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EX-RoadLice
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I had a wheeler (german) single speeded with 700 x 48 conti's special ordered in 1994-5. Biggest tires I could find, they were over a kilo a tire.
I bought it because of tire clearance.
It was marketed as a rugged cross bike.
Upgraded to my first pair of linear pull brakes on that bike.
Broke the fork twice!
It was my first ss and 29".
My current 29" ss weighs more than that bike!
It was just as much fun.
Probably not the first, but i did not see another 29" for a decade.
I was a messenger in portland for 6 years, how bout riding in the rain, pre-dawn in rush hour. I know rule #9 way to well.
 

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~ B A D A S S ~
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was thinking more about which mtb that was the first to use 29er tires. Just like the clunkers werethe first "mtbs"and and the first "factory mtbs" were the X brand Y model (whoever now made the first real mtb, i'm sure i can find out in the vintage forum).

I mean one bike had to be the first one ever right, the first 29er, and one definitely had to be the first factory/mass produced one.
 

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29"ers were brought in to existence with the advent of the 52/47 WTB Nanoraptor aka the "tire" that Mark Slate gets the credit for after taking alot of heat from the likes of Wes Williams and Gary Fisher to do so. Quite simply it was just a 2.125 volume tire, the same as what launched the mtb craze in a 26" format, made for a 622mm bead, or 700c rim. It was sent out in limited numbers to some custom builders in the spring of 99'.

Art Pattern Visual arts Serveware Ceramic


Everything before the "tire" was labeled a 28"er as evidenced by this bike from the 30's.

Bicycle tire Bicycle frame Tire Bicycle wheel rim Bicycle fork


The trouble was there were very few frames available that it would fit in and Willits, as a champion of the use of 700c offroad since his days at Ibis and was trying to sell a 28"er to anyone that would listen had this one fresh from the paint booth on the day that the "tire" arrived.

Bicycle tire Bicycle frame Bicycle wheel rim Bicycle wheel Bicycle fork


But for the lack of the "tire" this effort by DB in the early 90's came close but was marketed then with a 28" inch tire, the 1.75 Panaracer Smoke. When the "tire" came out it was found that it fit however.

Bicycle tire Bicycle frame Tire Bicycle wheel Wheel


Also the first FS 29"er is shown here in the fall of 99'.

Bicycle tire Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel Bicycle wheel rim


The first production bike I saw was in 2000 and was actually a Nishiki that was only sold in the EU surprisingly. Fisher came out with the Mt. Tam shortly after and Surly was the first to provide a cheap steel frameset to the market. The rest as they say is history.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
good info there bigwheel. so 99.. When did people start wanting 29ers? was it right away or did it take a few years?

I mean like the current 650b craze, people have been doing it now for many years, but only these last 2 years we see production bikes, and now common people start wanting that, well they don't really have any choice any more :)
 

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I remember reading an issue of MBUK back in about '03 which had a (I think) a Gary Fisher prototype 29er. I still have the mag floating around somewhere, will have to try and find it and take a pic of the page (tomorrow, as it's midnight here and I'm tired). Pretty sure that was the main dedicated MTB in the big wheel format.
 

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Always Learning
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Thinking both diy/custom and mass produced.
Good to see Bigwheel making - as aways - a contribution in this thread!!!:thumbsup:

Thanks to Cloxxki (who moderated a previous 29"er web based forum), and his complete coverage of the KM - many of us were able to get our foot in the door price wise back in 2002/2003 with the original Surly Karate Monkey which was something like $325-350 for frame and fork. After it arrived and I built it up, I did one lap on my 2002 Trek 8000 at a ski area. The second lap I did on the rigid Karate Monkey and sold my Trek 8000 the next day even though it was a brand new bike to me. That's how good the KM - even as a rigid - was.:cool:

My original KM served me well for 9 years before being passed on to another rider and replaced by a more modern version of the Karate Monkey.

Original purchased by me back in 2003 and pictured here in November 2012...


And the more modern version that I purchased as a replacement pictured here in December of 2012...


In terms of the original forum and now this one, mucho thanks to Bigwheel, Cloxxki, Mikesee, Gary Fisher, Wes Williams and others for all of those early dicussions, thoughts, and help.

Mikesee (Mike Curiak) had the best advice and quote that still remains to date - whether one is contemplating a 29"er, 27.5"er, or whatever....

And I paraphrase: "Toss a leg over one and see for yourself..."

So simple, yet so true. All the chit-chat only goes so far, but hopping on one and taking it for a spin answered all questions that were being asked a decade+ ago. I guess the same could still be said today and it is a lot easier to find an opportunity these days to toss a leg over various bikes to get answers (unless your looking for 64cm road frames....:nono:).
 

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In 2002 I bought a Gary Fisher 29er frame for cheap from the shop I used to race for
Built a franken bike just to try out a 29er

End of 2002 beginning of 2003 I had a custom IF 29er deluxe made for me.

Have not ridden a 26er since then, well maybe a few times
 

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good info there bigwheel. so 99.. When did people start wanting 29ers? was it right away or did it take a few years?

I mean like the current 650b craze, people have been doing it now for many years, but only these last 2 years we see production bikes, and now common people start wanting that, well they don't really have any choice any more :)
A fun side note is that 650b mountain bikes existed long before 29ers. Raleigh had a couple of their Mountain Tour models with 650b in the mid 80's. They were the first mass produced 650b mountain bikes but the trend fizzled until recently. The main issue was a lack of wide tire options and a lack of wide 650b rims outside of France (where 650b was more common than 700c).

One could argue they were also the first mass marketed "bikepacking" bike also. Another newer revival. Most MTBs had rack eyelets and people were bike camping, but Raleigh was likely the first to market them on such a large scale.
 

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I was always a roadie pre 2004, so when I transitioned over to mountain biking the 700/29er just seemed logical. I test rode a Spec 26 wheel Stumpjumper, just didn't feel right. I purchased a Soma Juice, built it up, and loved the bigger wheels on the dirt. I figured I also needed a full suspension 29er to supplement the Soma, so I purchased a 2005 Lenz Leviathan. Still have the Lenz as a classic, and a few others as well.
 

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A fun side note is that 650b mountain bikes existed long before 29ers. Raleigh had a couple of their Mountain Tour models with 650b in the mid 80's. They were the first mass produced 650b mountain bikes but the trend fizzled until recently. The main issue was a lack of wide tire options and a lack of wide 650b rims outside of France (where 650b was more common than 700c).

One could argue they were also the first mass marketed "bikepacking" bike also. Another newer revival. Most MTBs had rack eyelets and people were bike camping, but Raleigh was likely the first to market them on such a large scale.
1896, roads, we don't have no stinking roads. 700c wheels, fixed gear, fully packed for adventure. The bicycle industry is just a revolving door of ideas it seems.

Wheel Bicycle tire Bicycle wheel Bicycle frame Bicycle wheel rim


I would suggest that as an experiment if you think that there is no difference in the effect of tire volume and how the advent of 2"+ width tires spawned 26", 29" and 650b use as mtb's I would suggest getting a set of 1.75 tires and mount them on your rims, they will fit just fine, and go for a ride on a trail.
 
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