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  1. #1
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    Niner's Chris Sugai on 650b/275

    Video about 1/4-1/3 of the way down.

    Products and People - Sea Otter 2013 - Pinkbike

    He likens 275 to a 'tweener' similar to cable discs (instead of full hydraulic), Girvin (GAH!) Flex Stems instead of front suspension, suspension posts to rear suspension...

    My $0.02? From a company that can't design bikes for everyone who might like one (Enduro29, Mr Sugai?), he seems awfully sure. Kool-Aid at its worst...

    Why can't it just be ok that many people have tried and like 275? Not a good sign for Niner.

    mk
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  2. #2
    it's the ride....
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    ..and I am selling my 29-er for 275. No worries.. he only loss one customer..
    Ulating blencong sejatine tataraning lelaku...

  3. #3
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    I don't know who he is and I don't have a dog in this fight. But his comments, purely from a branding/messaging standpoint, are pure idiocy. Building your company around one wheel size trend and refusing to recognize any others is stupid. But to then insult the fastest growing trend by comparing it to a slew of low-end products is just daft.

    Whichever venture or equity group is funding his company needs to tell him to STFU.
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

  4. #4
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    I have a Niner and I really like the way it rides. I also just built up a Soma B Side and, although I've only ridden it once, it rode great. I have to say that Chris seems like a total ********, though. It makes me not want to buy anything from his company again.

  5. #5
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    Corporate Tunnel Vision at it's best!

    I hope they snap out of it, or at least eat a half a slice of humble pie and be the first people to produce a 29/27.5 5.5" enduro/all mtn bike with 16.75 chain stays.

  6. #6
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    Everything in life, including 650b wheels, is a compromise but those comparisons are ridiculous. That said, so far I'd say his prediction from several years ago that 29ers will dominate the mountain bike market has been *mostly* true. They're 50% of the total market as of last year, from basically zero in 2003 or 2004. So he's got a better track record than many at prognostication.

    If I had to guess, for the entire mountain bike market, stability will eventually come at something like 25/25/50 for 26/650b/29.

    Edit: That's for the US. If Asia gets very into mountain bikes, total game changer - 26 and to a lesser extent 650b will dominate that part of the world just based on demographics and average height, and realistically Asia is most of the world. But that might or might not happen.

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  7. #7
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    I don't know about the USA but here in BC 27.5 will dominate 26 and 29. Whistler may still hang on the 26. Just went to Steed and they sold 7 Santa Cruz Bronson in the last 2 weeks. I predict 26 for DJ/Trials/Street and anything really tech, 29 for XC and 27.5 everything else.

  8. #8
    www.EpicCyclist.com
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    -edit- DH is the big mystery. Bikes that are adjustable and could run both 26 and 27.5 depending on the course???

  9. #9
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    Niner wasn't on my radar but now it is even less so. I will stay away from a company whose owner is so closed minded. You can't have progress or even great design ideas when you have tunnel vision. I wish him well however he will never see a cent from me. Too many better and open minded companies I'd rather give my hard earned money too.

  10. #10
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    I bet Yao Ming would ride a 29er!
    When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist.

  11. #11
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    I think making only 29ers is a rather tidy marketing strategy. I've seen quite a few people assume Niner is a top 29er choice simply because that's all they do. The focus implies quality in a lot of minds. I would imagine they can sell more 29ers based on that impression than they could other wheel sizes, were they just another random company in an overly saturated market with broad offerings.

    But not to me...I've a 27.5er on order

  12. #12
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    I was amused. Chris Sugai is very open to share his thoughts and it gets him in trouble, due to people misinterpreting it. I like how pinkbike put his thoughts up against a Norco engineer in a 29 vs 26" earlier, which isn't a fair match-up when speaking of things in a technical manner.

    I think people just like drama and using the wheel size debate as one of their outlet. The whole debate is overblown, with people somehow investing interest in things as if such interest held value. There's not really much money to be made in the biking industry and it would be better if the bike industry would stop shooting themselves in the foot by making people indecisive about buying, with potential customers holding off purchases until they feel that they've properly researched things, as opposed to encouraging sales. Problem is, the lack of truly valuable sources of info that can truly help individual make decisions. You got plenty of opinions and fashionable schools of thought, backed by the "power of numbers" (AKA general consensus), but following such trends tends to get one to spend money on things not really suited to their personal needs.

