Sunday, June 27, 2010

the (re)birth and the complexities of the 26 inch wheel, and 29 inch subculture.

this blog post came to me while i was sitting in a classroom. i dont know why but i was thinking about dual 26's. i dont intend to run dual 26's, but like all of you i'm interested to see how that setup feels.

(via slum)
while at the hooligan havoc freestyle competition i found myself surrounded by dual 26 inch bikes. it was there where i realized that the dual 26 influence was bigger than i imagined. with the upcoming release of the grime yomang, and the development of nem-pros dual 26" production frame, it became apparent to me that this isnt an isolated incident. i immediately thought of the redline urbis, and how i thought it was a bag idea to run dual 650's... but slap on some 26", and maybe redline got it right the first time (which is shocking to me considering how much controversy it stirred).

(redline urbis)

there have been discussions before, and honestly i dont want to get into it. however, i have to say that this expansion into "26 fix" makes me have mixed reactions. as if the FGFS community wasbnt under fire enough, the introduction of the dual 26 inch wheels gives up the parallel to street dirt jumper bikes. obviopusly the wheel size makes the similarity work, but the frame shape and componentry is also beginning to lean towards that direction as well.

(via GRIME)

but why dual 26 inch? the one obvious reason is clearance. another is leveling (having a 700 rear and a 26" front gets funky sometimes). some may contest that since the diameter is smaller, you have more room to do higher bunny hops, and more room to do more bmx focused tricks.  but most of all, people get dual 26"s because it wont knock out of true every time you slam. why do you think dirt jumpers use it? hell, why do you think every mountain bike uses 26 inch wheels? (RHETORICAL QUESTION- I KNOW. mountain bike's started with 'mer-cuhn size wheeels/bikes blah blah blah)

i watched this this morning, and i've come to a startling conclusion. in terms of fixed gear riding, we're limited on how much air we can possibly get. you can literally huck a fixed gear off a megaramp, and never ever get that big air. this is why those long jumps in this edit can pretty much only happen on a DJ bike. my reasoning is this- because to the freewheel, it's possible to keep the same momentum or add momentum without anything but ground friction (you go slower on dirt, faster on a smooth surface, etc) or gravity to slow you down. because of the fixed setup's nature, not only do you have gravity and ground friction to slow you down, you have yourself. you can only go as fast as your legs can sustain momentum. if your cranks are going faster than your legs, naturally you're pushing against that momentum you just built by cranking it hard. (wonder why we cant do high speed lines like those bmx guys?)

(why is this here? we can never ever do high speed lines like this, EVER. and the shocking blue is a very underrated band.)

what does this have to do with dual 26 inch wheels then? one word: rolling. if you put the same gear ratio on a 26" and a 700c, youre going to be working harder on the 26". why? because the diameter is smaller, therefore less to roll on, and therefore takes more energy to cover more distance. that being said, youre working a little harder on a 26 inch to get up that tranny, than a 700c.

(via tricktrack)

needless to say, that hasnt affected anyone and i really dont see a definitive difference in air time. the 26 inch wheel has found another home on fixed gear frames; do they have their pros? yes. do they have their cons? maybe. certainly with a smaller wheel size, you're pedaling more if you're mobbing down a hill. which leads me to another thing: 29 inch fixed.

(via prolly)

i look at this and it just seems right to me. i remember a friend of mine talking about his first fixed gear running a 29 inch rim on his rear, but using a soma everwear- thing was HELLA FLUSH (ha!). anyway, it just makes alot of sense to me. it looks proportionate, it rides like a 700c with monster truck tires, and the landings arent as punishing. with the rise of 26 inch fixed, the use of 29 inch rims is appearing as well. hey, technically all it is is a fat ass 700c.

so that's it, there's abolutely nothing about hill bombing in the fixed gear world anymore. i literally did a post about 26 inch fixed. i should feel ashamed. but fret not, this is the stuff that's happening and affecting all sorts of fixed gear riders today, and hey- i was thinking about it in my head, not like i ride like that or anything. HA! the 26 inch debate is going to be around for a while, and even though i'm typing all this nonsense, i dont think i'll ever run a dual 26 setup. this emergence and rising popularity takes me aback, i didnt expect it to happen. at the forefront of fixed freestyle are dudes who are riding dual 26's and they're proving me wrong as i type this. the 26 inch setup is becoming a more and more definitive thing in fixed freestyle, and it's here to stay. but i'm still not swayed.



WRAHW said...

really sick post.

J.mika'ele said...

thanks torey! i spent alot of time thinking about it, and i had to put it on a post.