Monday, October 29, 2012

the death and dying of the 700c/29er in FGFS ptIV: the endangered species

now that we got a good chunk of discussion away i'm going to go into a really big issue (well at least for me and a bunch of people in the 29"/700c community)- the lack of manufacturers catering to the big boy wheel. i'm mature enough to admit that there really is close to no demand for these frames anymore but that doesn't mean they should be fazed out of existence. here i think you'll realize how little this segment of FGFS has become.

non bottom bracket drop 29er/700c, an endangered species

last time i talked about the split within the 29er/700c community involving bottom bracket drop. now, though that sounds like a good thing to have so much "diversity" in frames, the sad truth is that there aren't that many choices. i mean, i could list them all out in one post whereas if i were to do it with 26" frames, it would be ridiculously time consuming. there's the grime goat and ghost, the charmer 26, the destroy masochist and unicorn killer, the skylmt, the volume, the unknown v3, the pfix, the showtime, the booster, even the damn purefix. let's also not forget that there are a ton of new random companies and frames catering to 26" coming out of no where all the time (helltrust, pagan, blah blah blah)

(chris clappe's hold fast. source.)

in the 29/700c world, it really winds down to a few. for the non bb dropped frames, you're stuck with the LDG hammer, the BB17 serpent, the holdfast 29", or a custom frame. for the frames with bb drop you're stuck with the BB17 charmer, the leader hurricane (and predecessors), the SE x UVT/quadangle, the eighthinch butcher v2, the volume thrasher v2 (you forgot about that one huh?), the 14bikeco ESB, the nasty signature frame (those 2 are kinda geographically specific), the MKE bruiser, the charge scissor v2, the affinity cyclone,  or a custom frame.

(sol smith on the bb17 serpent. source.)

now, i know i'm missing some (okay maybe alot) but i want to prove a point- there really aren't that many choices for a non bb drop frame as compared to one with bb drop. i didn't realize this until i started typing this out. you would think that since there has been a dramatic and quick growth in non bb drop 26", that 29" would follow suit. that being said, i want to focus on the very few selctions in what i personally ride, 29er with a non bb drop.

(sam hanson on the hold fast 29er. source.)

after some thought, there are a few reasons why there's only 4 options in non bottom bracket dropped 700c/29er frames. First off, the industry pretty much skipped over this in the evolution of frames. once dual 26" dropped, it rapidly grew like wildfire. 700c at the time was still on bottom bracket dropped frames, but when 26" came out everyone wanted to do grinds and stuff so the industry catered to the more nimble wheelsize.

(the lost MKE bruiser II done up by bike jerks)

speaking of the industry, a lot of companies that were in FGFS had just lost interest (themselves and by consumers) in the wheel size because everyone had moved so quickly to 26". remember when the MKE bruiser, charge scissor, the SE x UVT and the volume thrasher & cutter were king? what happened? the MKE bruiser v2 hasn't seen the light of day, no one is really left on the volume team, and charge pretty much lost interest. remember these companies were leading the way in FGFS with a solid backing of 700c/29".

(jakob santos on the LDG hammer before his move to 26")

then there's the rate of which we got to the non bb drop frame. if you can recall, the first commercially available non bb drop frame for big wheels (and backed as a 700c/29" contender) was the LDG hammer. when that was released around 2011, jakob santos was still on 700's and non bb drop 700c frames were still in the scene. by that time there were a number of 26" specific frames out there. by the time we got to the bb17 and the hold fast frames, there were more 26" options and 700c bb drop frame options out there.

(torey thornton's OG grime supmang. 'member dat?)

i want to say that the non bb drop 700c/29 frame is a middle ground that no one really wants to delve into. on one side of the table we have the 26" culture, and on the other side we have the 700c bb drop frame culture. both have really zealous followings (even though 26" has considerably more of a following nowadays) but for the non bb dropped 29er, the people who get it, GET  IT, but the people who don't get it want to see it burn. speaking of that....

(HA-MER-TIIIIIIIMMEEE. daniel torres on a custom destroy frame)

here's a more general one. there's an attitude towards big wheels that's extremely negative. it's really unnecessary negativity. let's say i get a flat riding with some buddies. what's the first thing they say? "you wouldn't have that problem with a 26." how about when i can't land something? "you wouldn't have that problem with a 26." how about when i can't un-seize my seatpost bolt? "you wouldn't have that problem with a 26." (true story though). this policing, i believe, has really contributed to this downfall because the bad attitude towards 29" comes right after one goes 26". so what if i have a bigger wheel? i like running over stuff and using less effort to push my big setup around.

(nick koo on a custom nem pro frame)

yeah it's still early on in FGFS's life, and maybe companies will eventually cater to the people who want the non bb drop 29er (bb17 is killing that market right now). buuuuut....probably not. i'm going to be honest here and turn my back on my own kind- no one really wants this. our market is hella smaller than the 26" market.  come to san jose, you'll see that i'm basically one of 2 or three dudes with a 29er non bb drop frame. it's a combination of that previously stated attitude, and a lack of product for this part of FGFS- it's literally choking off this market.

well that's sad. hahaha


view part III: the bottom bracket conundrum

view part II: the wheel sizes
view part I: a quick history of FGFS


Koo said...

Too true man. We need to hold it down

Finn E Zygowski said...

its not just san jose, go to any city that has a fgfs scene and there will be that one token 29er guy, if any. There's still dudes who ride it were just all spread out all over.

tyler hansen said...

you wouldnt get as many flats and tricks are easier.but your already doing tricks on bike with a fixed gear lol who said shit was supposed to right

bhsk said...

that's the whole thing about FGFS. we're doing the wrong things on the wrong kind of bike. so you're about right- it doesnt matter really since we're all doing it wrong. ha.

European said...

Have you guys taken a look at bombtrack's new 29er? It comes as a complete bike as well.
I am wondering wether it's any good. I guess if it had a no or a negative bb drop I'd be sold. The price for the complete bike (around 700-800€) is unbeatable considering that they sell the frames that you mentioned for 400-550€. That's like up to 720US$ for the frame only..
Looking forward to hear your opinion.

bhsk said...

i totally forgot about the bombtrack before i wrote this guy. in a world where some companies don't do any research and development *COUGH* PUREFIX *COUGH*, bombtrack puts alot into their stuff. what really sets the divide apart is the curved seat tube and attention to parts selection- it comes with 14mm hubs and the full 4130 chainwheel. you do lose that grind ability with bb drop, but then again dudes like #MYBOYJBALLTHO makes the whole bb drop "problem" a strength. that dude rips and he has no pegs and bb drop.

i'm not saying i like the bombtrack because of my recent affiliation to them too- i really so like the dash frame/complete and have been a fan even before they contacted me.

hope that helps.