Big Wheel Blitzkrieg at Fort Bill – Commencal Supreme DH V4 29er

May 12, 2017
by Richard Cunningham  
Fort Bill BDS 29er watch.


Traditionally, Commencal steers clear of trendy innovations. Its adherence to welded aluminum construction and simple suspension kinematics bear witness to that fact, so it is of great interest that the Andorra-based marquis arrived at Fort William with enough 29ers to outfit the entire team. The new bikes are still prototypes. built around their existing DH V4 chassis, with a new rear triangle and, presumably, linkage ratios that have been adjusted to slightly reduce rear wheel travel to keep the tire from contacting the rider or the chassis and also, to adjust the bottom bracket height for the larger diameter wheels.

PB photographer Ross Bell snapped a few shots of the big-wheel Commencal on and off the track. Bell said that the DH V4 29er, "looked real smooth on the track". The team must be in agreement because as of this moment, all will be contesting the BDS round at Fort William on 29ers.


Fort Bill BDS 29er watch.
Gaetan Ruffin rips one of Fort Bill's infamous boulder sections in practice.


Fort Bill BDS 29er watch.
A look at the new aluminum swingarm. Commencal has done their best to keep the chainstay length as short as practical.
Fort Bill BDS 29er watch.
Little is known about the new Rockshox fork—even its name is a secret. The dropped crown may indicate that the stanchion tubes are the same length as the 27.5" Boxxer, and that only the lowers are new.

Fort Bill BDS 29er watch.
Spank and Hutchinson are both team sponsors, so they must have known well in advance that Commencal was developing a 29er DH V4 in order to get their ducks in a row to develop wheels and tires in time for the 2017 racing season.

Fort Bill BDS 29er watch.
All in: Myriam Nicole, Gaetan Ruffin and Remi Thirion are all riding the 29-inch prototypes at Fort William.

201 Comments

  • + 284
 I think people often forget that in racing, you have to go for the fastest option. Who gives a crap about the general riding populations opinion?! You don't have a go at F1, for making their cars unrealistic and out of touch with your standard hatchback do you? This is a discipline based on results, and if your Job depends on you winning, You'd be a fool not to ride the fastest option. It's not all about fun on the circuit. That should be left to the rest of us. #RideWhatYouLike
  • + 3
 Ya unfortunately f1 got away from that with the hybrid era...they are breaking track records but they'd be faster with traction control and bigger engines...twin turbo v8, v10, v12 etc...but hybrids are "more relevant"-trickle down tech.
  • + 3
 @jrocksdh: Very true man, very true. It came from racing normal cars and went on steroids from there. It's gotta start somewhere and frankly if it makes for more racing, then crack on! I'm all for it. For the record, I'm not a 29er rider trying to stand up for them either Wink
  • + 67
 Bring back skin suits and peakless full facers then.
  • - 37
flag jdotr (May 12, 2017 at 15:42) (Below Threshold)
 @teamdoa: hey, if they made a difference, they would have done by now... sall I'm saying
  • + 35
 @jdotr: Actually, skinsuits have been banned by UCI, AFAIK.
  • + 6
 @cool3: Which is an interesting point. The racer's job is dependent on times, but the downhill industry's success is viewed by the organizers as being dependent on making downhill mtb look like MX Lite. It makes for some tension between racers and organizers, whose goals lead in mostly the same direction, but differ on the finer points.
  • + 4
 @jrocksdh: That's more about trying to create a justification for the millions of dollars spent on those power units.
  • - 3
 This is the apocalipsis.
  • + 0
 Wow Pinkbike is clickbaiting the shit out of these DH 29'ers eh?
  • + 2
 @jclnv: What clickbait are you referring too? Or did you mean to use a different word?
  • + 6
 @Wesley-Swipes: A different post for every 29" DH bike at Fort Bill?
  • + 9
 "You'd be a fool not to ride the fastest option."

Yup and that's why skinsuits should not be banned.
  • + 42
 @axleworthington: Do we really want to see 29er's AND banana hammocks at the same race?
  • + 7
 @Thustlewhumber: Haha- frankly I don't care either way. Ski racers use skinsuits because it is the fastest. If people are going to argue for using 29ers because they are faster, then why not skinsuits?
It's not a fashion show, it's an arms race, right?
I can't blame the racers for not wanting to look like Power Rangers though...
  • + 8
 @jclnv: That's not what clickbait is. You could maybe say it's "spam".

