The 26er is dead.
Or is it?
TeamCow aims to find out. In an in-dpeth two-part expose, I will examine the current retail situation for 26ers, and the aftermarket opportunities for upgrading.
We’ll pick five companies and look at their lineup for 2018 and see what they still sell for 26ers. I expect there are some cheap ones, and maybe some DH options, but not much else. Then in part two, let’s see what’s left in the aftermarket; does Fox still sell a 26″ compatible fork? Are there still high-end 26″ wheels made by Mavic or ENVY?
Before we start, I’m going to make a couple exceptions. DH bikes don’t count in our search here. DH bikes are highly specialized bikes for one purpose – getting down the mountain fast. They’re not general purpose trail bikes at all.
Also fatbikes. There are still lots of fatbikes with 26″ wheels, but they’re not “normal” bikes. They have custom frames and custom wheels of course, and they’re much more specialized than a 26er mountain bike.
2001 Schwinn Homegrown Comp
Like this 2001 Schwinn Homegrown for instance. From about 1981 to about 2012, this was simply a “mountain bike.” But today, you probably can’t go into a store and buy a new bike with 26 x 2.0″ tires for general trail use.
Or can you?? Let’s find out!
Canadian company Cannondale always did things differently. In the early days of mountain bikes, their bikes were definitely outliers, featuring weird wheel size combos and huge aluminum tubes. And later, with the advent of suspension, they continued to be weird, making head tube mounted shocks and one sided forks.
Of course, they’re not really Canadian. They were one of the first American East coast mountain bike builders, headquartered in Connecticut. After going bankrupt in 2003, they eventually fell to the Quebec-based Dorel Industries, who also own Schwinn, Mongoose, and GT.
They are definitely important in the vintage scene, their unusual approach to bikes making them popular and cool.
This time around in my somewhat regularly scheduled wrap-ups of what’s weird, amazing, or expensive on eBay, we’ve got some crazily expensive and rare bits.
Klein Death Grip tires
It’s a set of Klein Death Grip tires! One of the last two bits that I’m sure the dedicated Klein guy struggles with when he/she wants the perfect bike. The other part being Klein grips, which may be called Instinct grips, or may be called Death grips.
Death Grip grips? Of course.
I need to preface this by saying I’m not super serious about what I’m going to say here. I’m talking about a niche bike, that’s growing in popularity, and that’s good. The worst thing that could happen is for there to be only two kinds of bikes to buy.
All of these crazy new styles have existed in the minds of mechanics with imagination for years. Thankfully, when they found a way to put them on the roads and trails – even when most people around them thought they were crazy – other people took notice.
But still, some of these new styles are worthy of a little derision.
I give you the Cannondale Slate;