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  1. #1
    Cassoulet forever !
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    29"ers history : Ross Schafer ?

    Hi,

    Big shock in last issue of the French "Vélo Vert" mag : 16 pages about 29"ers !!!!
    The lobbying + a trip to the sea otter made this happen.
    Test: Intense spider 26 vs 29, GT and Niner's singlespeed.

    Not many news, except that now i have the name of a Mavic representative that already rides a 29"ers (Kelly). Target locked :P

    What interest me is that the journalist said that the 29"er movement was "pushed by Gary Fisher but issued from Ross Schafer's brain, during the Salsa period".

    This is very different from the stories i have read here (Willits + WTB, etc.).
    I would like to have your opinion on this before i write to the journalist to correct any revisionism !

    thanks,
    V
    Frenchspeaking 29"ers community site http://VingtNeuf.org

  2. #2
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    The pciture I gathered from some insiders of the whole deal is this :
    Ross Schafer's neighbour Bruce Gordon, a touring rack builders, got the point of large wheels (for touring and all things bike) into Don Cook's head in '94 in a long bike fantasizing session in Bruce's workshop. Perhaps Ross had been the source and talked to Bruce about it before that, well possible.
    Don Cook started working on Charlie Cunningham and Mark Slate at WTB to please make a bigger 700c tire, much bigger. Don then also got Gary Fisher hot for the idea, and since he was a big WTB customer at the time, things started "rolling".
    Biggest tire back then was the 42mm Conti Goliath or the tiny 45c Panaracer Smoke.
    Wes Williams, an old friend of Bruce also got involved, and was pushing WTB for a 47mm tire to build the ultimate 28"ers around. Don preferred something at least 52mm as that was what he was riding in 26" then, and to really make something of another scale than the current cyclo-cross offerings.
    Gary was riding Nano 26x2.1's at the time, and perhaps for the sake of giving "big wheelers" a chance, and doing some real life coparisons, it was chosen as the first 29" tire.
    April '99 the first 12 tires arrived at WTB, Gary got a bunch, Wes got a pair, Don got a pair. Some stayed at WTB for their own testing.

    Don took his pair to Kent Eriksen (Moots) in Colorado as he had been asking him to make a big wheeler since '94. When Kent saw the tires, he knew right away what they'd had been talking about for so many years and by May 10th 1999 the first-ever "big wheel mtn bike" was made.

    Wes in the mean time had started work to make his current fleet of 28"ers fit the tire that was bigger than he anticipated, and in August he built his first truly dedicated 29"er. That bike was shown at Interbike of that year.

    Don just started riding the Eriksen and showing locals what it does on the trails, Wes took upon him playing the press. Gary quickly had various prototypes done by old friends, of which pictures are floating around on MTBR. Steel proto's built around converted Look Fournales forks, and converted Manitou's. Gary had a line of 29"ers done halfway 2001.

    I'd love to get to the bottom and learn what Ross had to do with it.

  3. #3
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    I was hoping this article from some time in 2002 would help, but I'm not sure it does.

    http://web.archive.org/web/200212181...egory=features

  4. #4
    If you have to ask...
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    Speaking of early 29er tires, what were they running on the 29er Diamond back and Bianchi lines back in the very late eighties? I seem to recall that they had Cyclepro Motivators that were at least a 1.9", but were are talking about almost twenty years ago...

    On another note, Bruce Gordon's "Rock N Road" model (drop/flat bar convertible, hence mtb/touring bike) ran Nokians back in '90 or so. They were a bit skinny- I think they called out 45c or something like that. The tire model was the Hakkapelita (or something like that).



    miles
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  5. #5
    Eric the Red
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    If I recall,

    The Diamondback Overdrive had Panaracer Smoke 45c tires. Pretty much as wide as could be had back then.

  6. #6
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    If BCD is going to manage to make one 29" tire from two 26" ones as he's intending, our beloved pioneers are going to look really silly for waiting so long to even just have a fat tire to test ride on. Somebody send that homecrafted tire back in time to 1976 please?

  7. #7
    the new Gilbert Grape
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    Quote Originally Posted by edoz
    The Diamondback Overdrive had Panaracer Smoke 45c tires. Pretty much as wide as could be had back then.
    Yep, both used the 45mm wide 700c Panaracer Smoke.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20.100 FR
    Hi,

    Big shock in last issue of the French "Vélo Vert" mag : 16 pages about 29"ers !!!!
    The lobbying + a trip to the sea otter made this happen.
    Test: Intense spider 26 vs 29, GT and Niner's singlespeed.

