Is Santa Cruz Developing a Long-Travel 29er?

Dec 16, 2016 at 17:22
by Mike Levy  
The off-season, and especially the cold darkness of a Northern Hemisphere winter, can be a trying time for people who get excited about new this and prototype that. Very few new product releases are worth writing about this time of the year, and there are no EWS events or World Cups where racers are employing one-off bikes and gear. Sure, you might not think new tech is all that interesting, but you'd be in the minority - World Cup tech coverage consistently pulls more views that the actual racing content, which goes to prove that there are a lot of dorks (my hand is up) out there.

Thankfully, there are some crumbs to pick up on social media channels during the winter, mainly Instagram. Have a look below at what Greg Minnaar has been posting on his personal Instagram account, as well as Syndicate mechanic Jason Marsh.




Greg Minnaar is in the United States to do some testing with Fox and Santa Cruz, and they're being pretty scientific about it all. He's using a Freelap timing system, and there's a data acquisition kit strapped to the South African's yellow and black V10 (it's also being used on other V10s at the same session) that appears to be evaluating the 40 on the front of the bike. They wouldn't be doing this unless there was something new to test, of course, although Mark Jordan, Fox's Global Marketing Manager, declined to specify whether it was related to the 40's damper or spring system, so your guess is as good as mine.

Can you spot anything else interesting on Minnaar's V10? The bike's lower VPP link is certainly not production - it's not anodized, and it has a single travel setting compared to the standard bike's two travel options. This piece is far from new, however, with the Syndicate boys using it all last season to, I suspect, increase the bike's progression for when guys like Bryceland pass on actually using a jump's landing. Transitions are for mere earthlings, it seems.

All neat stuff, but there are more interesting things in the back of that shuttle truck than wired-up V10s...


Off to get muddy with the Syndicate!!! First stop, coffee at @fox

A photo posted by Greg Minnaar ???????? (@gregminnaar) on



Greg is also testing what appears to be a Hightower, although it's probably anything but off-the-shelf. The bike's front and rear triangles look stock, but that's likely where it ends as far as unmolested parts go. There's obviously a 40 on the front of the bike, with a 29'' wheel attached to it, and it has surely had its travel lowered from 200mm to 170mm or less. It also looks pretty badass with those black stanchion tubes, I have to admit.


Good day in the forest yeterday #notenduro

A photo posted by MarshGuard (@marshguard) on



While Minnaar's leg is blocking our view in the above photo, you can easily spot what looks to be a custom upper VPP link on the bike while it's in the back of the pickup truck. My guess, and that's all it is, is that the link ups Greg's Hightower from the stock 135mm of travel to at least 150mm, although it could be even more. I bet it also forgoes the ''High/Low'' geometry adjustment of the stock link while also compensating for the bike's increased travel. Who knows what else we can't see; offset shock bushing(s) and a headset that supplies increased reach or a slacker head angle wouldn't be out of line.

bigquotesGreg rode a Hightower at the last EWS race in Finale Ligure, Italy, and he was impressed with it, which brought up some what ifs. The guys are in California right now, so it's a good opportunity for us to throw some stuff at them for testing. We've done this with all of our bikes. - Don Palermini - North American Marketing Manager, Santa Cruz

If true, all that would bring the modified Hightower into Bronson and Nomad territory, which seems off given that, well, Santa Cruz has the Bronson and Nomad. Ah, but both of those bikes roll on 27.5'' wheels, and Santa Cruz's biggest (stock) 29er is the 135mm-travel Hightower. But maybe not for much longer, it seems. Are we looking at the early testing days of a bike designed to compete with long-travel 29ers like Trek's 150mm Slash and Nukeproof's 150mm Mega 290? Or is Minnaar simply testing long-travel, big-wheeled bikes to have as an option for the 2017 race season? As PB member @Andy-FFM suggested in the comment section, Minnaar may already be thinking of a down-sized race bike for the pedal-intensive 2017 World Champs tracks in Cairns, Australia, much like some racers used for the Pietermaritzburg course.





