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  1. #1
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    Will Oldschool Fade?

    SHORT VERSION:
    Will old school (rigid steel) 29ers maintain their current popularity/availability.

    LONG VERSION:
    Having followed this forum for a while and having reviewed the history of the 29er movement it seems like a compressed version of MTB development. Starting with the steel tubed rigid bikes and moving into the front suspension then on to then fully suspended bikes. I guess the question I have is will the old school stuff (which I love) stick around this time? I am sure the purist will chime in that it will and I hope they are right. Obviously it will remain available through specialty channels but my fear is that the rigid steel 29er will become as rare as the rigid steel 26er. Even in the last year I have noticed that the rigid 29ers in my local shops have been replace with hydroformed front and full suspensioned bikes. And manufacturers seem to be dropping the Fisher Ferrous type bikes in favor of other types of frames. Was the "steel is real" movement just a stop gap till tech caught up?

    Obviously all things are not equal, the 29er is a better rigid than the 26er and therefore more viable. I am just curious to see what everyone thinks in this regard.

  2. #2
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    Old school will remain but will also have new school (carbon fiber) incorporated into it more and more.

    This is evidenced by the numerous versions of the CF "White Brothers" style forks, the evolution of the Bontrager Switchblade, and of course Niner's new carbon fiber offering.

    I think you'll still see your "old school" rigid steel frames and forks, but you'll also continue to see more riders riding full carbon fiber frame and fork 29er combos.

  3. #3
    nOOb
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    I think it's a fad and will slowly die off, but still remain a part of mountain biking overall.
    Racing will always drive most new development. Most of my riding buddies are slowly going back to bikes that are more comfortable and more all-around friendly.
    I'd be perfectly happy with a short travel fs 29er that weighs less then 24 lbs.

    I see it in the road bike community also, fixies and ss's will go the the same way when people tire of the latest fad.

  4. #4
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    When mountain biking and cycling are social activities, there is always going to be a degree of fashion and fad involved.

  5. #5
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    Price point is important too. Carbon will remain pricey. SS and steel will survive. Aluminum is a cheap alternative, but not everyone wants aluminum. Good FS is pricey too. I got my steel 29er which I have had since early 2006 and I don't plan on getting rid of it anytime soon.

  6. #6
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    Another word for "old school": Curmudgeon.
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  7. #7
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    Old school will remain. This question has been asked for decades. Will sreel frames disappear? Is singlespeeding a fad? Steel is still around, singlespeeds are not only still around but more popular than ever. As bikes get more expensive and complicated, more and more people will turn to simplicity. I've often said that if more people knew how well these relatively cheap rigid steel 29ers work, it could put shops and manufacturers in trouble. They'd sell a lot less of the expensive and complicated bikes, and lose the margins and service revenue they bring. Old school bikes will be marketed as additional bikes, not primary ones. Maybe they'll turn to high end, superlight rigid bikes to get their margins back up.
    I am not repeating myself I am not repeating myself!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh
    Another word for "old school": Curmudgeon.
    Of which I am an old member of! Of course curmudgeon is someone who is not driven by every fad that comes along so generally they are a happier and wealthier lot.
    See Fo Shizzle who gives into every new fad coming down the pike. Come tax time he has to sell all his stuff to pay Uncle Sam.

  9. #9
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    Hmm...I rode a sus fork this season but just went back to rigid. I think suspension was a fad invented to compensate for the inadequacies of the 26" wheel.

  10. #10
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    When we're talking about rigid steel 29ers, we're talking about a small percentage of a small market! It does seem like singlespeeds and fully rigid bikes are a reaction to what is ALSO happening- full suspension bikes are becoming more and more the norm. That's the big story. Now mountain bike = full suspension for most people and most shops.

    Steel will hang in there. It is still the material of choice for custom builders. But custom builders have always had a tiny slice of the market share compared to the big dogs. No news there.

    Carbon fiber seems to be gaining a lot of traction. We'll see that continue, I'm sure. Mostly that will be at the expense of aluminum (as carbon moves down to lower price levels) and titanium (as it chews into ti at the top).