    Not many news, except that now i have the name of a Mavic representative that already rides a 29"ers (Kelly). Target locked :P

    What interest me is that the journalist said that the 29"er movement was "pushed by Gary Fisher but issued from Ross Schafer's brain, during the Salsa period".

    This is very different from the stories i have read here (Willits + WTB, etc.).
    I would like to have your opinion on this before i write to the journalist to correct any revisionism !

    thanks,
    V

    Ive been told by the founding fathers of WTB that GF pushed them to do a tire. Then they figured they might as well build a few bikes for themselves since they were making tires. Ive got the first ti 29er that Steve Potts made (only ti 29er made for WTB) along with a couple early modified Marzocchi forks from about 1998 or 99. Ive seen the first 29er steel frame they made also.

    Never heard the Ross Shafer stuff, but it wouldnt surprise me. Bruce Gordon had the Rock and Road in the early 90s I think and that had 700 x 45ish tires on it. They were rebadged Nokian Hakkapellitas I believe.

  9. #9
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    Bianchi Project Smokes

    I used up my stock of 45c Smokes a few years back, decent back tire for climbing.
    The Bianchi ads from 1993 read just like last years Fisher ads. I waited for ten years for a new big wheel bike!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by wvKan29; 05-16-2006 at 01:54 PM. Reason: add image

  10. #10
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    SUCH a shame that Bianchi did not support the "Project" enough to order dedicated tires for it. What a blow that would have been to DiamondBack, or vice versa! Using a tire that the other bike wouldn't fit! Making all the claims about the 28"er true in a 29"er.

    What does the parallel universe look like where Bianchi did have a fat tire made ~1990? Would the 29" deal have died just like 28" did, and even never return afterwards, or would the custom builders have jumped on that tire and taken it from there?

  11. #11
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    can we see a pic of that bike? cheers.

  12. #12
    Cassoulet forever !
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    Thanks all for your answers.

    Does someone has a picture of the first 29"er (the moots ?)

    I would be interested in knowing more on this Bianchi stuff too.

    And the final piece would be to have some info from the nishiki side. After all, they made their bikes at the same time as Gary Fisher. But i have Zero info on this story.
    Frenchspeaking 29"ers community site http://VingtNeuf.org

  13. #13
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    I was going to be a smart ass and tell you to search. Proved rather hard to find pics. MTBR Search gives me ALL threads rather than a selection.

    I did google this, the DiamondBack http://forums.mtbr.com/vintage-retro-classic/old-school-29-er-win-ebay-113593.html#post1037659
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  14. #14
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    I spoke extensively with the Nishiki guy on Eurobike 2001. Marvin or Murvin something.

    I think he just got the buzz on the customs 29"ers out there, and got busy to have bikes ready at the same moment as Fisher. He even had to have forks made in Taiwan, later copied by Winwood. Bishiki also had the first production 29" full-suspension, supposedly 125mm of travel.

    I wonder...
    MTB's got to roll in 1976 or so.
    It took until 1989 for Bianchi/DiamondBack to product 28" MTB's, aimed not at touring but the offroads.
    Then in 1994 the itch came with Bruce and Don, and first steps were taken, resulting in a 1999 WTB tire debut.
    The same people that stood at the basis of mountainbiking as we know it, took another 23 years to bring 700c back to off-roading, 25 years for the first production 29"er. People with the vision and willpower to get MTB off the ground, took quite long to see "the light" :-)

  15. #15
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    It ain't my fault!

