If you think 29ers have ‘wagon wheels’ you are sorely mistaken. It seems that the next big thing is 39in wheels.
That’s according to an artist's rendering of a concept 39er cross-country hardtail.
No more boasting of 29er roll-over benefits, it seems
To prevent toe overlap with the massive front wheel, and to keep the handlebar in relatively the same position as a modern 29er race bike, the handlebar sits inside the main frame. Steering input from the bar is translated to the fork via a pair of cogs linked by a chain. In theory, the steering could be sped up or slowed down by altering the size of these cogs.
In-frame steering is the next big thing
Some of the measurements of this imagined machine are familiar, others are a bit hard to envision how they would play out on the trail. This 39er has a 68-degree head tube angle, 72.5 degree seat tube angle and a bottom bracket height of 314mm. The 440mm reach with an effective top tube of 637mm (measured from the saddle to the handlebar) pegs this design as a size large.
Those measurements sound pretty familiar to most riders, but elsewhere things get seriously weird. The chainstays measure in at 637mm and the total wheelbase would be 1487mm. Bike testers will have to come up with a whole new set of adjectives to describe this beast’s handling!
It's all fiction... for now
Keep in mind this is only an artist's rendering, and a really good one at that. It’s not a prototype, nor is it likely to make it beyond the designer’s hard drive. Or is it? Afterall, 36in mountain bikes exist...
This monstrosity is the brainchild of Patrick Ng. You may be familiar with some of this Singapore-based graphic designer’s other projects. Including the aptly named Ridiculous Bikes Roost Carbon — a concept trail bike that pokes fun at current industry standards and trends by pushing them to the extreme with 28in wheels, 188mm rear axle spacing, a massive 1500mm wheelbase and an 11-53t 13-speed cassette. According to the video, these ‘standards’ are “not patented and free for use by all drunkards.”
Maybe the joke's on us. It's not as far fetched as we might have thought. The Finnish bicycle brand Pole is pushing the wheelbase limit with the Pole Evolink 140, which boasts a massive 1314mm footprint. Even the drivetrain doesn’t sound as imaginative today as it did when the video was released last fall; since it appears SRAM is developing a 12-speed drivetrain with 10-50t cassette.
Where will it all end?!