Opinion: Why the Mountain Bike Industry Isn't Going To Listen To You

Mar 6, 2014
by Matt Wragg  
Header for Matt s Op Ed pieces.

Mountain bikes are expensive. We could argue all day about whether a $5,000 mountain bike gives you more enjoyment for your money than a motocross bike, an all-leather sex swing or a full-blown crack habit. At the end of the day, none of our bikes are logical purchases, they are complex, personal equations of available money, emotional attachments and downright stupidity.

When I was sixteen I worked Saturdays in the local bike shop for £12 a day (roughly $15 at current exchange rates). At that time things like minimum wage laws were strange things that happened to other people in far-off countries. Looking back, it worked out to earning about £1.50 an hour and the rancid stench of the cheap, plastic coffee machine I cleaned at the end of each day still haunts my nostrils. What I remember more clearly is what the job gave me: The owner let me make a trade order. Back then, this was the greatest thing in the world, me and my friends had heard of older kids ordering parts at "trade", but this was the first time one of us had access to this mythical luxury.

The morning I went to the shop to place my order remains clear in my mind. Stopping at the bank machine, I took out more money than I had ever seen in my life, certainly more than I had ever spent on a single item (about £200). Carefully carrying the money in my back pocket, scared in case something happened to me with such a fortune on me, I nervously crossed the town centre to the shop. The owner opened the suppliers' catalogue, scrawled a reference in his order book with a dog-earred pencil and took my money.

One of the few surviving photos of me riding my pride and joy. Bonus points are on offer if you can name all the questionable products here in this photo.


Several, agonising weeks of waiting later it arrived: A black, Azonic DS-1 frame. It was one of the greatest days of my youth and was without question my proudest possession, staying with me the best part of a decade before fears about aluminium fatigue finally retired it from service. I loved that bike. Hours and hours were spent searching the adverts at the back of the magazines (online shopping didn't exist then), trying to find good parts at a price I could afford. When birthdays and Christmas came around all I ever wanted was another upgrade for it; a fork, brakes, new handlebars. In the first few years of owning it there's a good chance I spent nearly as much time trying to find upgrades I could afford as I did riding it. Some evenings we would huddle round the catalogue from a local bike shop, daydreaming about what bikes we'd build if we had the money.

My story isn't a special one for anybody but me. Surely everyone who started riding at that kind of age has a similar story? It is part of the coming of age as a mountain biker - struggling to put together the best bike you can with what little you have. Some fifteen years separate me from the nervous teenager ordering my frame and in the intervening years life has changed. Everything became complicated at some point and, like every adult, my time seems to fill with never-ending commitments. I look around at my friends and we are all slightly fatter, slightly sorer and a hell of a lot busier.

Setting aside partners, children, houses or the million other small things that fill an adult life, the biggest single reason we are busy is work. This usually has the benefit of earning you more than £12 a day, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes. So it should be a surprise to nobody that the majority of people who go out and buy new mountain bikes fall into this kind of bracket. The truth is that it's not teenagers, students or elite racers who keep the mountain bike industry turning, but slightly older people with decent jobs. People who have worked hard to have money to spend, people who maybe don't have time to scour the modern small ads (the internet) for bargains and, most importantly, people who might feel a little bit happier about the world by owning a bike they are excited about

We ran a poll last year asking how readers bought their mountain bikes - the majority of people who replied said they hunted around online for the best bargain for their new bike. Don't get me wrong, I get it. In fact, virtually everybody working in the mountain bike industry gets it. While Mike Sinyard may not be living on economy beans and pre-flavoured pot noodles (or maybe he is, I've never had the chance to ask him), the truth is that if you want to make money you don't work in the mountain bike industry. Almost without exception, people who work for bike companies, the mountain bike media or anything to do with bikes do it for one, simple reason: they love bikes. And it's no secret that being in a position to buy bikes and gear you would never be able to afford otherwise is one the most-liked perks of working for a bike company. Why else would you take a job that pays a lot less than the equivalent role in a more mainstream industry? Not to get off track, but the point is: the mountain bike industry is filled with people who understand what it's like to struggle to feed your bike habit.

But there is one thing that seems to be overlooked these days, lost in a torrent of angry comments aimed at all kinds of aspects of bike design. Mountain bike companies are just that, companies. They make their bikes for the people who buy them. So, if you're not in that group of people who are buying new bikes at somewhere near the original retail price, you're not who they are making those bikes for. It may sound patronisingly obvious, but on the evidence, many people seem to have forgotten this simple truth.

Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon - custom build from Biketart.com Santa Cruz Bronson C Frame with Fox Float X RockShox Pike Forks RaceFace Sixc bars and cranks Chris King hubs on Stans Flow EX rims Shimano Saint 1x10 RaceFace narrow wide ring Burgtec mk4 Ti pedals Rockshox Reverb Stealth Hope headset bottom bracket and M4 brakes with Ice tech rotors....for those who are interested

No matter how you feel about them, bikes like this one are what are selling now


Wheelsize is one of the best examples of this phenomenon. No topic is as sure to produce a barrage of anger from certain quarters than a bicycle with a larger diameter wheel. People proudly proclaim they are "26 4 Life" or that it's a "conspiracy" by the blood-sucking corporate lizards of the bike industry. You are entitled to not want to buy a bicycle with bigger wheels. Your current bicycle's value should be measured in the fun it offers you, and this cannot be diminished by anybody but you. Nothing the bike industry does can change this. But, the reality is that in bike shops, the people who are walking in asking to buy new bicycles are saying, very clearly, that they want bigger wheels.

Speaking to a friend from the UK who runs a small bike shop in an area close to London, one that is synonymous with more affluent, older riders (ie. the ideal market for a bike shop), he was unequivocal about the shift in peoples buying habits. At the start of 2013 he bet against larger wheels, buying in stock of 26" wheeled bikes. He lost that bet. By the end of the summer he found himself having to discount the bikes heavily just to get them out of the shop. His customers wanted 27.5" or 29" bikes. Looking further up at the foodchain at the bike manufacturers, there is no better example of this trend than the 27.5"-wheeled Santa Cruz Bronson. There is no question - it was the right bike at the right time. People wanted a longer-travel trail bike with that wheelsize and Santa Cruz got the jump on the competition, getting their bike to market before the bigger players. Since its launch, they have sold as many of them as they can make.

There will always be more changes, bike design is going to keep evolving. Once everyone has accepted the whole wheelsize change (and in case anybody has not realised: it's s done deal) there will be something else that will surely piss some people off just as much. Whether it's electronic suspension, the death of the front mech or a new trend in geometry, there will be something. Inevitably progress doesn't please everybody. But, this progress has taken us from sketchy converted road bikes to advanced, relatively affordable mountain-eating machines in less than 30 years. Companies that have not only survived, but prospered, have done so by producing bicycles their customers want to buy. If you find yourself looking at new bikes and not liking what you see, then ask yourself, "Am I the person these bikes were made for?" The answer might be that you aren't. And remember, the by-product is that old products that didn't sell are discounted and second hand bikes trickle down the tree, so if you're not lucky enough to be in a position to lay down the money for a new bike, there are ways you can still build yourself a bike and go riding.


343 Comments

  • + 265
 I work in the bike industry, and I get paid well enough. I'm not rich, I'm a middle class 41 year old U.S. dad. Maybe if you work at a bike shop you don't get paid much (I did it through most of the nineties before going to school to learn how to make better bikes after being amazed at the simplicity and genius of the Ahead-set). And I'm no college degreed office jockey either, I work my ass off in the machine shop. But I can pay my mortgage, feed my kids, and could buy a new high end carbon framed bike every season if I want, but I don't, cause no one can make me. And no one can make any of you.

Next season I probably will, though. I'm still riding my 26" 160mm aluminum trailbike since 2010. I still enjoy riding it once or twice a week and the occasional long weekend vacation. The "industry" and "MTB Media" didn't force me to buy a new wheelsize. In fact, I just got a new set of 26" wheels for that bike this year. and there's 26" bikes available from specialized, santa cruz, etc. It's getting real old reading pinkbike members imagine that some unseen force is going to make them buy a new bike that they don't want.

Later in 2014 I'm going to buy a Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc with 140mm Pikes X0 2x10 shifters and drivetrain, Avid brakes, and Enve AM rims on DT hubs and keep the same crank bros acid pedals I've had since 2008 CAUSE I WANT TO! Not cause a website, corporation, bike manufacturer or a bunch of online strangers think I should.
  • - 100
flag ridethree (Mar 6, 2014 at 2:22) (Below Threshold)
 Very well said. Of course you can still buy and ride whatever you want but you should have realized that many new bikes come in different wheel sizes and that is the bike industry trying to force us to buy them. I'm just annoyed by the bike brands manipulating us and advertising new stuff noone needs.
  • + 12
 well said. it's your decision to buy or not. people are whining this and that, thru axle, wheelsize, stanchion diameter.If you don't like it , don't buy, if more people don't like it eventually designers will redesign it.
  • + 67
 @ridethree: This article was early lost on you.
  • + 31
 because in the end, we are the idiots that buy the hype anyways
  • + 53
 The bike industry wants you to BUY EVERYTHING. that's how industry works. All industries.
  • + 35
 Look at bmx. Their bikes almost haven't changed at all in the last few years and the riders are still pushing the limits. Noone complains about the wheels beeing too small or too big. Everyone just rides and has fun and that's it.
  • + 3
 Hey man thanks for that comment good to know there is more people besides me who feels this way. And by that I mean keeping the crank brothers acid, best pedasl ever! I think I will cry the day mine breaks. Nah seriously though great article.
  • + 15
 This article really gave me some perspective... we (as consumers) don't go ape-shit when Samsung releases a new phone and complain about how they are trying to trick us (also known as marketing) into buying the new one but for some reason when it comes to the biking industry we take it as a personal jab every time a new improvement comes along... You know what? I'm not going to have the latest-and-greatest shit on my bike but I'm going to enjoy it just the same. What this article has taught me is the next time I'm watching a rad video of epic shredding on PB to not be looking for things like "oh thats the new PIKE!" or "oh man check out how that new wheel size rolls!" but to just focus on the riding!
  • + 2
 Very good article and a very good supporting 1st comment.
And for those who do not understand english, @ridethree, in an industry as small as bike industry it is the demand that creates supply, not the other way around. If the companies tried to force us to buy something they would go bust. Its not like there is Jordan Belfort in every sales department of every bike company calling you and trying to sell you forks that do not work or a wheelsize you do not want.

And the point with BMX is just as funny. I remember GT BMX 24", nobody bought it, they dont make it anymore.
  • + 6
 Yeah the 20" bmx hasnt changef much, but what about the 12", 16", 18" and 22" wheel bmx bikes? Now everybody can ride a bmx that actually fit them. Bodies Come in different sizes so wheels should too. Next time you are abput to complain about wheel bigger wheels think of the benefits 22" and 24" proper mtbs has for smaller People. Now think of bigger People, why discriminate?
  • + 4
 Good choice. Absolutely love my LTc. Devours trails.
  • + 3
 @ridethree - last time I checked, BMX was ridden on a perfectly groomed track...AND 22" wheels were introduced to slot between 20" and 24".
FAIL.

ChampionP nailed it.
  • + 12
 Best way for a consumer to make companies listen, stop buying it. Nothing changes their direction more than money.
  • + 13
 Amen! Agree with everything... except the Avid brakes! Wink
  • + 12
 @Spicy Mike - Exactly. Many other industries attempt to sell goofy stuff to their consumers, but ultimately fail, because no one will buy it.

Mountain biking for some reason is different. I think we only have ourselves to blame for not only buying this expensive junk, but also for vehemently defending it by slinging insults at people for second guessing "innovative" new products and standards.

It's time to start talking with our wallets. Put off buying the new bike for a year. Reject the new bottom bracket/axle width, handle bar diameter/headtube size/iscg/wheel size/etc. standard. Don't believe the hype folks. It's a consumerist trap.
  • + 9
 ...erm. Oops.
  • + 8
 Its hard to compare bikes to something like cell phones. When Apple or Samsung release a new phone, most of the time you can see what the benefits are. Its faster, more screen resolution, better features, its smaller etc. I think the problem with bikes, and especially something like wheel size, is that there is no tangible way to quantify the improvement and how it actually translates to the trail. We as riders either have to take the world of the manufacturers or the riders they sponsor. And even the 'independent reviews on sites like pinkbike and vital are shaky. Not saying they are purposely biased, but its ultimately humans testing the bikes, and humans are always influenced by outside information. That's why in true scientific experiments you use a control group, placebo's etc. You just can't get to that level with bike testing. All this just makes people skeptical.
  • + 17
 Good article, but I don't buy all of it. Phones are a bad example. Phones are a necessity, and they are still a growing industry, where actual and measurable technological advancements happen regularly. Mountain bikes are niche, and the technological evolution is slow. The only way to generate sales is through a tangible technological advance. Wheel size, whether you consider it a technological advancement or not, was created by industry to generate these sales. Trying to obsolete existing wheel sizes is a brilliant strategy to achieve this, it really is. The bike industry is an industry, and they're following Apples business model, which is to create growth by obsoleting your own technology. Just stop trying to sell this mythology and BS that consumers actually demanded this change.
  • + 5
 For most bikes we went from steel to aluminum to carbon. Quick releases have been disappearing, and in come through axles. Head tubes are now either 1.5 or tapered, same goes for forks. Bottom bracket designs have changed 792,000 times since 1998. Brakes have gone from cables to hydraulic, rim to disc. Suspension platforms and their pivots have become more reliable and plush while descending and stiffer while climbing. The Pike is the new hot fork that we're all touching ourselves about like two year old boys. All these changes typically happened because we wanted a bike that was more responsive stiffer, lighter, stronger, adjustable, 'better' and aimed at the terrain we like to ride. Now wheel sizes appear to be evolving away from 26" (exc DH or DJ)... whoa! WTH? No way! @ssholes! It's a consipiracy! I'll never buy brand x again!

But we'll buy everything virtually else? We're hypocrites. Every single one of us.

