With this post, we conclude our coverage of Interbike 2011. First off- We thank you for reading. We also hope you enjoyed it. Without you, the readers, Twenty Nine Inches doesn’t exist.
Okay, with that out of the way, and all of our information gathered put out for consumption, what was it that made an impression during the time we were at Interbike? Here are our highlights and some final commentary.
Rain: After doing several blast furnace-like demo days in years past, the overcast, wet, and cooler temps were a welcomed thing, as far as I was concerned. Apparently riders didn’t agree, since this was a sparsely attended Outdoor Demo Days. Too bad, because on Tuesday, the trails probably had the best traction I’d ever experienced there. Riding the demo bikes was more fun than ever.
The rain continued on the first day of the Indoor Show, and we saw some creek-sized runs of water flowing swiftly through our hotel parking area. Obviously, it rains every so often in Las Vegas, but I’d never seen that while attending an Interbike before.
Running around in a city you are not super familiar with makes you look for certain landmarks where you know you can rely on good things and good times. Generally stories of debauchery and drunkenness are what you might expect from Sin City, but I’m here to tell ya, they have one of the best bakeries I’ve ever been to in that town! For Grannygear and I, seeking out this place is a must on our visits here. (By the way, we didn’t eat these. We gave them away at the Demo to some special friends.)
Fat Bikes: Besides the slug of 29″ers at Interbike, I think it is safe to say that the most ridden bikes quite possibly were the fat bikes brought by Surly and Salsa Cycles. We couldn’t get close to a Moonlander, and it wasn’t uncommon to walk by Surly’s tent, or Salsa Cycles’ tent, and not see any fat bikes at all. They were constantly being demoed.
A lot of this ground swell of popularity for these rigs has to go to the Alaskan shop, Speedway Cycles, and the owner, Greg Matyas. (Shown at right) Greg and his crew have brought several innovations to fat biking that are being used now by other companies.
Greg has tirelessly championed the fat bike, and shows up at Sea Otter and Interbike every year without fail with a bike in tow. This year was no different, as he was seen as shown with his latest titanium Fatback brand rig, set up with S&S couplers, and his newest Uma rims, which we have heard can be set up tubeless. Pretty trick!
Suspension Evolves, Carbon Goes Viral:
I suppose the biggest impressions made on 29″ers in regards to Interbike has to be centered on the Yeti SB 95, Ibis Ripley, and all the carbon framed hard tails, carbon wheels, and carbon components that have proliferated to the point where it gets hard to keep track of all the carbon bits available for 29 inch bikes. Suspension innovation is now made simultaneously in 29 and 26 inch realms, a thing unheard of only a few years ago. One has to wonder when 26 inch XC/Trail full suspension will play “second fiddle” to new innovations in the future. At the rate of change in the market place, this thought may not be as absurd as it may sound right now.
In terms of carbon fiber hard tails, it is apparent that in the high end hard tail market, 26 inch bikes are way off the back. At the show, I only noticed a few outstanding examples. Most companies are limiting 26 inch innovations to bigger hit, long travel, or down hill rigs these days. Even shorter travel XC full suspension bikes are competing with an onslaught of new 29″er designs. XC/Trail is fast becoming the realm of 29″ers, at least by the looks of things at Interbike.
Furthermore to the point about carbon fiber; we are seeing just the tip of the iceberg, as it were, in regards to the use of carbon for 29 inch products. We heard whispers from several people about upcoming carbon full suspension big wheelers. Carbon is being liberally used in wheels, and more rigid forks in carbon seem to pop up every year. Get ready for more carbon, (and probably high prices as well).
Twenty Nine Inches has been attending Interbike since 2005, and this year it was quite apparent that the scales are tipping in favor of big wheeled bikes. We are amazed at the way things have gone in the past seven years of Interbike shows, and where it will end up is anybody’s guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see things continue to get bigger for 29″ers. How much bigger? Well, we’ve said this before, but some companies are considering dropping 26 inch hard tails from their XC/trail categories altogether. That in and of itself speaks volumes about where the industry is headed in terms of 29″ers.
Thanks again for checking in with our Interbike coverage. Next post- Back to your regular Twenty Nine Inch diet of news, reviews, and views!