After a week long binge on bicycles it is time to suffer through the hangover after the high. This year’s Interbike didn’t figure as large and spectacular in the 29″er world as we might have wished. I think there are a few things that perhaps played into this.

Eurobike: There is no question that Eurobike has taken away from Interbike as the place to introduce new products and bicycles. Even 29″ers are getting unvieled first at Eurobike where the 29″er market has barely any presence. Get used to it, as Eurobike’s proximity to Interbike and Eurobike’s larger size and audience have trumped Interbike as the place to go to show the world your new bicycles and components. If the 29″er market catches on there too, Interbike will only become the place where we get to ride the products first and not the place where they are introduced first as well.

Stealing The Spotlight: In a world where getting consumers attention is increasingly difficult, companies are doing their own product introductions. Specialized, Trek, Giant, and now smaller companies like Salsa have taken this road to focus attention on what they are doing. It is effective in getting attention focused on a smaller companies product that otherwise may get lost in a sea of trade show wares. I look to see more of this in the future.

Take those two things into consideration and you can see that Interbike is not what it might have been without those things happening. Still, it was a bit of a flat show in terms of 29″er product, especially anything we hadn’t had wind of before the show opened. Without the Outdoor Demo perhaps the only thing worth seeing at Interbike from a 29″er fanatics viewpoint would have been the redesigned R.I.P.9. Otherwise, just about everything had been previously introduced, or leaked so heavily that it lacked much impact at the show.

The State Of 29″ers: That’s not to say that we have much to whine about as 29″er fans. Indeed, things have never looked so good. Six inch travel bikes are being ridden, new forks are coming, race tires are here, more high end and low end choices are being added.

A Post 29″er Bike World: Perhaps the lack of anything spectacular has more to do with what we have got in our hands already than what we don’t have and are not getting. 29″ers are certainly not going away, (We’ve obviously passed that question), they are mainstream and not “niche”, (That happened two years ago.), and they are starting to become something other than a North American curiosity. No, we don’t go ga-ga over another single speed hardtail like we did in 2003. We don’t fall all over ourselves at the announcement that “Company X” is introducing a 29″er, like we did in 2006. Now we are waiting for something really big to happen in 29″ers. The thing is, all the “really big things” have mostly already happened. Welcome to the world of “Post 29″er Bikes”. A world where any mountain bike with larger than 26 inch wheels will just be a “big wheeled mtb” and nothing more.

Back To The Hangover: So here we are a day or two past Interbike 2008 and what do we have? We have a pretty great selection of 29″ers, (Or should I start calling them Big Wheelers?) In the coming days I will glean out of the photo library any lingering tid bits and I will also share some more in depth information on some of 2009’s biggest new 29″er products. Stay tuned!