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!
There are tons of people I’m sure that buy one bike, ride it, and are perfectly happy doing so. There are also tons of people – like myself – that follow a formula for bicycle ownership, and it goes a little like this;
S = N + 1
Where S is the number of bikes you should own, and N is the number of bikes you currently own.
What I love about this formula, is coming up with reasons for another N + 1 in your life.
What better topic to discuss on Throwback Thursday – #TBT if you’re not a social media uber-guru like myself – than the return of retrobike styling cues to modern bikes.
Old bike parts are becoming new seemingly on a daily basis. Bars, tires, and brakes are all going forward to the past.
I can’t say they make modern bikes work better, but they definitely make some of them look better.
Rocky Mountain has always had a strong following in Germany. There are some on the Internet that have suggested in fact that sales of their bikes in Germany kept Rocky going in some lean years. There were quite a few special models sold only in Europe, which I believe were probably the result of the strong sales.
Also, there is a massive following for retro Rocky bikes, and really, anything Canadian, in Germany. The website mtb-news.de has some truly incredible retro Rockys and Brodies, and no question there’s a huge concentration of perfect Syncros parts for the early 90’s over there.
Because I know this, it’s interesting to hit eBay Germany from time to time to see what’s there.
Well, it is for me anyway.
Let’s take a quick look at some of these special Germany-only models.
RMB Vertex Ltd.
Here’s a European model Vertex Ltd from about 1998. In North America there was a Vertex T.O. with a red on white maple leaf fade. Europe got this very nice dark blue on white. I have no idea what the parts spec was for this bike, but I’m sure those Syncros cranks are not stock, as they were out of production by ’98. The forks look newer than ’98 as they have disc tabs. It’s a very well put together bike.