If you don't want to buy into a new wheel size, then don't. No one's holding a knife to your nuts. Just stop bloody whining about it like 5 year olds.
  • + 6
 I know I'm probably going to get quite a bit of angry feedback for this, but anyway: I agree completely with buying what you want because you want it, it's the only reason to choose a bike. However, I would still be inclined to go for the newer stuff. Not because of media, not because of trend, but because that's what I reckon I'd prefer. I like the idea of mid size wheels with mid size stanctions and more gears on the back. But for some reason it seems it's not ok to have this preference. Just my view on the way people talk about this stuff.
  • + 6
 For me,my cash can't stretch to new bikes so therefore il be riding 26" for now....but only because I can't afford a new 27.5 or 29 bike....I can get more bike for my money in 26"....I made that choice....not a magazine or website or bike company....just little old me.if its got 2 wheels ride on
  • + 0
 CAPITALISM...SUPPLY AND DEMAND.....AMAZING SYSTEM....FLAWLESS IN MY MIND
  • + 10
 It all boils down to poor Product Management methods in the cycling industry. Too much innovation is released because it is cool, dreamed up by an engineer but never asked for (widely, anyway) by consumers. 27.5 is a precise example of this. There was an article here on PB awhile ago that basically explains the resurgence of 27.5 was pushed by one then a small group of folks. The "problem" solved by 27.5, while real, is minute to non-existent for the average rider and only truly benefits elite level riders. Consumers were not asking for it. Sram's new 7spd DH drivetrain, on the other hand, is a direct response to a need among a distinct consumer group (arguably a few years late, but hey, it finally came… except I suspect many of the die hards who held on to 8spd did so because the thicker chains are tough as hell, so Sram releasing the 7spd group with skinny chains does miss the mark to a degree). Good news is that over the long term companies that rely solely on superior tech and design while ignoring consumer feedback/needs almost always fall from grace at some point. RIM/Blackberry is a prime example.
  • + 10
 gooded should read about trickledown/supply side economics, and planned obsolescence, and how these benefit the company, not the consumer.
  • + 1
 @ triggstar: although I said I like the thought of the mid size stuff I'm also stuck in 26 at the moment, and agree 100% with you
  • - 2
 iscariot1 should realize that companies provide jobs to consumers. Companies that make money, boatloads of money, provide boatloads of jobs and pay excellent wages so that consumers can spend boatloads of money on bikes. If it sells, build it...supply and demand. Then again, maybe you're right, these companies should build bikes that no one wants. Maybe they could all agree not to make better bikes. No innovation. That wouldn't be fair if companies were allowed to create better products than their competition. These comments are so irrational...I don't really understand how people could complain about this. Now I'm complaining about people complaining. I guess I'm no better.
  • + 8
 @gooded. Don't entirely disagree with you, except for an assumption that companies that make boatloads pay well. What's the richest company in America? Wal-Mart? What company pays some of the lowest average wages….? Yeah, you know who. Capitalism has many benefits, but only a fool thinks it is perfect.
  • + 1
 AMAZING PIECE thank you.
  • + 1
 I, as well, think your piece is amazing. what
  • + 3
 gooded believes in trickle down economics, which has proven to be a spectacular failure according to most respected economists. LOL. Keep drinking the coolaid like a good little consumer sheep...Have fun with that.
  • - 1
 Ok, now we're having a serious conversation. Robwhynot, I bet you are "more" correct than I am. I concede. But, one more thing to keep in mind, if you're using walmart as an example. They are a corporation..profits go to shareholders, who in turn, spend money on things. I don't think people should "hate on" companies that make money. I know I'm off track here, that's not how this whole thing started...but again, Companies need to make money, they're gonna make what sells, even if they have to make something up. I'm "all for" making a profit buy any honest means.
  • + 20
 The bike industry wont listen to your Pinkbike comments, because most of you are retarded.
Yes your 8 speed technically still shifts, yes your 26" still rolls, and your canti brakes still brake. But 90* head tubes technically work, so do 500mm bars, single wall rims, and 2 foot bottom brackets. Its purely opinion that you think your old shit is better. I love the old Tacoma body style, but Toyota changed it. Because innovate or die. You cant just keep producing the same shit every year, technology gets better, things get better and things change. Its pure fact that new bike equipment is better. Its lighter, crisper, its easier to work on and replace parts, typically more durable, it just works better people. If you are still running f*cking toe straps on your new carbon bike, or your using an Azonic Love Seat pointed to the sky, or you have flat pedals on your road bike, or you put f*cking stuffed animals or squeeky toys on your handlebars, your opinion does not matter. You're not helping our sport grow, your only helping yourself look and sound like a complete gaper. Buy a recumbent, and please don't reproduce.
  • + 1
 Awesome. Now we are on track. Totally agree with freeriderdeluxe
  • + 2
 i love how the article literally says "the bike industry won't listen to you", as well as implies that we are not special or entitled to anything. but people still complain in the comments. as if people telling them they aren't entitled isn't enough. idiots.
  • + 7
 Actually the industry is going to listen to you. Buy bikes from companies that make quality products for 30% less than competitors (Norco for example). Vote with your wallet what you want. Bitching about price and buying the product anyways won't evoke real change, but if you make your feelings known and act on them you can have an effect.

Think of it this way, you have exotic car companies which produce 200k+ vehicles and then you have Nissan who makes the gtr which out preforms cars twice its price. There are quality bikes out there for lower costs and if you want to actually change the status quo you will support their vision rather than buying into the corporate money hungry brands. Granted they are all businesses but some worse than others cough*specialized*cough.
  • + 0
 We create the need, and we create the demand. The industry creates the supply. Period.

When the hell did More Options become a bad thing?
I love the diversity of stuff that is available. It provides options and opportunity for improvement and experimentation. The lesser options get phased out. The greater options get endorsed and continue to evolve until they are also replaced by the demand for and creation of even better options.

Larger wheels are just an option. I will pick and ride whatever I think is going to be the most fun to ride for my intended purpose. If you are buying bikes and products that you are not having fun on, then you are a complete and total idiot.

So many comments on here contradict themselves.
I want the BEST Possible performance from my bike! I want all the latest and greast tech on my bike! I want all the latest and greatest to cost the same or less than the low/mid level stuff! I want cheaper bikes and components! I want it all for as cheap as possible! And I want all the new tech to always fit on my current rig, and be transferrable if I want to buy a brand new frame!
What!? I cant have all this!?! That wont fit on my old frame, and my old compenents wont always fit on that new frame! It Must be a conspiracy dammit!
All of these things are true, but we cant have them all at once.

If Anything, all the 26" stuff is STILL Available, and it is costing less and less every day, so you kind of have it all at the moment.
The brand spanking new tech is going to continue coming out, and unfortunately its not always going to be compliant with what you are currently running, but I think 26" stuff is going to be available for a very very very very long time. Which is rad.
  • + 8
 I think most reasonable folks agree that more options is generally better. But if you talk to anyone near the industry or at your local shop, the chatter is that there will continue to be fewer and fewer offerings in 26" wheels until it is completely or near obsolete. That's the unfortunate part of this whole thing… there are obviously a number of riders who would be just as happy staying on 26", but it sounds like they won't have that choice in a very short time.
  • + 10
 It's not like the people who go into the bike shops and buy 29ers and 27.5 bikes necessarily know exactly what wheel size they want or really even have a preference for a lot of the new "innovations" they're coming out with (27.5, 154 and 142mm spacing, 35mm bars,etc.)/. It's a bit ridiculous to assume that companies are making new standards and what I would consider often overpriced new technology because people are coming into shops and are asking for it.
Bike companies aren't completely made up of modest people who are fine with not making much money just because they work for a bike company and can do what they love. Of course they look for ways to make as much money as possible in what they do. It seems pretty obvious that because the sector of the market who have the most money and buy the newest and most expensive parts aren't necessarily the most knowledgeable about exactly what technologies/parts they like, companies are able to come up with all these new standards and sell them with promises of great performance benefits.

Maybe it's just me but I feel like a big reason companies are introducing lots of these technologies is to make it so everybody needs to buy all the new stuff because the old stuff (26" wheels, 150mm spacing, etc.) is hard to find and supposedly doesn't work as well or offer as good of performance.
  • + 7
 if you feel pressure to pick a certain product ......you are buying a bike for the wrong reason. too many of you noobs on here worry about how skinny your jeans are and how many facebook friends you have. buy some looser jeans and grow a pair.
  • - 1
 Hey, no one has mentioned enduro yet have they? OMG to that eh?
  • - 1
 El Niño is Spanish for... The Niño
  • + 2
 First, I'm all for choices and for most riders 650b or 29 is probably their best fit. Now that that's out of the way 26 is available now, but for how long? The majority of bicycle makers are completely ditching 26 for every platform but gravity bikes. I hope they stick around but if 26 is erased it's not more options it's just a shift. The bike industry like any industry is driven by profits and if they market specifically to the sector that creates them the most profit they're business will do better. In this case they're marketing bikes to the biggest sector of riders who buy new bikes. That would be those who ride more XC type of trails but want to be able to descend well too and mostly people well into their adult lives with solid middle class careers that like buying new toys. That's who buys most of the 5k AM/Enduro bikes. For those of use who don't fit that demographic but who prefer 26 the speculation that 26 is pretty much dead is both annoying and seems like the bike industry is pushing a slightly bigger wheel as serious development when it's just another option. Essentially that means that the industry is ignoring riders who prefer 26 -which seems to be a fair number- to market to the demographics of people who want to buy new toys and who can afford to do so regularly. Glad people have their new bigger wheels, but sad that a lot of riders will be ignored. Who knows though maybe 4 years from now the pendulum will swing back towards that playful small wheeled 26 bike or they'll create a 26.795 inch wheeled bike that's the new rage.
  • + 4
 If you think it's flawless you aren't thinking hard enough.
  • - 2
 ^ exactly. the only thing this comments section has proven is that pinkbikers have no idea what they're talking about and that we're full of isht 99.9% of the time.
  • + 4
 Capitalism is flawless? You haven't been paying attention.
  • + 1
 i like your position. i know what this article is saying. working in a bike sop does not pay great but the discounts are almost too good to resist
  • + 0
 phones are a great example of marketing at its zenith. marketing gets people in line for days to get the new tiny bit better model. they're phones.appliances. even if. never strap a number plate on my bike, its still a competition machine! I want it to help me feel like the best rider I can be. I want the best bike I. can afford. (maybe bebetter than I can afford but that's another story) toward s that end, bigger wheels help less talented riders go faster. they help schmoes more than pros. bike companies kniw that and that's why they filling the sales floor with em.
  • + 1
 @Metacomet: I was just saying to my buddy that all last years 26" wheeled carbon dh dream bikes are 1/3 of the price. You would think the die hard 26ers would be happy as hell.
  • + 1
 @joshaz: Replying to a 3 year old comment, impressive
  • + 65
 Stimulatimg sales in a flooded market. The 26er is everywhere. How does one sell a new bike to a contented owner? Make the owner hate the bike he she is content with. Look at the cell phone market as a example...... Go on sheep buy a bigger wheeled bike on your credit card. Trade in your perfectly good working cell phone throw your perfectly good working TV into the trash for that flat screen HD. Work all the overtime in the world to pay off your credit card bill from these purchases. Eat your happy meal because you have no time to prepare a meal. Get fat watching that HD TV. Take work with youneveywhere you go on the fancy phone. I will take your $4000 26er off your hands at the garage sale your wife has behind your back for 20 bucks and ride it harder then the prom queen.
  • + 12
 Preach
  • + 8
 it didn't come from consumer driven demand you can figure the rest out, despite deniers of the great wheel size conspiracy theory
  • + 1
 Dream on garage sale hunter
  • + 3
 ...what's your point exactly?
  • - 5
flag ReformedRoadie (Mar 6, 2014 at 8:10) (Below Threshold)
 Dude, put down the bong, that $hit is making you paranoid.
  • + 3
 Well that escalated quickly. They're just bikes. Ride the one you like that suits our style.
  • + 7
 Seems to me the original article is right that the people who buy bikes are the kind of people who start foaming at the mouth when they originally read about 650b coming into the market. It's not like he's wrong when he says that the people who buy new bikes are the market the industry wants to sell too, but selling new bikes to middle aged, middle class weekend warriors who spend too much time on work drooling over the new gear here on PB and elsewhere aren't always the best examples of mountain bikers. 650b seems faster for those who are racing since most all the racers are making switches to that size or 29ers, but for those of us who enjoy jumping, and general playful riding it's a bit of a let down. No one was walking into bike stores five years ago and not buying bikes because the wheels weren't big enough. The industry marketed a new wheel size to the people who can afford new bikes and buy them and people responded. Apple does the same thing with phones offering slightly different products with usually no serious upgrade between last years product and people queue up to buy them like crazy. So he's right about the market part, but wrong about consumer demand as the industry definitely pushed the new wheel size because they knew gearheads and 30-60 year old riders would eat it up. For most of them it's the best bike for them anyway since they're more about pedaling and want to make the rough sections easier to roll over. Hopefully at least a company or two will continue to make quality 26' bikes for the rest of us that prefer them.
  • + 4
 Thanks @Zachmozach for saying it so perfectly. I will not sway anybody under 5'7" to buy a bike if they plan to ride for "fun" simply because the 26" is no longer available. If they plan to ride for a "work out", then maybe. Nothing against the 650b but you got to keep the 26" option available for the shorter riders enjoyment.
  • + 7
 "Your current bicycle's value should be measured in the fun it offers you, and this cannot be diminished by anybody but you." The article pretty much nails it.
  • + 2
 That is what gets lost in these conversations….the FUN FACTOR. Not to say that 650b or 29r are not fun, but for me and most of my friends its all about the free-ride aspect of mtb.

The main benefit to the newer wheel sizes is the fact it has brought many new people into mtb. This is good for the industry and good for our trails. Getting an "Average Joe" on a mouton bike helps promote our sport. No longer just looked at as a dirt-bag sport (although I am a dirt-bag at heart). I have seem the benefits here in the PNW where new trails have opened up or been improved because of the sports popularity.

It's all good…but I'm "26 4 Life"!
  • + 1
 How the hell is wheel size bringing new riders? Marketing brings new riders. 27.5 has stepped in right as we have started to see mtn bikes more often in lifetsyle commercials for cars, life insurance, and all sorts of bs that has literally nothing to do with mtn biking. 27.5 also happens to be faster in WC races- but ultimately racing is a sport for the committed, not all the career oriented people buying toys.

Also "the average joe" is probably the worst argument ever- very few people are average and it is a huge over generalization. They are having fun because they are using something more than their pupils and their thumbs.

Zach has it- except buying new phones "like crazy" should be replaced with "because they are crazy".
  • + 1
 I agree, fun should dictate what ever sport you choose to involve yourself in. Zackmozach, who defines what "mt. biking" is? If you are spending the majority of your time in a jump park would that not be more BMX than mt. biking? If a person buys into the latest hype or newest gadget, fine. It's their money & time to spend as they please, who am I to judge. I am more concerned that my 6" travel bike is becoming overkill as more & more trails are resembling paved footpaths than "mt. bike" trails.
  • + 2
 Trails with jumps on them aren't a jump park. I enjoy trails with a mix of technical sections, jumps, flow sections and even climbing. Personally I see no need to define mountain biking. However, the industry seems to be heading towards building bikes meant for a certain demographic and that's fine so long as they don't forget the crowd that was responsible for people wanting to ride 6 inch travel trail bikes capable of handling some pretty rough descending. Seems like 5 years ago it was more gravity oriented bikes that can pedal and now it's XC bikes that can descend.
  • + 2
 The reason I asked about who defines what mt. biking is, is that the demographic that you describe in your first post by far & away out numbers people like you & me who are on their bikes 5 or 6 times a week. I agree that bikes were designed with the gravity set in mind 5 years ago, but even in my backwater corner of the world there has been a seismic shift in what constitutes trail riding. Even before the serious push to bigger wheels riders were less & less hitting the serious DH shuttle runs & opting for the more XC/all mountain trails. Causes? My first guess is an aging population. Instead of a shit eating grin at the bottom of a wild drop/ technical section, a lot of the people I ride with now envision a hospital bed & long recovery if they screw up.
  • + 51
 Did people really want 27.5 or did they freak out buying a 26 that would be impossible to sell in 3 years?
That's exactly what I felt last year when I bought a Nomad, couple of days after SC announced the Bronson. The only reason I stuck to the Nomad was that I could get the frame right then, use my old components (wheels and forks). Otherwise I would have bought the Bronson for 2 reasons: It's lighter and it was already clear 26 started to die. Not even 6 month later at Eurobike how many new 26" bikes where shown? I could only count one. 27.5? A LOT. So if you're showing loads of new bikes in 27.5 and only have older 26" for sale what people think? 27.5 is the future, and I can still sell a good price in 3 years. 26? I don't even know if I'll still find my favourit tyres in 3 years... No the industry doesn't listen to us on Pinkbike nor the other ones. They just drive the way it goes.
As for people whining they're not making money in the bike industry I can't help thinking it can't be the case for everybody, and those for whom it's the case do have some sort of compensation. I can't help thinking about it when I read in the last issue of Dirt Ed H making a moralist article about buying the original NW chainrings from SRAM because blabla they invested R&D (even if it's only a new idea in the bike world). And then I see the same guy testing the new DH-specific drive train in NZ (trip paid by who?) not even having a comment on the eye-watering price of that stupid derailleur: 250$ for made in china derived from another drive train!!! Wow, they put longer screws to fit the narrow 7 gears?? That must be why!!! No sorry some people DO make money in the bike industry and some others have nice compensations.
  • + 9
 this is an opinion i share with you.
i'm in the market for a new dh bike (to keep for 2-3 years) but sod spending any money in this kind of turbulant market. maybe next year if it settles down.
  • + 27
 Got to agree with this. The original article here is too simplistic in inferring Manufacturers are making what the majority want and consumers totally drive the market. This just isn't true. I want to buy a brand new 26er full sus XC race bike. Where can I get on of those new?