Clickbait tries to use cliffhangers to bait you in. E.g. "You won't believe what Sean Spider wore to his press briefing today...," or "Guess how many of these 9 household products are actually rat poison," or the reigning champion "Check out this mother's one weird trick for staying a size 2."
  • + 5
 @rezrov: But the bait is the provocative title. Everyone knows how controversial wheelsize is (was?) and DH is the last holdout. Adding a different post for every bike is pure clickbait to generate comment clicks. "Big wheel Blitzkrieg" Come on, what's next? "Trek Factory Racing 29" holocaust"?
  • + 8
 @jdotr You have a valid point, but I think it's a different kettle of fish when it directly impacts the consumer. The fact is, my 26 inch bike has a lot less resale value than a 27.5 also you can't even buy a 26 from many brands ( I am aware some still do) on the same model, which sucks. Is it supply and demand? or is the industry bullying us into a new standard again.
  • + 3
 @axleworthington: i agree with your comment, but at the same time, with 29ers and skinsuits it may be less cool to watch. I know it sounds shallow, but if DH riders lose their funky moto like appearance, it may have an impact on the audience.
  • + 7
 @teamdoa: 300 tooth chain rings and 30mm bars or you ain't trying.
  • + 6
 Why ban skin suits then?
  • + 7
 @teamdoa: same reason they banned rollerblades and man buns from the xgames...the girls tuned out.
  • + 3
 @jrocksdh: you think the hybrid f1 cars don't have traction control? ????
  • + 4
 @jdotr: skin suits make a massive difference. In fact in terms of pros and cons they have no cons in performance gains. Unlike bigger wheels which have pros and cons. Roll over obstacles easy but slower to get up to speed etc. Where as a skin suit only makes you more aerodynamic,nothing else,no negative. So you're saying racers should race the fastest equipment! So the ban on skin suits should be lifted. Then the bikes and riders will be on optimum equipment then to gain the fastest possible times.
  • + 1
 @mikelee: Faur point regarding the skin suit. Just interesting to see I suppose. I honestly don't think that these 29er race bikes are an attempt to lure a new standard. 29ers aren't the next big thing and probably won't be the second next big thing in terms if industry development and investment value. It's all for race results and podiums I think!
  • + 4
 fair* damn I tried so hard
  • + 2
 @jdotr That may be so but drivers don't actually think F1 cars are like for like the best tool for average Joe. Whatever the wheel size riders must realise most are better off not emulating the pro machines closely as possible.
If I ran the geo and suspension tune of many pros I'd be even slower than I am already and having less FUN because my skill level and requirements are different...

as far as racing goes, I say go for it; skin suits, aero, the lot. Lets see how far it can be pushed.
  • + 5
 Banning skin suits (and peakless helmets) is the most shameful chapter in the history of DH.
It marked the change from it being purely a pursuit of speed against the clock, to a harsher fashion parade more interested in looking "cool" and selling units.
It should never have happened.

Equally racers should not be banned from using whatever wheelsize they like to get down the track as quickly as possible
  • - 1
 @IllestT: although u are not wrong, i watch uci world cups because it looks cool. I love mtb and riding dh, but i doubt i would watch the wc races if it would be in lycra with ski racing rype helmets etc. But yeah, i may be shallow, but that's who i am.
  • + 3
 F1 was nor is ever about being like a normal car.. It's innovations are for the car industry hence why they now have hybrid engines for the tech to drop into normal production cars.. Going back to 29ers tho on the other hand in DH racing in this country is pearce events! Only the lucky tossers an spoilt kids will be able to compete if it all goes this way! 27.5 should be the standard for dh racing on a whole an leave 29ers in Xc racing! Because the bigger the wheels the less tech the racing gets which for me is what dh is about an not about going 100mph in a straight line! I'd rather watch slower more technical stuff like it was years ago, than watch riders that are supposed to be at the pinnical of the sport go down smooth bikepark type tracks which is how they will all go because the bigger wheels have less turning circle hence can't hit tighter corners in techy parts.. Just my opinion..
  • + 2
 @ermoldaker: You think they do?
  • + 1
 @ermoldaker: ur right, altho not legal through the transmission, in true f1 form theyre side stepping that reg via the hybrid system...alt torque thru turns
  • + 3
 @axleworthington: If you put DH riders in skin suits then you can count on a sharp decline in masses being drawn in to watch the races, at least for the men. Now for the women it would most likely spike. No one wants to see dudes rocking lycra when it comes to anything but road and XC. Racers should be able to ride what bike they feel fastest on, choices are good except when it comes to skinsuits.
  • + 5
 Wrong -- F1 was never supposed to be anything even close to what a consumer can buy, world cup DH is. I am pretty sure there is a rule that frames raced in world cup DH have to be available to the public within a certain amount of time. On the consumer end the vast majority of DH bikes are used for park riding and just goofing around. The average consumer does not want 29 inch wheels. Overall this will suck for MTB but who really cares in the end. I have a feeling tons of top guys will keep riding 27.5 because that's what they want to do -- the exception would be if the bike cos quit producing frames for 27.5 DH bikes, in which case they would be forced to ride 29.
  • + 0
 @leftCoastBurn: UCI DH is then much like a homologation racing class, where that hardware has to be available. In practice, if what is fastest doesn't sell, they'll just take a small loss on the racing hardware (already arguably the case), and proceed to sell craploads of 29er trail bikes.
The technology in the flagship model doesn't have to be exactly what is used in the mainstay.

