It was revealed yesterday in a post from Santa Cruz’s blog that the long time 29″er hold out is working on a 29″er project due to be unveiled “before Interbike”. This would become a 29″er that most mountain bikers not into big wheelers will look to as a litmus test on the format. Santa Cruz has long been highly regarded as one of the premeir trail bike companies with models from the Bullet to the new carbon Blur XC all raising the bar along the way in the eyes of many mountain bikers.
Citing the lack of suitable trail worthy components, Santa Cruz says 29″ers have been on their radar but considered not up to snuff for them to make one. Now they claim since the materials technology, component design, and ride performance are all at a high level for 29″ers, they are going to jump in the 29″er market with a bike that will not only get them on the bandwagon but one that will be “hijacking the damn bandwagon“, in their words.
Not many details are available at this time, but the indications are that the bike will be a full suspension model with VPP suspension. Squeezing out much more than 4 inches of travel with a VPP 29″er will require some trickery not seen before, so I do not look for anything beyond that travel for the rear. Santa Cruz states that “… the challenge of packaging some decent suspension into a bike and still having a manageable chainstay and wheelbase length” is important, so getting these attributes from a VPP design is going to limit travel expectations.
Some rumors are floating about also that Santa Cruz will offer the 29″er in aluminum and carbon. This would be a big surprise if true, and it is doubtfull that going into the 29″er market for the first time that they would commit to a carbon 29″er out of the box. This is pure conjecture though, so don’t take that as gospel. It’s just my opinion on the matter.
At any rate, this will be a big development in 29″ers and will bear watching closely as the summer months set in. Stay tuned!