Choice is good for the consumer but bad for the manufacturers therefore the manufcaturers limit choice and force something new and profitable. Understandable, but not for the benefit of the customer at all. Shame is that we are all suckers and go along with it for lack of other options most of the time. Even in the SRAM 7 speed article they were quite upfront about being able to make a cheaper option but sticking two fingers up to everyone in making the most expensive and profitable option possible. Not bad necessarily from the company's view but not in the consumers best interest as this PB article would suggest. Sure the 7 speed stuff may not be aimed at me but it's hardly an isolated incident but more of a representative example of the market being very much driven my the bigger companies, not by the consumer. Consumers come second and are unfortunately suckers for lack of other options.
  • + 9
 Sorry, did I get that right? You are not buying the bike that you want to ride the most, but the one that will be easiest to sell in three years? And you think that is the way the majority decides which bike to buy? Interesting.
  • + 6
 I think 650b is taking off because people see it as means to an end of needing all these bikes in their garages and not any kind of "freaking out". Not many people can afford to keep and maintain a stable of DH, XC, "AM", DJ, road, et al bikes anymore. 650b comes along as says "look at those enduro riders, they can ride uphill and downhill with one bike." Why wouldn't the customer be sold on this? It's something the bike industry has advertised for years, but never was really able to deliver on. I think people see it as finally happening. Just my theory.
  • + 11
 650b did not creat enduro bikes. They existed before the resurgence of the 650b size. If the difference was so huge in terms of performance maybe Clementz and Graves would not have managed 1-2 scores. See next year when Clementz is also on 650b if he makes a bigger gap or not.
  • + 1
 You missed my point. It's about the perception people have with these bikes and what they can do with them.
  • + 7
 FuzzyL, I can't speak for the poster you are replying to, but yes I feel that most people buying a new bike half half an eye on what might be worth something down the line. If when buying a bike the LBS/ media/ manufacturers convince you that 26 is worthless and completely dead then do you see value to buying a 26er? Probably not, hence why the marketing is pushing 650B (and tried to push 29ers on everyone before that) and convince the new bike buyer to go the way that bring s them the most pennies, regardless of what the buyer would ideally like in the short term.
  • + 4
 Dude, let's be honest. Graves could have podiumed at the EWS on a Yeti ARC.
  • + 7
 @gamblor: you could do the same with 26in!

No I'm not buying a bike because of how much I can sell it again. But if there are 2 bikes I like the same, cost the same, and one will be unsalable in 3 years or I won't be able to find parts (look for great forks with straight 1.1/8 straight steerer tube, the choice is pretty clear.
I'm not against improvements. But clutch derailleurs for instance didn't make my 10sp drivetrain obsolete and didn't cost much more than the previous model. And sure there are still things to improve.
  • + 3
 I'm not of the frame of mind, "How much can I sell this bike for in a couple years?" More like,"How much riding can I get out of this bike in the next couple years?" I keep em hanging around and tuned up in good running shape for friends who are going on their first ride, or just for a group of friends to cruise around the neighborhood rails to trails network. Honestly, I was running out of room for bikes till them damn kids started moving out. Now I have two more rooms and the full basement to expand the collection.
  • + 5
 I know a couple of people who have told me they are getting 650B solely for resale value when they are done with it, even though they don't like the idea. Time will tell if they are disappointed, but I can't help but wonder what % of sales are driven by this mindset.
  • - 1
 @ BeardlessMarinRider: If I was convinced that 26" is superior to 27.5 or 29, and a lot of people here seem to be, than I would buy a 26" bike, regardless of my ability to sell it at some point down the line. And I don't think you will not be able to get 26" tires in the foreseeable future.

@EnduroManiac: That is the way it has been with the bike industry for at least 23 years (that's how long I've been riding mountain bikes, and I'm sure it wasn't different before that). Yes, a used bike with 26" wheels might be almost unsellable in a few years. So will be a bike without a tapered steering tube (you already mentioned that yourself), or a fork with a traditional QR axle, and so on... "standards" if you even want to call them that, in the bike industry have always been short lived. 27.5" wheels won't render any more old frames "useless", than untapered steerer tubes, missing disc break attachments, steep head angles and a lot of other features did in the past.
  • + 2
 @fuzzyl yes i take into account resale value, you would be stupid not to when considering spending £4-5k. if i knew things were going to stay 26" i could happily go out and buy a new bike but as its not that clear. i see almost no difference between 26" and 650b and that is why i don't have a preference. i am selling a 2010 frame because its too small for me and thus i need a new bike. so i'm going to buy a far cheaper 2012 bike and keep that for a while because the depreciation isn't going to be as stupid and i'm not convinced that this years 650b bikes are totally dialed yet.

@ BeardlessMarinRider rather well put
  • + 2
 @FuzzyL: You can still buy modern wheelset and fit some QR adapters on them to suit your old bike. But development on 26 has been pretty much stopped. So if I want state of the art wheels on my old bike I can just forget about it. It will be state of the art of 4 years before (and that's a lot). And I guess I can consider myself happy with it cause it could even be I don't find those anymore.
  • + 2
 @Fuzzy: I want to buy a brand new 26er full sus XC race bike. Where can I get on of those new? Nowhere I can see!

A 100mm travel 26 suits my needs perfectly. Something like a 26er Anthem/ Superlight/ Epic from old would do me nicely. Can I get a 26er version from any of these brand now? No!

Also @ Fuzzy: Where the comparisons you and others make to other standards such as QR/ steerer tubes breaks down is that despite the emergence of popular new standards the alternatives continue to exist and be easy to buy. If I want to go out and buy a straight steered fork I can. Same if I want a frame with a QR rear end. Can I buy a new 26er XC frame or bike? Bloomin' near impossible. Even to buy a 26er "enduro" frame or bike is going to be pretty difficult this year.

I'm not against new standards, but want to be given the choice in where I spend my pennies.
  • + 3
 @BeardlessMarinRider A 26er full sus XC race bike? Sorry, but you're in a tiny weeny little niche there. XC racers want the fastest bike for getting around an XC race course and these days, that's usually going to be a 29er. As the article says, "you're not who they are making those bikes for".
  • + 7
 How many people are not buying bikes at all while they wait for the dust to settle? I ride with some guys who would've bought 26ers, but have not because they are waiting to see what happens to them and they don't really want a 650. Unfortunately, they are the ones that will inadvertently cause its demise. I bought two 26ers since the release of the Bronson (actually three if you count my DH bike), so I'm doing my part to save them. I can't save them on my own; all you 26 for life guys need to start buying bikes again. It's not as if your 3 year old bike is worth anything anyway, regardless of what size the wheels are, so stop the hype machine and buy what you want to ride, not what you want to sell after you've beaten it to shit.
  • - 1
 Olly, don't even get me started about the "29ers are faster" nonsense. The is categorically no evidence to prove this. Especially no evidence to say under what circumstances a 29er might actually be beneficial as "29ers are faster" is just too big a sweeping statement. Just anecdotal evidence of people "feeling" faster. Placebo effect? Remind me what wheel size has had most success on the XC circuit this year? Not 26 (because manufacturers don't make them any more!) but not a 29er either.

Sure a 29er hardtail might roll over small bumps a fraction better than a 26er hardtail but larger wheels don't replace rear suspension in terms of tracking the ground and providing comfort on the rougher courses/ marathons. The extra weight in the wheels/ tyres/ forks/ etc on a 29er defies XC race logic of keeping rotational weight to a minimum and overall weight as low as possible (weight is a massive factor on anything over a few % gradient in terms of climbing if you do the maths). The cost of wheels approaching sensible weights but being stiff enough for 29ers are astronomical compared to a light 26 wheelset. My current 26er full sus is sub 8kg (Cannondale Scalpel). I can throw 4 or 5 times the money at a 29er full sus XC bike and it won't be anywhere near as light. The point is where you make gains in one area with a 29er you lose elsewhere.

None of this takes away from the fact that 26er options across all disciplines are becoming severely limited due to cynical marketing. Give people choice and let their money speak.

P.S. This PB article should be put firmly in the Troll category.
  • + 2
 People telling others to vote with there wallets will never work as not every mountain biker out there is really into the sport I imagine the bulk of bike sales come from the casual mtb riders who do it for fitness now and again . Ok maybe not the bikes at 5k plus but at some stage 650b will filter down to the 300 pound bikes they sell in supermarkets etc these are not bought by readers of pb . I imagine 26 inch is going the same way 24 inch wheels did they may become less popular eventually but you will still be able to buy wheels and tires no problem they will just become cheaper as they are less desirable. This will all be in years to come though as There are still far too many 26 inch wheeled bikes still around even if sales of 650b are on the up.
  • + 28
 Before the boom of 27.5, and even 29" bikes, were people buying new bikes coming into shops suggesting to owners that they'd rather have a 27.5 inch bike? Is that why the industry started making them, to appease these people?

Or, did the MTB companies come out with the "latest and greatest" and these people who may not have been mountain biking their entire lives feel the need to buy the "next big thing"? The bike industry says "27.5 is better than 26", so of course people with the $$$ are going to buy 27.5. The article is way off in my opinion.

I've worked in multiple shops for many years, and I've found that people will buy whatever they think will make them ride faster, go bigger, and be better- even if it won't actually make one lick of difference in reality. It's all about perception, and the MTB industry has created one that says "buy these new 'standard' bikes". My friends and I often refer to it as "trying to buy fast", and many bike shop consumers do exactly that.
  • + 2
 But why are they trying to make us buy bigger wheels? What is the advantage?
  • + 25
 The advantage is that you wouldn't buy something you already have right? So they created something new so people would ditch their current bikes.
  • - 8
flag deeeight (Mar 6, 2014 at 6:18) (Below Threshold)
 Well given that I was an early adopter and for years I had store owners who knew I was already on 650B and had started seeing them at the trade shows (if they weren't already a KHS, Haro or Jamis dealer) and kept asking me what I thought of them...because they'd have customers inquiring about them and they didn't really know what to answer... that should pretty clearly mean it was consumer driven, not industry driven.
  • + 12
 Phobos,

That's exactly it. This is really a classic 'chicken or the egg' scenario. Are the bike companies producing the 27.5 because that's what people want, or do people want the 27.5 because that's what the bike companies are producing and pushing right now.

If probably have to say it's more that latter. Like you said, how many customers were coming in 4 years ago saying they wanted a 27.5? The answer would be none, because no one even knew what a 27.5 was until the industry started to tell people they needed it and how great it is.

Now I'm also not dumb. I know exactly why the companies are doing what they are doing. It's their job to sell bikes, and the easiest way to do that is to make people feel like thier old equipment is no longer adequate or to force a shift by phasing out and old standard. But just because it's sound business doesn't mean we as consumers aren't allowed to point out the huge load of BS involved in the whole situation.
  • - 12
flag deeeight (Mar 6, 2014 at 6:56) (Below Threshold)
 You're an idiot if you think NO ONE who was a consumer knew what a 650B was 4 years ago...

THIS... forums.mtbr.com/27-5-650b/list-27-5-compatible-26ers-376656.html thread started on mtbr on Jan 24th 2008 (so six years ago) to compile a list of frames/bikes that were KNOWN to be 650B compatible for consumers looking to adopt the tire size to their existing bikes... it started with 17 bike models, there are now hundreds listed and many with photos.

The only "no one" who didn't know where the folks who only come to play here who deny the existence of anything else in the bicycle world exists.
  • + 8
 Calm down big guy, no need to get your panties in a bunch. It wasn't a literal comment when I said 'no one'. Obviously there were people who were aware of it. It was a generalization used to make a point, which is that in general, the mountain biking masses, even if they had heard of it, were not breaking down the bike shop doors demanding 650B until the mainstream industry started promoting it.
  • - 12
flag deeeight (Mar 6, 2014 at 8:16) (Below Threshold)
 They weren't breaking down the doors for downhill, freeride, dirt jump or slopestyle bikes either. The market for them, is essentially dead for the majority of shops outside of ski mountain towns (which have summer lift programs / mtb trails). If you took EVERY brand in the world who only do that kind of bikes (so no Trek or Giant or Norco for example) and added their sales together, you wouldn't even pass what a middling brand like Jamis does on its own in annual sales across all the market segments it sells to. We're talking a market segment that is only hundreds of millions of dollars versus brands who alone do hundreds of millions in sales.

Walmart sells more dollars worth of cheap ass bikes to americans each year than all the fancy brands in the world sell in gravity-oriented segment bikes. And Walmart is already selling 29ers and probably soon 650Bs.
  • + 3
 I think the chicken and egg question is valid but any innovation is iterative. So yeah, trades shows are the industry sticking their toe in the water to see if they should jump in. "Hey look at this protoype!....no? okay we'll try again." I've bought a bike or bike parts on about a 3 year cycle my whole riding life. it wasn't until about a year or two ago that wheel size was one of the options for the kind of riding I'm into. I buy things because innovation produces new performance gains (sometimes real sometimes perceived). I'm no industry expert but both sides of the transaction (buyer and maker) never seem to be satisfied with status quo. Neither of us ever sits still. take wheelsize out of the equation for a minute. threaded headsets died and forced me to get a new fork, headset, stem, probably brakes. 1 1/8" took over 1" headtubes, disc brakes killed Vees, square taper BBs, 1x drivetrains on and on. I don't get upset because I beleive I'm getting better overall performance. I don't always demand it but some maker sees a weakness and addresses it. That's their job. If a maker can legitimately convince me that their innovation is effective, then I will spend money on it. My money, my choice.
  • + 5
 conv3rt - you make alot of good points about innovation. But I think part of the debate with wheel size also centers around whether a small change in wheel size is really 'innovation'. All the other things you mention are tangible. New headsets offer clear advantages over the old threaded type. Disc/hydraulic brake clearly work better and more efficiently than V brakes, 1X drivetrain's are clearly more simple, quieter, and easier to maintain than using a front mech. Wheel size? 29ers yes, its a clear difference. Not everyone prefers it, but when you get on a 29er you know you are riding something different. A 650B? Who the hell knows really. Are we really getting an advantage or do we think its good because its supposed to be good? I have no idea.
  • + 2
 deeeight that's pretty much it. People who are into gravity riding and want a more playful bike that has an advantage for jumping, and popping off lips and that aren't exactly happy that 26' bikes are being eliminated by brand after brand. The point is that the industry started marketing to who buys bikes which is the middle class and middle aged guys who are more geared towards XC but want the capability to have some fun on the descents as well. You can't fault people for being unhappy that nearly the entire industry is pushing 26' wheel size out the door so that people will ditch that 3 year old 26' bike with relatively the same level of technology and performance so they can pedal a little better and roll over the rough stuff a little better. When I go to my LBS and see only big wheel bikes it's because people want them and the industry played a role in creating that demand, but it also means I won't be buying a bike from them since they don't cater to how and what I want to ride. conv3rt that's just it your money your choice, unless you want to choose 26' bikes then your almost out of options.
  • + 1
 @ sino428 True. That's why I included "sometimes real somtimes perceived". The point there being my beleif that it's better may increase my confidence in its performance/strength/reliability and that little mental boost might push me to ride harder, try new lines etc. When I ride I'm always looking to improve so all I can offer is my perspective on innovations relating to performance. I mean there's a limit like if someone where to tell me that blue bikes are faster than red ones I would dismiss that. Wheel size seems to have some science behind it. Traction being one that interests me. I've never tried a 650b so keep that in mind. As an aside, the cynic in me beleives that most opponents to 29 don't like it because of the "image" of 29. XC, spandex, wagon wheels...I'm not seeing the same enthusuastic opposition to 650B because I think it looks more familiar and "cooler". I could be wrong.
  • - 9
flag deeeight (Mar 6, 2014 at 9:23) (Below Threshold)
 I know...that's why I've been riding them for six years...so do thousands of others... so do racers who've won on them... but apparently our opinions don't matter to pinkbikers who'd rather believe its a conspiracy.
  • + 4
 Hardly a conspiracy, more like life in a consumer economy. Regardless of whether it's actually better parts/bikes/whatever it behooves the bike industry to constantly release things that are "better" than the old stuff, because it will drive customers to buy that because everyone wants the latest and greatest. It's not even a bad thing necessarily, because often it does lead to real improvement. I frankly don't think 650B is really an improvement, is all.