    But, hey, fortunately we've got lots of choices. I ride a rigid steel bike, with v-brakes, gears and thumbshifters. I like the simplicity of no suspension. I'd most likely ride a bit faster with suspension, but who cares? Already, I'm faster than most people on their full suspension bikes going downhill, and they beat me back uphill. Go figure. I think I don't need a technology "boost," I just need to ride more!

    I remember one time, on one of my first 29er rides, a guy passed going the other way was wondering at my choice of gears- he was like, "Why don't you go single-speed, it's simpler!" Undoubtedly true, but he was riding a single-speed Moots- with a suspension fork and disc brakes. Not so simple after all.

    I like the idea of a single-speed, but in practice I like my gears. I hate hate hate to walk. For me, riding in part is about challenge of getting up and down anything without dabbing, as much as I can. Not whether I'm going fast or so, but just cleaning it. A rigid bike works for me for that. And gears help, to spin up the steep stuff. I guess I can't even fit in with the old-school orthodoxy.

    I was actually a very early adopter of suspension. I had the Rock Shox RS-1 in 1993 or so, and rode suspension forks on all my mountain bikes from then until 2006, when I got my first 29er.

    I'm kind of glad to get off the suspension bandwagon. Always more each year, it seems. I remember on of the bike magazines in the early 90's explaining why 2 inches was the magic amount of suspension for a mountain bike, and that there'd never be more than that; designers might try more, but would revert to 2 inches, the article said. Anybody rememer that? Too funny.

  11. #11
    transmitter~receiver
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    Mine will go as soon as it's no longer fun to ride (don't hold your breath).
    I have to force myself to ride my tricked out scandium-and-carbon, geared hard tail sometimes.

  12. #12
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    I have always liked rigid over suspended, what they lack in comfort they make up for in responsiveness. Also, alot more of my pedal power counts towards moving. A carbon fork definately helps to smooth out the bumps as well!
    MUni, Trials, XC, Downhill, what else can I ride!

  13. #13
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    Front suspension, fully suspended bikes, "hydroformed" fronts, short travel fs 29ers that weighs less then 24 lbs, new school (carbon fiber), etc., are fads that will slowly die off.
    Another word for "new school": wretched excess.

  14. #14
    dru
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    I ride a rigid El mariachi. Absolutely no doubt, the rigid fork has made me a better rider. I am so conscious of where I put the front. I pull up over a lot of stuff I formerly would mash through. My lines are much better now.

    Saying that I'm scared going mach 10. There are times I feel like the bars are going to be ripped from my hands. The rigid fork limits my top end by several miles per hour on the trails I ride.

    I love steel, and am a big fan of front suspension. The thing about 29s is the fact you can get away with rigid to a point. However, I want to feel safer, go faster, and get less fatigued. I will be buying front suspension this winter.

    I doubt I'd ever do fully. The power robbing isn't worth it. Hell, I can feel how much better my rigid fork climbs compared to suspension. With a 29er steel, hardtail is more than enough.

    Drew

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  15. #15
    tl1
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    Who cares

    Ride what you need and like and ignore the noise of the crowd.

  16. #16
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    Olde Skool doesn't ever really go away. There are still penny-farthings and velocipedes being ridden [somewhere].

    There's a place for rigid steel big wheels, but it will be a more marginal space over time. Full-suspension is not a fad - it's the new standard. It makes getting from A to B easier for most people, as it typically reduces the amount of skill needed to ride any given trail. Aluminum and carbon are very easy to work with, and as the cost comes down on both the materials and the manufacturing process, they will further marginalize steel bikes.

    Rigid steel 700C - that's a niche within a niche within a niche...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by canyonrat
    Hmm...I rode a sus fork this season but just went back to rigid. I think suspension was a fad invented to compensate for the inadequacies of the 26" wheel.
    there ya go again, stirring up trouble.
    Les grimpées, je m'en fou!

  18. #18
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    I have never understood the statement "I don't care what people think." People who don't care what people think feel no need to proclaim it to people. Why? Because they don't care what people think.

    But here is why I do care what people think. Because as long as people think rigid steel bikes are viable or cool or whatever they will keep making them. When they don't, it will fade away fast and a few hardcore users won't be enough to make it worth their time.

