Monday, October 15, 2012

the death and dying of the 700c/29er in FGFS pt I: FGFS, a quick and dirty general history of the crap we ride.

this is a post i wanted to do months ago but up until now I havent really gotten all my thoughts down. it's 2012 and the dominating wheel size in FGFS is undeniably 26". it's unbelievable how fast this area in cycling has progressed seeing that a year ago riders would seriously think about 29"/700c as an option. if you look back 2011's redbull ride n style there were a handful of people on 29"/700c setups. this year's event had only one or two dudes on big wheels. here i'm going to try to explain what went wrong the rise and fall of the big boy wheel.

get more after the jump.
FGFS, a quick and dirty general history of the crap we ride.
here's a little forewarning, i'm not a historian for FGFS so all of this is out my ass off the top of my head. i'm going to say the fixed gear boom came around 2008ish give or take 2 years before. there's no question about it, back then everyone was running 700c in a thin width. but then again, the tricks were mostly flatland variations. here's a good example

Bromance from Laali on Vimeo.
then people started jumping shit. tom la marche and tony fast were pioneers in this. please note the skinny tires and tall seatposts.

A Slow Wednesday Jam from Uncle Buck on Vimeo.
time passed, companies like charge and MKE focused their frames and forks to accept bigger tires (up to 35c!). case in point: prolly, la marche, and jeremiah in this hold fast promo. yeah, it's hard to believe that there was a time without fat strap FRS'.

Hold Fast Promo 1 from John Prolly on Vimeo.
time passed some more, the FGFS scene definitely grew. here i want to focus on a few particular developments. at around 2009 john prolly pretty much introduced the splined drivetrain to FGFS by blogging about the tree lite sprocket. velocity rolled out the chukker which was promoted as a polo/fgfs rim. leader rolled out the infamous TRK. company by the name of GOrilla rolled out the kilroy which had a clearance for upto a whopping 40c.

KILROY from Gorilla Bicycles on Vimeo.
then 2010 came. a dude named mike schmitt of the once omnipresent RVA fixed put dual 26" wheels on his leader TRK. at the time, people were running 26" fronts with 700c rears which, in my opinion, looked really stupid. this whole thing was met with alot of controversy, but little did we know that would change the FGFS scene forever.

what we never saw soming was the rapid growth thereafter. i can go through the pros and cons of the wheel sizes and what happened to the setups as time progressed, but i'll leave that for later. ever since 26" came into FGFS, it's become THE wheel size and has unfortunately put 29/700c on the back burner since then. today, we seldom see a 29er/700c edit, but when we do, i found that the whole scene responds to it positively as if there's this sort of mutual respect for those who stay strong to the big boy wheel.

now, i know this isn't hardcover book history but rather a little timeline of how FGFS transformed. it's not like darwin's imagery of evolution where at the end there's a 26" wheel. my goal isn't to portray it that way. yes, the title is "death and dying" and a sure paradox to my goal here but i just want to show that 29" and 700c is still a choice for riders in the light of the omnipresent tunnelvision 26" gives off. sure, it might be on it's way down "dying", but it's still around and kicking.

next up i'm going to go into why 26" took over so quickly so look for that soon. it's definitely going to be alot more analytical. get hyped.



Tyler cash said...

said it right as always bud, i just find it funny i started riding fgfs on 26" and im switching to 29ers, after you see the shit andy, snow, and torey throw down on big wheels it makes you wanna ride 29ers even more, especially snow riding fakie up stairs, lol, but shit, now we have a fucking 24" fgfs frame from holdfast, like what the fuck? are we gonna have 20" with fixed cogs and micro driver hubs next? come on... lol

bhsk said...

We already have micro drivetrains bud, its not that far fetched to think that. I'm gonna go more in depth with this in the upcoming weeks- I just wanted to put a base post down to work off of. Glad you liked the post. :) Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Thereal said...

tom lamarche and tony were at it way before those bromance dudes...

bhsk said...

Yeah, it's not very good in the timeline I know. I just really like that bromance one because its got tyler johnson in it. On the west coast that style of riding was definitely what we saw at the time for the most part. Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®