The bicycle is such a simple machine, but there still seems to be an endless flow of improvements and complications. Keeping up with the changes can be difficult for some riders, but here is a simple overview of the latest mountain biking technology advances.
29er To 69er Mountain Bikes
When 29-inch wheels were first introduced to the mountain biking world, they were an overnight sensation. It seemed like everyone was wondering how mountain bikes could have existed without them. Then, a new unexpected twist in configuration overtook 29ers and made them seem unimpressive. The Trek 69er was a hardtail that had a 29-inch wheelbase on the front fork and a 26-inch wheel at the rear. That bike improved on the one consistent complaint from 29er riders: acceleration.
Mountain bikers that have climbed aboard the bigger 29ers have frequently and consistently complained about how difficult is it is to build speed off the line. With a 26-inch wheel at the rear drive, riders regain the responsive acceleration abilities of older hardtail MTBs and pair it with the unstoppable stability of a 29er up front. The 69er required a change to the geometry of the frame, so DIY mountain bikers were unable to just replace any bike’s front wheel with a 29er for a similar ride.
96er Mountain Bikes
The 96er was a version of the 29er-front-wheeled bike made by Carver. It was a single-speed version of the same concept that may have been the original, but Trek’s dominance of the market and Carver’s slow movement to reach international retailers made it hard to tell who the originator was. However, by 2010 it looked like the short and quirky popularity of the Carvers and Trek 29er hybrids had died out. Few could afford to shell out the money and most did not see a reason to because the Ventana El Chucho did not exist yet.
The 2012 El Chucho is an amazing improvement on an already amazing improvement. However, this time the manufacturer has put suspension into the mix and topped it off with some stunning good looks. This could prove to be the year of the triumphant return for the 96er, now more impressive and versatile than ever before.
Automatic Dropper Seat Posts
Anybody that has had the opportunity to try out a CrankBrothers Joplin dropper seatpost can attest to the addictive nature of a seat that can be adjusted on the fly. The downside to the Joplin was that it promised more than it could deliver, and time after time these wonderful little gadgets broke. In all fairness, it was a tall order and a bit of an overachieving aim to get right on their first try. However, after several generations of failed attempts CrankBrothers did the sensible thing; they went back to the drawing board.
Now, they have released the Kronolog and it is off to an amazing start. In its first few months of performance, testers are seeing that the Kronolog is an obvious improvement over the Joplin, but only time will tell if the luxury of this seatpost is going to be durable enough to make the price reasonable.
Michael is a mountain biking enthusiast from Brisbane, Australia. He chooses Merida mountain bikes for all of his riding becuase of the comfort and quality. When he’s not on a biking adventure, Michael like to spend time with his family and watch the latest movies.