If you want an even better example, look at 75% of anything made for triathalon people. Most of it is expensive crap -looking at you, Speedfill... but people eat it up, because it might add .1 mph on their avg speed, and it doesn't require them to train harder.
  • + 6
 @Deeeight, it's because of riding style. Your not going to have the same type of market in Ontario as you do in BC. If all of PB lived in Ontario where you have to pedal and not turn that fast, they would probably skip the 650b and ride the dreaded 29". I respect your opinion but it may be irrelevant to someone who rides in the mountains. As for idiots, I know a couple of riders who can huck any road gap but did not believe me when I told them there are 29" wheels last year. It's not their fault, they just love to ride and could care less about MTB media. And as per their personal experience with the trails they ride, they had a really good laugh at me imagining that companies are making 29" bikes. Nothing wrong with 650b, it's just that they are leaving no 26" options available. Might as well be a conspiracy.
  • + 1
 New standards come part and parcel with so many of the new features we enjoy.
Enjoying your stiff long-travel single crown fork? Tapered head tube.
Like good brakes? Disc brake mount standards.
Stiff BB/cranks? 30mm crank axles.
Robust rear wheels? 142x12mm rear ends.

Sure some of them were misguided but for the most part new standards bring with them the features and performance we demand. Sure you don't need to run out and buy each one that comes along. I tend to wait 2 years between bikes, which in our quickly-evolving sport is about as much time as it takes for a sufficient number of new standards to emerge.

I bought an Enduro 29er last year. It's alloy but a huge improvement over the carbon 26" Enduro I had before. It's actually stiffer (mostly due to the better rear end, pivots and 142mm axle) and also brought a ton of other wicked features. No crying here.
  • + 1
 142 is actually a good example of a needless "improvement" in my opinion. 135x12 already existed... how did 142 improve upon it? Made it slightly easier to put the wheel on?

Disc brake mount standards? Are breaks better with post mount than they were with IS mounts? Not really...

Is a tapered headtube really better than a 1.5" head tube? Not really... While I do prefer using my stems over and over, so I like this one, it wasn't really a performance upgrade.

External BBs? Amazing upgrade over internal.

Again, some improvements are great, and the advantage is real. Others, just to make a new thing. It is what it is. I'll keep buying it (like 3 years after the tech has come out, so I can afford it).
  • + 18
 Well said Matt W. Yeti's sales manager John P tells a similar story about bike geeks professing 26" love, while actual customers stampede towards 27.5 (forums.mtbr.com/yeti/no-more-66-yeti-892394-3.html#post1092154Cool . The average customer like me wouldn't be able to tell if 27.5 is truly an improvement from a test ride, there are just too many other variables. So this huge demand is driven by perception, and perception is created by bike manufacturers with advertising budgets. That's true for any industry where the consumer isn't an expert, which is every industry. Sound like I'm heading towards a conspiracy theory? No! If hyping fake improvements was a generally successful business strategy, you'd expect that products wouldn't keep improving, they would just change randomly. But the opposite is true, consumer products are getting better and cheaper at a rapid rate, including bikes. Fake improvements might sometimes make money, but that's not a profitable long term strategy and a company that chooses that path will eventually fail.
  • + 18
 How did we all cope for soooo long with those silly 26ins wheels? All the riders and racers in history must be cursing the bike industry for only letting us have them recently!
Btw, i have just spent My money on a new Nukeproof mega ....... 26ins wheels, because i for one have always found them to work remarkably well.
26 tried and tested (by everyone) forever
  • + 9
 Same here mate, Mega TR 26 recently purchased. My opinion is, unless you're seriously into racing then the 26" will just continue to do what it's always done (work!). If you can see past the sales patter, then make a decision that's fine. If you haven't a clue and are left to the mercy of the bike shop then you'll end up with something you didn't really need to buy!
  • + 15
 Interesting POV with some new arguments, nice. However, I noted a very weak one : "But, the reality is that in bike shops, the people who are walking in asking to buy new bicycles are saying, very clearly, that they want bigger wheels."
You cannot conclude a paragraph with that kind of statement because you do not explain it. And there is a lot to say on the role of media, marketing, the fear of obsolescence and even the current offering of bike shops.
  • + 3
 Ok, I'll back Matt up and here's why.

I also thought that there was no evidence that people wanted "bigger wheels" except the hearsay that gets spouted out on places like PB. So, I went a -looking and found among other things, this: www.canadiancyclist.com/races12/Supplier_Q3_2012.pdf

Take a look at the data for 26 inch sales for 2011 to 2012 (no 650B around then in the shops don't forget) and the same for 29ers.

Interesting isn't it. Matt is not pulling words out of thin air. If you go looking, you can find the industry data that might shock you. It certainly shocked me when I saw it, however, it is what it is; people appeared to want an alternative to 26, and the figures don't lie, they bought bigger wheels, just like Matt said.
  • + 19
 27.5 has not been shown as an alternative to 26 considering there's not more new 26 bikes being shown. It is a substitute. As for 29 it's another story, it is clearly different to 26 and more and more people bought it for what it brings. Really 27.5 has been force-fed.
  • + 4
 A few choice words from that link I posted:

"The 26" category continues to decline at an increasing pace."
"The decline of the 26" category accelerated sharply"
"26" was down 42.44%."
"For the Year-To-Date, total Unit Sales are up 3.54%, with 26" down 26.34%"
" 29" increased by 202.63%"

This was figures year - on - year from 2011 to 2012 people. There were NO 650B's around. People were not buying as many 26 inch bikes and there is the data to prove it. Instead the 29er segment was growing. Doubling in fact!!!

In the light of all that data, imagine you are the person who has to take the decision at Santa Cruz with the Bronson... do you keep it as a 26 inch bike or go with a 650B? Which one do you think has the best chance of becoming a big seller in the climate of the industry in 2012? Your sales figures are screaming at you to not bring out a 26. The whole industries numbers are screaming at everyone that people are buying bigger wheels.

You could of course decide to ignore the sales data. I'm not sure you'd still be in a job though.
  • + 8
 I am not saying that bigger wheels do not sell well. I am saying that this article do not explain why customers are asking for bigger wheels. I gave some hints that I would have liked to be dealt with in depth.
  • + 10
 Orientdave, I found it interesting that while 26" market was down X% from the previous year, there were still more 26" bikes sold (I'm only counting MTB 26") than 29ers in the same time frame.

The main problem I have is that all the manufacturers are stopping production on premium non-DH 26" bikes at a cyclic rate. The only brand new 26" bike I'd like to own is probably the SB-66 and the word on the street is it may not be around much longer. In a few years when I want a new bike I'll probably have to settle for a 27.5 or buy old technology used... No bueno.
  • + 2
 Agreed cdub0451. I am not in it to shave a second off my time down any track really, so have no pressing need for a new wheelsize, plus, I have a shed full of great bits and pieces that allow me to chop and change the forks, frames and wheels around to create different feeling rides: all of which are 26. It will be a shame that the line stops here really.

That data showed (in another choice quote) that 2012 saw the first time ever since records began (in Canada at least) that the 26ers were not the best selling wheelsize of any bike, so there are obviously a lot of them being sold. I think what we have to assume is that the data for the period since the end of the last decade had been showing that the consumer was moving away from 26ers, that this move was increasing year over year and the industry would be well advised to strike while the iron was hot and get ahead of the competition by putting a lot of resources into a "tweener". This is what has happened: as Matt said, it is a done deal meaning I shall await the arrival of cheap second hand 26 inch frames and forks and see if I can't pick me up a bargain.
  • - 4
flag deeeight (Mar 6, 2014 at 6:37) (Below Threshold)
 The canadian cycling industry numbers related to the brands that responded to that survey, which included Specialized, Trek, Giant, Rocky Mountain, Norco and Kona. Cannondale was dropped because they were consistently late with their results. None of them had 650B models at the time. Jamis and KHS were selling 650Bs at that time in canada but were not one of the brands that submitted results to the report.

The 26" MTBs did sell more still than 29ers overall but the drop in sales of 26" MTBs was just about equal to how high the 29er and hybrid markets grew in just a 3 quarter (Jan-Sep) comparison 1 year apart. 26er Front suspension lost about 18k units and dual suspension lost about 2.6k. 29ers grew 15k and hybrids grew 10k. In other words people who were buying front suspension mtb's to use for commuting/pathways stopped and shifted to hybrids, and a the rest went to 29ers along with a lot of dual suspension sales (probably in the XC market). It would account for the fact that as of 2014 Rocky Mountain in particular has even dropped the 26er version of the Element full suspension (replaced by the Thunderbolt 650B which offers better roll-over/traction for the same wheel travel).
  • + 10
 The problem I have with the whole 650B movement isn't the complete bike/new bike issue. I know why the industry is moving toward it. Do I know if the benefits are real? No. But even if they are not, its clearly drumming interest, and if that sells bikes, then that's what the bike companies should do. They are in business and should do what they need to do to sell bikes. My problem is more with the seemingly overnight phase out of 26" by both the companies and the component manufacturers. I've seen numerous new wheel lines, tire lines etc that already don't even include a 26" option any more. I mean I have no problem with the industry moving forward, my gripe is just that they seem to be leaving people who have relatively new 26" bikes (who are also customers) behind at a rapid pace. 650B might have benefits, but for many average riders those benefits are not enough to go out and buy a new bike to replace a 26" bike that works just fine. I'd just appreciate being able to keep that 26" frame outfitted with the latest components (fork, tires, wheels etc) over a reasonable useful life of the bike.
  • + 15
 I couldn't give a toss about 26 v 27.5, would be happy with either on my next bike. But it's obvious that a lot of the demand for 27.5 did not start with the consumer, it was generated by the manufacturers and media.
  • - 4
flag deeeight (Mar 6, 2014 at 12:57) (Below Threshold)
 Why is it obvious? What's obvious is that you weren't one of the consumers or know any of the consumers that forced manufacturers to start offering them (by buying from the ones that did). That's all that's obvious.

See this is the actual 650B mountain bike timeline....

Its been around a century in europe... in the late 1970s American mountain bike pioneers like Tom Ritchey, Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher and others were building the first of what would become mountain bikes. They all came from cyclocross racing backgrounds... they wanted a large diameter large volume tire that had an off-road tread. Nokian in Finland offered such tires, in both 700C and 650B varieties... but the majority of their production was earmarked for europe and the soviet union (where the bikes using them already existed in great numbers). So they had to MAKE DO with the biggest they could find in the USA which was a pre-ww2 tire size used on balloon/beach cruiser type bikes. That's how we ended up stuck with 26ers.

Fast forward to 2007 and 650B has had a cult following among custom framebuilders in the USA for a couple decades especially for touring bikes and tandems, much as they're used in europe for. So this fellow name Kirk Pacenti who's a framebuilder convinces Panaracer to make him some off-road tires, and convinces Velocity to offer a new rim (the Blunt) in 650B. Neither manufacturer really expected much success but they were willing to take a gamble. Consumers get wind of this after Kirk builds a bike to show off the tires/rims at the North American Handbuilt Bike Show, and start emailing/phoning to order tires. I got my first tires from Kirk. I ordered my rims from Velocity. Many others repeated this. As consumers browbeat more tire and rim makers, and fork makers to support the Bs, media got involved as stuff was submitted for testing... and then OTHER brands started to take notice... and then a few racers who suddenly got results opened the floodgates.
  • + 12
 "if you're not in that group of people who are buying new bikes at somewhere near the original retail price, you're not who they are making those bikes for"

Very true that. That probably also explains why I can't seem to find someone to make me a 4WD SUV with space for four full suss bikes and 4 people in the back with fully washable leather upholstery and non-scratch interior coachwork at a price point that doesn't leave me balking at the price.
  • + 6
 Try an early 2000's suburban, everyone complains about the gas mileage, (10mpg), and so they are everywhere, waiting for passionate mountain bikers to snatch them up for 5% of their original price, at least here in the U.S.

Car industry manufacturers claim that we "need" to get 40mpg, when the reality is that a $1200 suburban will take 1000's of gallons of fuel to even begin to compare with the cost of owning a prius, for example.