389 Comments

  • + 70
 That final sprint to the finish line at World Champs at Cairns next year is just so long...would not be surprised if Minnaar and others are considering whether a 29er might be an advantage on such a particular track, just like many switched to a downsized bike for the notorious Pietermaritzburg track at World Champs a couple of years ago.
  • + 35
 Excellent point. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.
  • + 5
 Sam Hill is right, the same old tracks over and over I can antually think of a bike I would use next years cup...
  • + 1
 on the photo here I t just a 29" wheel HighTower with a dual crown isnt it ?? no new V10 29er !! correct?
  • - 1
 Erm final straight, really? Peaty used a V10 with dual ply tyres in Canberra and beaten Barel on a trail bike, wearing no knee pads (and possibly finding at least 3 French lines Smile ) With my limited time on 29ers I would not be surprised if they use 29" wheels to gain time on the rough bits... also after Bike Radars article it seems that 27,5+ is faster than 29. So maybe Syndicate will be on 2.8 Minions next year? Maybe with Troy on board?
  • + 8
 @WAKIdesigns: bit scratchy today eh?
  • + 1
 Counter to that is Minnaar won Pietermaritzburg on a V10C and beat out Graves who was on a Yeti SB6.6...
  • + 3
 Also SC dumped the two travel setting lower linkage for a two geometry setting one when the V10C went from a 9.5x3" shock to a 8.75x2.75" one.

Would make sense to run one off linkage optimized for tracks or rider preference like many other teams do
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Erm, really? Wink We have a very limited number of observations when it comes to actual race results, so we should be careful with our judgments. If Minnaar was impressed with the Hightower at EWS and it brought up some what ifs, and if he is now doing back to back timed runs, that might be because he is considering to actually race it. He surely knows that racers cannot afford dogmatism and I think it's cool that we can witness part of the off season experimenting/developing.


@gonecoastal: Sure, but one could also argue that Graves had his best DH result because he chose a bike that, given the track that everybody was facing, allowed him to make the most of his strengths. If anything, Graves proved that on some tracks, opting for a non-standard DH bike might be a risk worth taking. Whether Cairns is such a track and whether riders think it is worth taking such a risk, we will find out in September.
  • + 6
 The only reason Greg won and Graves got a medal is because Stevie crashed in the first corner. #science.

But in not so seriousness, the results at enduro races show its just a mix up of sizes depending on brand. When 27.5 came to DH the syndicate was still running and winning oj 26. Its not as cut and dry as mfgs and media wants to put it.
  • + 2
 @atrokz: shit homie. You almost trolled me there. ????
Miami slayed on 26" then broke his ankle from getting too zesty on 650b. #industryconspiracy
@Andy-FFM: I gotta agree with you there. Graves chose an Enduro bike with DH casing tires. Greg DH bike on single ply tires and crossed the line with flat tires.
  • + 1
 @gonecoastal: I'm just joking around, but yea the fact is Stevie was fastest at the time, what with that quali run and all as well.

IIRC, Miami was still winning prior to the V10 switch halfway through the 2014 season. #conspiracy
  • + 2
 @atrokz: Now you done gone and went full-troll. World Champs don't do quali runs.
  • + 2
 @gonecoastal: Sorry, seeding run.
  • + 1
 or TS, whatever it was he laid down the fastest time by a considerable margin, then washed out in the first corner.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: not until they can make plus tires with stiffer sidewalks I bet
  • - 6
flag WAKIdesigns (Dec 19, 2016 at 13:46) (Below Threshold)
 @poozank: with all due respect to mr and god Jared Graves who coined that statement of floppy plus tyre sidewalls: go on youtube and watch how Phil Khmetz shreds a cheap-ish 275+ hardtail in the park. Schwalbe Magic Mary with gravity casing wouldn't take so much abuse.
  • + 2
 @atrokz: Worlds runs are seeded by their UCI ranking. No qualifying. The time you're referring to was "Timed Training."