  13. #13
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    Wouldn't mind if people just simply accepted straight cold hard facts. The basics are, big wheels offer undeniable benefits for mountain biking. There are downsides, but they're being argued and overblown, rather than being weighed against the benefits, seeing if the benefits outweigh the downsides. People are making a big deal about how 650b is only a "tiny bit bigger" than 26", rather than seeing the point about it being about minimizing those downsides from the bigger 29er wheels, and getting as much of the bigger wheel advantages as possible. The market perspective on 650b is that its offers the benefits of bigger wheels without any of the disadvantages, but people just aren't accepting it.

    There really isn't anything to weigh with 650b, other than what wheel size do you choose about the 3 being presented. It's basically what people have been demanding, bigger wheels without compromising the geo the have come to be accept as well-balanced from riding their 26". Hard to deny the results shown from bigger wheels, and 650b is already proving itself in races.

    I think it's just a psychological issue in people. People demand, yet find nothing that pleases them. They may have paid too much attention to the trends and found that they made regrettable buying decisions, and now are more likely to reconsider any major decisions in the future. Switching to a new wheel size seems to be a big investment to people, an investment in a more literal sense. People might have some sort of superiority complex, wanting what's good in comparison to the others, rather than what's good enough for them, and arguing to defend against any claims of inferiority (ex. to what wheel size they ride). People just are not very accepting.

    Sorry for the rant. I'm just tired of the debating and I'm trying to offer a realistic perspective. There's just an excess of trendy perspectives, negativity, and non-serious people trying to stir up drama. It's like a perfect setup for some trolls to have a ball, due to the stupidity going on. Saying things, such as certain wheel sizes or old tech, are going to die should be taboo on these forums, as that just gets people riled up big time.

  14. #14
    just some guy
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    Mr. Sugai has put everything he has into the 'Niner' concept, so he absolutely cannot embrace 650b in any way whatsoever. Wether he truly is as completely close-minded about the new standard as he appears from the interview, you have to understand that he has everything to lose and nothing to gain by 650b, so his interests compel him to completely dismiss it.

  15. #15
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    I love Niner. Their parts work great on my 650b.

    Hahaha.
    2013 Rocky Mountain Vertex 990 RSL
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  16. #16
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    Niner - once, the specialization meant something - a company that showcased their expertise on the big wheel, and the big wheel only, meant a lot in a market with few choices. The big bike companies were slow (a bit) to pick up the 29er and thats where Niner made its mark.

    Its thus idiocy for Sugai to foreclose the possibility of an eventual venture into the 650b, in the same way that many other companies foreclosed their venture into the 29er world years back, and are now eating crow for that. He of all people should recognize that a new trend has incredible potential. He just closed himself to a segment with great potential.
    Now he has to make it only on his overpriced stuff in a market with so much better-priced competition.

  17. #17
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    I couldn't disagree with Varaxis any more. Yes you can feel a undeniable benefit from a 26er to a 29ers, as well if 29ers were the norm and you went to a 26ers, the undeniable benefit is it feels different, which may feel better, until you come to the realization of having buyers remorse. I've spent time on all the wheel sizes, settled with a 27.5, believe that the size has all of the attributes of both sizes. I laugh at all of my 29er riding friends, when we ride I love watching them blow through tight corners trying to steer their big wheel beasts in tight and technical single track, all the while. I'm buzzing their rear wheels pushing them along on my converted SC Blur XCc. I have not seen one benefit of the 29er bikes, except maybe on fireroad studder bumps. What's the first thing we learn about making your bike faster and more responsive, reduce your rotational weight, pretty much throws that theory out with a 29ers. This post was about Niner' s Chris Sugai' s comments regarding the optimum wheel size, did anyone really think he would have said anything different?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Jeff View Post
    I laugh at all of my 29er riding friends, when we ride I love watching them blow through tight corners trying to steer their big wheel beasts in tight and technical single track, all the while. I'm buzzing their rear wheels pushing them along on my converted SC Blur XCc.
    I'd be willing to bet that it's got much less to do with the size of wheels you and your friends ride and more to do with the fact that you're simply the better rider.

  19. #19
    Keep on Rockin...
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    Chris does have a point. Adopting new/different technology may take some time, and if there is an "in-between", some folks go that route. 29ers make better bikes for some types of riding and some riders. It took me at least a year of trying 29ers to come around to the big change. I thought they steered slow. It took a long time for me to learn to handle the bike differently. Now I find they corner better and faster than a 26" bike. A 275 might have eased the transition to big wheels. So for those on a 26",whose style and trails would be best met by a 29er, going to a 275 first could make sense.

