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  1. #1
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    What's happening with the 29er market!? So confused

    I read this in another thread and am wondering what you guys think.

    Anyways here's what Giant is saying about wheel sizes
    "Can we expect to see 29 and 26-inch wheels eventually disappear in Giant's consumer-priced bikes in the near future?

    · 26-inch for sure, but 29-inch will be dependent on market feedback. That said, if the market progresses the way we believe it will, 29-inch will be phased out in approximately two years....again, totally dependent on market feedback."

    Taken from - 650B For Giant's 2014 Elite-Level Mountain Bikes - Pinkbike

    As someone who has been looking into 29ers for my next XC race bike this is a bit troublesome. I know they're just talking about the Giant line but I would guess that other bike makers have the same thought process.

  2. #2
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    Won't happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    Won't happen.
    Wow, so insightful

    But seriously, a little explanation would be nice

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    Won't happen.
    I agree 100% 29 er's are here to stay for awhile.
    Got my first 29 er and I'm amazed what this thing roll's over. (I'm a rookie)
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  5. #5
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    I know I have said this a lot, but if 29ers leave the market, bike brands do not know what their customers want.
    Some want 26", some want 29", sheep want 27.5", etc.

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    29er's are here to stay and I believe 26" isn't going away anytime soon (as a whole).

    I do think however, bike manufacturers wish there was one wheel size or at least certainly not 3 wheel sizes. Maybe Giant is just putting nasty rumors out there in order to try and control what people start buying.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

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    Giant has nothing better than adequate in the current marketplace. And no innovative models- some are falling behind the development curve with steep head tube angles that are twitchy. So their 29 sales may not seem enough...
    The rest of the world is just beginning to jump on board.
    Things are rolling and 29 will roll over this.

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    I am willing to believe Giant that 650B is marginally better on paper but people like 29" wheels. They just look cool and people care about other things than calculations on a piece of paper when buying a bike.

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    Re: What's happening with the 29er market!? So confused

    Giant may be retarded and think of getting rid of 29ers but id bet they are the only ones. Trek is probably laughing histarically at them right now cause I see ppl buying trek 29ers all the time. Just ran into a couple at trails today that just bought trek marlin 29ers brand new yesturday and today was their first ride on them. I see 29er hts over anything else out here. So it'd be serious hit to dealers here to loose them.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSracer View Post
    Wow, so insightful

    But seriously, a little explanation would be nice
    Really not worth the debate. 29ers are the most popular bike in the market. I personally sold my 26 as it never made it out of the garage once the 29 arrived.

    I've yet to ride a 27.5" that I felt is superior to a 29 or a 26. I'd rather have a bike with a specific best of feature e.g. Nimbleness vs a tweener.

  11. #11
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    Most new riders buy in the 29ers (I was no different) and hard tails make the more logical and more affordable choice for somebody getting in the sport.

    Even the more experienced riders seem to be switching over to 29ers.

    Not that I think any wheel size is better than the next as they all lose something to gain something. However to me the 650b makes the least choice.

    Would manufacturers like to be able to sink all their R&D in to one wheel size? Sure, it is easier and cheaper but lets face the facts if they stop making one, they are just handing business over to the companies that are still making them.

    That all being said, be ready for 32" because I don't think that is just going to go away either. It may take a few years, but it will be the next big thing.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSracer View Post
    I read this in another thread and am wondering what you guys think.

    Anyways here's what Giant is saying about wheel sizes
    "Can we expect to see 29 and 26-inch wheels eventually disappear in Giant's consumer-priced bikes in the near future?

    · 26-inch for sure, but 29-inch will be dependent on market feedback. That said, if the market progresses the way we believe it will, 29-inch will be phased out in approximately two years....again, totally dependent on market feedback."

    Taken from - 650B For Giant's 2014 Elite-Level Mountain Bikes - Pinkbike

    As someone who has been looking into 29ers for my next XC race bike this is a bit troublesome. I know they're just talking about the Giant line but I would guess that other bike makers have the same thought process.
    I bet Giant "want" to go to 650...saves having 2 wheel sizes and makes a lot of geo possibilities easier to make and design....can get a little of both worlds, but obviously they'll only do it if people want it..."market feedback". My guess is people will still prefer 29ers with a few falling elsewhere. I don't think they are commenting on the 29er market in general but more on what they'd like to do and if the market will let them.