  19. #19
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    It takes some people longer to understand, that how they ride their bike, is more important than the bike itself. I do the rigid ss 29uh because its my thing. I like doing more with less. I do not depend on technology, to make my time more enjoyable. Anyone can sit and spin on a FS bike. I found it boring, and the challenge, or should I say, operator input, is not as exciting. Some people expect their bikes to isolate them from the trail, I expect the opposite. Suspension tends to "Sally line" or dumb down a trail. To each their own, and to answer the question posed in the thread. The rigid steel bikes will always be around, for those who are not victims of marketing hype, and planned obscelesence.
    The only regrets in life, are the risks you didn't take.

  20. #20
    Keep on Rockin...
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    Still love the KM.

  21. #21
    nOOb
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    Interesting that some think suspension makes you a lesser rider, or no suspension makes you a better rider. Having ridden both on the same trail this week, I'd say the suspension makes me a faster rider, and no suspension makes me a more careful rider. You still gotta go over or through the same things. I ride the same logs and drops, I just cringe a bit more waiting for the rigid bike to smack me in the wrists and lower back a bit more.
    I take the opposite view, full suspension allows me to enjoy riding longer and faster. I still need body english and technique to get down the trail, having shocks doesn't put my front wheel over a log, or help me pick a line through a rock garden.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky
    Interesting that some think suspension makes you a lesser rider, or no suspension makes you a better rider. Having ridden both on the same trail this week, I'd say the suspension makes me a faster rider, and no suspension makes me a more careful rider. You still gotta go over or through the same things. I ride the same logs and drops, I just cringe a bit more waiting for the rigid bike to smack me in the wrists and lower back a bit more.
    I take the opposite view, full suspension allows me to enjoy riding longer and faster. I still need body english and technique to get down the trail, having shocks doesn't put my front wheel over a log, or help me pick a line through a rock garden.
    Its not that I think I am better, or more skilled, I like what I do. I have owned several high end fs bikes, its just one of those things. Its a personal choice, I just feel that technology, is a term thats overused, for the purpose of marketing. I see things differently I suppose.
    The only regrets in life, are the risks you didn't take.

  23. #23
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    Isn't "old school" the "innovator" in this case? Someone wanted 29" wheels on a bike so they came up with one and rode it. The hydroformed frames are following the trend. So is old school really old school? Or was/is it cutting edge?

    Rigid steel bikes will be around for those who want them, but it will be a smaller part of the market. I put a lot more miles on my rigid bike than I do on my full-suspension bike. I used to think that every ride needed to be "perfect" and suspension made it easier to achieve that (I thought). Now I ride more and realize that riding is fun no matter what happens, or what bike I ride. A rigid bike is equally fun, costs less, and is more about enjoying riding than worrying about equipment. I don't care if I was 5 seconds faster down a trail. I'll easily lose that 5 seconds of my life trying to match the front suspension to the rear, and play with compression and rebound adjustments. While there are some trails where I really like a full suspension bike, on most trails I have just as much fun on a rigid bike and enjoy the ride instead of worrying about the bike.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by laffeaux
    riding is fun no matter what happens, or what bike I ride. A rigid bike is equally fun, costs less, and is more about enjoying riding than worrying about equipment.
    Exactly. I've got both a rigid SS and dually - but have fun on both. Different purposes, same big smile.
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

  25. #25
    trail rat
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    Could be a mish-mash, steel and carbon. I love this bike!
    The only thing that I would want to replace this with is another one (On-One) with track ends to keep the SS/fixed, and then build this one with an Alfine IGH.



    Some of us like steel, I just traded a steel bike for a steel frame, fork and a gob of components to build my frankenmonstercross dream bike. Gonna mix some MTB 8 speed and vintage road 8 speed and psycho cross 9/10 speed schtuff! Woo hoo.



    And I have a al-you-min-e-um dopple boinger squishy bike that gets some long crazy miles.


    It failed, and I have round two, Deja Voodoo, ready to retrace the miles,


    I am a sucker for bicycles, and now, 29ers especially.
    Old skool, new school, it is all cool.

    Restoring my 1985 Richey too. Uh, yeah,steel, again, still.
    Last edited by slocaus; 09-12-2009 at 10:14 AM.
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