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Added a comment about video What's the World Champ Think? Danny Hart on 29ers in DH Racing 5/6/2017 6:53 AM
C138x104

Somebody else commented on DH being cycling's Group B. For those not in the know, I give you this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INwqyPct8qY -- Group B was rally's unregulated "send it" class. Cars were pushing 900 horse and weighed 2000 pounds. Crazy amazing stuff. If I remember right, the Delta S4 could push 70psi of boost if needed? Yes, 70.

I also don't know how many times I can point it out - EWS racers are allowed to run anything and there is still no consensus what is faster. Why is everyone so positive 29" is going to always be faster in DH? The only argument here that seems to have merit is cost. I can see teams running 29" here and 27.5" there. Two bikes, setup different for different tracks. That'll put the teams with money at an advantage. And I say "so be it". Awesome. The more crazy technology these guys have, the more we all benefit. Its how product is developed, tested, pushed, and those little tweaks that matter so much happen.

As far as overall cost, well, WC DH racing has a LONG way to go before we rival any form of motorized racing. An additional bike for every rider on a team costs relatively nothing. I may get pushback on this, but for racing at the top level, WC DH is relatively cheap. Teams aren't going anywhere (due in large part to sites like Vital telling the story of the sport). These days, more than ever, people care about DH racing as a ***sport***, not as a stunt. That is important as I'd argue you'll see more and more support in the space even if companies aren't selling DH bikes. Car companies always sell more "practical" cars than they do "race" cars (Outback vs STi for instance) but racing still matters.

Keep it open. Let WC guys develop the most kickass technology for hacks like me. We all win this way. Oh, and it makes for some interesting nerdery in the meantime...

Side note, if anyone wants to post more Group B content, please do!!!

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Added a comment about video What's the World Champ Think? Danny Hart on 29ers in DH Racing 5/5/2017 2:53 PM
C138x104

I still can't get over how the underlying assumption that big wheels are always faster is the case. I still stand by the idea that it depends on the track, the rider, the conditions, other attributes of the bike etc.

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/4/2017 8:20 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Food for thought, Greg C always seems to crush tight, twisty, awkward EWS aboard a 29" steed. The old school "29" bikes can't corner in tight stuff" belief is sort of a theory from yesteryear being perpetuated forward IMO.

Bikes are already long and slack as hell. That, more than anything, is going to impact its ability in the mega tight stuff.

My opinion anyway...

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/3/2017 8:09 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Again, we'll always disagree here but my 20 years of adventure sports experience says otherwise. My education in economics and dayjob in finance also says otherwise. You are arguing against how innovation works and how markets work.

Bigger companies can throw their weight around and cause a bit of turbulence for sure (Trek with boost for instance), but being a number of my close buddies are engineers within the space, they all say the same thing.

"Don't buy it if you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to upgrade".

Simple as that.

Nobody is forcing you to buy anything in the sport. Nobody is saying "to ride down this here hill you need 29" tires, boost, XXmm axles, XXmm wide rims etc.

Progress comes at the expense of change. A company must introduce something new, or die. And some of those innovations mean new standards, new wheels, new this or new that. "Progress" and "New" often go in the same sentence.

If its not worth the squeeze, we don't have to bite. What is incredible is the industry will continue to make legacy product. Maybe 10 years from now you can't buy the new XYZ fork for your 26" bike, but you can still buy a suspension fork of similar caliber for the era your 26" bike. Nobody is forcing you to buy anything new *unless you want something better*. I believe having something better is not a right, its not something you are entitled to.

Remember, in most any other technology driven sport, there is no standard. Period. You can't just take a Honda motor and swap it into a KTM chassis. Hell, you can't even take a wheel and swap it. I can't put my Polaris sled skis on my buddies Cat (without a bunch of modifying). I can't put fuel injection on my CB650 (well, I can, but it costs a ton).

You have to accept new standards or we have to accept little to no progress.

No conspiracy other than the fact the bike industry is (and always will be) populated by a bunch of nerds (like me) looking for an edge over my more talented friends. And I'll buy it if I have to...

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/3/2017 7:54 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

...and the v10 is only 190mm of travel for those not riding an XXL. Seems like an apples to apples analogy to me!

To add, I have had the unique privilege of interviewing the founder of the company regarding the SB 5.5c in which he point blank said it was designed as a race bike for the EWS. (it was actually designed for an ex Yeti racer who now rides for a company with lots of red in their logo. This racer may be the best racer of all time.... )

That said, I can offer more...

Sam Hill rides the 27.5" Nukeproof, but he has the option of a 29" that is almost identical. Cody Kelly too swaps back and forth from the SB6 to the SB5.5c depending on the track, what he's feeling comfortable on etc.

Norco has the option of either too, with Blenki (who is 6'1") and Joe Smith both going 27.5" in New Zealand...