I'm just hoping that the race sleds get separate from the fun ones, because I'd love to see an advent of long travel single crown 26" bikes with modern geometry - totally baller park bikes.
Then we can have some super capable 5.5-6" all-mountain bikes that do everything well, and are less homologation specific versions of Enduro bikes.
  • + 3
 Downhill ski - no one thinks they look stupid going 80mph on icey black runs. Skin suits have never harmed the sports viewing popularity.
Can you imagine if they wore MX gear?
Now that would look ridiculous
  • + 3
 @freeridedirtbag27: I am pretty sure that I saw a documentary for BBC where two top engineers said openly that F1 is completely not interested in improving normal cars nor anything else than F1 cars. And they can consume any amount of miney they are given. It's technological warfare is aimed at one and only goal: faster within the rules of the formula. F1 did not invent hybrid engines nor it has traction control or active suspension. They adopted it to suit their own, very unique compromises. So their innovations are for no one else but themselves.
  • + 3
 @jclnv: That's not what clickbait is. Maybe over-saturation? And the titles aren't clickbait either. Clickbait is intentionally meant to mislead or trick the reader into clicking, the titles aren't doing that. I understand some of you are upset that DH bikes now are being made with 29" wheels, but come on.
  • - 1
 @Wesley-Swipes: I beg to differ and I love 29".
  • + 2
 @jclnv: I believe this would qualify as "news"...

And nobody forced you to click the frigging links
  • - 4
flag Darknut (May 14, 2017 at 9:55) (Below Threshold)
 @MTB-Colada: I for one won't be watching DH anymore if 29'er become the norm
  • + 6
 @Darknut: That's great to hear, you'll free up some bandwidth so redbull might work properly.
  • + 1
 If everyone is on a 29er before the FortWillams race, is it really gonna matter? Won't they just be all on the same playing field as they were, when the season started.
  • + 4
 @Darknut: please grab a kleenex and join the snowflakes over at the safe zone.
  • + 3
 @everardo: good, theyll all go faster. Just like motorsports...faster is better
  • + 1
 @deadmeat25: as @jrocksdh said, having two electric motors on the engine, you'd be crazy not to 'regenerate' when you have an excess of torque, for example when the wheels are at limit of traction
  • + 3
 @jrocksdh: F1 has been slowing the cars down for safety reasons for the last 10 years, only reversed this year with a view to making them faster because they are confident their safety targets have been met. It's totally unacceptable for a racecar driver to die in F1. Traction control was removed to make better racing. Remember WCDH is still a very young sport, F1 back in the day was like the wild west, remember the 6 wheel brabham... WCDH will settle down, much like MX has
  • - 2
 @vroomvroompartystarter: You you short sighted morons can make fun of me, but a lot of people feel just the same about 29'ers in DH as I do.
  • + 3
 @graeme187: are we sure that comparing F1 to DH biking is a good idea? My opinion is that it is a rather futile pursuit we got into after Fabien Barel said something, something in the trailer to Clay Porters F1rst... i mean c'm on, isn't it enough that we are the anxious, small brother of MX? Do we really need to put ourselves even lower by picking an even larger point of reference? You know, the quality of our lives depends greatly on points of reference we are chosing, we are the average of 5 people we spend most time with. So points of reference in life are like light houses for ships to navigate through the treacherous straights of life, you have to pick the right ones. Or you'll fk up... like blow things out of proportion (like I do). I am an architect/engineer, I work mainly with construction phase. When you design and then see a 5 storey building being put together, trust me, you will see that bicycles are some silly toys people design in their free time. I saw a stupid Volvo engine being put together, I cannot even imagine the tech going into an F1 car. Bike technology? 29" DH bike and F1? Please... and all those fkng idiots speak of wheel size all the time not appreaciating a tiniest bit of what actually makes a DH bike go fast and have something to do with MX, Rally or F1 - state of the art suspension. Mountain bikers concerned with bike tech are often idiots. Fkng idiots. They can look at Öhlins shock and say: bleh this golden reservoir and is awful. And then this yellow coil spring... so ugly and so heavy. Oh, EXT may be cool but it is silver. Only the fkng mountain biker, perhaps only a gravity type of mountain biker, can think that. Just like people brought up skin suits. Only a fkng twat can say that baggy pants are cooler for racing and it's so good that UCI is . A kind of twat that loves Peaty for the beer and Fest series for the weed. A kind of twat that believes that 26" wheel is something that defines MTB. I knew a guy like that. He told me on numoerous occasions: only a 26" mountain bike is a mountain bike. He rolls on a fkng E-bike now. And funnily enough, I think he is mentally healthier.