The general population has jumped on the mpg bandwagon, and outdoorsy types have jumped on the bigger wheeled bandwagon, I'm just glad that I didn't feed into the hype, and therefore I will take their poor mileage cars and 26" bikes off their hands at a fraction of their retail price!
  • - 1
 Just took a look at the used Suburban market over here in Japan.... wow! One desirable vehicle. Here's a selection and they start at 5,000 USD and rise to over 15,000!

www.goo-net.com/cgi-bin/fsearch/goo_used_search.cgi?category=USD&limit=100&phrase=%EF%BC%A7%EF%BC%AD%EF%BC%A3+%E3%82%B5%E3%83%90%E3%83%BC%E3%83%90%E3%83%B3&query=%EF%BC%A7%EF%BC%AD%EF%BC%A3+%E3%82%B5%E3%83%90%E3%83%BC%E3%83%90%E3%83%B3
  • + 1
 @orientdave a buddy of mine bought an old DHL delivery truck on craigslist for hauling bikes and people and sleeping at trailheads... maybe go the delivery truck/conversion van route?
  • + 9
 I'm surprised a Suburban fits in Japan.
  • + 3
 Sithbike.Me too to be honest. I think the prices and liveries suggest it is purely used as a bit of Bling on the big city streets. It wouldn't fit down my road!
  • + 11
 I have been wiping my ass with newspaper for the past 6 months in order to save for a new bike, i work full time and all overtime available, it just seems so inhumane what the industry is putting us through, i bet none of them have a permanent skid mark on their 12 year old paid of boxer shorts.
  • + 7
 Dude... hygiene first, fun later... ... no, just kidding. skidmarks for life!
  • + 8
 You have been wiping my ass with newspaper for the past 6 months in order to save for a new bike! You are getting paid far too much if you can afford to buy a news paper mate Wink
  • + 9
 It's about the only good use of newspapers I'd say. David Cameron is a prime ass-wipe.
  • + 3
 @mattvanders Wait, he is wiping your ass too now? This is some dedicated money saving!
  • + 2
 Alex Salmond?
  • - 1
 If you are doing all that to get a new bike then you either need to get a new job or realize a new price range for our new bike.
  • + 1
 If it means having a smelly ass to get the bike i want then that's the way it's gotta be I'm afraid.
  • - 2
 You are choosing to do that then. Don't blame the bike companies because you don't have a great job and have your priorities a certain way.
  • + 0
 By the looks of things you don't have to worry about a dirty ass of paying for a new bike because i would assume your mummy wipes your ass for you and buys your bikes, thx
  • - 2
 No. I know what I can spend on a bike, I don't take ridiculous sacrifices to try and increase my bike budget, and I don't blame bike companies that I can't get a better job. You're welcome
  • - 1
 Ok mummy's boy,you were probably on breast milk until you were at least 12 that is unless you're not still on it.thx and sorry
  • + 1
 Okay, if you're going to just resort to attempting personal insults then I think this discussion is over.
  • + 13
 i could relate to the whole of the first paragraph. £200 used to be alot to me too :/
  • + 23
 £200 still is a lot to me
  • + 9
 its 2/3 of my current monthly income (poland, architect with 2 year experience, hellyeah)
  • - 29
flag jaybird951 (Mar 6, 2014 at 2:56) (Below Threshold)
 get more experience
  • + 6
 doesn't work that way
  • + 22
 well looks like we all now know that jaybird591 is a dick
  • + 4
 So i see how much fkd up it'll be in the future for me (I'm an architecture student right now).
But in the topic of 26 or 27.5 inch wheel size. I honestly can't imagine jump bikes with 27.5 so i hope they wont drop 26s.
I know jump bikes are a small part of the income in bike industries but still, killing 26 size would turn the world of dirt jumping upside down and that would be a mess because not everyone would chose a bmx.
  • - 8
flag jaybird951 (Mar 6, 2014 at 4:20) (Below Threshold)
  • + 2
 I didn't get past the Leather Sex Swing.....
  • + 1
 try harder...
  • + 9
 Clearly you're right on the point the bikes are made for people who buy them new.

However, despite that, a significant part of these people who are actually out there to get a new bike do not walk in to the shop saying "I want this bike", they come in and ask what bike should they get. And the shop owner will obviously try to help and get the customer what he needs, but also what keeps his business up, and if he gets the word out that this bigger wheel size is better and sells it to a bunch of those people, good chances are people perfectly happy with their 26ers will come and want to give it a try too.

Last time I bought my downhill bike was my Status in 2012, I bought it in my local bike shop, and as I raced for the team, I got the team price, also only bought the frame 'cos neither full build appealed to me. I'd like to get a new ride next year again, likely building up the S-Works Demo frame 'cos I like the geometry and feel of the big S. I do realize I'm one in a million, but will I buy it if the wheel size on that bike goes up? I doubt it. Will others buy it? That's up to marketing. The buying force of the people do indeed drive the market, but to an extent, the marketing drives these people. Not only in the bike industry, it's no conspiracy, it's a general common sense.
  • + 2
 Not really. People that spend thousands on bikes, generally have at least an idea what they want. Shop employees can then set up the bikes properly for the customers riding style and build. Customer rides the bikes, employee gives their opinion on what bike for how the bike will be used. Then boom.
  • + 4
 Well I have quite a few friends who run some of the bigger bike shops back at home, and quite often when I'm at the shop people come in without really knowing what they want yet ready to spend a few grand on the mid-range bikes. And then, even people who do know what they want are influenced(some more, some are less) by the marketing. Even I caught myself wanting to test ride the new 650b Trek Session even though all my 650b experience so far was "I'll never ride this again"..
  • + 0
 That's very far and few between. Worked at a shop for years. Had that happen twice, and they were road bikes. If by marketing, you mean word of mouth (which is the best kind). 650b was pushed into the market by consumers. Hell, I remember not being able to find any 650b tires for people putting 650b wheels on 26" bikes. I thought that they were all crazy, then I eventually rode one after the market caught up and produced a 650b bike with the geo sorted. I'll ride 26" DH bikes, but that's it.
  • + 10
 Your 5 feet tall, the manufacturers trying to sell you a 27.5, 650b, or 29er when barely you could barely fit a 26inch bike, what do you do?
  • + 8
 Horse riding ??? :-)
  • + 9
 so.. my five feet are tall?
  • + 6
 chocolate factory?
  • + 2
 It took me 15 minutes to get that. Umpa Lumpas?
  • + 2
 lmao yes
  • - 6
flag deeeight (Mar 6, 2014 at 6:50) (Below Threshold)
 If you can't fit a 5' tall HUMAN on a 26er then you need to switch brands of bikes you're selling/buying. Jamis makes models that can fit riders down to about 4'10" tall.
  • - 6
flag deeeight (Mar 6, 2014 at 7:05) (Below Threshold)
 I used the word correctly...

"you're buying/selling.... YOU ARE buying/selling"

You don't say "your selling a bike" you say "you're selling a bike".
  • + 9
 @deeeight - Well done, have a cookie. My remark was aimed at the original post. It was not intended to critique your sentence.
  • + 3
 deeight, I usually enjoy your posts but not everything is a travesty. your knowledge is vast. your grammar is not in question.
  • + 1
 Ya ratio of wheel to height wise my 5"3' GF riding 26 is like me riding a 29er. I'm going to have her demo one soon, but it seems like all the playfulness would be taken right out of the bike. We'll see what she thinks.
  • - 6
flag deeeight (Mar 6, 2014 at 9:25) (Below Threshold)
 The assumption of "playfulness" taken out of the bike is based on what exactly ? Something you read someone else who has no actual experience on the wheelsize say on an internet forum ?
  • + 1
 good point. I rode my 29er as if it was....well a bicyle. Jumps, x-ups, drifts, mini manuals. It was pretty darn fun.
  • + 3
 Totally agreed @Zachmozach. @deeeight with someone of your bike knowledge, that last comment you made is absurd.
  • + 7
 Deeeight is an internet idiot/troll. I have a 29er and it's definitely not as "playful" as my 26er. First hand experience buds.
  • + 2
 No I've ridden 29ers, grew up riding 20 inch BMX bikes, ride 26 inch MTB and DJ bikes and I can tell you easily which bikes were more playful. More modern geometry seems to help the ride on bigger wheels, but I'd hate riding a large wheeled DJ bike, just like my GF prefers to ride a BMX bike when we make it to the indoor bike park. Wheel size does play a role in the playfulness of the bike, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun on bigger wheels or they're not playful at all. The way I like to ride I'd prefer being on 26 and for some things smaller. With all that vast knowledge surely you understand that kids and short riders often feel more comfortable on smaller wheels right deeeight?
  • - 6
flag deeeight (Mar 6, 2014 at 12:43) (Below Threshold)
 The discussion isn't comparing 20" to 29", its 26 to 650B... if you're going to go absurb size comparisons then its pointless to waste my time on it with you.
  • + 12
 Wasting time is what you do every time you type up your pointless BS. Read the reviews ride the bikes. Larger wheel sizes even by an inch and a half affect how the bike handles which I think is less playful. All you have to say is that you love 650b. Good for you. Have fun on your bike and stop acting like people don't have a right to be unhappy that 26 is being thrown under the bus just cause you like 650b better.
  • + 0
 I dunno, maybe start with the proper use of your (you're)?
  • - 1
 I'm not surprised I get negative props for pointing out the truth on the great site of denial. So go on living in denial people as the world passes you by.
  • + 2
 @deeeight, don't feel bad buddy! I'd rather get negative props on Pinkbike than getting fake "Like" on Facebook! LOL
  • + 4
 c'mon at least give him a chance to have a good cry. I'm sure he takes these things reeeeeeal personal. rabble rabble rabble
  • + 0
 I'd like to know the percentage of folks on this site who have actually ridden a 29er for a while, or even multiple.

My 29er fits me well. I ride fast and smooth and the 29er helps with traction with my weight/size (I'm 6'0'' and weigh 180ish).

My best friend, however is 5'6'' 160ish lbs and rides a 26" bike because it makes sense for him.

He can rail a lot of switchbacks harder than I can, but I'm usually faster on straights and climbs. I don't think it's because of wheel size, I think it's because of riding styles.

If you don't like a 29er, don't buy them. It's simple. They do work for folks like me, and I prefer to ride them.
  • + 6
 No advantage for 650b in Dirt Jump Freeride and Slope Style.
They might not be the most popular genres for cashed up old dudes, but the FMB world tour is all on 26" .
It will remain the tire size for those who get upside down.
Before you sell all your 26ers go watch every freeride mountainbike video ever made, all 26" bikes baby.
You might think you don't look lame, lycra clad and pot bellied riding a carbon 650b midlife crisis mobile.
But your not a young gun inverted 26er. Go blow your cash on that carbon cushy cruzer. Try to man it up by saying your "Enduro"
Go for it. You know you want to.
  • + 2
 Haha that was funny.. except that even the Enduro World Series was swept by 26" Smile
  • + 6
 Create demand. Create a frenzy. Create obsolescence. Sell bikes!

Now that the frenzy has reached the fever-pitch we predicted, and manufacturers and shops can't afford to design and stock products that the "programmed" consumer no longer thinks he wants, the deed is done.

In five-ten years, someone will start marketing the new, lighter, stronger, more flickable, fun-filled 26" wheeled bike.
  • + 6
 It's not just the price. I understand I'm not their target and just ignore all the ads.
As long as there will be guys making all mountain hardtail steel frames for a couple hundred pounds I know I'll have a way to get my share of fun.
What's really upsetting is the industry constantly pushing new standards, making perfectly good frames obsolete just to push even us marketing-immune to keep upgrading. My steel head tube is as stiff as it can get, doesn't need to be tapered, but every season there is one fork less offering the 1 1/8'' option and I know I'll have to buy a new 44mm-headtubed frame if I ever want to change my fork.
  • + 5
 well having read a lot of people saying its the middle aged bracket that's forcing 27.5 wheels, I'd just like to say I'm 52 in july and still ride a 26" bike, my next bike will also be a 26" wheeled one, most likely a evil uprising, and I also love riding the rough stuff as fast as I can manage. am I the exception to the rule or is there still others like me out there

2 weeks ago I was behind a man and woman riding a trail slowly, the over weight woman was on a 29er hard tail and was clearly a beginner, absolutely nothing wrong with that at all, I waited until I had a clear part to over take safely which was going up hill, so I did, the woman screamed at her hubby, HOW DID HE PASS ME, MY BIKES MEANT TO BE QUICKER THAN THEM OLD TYPES HE'S ON, I just looked at the man, smiled, and carried on thinking that she'd just bought into all the sales mans bull shit about buying the latest bigger wheel size will make you an instantly fast and great rider the first time you ride your new bike, and there's loads more like her out there now, and many more to come in the spring, I just hope they all don't hate 26" bike riders
  • + 5
 Any of the new standards components, I have purchased, have been because I had no choice. Tapered head sets, press fit bottom brackets,CDT suspensions, 10 speeds. If I wanted the latest in frame design I had no choice. I have not drank the Koo-laid for 29 inch wheels, or the newer 27.5. But no doubt, once I wear out my 26 inch rocket ship. I'll have to buy a 27.5. It will never be as light as a 26" rocket ship. But chances are I'll have no choice. VHS beat out Beta, even though it wasn't as good. but such is life in a rich society. The best minds in America went into money management and we have had the biggest economic break down ever. If you invest your money in a bank or bonds now days, you'll be lucky to get 2%. People have so much money these days these days. Manufactures only have to be first to market with a new product to make a profit. The Smiths want bigger house than the Brown. He who dies with with the most toys wins.

Democracy and especially freedom makes societies rich. But democracy can never survive in a rich society. Folks are too busy living the good life to pay attention to what our leaders are doing. If you don't believe that. Why do less than half the people turn up to vote? The reason is we pay our politician so little. The only people that show up for the job are lawyers and such that are so incompetent that they can't make a living in their chosen profession.

And don't worry about the health of earth. This world will be healthy and supporting life long after homo sapiens have ceased to exist.

Great topic for a Thursday morning. I'm going riding today. I'll be riding something in ten years.

Sometime the most interesting posts are those "Below threshold threads that are hidden"
  • + 5
 If you want to be high end mainstream enduro specific biker 27,5", 29" and 15mm axles are your obligatory goals. But if you are mountain biker, nevertheless which branch, you are still very happy to ride 26" with 20mm axle fork.

I can bet you any money Matt Wrag that particulary in Europe there will be good choice of 26" components at least for next decade.

Companies are not making best profit on high end bikes, they earn most on mid-level machines from your local shop and there always will be place for new brand that won't deny existence of 26" wheels.

I might consider switching to 27.5" in next 2 or three years but for the time being I'm very happy with mine bike setup. Thing that irritates me the most is lack of forks with 20mm axle and I'll be force to switch to 15mm someday.

It's the same with "Enduro" Now everybody in the industry wipes they azzes with "enduro specific" everything just to sell more and more but give them 2 years and the "enduro specific" madness will end and switch to something "new".

My point is: screw industry and hit your favorite mountain trail on your mountain bike and have fun. If big companies won't provide you with stuff you want there always WILL BE small independent manufacturer that will.
  • + 4
 i did not read all of the comments, but as far as i am concern, i bought two buyer`s guide magazine to check for a possible new xc-all mountain full-sus bike. Since i am 5.4, i ride 26 `till i die. well this year 95% of the bikes were 27.5.......
  • + 3
 I'm in the same boat as you. Went to demo 27.5s and 29ers...the small sizes just was not proportional for my agressive riding.
  • + 4
 I´m still struggling in my mind this: Why if 650b was so good over 26" they never changed years ago and just now when the 29" are not received good for many people?, (remember that 650b is an old wheel size and used in many countries or commuting), that mean we were riding a wrong wheel size (26") for so many years and the bike industry was selling us the idea that 26" were the best choice. This statement still in my head all day I read that 26" are almost gone.
  • + 4
 This article is so spot on!

In my riding collective we have a slightly older more wealthy gent, every three months or so he’s buying the latest and greatest carbon this-that-or-the-other and been through more superbikes this year than I’ve had bikes my whole life, if he wasn’t such a giant bastard we’d all get a lot of hand-me-downs but other PB members benefit from him. I’m a new trail bike every 5 years or so rider, and other riding collectives are hucking upgraded early 00’s steeds. My point is we all have a place spending money differently in the bike industry and we are all needed in the great Circle-of-Shred.
  • + 4
 The people that are buying new bikes with larger wheels and various new bits are indeed the slightly older ones with money, but that has more to do with their combination of ilk and ignorance. A large percentage of those guys and gals are buying the new stuff because the sales people are telling them that's what they need. A lot of them aren't 2nd, 3rd, 7th time buyers. They are noobs that don't know one way or the other, but they sure look the part after walking out with shiny new lycra, helmet, shoes, and a carbon '9'er, and 3 to 6k in debt.
  • + 4
 Ok. We have like a 95% of older guys wanting latest tech stuff like 650b etc. Doesn't matter. But there are still these 5% of riders who want normal wheel sizes, beefy axles, quality seals and bushings, not ultralite everything and so on. Basically reliable stuff you can ride and abuse couple of years even with medium skills in bike maintenanceSmile

Can somebody establish a company which will be doing bikes and components for these people? PLEASE. I will even pay more money for these products if they will be reliable.
  • + 3
 It used to be that sales and demand dictated what companies made available to consumers. Then along cam trickle down/supply side economics, and the companies dictate obsolescence to consumers to gain sales. This is very advantageous to the companies for obvious reasons. Creating demand through planned obsolescence, keeping people having to buy new products on shorter cycles, because their old products are no longer supported/supplied/no replacements parts. This allows the companies to control the rate of the buying cycle, which makes the companies more money than previously when the consumer was making the decision about the replacement cycle.