Stevie wasn't the fastest on that day in South Africa, end of story.
  • + 1
 @gonecoastal: yes. I clarified that already in case you didnt read. He posted that fastest time for training then washed out in the first corner. He was on that 2013 roll rememeber. Anyway.
  • + 1
 Seeding for jrs though. For some reason I thought TP was seeding. Wrong.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: have you even ridden a plus bike? Dicking around in the park is one thing it's another for a WC athlete to ride at fort William.
  • + 0
 @poozank: I won't be surprised to see almost plus tyres on dh bikes next year, that's all I'm saying. Phil rode that HT harder than 90% of know all self proclaimed hardcore grumps ride their DH bikes in Alps.
  • + 0
 As to your question yes I rode plus bikes. 29+, 275+ Including an e-bike with plus tyres. It was fricking awesome! Srcond best bike I've ever ridden.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: 1st being the duchess Wink
  • + 26
 Just a couple things to note:

1) The Hightower is one of the most amazing bikes ever made by SCB. Period. It took what Trek was trying to do with the Remedy 29er in 2015 and boosted it beyond Lance's stratosphere of performance (No pun intended).

2) Since the release of the HT, SCB has been working to update all their bikes with Boost on the rear end including the 5010 and Bronson - both 27.5 bikes - and most recently the new Tallboy.

3) The only FS bike that is still 27.5 and NOT boost from SCB is the Nomad. As the article points out the release of the Slash by Trek in 29 could be the beginning of another trend that SCB transcends for 2017.

4) EWS riders like 150+ and like 29 = NOMAD + HIGHTOWER = MADTOWER!

5) It seems unlikely that 29er will be released but still possible given the extended wheelbase of a bike with 8" plus of travel and the wheelbase needed.

My vote is on the MADTOWER for 2017.
  • + 2
 Madtower is something that should be used by someone with really aggressive riding. Something that go trough a tire each season or break a rim or two in a season.
  • + 2
 @wilsong: I would happily swap my N3 for a Madtower, providing it was a free swap
  • + 7
 will the MADTOWER be #downduro?
  • + 5
 The HT is super cool, but I absolutely need more travel. My XC bike sees weekly park use. I'm holding out to see what SBC does this Spring. If they make a Hightower LT I'm buying one for sure. Right now I'm looking at the new Enduro 29, but the lack of shock options is keeping me from pulling the trigger. A longer travel Transition 29er would be sweet too.
  • + 2
 @nuttypoolog: ohlins, fox, and rockshox all make a shock for the 2017 Enduro. Ohlins and fox offering air and coil. The ohlins on mine is mint!!!
  • + 2
 I run my Hightower at 151mm travel in the rear; swapped out the stock shock for one with 56mm stroke (vs 50). No custom links needed.
  • + 1
 @the11firm: My S-Works Enduro came with the Cane Creek Inline, which had a loud rattle on first ride. Warrantied that for a Double Barrel. That was valved wrong and went to DirtLab for fix, but came back hardly better (full rebound was still too fast). I "upgraded" to the new Ohlins air as soon as I could. That turd sucked itself all the way down 2 miles into ride one. The replacement sucked itself down 8 miles into its first ride. Moved on from there to the Float X2. Love that, but now it's at Fox because of the recall. So, again, my Enduro is hanging in my garage right now with no shock. Per Ed at Fox they are not currently making the DHX2 for the Enduro, which is unfortunate. Now you know why I'm so hesitant to re-invest in a bike that needs a special shock.
  • + 1
 @nuttypoolog: Sounds like your Enduro has serious alignment issues. May want to get Spesh to warranty it for you.
  • + 1
 @nuttypoolog: Ohlins TTX? Sounds like you've tried everything else!
  • + 1
 @ChazzMichaelMichaels: Most importantly, I'm over buying special shocks for Special bikes. That said, I've personally seen a TTX enduro having the coil rub the frame, because coils don't always compress perfectly linear. He had to rotate it constantly to hopefully clock the coil-wiggle away from the frame as it compressed.
  • + 1
 @nuttypoolog: That's odd (and I imagine annoying) My TTX is on a 14 E26 and the coils cannot get anywhere near the frame. Do you know what spring weight he runs? The only thing I can think of is that it's a heavy spring (so reaches further up the shock) and maybe rubs on the X brace?
  • + 2
 Hang on everyone... I appreciate all the help, but I didn't mean to steer the conversation this direction. I was simply saying Specialized not playing well with others has been an issue for me in the past, and I am hoping I have another option for '17. If SBC makes a 160mm Hightower they'll sell at least one.
  • + 1
 @nuttypoolog: Same boat. Wait and see game now. There will be releases coming in the next 3-4 months.
  • + 1
 @nuttypoolog: New E29 comes with Öhlins air shock. Also saw an 11-6 on one
  • + 1
 @gonecoastal: far as I know the shock dimensions have not changed 216 X 57mm.
  • + 1
 @MX298: Was thinking the same thing. I guess Specialized still uses the direct yoke.
  • + 1
 @genericmk: does that affect your head angle and back tire rubbing on seat post fully compressed?
  • + 1
 @rvelasco24: same amount of sag will drop the BB more on the long-stroked frame so your effective or riding HA will slacken. Tire contact to the back of the seat tube will depend on wheel size and tire size. With 27+ you should be good regardless of flip chip setting; with the 29er it will depend on tire size. If you run the typical 57mm stroke you can expect contact at bottomout in the low flip chip position.
  • + 24
 Really stoked to see what the syndicate has in store this year is gunna be sick! side note -Black stanchions just simply look better!
  • + 4
 Black is second tier unfortunately. I doubt he'd be happy being seen racing the pov-spec colour.
  • + 16
 Yeah the black is only on Fox's performance series shocks and forks. It's a clever little dig at RS too.
  • + 24
 @T1mb0: it's ironic really because most of their line looks better with the "cheap" black stanchions.

