Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Sea Otter Thoughts

On the long drive back with just me, myself, and I to talk to...and you know how boring I can be...I had lots of time to ponder, wonder, and plan.

Some observations that came to the surface and hit the top shelf:

There are more 29ers on the trail than on the race course...still.  This is just a snapshot impression of the soon to be unwashed masses as they pedaled by on the race course (what little I saw of it).  However, most of the new trail bikes in the group I hang with are or are going to be 29ers.  The average Trail Joe is still ahead of the curve in diggin' the big wheels.

Women's 29ers are here.  Both Specialized and Giant announced plans for that very thing - women specific 29ers and it is about time.  If anything, I think the ladies appreciate the bennies of 29ers even more than the guys IF they can get them to fit them.  The Specy Myka, shown here in this vid, should be hitting my garage for testing by some very lucky lady types in the future.

The era of the low cost 29er is dawning.  I poked around a new Giant 29er that retails under a grand.  It was very good looking, had a tapered HT and house branded hydro brakes and sus fork, and once and for all dispelled the myth that cheap/heavy/flexy go together with budget 29ers.  Yes, it was kinda heavy as you might expect with lesser cost parts, but the front end, with the 15mm QR and tapered fork, was amazingly stout, comparable to bikes I have ridden that were 3 times the price.  It may not be fast and light, but at least it will go where the new rider points it.

Some brands get it...some brands don't.  Salsa gets it.  they may be owned by a big company/corp entity (QBP), but they are a bunch of gravel road riding enduro nuts that love big wheels, long rides, and gettin' out there.  Adventure by Bike, indeed.

Jason and the early rise to meet the day.
photo from the salsa bloggage site

Some guys should not have their jobs.  I would have more to report on if some marketing or sales persons would actually take the time to talk to reporters about their product instead of posing with the Marzocchi rent-a-bimbos, peering into their iPhones, or sitting/standing there looking bored.  Just why do you think I am taking all those pics of the product?  Corporate spy?  RaceFace, Ellsworth...not to name any names...and others, you know who you are.  To the ones that actually engaged me in conversation, to you guys goes the coverage.  Thanks for taking the time even though you were tired and all.

One company in general that has been on the top of the 29er world looked like they are in a slide towards...well...less than the top of the world.  No names, but I would not be surprised if it all ends someday.

Sea Otter was hummin' with crowds.  Compared to last year, I thought there were more folks in the vendor areas.  Just my thoughts, no numbers, and the weather was spot on compared to last year's roast-fest.


Jeremy said...

Good meeting you at SO.
I'm bummed that you feel that way about Ellsworth. When I got there on Saturday morning Tony happily spent 15 minutes discussing their new Enlightenment 29. It was great talking with him.
4 people at Fox, on the other hand, never got up out of their seat, granted it was 4pm on Saturday afternoon but you're getting paid to be there, c'mon! To top if off, the gal at Fox thought she was way too good for everyone else. Boo to them.
Still a great show, overall. Rode the XC loop on the Titus Rockstar. Other than the really active suspension on the climbs, I liked it.

grannygear said...

Hey, Jeremy! REALLY great to meet you!

Yeah, the way you are received can be hit and miss. Sometimes you get the right guy/gal, sometimes not. I have been warmly welcomed by some and ignored by the best of them.

But, there are some that are always, always inviting and informative and friendly every time we meet. Those folks are worth their salt.

I am scheduled to get a Rockstar for testing...hope hope.