All of this follows historical writings/critiques of "free market capitalism". Look them up.
  • + 3
 I liked the article, actually.

1.) I would bet that MOST people IN the bike industry are not paying even close to retail for their parts, bike and gear - it's not fair to compare them to the average consumer.

2.) People wander in to shops and ask for/about the new wheel sizes because the bicycle media is flooded with propaganda about it. Sure, an odd fellow here or there may actually do a good bit of research, maybe built/converted one himself, but it's not as if there were droves of customers flooding bike shops demanding ANOTHER wheel size. The war over the 29er had just about ended and people were comfortable with the new kid on the block.

Before the Bronson, most people hadn't ridden a 650 bike. I read on almost every website and magazine SOMETHING about 27.5 wheels coming out. But none of the people I ride with ever talked about them. Or 29ers for that matter. They didn't exist, they weren't wished for or wondered about. The 26 was doing great, if there was a problem with riding, it was likely the rider's issue, not something the bike would "improve". Then, maybe we're all not just forward thinking enough, lol.
  • + 3
 At the end of the day, I don't mind/care what wheel sizes are really sold or popular. I like what I like, and will continue to use it until I don't. But to say the demand for a new wheel size came from the masses... Just don't see it. Everybody had heard about it, but almost nobody had any actual experience on them. How is that consumer driven demand?

The demand starts here, on the web and in magazines, and then the trade shows, and the circle propagates itself. Because the industry needs to create the desire for a new product. Not saying it's necessarily evil, but its not like droves of folks were demanding the new wheel size (as the article above loosely suggests). The industry demanded it. Over and over through the bike media. Its basic advertising and marketing, that's all. Make you realize that you're unhappy, show people using a product that look happier than you - that's all they have to do. That's all they did. The 29er was (probably unintentionally) a good test to see just how well consumers would take the bait.

Just wait till the whole "rider size" thing catches some more wind. I predict it will gain hold at just about the point where 650 sales start leveling off.... Smile
  • + 3
 I think most would agree that as a whole, we are not insulted, offended, persuaded, brain washed or otherwise bothered by seeing new components enter the market. It's seeing companies that we have supported for years and owned many bikes from who are now saying they will no longer be making 26" bikes. THAT, is what bothers me. Where is my choice in this matter?

In short time, fork manufacturers will stop making high end forks for 26" wheels, and high end wheel manufacturers would be stupid to continue making high end wheels when there are very few forks & frames available for that wheel size. So again I ask, where is my choice in this matter? I guess I could just hope that my current 26" components will last for ever and ever in the world of mountain biking. I'm sure that will work out just fine.
  • + 3
 I'm a 26' rider and rode a 27.5 Bronson the other day and won't be upgrading to anything but 26' in the future. To the core of my decision is that the 27.5 handle different, any benefit that is presumably gained in the rough is far outweighed by it's more cumbersome feel in cornering, maneuverability and manualing compared to a 26. As one chap said previously, as long as there is a couple of companies that will keep producing 26's, they'll be the companies seeing any of money, and I've spent heaps!
  • + 3
 'Those people who walk in and ask to buy bikes' are generally wealthy (yes they earned it) in terms of money but they listen to 'the industry' too much and believe hype. So yes they are going to walk in asking for bigger hoops, but do you really think that their opinion is first hand? I dont. I am saying this to give another angle on your one sided that i enjoyed none the less,

My favourite line being that your bikes value is one that you give it by the fun it gives you.

Not personally bothered about wheel size i ride a 26 and i will until the frame fails, if it sees me 5-10 years then so be it, and i will buy again
  • + 3
 I don't want "innovation" and "better" products. I like my bike how it is and I don't care if I would ride faster with bigger wheels. I just want to have fun on my bike and I simply can't understand how a bigger wheel would make more fun. As the writer says there are many people who want 650b or 29ers but as he also says they are the guys that are 40+ and have to work monday to friday and when they ride their bike at the weekend they realize they aren't as fast as they were 20 years ago and then they start searching for excuses and then blame it on their bike instead of admitting they just got older. They maybe now want a bigger wheelsize but seriously who asked for a bigger wheel before bike industries decided we all need some?
  • + 8
 then this article may not be for you..
  • + 2
 "I don't want innovation and better products"
I assume are riding a penny farthing then?
  • + 0
 What I mean by that is for me mountainbiking is about pushing your limits on a bike and not pimping out your bike so it makes you go faster while your body these the same
  • + 1
 Yeah, but how do you decide which bike to use, to then "push your limits"?

I assume you are not on a hardtail with a rigid fork and rim brakes, right? That's what I would be on today, if I had decided to stay on what I had in the first place and just push my limits. I prefer to also have my bike evolve.
  • + 4
 I feel that for all the research and development that has supposedly led the industry in the direction it is why have things taken so long to come along. It seems that lately geometry of trail bikes has gotten a little slacker to make them more enjoyable and less twitchy in downhill situations while still maintaining good climbing ability. Why is this a recent development? If R&D is what we pay so much for, why does it constantly change. It would impress me more if a company did some research, create a good product, and stuck with it for a number of years. Ideally this would also lower cost of production in the process.

It seems even with wheel size debate (which I really don't care one way or the other about) that certain companies were on board but with minimal success untill the industry decided to get excited about it. Haro had 650b back in 07-08 era and I don't recall folks getting too worked up over them. Gary Fisher has been into 29ers for years but the industry took a little longer to decide there were any benifits to it. Where's all this R&D?
  • + 1
 While you can have fun on a rigid single-speed (well, people claim you can), I'll keep me suspension and disc brakes and have more fun...and not feel like I fell down a flight of steps after a 2 hour ride.
  • + 1
 People back then when bikes were that crappy had fun on them. Just watch some of the old nwd movies and see how shitty their bikes were and what awesome stuff they managed to do on them.
  • + 0
 I have an on one inbred 29er for XC duties and a voltage fr30 for everything else. I fall into the 40+ category and have had a fair few bikes. I appreciate all the advances in our sport. I started mtb 24 years ago on and 18spd Scott Teton and we saw the exact same poo pooing of new technology when rockshox Scott and marzocchi brought out suspension forks, many saw them as unnecessary gimmick.
Again when gt brought out the rts
  • + 2
 @ridethree, I don't have to watch people back then, I experienced it. It was fun. Unfortunately, your elastomer suspension fork collapsed over a 2 foot drop, or your cantilevers couldn't stop you when the rims got wet on a steep descent...which brought an abrupt end to the fun. It didn't matter if you had skills or not, the bikes had limitations that you would laugh at on a modern mtb, even on the low end.
  • + 1
 @ridethree: If you like your bike so much and don't want bigger wheels, why do you care about this? Keep riding your frame and upgrade/replace your components as necessary.
  • + 1
 @UtahBikeMike because I'm a little pissed by the bike industry being so dishonest and money-grubbing
  • + 1
 @ReformedRoadie You may be true but how is e.g. a carbon brake lever maximizing you skills? I definately don't want to say a brake or fork that works like it should is bad thing, it just gets a little too far nowadays.
  • + 3
 Could it be the Bike Industry won't listen to us because The Bike Industry has become a money grab with its skyrocketting prices? Racing events has also followed the trend with skyrocketting entry fees.

That's fine, innovate, make new wheel sizes, but all we're asking for are choices. Don't kill off the tried and true 26 just because you got a few emails. The majority are still riding on 26 like me, probably till their end of days cause it just fit me better. Don't forget the kids growing up and teenagers, their prime riding days are most likely on a 26, but what do I know, I'm only a consumer.
  • + 7
 you had me at "all leather sex swing."
  • + 2
 Good read, I enjoyed it. Brings me back to those 4:30am mornings delivering newspapers for countless years.... And the sweet norco spitfire turbo bmx that came out of it. I still love that bike. Homemade pegs and all. Shes out there somewhere... Go on Turbo, go on
  • + 2
 They aren't forcing you yo buy new shit, but they are persuading you. You'd think a guy who writes for a living would understand the real world use of rhetorical strategy. Of course it's not forced. No one is forced to buy I phones, they are just very easily persuaded to, and typically these people think they are making the decision on their own. But the truth is the thought was planted their so they would buy something. This article is moot.
  • + 2
 Great read thanks Matt! I agree bikes are made for the people that have bought into "the manufactured hype". These customers already believe they will be off the back if they don't buy the new standard. So it's a foregone conclusion that they will choose new standard vs. old when given the choice in the shop. These people are what I call the "consumer elites". They know more than I do before they even walk in the door.

The rest of the customers (the general population of bicycle consumers) are stuck along for the ride, some willingly, some apathetically, and some (26"4lifers) kicking and screaming. But at the end of the day the gear is getting better and cheaper, so for the bulk of the market that's just along for the ride, they are winning whether they know/appreciate it or not. Even the single-speed-rigid-hardtails are better north an they were ten years ago. Lighter, tougher, better geo, and better prices.

As an industry individual (middleman I guess because my job is to educate the general consumer about why this new "forced standard" is "important"), I have found that you just have to let the general consumers vent their frustrations, just offer the advice and be ready to sell and support old or new standards. It uses the customers is always right!
  • + 3
 Consumer elites. They are experts at quoting consumer jargon.
  • + 2
 "there is no better example of this trend than the 27.5"-wheeled Santa Cruz Bronson. There is no question - it was the right bike at the right time. People wanted a longer-travel trail bike with that wheelsize and Santa Cruz got the jump on the competition, getting their bike to market before the bigger players."

Wrong, Rocky mountain did it first with the Altitude.
  • + 2
 So you like 26 inch wheels. Do you buy a 26 inch bike in 2014? Of course not, you sit on your hands and wait and see what happens in DH, enduro and XC this year. Also you didn't buy in 2013 for the same reason. Then they say 'we're not selling any 26ers'...damn right of course not. Do I want to buy a bike that's going to become redundant and waste my money? No, I keep my current bike. Most people don't care either way, 27.5 or 26, practically the same thing, they just don't want to be a looser in the game of musical wheel-sizes.
  • + 3
 azonic ds1, marzocchi z3? bomber, magura hs33s, tioga? something, looks like an azonic stem, MRP guide, and taking into account where youre from im going to go with middleburn cranks
  • + 1
 Not tioga, look like irc kujos or panaracers. Sickest hardtail set up
  • + 1
 giro switchblade....
  • + 2
 You guys are close!

Yes to: DS1, Marzocchi Z3s (the flylight 100 version), HS33s, Middleburn cranks, Panaracer tyres and Giro Switchblade.

The stem was a Kore 3-bolt stem (I could never afford the Azonic stem), but the bar is Azonic. The guide was one of the cheap MRP copies that were available at the time. I did buy the Tioga DH tyres for that bike, but they wouldn't fit the rear triangle!
  • + 1
 Are they Mavic D521 (or even 121!) rims?
  • + 1
 521CD on DT Onyx rear and 217 on Shimano STX-RC front.
  • + 1
 you used to get all that for £200?! bloody hell, good value compared to now...
  • + 2
 I think he just purchased the FRAME for £200, not the complete bike?

@mattwragg - I'm still riding a pair of D521 rims to this day! Laced up to a Hadley DH (f) and Pro2 (r).
  • + 1
 @xiphon D521 on Hadley! Awesome, wheel for an entire life and more :-)
  • + 1
 I have the same tires hanging in my shop, same fork still being ridden on my hard tail gravel road rider. Smile
  • + 2
 I agree on this article when it comes to big corporate companies like Specialized and Kona.

But nowadays there are many small rider owned companies, that are actually focussed on really small scenes, like the 24"/26" street scene for example, and put their full focus on that category of young riders with not much money.

These companies actually listen to what the real hardcore riders want and need, and give them what they ask for.

Some of these companies even became big with this attitude.

Names of companies like these are: Black Market Bikes, Pride-Street, ILLbike, Dobermann (RIP), but also bigger companies like NS Bikes and Dartmoor belong in this category.

These companies are not based on what a 40 years old dude with a lot of budget but not much knowledge wants to buy in his lbs.
These are based on what young hardcore riders want to order at the specific online shops.
  • + 2
 and canfield!
  • + 1
 Never heard of Canfield Brothers before, but just checked them out and they belong in that same category aswell Smile
I really like their products; that geared rear hub that has a 9T in the back being my favourite.
  • + 2
 the technology in that bike is insane. Most stable rig ive ridden to date. The 9Tmicrodrive is rad and their rims are BOMBPROOF. I rode one of the nastiest DH trails of my life with the Canfield owners and watched Sean ride the trail on a hardtail 29er and TRY to break the rims. Not even a dent. If you know anyone looking for a dh rig, check out my for sale page. Theres a canfield on there.
  • + 1
 Haha cant believe I found you in the comments here... The crampons look like a good buy too! If only I could trick someone into buying my saints for more than $50...
  • + 2
 £12 a day! Wish I got paid that when I started as a trainee bike mechanic! I was getting £24 a week on a youth training scheme back in the '80s. But in reality I'd have worked there for free had they asked! I would never have been able to feed my bike habit if it wasn't for the ability to buy at trade. It saddens me to see the hate vented on websites like this over this or that wheel size or the latest new name for our sport, if it wasn't for people coming up with new ideas we'd all still be riding around on fully rigid beach cruisers with coaster brakes. Our sport has come a long way in a short period of time and I for one am looking forward to where we will be in the next 10 years.
  • + 2
 I think this artical does pretty much sum up what is happening in the bike industry right now, but to be honest i think its the same as what happens in other industries like the car. How many people would honesty say that their favirate car they owned was the small, cheap, lightweight and fun hot hatch instead of the big, heavy, expensive billion horse power sports cars. More is not always better...
  • + 2
 The "green" industry is an illegitimate manufactured business created to sell something. The green industry and the supporters of the green industry create more pollution than other industry. My fellow Americans know Solyndra was a scam by the Feds to payoff their friends. Where is Solyndra now? Don't be scammed by the "greenies".
  • + 2
 Good article, but I disagree with the title and the statement, "So, if you're not in that group of people who are buying new bikes at somewhere near the original retail price, you're not who they are making those bikes for." This is patently untrue. Professional racers (who arguably most of cycling's innovations are made for) pay nowhere near retail for their bikes, nor do the huge mass of riders who slave away in shops to buy their bikes and parts at employee prices... But... it makes no difference to the manufacturers because they are still making their full net profit when they sell at wholesale. Retail pricing only effects the retailer and the profits/expenses of the shop. If Santa Cruz sells a bike to a bike shop that resells it for retail or to a shop employee at cost, it makes no difference to them. So, it is all customers that shape what manufacturers produce, not just "affluent, older riders".
  • + 4
 26, 27.5, 29 who cares? Like homer says "“Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose; it's how drunk you get.”
  • + 2
 They're out to get you, the bike industry closing in on every side
They will possess you unless you change the wheel size on your ride
Now is the time for 26" and I to cuddle close together, yeah.
All through the night I'll save you from the terror of 650B,
I'll make you see

That this is thriller, thriller night
'Cause 26" can thrill you more than any 650B would ever dare try
Thriller, thriller night
So let me hold you 26" and share a killer, diller, chiller, thriller here tonight!
  • + 2
 From the retro-pic: I still have a pair of HardNox knee/shin pads laying around. They're comfy until you start sweating, which is right away due to their full neoprene construction. I had a Giro Switchblade in yellow because I couldn't get a hold of one in black and that sure looks like a pair of Mz Z2 forks with Magura HS 22 and 33 brakes on. The cranks looks like old XT's and the chain device looks like something Mr. Dirt made. The stem looks like it could have been Kore.
  • + 1
 Edit: bit late there I see after reading through all the comments.
  • + 1
 Those of you saying that your 26" wheel bike isn't going to be worth anything down the road;

1- Why are you buying bikes based on the resale value not based on what they are like to ride? That is so backwards.

