions:
- Why don’t downhillers use 29″ wheels, at least on the front?
- Has your company or any of it’s factory riders ever tested or prototyped a 29er or 69er downhill bike?
- Anything else you could add on this topic?