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    29ers in the Xc market alone will keep them around a long time. Let alone all the new longer travel great handling trail/all moutian 29ers.

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    “We have not killed 29 in 2014...but we do have plans to phase it out over time."

    Read this article at Bike Magazine about Giant exiting the 29er segment.

    I thought it was strange for such a large company to pre-announce the demise and the end of life of current products.

    “We are fully committed to 27.5,” explains Giant’s Global Marketing Manager, Andrew Juskaitis. “We are not introducing just one or two models. We are not testing the waters here. We believe so strongly in what 27.5 has to offer that we’ve committed the majority of our 2014 line to 27.5—from sport to race. This is the boldest decision we have ever made in our company’s history.”

    While Juskaitis notes that Giant will continue to offer 29ers in 2014, he maintains that 27.5 is the future for the company. “We have not killed 29 in 2014, but it is minimized,” explains Juskaitis. “We are not going to turn off the tap entirely this year, but we do have plans to phase it out over time.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by mappable View Post
    Read this article at Bike Magazine about Giant exiting the 29er segment.

    I thought it was strange for such a large company to pre-announce the demise and the end of life of current products.

    “We are fully committed to 27.5,” explains Giant’s Global Marketing Manager, Andrew Juskaitis. “We are not introducing just one or two models. We are not testing the waters here. We believe so strongly in what 27.5 has to offer that we’ve committed the majority of our 2014 line to 27.5—from sport to race. This is the boldest decision we have ever made in our company’s history.”

    While Juskaitis notes that Giant will continue to offer 29ers in 2014, he maintains that 27.5 is the future for the company. “We have not killed 29 in 2014, but it is minimized,” explains Juskaitis. “We are not going to turn off the tap entirely this year, but we do have plans to phase it out over time.”
    What is their share of the 29er market? % to total biz? Knowing these stats would quantify their "gamble". I suspect they are losing share and made a decision to do something drastic.

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    It seems to me they might be taking a Niner approach. The whole "this is the best wheelsize and the only one worth making" deal.

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    Funny this thread got started as about a month ago I spoke to one of the National Sales managers for Orbea and he made the statement "in two years 29ers will be gone" His reason was that the 29ers have not take off in the rest of the World like they have in the US and we are a very small market overall. I would say Giant and Orbea are getting killed in the 29er market and are laying their line on a pipe dream. I laughed at him but if that's true I guess I just bought my last bike as I will not go back down in wheel size. I find it hard to believe Yeti, Santa Cruz, Pivot, and Niner will ever quit building a 29" bike. They are all thriving because the big brands like Giant, Treck, Specialized all drug their feet getting into the 29" market.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    What is their share of the 29er market? % to total biz? Knowing these stats would quantify their "gamble". I suspect they are losing share and made a decision to do something drastic.
    True. I wonder what Giant dealers think of this decision? Those dealers are really going to have to get on board to sell a middle wheel size. Bold move on a somewhat unknown wheel size to most joe publics out there.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    True. I wonder what Giant dealers think of this decision? Those dealers are really going to have to get on board to sell a middle wheel size. Bold move on a somewhat unknown wheel size to most joe publics out there.
    Simple. They just diversify brands. People who want that brand in a 650b wheel can go there, and now there's added floor space for a brand like Niner, Yeti, Airborne, or others to start moving bikes on.

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    Giant may want to pass that information on to their employees. I was in a Giant Store 3 weeks ago and the shop assistant told me that within 2 years Giant would only be selling 29ers!!

  21. #21
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    Bring this topic up again when Santa Cruz does something that can be interpreted as dropping wheel sizes to mainly focus on one. Seems like people are misinterpreting things. To me, it looks like they are just trying to make their line-up more efficient, dropping things with low sales, maybe like their women's 29er models, 26 Anthem and HT, etc. and reintroducing their trail/AM 26 as 650b, which is a market they see to be worth targeting. Do people here find any Giant models to actually be desirable besides their 29er HT and Anthem, Trance, and maybe Defy road bike compared to the competition? Looks to me that Giant kind of wants to change that. I think it's not a bad business move, considering that 26" demand is getting picked up by niche brands like Knolly, 29er demand is picked by a lot of competition like Spec, Trek, Niner, and all the brands that used to be in the niche 26" market like Santa Cruz, Yeti, Intense, Turner, etc. 27.5 market is pretty wide open. I'm not sure who else has been successful in the 27.5 market besides Santa Cruz.

