BikeRumor.com has tackled a number of industry brands on the use of 29-inch wheels in downhill racing.
Specialized, Foes, Banshee, Norco, Santa Cruz and Niner each offered varied points of view on why, if at all, a 29-inch wheel size would fail to make a big impact among pro downhill riders and eventually, as aftermarket components.
The general consensus suggested that the increased wheel size would require much tougher spokes to match the strength of a 26-inch wheel, while suspension developments would need to be made to cater for the larger size.
Ultimately, the front end of a downhill rig would have to be raised too, something which goes against the grain of the preference of most riders. Steering issues were also touted as one reason why the wheel size would not be suitable for often super-fast, whippy downhill courses.
There was however, one flicker of optimism from Niner who concluded with: "We think 29ers can be competitive on the DH scene, and are pushing for manufactures to believe in longer travel components for 29ers. We think it’s only a matter of time before this can become a reality."
Read the full article here.