Maybe fox had run out of rockshox's ideas to copy, like solo air.
  • + 15
 @Nobble:

Didn't marzocchi do black stanctions before that.

Actually I recall stratos and risseboth had black stanctions way back
  • + 8
 @WolfStoneD: I had a set of manitou forks on an old rockhopper about 15 years ago that had black stantions but they had a rubber boot covering them. Yes that long ago!
  • + 5
 @Nobble had you been a little older you'd know that RS were not the first to use black anodising on their product.

Whether it looks better is just an opinion.
Personally I'm bored of seeing nothing but black bikes everywhere. So common lol
  • + 4
 I kinda hate Kashima stachions. I used to think that it was cool and now it's like something old that doesn't mean anything.
  • + 1
 @passwordpinkbike: Sooo you care more about what other people think of your bike than how it performs?
  • + 1
 @WolfStoneD: Hell yeah they dude. Junior T and Super T had them back in the day! Others did too, but those are the two off the top of my head. Those forks were bomb proof!!
  • + 1
 As do black dropper posts
  • + 1
 @T1mb0: I'm still about it..But with accent colors..Flashy bright colors have never been for me..
  • + 1
 The 66 and 888 had black stanchions before the high polished Nickel ones. Plus other companies before them as well
  • + 17
 Well, it's way wayyyy better than a few cool guys riding e-motos. At least this is a real kind of a progression.
  • + 16
 I love the way the kashima gold looks with Greg's custom frame. Anyone else?
  • + 6
 Greg's custom frame looks great but the orange spring stands out Frown way to much
  • + 2
 @rivercitycycles: I agree, if only it were the South African colors, it would totally complete the bike
  • + 3
 @rivercitycycles:
That's why he rattle can painted it black in the pits before worlds.

During testing not sure they want him to rattle can all the springs and not be able to read the spring rate.
  • + 3
 @WolfStoneD: that bike almost looks wooden on my phone
  • + 12
 I'm guessing that since Minnaar rides an XXL 27.5'' V10 and is 6'3, a 29'' DH bike would make sense. His 29'' XXL V10 would probably feel like a medium 27.5'' V10 for someone around 5'8.
  • + 5
 I thought that same thing, the bike doesn't even look 29 under Minnar I did a double take.
  • + 10
 29's replaced the 27.5 as the 27.5 replaced the 26. My Hightower is almost as playful in the air as my Bronson and former 26's, but faster and stomps the jumps and hits like no other, so feels more playful to me. Also faster into jumps, so less pedaling and more air time!
  • + 1
 Curious what tire wheel combo your running on the Hightower?
  • + 1
 @sjdeweese: It looks like it's a pair of Maxxis DHR 2 if you look close enough, plus it's the standard tire sold with the Hightower) on ENVE M70 rims, It's written on it.
  • + 1
 That's how I feel on my 29 and I'm on a 9.9 fuel ex with 130 pike .. Obviously different category than the HT but fun as hell none the less with the new geo...Rides like a 27.5 just faster
  • + 1
 ? Meant for @jgusta
  • + 2
 @sjdeweese:

Sorry for late reply. Running 29" NOX Farlow rims w/Hope4 hubs and Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes with Bontrager XR4 tire front, XR3 rear during drier season. Now and when conditions turn loose (late summer), I run a Maxxis Forekaster rear for better bite, but still decent roller. Jon
  • + 9
 1. I have a Santa Cruz Hightower with a 200x57mm shox and currently get 150mm ish amount of travel and I feel it is faster than the Bronson. 2. I believe it is merely an experiment to match length and angles of a v10 to determine if 29er wheels have any future in DH racing. I don't see them making a Hightower-ish bike for DH racing due to the fact of weaker carbon layup and inset headset bearings.
  • + 1
 Is your SC warranty now invalid?
  • + 2
 Do you have to keep it in high mode to keep the rear tire from hitting the seat tube?
  • + 2
 @briceps: Depends on what tire you run; if you like big tires then yes. I even went an extra step and dropped the stroke to 56mm in mine. 151mm of squish. Awesome bike.
  • + 8
 At the moment I have a enduro bike with a 29er wheel, and for downhill better than the 27.5. Its imazing going downhill with a 29er everyone should try it out, instead of talking about it without knowing. Cheers
  • + 7
 I'm happy with my old 2012 nomad, still a very capable machine and I'm not rich enough to keep up with fashion. I believe that becoming at one with a bike is better than changing every year for slight improvements.
  • + 5
 keep telling yourself that Razz
  • + 2
 Had a 13 nomad..The 29 is much more than just a fashion especially for us much taller dudes..I'm in the bike more now and much quicker as well as less effort required just equals more fun to me
  • + 2
 I say I'm happy with my nomad but it is one of 8 bikes. I don't believe in one bike does it all, if I did it would be a hardcore hardtail.
  • + 5
 I think its pretty much for granted that both Santa Cruz and Intense will have loooong travel 29ers by this coming season. You've only got to look at the buzz created by the wreckoning, slash 29 and new mcduro 29 to see this. When SC made they hightower, everyone said, ok a 150-160'm 29er will be next
  • + 6
 The high tower gets me all sorts of excited. I like when people think outside the box. Just not when they paint v10's that gross yellowy tan color.
  • + 3
 I've heard of people putting the longer stroke shock in the Hightower to bump it up to 150mm or so. You have to keep it in high mode however due to the increased bottom out. That with a 160mm fork or a 170mm 40 should make it compete with all the other LT29 options out there. Still not as sexy as a Wreckoning with a 40 though.
  • + 3
 Currently running a Lyrik 160 DPA on my Wreckoning, and I'd love a 170 DPA. I've been thinking about trying a Dorado, but no travel adjust and dual-crown holds me back. There aren't a lot of low-grade climbing trails in the Front Range, and dropping the handlebars helps a lot on steep climbs.
  • + 3
 I think we will see that riders using 29er Dh bikes this season. I rode a trek session for an uplift day this summer and the 27.5 wheel felt small in comparison to the bike. Its just an evolution as frames get bigger and riders go faster.
  • + 6
 Santa Cruz makes a custom link for the hightower that turns rear travel into 160mm.
  • + 2
 Since when?
  • + 3
 i thought it was just a shock swap? 200x57 = 152mm .... maybe i'm wrong
  • + 1
 @nickyp123 explain?
  • + 0
 @skeen95: They make a link that has more shock leverage, which ultimately creates a longer stroke. I'm personal friends with Ropo and he was telling me about it.
  • + 1
 @packfill: It's not available to the general public.
  • + 3
 I believe Mark Scott racing EWS has one.
  • + 5
 Not sure if it's important to mention but from what I could see all of the bikes' brakes are set up moto style. (Left to Rear and Right to Front)
  • + 1
 I'm quite sure that is how most bikes come out of the factory? unless it comes out different in the US I was sure that was the standard, Gwin i am sure runs left to front right to rear and I think Brosnan might as well, but other than that I don't know if any other racer does that. I thought 'moto' was the done thing when setting up brakes
  • + 10
 South Africa, UK, Japan... and everywhere else they drive on the other side... brakes are usually set up the other way around.
  • + 6
 @Callum-H: Moto is the british standard. All North American racers run their brakes left front right rear, and the brakes here come out of the box that way. You always have the option when ordering though!
  • + 11
 It is the law in the UK to have right front. It is the law in Taiwan to have left front. They actually won't allow a bike to leave the shop with it the wrong way around. You can get used to anything, but I wonder what happens when people ride motorbikes and pushbikes with the opposite setup, back to back. There must be some subconscious response in a panic braking situation that makes it dangerous. Since every motorcycle sold in the world since 1957 has had right front, bikes should have too. If I were the king of the world, they would have.
  • + 1
 Seems all but the last one to me. Loris and Greg are moto style, still have to check for Luca.
  • + 1
 @jaame: Everyone know that rides Motorcross and Trials bikes runs their mountain bike brakes moto aswell.
  • + 1
 @jaame: Going from bike to motorcycle, never had a problem or heard anyone who did. Clutch and rear brake position make it impossible to get confused. But on a scooter, it could be weird. On a mtb, I like the rear brake on the right because it is the stronger hand.
  • + 1
 " Seems all but the last one to me. Loris and Greg are moto style, still have to check for Luca."
Checked for Luca ==> ep1.pinkbike.org/p6pb10032742/p5pb10032742.jpg
  • + 3
 I'm surprised they don't use telemetry or data acquisition at every race. I'm sure the top teams have pretty decent budgets, and surely the numbers will suggest things they can't feel. But perhaps it comes back to the fact that fast riders can ride anything fast. Though I recall Vouilloz and the SUNN team were big on telemetry.
  • + 12
 But Minnar has the sweet grab the bike by the seat and throw at ground method. Checks to see how it lands and if it wants to roll forward after it lands.
  • + 4
 They probably would if the setup was a little less cumbersome. Those big linear position sensors generally are neither cheap nor robust to being crashed on and covered in mud... Also, weight.
  • + 8
 still $10000
  • + 0
 Theoricly more now ... from 27,5 to 29 there s more material used haha Big Grin
  • + 2
 Very cool,29er DH is coming no doubt about it! Myself and many of my friends converted to 29er from 27.5 this season for Enduro and AM because it is a damn fine wheel size with geometry refinements the last several years. Faster everywhere and very little trade off on turns, no issues at all on jumps.
  • + 1
 I have a 160mm 29er, and I love it, but I don't think there is enough wheel->butt clearance to make it work with 200mm of travel. That wheel would get right up in there on g-outs.
  • + 2
 Totally agree with readingracing - just a matter of time. If just one or two of the top guys ( or girls - sorry pc police) had improved results on 29 inch I can't help thinking that everyone would follow in quick succession just like 26 - 27.5. Frames and geometry can always be tweaked to provide travel clearance. A 29 may only need 180 - 190mm to get optimum performance.
  • + 1
 27.5 will soon be the " Redheaded stepchild " had it's place but 29er destined to dominate whether you agree or not. All wheel sizes have their pros and cons depending on usage but overall 29er will persevere due to it's ability to speed up things a bit, less fatigue in the rough, overall traction in steep tech climbs. My strava times have improved and feel much faster then previous 27.5, still doing all the tech, log rides as before with no loss of confidence, it is the future.
  • + 5
 Are mountain bikers scared of change? All this new technology and testing is receiving a lot of negativity!
  • + 5
 Nah. They are still racing down fire roads on 26" beach cruiser full rigid with moto levers trying to get more power out of the drum brakes and single wall knobby tires.

