As we approach “show season”, we are starting to hear rumblings and see sightings of future 29″er products. Soon Eurobike, and then Interbike will come along with all the expected new arrivals. In between now and then, we will see more brands holding “dealer camps”, and we will undoubtedly see and hear rumors about 2012 products. For now, here are a few things to chew on….

Image courtesy of Kona Cog, Kona’s blog.

Kona Teases New AM/Trail Full Suspension Platform: This has been getting a lot of run on forums and internet sites lately. Kona has introduced the newest 29″er they have come up with dubbed the “Satori”. This bike features 130mm travel and Kona describes it as being an “aggressively oriented” full suspension rig. As such, we see several details that would lead us to believe the bike should perform as advertised.

Image courtesy of Kona Cog.

Here we can see the rear of the bike which will feature a 142mm X 12mm through axle, beefy drop outs, and the pivot location on the seat stay. We suspect that more companies will adopt the 142 X 12 standard for the rear axle on similar travel bikes as well. This should help make the rear of the Satori feel solid and flex free.

Image courtesy of Kona Cog.

Kona departs from the old “walking beam” type linkage to this “swing link” type linkage to drive the rear shock. This has become a popular set up on 29″er full suspension designs of late.

Image courtesy of Kona Cog

Kona claims this bike should be sub 30lbs in production trim, have a 68* head angle, and will be spec’ed with X7-X9 level components, and Easton Vice wheels. Look for the Satori to hit dealer floors in the fall. For more details, see Kona Cog.

Image courtesy of Vassago’s site.

Vassago Releases Details Of “Black Label” Frames: The long awaited “Black Label” model from Vassago has been revealed on Vassago’s site. The project has been teased for quite some time, but now seems to be reality.

Featuring a True Temper OX Platinum frame, sliding drop outs, and revised chain stay length, the frame is said to be a result of race team input. The Black Label frames are said to be built in the U.S.A. and are offered in three sizes: 16″, 18″, and 20″. Vassago says the Black Label frames are available now in limited quantities.

Image courtesy of Surly Bikes

Bigger Than Huge?! If you have never laid eyes on a Surly Pugsley, or any other “fat bike”, you might laugh, or stand in awe, (or both 🙂 ) when you do. Fat bikes have that effect on people. Certainly, Surly has the legacy in these types of bikes, offering arguably the most recognized bike in this category to this day in its Pugsley model. Now we’re hearing that Surly may be in the process of one-upping themselves.

Rumors have been swirling for weeks amongst fat biking freaks that the Minnesota based company was going to announce a bigger tire than the enormous Endomorph and Larry models they already have. There were a few “leaks” of information, then Surly pretty much admitted something was going on in this blog post here.

What is it? Well, if rumors be true, we’re hearing that Surly is going to introduce a fat bike with tires that will purportedly be well over 4 inches wide! Yes, an entirely new, bigger than life, humongous bike reportedly to be dubbed “Moonlander“. (Which seems to be pointed at by the image on the aforementioned blog post linked above.) Stay tuned, we hear this crazy rig is possibly to be shown during the fall trade shows sometime.

Tire Delay To Improve Your 29″er Tires: We told you months ago that Continental Tires were to introduce some tantalizing new treads this year. So…..where are they? Seems that due to production issues with Continental’s contracted factories, where the 29″er line is produced, the tires have been delayed, and delayed again, and again. So many disappointments have seemingly resulted in a future benefit for 29″er fans of Continental tires.

Our sources say that since Continental finds itself “behind the 8 ball” in terms of tire production and availability at a time when 29″er sales are increasing remarkably, the decision has been made to move production of the 29″er tire line to Germany. This will also mean that all the higher end casing technologies that are only used for German made Continental tires will now be unleashed on the 29″er tires Conti makes in the future. “Black Chili”, anyone? 🙂

No word on how soon this may happen, but with all the “hub-bub” about 29 inch wheeled bikes going on now in Europe, this certainly will be on the fast track to reality.

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29″ers Garner Acolades: The print magazine, Bicycling, has announced its annual “Editor’s Choice” awards and 29″ers show up well in the lists. (In fact, they get their own categories in some cases.) The editors gave “Best Value Bike” to Salsa’s El Mariachi, (image above), and “Best Of The Best” to Santa Cruz’s Tall Boy carbon full suspension device. Pretty cool. Look for the entire eight page feature with more bikes in the August issue which will hit news stands July 5th.

More Evidence That 29″ers Are “Big”: We’ve been talking about this subject in the past, and now comes another chunk of evidence that 29 inch wheeled bikes are re-invigorating the retail mountain bike segment. This story, recently published by trade magazine, “Bicycle Retailer and Industry News“, again points out that 29″ers are the only thing growing in sales numbers for local bike shops mountain bike sections.

Front suspended 29″ers have increased in sales by a reported 142% and full suspension 29″ers a triple digit increase of 118%. These figures were referenced from a report by the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association in the “Bicycle Retailer and Industry News” post linked here. This seems to be a pretty significant increase in the face of the other categories declines in sales on the mountain bike side. It was also noted that 29″ers seem to be cannibalizing 26″er sales, which we felt would be a reason many mountain bike companies would drop 26 inch wheeled hard tails, (at the least), from their line ups in the near future.

That’s about it for this edition of “News And Rumors”. Stay tuned for more soon…