2- A few years from now 26" bikes might be rare enough that your second hand one has a higher value to someone who doesn't like bigger wheels. Let's be positive for once.
  • + 1
 At the end of the day, if you need something that isn't being made or being made to your specs then you need to make it yourself. You dont have a right to get rich by selling it if it's just a niche thing but if you want to make it then you have every right to. With today's technology you can easily learn CAD drawing and there are tons of companies that can rapid prototype something for you. If you want to continue using 26 inch stuff and the market has moved on then make it yourself, create a prototype, get on kickstarter and try to find other people like you to help you fund it and move on from there. If enough people want it then that's how you start a company. The tools are available if you want to learn and create the things you need or want. At the end of the day this is a place for serious people who are passionate about what they want so don't whine because it's too hard to learn these skills or too expensive to make these things, if you want it bad enough then find a way. The same goes for contests, trails, etc. If what is available doesn't suit you then change it yourself.
  • + 1
 some times revolutions (evolutions) (progression) get bloody, and people/tangible things die...
innovation whether put on, part put on, not put on ... is typically the natural order of things... think about how many pubes you once had and how many people on here shave em off to that same time __ years ago... ride yer soon to be relic / perhaps start ups will have 26" preserving notions ... but when an industry moves, you can't really fight the flow, you can only adapt and catch em on the flip side.


oh and people can be stupid, ignorant, blinded, overly faithful, ETC. ... all of us!
  • + 2
 Let's just hope that a company sticks around that still produces 26ers. It would be like Niner bikes was a few years ago. The only game in town with everybody looking at them funny. Introducing "Sixer" bikes!
  • + 1
 Three things

1) They make sex swings in something besides leather?
2) Are those old Hammer shin guards?
3) Your buddy bet against 29" wheels in 2013? I'd make sure to not take any of his advice on personal investments or other bets!
  • + 1
 It's definitely true that the hype for 27.5 through media was massive. It's also true that usually more choice is good for the buyer.However,too much choice would kill the lbs. A small shop can't stock everything in all 3 wheelsizes,it's just not viable. My guess is that this is one of the main reasons companies like giant push the mid size so much. If they indeed manage to do away with 26&29 in their line up,they will have made life much easier for the shops selling their product.

Disclaimer: I love my 26" bike
  • + 1
 Quality read.....but my situation is this,I can't afford a new off the shelf bike and I certainly can't afford a second hand nearly new bike either.so my choice for now is 26" because it's what I can afford....maybe later on il definitely try 650b but no way 29er I just don't like the look.....but I shall give it a try it may just suprise me and be the best ever? Who knows....but money is a massive issue to me so 26" is logical for me.cheers Matt wragg great read.great story.
  • + 1
 There are many people out there that were not planning on changing their bikes in the next coming years, but now they go buy a new one with big wheels. This is a great success for the brands. They will make good money.
And the point is, the industry dont manufacture new frames cause their customers have gone crawling to them, begging them for a 650b, but because they've realized that they might make much more money. that way.
Business is based on purchasing a lot of unnecessary stuff, and marketing is responsible for doing so. With enough money, you can get people to believe they need desperately any useless thing.
I own two 26" bikes and i'm not thinking of changing either till either they broke or something really worthwhile comes out. I mean, the big-sized wheels are a joke, dont get better anything. Well, maybe they do improve some accounts.
  • + 1
 Bikes is bikes, for the vast majority of us mere mortals. No wheel size or other industry shift will be the end-all for everyone. I liken it to the crappy American lager commercials we see: it's always the same old tired piss brew in this new bottle, that new can, or that label which tells you it's cold. They're all bikes. The wheels will always be round. This said, I'm perfectly happy with my 26" trail bike I bought new 1 year ago at a huge discount because everyone else was clamoring for 29". I'm 38 with kids, a bit too fat, and in almost-moderate shape. My "problems" won't be solved by a new wheel size.
  • + 1
 Best article Ive read in a while. As a young rider I always said "I will always understand the perspective of the low budget struggling rider." Now, at almost 25, racing full time in summer, and having everything I could ever need through sponsors, I find myself slipping away from that truth I promised. People ask me what products I like and I casually respond with the newest and greatest thing not taking into account that retail will set that person back farther than what they paid for their entire bike.
I am working on a bike-related product now with the intent of starting a business and it is that disconnect that terrifies me. If I my perspective of the "normal" consumer has faded as a rider, how blind will I be as a business owner with all the stresses and skewed priorites of running that business?
My most important role as a sponsored rider is being the liaison between companies and riders. I often approach these companies as the "voice of the people" disregarding my personal opinions and telling what the people truly desire. This is after talking to hundreds of riders day after day and consolidating it into one voice. One voice that can be drowned out in a heartbeat. The greater insult is that the next day, I will see that thousands of dollars have been spent on "consumer research" where there are no conversations, no personal connections, no explanations; just a "check this box or that box" survey.
  • + 1
 So what do we do? Support companies that listen. Use your voice. If a company takes the time to listen then they are worthy of your money. But also keep in mind that companies are huge operations and that you have to find the appropriate person and time to talk to them. Dont always jump to blaming the companies. Ive once saw a guy at a huge mountain biking event walk up to a sales director of a huge company, interrupt them, ask a very technical question, and when they didnt receive a lengthy answer they said that company sucked, jumped on pinkbike, and absolutely bashed the company. Dont be that guy and dont believe everything you read on the internet.
  • + 1
 Gyro switchblade?????????? WTF..... people owned those???

frame: i think it's azonic ds1 ????
forks: Z1 or z2's I cant remember blue z1's but could be wrong easily...
Brakes are magura's
full size mrp chain guide...

and the rest is a bit blury but willing to guess mavic 521's for rims cos everyone had 521's back then....
  • + 1
 thrift stores exist and thrive for a good reason. they know consumers want products for a reasonable price, even if it is not the newest model, or the most marketed thing out there. when you find a pair of timberland boots at goodwill, that are in good condition, for less than $10, you know it is a score and money well spent. you will work in these boots for 3 or 4 years before you have to lay them to rest.
i intend to take good advantage of all the discounts i can get on "old" 26" products during the next few years and will ride tough on them as long as i can. i am a dirtbag consumer and roll with whatever works to do the job, as long as it is a quality product. when will goodwill open up bike shops? probably never, but thank god we can still score an occasional set of trail building boots from them. then we go to craigslist and recycled cycles for our quality bike products, that cutting edge consumers have decided are no longer superior.
  • + 1
 honestly, the best part of having the market swing to 27.5 and 29, is the ability to bring new riders into the higher performing frames easier than ever! 26" bikes are the best value for the money atm, and it's nice to finally not have a "compromise."
  • + 1
 marketing... originally was researching what customers and shops wanted... it became posting sh*t on Facebook and Instagram...
So new product gets developed so someone can tell a good story on facebook rather than what really is needed on the mountain or makes sens in a shop... .
  • + 1
 The companies simply anticipate what we want. "So you dont like 19" how about something in between?" Then if everybody starts buying it becomes the new standard. Its no secret that the MTB industry is in it to make money. People whining about that better take a step back and take a look at things.. We are the ones who keep buying the stuff. Nobody makes us. If nobody bout 27.5" bikes they would go into extension.
  • + 1
 I went from a 29er in 2012 back down to 26" wheels this year. I patiently searched the intra-web for about 6 months until I found a killer deal. I paid $1300 for a 2011 (barely used) specialized enduro with new crossmax mavic wheels ($800) alone. That's almost a 4k deal all because I was patient and lucky. That bike was made for me. And I didn't even have to spend much. Guess who's thankful...
  • + 1
 I loved working at the bike shops. When you work at a bike shop, some manufactures have an employee purchase program. Of course, when you're making $10 an hour, which isn't bad for a bike shop, even a $3000 bike for $1800 is 5 full weeks of pay. I could only dream of that. A few years later, I worked for a large company 40 hours a week at night and 20 hours a week at a bike shop, that was a bit more then 2 weeks pay, so I took advantage of it. I have a few friends in the industry, behind the desks and they trade for parts and frames.

I'm kind of sad that 26" is going away. I don't think it was a supply and demand thing because it was mostly done in one model year, it was manufactures making the switch. Good write up's in magazines about the KHS bikes and other nicely built 27.5 helped the issue. Bikes do take a few years to develop so I think manufactures had a plan a while ago.

If the demand for 26" parts stays, like selling out of forks and frames early in the year, they will keep making them. That would be them listening to us. If it's 5 guys standing a corner with signs saying "Bring back 26!!!" they won't be listening. But from what I've heard, 26" bikes are collecting dust, so I think it's an end to 26" complete bikes. Have to religiously do maintenance on my forks to make sure they last a few more years, then it looks like 27.5 for me.
  • + 1
 Yeah yeah yeah bottom line is they won't listen because money talks louder. Whatever garbage they can try to sell, they will. If you can't get a 26" rim any more, or a 20 mm axle any more, who cares, you can just buy a brand new fork to make all the newer dumber shit fit, since that's your only choice.

I doubt it'll go down like that with those two examples, but it sure would be a shame if it does.
  • + 1
 Working in a bike shop was great at first but five years of it killed my pig. I quit the sport for about ten years, but the smell of GT85 always took me back. Now we've got long, low, carbon mid travel bikes that weigh under 15kg with 65 degree head angles. Mini dh bikes that aren't built like tanks. The bikes I've wanted since 1991. That's pretty bloody good if you ask me.
  • + 1
 You're right they may not be listening to me specifically, but they are listening to the market. They have to. Or they go out of business. Simple.

Their market may be a niche discipline of mountain biking [Fat bikes] or it could be the broader market [fat bikes are gaining broader appeal].

Marketing is the fine art of taking those small innovations and convincing/ telling the market that it is what it really needs. Sometimes the market comes to the supplier and says we really need this. It's a push pull effect. Either way, over time those innovations that improve the experience stick. Those that don't disappear. The market ensures this for all of us.

We all had bikes 5-10 years ago that were quite different from the ones we are riding today. Today's ride is better than the one 10 years ago. Innovation/ evolution and market forces drove this process. My next bike will be quite different from the one I ride today. Great I can't wait. Whether I buy new or used the experience and technology will be ahead of that of today. In the meantime I really enjoy riding my bike. But to sit here and debate innovation/ evolution and market force impacts on our bikes...? Might as well go out and pump water against the tide.
  • + 3
 First set of paragrapghs bought back memories of looking through the back of MBUK and dreaming of owning one of the bikes in it one day. Great days!
  • + 1
 I read the first paragraph, I may be old and jaded but spent most of my life biking. Now i been put off an activity i have always loved doing by the extortionate prices the companies are asking for their bikes. My uncle is a mettalurgist and a non-biker, but only ever would consider titanium. I have seen so many cracks and fails over the last couple of years in various bikes manufacturers, whilst the prices go up..and the warranties go down. Various shops I have seen with my own eyes, epic failures on expensive rigs! Overall, any bike in the world is not worth more than £2500 regardless of manufacturing cost, parts or labour.
  • + 4
 www.pinkbike.com/photo/10683585 the answer to our problems has been right in front of us since the beginning
  • + 1
 News flash: Most people prefer a good value to paying full retail.

But, only in the cycling world is it acceptable for every industry insider to take advantage of "bro-deals", while they whine for the rest of the community to pay full retail at their local bike shop. Hypocricy much? Guess what? We live in a global economy, and like the middling wheel size (as if it matters), it's here to stay. So take full advantage of your pro-form, and we'll be here to take if off your hands at the end of the season. Your welcome.
  • + 2
 Awesome. Your DS1 is pretty similar to mine.
It was my first trade buy too:
www.pinkbike.com/photo/7717587
Wish I never sold it to buy climbing gear.

nice article Matt
  • + 1
 This man speaks the truth! I work in a bike shop and most of the time it is the over 30s who come in to buy the high end mountain bike, young kids come in with their second hand bikes asking for internet price bike parts that I cant match, that will not pay my small wage and in hand not pay the companies that I get the bikes/parts from, who founders started mountain biking and is pushing it forward.
But I also remember working really hard for every bike part like them young kids, but I did go to my local bike shop to buy most them until one day the boss walked up to me and asked me if I wanted a job. Which i now do for the love of it and the trade price.
  • + 1
 Just like sports cars, the advert has young people enjoying the crazy lifestyle, going to parties etc. The car always has room for golf clubs...
  • + 1
 The way I see it is if all the numb nutz that can afford to ditch there £££££ bikes for a new 650b version then awesome, the second hand bike market is about to get flooded with great bikes with nothing wrong with them apart from that they are not the in thing any more. if sales of 26inch tyres don't go down then they wont stop producing tyres in that size its simple they wont lose any money to keep making the tyres but if they stop then that's money lost.
  • + 1
 There is a company, which makes bikes for Pinkbikers alike. It's called Commencal. All wheel sizes in many awesome and fun to ride packages! FS AM bikes in all wheel sizes, HT AM bikes in 26" and 27.5" (with alu and steel frames), HipHop with 140/120 FS setup, DH and FR bikes with 20", 24" (for kids), 26" and 27.5" (this one comming soon) wheels. Looks like they pleased EVERYONE!

So, stop crying that manufacturers are evil, there is always some of them who make a bike just for you!

P.S. And remember about German bike makers - they try their hardest to make most wicked bikes out there! Like Nicolai.
  • + 1
 Nice article. I would like to see a survey of users of bike social media apps (Strava, garmin connect etc) vs choice of wheel size.
No doubt the industries supplies what those with disposable incomes want. The question is, why do they want the larger wheel size.
I think one often overlooked point is competitive social media; It's broadly agreed that larger wheels make you faster at the expense of fun -at least in the various short to medium travel categories where most bikes are sold.
Whilst you cant measure fun so easily, you can be scored and ranked according to how fast you are & if you are competitive by nature you will value that.
Since you could say that 'competitiveness' and 'fun seeking' are core personally traits it might also explain why people tend to be a bit touchy about their chosen wheel size.
  • + 1
 I have been riding mountain bikes since I was 14 years old that was 20 years ago now. I started off on a full rigid Mongoose Hill Topper (when you could only find mongoose in bike shops) I upgraded 2 years later to an alpinestars with a Girven Vector 2 front fork there have been bikes off and on since this time but I remember those 2 bikes vividly (and still own both of them today) I had a Santa Cruz Blur bike in 2003 custom built another great bike. I say all of this because when I decide it's time to buy a new bike it's because I want a new bike not because I need it, or the bike industry say's I need it, but because I want it and in the end that's all that matters. I work hard everyday, I have fun with my family and my me time is spent on my bike in the woods on fast single track, or trails with lots of TTF to jump and play on and when I have the time making the trip throughout the season to get in some downhill. It's about what makes me happy puts the smile on my face, the only wrong wheel size, bike or anything else is the one you don't want for whatever the reason.