Well maybe not. They liked changing all of that except for the rim size.
  • + 6
 Is it me or is Greg sporting a serious gut in that pic?
  • + 1
 Ridiculous, it's just air under the vest. ????
  • + 3
 I can see wheel size being chosen to suit courses and riders. I think they do that for moto GP. Small wheels for tighter courses, big wheels for straighter ones. Until the UCI dictate the wheel size.
  • + 1
 Automobiles are all different wheel sizes and no one seems no mind. There is no standard, you have to buy wheels that fit the vehicle, and then buy tires that match your rim size. What to switch em up and put larger or smaller, no problem, find some that fit and away ya go. Offload trucks use large tires to get over rocks and gain clearance, race cars use small light wheels. I don't see why we need one wheel size, lets make all the sizes.
  • + 6
 Long travel 29er from SC? Where can I place the order?
  • + 5
 Don't worry, they all look the same. Even if they make a Nomad 29 you can just put Nomad sticker on Hightower and no one will ever notice.
  • + 4
 I put a raninbow anodized Ti spring on Wreckoning to celebrate diversity. And by that I mean that the bike is right at home on all trails and all conditions.
  • + 3
 Quick, everyone sell your new 650B bikes before they're worthless and jump on the 29'er bandwagon. Make small incremental improvements on everything each year to trick people into thinking they need to upgrade.
  • + 5
 Well there goes "death of 27.5".
  • + 1
 Ok, as a guy who owns a 29er and a 27.5 bike, serious question: what is the advantage of a 29er supposed to be in downhill, exactly? 29er have higher rotational inertia than 27.5 does, meaning that if you start both wheels rolling at the top of a hill the 29er will reach the bottom last. 29ers are less strong from an engineering standpoint too, requiring you to add material (weight) to achieve the same strength as an identical wheel with less diameter.