There are too many data points suggesting 29" wheel is great, but its more to do with preference than gospel. If it was set in stone "always faster", all these top level athletes who have the choice, would always chose to be on the bigger wheel. Remember, its their JOB to win. Fun comes second...

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/3/2017 7:14 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Don't forget, both are still affiliated with brands so you aren't hearing something completely unbias.... (EG: If Canyon doesn't have one in development of course Fabien is going to be more bearish on the wheel size...)

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/3/2017 7:04 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

What a boss.

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/2/2017 4:39 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

All fair points! You will see more 29" DH bikes soon btw (Fort Bill according to the rumors - 2 more teams)! So the field will be (more) level if in fact it is the advantage some are suggesting. Again, I dig the conversation. Cheers!

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/2/2017 4:27 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Relatively speaking, the cycling industry is not big. Sales are somewhere around $6.1B per year. To put that in perspective, United Technologies (UTX) posted sales of $13.8B last quarter. Santa Cruz isn't a small company in the bike world, but it was sold for millions, not billions. In the grand scheme of things, it'd still be considered a "small cap" company.

I whole heatedly do not believe any manufacturer we we regard as "good" would ever do anything to artificially limit the life of their bike or force you to upgrade due to design. Maybe stuff will break, maybe better stuff will come to market, but that has more to do with the company doing their best to find a balance between weight, performance and price all driven by a hyper competitive market where razor thin advantages keep you in business or push you into bankruptcy.

As far as a 29" wheel on a longer travel bike somehow making other bikes obsolete as part of what you suggest, I again, say "no" simply based off the fact you can still get 26" parts. Nobody is forcing you to upgrade. If you race, well, by and large the idea of racing is all about going fast and finding an advantage. Again, nobody is forcing you to race either.

As your wiki article implies, you need an oligopoly for this to work. The bike industry is the opposite of this, with small manufacturers always willing to crop up simply because its such a fun sport (or so it seems!).

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/2/2017 3:58 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Just to point something out, what you are suggesting goes against free markets and capitalism as a whole. Although "engineered" failure is kind of a thing (edit, outside the bike industry), failure/needing to upgrade generally has everything to do with cost/benefit/lifecycle than it is a "lets build this so they have to buy more". If its the latter, this is where a better company steps in to fill the unmet needs in the market with a superior product.

What I'm saying here is the bike industry is too small and too competitive for there to be some underlying conspiracy to keep us buying stuff we don't want or breaking stuff that otherwise wouldn't break at the same price point/weight/performance level.

As far as forcing us to buy new stuff based off legacy, last I checked I can still buy 26" tires and wheels. In fact, my last 26" bike is still kicking just fine. The same will happen with 27.5" if 29" does prove to be the advantage, which I'm still not sure is universally true. I've also refurbished a number of old bikes (threaded headset anyone?) with zero problems in terms of compatibility.

Innovation means you have to step outside the lines to find and edge. Thats what this is about, finding an edge to put a rider on top, and frankly - its one reason why I love racing.Nobody ever said every component that is engineered has to be reverse compatible.

Reminds me of video game systems in a way.... If you forced every video game to be reverse compatible with old systems the whole industry would come to a grinding halt.

and just cause something new comes out, that doesn't make super mario any less fun to play...

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/2/2017 3:51 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

@Oz - go on as to why this doesn't feel right? Curious - have you ridden a long travel 29" trail bike? Is there something you are hung up on that doesn't feel right - like somehow the big wheels aren't somehow as cool? Like they probably suck in the air and you can't get sideways and "have fun with them"?

I used to share this mentality until last season. I was faster, had more fun, and owe a little of this to my switch to 29" wheels in a longerish trail application.

In the end, we are arguing about 1.7". I'd suggest we backup and reconsider all the other changes that occurred over the last 20 years in the sport that were maybe bigger that nobody balked at. They have happened, but maybe a bit more quietly. (suspension development being the big one)

Food for thought.

(PS, RAD comments by all! Only way this could be better is if we were all at a bar screaming at each other with beers...ha)

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/2/2017 3:45 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

I don't disagree 29" enduro steeds are the new hotness, but again, I go back to Richie (see my other comments). He has had the option to ride one of the best 29" enduro weapons on the planet and sticks with the 27.5" steed. There are others who have also had the option to run the bigger wheel and chose not to. This speaks volumes to the reality of the situation. I really believe you'll see a mix, dictated more by comfort than anything else. I also think its not too far out of the realm of "crazy" to think that with some really clever design and an adjustable headset, that a bike couldn't accommodate both 27.5 and 29" wheels...

I do contest that enduro somehow is less about velocity or something. It stands between XC and DH by most people's measuring stick. What is working in XC? 29". So if DH is sure to be dominated by 29", than it would make 100% sense that enduro would be getting crushed by 29" too.

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/2/2017 2:39 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

...and in said EWS 29" bikes are allowed. With no clear consensus as to what is faster. Don't forget that.

