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Harmonius Wrench
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It wasn't all that long ago that if you were this "vocal" about 29"er bennies and what not that you were deemed a zealot and worse. Check out the Conrad Stoltz "29er Manifesto"

Gotta love the donkey tuck he's in on that web page!

Anyway- 3 time World X-Terra champ, so it's kind of interesting to see what might become of his influence in that discipline.
 

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Enjoyin' life....
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The guy responsible for showing me the in's of mountain biking back in 1990 and who is a very good rider, practically a machine on a bike, just won't embrace 29'ers. He isn't averse to new ideas or never has been but after I got my first 29 he was kinda cold about it. Definitely a red-headed stepchild to many folks. I still have my 26 and ride my 29's where I rode it and I KNOW it works for me.

I intro'ed a short legged buddy to 29's this past summer and he found one that fits him perfect. He never hesitates to thank me for turning him onto the wagon wheel. Maybe because I'm a rank amateur I'm doing it wrong; if so in this case ignorance is bliss.
 
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Offering a page like that is likely to brand you that way still, just not among 29er enthusiasts. He has nothing new to add, misses a fundamental point, and really offers basic advocacy rather than a "manifesto". The only thing that makes this a manifesto is the following: I would like to revolutionize the way the mountain biking industry looks at 29er bikes. Not much of a manifesto of you ask me.

If he were to discuss the geometric differences between wheel formats and how it benefits his riding then I'd be impressed, but arguing dubious advantages like bigger volume and larger contact patch is uninteresting and calls his grasp of the subject into question. Engaging in a public campaign to change minds without a good technical understanding of subject makes him what exactly?
 

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Ocho said:
The guy responsible for showing me the in's of mountain biking back in 1990 and who is a very good rider, practically a machine on a bike, just won't embrace 29'ers. He isn't averse to new ideas or never has been but after I got my first 29 he was kinda cold about it. Definitely a red-headed stepchild to many folks. I still have my 26 and ride my 29's where I rode it and I KNOW it works for me.

I intro'ed a short legged buddy to 29's this past summer and he found one that fits him perfect. He never hesitates to thank me for turning him onto the wagon wheel. Maybe because I'm a rank amateur I'm doing it wrong; if so in this case ignorance is bliss.
It appears he HAS embraced 29ers.
 

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the mountian is within
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Its is funny how people are finding that our 29er "hype" is reality! Back in the early day-remember when people actually got angry at you for talking up your 29er. I droped off mtbr for 6yrs because of that mindset.
As more races are won this season-29er will become more mainstream for sure-im a 29er only shop so i will reap the rewards finally!
I hope....
Bz
 

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Just Wanna Ride!
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Sounds like he's talking about the improvements that he can actually feel without going into some drawn out engineering analysis - good stuff - real world comparisons. Here's a guy that could ride any one of a fleet of bikes with the world's best components available to him. Good to see he likes 29ers.

I know he raced the bike at Sea Otter last year and did really well for a guy racing against top pros and doesn't focus solely on mountain biking. Look forward to see if he races a 29er for any Xterras. Tough choice to make considering his 26" bike choice is a super light full carbon rig with a platform fork. Seems like there would be some Xterra courses where the wagon wheels would have an advantage - time will tell.
 

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Ocho said:
The guy responsible for showing me the in's of mountain biking back in 1990 and who is a very good rider, practically a machine on a bike, just won't embrace 29'ers. He isn't averse to new ideas or never has been but after I got my first 29 he was kinda cold about it. Definitely a red-headed stepchild to many folks. I still have my 26 and ride my 29's where I rode it and I KNOW it works for me.

I intro'ed a short legged buddy to 29's this past summer and he found one that fits him perfect. He never hesitates to thank me for turning him onto the wagon wheel. Maybe because I'm a rank amateur I'm doing it wrong; if so in this case ignorance is bliss.
shiggy said:
It appears he HAS embraced 29ers.
IDK for sure, but it reads to me like Ocho (who is from Chicago) may not be referring to Conrad (who would have been 17 years old in 1990). . . . ???
 
