Editor’s Note: Our European correspondent, “c_g” has a new round of 29er News and Rumors from the OLD WORLD (aka Europe)

Report by c_g

New offering on EURO Carbon 29er:

The PLASTIC ONE is a all out carbon frame executed in bare looks with only decals obscuring the carbon. Its strongly sloping top tube and clean lines say “racing” all over. The slight bend on the seat stays is supposed to make it more subtle.

Who said that 29er bikes all need to be originating in the US? Italian based GAS29 has quietly been a 29er exclusive company since 2006 (which in itself is already remarkable) and have just released news of their newest offering – an ultralight Carbon frame aptly called “PLASTIC ONE”.

This perspective gives a good impression of the elaborately manipulated top tube. Which is a bit conic towards the seat tube. The rear triangle is designed for maximum tire clearance

The frame is said to weigh at a respectable 1265 g. GAS29 is claiming to have designed the frame with a more than usual tire clearance, The PLASTIC ONE features all the up to date like post mount disc tabs, tapered head tube and BB30 bottom bracket cups.

The tubes are elaborately shaped and manipulated to create this magic ride of ultimate power transfer and subtlety. The bike will be clear coated only to show the sexy carbon look and keep the weight low. From the pictures the bikes looks nicely understated and fast.

The frame, just like all of GAS29er frames, is produced entirely in Italy. Up until now GAS29 has been focusing on the design and production of high quality steel frames (plus a tricky steel frame with a carbon seat tube) at affordable prices, so it is interesting to see them going off their beaten path and do an all-out, ultralight Carbon bike. The bike is said to be at production stage, with an estimated production / delivery time of 2- 4 weeks with direct distribution by GAS29 (info@gas29.com ).

The prices as communicated are at € 1765.- (in Europe incl. VAT) and $ 1735.- (for US excl. VAT), which is respectable considering the all Italian design and production. I am in discussions about what is going on and about an in depth look at the bike in the near future.

Prototype spy shot of yet another EURO 29er bike:

Yes, news just keep on coming and the 29er movement seems to be gaining momentum here in Europe even more. We have heard rumors of the Danish high end company PRONGHORN Racing prototyping their first 29er bike. The 2 year old company has made a name for themselves within racers circles with their efficient and advanced full suspension bikes (alloy and ultralight Carbon) and a 1-kg-Carbon-hard tail. PRONGHORN Racing claim for themselves to be the geekiest of bike enthusiasts and their bikes show it.

Pronghorn proto
This frame features all the typical PRONGHORN Racing attributes like a horizontally mounted shock above the strongly curved head tube

Seems they have been tinkering with the 29er idea and are now ready now to step into prototyping. This first unofficial shot of a full suspension 29er has reached us by a perceptive reader, who has spotted the bike in northern Italy´s Lago de Garda, a real free ride and All Mountain mecca – thus the wide Velocity P35 rims, we conclude. The bike has one of those delightful (and expensive) DT-Swiss 29er fork mounted which is offered in 80 and 100 mm only; by this we assume the rear travel will be in that range as well.

The bike seems to be fairly large prototype executed in alloy. The horizontal shock is mounted above the top tube, a typical and easily recognized characteristic of all Pronghorn bikes. Usually their suspension bikes are working with a Horst link, while this bike showed a linked single-pivot design. Nothing on the details, the stage of testing or even production as of yet, but now that we have seen proof of this project be sure that we will inquire with the PRONGHRON folks to get more info.

Tubulars for 29er? First look of the GEAX Tubular 29er tires:

I have recently had a chance to inspect GEAX´s newest 29er offering in a pre-production version – the GEAX Tubular Saguaro 2.0 TUBULAR! I have ridden the 26er tubulars for some time last year (and liked them) and this newest child of theirs just makes me wonder what it will be like in a 29er version.

The tire shares most of the technology of its smaller brother like the sew-up, super subtle 290tpi casing, derived from years of experience with road tubulars, a flexible latex inner tube joined by the all round, fast rolling Saguaro thread. Thus one is bound to be fast!

29er tub_
This close up of the GEAX 29er tubulars are telling the true to size dimensions and that these tires are all hand made – a very elaborate process which is said to take upt to 8 h per tire to complete – and all that by mostly hand labor.

Other than the 26” version it had a thin black coating on the skin wall covering the usually skin wall cotton casing (generally a identification help of tubular tires), so maybe this was for disguise ? ;-).

I took measurements of the tire and it came out exactly like labeled at 2.0 inches width (51.8 mm), featured an extra long valve stem (for who knows what aero carbon rims there might be coming.) The weight was a respectable 740 g, which confirms GEAX´s philosophy of rather getting the riding characteristics right than beating the “battle of the scale”.

I have not had the chance to ride on them to see if there is substance in the raving reviews its 26” version had received or how it translated into 29er riding. But we will see if GEAX got their priorities right – as we were given prospects for a set of tires for reviewing even before their official release date later this spring. So let´s hope for more first hand info on this cutting edge technology for 29er.

Tubular 29er rims:

Talking about tubulars the very next question should be: So what rims are there to choose from? There have always been several makes to choose from when you didn´t mind using road or cyclocross components but what is there that is MTB specific?

EDGE Composite´s project of 29er tubular rims has been rumored on this site before but no samples had been seen in public yet. Italy based rim manufacturer AMBROSIO is showing one such rim on their website (http://www.ambrosiospa.com/catalog_eng/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=62 ) but all attempts to finding out about availability have been without much success so far.

The newest rumor on this topic is that FRM / BOR, Germany will be doing a very limited production run of 29er tubular rims. These will most likely be derived from their existing ultralight XMD 308 tub rims which are only 310 g (with eyelets that is in 26”!). Assuming this origin, the target weight of the 29er rims is probably near 350 to 360 g in 29” size at 24 mm width, which should fit the GEAX 2.0 tire just fine. Yet another item indicating the pure breed racing genes of the tubular MTB philosophy. A combo of above mentioned components true racers´ delight. Prices will be in the range of it´s smaller brother. We will keep you informed if we hear more details on if and how you can get your hands on any of them. Rumor says production is not too far away so I try to be timely.

Keep the news coming and those big wheels spinning,