To be sure, 29-inch wheels are not going away on the World Cup Downhill circuit. Santa Cruz is in, Trek is following shortly, and Specialized won't want to be one-upped in a genre that it has invested so heavily in. There are others lined up to play and the 29er rumor mill is on fire. Plenty of support from suspension, wheel, and tire makers is available to race programs, and major players who are not yet present will be launching forks and wheel-goods later this season.
It takes a lot of time and money to bring a new wheel size to professional downhill racing. Tire and rim development is a given, but frame geometry and kinematics must be prototyped and thoroughly tested before teams will sign off on such a significant departure from the norm. With the top five racers often crossing the line on the same minute, nobody with a real shot at a podium finish would risk an unproven mount. The bottom line, however, is when heavy hitters like the Santa Cruz Syndicate show up to the World Cup with 29-inch wheels, they are not guessing.
Big wheel downhill bikes could fail miserably. Great ideas often do. But, if 29ers do start winning World Cup downhills, there can be no doubt that they will enter production shortly after. Understandably, unless you are contesting for points or podiums, your existing wheel size is probably more than enough to float your boat, but could you live with the knowledge that your technology is second rate?
So, today's question is: