Felt Carbon 29

Editors Note: Picture courtesy of MTBR.com’s Interbike Blog

Carbon fiber, that pernicious black fabric that is seemingly everywhere is going to be making its presence felt in an even bigger way in the future of 29″ers. The two bikes most known as the trendsetters in this area are, of course, the Orbea Alma 29″er and the Fisher Superfly. However; that ain’t all folks! There’s more where that came from.

We have already seen the prototype Felt 29″er, (pictured above) and I have it on good authority that at least a few other companies are toying with the idea of hitting the 29″er market with carpet-fibre goodness. Is this a good idea?

Well, one of the main concerns for folks looking at 29″ers is weight. As we have already witnessed, a Fisher Superfly, for example, can be pared down into the low 20 pound range for a complete bike, which is certainly on par for what a lot of 26″er XC race bikes weigh. What about durability? If the past is an indication of what we can expect, I think a well designed and executed carbon fiber frame is not going to be a problem off road. We’ve seen carbon break, yes. Any material can be broken, but I don’t feel that carbon fiber need be feared as long as the homework was done on the front end of the design process.

Then there is price. Certainly a carbon frame should be a more expensive proposistion than a lot of aluminum or steel frames, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a frame only offering hitting the sub-grand barrier in the future. I feel this is exemplified by what we have witnessed in the fork market. You can pick up a really fine carbon fork for around $300.00 which isn’t a whole lot more (and in some cases less than) a small builders steel fork of comparable ride quality.

Whatever you might think of it, carbon fiber 29″ers are coming. The future of 29″er hardtails may have a “3D”, iridescent black look to it, and it will be interesting to see where this goes.