Rumors having to do with Trek making 29″ers have swirled about for the past three years. Last year I heard that by the 2011 model year, (or in about three months for Trek/Fisher) that Fisher would be a completely 29″er company and that Trek would be a completely 26″er company in terms of mountain bikes. However; that doesn’t really mean anything unless it actually happens. Rumors are…….well, rumors, and as such, sometimes we can not put too much stock into them.
My personal feeling is that Trek will do a 29′er someday, and that day is approaching faster by the minute. Take into consideration, if you will, the fact that Subaru/Gary Fisher Bike Team members brought home four National Championships and a bronze medal at World’s aboard 29″ers. Wouldn’t it make sense if you were a Trek Team rider that you might want to check the 29″er thing out at least? Consider the awkward situation that results every time Lance Armstrong uses his Superfly in Texas races, and the pictures come out on the internet of this fact. Wouldn’t it make sense for Trek to have Lance be able to ride a Trek 29″er? Or wouldn’t it make sense for Trek to have a racing 29″er for their team racers if those racers thought it would give them an edge? (Especially so when they start seeing Specialized, Orbea/Luna Chix, and other teams dabbling with big wheels).
But let’s also face facts on the other side of the coin. The 29′er market pales in comparison to 26″ers, and Europe, while seemingly wakening up to big wheels, is still the realm of the 26″er. Lance Armstrong won Leadville handily on a 26″er, this being arguably the most marketable mtb victory in the U.S.A. of 2009. The World Cup athletes dabbling in 29″ers will have to prove that it is more than a one time deal to be successful on 29″ers, or that it isn’t just a “Fisher thing”. All these things play into Trek sticking with 26 inch wheels.
Still, at least here in North America where the 29″er has gained a foot hold, the market is getting bigger and can not be ignored. Think of the hundreds of Trek dealers that are not Fisher dealers that could sell big wheels if Trek made them. Think of the possibilities Trek could bring to the table that are not being addressed by many other companies. Sub-grand bikes, full suspension designs, and an increased leverage on the OEM manufacturers to bring more 29″er product design to the fore front.
To me, it makes too much sense, that at least here in the U.S.A., Trek wouldn’t try this. I really believe that they will, then again, it could just as well not happen.