@Darknut - I cannot imagine a worse reason to be into MTB than to relate "experience" of riding or watching a race with a particular wheel size. I'd rather ride with E-bikers than some purist morons. Surely shitty riders. You can or you cannot jump, bunnyhop/wheelie a mountain bike, it doesn't matter what wheel size you are on.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: maybe everyones makes that comparison because the Brits dominate both DH and F1... what makes a DH bike go fast? The same thing that makes an F1 car go fast.... its the squidgy bit driving the thing #teamLHforlife
  • + 1
 @graeme187: you don't have to tell me that. I just watched a BMX race in person... I heard those tyres on banks (hard to call it a berm) and saw those people jump insane length at what looked like little speed. First heat, i literally went, Jesus they have too little speed for that doub... ok... they all made through it. And all these top guys at DH World cup can do that to a big degree. And that was just a local comp. I can't even imagine what the guys like Miranda can do. Off course if you start a talk like that in a group of fkng bros sooner or later one idiot will say: it's because their bikes are so light...
  • + 4
 @Darknut: Wow, you are that much of a shallow/fair weather fan of DH? Good bye I suppose.
  • + 37
 All of this confirms the fact that Alex Morgan of BCD (Buffalo Composite Design) was absolute visionary. He was running garage-built carbon 29'er DH bikes over a decade ago, which of course came after his revolutionary pursuit of gearbox DH concepts and other seemingly insane but retrospectively innovative ideas.

www.pinkbike.com/news/2087-BCD-Racing-29er-Carbon-Fiber-DH-Bike.html

Someone needs to write a book about Alex and BCD someday. Potentially MTB technology's greatest ever untold story.
  • + 5
 pretty cool....
  • + 12
 The comments on that article are great
  • + 3
 How about Lenz sport!? OG 29 DH bikes
  • + 3
 @mcsorley Agreed, I rode his bikes with long low and slack geometry 20 years before the industry caught up.
  • + 36
 so...... so............. so................................ sooo many butt hurt people! Get over it, its just a wheel... not the end of MTB
  • + 5
 Ha ha ha, Who cares as long as they are rounded?
  • + 2
 @LuisCR: you've got it there!
  • + 7
 @LuisCR: my back wheel ain't even round anymore and Im still enjoying myself! Haha
  • + 2
 i'm just afraid one day all you can buy is long race bikes with big wheels
  • + 0
 and they are f*cking ugly, disproportionate
  • + 1
 Its a machine, its beauty lies in its function.
  • + 1
 @BryceBorlick: "Its a machine, its beauty lies in its function."

Counter-cliches:

"form follows function";
"if it looks right, it is right".
  • + 31
 Lol. Let's build proper impressive course to attract fans and spectators, like it happens in Supercross and let 's stop playing with the wheel size.
  • + 6
 yes! shorter more gnarly tracks rather than long boring ones, would make for tighter times and better spectating

Also some rules on wheel size/ production parts etc so we dont get anymore of this rubbish
  • - 2
 Church!
  • + 3
 Yes Remy, I think a lot of riders have this opinion, is possible nowadays to organize a ''dh summit'' with other pro riders to explain your p.o.v to industry and media?
  • + 7
 @nathan010: There already is a rule about production parts. The bikes have to be available to the public within 9 months of being raced.

As for wheel size the UCI stated that they do not want to have a commissioner standing at the finish line having to measure each and every wheel.

Wheel size is open in XC and Enduro and the 27.5 and 29 seem to mix it up in the results of enduro just fine.

Let em run what ever wheel size they want, things will settle in to where they work. If some company can get a 36" wheel to stay together and fit it into a bike and under a rider some how, and come up with brakes to slow the thing down, then power to em.


No one seems upset that passenger car tires and truck tires are all different sizes. Rim diameter, width, tire diameter. Run what works for you and give the people options.
  • + 7
 @WolfStoneD:

A lot of sports have regulations. Having competitors limited to a commercially available rim, no more than 27.5" would hardly involve excessive oversight work.

So if a 29" wheel is faster, it's a moot point of competitors are limited to wheels sized 27.5" or less. Keeps the playing field equal (sure you can go overboard regulating everything on a bike, but I think regulating wheel size is a reasonable regulation.

The problems with larger wheel standards is that now even weekend racers are going to feel the need to have 29" wheels or they will lose the competitive edge. Sounds fine, but have you seen price of new bikes? And companies will only want to produce frames/bikes with 29" wheels, and consumer choice will go away. Pretty soon everyone who purchased 27.5" bikes will find dh bikes in that size are no longer being made. Your forced to upgrade to 29" if you want a new bike (even if you personally don't like that wheel size).
  • + 2
 @WolfStoneD: Only issue there is that there are 10s of millions of cars...not quite so with bikes so the cost goes way up on a unit basis and as is bike tires cost almost the same as car tires and will only go up if there are more options
  • + 1
 @kwcpinkbike: And your point is??
So then everyone's new 29dh bike will be faster than their 27.5 bike, they win and the industry wins.
Regulating to 27.5 wheels only is ridiculous! With this logic, why didn't we regulate for 26 wheels only then? The industry is not going to eliminate 27.5 wheels, everyone can RELAX! But to create regulations that prevent the best racers in the world from riding even faster on a regular damn bike that any John Doe can buy within 9 months....well that is just narrow minded and silly!
  • + 1
 @ross005: But we can all afford top of the line racing tires the pros use at around $100/unit.