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sthrnfat said:
Sounds like he's talking about the improvements that he can actually feel without going into some drawn out engineering analysis - good stuff - real world comparisons. Here's a guy that could ride any one of a fleet of bikes with the world's best components available to him. Good to see he likes 29ers.
Sounds like he block copied a bunch of old 29er talking points. No comparisons, no talk of improvements, no explanation why it's good for him. You all may be fine with that, he's a RACER after all, but his page claims to be a "manifesto", a declaration of his commitment to change the world's mind. I expect an original thought in that case. It's the "Conrad Stoltz 29er Initiative"! We are all blessed...

This guy is a trainer as well as a racer so there's an expectation of technical mastery yet he's entering the gun fight despite his rusty old knife of an argument. Interesting thing is the thought that his page was worth linking here. It's not really news; lots of riders argue for 29ers without really understanding why.
 

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Harmonius Wrench
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
craigsj said:
Sounds like he block copied a bunch of old 29er talking points. No comparisons, no talk of improvements, no explanation why it's good for him. You all may be fine with that, he's a RACER after all, but his page claims to be a "manifesto", a declaration of his commitment to change the world's mind. I expect an original thought in that case. It's the "Conrad Stoltz 29er Initiative"! We are all blessed...

This guy is a trainer as well as a racer so there's an expectation of technical mastery yet he's entering the gun fight despite his rusty old knife of an argument. Interesting thing is the thought that his page was worth linking here. It's not really news; lots of riders argue for 29ers without really understanding why.
You missed the point entirely.

Conrad Stoltz is representative of a whole cadre of sports enthusiasts, many not primarliy mountain bikers, that may not have ever heard of "29"ers" or know very little about them. I find it interesting as a 29"er rider that he has outspokenly declared his dedication to 29"ers and that to a mostly non-mtbr reading audience. (Speaking of X-Terra type athletes) A three time World Champion at the discipline, at that.

I in no way was indicating that Conrad Stoltz's page would be anything we here would find "revolutionary". But that doesn't mean his main audience won't find it so. ;)
 

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Conrad Stoltz is a racer, and one who wins alot. Racers are a results driven crowd and they follow the leader. Knowing why, not so much. If Stoltz wins on a 29er you can bet the sycophants will follow.
 

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My wife is a relatively successful Xterra athlete (regional champ in her age group, 5th at Nationals).
I've seen Conrad race many times. If you don't think he's a MTBer, sorry, you're wrong. He's faster than virtually anybody posting here who isn't pro-licensed. He's also a really great guy at the workshops I've attended.
Speaking of pro, he's raced for Specialized for years. Until this upcoming year, it doesn't matter what else was on the market, did Specialized have a race-worthy FS bike for him? Because he wouldn't be racing anything else.
GT also makes a great point about the Xterra "market." Triathletes spend $$ at all levels of the format. If I was a shop owner, I'd be aggressively pursuing the market.
 

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Conrad

If you can get the 2010 Specialized Mountain Catalog, on the page facing the Epic 29er page is a full page shot of him racing an Epic Comp at Sea Otter. He came in 8th. Another article was discussing him using a prototype 29er hardtail a couple of years ago. Spec told him that if they sold 500 of them they'd make it in carbon. Draw your own conclusions.
 
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OK, I get those points. It appears he's saying he likes 29ers to a new audience, leaving the argument to others yet claiming it as his own, and oh, by the way, I'm full of myself. ;)

The point I was commenting on, though, was made in the OP and that was specifically that this no longer carried the "zealotry" stigma. Copying often repeated arguments, offering nothing new or insightful, and stating claims boldly are trademarks of zealotry. I wouldn't assume he's a zealot simply from one page but the attitude is hard to miss.