    What I don't agree with is that 29ers are best for all riding for all riders. Chris suggesting that the 275 could only be thought of as a transition to a 29er "across the board" is something I disagree with. A 275 may be the best wheel size for certains styles and trails - 29" hoops do have their weaknesses.

    For almost a year now I've been on a 29er, converted to a 275 out back and a 29er up front (a B-9er). Love it.

    BTW, Niner makes a great bike. I have a RIP and almost bought the new carbon RIP - but, since Santa Cruz's TBLTc has been out long enough to bring out potential bugs, and it has a bit more travel I went that route. I'd sure like to see them do a B-Niner, or even a straight 275. Niner is a good compancy and their suspension is great - hate to see it all wasted on one wheel size.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Jeff View Post
    I laugh at all of my 29er riding friends, when we ride I love watching them blow through tight corners trying to steer their big wheel beasts in tight and technical single track, all the while.
    Exactly the reason , I'm going 27.5/650b, my 29er can corner for ____ in a hairpin. I've run out of angle and chopped more berms than I'd care to count. That never happened when I rode a 26"

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Jeff View Post
    I have not seen one benefit of the 29er bikes, except maybe on fireroad studder bumps.
    Fire roads and the ridiculous top end of 3x on big hoops is why I went 29 in the first place.

    Both have will their place for me 650b in the woods, 29er's big hoops out on the levees and for jogging the dogs. I doubt I'll ever have a 26" again, once 29 was affordable for me I got one. Not because it was cool, but because something never felt right when I rode a XL framed 26". Out in the woods there are times I feel the same but opposite about my 29er. Hopefully 27.5 does it for me, if not I'll just feel like I'm never riding the right bike..
    Ellsworth Epiphany - 27.5/650b conversion
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  21. #21
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    Has he been paying attention?

    And how is wheel size "technology"?

    He should be more worried about his frames breaking, and losing sales to superior 29ers, like Tallboys and Stumpjumpers.

  22. #22
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    Interesting couple of comments regarding my post. As far as me being the better rider, I am to some of my friends, others maybe not, my friend Rob, an ex pro rider, could probably ride a Wal-Mart bike and still put the hurt on us, but I see him struggle but he still makes it happen. Using the 29er to walk the dogs...that's awesome. Is 27.5 the ultimate end all wheel size? Who knows,maybe in the future, another wheel size or technology will arrive and deem everything we ever thought about any wheel size invalid. I know from my own experiences that 650b/ 27.5 is the wheel size choice for me but everyone is different and if people really spend time on all of the sizes, don't flame what you haven't tried. I get tired of the way people claim " 29ers are going to rule( or have ruled) in xc, how many of us race the glorified road courses that the pro xc racers race on? The courses I have raced on the last few years are not the type that would suit any wheel size, and that's a good thing in my opinion.

  23. #23
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    It seems that Mr Sugai has missed what we all concede: there is no right answer to wheel size. We wouldn't tell a four year old about the benefits of 24" wheels and try to get her to ride it. Why would we assume that anyone will like or not like a certain wheel size?

    The iterative process that many of us old guys have gone through and ended up happy with 650b/275 (for now) has value. It stings to hear somebody say otherwise. AND it's so shortsighted to ignore something that has caught fire so fast.

    I have to say it's REALLY great to have such attention being paid to the style of riding I do. I felt that the 29r movement had nothing for me. I tried. I REALLY wanted to be turned on by 29. I rode so many 1st gen bikes at demos and Interbike when they first started popping and none of them worked for me. I rode some 2nd and 3rd gen product and still felt something was off. Now that 650b/275 has provided options (I don't have Pacenti or Pacenti tires to choose from), Spec'd drops the Enduro, likely the first 29r bike that I would have happily ridden. I'm still planning on checking one out...

    Mr Sugai: fly us all out to Fort Collins in July and we'll help you start a new company, Fiver. We'll help you get some dialed product together and we won't tell anyone. Professional criticism is what you'll see here and I hope you don't take it personally...

    mk
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  24. #24
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    I, for one, respect his comments. He has built a successful business around a very specific market (I'd call it a niche, but 29ers are far too mainstream now). Why would anyone expect him to do anything other than champion his brand? It's counter-intuitive.

    Get over it and go ride your 650b if that's what you're into.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Why would anyone expect him to do anything other than champion his brand? It's counter-intuitive.


    That's exactly what I was thinking. Agree or disagree, its not like it matter to any individual, since we can fortunately ride whatever the h3ll we want...

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