Compare that to top of the line racing tires the pros use on cars...

Top of the line bike tires cost the same as an entry level car tire.

You can go pick up $20 bike tires at Walmart, which is a more accurate comparison to the $150 car tires.
  • + 1
 @bigwhls: just make the tracks better then not mess with the bikes! Simple! Keep the wc circuit spontaneous with tracks each year! That's more exciting than Watching racers go fast in a straight line
  • + 1
 Yes differnent venues for wc every year would be a better option! Tight n tech is best not straight n fast aye
  • + 1
 Gnarlier courses - I think we can all agree on that
  • + 1
 @bigwhls: "And your point is?? "

Christ, if you can't understand it now, you won't understand the explanation either...
  • + 1
 @KeithReeder: it was rhetorical...
  • + 19
 So we now have Santa Cruz, Mondraker, Trek and Commencal rocking 29'ers? This is going fast.
  • + 7
 It has been going for a while I'm sure. There will be more...
  • + 5
 Bergamont as well. Noone even noticed it in Lourdes
  • + 1
 @fabdemaere: Yep, knew it when they introduced the new Dorado.

Not the famous brand out there but Alutech also came with a 29er dh bike.
  • + 15
 My grandad was using a 30" +++ setup a long time ago so it appears that everything does, in fact, come full circle...

www.pinkbike.com/photo/4994712
  • + 2
 Man, what a monster!, geo is spot on
  • + 10
 I think Brendog made a good point in that if 29ers are faster then by next year when everyone is on them, the times will all just be a couple of seconds faster. Still the same race when everyone is on them
  • - 2
 Agree. Just will be slightly more boring. Ride 29ers for speed but small wheels for fun....
  • + 20
 I'm sorry but this argument holds no weight for me. The same could be said of any technical advancement. I guess we should go back to racing fully rigid bikes because all suspension did was make the bikes faster and now that everyone's using suspension the playing field releveled just at a faster pace. As every rider adopts new technology that increases speed, the playing field is re-leveled. Racing is about getting down the course as fast a possible. I welcome any advancement towards that goal.
  • - 5
flag Richt2000 (May 12, 2017 at 14:52) (Below Threshold)
 @brendanbohn:
Yes, but is more enjoyable when a fast rider styles it down. 29ers are slightly harder to style.

Watch someone doing a whip on a 29er. It looks good, but not as good as 26/7.5.

Compare it to F1. 20 years ago there was over taking, until recently it was rare. Its not ALL about speed. Its about entertainment. Viewers means advertising. Advetising means money.

I would rather see the AVERAGE speed come down and some extra style, than everyone just gun it down without a flick or a whip here or there.

Im not a hater. I own both 29 and 27.5
  • - 3
 they're different bikes. Why do you think your local motocross track has a 250 and 450 class?

If 29'rs are going to be allowed to race in the 26" class, everyone will ride a 29er because they're objectively faster.

If that's the case, I want to see the tracks get a hell of a lot gnarlier. And I mean a new Red Bull Rampage style course every weekend for these lemmings.
  • + 11
 It's not really the same though. Riding a trail faster is more difficult. Just because the bike enables you to go faster doesn't mean that you can go that speed easily. Things come at you faster, you have less time to react, and mistakes have higher consequences. Any technological progression in racing is done with the goal of higher speeds, and higher speeds mean increased difficulty.
  • + 2
 @brendanbohn: good point. I think the only issue is that come next season or even later on races this year, if the majority of top riders are on 29ers, it just makes racing at that level even harder for privateers without full factory support.
  • + 9
 @brendanbohn: I agree with you to some extent, however​, to me bigger wheels is less a technological advancement, more of a change of class.
In sailing, a longer hull will travel through the water faster - instead of a sport where hulls get longer every year, limits are placed and different classes segregated so the racing is on a level playing field.
Higher modulus carbon, intricate linkages and exotic compound rubbers are technological advancements that are great for the sport and make it a true test of engineering as well as athleticism.
  • + 4
 His comment surprised me, so, he does not want to go faster? or more importantly he does not want everyone going faster, odd way of thinking for a racer.
  • + 5
 @Richt2000: Then what's the point of racing if you're not trying to go faster than everyone else? Go watch speed and style at a Crankworx event if that's what you want, but World Cups are about speed only.
  • + 1
 @watchtower: I imagine its more the point that it forces everyone to swap if they are just that bit quicker. Especially for someone like Brendog who seems to be someone who races for fun as much as for results.
  • + 3
 @toast2266: not more dificult just because things are comming at you faster. better handling with the ability to role over rough terrain easier means less input needed by the rider.
  • + 3
 @brendanbohn: finally someone gets it. I'm 100% with you.