    Why the focus on wheel size anyways? IMO, what makes mtn biking fun are the trails, not the bikes. Would be cool if we could buy new better trails.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSracer View Post
    It seems to me they might be taking a Niner approach. The whole "this is the best wheelsize and the only one worth making" deal.
    Yeah, but Niner has only sold 29ers.

    Hard to believe a company like Giant would seek to LIMIT their current share of the market.

    Their public statements truly surprise me.

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  23. #23
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    For XC oriented hard tails, I don't see 27.5/650b overtaking 29ers any time soon.

    As an XC racer, despite only being 5'6", I prefer the rolling speed and lateral grip of 29ers over the smaller wheel sizes. I imagine many others do, too.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlowPokePete View Post
    Yeah, but Niner has only sold 29ers.

    Hard to believe a company like Giant would seek to LIMIT their current share of the market.

    Their public statements truly surprise me.

    SPP
    I agree. This strikes me as a rather strange move. "Well, shoot. We couldn't dominate the 29er market because we got in way too late, so let's try and jump out in front in the 27.5 race."

    The other thing is this: Why didn't they jump in with 27.5 before this, if it's so much better? Because they're effectively admitting that they didn't research 27.5 and 29ers the first time around the block.
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  25. #25
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    One thing to think about is: picture yourself as a clueless newbie walking into a bike in the next year or two. "Here's three wheel sizes," the sales guys says, "the big one is good at some stuff but bad at others; the smallest is the opposite, and there's this size in the middle." I'd bet a lot of people will just hedge their bets and go with the middle compromise. Just my theory.

  26. #26
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    Giant was never a forefront of product development kind of company so i don't know what the big deal is about this press release. To put things in context, you are raving about the opinions of the same people that thought 1.1/4 forks and stems are a good idea..

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    I am guessing Giant thinks they are big enough to create the 650b hype. I am sure their marketing strategy involves creating negative ads about 29ers, and death if you continue to ride them.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSracer View Post
    I read this in another thread and am wondering what you guys think.

    [..again, totally dependent on market feedback."[/I]
    Supply and demand. Companies should provide the supply for what is demanded. No demand. No supply. That is all he is saying. 26 is dying for the same reason.
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    Marketing is an interesting science. There are literally masters degree courses in college for it now when 20 years ago marketing classes were just a small part of a business degree.

    For all the research and science of it, the success of any given marketing campaign is still guesswork and retroactive back patting IF you guess correctly. The Giant corporation most likely has some young new marketing guy who is more salesman than businessman that has them sold on his guess.

    It may work for them. The profit margin of specializing in one wheel size and doing it well may pay off. This move by one company hardly translates to the 26 and 29 wheel disappearing. If Giant's strategy is successful you may see other companies follow suit by picking one wheel size, but the more successful Giant is with the 27.5 the less likely the next company will be to pick that exact size.

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    I always thought that Giant made cool bikes, but their dealer network is not that great. Giant as one of the largest bike companies in the world does not come close to Trek, Spec., and Cannondale availability in the states.

    They have all kinds of marketing about their in-house control of design to end product and superior carbon technology, etc. But, their bikes are difficult to find. My guess is companies like Giant and Scott have a larger presence outside of the US. If 29ers don't really sell outside of the US, I could see them giving up the wheel size.

    As far as Orbea, mentioned above, I cannot think of seeing an Orbea mountain bike on a trail. My neighbor has one of their road bikes. I don't think their opinion has much weight in the US mountain bike segment.
    Last edited by crit_boy; 07-29-2013 at 11:38 AM.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRingGrinder View Post
    Marketing is an interesting science. There are literally masters degree courses in college for it now when 20 years ago marketing classes were just a small part of a business degree.

