|Guitar Ted is on the right, me on the left. Pretty sure.|
I doubt we will look as cool as the two righteous dudes in the pic and my Suburban is certainly not the chariot that theirs is. Regardless of all that, we will do our best to suffer through the few days of bike riding and walking the show, taking pics, talking bike stuff, arranging tests or product, etc.
It is fun and I would not miss it for all the tea in China (which, I take it, is quite a lot...I dunno). But it is a lot of work. Relaxing it ain't and it is just part of the job of keeping your finger on the pulse of the 29er world.
This season will see huge interest in Europe for big wheels. The coverage by c_g on twentynineinches.com was pretty deluxe and the difference between last year over the pond and this year is stunning. It seems to be mostly hardtails, as everyone tests the waters with biggy toes dipped in 29" deep pools of water. There is a lot of carbon right off the bat, something that took a while here in North America. The Euro market seems very, very performance focused, like everything has to be weighed and engineered within a fraction of a nano-gram or it is verboten. Interesting. Is everyone over there a hardened (or wanna be hardened) racer? Maybe. Don't they just ride for fun?
I wonder if, in order to get around the lingering impressions that 29ers are slow and heavy, that they are overcompensating with euber-stiff and light bikes to get folks looking and riding? I mean, where are the EU versions of a Vassago Jabberwocky? I imagine they are there, somewhere, but maybe not getting the press right now.
The boon to 29er riders will be huge from this. Already there are getting to be a lot of tires that I have only seen at EU-Bike. Some of them will stay over there, but not all. More bikes to put parts on means more reasons to invest in new parts and products, things that we will get to buy as well, perhaps even resulting in falling prices, but I would not hold my breath for that.
I am going to I-Bike in waaaay less than prime shape. My fitness is OK, but my mobility and strength is nowhere near Bootleg Canyon ready. Shame, that, but it is what it is. I will do what I can do. Maybe I will need to be a bit more selective in my riding or take more pics/vid than ride bikes.
Lenz Moth is in the works, but that will take a while. Not sure what will be up first, but I sure would not mind building up a Speshy FSR frame.
I kinda consider the 140mm Reba a long travel XC/AM fork rather than a real heavy Freeride fork. Lots of room for forks like this Reba. I can totally see having a bike like this in the quiver; something at 30 lbs with long legs and the hope of riding to the top of a hill. Moab, baby. It would be a killer bike for Burro Down.
What is interesting to me is the continued interest in bigger duty 29ers. MC's thoughts on the MTX-33 rim and bikes like the Lenz Lunchbox and especially the PBJ are pushing the limits of 29ers as DH bikes. If there is a rim now, and perhaps even a tire like the WTB Dissent that will survive, the Manitou Dorado fork converted and the White Bros 150mm are pretty much the only game in town. I am not sure if that will change at I-Bike. I bet we will see a longer travel fork from Manitou in some way or another to compete with the Reba 140mm, but anything bigger? Not sure. Where is Marzocchi? They are the AM/Freeride guys, aren't they? We shall see, now that White Bros is re-doing their forks for 2011. Maybe there is a surprise there. I bet this will not hit harder till 2012, but I could be wrong. I have been a skeptic regarding 29ers and 7+ inches of travel as a good idea. It looks like I will be eating crow.
Well, more later from the quest for knowledge, knobbies, and schwag at I-Bike.