Better frame material and design, better tires, suspension, better suspension, disc brakes, half the weight, this is all good. Change the diameter of wheel a little bit and everyone looses their minds.
  • + 2
 @Robo88: This. Goid comparison and argument. Fully agree.
  • + 0
 @Richt2000: "Ride 29ers for speed but small wheels for fun..."

Right up until the point when all you can get are 29ers...
  • + 1
 @Richt2000: Still riding my 29er purely for fun purposes.... nothing serious when I'm in the woods
  • + 0
 I think you guys are missing my point. I am talking about watching the DH as a spectator. Totally agree that racing is about being the fastest and the faster you go the more dificult it is. I'm talking about it being a spectator sport. If the average speed for every rider inproves by 3 seconds and the riders look less 'styled' because they're moving a bigger bike around it won't be as fun to watch. I've been riding 29ers for years. I currently have the Ohlins ltd edition Enduro - its the fastest bike I've ever ridden.
  • + 7
 I don't understand, after an entire winter of testing and I'm sure 100s of timed runs, the teams are only now just figuring out that 29ers are faster??!
Did they want someone else to break cover first so that now they can say 'well Santa Cruz started so we've just got to do it to be faster...'?
  • + 7
 You can't race a bike until there are proper forks and tires for them. Those things are finally catching up.
  • + 4
 @Hand-of-Midas: so they weren't ready at Lourdes but they're good to go 2 weeks later?? I'm going conspiracy...
  • + 1
 @Robo88: literally all this is media frenzy to get clicks. The teams know what they wanna ride, they figure it out in the offseason forsure. Pinkbike just spins it to create hype. For example maybe gee had said "I like 29ers and will try one at fort bill but maybe not Lourdes" pinkbike versions: "GEE HAS JUST RIDDEN A 29ER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THIS SPY SHOT IS HE CHANGING TOO?" It just creates hype and probably helps with marketing the bikes. Imagine if at the start of the year pinkbike just said "most of the teams have 29 they have been testing them on the offseason, they may or may not use them depending on the riders preference and track" instead they get to hype up the 29ers before the race, and then post articles about "don't hype up 29ers too early 650b is still good" after the race. It's all clicks, views, polarizing discussion (lots of comments) and marketing for the new stuff.
  • + 2
 @Robo88: Trek had the 29er Session prior to Lourdes (Dirt Magazine did an article on it and even rode it). I bet the brands had everything ready, but racers didn't have enough time on the bikes to make the switch. This happens a lot in different types of racing (especially in ski racing, for example). The racer needs to be comfortable and confident in the products, and if they don't have enough time logged on them, they won't make the switch.
  • + 1
 I suspect most teams have 29ers prototypes ready in varying stages but were too scared to gamble their brand image.
  • + 8
 All this gurning about wheelsize at worldcups is laughable....its a fucking race, anything that makes them go anyway faster is of course going to be used.
  • + 4
 so there we have it 27.5 was a massive scam.......remember back a couple of years ago when 27.5 was deemed better than 29 for dh so everyone moved up from 26 to 27.5 and then for xc 29 was deemed better. Now there telling us 29 was better all along for dh as well as xc.....ok thanks for wasting everyone's time and money. i will keep my 26 as long as i can and then when i have no choice i will upgrade to 30" wheels or whatever is the next best thing.
  • + 1
 welcome to the global mtb mafia
  • + 8
 Who is going to get exposed next?
  • + 3
 The wheels appear to be Spank Oozy, which have been available in 29 in for a while since they are marketed as a trail/all mountain wheel. I wonder if they were running Spike or Oozy wheels at the last race? In any case it looks to me like Spank didn't develop any special wheelset here.
  • + 3
 That seems odd to me. The Oozy line is a "trail grade" rim. It's not a DH rim. The spike line is for DH and enduro. The tweet ones are even stiffer.
  • + 1
 @fattyheadshok: I don't think spank makes a spike 29er rim, oozy might be their only option. It only has to survive for a few minutes I guess.
  • + 7
 Rockshox should call the new bigger boxxer the Brawler.
  • + 1
 Or the MMA?
  • + 3
 At 6'4" this is the DH Bike I've waiting for hopefully they've stretched out the wheelbase a bit further than the V4.2 out to say 1305mm-1330mm this would be the ultimate DH rig for me, Bring on the STEEP!
  • + 2
 The lads look OK... But, I feel sorry for Pom Pon having to throw that extra wieght an momentum around in the tech sections. Yeah I know that come off as complete sexism but think it's valid for the shorter not as strong riders of all genders....
But, then if she didn't feel faster she wouldn't pick the big wheels?
  • + 1
 If DH bikes are going to be offered in 29er only, i wont be buying one.
I'll stick to a 275 trail/enduro bike then.
It isn't fun for short people to ride a 29er on technical terrain.

