Photos: Anthony Smith and Ryan LaBar
Words: Ryan LaBar
One thing we saw at the Sea otter was a lot of companies rolling out some exciting 29ers. Geometry and technology have finally started to become optimized for big wheelers, and companies are starting to paying attention.
Here is a rundown of some of the new and prototype 29ers we saw:
In its final prototyping and testing stages, the Banshee Prime was built up ready to rip. Testers shredded it in the DH race and even back flipped it on the Speed and Style course.
Upper link detail. Banshee moved to full bearings instead of bushings for the Prime.
Lower link detail.
A 1.5 headtube allows plenty of room for big tubes and welds.
Diamondback was showing off its prototype Sortie 29er set to release in 2013. Easton’s Dain Zaffke requested that we did not show the wheels in the photo. Happy Dain?
This is part of the graphics scheme you can expect for the bike.
We really like Rocky Mountain’s Element 26er and have some real high hopes for the 29-inched version.
We are still trying to figure out the message that Dre was trying to portray by leaving his coffee cup in the bottle cage. Was it art, or some deeper meaning?
Tapered headtube and internal cable routing–so clean.
Of course, there was the Cannondale Scalpel 29 prototype. More pics and details here: www.bikemag.com/mantle/sneak-peek-cannondales-scalpel-29/.
Santa Cruz was showing off its Highball carbon hardtail. If it’s anything like other carbon bikes in the company’s quiver this is going to be one stiff rig.
Helping to boost stiffness is its tapered headtube (and through-axle fork).
Getting more metal–the Santa Cruz Tallboy (aluminum).
Complete with the company’s signature bottle opener derailleur hanger.
Colorado-based Funk Cycles was showing off its carbon and titanium La Ruta soft tail. Funk claims this bike comes in at about 21.5 pounds.
The frame uses a flat piece of titanium at the bottom bracket to provide flex suspension pivots.
Mountain Cycle displayed its pre-production 29er hardtail.
Mountain Cycle will be offering different dropouts (these aren’t a final version). The reason for the big split was for the use of a belt-drive system and dropouts.