    One of the active forum gang sent me a link to this discussion and asked me to chip in my 2 cents worth. I deny everything! Those Velo Vert guys were here at my place for a visit to Soulcraft (Sean of Soulcraft has been sharing my shop with me since Soulcraft started in 1999), but I don't know where they got the thing about 29'ers being from my brain....a bunch of hooey for sure. Bruce Gordon (his shop was next to Salsa's at that time in history) is indeed the first person I know of who seriously pursued trying to get fatter tires for 700c rims. I know that Wes and he were pals, but I have no idea how much Wes had to do inspirationally or logistically with those first bigger tires Bruce got ahold of (had made?). I know that before Bruce got his tires going the biggest they could find was indeed the Hakkapelitas (sp?) from Finland. This was back in the days when the bike industry was trying hard to create a new "niche" and tried really hard to push "hybrid" bikes. A hybrid bike being a 700c bike with upright bars and tires that were fatter than your usual 700c fare. Bruce sold quite a few of the "Rock n' Road" bikes that he designed around the bigger tires he got. But the whole hybrid thing became more of a joke in the industry than anything else. Wes' is the man when it comes to really pushing the 29'er mtb thing. Wes was a friend of mine as well and if I recall correctly he first caught the bug by offroading on his fixed gear 700c scorcher bike. Jusat wanted to set the record straight on my 29'er involvment....or lack thereof as the case is. All the best to the myriad of old friends of mine out there in MTBR forum world.
    Ross Shafer
    Six-Nine Design
    www.six-ninedesign.com
    Last edited by Scoboni; 05-16-2006 at 08:22 AM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    The pciture I gathered from some insiders of the whole deal is this :
    Ross Schafer's neighbour Bruce Gordon...
    Cloxx-

    What you wrote above is truthful as far as where I snipped it. After that you were so far off the mark that certain people might get upset and or angry reading your supposition.

    I think it'd be a really good idea to go back and delete what you wrote, as it amounts to nothing more than rumor and we all know what happens when you start spreading those around.

    MC

  17. #17
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    Mike, not sure what you're referring to.
    For the history part, I did state that it's just the picture that I had gotten from the people I talked to over the years. I've just been following this since 2001, from where everything was easy to keep track of.
    Please just set me straight rather than suggest me to delete it all. It's a discussion forum. I have been wrong before, and if I'm here, it's vital to establish that.

  18. #18
    Cassoulet forever !
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    Thanks a lot for the explanation Ross.

    By the way, nice picture of you in the mag, covered with paint ! :P
    Frenchspeaking 29"ers community site http://VingtNeuf.org

  19. #19
    The Duuude, man...
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20.100 FR
    Thanks all for your answers.

    Does someone has a picture of the first 29"er (the moots ?)
    I have no idea how many came before this one, but this was my 2001 Mooto-X YBB proto. It was perfect, other than being a little lacking in the chainstay tire clearance department.



    FS: Everything

  20. #20
    Cassoulet forever !
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Mike, not sure what you're referring to.
    For the history part, I did state that it's just the picture that I had gotten from the people I talked to over the years. I've just been following this since 2001, from where everything was easy to keep track of.
    Please just set me straight rather than suggest me to delete it all. It's a discussion forum. I have been wrong before, and if I'm here, it's vital to establish that.
    Yep, that would be more constructive !
    I think this forum needs a nice and complete history thread, to get things right.
    Frenchspeaking 29"ers community site http://VingtNeuf.org

  21. #21
    This place needs an enema
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Mike, not sure what you're referring to.
    For the history part, I did state that it's just the picture that I had gotten from the people I talked to over the years. I've just been following this since 2001, from where everything was easy to keep track of.
    Adding a disclaimer to erroneous statements doesn't absolve you from responsibility for the content therein.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Please just set me straight rather than suggest me to delete it all. It's a discussion forum. I have been wrong before, and if I'm here, it's vital to establish that.

    There's nothing to set straight--everything you wrote is so twisted. You gave credit to people that weren't involved, misapplied names to actions, and your timeline was off to boot.

    MC

  22. #22
    The Duuude, man...
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    Seems like the valuable contribution would be to offer a correction. Not merely a statement that someone else is wrong and leave it at that.

    I think we are all interested in an actual valid/accurate accounting.
    FS: Everything

  23. #23
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    Than I was mis-informed, so tell us your version!

    History seems like a very subjective thing. The age of humanity as well as the existence of the holocaust are still being debated, under influence of ignorance, idiology and religion.

    I disagree, my disclaimer gives me the chance to picture what I gathered from reports. where dates and facts are wrong, just enlighten us rather than to telling we're wrong and walking off.

    20.100 wants to get history straight. Ross was so kind to erase his own name. We were getting somewhere. It's not law writing, where only amendments can be made. Wrote your own, it's hstory!

    Perhaps those in contact with the folks at WTB and any other involved parties could get them to give their input before looking at what others wrote to spoil it all?

  24. #24
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    Where the heck is Bigwheel when we need him?
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  25. #25
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    Bye Bye
    Last edited by Bigwheel; 05-17-2006 at 06:45 PM. Reason: Outa here
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