Good job MTB industry, you lost a potential customer.
  • + 1
 With the advent of the Furious, and a 29er DH bike in the same year, I wonder if Commencal is going to try and produce both a dedicated park/freeride bike alongside a dedicated race bike. I don't know if it's fiscally possible, but doing so seems like an honest attempt to meet the best of both worlds as far as giving the consumer options.
  • + 1
 It's weird that there is negativity about the wheel size progression & chasing innovation. Back in the late nineties you had to buy a new rig every season if not every 6 months, the progression was so fast. we went from 4.5" travel to 8" inches in the best part of 2 seasons & every one was chasing performance, we were still figuring out geometry, brakes, wheels, tyres. It's racing & you want the fastest rig so you can be competitive, that has always been a huge part of what racing is about. it's difficult for people to be objective when they have been telling themselves that 29ers are G*y & now they are having to back pedal. as the old saying goes 'don't bring a knife to a gun fight'
  • + 4
 I don't care about the wheel size debate, but man I love that the world cups back!! Any coverage of anything is welcome!!
  • + 1
 I wonder if my lyrik lower will fit my boxxer... May have to try this. Although I'm sure rockshox would prefer that not to be that easy. Could build one badass wreckoning with a dual crown.
  • + 0
 Would they have just machined new dropouts for the rear end rather than made a new one? And for the wheel hitting the rearward axlepath on these bikes means the wheel goes up and away from the seat rather than inwards so it shouldn't be an issue, just the headtube would be the part needed to be compensated for from a 27.5-29 convert.
  • + 4
 Please Commencal give to us again a 29er Enduro bike
  • + 2
 And so the lizard people decided that the profits of 27.5 has plateaued and a new "scheme" was in order. ~if its faster, even better.
  • + 1
 Hope people just know these are not any different from factory. They just added a new chainstay on the rear to lengthen it. Looks how close it is, looks like I can order just some new drop outs and we're good.
  • + 5
 Where is brannigan?
  • + 1
 Slobs. We are a money source only. Much like in wars past, when you realize you're already dead (i.e. An ongoing money source) everything becomes much easier to deal with. You are buying it that's why they are making it.
  • + 4
 "We are a money source only"

In other news: bike companies are not charities; and they don't want to be your own very special friend.

Welcome to capitalism.
  • + 4
 Why not go moto style and run 29 front, 275 back?
  • + 2
 Those tyres look pretty fat. Almost 29+....? I've said too much.
  • + 6
 Because UCI doesn't agree.
  • + 1
 21" front 18" rear?
  • + 1
 Well looks like frame has just had new dropouts and fork has 29er pike lowers which makes it easy to change from 27.5 Still think 27.5 rear 29er front could work better for smaller riders
  • + 0
 Wow, seriously Pinkbike...blitzkrieg ? I understand this whole 29r frenzy has your writers salivating at the though of clickbait they can create...but dang I am sure we can find a better headline that will still create a frenzy..how about a play on shark week....since you seem to release a new 29r blood feast headline a day
  • + 0
 I understand the 29 inch wheels being faster. Bigger diameter faster speed at a given RPM.
But why the shortest stays possible?
Would a high speed race bike not be more stable with perhaps 30 mm longer stays than.what an enduro bike would have?
Ill bet soon all podium finishes will be with 29ers
  • + 1
 Omg my Evil 29er idea just keeps getting better! I really think I'm going to sell my v10 and Bronson at the end of this year! Big Grin @theminsta
  • + 1
 Damn man, my SB6 is obsolete now..
  • + 1
 They all hoping for a lack of crosswind on those jumps...if it's too windy they may have to stop the race or add some catch netting.
  • + 1
 The bigger wheels no longer make the bikes look mega long and low the one at the top of the page looks very short and high like a mid 90's DH bike
  • + 3
 I hope this leads to them making meta am 4.2 29er.
  • - 1
 Hey bike companies, I hope you understand how you're hurting mountain biking right now.

I remember the days, three to four years ago, when I couldn't wait to buy a new DH bike to ride at the bike park, and race the local weekend downhill series and be competitive on the same bike. I coveted a new V10, a GT Fury, a Commencal V3, a Devinci Wilson, a carbon Kona Operator...the list goes on, and I've been fortunate enough, and stoked, to have owned several of those bikes. Now, I know I'll never own a new DH/park bike, because they will no longer exist. We don't want to ride 29er park bikes, and we won't.