    For all the research and science of it, the success of any given marketing campaign is still guesswork and retroactive back patting IF you guess correctly. The Giant corporation most likely has some young new marketing guy who is more salesman than businessman that has them sold on his guess.

    It may work for them. The profit margin of specializing in one wheel size and doing it well may pay off. This move by one company hardly translates to the 26 and 29 wheel disappearing. If Giant's strategy is successful you may see other companies follow suit by picking one wheel size, but the more successful Giant is with the 27.5 the less likely the next company will be to pick that exact size.
    Interesting.

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    All of these wheel sizes will be old news when the 28.25" wheel size makes its appearance anyway. It will have all of the best qualities of a 29" wheel and a 27.5" wheel in one.

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    Im holding out for the 31.5"

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    C'mon, we all know 29 is just a fad. Giant is just being up front about it!

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    I've seen a few Giant's on the the trails around here lately.....all 29ers. I guess Giant knows what their customer's want

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    Trust me, start hoarding 29er tires now. Those smug 650b riders have been waiting for this opportunity.

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    Giant is making a good move, and it has more to do with better business than with better technology.

    Here are my thoughts. The concept of 27.5 wheelsize is fairly simple, but what about the business of the 27.5 wheelsize?

    Let's ask a series of questions.

    1. What does the demographics look like for the masses who are in the position to spend the most on a mountain bike?

    2. If they already own one or two, how do we get them to buy more.

    3. And if we're Giant, how do we generate the most market share from this segment?

    I believe that Giant has answered these questions with "all in" on the 27.5. If looking at the current market strictly in terms of wheel size, and if you were to focus most of your resources on just one, which one would it be? 26? 27.5? or 29?

    I think it's a good bet from the business perspective, which as a business, one must eventually look at.

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    It's going to come down to the same thing as before, 29er riders pulling away in terrain where they can keep their momentum better. Not as bad with 27.5, but I'm sure it will come down to that and 26" will just look ridiculous. 26 has been "out" for several years now. Sure, they still made the 26" bikes and we are just seeing in the last couple years the kind of 29er FS bikes we've dreamed of, but all that tells me is that 26 is going bye bye and 29 is here to stay. I think lots of custom manufacturers and others will stay dedicated to it for a long time, as well as the big guys. Giant may be going out on a limb here, but they have the manufacturing power to change their line on a whim. Many companies, not just specialized, have a lot invested in new 29er bikes and they are still selling like hotcakes.
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    I just finished the High Cascade 24hr race in Bend, OR. The overwhelming bike of choice was 29er and most of them were hard tails. I know of one 27.5 for sure. I also recently bumped into a Jamis Sales Rep in Bend and was told that they are moving toward 27.5 and 29 only. I competed in two XC races this year and by far the 29er rules the roost. The money that is currently tied up in it by every bike company leads me to believe its here to stay. My next bike will be a 29er/HT for sure. I miss the feel of the HT and the 29er only adds to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by syl3 View Post
    Giant was never a forefront of product development kind of company so i don't know what the big deal is about this press release. To put things in context, you are raving about the opinions of the same people that thought 1.1/4 forks and stems are a good idea..
    Well, they launched the tapered one out and it is a standard now everybody raves about. Similar to sloping geometries. Their opinions can be good ones.

  42. #42
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    At the risk of being repetitive I quote the following from a Wikipedia article on the Bicycle Wheel. 650B is essentially a 26" wheel with a narrower tire. There is just under one inch difference in BSD between 26" and 650B.

    Other sizes 26"
    The common "26-inch" wheel used on mountain bikes is an American size using a 559 mm rim, traditionally with hooked edges.
    There are four other "26-inch" (British designation) or "650" (French) sizes, from the narrow tires to the widest, which traditionally all measured the same outside diameter.[34][38]
    650 - ISO 32-597 (26 x 1 ¼) - Older British sport bikes. Schwinns with narrow tires.[39]
    650A - ISO 37-590 (26 x 1 ⅜) - Common on many vintage frames ranging from American-made Murray and Huffy as well as English and French manufactures like Raleigh and Peugeot.
    650B - ISO 40-584 (26 x 1 ½) - Also 650B demi-ballon. French tandems, touring bicycles; enjoying a revival.[35] (584 mm rims with wide, knobby tires, aka; balloon, are also known as 27.5 inch mountain bike wheels)
    650C - ISO 44-571 (26 x 1 ¾) - Formerly 47mm wide on Schwinn cruisers and for British trade/delivery bikes. Currently ISO 28-571, size is the same, but the narrower and less overall wheel diameter are built for triathlon, time trial and small road bikes.[40]
    Widths of tires and corresponding ISO width designations may vary, though the wheel outside diameter remains approximately the same.[41]