So why use them?
  • + 0
 Because they are faster due to rolling over rough stuff better. Boost fixes the less stiff/strong problem with the bigger wheels. In DH there isn't much of an acceleration issue except off the start so in theory they should be better. We will see what racers in 2017 will be riding on the bigger wheels.
  • + 1
 The 29" wheel travels further in 1 revolution. The larger diameter hitting the same size object as the smaller wheel, the large diameter has a better break over angle and thus slows down less when hitting that object. This also translates into a smoother feeling for a rider, less rider fatigue and a smoother feeling makes the brain and body want to go faster and longer.
  • + 2
 @SintraFreeride: boost did not fix anything as the hub flanges are still spaced the same. Except very few companies. If they wanted to make the wheel stronger, they should have gone 150.
  • + 2
 Same boat - have multiple SC's in 29 and 27.5 and the answers below are spot on. With all that in mind this is also where I see a huge difference:

29er for enduro is awesome as you can really notice the difference in wheelsize - mileage for your pedaling and roll over - compared to a 27.5. Having a lot of Canada and the US at places where you are riding for days on end a 29er is great for places that don't have lift access. Think Cedric Gracia at Mega Avalanche

For tight, technical, twisty riding in DH a 27.5 is still a lot easier to maneuver and whip around in the air. This is where the Nomad and Bronson are great for certain terrain and the HT for others. Additionally, this might why Danny MacAskill and the Synidate team use 5010's for all their whip offs, videos and CrankWorks events.

Now pro's are able to do things that us mere mortals can't even dream of it is only reasonable that Minaar can ride a XXL 29'er and still make it look like a BMX in the air.