Of course, zealotry in combination with a high profile winner forms a powerful argument, just not necessarily a good one. We know there are good arguments for 29ers so this is a disappointment to me. Others feel that any argument on the right side is a good one so they like this. I'd rather see that page backed up with more substance.
 

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As I noted earlier, some of the issues he has with 29ers are a bit dated. Not really surprised though. Conrad Stoltz is a very successful racer, and rides a bike from a manufacturer that came on board later in the game. He was likely hearing similar comments from them. In fairness though, he deserves to be credited for "seeing the light". I'll even go out on a limb and say Specialized and any other large manufacturer deserves props as well for finally jumping in. Early adopters (aka the readers of this forum) know that 29ers aren't a gimmick or niche; now we have mainstream athletes and manufactures who see the trend toward big wheels as no longer a niche, but a new market category. If all the Xterra competitors run out and drop coin on high end (and frankly very nice) 29er bikes, what's the downside?
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Seems the Big Wheel Fairy comes to the more talented riders last?
Is he going to retire soon, that he's sending the word out so loudly? Come, there's others who'd like to have a bit of an edge in try racing, please...

I have 2 distict biking hero's, good buddies of mine. One has embraced 29"ers, as they are bikes just the same. Actually, he lapped around a local trail with me, first on his favorite geary, then on a demo box stock Redline Monocog 29er. He found the difference between being dropped, and contending. And he knew I wasn't cutting him any slack the second lap. So, he went on to buy 29" bikes, and generally be a fast dude at another level. Agegroup SS wins, that sort of thing.
The other, is a bit more easily influence by role models and friends. The Scott, Specialized and Jeti type of riders. Loud mouthes who think they can make up for good arguments with decibels. So, my friend, whom I used to allow in front on singletrack as to not hold him up, know must know in his heart that the apprentice simple is a faster singletrack rider now, the one place where fitness (I suck) doesn't really matter much. Yet, he keeps buying bikes, of the small wheel variety, and may not even have granted big wheels a proper try, despite half a dozen club mates, among whom the above mentioned general nice guy.
As long as the loud mouthes remain "role models" of sorts (he is way more talented in reality), he will not own a 29"er, and will not speak out positively about them. I know in my heart, I won't be able to keep up with him when he one day makes the switch. I can take on pretty much anyone on our kind of singletrack, the kind where my tall shoulders limit my cornering radius. I lack the talent, and the experience (barely ride). On larger wheels, I can have him.
Some top racers have faced my back wheel disappearing a bit sooner around each next corner, acknowledged the fact behind my back to other, and not given in. Men can be so childish. Well, at least they're not sellouts, and are just sticking with their primal instict.
 

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RacerX.29 said:
As I noted earlier, some of the issues he has with 29ers are a bit dated. Not really surprised though. Conrad Stoltz is a very successful racer, and rides a bike from a manufacturer that came on board later in the game. He was likely hearing similar comments from them. In fairness though, he deserves to be credited for "seeing the light". I'll even go out on a limb and say Specialized and any other large manufacturer deserves props as well for finally jumping in. Early adopters (aka the readers of this forum) know that 29ers aren't a gimmick or niche; now we have mainstream athletes and manufactures who see the trend toward big wheels as no longer a niche, but a new market category. If all the Xterra competitors run out and drop coin on high end (and frankly very nice) 29er bikes, what's the downside?
He seems to like his big wheelers dearly, despite his sponsors pretty much being stuck at the other end of this ending decade in terms of 29" frame geometry. This says more about how good 29" wheels are by themselves, and less about the quality of his sponsor bike's construction, let alone insight in high performance bikes.
Specialized may have jumped in just in time to launch a save-face campaign. They must have thought that they should follow innovation, or die.

Bikes are just that, 2 wheels held together so you can sit and pedal on it. Yet, so complicated for cyclists to understand. Does that say something about the complexity and mistery of laws of physics, or about insights of he average rider, let alone racer?
 
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