    What's happening with the 29er market!? So confused-800px-tyre_and_rim_technical_data_02-en.png

    With the obvious acceptance of the 29" wheel over recent years, it would appear that manufacturers believe that the 27.5" wheel is a better option than 26".

    I think all they are saying that 26" will be phased out in favor of 27.5". The end of 29" wheels is not likely and is probably editorial input from Pinkbike who are anti 29" zealots.
    The trouble with having an open mind is that people will insist on trying to put things in it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timmahhh View Post
    All of these wheel sizes will be old news when the 28.25" wheel size makes its appearance anyway. It will have all of the best qualities of a 29" wheel and a 27.5" wheel in one.
    I would love it!!

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    Newbie here , where does Giant stand in the hierarchy of all bike manufactures?

  45. #45
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    I talked to someone about this in detail the other day. The conclusion we came to, regarding the main reason Giant is doing this, is due to value.

    I once made it a point that one of the major downsides to 29ers was weight. There was quite a bit of expense to a 29er, due to all the upgrades people did to them, to get the weight down. Giant seems to have noticed this and found that 650b was the best compromise between price and performance, with overall weight being an important factor.

    I think the point they're probably trying to make is, spend $2100 on one of our "mid-range" FS 650b bikes (ex. Trance 3 650b) and you may have just amount of fun as the guy on the "mid-range" $4000 FS 29er bike. At that price range, I wouldn't be surprised if they both weighed about 28-29 lbs, which is kind of hefty, made worse by the fact that 29ers don't accelerate very well. Light and responsive bikes are fun, but do you really need to buy high end carbon wheels and weight weenie tires to help get that? Some are spending over $6k on their "dream bikes", yet there's still plenty of room for upgrades... it's starting to get ridiculous.
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSracer View Post
    Wow, so insightful

    But seriously, a little explanation would be nice
    The statement is off-the-wall ridiculous... almost as ridiculous as taking anything on Pinkbike seriously.
    29ers aren't going anywhere. For that matter 26" bikes are still going to be around in line-ups in two years.
    Put a reminder in your calendar to check Giant's website for 29ers in two years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    I talked to someone about this in detail the other day. The conclusion we came to, regarding the main reason Giant is doing this, is due to value.

    I once made it a point that one of the major downsides to 29ers was weight. There was quite a bit of expense to a 29er, due to all the upgrades people did to them, to get the weight down. Giant seems to have noticed this and found that 650b was the best compromise between price and performance, with overall weight being an important factor.

    I think the point they're probably trying to make is, spend $2100 on one of our "mid-range" FS 650b bikes (ex. Trance 3 650b) and you may have just amount of fun as the guy on the "mid-range" $4000 FS 29er bike. At that price range, I wouldn't be surprised if they both weighed about 28-29 lbs, which is kind of hefty, made worse by the fact that 29ers don't accelerate very well. Light and responsive bikes are fun, but do you really need to buy high end carbon wheels and weight weenie tires to help get that? Some are spending over $6k on their "dream bikes", yet there's still plenty of room for upgrades... it's starting to get ridiculous.
    Just picked up a '14 Anthem X 29er 1 and they claim it weighs 27 lbs. My less than perfect method, comparing me on scale to me holding bike on scale, shows that number to be true. Are 27.5 full sus really much less weight?

    Tim

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    I imagine 650b will probably dominate the FS market in coming years, but I think 29-inch wheels will continue to be the most common size for hardtails, rigids, singlespeeds and even recreational/bike path bikes.