And we won't be racing the local downhill series, and we won't be practicing getting faster to test ourselves against the Eastern States Cup guys when they show up, and we won't be gathered at the start gates on Friday nights stoked to drop in, and we won't be sharing beers and stories at the bar about our race runs, and we won't congratulating the local park kid who just beat the pro who podium'd at three events this year. Because you just segregated us. We're either freeriders on smaller wheels, or we're racers on big ones, it's no longer possible to be both.

All you're doing is killing the stoke, which is what all of us who got into this sport run on. And for what? So your world cup racer can have an advantage over the others, for two, maybe three events, until the rest catch up with the trend and you're all back on the same wheel size again? I see a lot of people on this forum advocating, and even celebrating, the the 29er movement in downhill. But I'll guarantee they're not downhillers, because I ride with downhillers every day, I am a downhiller, and none of us are celebrating it from the top of the mountain.

I don't know what's to come of downhill mountain biking after this, but if our only options are going to be 29er World Cup bikes, and a couple of inferior designed 27.5 branded "park' bikes, I can tell you that those of us who have been entrenched in this sport for years, buying your bikes, supporting your brands, and giving life to this industry are not going to be stoked, we're just going to feel betrayed.
  • + 1
 Here here lad! I totally agree.
  • + 3
 Well now you know what it has been like to race XC for the last decade. Do you buy a competitive super light HT or do you buy a bike that is fun to ride? Do you want to win or do you want to just compete? I'd prefer to be a bit slower and enjoy my racing, and enjoy the trails on the same bike. You just have to make that choice, like every racer out there.
  • + 1
 @iamamodel: We're talking about wheel size, not frame weight. There's a reason BMX racing has different wheel size classes. The two don't belong on the same track together. Now imagine they stopped making 20in bikes because of the advent of 24inch wheels. There'd be no BMX.
  • + 2
 @cmkneeland: I'm talking about wheel size, suspension, droppers, tire size, stem length, bar width... geometry. Everything. An XC race bike that makes no compromises to speed is terrible to ride. Your 27.5 or 26 dh bike is still much closer to a 29 dh bike than a pure race XC.
  • + 1
 i remember skinsuits beeing banned because the were uncool and less space for sponsors...do we have more room for sponsors on 29" rims and tires?
  • + 3
 that bike looks so short for those wheels
  • + 1
 Sweet mamacita I loooooove big wheels bc big wheels = more big bikes in the world and more big bikes means more bikes that will actually fit me. ( I'm 6'6")
  • + 2
 cant wait to see the first 29" slopestyle bike lol
  • + 1
 Tops of the rear tire almost to the same level of the seat -- should be fun for the twins!
  • + 1
 Bring on DH EXTREME with 4 riders coming out of the gate at once! Side by side comparison, baby!
  • + 1
 The last picture looks like there's a huge articulated bike made of 3 frames and 4 wheels. That would be awesome ! Big Grin
  • + 2
 They should definitely call it the Judy DH.
  • + 1
 When i built my first 29er down hill bike 7 years ago people started to look at me like if i was crazy am i ?
  • + 2
 I'm racist against 29ers.
  • + 3
 #aluminumisnotdead
  • + 2
 WE WANT BDS ON TV this week...
  • - 1
 - Tha f**k, are we supposed to ride these?
- Shut up and say ”cheese”!
- Oh, Jesus f**king Christ...

This is exactly how a bunch of riders that are super thrilled on technology looks like, mwhahahahahaha! Smile )
  • + 0
 Interesting rear shock choice. The Vivid air must not be an option considering that the frame seems to require a metric shock.
  • + 2
 And another one bites the dust...........
  • + 2
 Thank you sir! May I have another?
  • + 4
 a 29er a day keeps slow times away
  • + 2
 Big wheel's keep on turnin'
  • + 1
 In my opinion bikes should be integrated with 650b or 29er.
  • + 1
 Wake me up when they're available to buy...
  • + 2
 They all look so short!
  • + 1
 It's all just so sad!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Are they all riding debonair monarchs now????
  • + 1
 those are the biggest wheels i ever did see
  • + 2
 looks like dog shit
  • + 2
 RIDICULOUS
  • + 1
 Does that tire have a hole in the sidewall?
  • + 1
 UCI pls regulate this crap
  • + 1
 eh, I have my 27.5, it works still.
  • + 2
 FUCK THE INDUSTRY
  • + 4
 you tell em larr
  • + 2
 I love PomPon!
  • + 1
 FUUUUUUUCK
  • + 0
 29ers make good target practice!
  • - 1
 This is spreading faster that the zombie virus in World War Z. Quick, somebody call Brad Pitt!!!!!
  • + 2
 FK brad pitt, get Bruce Campbell. Now!
  • + 0
 Best looking 29" dh bike so far
  • + 0
 Remi doesn't look excited with his 29er.
  • + 0
 why wasting time on 29'' lets bring on 35''
  • + 0
 Kill it before it breads
  • + 0
 I want one
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