Lately there has been some excitement regarding 36″ers, the huge wheeled bikes that were first just a novelty. In fact, the first 36″ers widely known were Coker cruiser type bikes. Now there is a “new breed” tramping the trails and back roads with a hint of more to come.
Twenty Nine Inches presents a brief history now of the 36″er for off roading with pictures. (Because really, what’s a story without pictures, right?)
Arguably the first off roadable 36″er came from the mind of Ben Witt of Faribault Minnesota. (There are rumors of a Kansas 36″er, but only hearsay, no real evidence has come forth) The bike made it to The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo where Ben put it to the test on some single track. From that effort, Ben went back to the drawing board and produced a better, more refined 36″er, which resides at his shop to this day.
Inspired by Ben’s 36″er creations, Blonde Fabrications was the next to produce this stunning 36″er. It wasn’t just for show either.
The bike was ridden in the Fat Tire 40 event during the Chequamegon Fat Tire festival in 2007. This raised a few eyebrows in the racing community.
Enough interest was raised that this effort was produced for an attempt at the 24 Hours at the Old Pueblo in 2008. Sporting 180mm OD hubs and dual front disc brakes, this version of a 36″er attempts to address the issues involved in making a truly strong off road 36″er wheel.
Are there more 36″ers coming? The obvious answer is yes. As far as a “trend” or any mainstream acceptance is concerned, it is doubtfull that 36″ers will ever become something you will find at your local bicycle shop, or will it? Time will tell.
No matter where 36 inch wheeled bicycles go from here, one thing is certain. They are the most smile inducing bicycles this author has ever ridden, bar none.