Ten years ago I purchased my first “real” mountain bike. A Gary Fisher Sugar 3. I started racing shortly thereafter, and have never looked back. In 2005 I threw my leg over a Gary Fisher 29er hardtail, and since that time – over four years ago – I have not ridden a 26-inch wheeled bike. I’ve hardly even considered the prospect. I’ve been happy with the big wheels. And as they say, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
But there is one problem. I have severe Bike Decision Disorder. It’s symptoms have played out here in this space numerous times. I thought I had my mind made up, but then, on a whim, I rode a 26-inch full suspension bike last night, the Gary Fisher Supercaliber. I expected the bike to feel sketchy, twitchy, and generally unstable. It didn’t. At all. In fact, it felt light, and fast, and nimble. I was grinning from ear to ear at how fun this toy bike was to ride. Not too mention, the paint job is dead sexy.
So now what?
Good question. But the chances of me racing on little wheels next year are very high.
I know that the Church of the Big Wheel will most likely have me excommunicated for even considering this idea. And I suppose that is their right to do so. And I also suppose it would be counter-productive to share my revelation at the 29er forum on MTBR. If I did that, not only would I be excommunicated, but probably crucified as well. But from an entertainment prospect, it could be…worthwhile.
Of course, I am not denouncing 29-inch wheels. I love the big hoops. And will continue to ride my Rig (assuming I actually pull the trigger on the toy bike). The real lesson in this is that bikes are fun. Pure and simple. 26er, 29er, full squish or hardtail – it doesn’t really matter. A well built bike is going to be fast and fun and grin-inducing, regardless of any evangelical zealotry surrounding its wheel size or paint job.
Ride what you love. But do ride.