I just purchased my new bike because to me it's perfect, it will be the best bike I have ever owned (until it's time for new one)! I went with a 650b bike, why because I personally can tell the difference in all 3 wheel sizes when I ride, I think the 650b is the superior wheel size but that's my opinion not the industry but mine! That's what is still special about Mountain Biking no one can tell me what I have to do it's up to me and generally speaking the industry in the end gives us what we want.
  • + 1
 The comments are all over the board on this topic. The main reason for this is that people are basically passionate about mountain biking, changes in technology, and excited about the industry. And yes...it is a business. The big bike companies are targeting people with enough disposable income to buy these $5000 bikes. I turn 50 this year and have been riding various versions of hard tail XC bikes for the last 30 years. Last year I decided to upgrade, so I saved my pennies and bought a good multi purpose mountain bike, quilt free! It is about the journey and exploring the options. After careful research I decided to stick with the company that I have become familiar with over the years - Rocky Mountain. Last month I bought the Rocky Mountain Instinct MSL-- BC Edition. I have to say that it is amazing. At the end of the day it likely will not make me a better rider technically, but what it does is give me a great feel on the trails, increases my confidence in the corners, and it will allow me to keep pushing myself to be better and faster. It is all about the ride and how you feel.
  • + 0
 Actually, the bicycle industry is a great place to get rich. Higher margins than in any other industry I know of. Try selling sports clothing (just as one example) instead of bikes and see how you like it, when your margin isn't at 40% but at 4%.

And for "the industry" listening only to people who buy at retail prices at the local store, the industry listens to the people buying, period. If more bikes are sold online at discount prices than through stores, so be it, the industry will (have to) adjust to the market.

As far as wheel sizes go: Yes, "the industry" is not going to listen to people whining on the internet, or claiming that "nobody will ever need XYZ", because if they did there wouldn't be disc brakes on mountain bikes, and everybody would still be riding around with 130mm stems and 560mm bars.
  • + 2
 I don't know about Italy, but in the US the average bike shop returns a 5.8% profit with the top 25% of bike shops returning a 15% profit. That doesn't sound like a great place to get rich if you ask me.
  • + 1
 Ok, are we talking about shops or manufacturers? Last time I looked, most manufacturers had (for example) a Taiwan made aluminum hardtail in their lineup. That frame costs them about US$ 30 to make, including paint. Then they throw kit on it with an OEM price of US$ 500 including the fork and sell the bike to the shop for US$ 1000, with a retail price tag of US$ 1699.- on it... (all prices are approx. but pretty close for at least two brands I know of).

And, by the way, a 15% profit would be a dream for anyone in the IT, automotive, or several other industries.
  • + 0
 I don't know - the mountain bike industry/bike industry won't listen to their target audience of buyers? That seems like a really bad business move to me (Especially since there is an internet market taking hold) - the main point I thought was about how the bikes are overpriced and how it's hard to make it as a mountain goat in a shop - amen to both of those. The reality is biking is going to hit it's peak very soon in terms of the high end bike market and the reality that a motox bike is cheaper than a pedal bike makes no sense. The guys on top of the bike industry margins are laughing all the way to the bank - they don't care if you go broke to fill their pockets - I've been saying it for a while - the bike margins across the board need to slowly come down or you'll start to see shops and reps fade away.
  • + 1
 That's why I have spent over 5k on brand new 26" Enduro Expert Evo. Hopefully it will make at least a small impact on heads of marketing. So hopefully we will be seeing 26ers in bike shops and on trails in future....
  • + 4
 Sales dictate a company's strategy, it's as simple as that.
  • + 3
 I would say a company's strategy dictate sales
  • + 3
 It used to be that sales and demand dictated what companies made available to consumers. Then along cam trickle down/supply side economics, and the companies dictate obsolescence to consumers to gain sales. This is very advantageous to the companies for obvious reasons. Creating demand through planned obsolescence, keeping people having to buy new products on shorter cycles, because their old products are no longer supported/supplied/no replacements parts. This allows the companies to control the rate of the buying cycle, which makes the companies more money than previously when the consumer was making the decision about the replacement cycle.

All of this follows historical writings/critiques of "free market capitalism". Look them up.
  • - 2
 justwan-naride is correct. The mountain bike industry is market driven not the other way around. For example Yeti has cancelled all of its 26 inch wheel offerings effective immediately. Why? Because they had less than 12 preseason orders for 26 inch bikes in the entire US. Meanwhile orders for SB75's and 575's (in 650b trim) were through the roof. To them it was pretty clear that the market for 26 inch bikes had all but evaporated. Ultimatetly businesses exist to sell products, selling 26 inch bikes was clearly not the path to success.
  • + 8
 tomac18

Except that the recent change to 650b is due to planned obsolescence from the big boys (like Giant who stands to benefit from lesser productions costs by going to one wheel size and offering less choice) in order to sell bikes to people in a stagnating market. This creates the demand that the smaller guys, like Yeti, have to then respond to.

Yeti loves the 66. Customers don't want to have a bike that they won't be able to get good/high end new parts for. Planned obsolescence with very little (in any) performance improvement. Just like 15mm thru axles, full 1.5 inch head tubes, pressfit BB, clutch derailleurs only avail for 10 or 11 speed drive trains, etc etc etc...

It's not "Innovate or die."

It's "Plan obsolescence or die."

More choice is good. 650b is not more choice, its a wholeshot replacement with disputed "gains" that offers a one time bump to the bike companies.

When this tactic is proven to work (once again, but on a much greater scale), I bet we'll see it being used over and over, in even more rapid cycles and larger scales, by the bike industry.
  • + 2
 this should be at the top of pink bikes news feed for the next week, thank you for this.

and could finish with "SO STOP BITCHING AND GO RIDE YOUR DAM BIKE!"
  • + 1
 You said it! Just ride your bike.
  • + 1
 I purchase bike shit and way too much of it at times because I'm obsessed with the sport plus I'd rather buy a new bike, helmet, gloves, etc. than new jeans, shit for my truck, etc.
  • + 0
 Great article. Nothing but the truth. I'm looking forward to buying my first used 650b or 29er in about ten years. I Iike to think I help keep the hobby rolling. I was able to get my .243 Racing frame rolling with help from the Pink Bike buysell section! I was also able to upgrade the components on my 2014 Bigfoot fatbike with parts from said section.
  • + 0
 I would like to think this article's title is aimed at me personally. However, it's not as it is aimed for a large demographic of people from all over the world who frequent Pinkbike.com.

So, with that being said the title is contradicting. If bike manufactures are not listening to us then they would go out of business do to lack of sales. They are listening to us. Us being the people who can afford it, are willing to save up, or take a loan to purchase their bikes, gear and clothes.

Not trying to be a smart ass but the title should read "Why the Mountain Bike Industry Isn't Going To Listen To You the people who can't afford our shit"

Bike companies as do a lot of other companies do listen. They won't do 100% everything the public wants but for the vast majority of the people who are real purchasers they do listen to.
  • + 3
 Supply and demand. And supply doesnt always follow demand at first. Sometimes, it's the other way around.
  • + 0
 Anyone who thinks the "industry" is forcing any technology is naive and clueless. Take the wheel size conspiracy. It didn't start with "industry" it started with outsiders - upstarts - obsessed enthusiasts. They went with the idea and people tried it, liked it and then demanded it from the "industry." Ask Santa Cruz. They were going to update the TRC with 26" wheels, but they had so many calls asking for 27.5" they would have been stupid not to make it in that size. It's the consumers who drive the innovation, demand and ultimately the increase in price of products.

Specialized is the epitome of "industry" and they were late to 29ers and late to 27.5. Doesn't look like forcing new technology to me. We want faster, lighter, stronger, better, etc. The industry responds, but it drives up the price year after year.

The next bitch fest will be centered around electronics - suspension, drive train or whatever. It's already here - Zesty uses electronics to control the suspension. Companies are bastardizing bikes with electric motors. As others have said, the best way to influence "industry" is with your wallet.
  • + 1
 I got a second job to pay for my first 'proper' mountain bike. I worked extra hours for a year, then bought my pride and joy. It was hard work, but I earned that bike!
  • + 2
 The first paragraph of this article made more sense to me than the 5 years I spent in high school trying to learn algebra
  • - 1
 First off all of my bikes were logical purchases. I'm 25 and I don't have a car. My road bike is my transportation to college and to work. My 2005 all aluminum Gary fisher hard tail has taken me so many places from the Bike parks at Whiteface and Beech mountain to big dirt lines to casual XC rides with my girlfriend and everywhere in between. I choose to make MTB my life because it keeps me healthy, happy, and sane. All of my friends and family ride bikes.If a bike sells or not shouldn't matter to anyone on here unless that's your job. If you don't waste your money on a car and gasoline you will find that you have money to spend on a more expensive bike(If you even want to). I commute at least 45 every day by bike and manage to ride about 100 trail miles every week. Thats not even including late nite pump track and dj sessions with my buds. An article like this is pointless and only serves to divide us when the focus should be on getting more people out on bikes of all kinds and getting more people involved in the endless beauty trail work
  • + 2
 Matt, show me a Mt. Biker and I'll show someone who's always buying new bikes!
  • - 1
 what a dick article. where i live there are zero downhill shops. yes im sure i could find a retailer that could order me a bike id actually enjoy riding, but yes i would pay full price. and why the hell would anyone ever do that when they could save a buttload of money buying online? unless they just dont care about their supposed "hard earned money", whoever wrote this article, in my opinion your just jealous your not younger anymore so you had to write an article about how you can afford things a teenager/young adult can not. do you really think the mountain biking industry listens to you old guys? sorry to break it to you but they listen to the guys racing, and market it to young adults and teens. regardless of whos walking through your lbs doors to buy new.
  • + 0
 Who really cares if the mountain bike industry is "conspiring" or not. You all are taking the fun out of what is mountain biking! Just go out and ride! Quit acting like a bunch of schoolyard girls.
  • - 1
 Resistance to change and progress always baffles me. Enough with the conspiracy theories already. Bike companies invented new products, new wheel sizes, new frames, new components, making them better EVERY SINGLE STEP of the way for the past 25 years. That's why you now have 160mm all-mountain bikes that weigh less than the hardtails of 20 years ago, perform multiple times better and probably cost the same with inflation adjustment. Fighting this progression is so futile I actually wonder why so many of you complain on these forums that much. Instead of fighting this progress and the companies, enjoy the progress every time you ride a newer bike...I sure am enjoying it every single time I'm out there.

You want to save money? Pick up one of these new bad boys USED, let the original wealthy bike owner take the 30-40% hair cut and ride the "almost newest and greatest" at a huge discount only a year later. That's what I just did with a Trigger 1 29er, saving more than $2.5K along the way with MINIMAL downside/risk...
  • + 3
 so basically we're being told if you dont like it, f*ck off? Great.
  • + 0
 You are basically being told "If you don't buy our products at full price then making you a product will lose us money."

The people who buy full priced complete bikes want 650b and enduro specific and all the other stuff that the pinkbike community loves to hate because they are older people with money who want a bike that is easy to ride fast once a week.
  • + 4
 Go ride. It's a gift.
  • + 1
 in the words of Shock G - dowhatulike - ridehowulike - ridewhatulike someone should do a parody aimed at the MTB industry LOL
  • + 1
 just stumbled onto this very old article. really well articulated, and point well taken. the internet has really changed the catalogue-scouring game!
  • + 3
 Impeccable write-up, couldn't have said it better myself.
  • + 1
 I liked the start of your article. The lure of trade + VAT... ha-ha... and now we have the 'cycle scheme' where anyone can buy shit at -51%. what does RRP really mean anyway?
  • + 4
 Just ride Smile
  • + 1
 Agreed, looks like alot of people have attached their wheel size to their identity and ego.
  • + 3
 Pre-owned or die
  • + 2
 Current exchange rates from GBP to USD is 1.67,so 12 pounds is about 20 $
  • + 1
 if the "bike industry" 's prices weren't so f*cking ridiculous i might care. love bikes but F the "bike industry".
  • + 1
 perfectly reasonable unless you desire the Ferarri of bikes

shop WalMart value or get a better paying job or cut back on other expenses?
  • - 2
 Azonic frame with what looks like a Marzocchi Z2 or Z3 Lite fork, Magura Raceline brakes (the front's a Raceline D isn't it?), IRC Missile Tires probably mounted to Sun CR17A rims on XT hubs, there's an Azonic stem and bar also, and an MRP chain guide that's probably BB plate mounted. (and I'm not looking at the other comments before making my guesses, i saw the picture and scrolled straight to the bottom to post).
  • + 1
 Giro Switchblade?
  • + 0
 The UK Architectural industry is like the bike industry - you will never make good money in it, but may save enough to buy a reasonably good bike.
  • + 1
 "Your current bicycle's value should be measured in the fun it offers you," Good way to think of it.
  • + 2
 This isn't Central Weekend. Get on a bike and ride.
  • + 2
 That will be Pedal & Spoke shop (Near London)
now stocking Santa Cruz
  • + 2
 It's not Pedal & Spoke, it's Nirvana Cycles. But I imagine they are not the only shop to have faced that situation.
  • + 1
 CAN EVERYONE PLEASE STOP BANGING ON ABOUT WHEELSIZE. ITS GETTING VERY VERY OLD!!!!! Thank you.
  • + 3
 I like turtles
  • + 1
 All leather sex swing? Geez.

.... Still, no doubt a manufacturer will pick up on that; can you picture it?
  • + 2
 this was a really good article matt, well thought out and articulated
  • + 1
 how is it standing there?
  • + 0
 one of the best opinion pieces I've seen on here in a while- great stuff, Matt!
  • + 1
 Why does pb erase post? I guess freedom of speech doesn't exist here!
  • - 3
 You are so wrong in so very many points like, if the people buying used bikes weren't there, probably those who buy the new ones would have been much fewer. They are part of the "making things going" process, so, do not underestimate their value since they accelerate new sales. More.. someone who's buying a 6,000 bike is upset to see its investment going own 50% the very next season, it feels robbed. And I've seen evolvements in the industry but the wheel size isn't because evolve means NEW. Apparently 27.5 sales aren't going very well so someone dictated this text. Good luck.
  • + 0
 evolutions*
  • + 0
 27.5 is selling. I see loads on my local trails
  • + 7
 only because there are very few 26 inch higher end ones around and they are being pushed onto us by magazines and websites.
  • + 10
 they are selling because those 30+ people buying from he local bike shop have little else to choose from, my bike shop does not buy 26" bikes any more, all are 29" and 27.5 - also because their main bikes they stock don't make 26" bikes for the typical trail bikes that sell the most
  • - 1
 I feel like I just willfully listened to someone complain. These articles are really really stupid. I really don't care how some people feel about bikes.
  • + 1
 No one listens to me, why the hell would the bike industry ?
  • - 1
 bike industry is run buy the Obama people clan, they only listen to their own language. i know how to type it but i still don't understand it ($$$... $$… $$$… = 1)
  • + 2
 onion rings, or fries?
  • + 0
 (online shopping didn't exist then)

Yes it did.
  • - 1
 Yeah...you guys are right. The bike industry should just quit. New stuff is the worst...said NO ONE, EVER!!
  • + 1
 Waki?....
  • - 1
 Would not be surprised to see 27.5 conversion kits for 26" bikes.
  • + 1
 I don't see that ever happening; I think larger wheels on a frame intended for 26" wheels would skew the geometry and probably make it somewhat awkward to ride.
  • + 1
 Time will tell I guess.
  • - 2
 booooorrrrinnnngggg
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.204235
Mobile Version of Website