    And even if my uneducated prediction doesn't come true and all the major brands shift their focus to 27.5, there will still be plenty of smaller companies, frame builders and wheel builders that will support 26 and 29-inch wheels for many years to come. Wagon wheels aren't going away any time soon.
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    Consider that Anthem X 29er has a frame weight of just over 5 lbs, rivaling carbon frames, and you got their top level component spec for that alloy frame. What did it come in at, 4k? That's an XC bike and at 27 lbs for an XC bike, for anyone riding true XC, that is high enough that you would want to put it on a diet.

    With 29ers, you might be able to save weight in a few ways. Downsizing your suspension travel needs and your tire beefiness needs are two rather major options. I never fail to see people, claiming to be "trail riders", riding 26" FS bikes with way more travel than they actually need, maybe with 140mm travel bikes (ex. Giant Reign) on a XC trail. 29er riders seem to be saying that they can do almost all the trail on their XC FS bikes with 100mm travel, but they're not really willing to do drops and jumps like they would on a slightly longer travel bike, and hesitate to take it to the lift-served shuttle trails, when they really are interested in such riding, as the frame and suspension doesn't seem to be made stout enough for such. It's not that uncommon to see dropper posts on 100mm FS bikes around my area. Giant is now offering that in-betweener 120mm 650b bike, that might actually do it all. 27 lbs is actually a decent weight if you're a trail rider that wants something trail-tough, and having the frame, fork, and wheels (and other stock spec) being designed specifically for trail, rather than XC, would help cut expenses.

    Not too long ago, 29er riders were demanding stiffer forks. Enter the Fox 34 and 15QR. Fox 34 turned out to be too heavy, and some consider the 15QR to be not enough, wanting the 20mm axle and the bigger hubs that come with it. People were also complaining about 140mm 26" forks being too flexy. Well, now 32mm forks got stiffened up, with an improved stiffness to weight ratio and then there's the new Pike people are raving about. That fork is expensive at $1k. There's a lot of options at $400 or so, but they're not too well suited for the kind of bike people seem to want, which is more than XC, but not too much that it's more for the DH/shuttle/lift crowd. A 120mm 26" might seem like not enough, while a 120mm 29er might seem flexy... 120mm 650b seems like an interesting compromise, that might save you from the expense of going with a Pike and building a bike around such a fork, which actually might be more than you actually need. Reading up on reasons to buy the Pike 29, it seems people wanted something stiff (stiffer than 32mm forks), yet lighter than the Fox 34, and since the A-C measurement was lower than the Fox 34, people were opting for more travel as well... a 650b 32mm fork might be sufficiently stiff and lighter, without all of that [excess] travel that could lead to inefficiency for general trail riding.

    The more I check out 650b stuff, the more it seems to make sense, *especially* now that I see that it combines all the 29er-driven innovation and proven concepts from both wheel sizes, to please the demands of riders these days. It doesn't seem to be backwards or anything. People have warmed up to the advantages of a bigger wheel size with the 29er, but they are demanding that it be improved in ways that are challenging. I think 650b is one of the answers, if you're one of those riders demanding such. Probably not for everyone, but I'm starting to think trail riders will find it appealing. I'm starting to get "sold", at least looking at it objectively from the problem solving point of view. This 650b movement seems to be an answer to that silliness, compromising on travel amounts, going too XC or too AM than suited for your style, on paper at least. For me to be sold, it's got to prove it to me on the trails.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
    At the risk of being repetitive I quote the following from a Wikipedia article on the Bicycle Wheel. 650B is essentially a 26" wheel with a narrower tire. There is just under one inch difference in BSD between 26" and 650B.

    Other sizes 26"
    The common "26-inch" wheel used on mountain bikes is an American size using a 559 mm rim, traditionally with hooked edges.

    650B - ISO 40-584 (26 x 1 ½) - Also 650B demi-ballon. French tandems, touring bicycles; enjoying a revival.[35] (584 mm rims with wide, knobby tires, aka; balloon, are also known as 27.5 inch mountain bike wheels)
    Wow, yeah never looked at it that way. Just under an inch.

    584mm - 559mm = 25mm or 0.984252 inches. So that's why all these wheels fit in 26" frames.

    "It's the best of both worlds though" , right?

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