Thursday, August 1

ALL the Enduro™

This is not a rant.  This is a series of observations that at times may seem incoherent and chronologically fucked, are backed up with no factual references, and will probably remain incomplete due to a lack of time.

In the beginning, there were 26" wheels.

Clunkers.  Great for riding down fire roads.  Stupid for trails.

Luckily bikes got better.  Gears, suspension, whatnot... they became more capable.  A sport was born.  Then we started racing them downhill on said trails and bikes became more specialized (without the ™) to reflect the demands of the sport and to sell more bikes.  It got ugly.

Somewhere in there, free-riding was born.

I bought into it.  It only took me until the moment where I realized I had a certain sense of my own mortality that "free-riding" wasn't for me.  I had gone as big as I was ever going to go, so I hung up my pads, sold my full face, eBayed the bike, and never looked back.

I was not alone. Many others came and went through the doors.  Then we were all just back to riding mountain bikes.  Downhilling became even more specialized (still without the ™).  These bikes became totally pointless without the use shuttles or lifts and required advanced trails to be any kind of fun.  So who's buying them?

These guys.

So somewhere in the middle of all this, the 29'er was invented.  It was ugly.

The benefit of larger diameter wheels was there, the first ones though... not so well thought out.  Steep head tube angles, fork offsets inherited from 26" bikes, tractor trailer wheelbases.  Some people rode them, hated them, went back to their 26" bikes, and re-upped their membership on Pink Bike.

All this is going on... big bike companies are sponsoring downhill and cross country racers, but a huge percentage of riders could give two shits about all that.  They don't wanna plunk down a huge wad of cash on a bike that needs outside assistance to get to the top of the mountain and aren't looking to set the World Cup XC scene ablaze.  They just wanted a fucking mountain bike.

So "the industry" gave us "trail bikes" and "all mountain bikes."  We just called them mountain bikes, and no amount of trying to pigeon hole it into a marketable package really mattered to us.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, someone decided to try and give us another wheel size.

Great.  Custom builders could finally satiate that 5'2" customer that wanted bigger wheels.  There was a press for it to catch on.  It didn't.  Interest waned.

So downhill bike sales... meh.  26" bikes lose ground to 29'ers as people stop buying them.  Pink Bikers around the world (Canada) are very butt hurt.  Fewer and fewer 26" are made.

"We need to find a way to sell more bikes," said "the industry."

Well then along comes the sport of Enduro™.  All of the sudden, you don't need a lift or the endurance of an Ethiopian marathoner to race bikes, and you can do it on a bike that's actually fun to ride... anytime, anywhere.

What is Enduro™?

I didn't get a chance to watch the video.  Sorry.   Remember, I'm on a time crunch and have no need to check my facts here.  Let me know if it was any good.

I smell opportunity.  It smells a lot like burnt Velveeta Shells and Cheese.

Thusly, the 650b gets a new chance at life.  Enduro everything is pushed down our throats.  Our pro athletes start trickling into this new genre and the sponsors are getting behind it.  It is the bee's knees of all their wet dreams, a way to market bikes that people actually want (or at least a great way to market more marketable bikes to the marketable masses).

I've never ridden a 650b wheeled bike.  It may be "all that" and a large size bag of peanut M&M's.  Dunno.  I'm sorta set in my ways now, single speed hardtails, often times with a rigid crabon frok.  Hard to see how a wheel with less roll-over capability would be a good thing for me.  That and the fact that two of my three bikes already have sub 16.5" chainstays... about the same length as my first custom 26" single speed?  I've got what I want.

26" wheels are based on what was available to these guys.

I think that's Stevil's dad on the far right, notice the black bar over his eyes and the bloody piss stained pants.

Anyways, my granddad thought black and white television beat the pants off sitting around the radio.

Did he bitch about the purity of the sport of television when they introduced color?  I doubt it.  He did say his B&W was more "flickable."

To steadfastly cling to something old and hold a prejudice against something new without trying it?  Go back to using cantilever brakes, tubes, and quill stems. 

I'm running out of time.

So, the marketing of all that is Enduro™...

Tell me your making a helmet with more protection.

Tell me that your dropper is the droppiest. 

Tell me that your new frame design is awesome at shredding trail and ripping berms and pissing off land managers.

and now I'm incoherent.

So Giant sees themselves phasing out 26" wheels in the future...

and 29" wheels...

Hear that silence?  That's the rest of "the industry" farting... quietly.

I had a point.  I don't know what happened to it.

And I'm out of time.


BIG JIM said...

Never let the facts get in the way of a good blog post. Wished you would not have mentioned the peanut M& I must find some.

I'm still riding 26" and have been considering making the move to a 29r. Why? Peer Pressure? Drinking the Kool Aid? I'm not sure. Just as I start looking around it seems that 650B's are being pushed down my throat. The whole Giant only offering two 29r models to choose from in 2014 and what, seven 650B options. I'm more confused than ever. I may say fuck it and go back to riding a banana seat bike.

Please tell me what to buy...just as long as it does not have one gear and a rigid fork.

Dwayne Hunter said...

My fuck-giving quota has been met this month....

dicky said...

Buy one of everything from my list of "Dick Supporters" on the sidebar. That's a great start. They should all have Enduro™ approved gear for 2014.

K Jacobson said...

I rode my 18-year-old old rigid with cantis, tubes and a quill stem yesterday.

Oddly enough, I still enjoyed myself. The shame.

Chris said...

I'm waiting for the all-mountain reverse tricycle to come out with 2 29" fronts and a 650b rear with shaft drive and a rohloff hub.

eastwood said...

Video: slow to start and talking killed momentum. Overall though, made my pooping more enjoyable.

John Parker said...

If them Marin rodie's had started out on 650b vs 26" I doubt there would have been the "need" for a
65Ob craze and I like the nature of the enduro format quite a bit but just don't call it Rally (rally is for cars, it's rad but it's a car thing)

mnt bikeing is well on it's way to becoming the new surfing.....

Anonymous said...

Or, in the words of Stevil...

Anonymous said...

I drank the 29er full suspension kool aid this year. It's gonna be for sale real soon and i'm going back to the inferior 26" full suspension. Big ass wagon wheels suck.

Crush the Commonwealth said...

Sounds like some one doesn't understand the spirit of enduro.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Oh, I want a 650 B, I mean, I want an oompah loompah

Anonymous said...

A bike is a bike.
There's alls purdy neet.

Buttafuco said...

Wow, how about that.
Now I'm gonna need a third pair of legs and arms.

Anonymous said...

What?! What's next a seat shaped like a fist?

Tom Purvis said...

What about fat bikes?!? Ten years from now it's going to be all about fat bikes. FAT BIKES! FAT BIKES! FAT BIKES!!

I wanna fat bike.