Suffice it to say that there are different bikes for different terrain and as more R&D gets pumped into cycling you are able to better define the "right bike" for different riding styles. Now that doesn't mean you can't use a Nomad for an Enduro or an HT for Whistler Bike Park. It just means that your buddy riding a 29er will pedals up the hill faster than you on a HT because of the wheel size and your other buddy riding a Nomad will stomp corners and berms faster than the guy who climbs up the hill without breaking a sweat.
  • + 5
 I'm a fan of Rasta colours.
  • + 3
 I think Luke Strobel already proved a decent win on his "Evil Wreckoning" last year.....
www.mtb-downhill.net/how-to-win-a-downhill-race-with-a-29er-bike
  • + 1
 They will need to lengthen it and use some thicker plastic for durability purposes maybe we will see it at a 65 HA. But I would much rather ride a 160mm 29" that weighs 1-2lbs more that could be used in varying situations. The Wreckoning I had climbed very good and although The Following was fun the bigger bike was faster on most trails.
  • + 1
 With a longer-stroke shock from Fox, it's fairly easy to make a Hightower have 150mm of travel in the rear. Throw some 29" wheels on there and you have yourself a "long travel 29er" from Santa Cruz.
  • + 4
 How bout an xxl? Looks like Minnaar would like one.
  • + 5
 lol, @LuvAZ get with the times
  • + 6
 @mikelevy: thanks Mike, but i meant the hightower. The xl is a bit too small for me so im asking selfishly.
  • + 5
 @LuvAZ: Ah, that makes sense - my bad. An XL Hightower (the largest) has a 475mm reach, which is actually the same as on the production XXL V10. The bike's wheelbase would obviously be shorter, however.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Maybe custom top link combined with slacked out fork would make Hightower "custom" feel or measure spot on with v10?
  • + 3
 can't believe all the posts based on A comment instead of the article. oh well.
  • + 3
 tall riders need big bikes...
  • + 2
 "using it all last season to" ... ugh Pinkbike again with the poor editing
  • + 0
 so if this takes off then surely this will only mean the death of 27.5 because if you argue that smaller wheels are more agile and more fun then surely this will be the revival of the 26" wheel.
  • + 1
 im not sure what better looking the kashima fox 40 or the all black fox 40. Both are pretty much the best looking fork on the market, but i think the edge must be gi
  • + 2
 I just had images of Rossi doing testing on a Magneti Marelli'd out DH bike dashing through my head.
  • + 2
 If they're gonna put a 29" wheel on a 40, wouldn't it be better to have a reverse arch?
  • - 5
flag huntingbears (Dec 16, 2016 at 21:51) (Below Threshold)
 No dummy, because it would hit the downtube.
  • + 4
 @huntingbears: Don't bash yourself, it was a valid question. If a reverse arch would hit the downtube then so would that Marshguard. I don't think they would allow that to happen so a reverse arch would fit fine. But from a marketing standpoint the reverse arch is often associated to a certain competitor's forks so I expect they just don't want to go there. Better would be an USD fork which isn't that much tied to a certain manufacturer.
  • + 2
 seems he wont have warranty problems with that 40 on that frame... he knows a guy or two in santa cruz HQ...
  • + 2
 Damn! It's a little late in the year for an April fools joke...
  • + 1
 I'm so over wheel sizes. I own 4 26 bikes and 2 27.5's and I'm done until my warranty is up. Screw this shit-please stop.
  • + 2
 i have a 29'er... in my santa cruz pants
  • + 1
 Want a marsh guard as I move heavy into endurbro territories left and right. Can't jump like when I was younger anyway.
  • + 1
 so what now?
downhill tracks will start looking like straight highways?
where is the fun in that?
  • + 2
 Year after next 29er plus DH Bikes?
  • + 2
 The invasion has began... i told you
  • + 1
 Could maybe be cool with 27.5" 3.0" tires. Hmm.
  • + 1
 this is it...perfection for everyone
  • + 1
 When do Luca and the Frenchy get announced or have they?
  • + 1
 Not yet
  • + 0
 So down hill going all supercross with 29er wheels, now see real reason Ratboy quit world cups
  • + 1
 Be nice if I could see the pics Frown
  • - 2
 So far all the slack 29er bikes have been basically novelty toys. If Santa Cruz is really creating a professional design that can win races and shred trails then I'm a buyer. I've been waiting for it.
  • + 2
 Yeti's SB5.5 would like a word with you
  • + 1
 Hope they offer an aluminum frame if it happens
  • + 2
 Yes they are
  • + 0
 next fad, 29er's are back! Extra Boost 120mm front, turbo boost rear 149mm
  • + 0
 It looks like all the unhappy liberals left Facebook and came to Pinkbike?
  • - 1
 This bike is apparanlty homo, bi, black, Republican, vegan and Nazi all in one.
  • + 1
 I cannot see the pics Frown
  • - 2
 I'm moving moving to mx if dh goes 29". Will be cheaper in the long run. Now owning three 650b's year ago three 26ers. No thanks
  • + 1
 26 aint dead ! Smile Smile Smile
  • - 1
 Does marshgard really need to test stuff lol
  • + 11
 Marsh Guard is the mechanic bru.
  • + 2
 29" specific MarshGaurd.
  • - 1
 "29rs are super cool, just kidding, they are super gay" - Matt Dennison
  • + 0
 Greg looks fat
  • + 4
 I think he drank a 40
  • - 3
 The beginning of the end...
  • + 0
 Why?
  • - 3
 29 INCH BIKES ARE EFFEMINATE
  • - 1
 I think 26 is the best.
  • + 4
 I'm thinking 20" for my next bike, 24 and 26 are too big!
  • + 2
 @turbohippy:

Gotta have a 20"

My bmx is the go to bike for dirt jumps and skate parks.
  • + 1
 If this comment was a viral video it would be the "I like turtles" kid
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