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/2/2017 2:32 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Do you think certain riders get an advantage because they are taller? I'd argue there are just as many advantages as disadvantages. I'd also argue "welcome to sports" where certain body types have advantages over others. Tall guys do well in the NBA. Light guys do well in horse racing and road cycling. Sporting events, in general, aren't fair. Hell, life isn't fair.

But here is the thing, one of the awesome parts about DH is I'm not sure one body type is better than another. Guys of all heights have won. And even when I think I have it figured out (no small guy will win at Ft Bill for instance), I'm proven wrong (Troy).

Greg is finally riding a bike that fits him. And those wheels match on a proportional basis.

Another point nobody is making here. If XC is best on 29". And DH is all of a sudden best on 29". Why are all the top guys in Enduro not on 29"? I get there are 29" wheeled bikes near the top but Richie has the choice (Yeti makes top notch 27.5 and 29" steeds), and sticks with 27.5", doesn't that say its a "different stroke for different folks" type of thing? A bike fit thing? A comfort thing?

To those that think this is going to cause all sorts of extra expense I again challenge you to reconsider. Tires, wheels, etc - have in some capacity existed for years. Making the frame work could cost some money but I'm not sure its going to be as ungodly expensive or as disruptive to "the industry's health" as everyone thinks to produce something with slightly bigger wheels. Also, don't forget, maybe a company will sell more bikes because they are able to offer something to the customer that attracts them to said item. Maybe a guy (like me) who wasn't going to buy a DH bike does, because he's intrigued and wants to check it out again. This is good! We aren't talking about essential items in the first place after all... Darwinism. Capitalism. Giving the people what they want. All good things.

Rants aside, one thing is for certain, its given us an exciting narrative to follow this year.

I'm personally psyched!

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Added a comment about feature Nico Vouilloz and Fabien Barel Discuss 29ers in DH 5/2/2017 7:59 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Wow. I'm pretty shocked.

I figured both Nico and Fabien would love the bigger wheel as they both seemed to do whatever was needed technologically to eek out more speed.

Larger riders have disadvantages in places, advantages in other places. Bigger wheels will be the same way.

Limiting wheel size is like limiting bike fit, skewing things to benefit a certain type/size of rider.

As far as it being a bummer for the industry, cmon boys! Its not like the wheels, tires, and 29" trail bikes weren't already in production this year. To add, I could see a few smart companies *maybe* finding a way to build a 29 and 27.5" bike from very similar molds (EG, same rear end, same front end, different links).

Why should some riders have their bike fit them better than others?

(scroll down for more thoughts)

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Added a comment about video Lourdes Track Preview with Brendan Fairclough 4/28/2017 4:02 PM
C138x104

Head gimbal FTW

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Added a comment about feature Pro Bike Check: Laurie Greenland's Mondraker Summum 4/27/2017 12:47 PM
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I've seen a number of top level Shimano brake riders forgo the fins. It is interesting!

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Added a comment about product review First Ride: SRAM's New Code RSC Brakes 4/27/2017 10:58 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

I really just wanted to comment that the bar drag shot is SICK.

@forreiqu Turman is one of the best product testers in the entire outdoor industry (bike, ski, powersports etc). He has this unique synthesis of an extremely high IQ (he has a degree in robotics engineering from on of the best schools in the country) and pro-level riding (and breaking shiz) ability. He also knows the bike market and mountain biking "space" better than anyone. Finally, he isn't scared to say "this isn't very good".

As you infer, the challenge with first look pieces (as I've done a few) is to give the audience some idea of whats what, as many people may want to buy the product before we have a ton of time to *really* test it, while still acknowledging "we need more time". I think B has done a great job of that here/

As far as Guide performance, I have to disagree with you regarding reliability. I've seen every single brake you listed break (pun intended!?). Nothing is perfect. However, I've had great results with the Guide line. I say this as a result of personal experience, race experience (other racers) and as a result of having two close friends who own bike shops also suggest them over most other brakes on the market (shop owners hate spending time bleeding new bike brakes...). Not saying there aren't problems at times, but they are far less frequent than maybe you think.

Time will tell, but I would *very* willingly (and will likely) put them on my bike. I'm 200lbs, prone to bad decision making and hard on brakes. I do believe SRAM has been progressing their brake line nicely over the last few years. Just my opinion.

Sorry for the rant - just had to throw my $0.02 in the ring.

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This product_review has 6 comments.

Added a comment about photo BCD's Carbon 29er DH Bike from 2007 4/26/2017 3:22 PM
C138_bike

...and those looks would be deceiving. I've never put a beat down on a bike like I did that one (err, the 26" version of that bike). I was 18 and full of dreams but short on skill. Spomer actually has a photo somewhere of me riding that thing.

Anyway, I never broke it. And as far as I know, the bike continues to work to this day!

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This photo has 8 comments.

Added a comment about video 17 Questions - Brook MacDonald 4/26/2017 10:09 AM
C138x104

Golf course interview. Such a good idea!

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This video has 7 comments.

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