Quick Survey… 29ers at your LBS?

I recently went out to four nearby Local Bike Shops (LBS) to check out the 29er scene. I was particularly interested in what manufacturers the LBS carried and if the LBS carried 29ers from those manufacturers.

Specialized FSR 29

My realization? 29ers have definitely come a long way in a short period of time. Every shop I went to had at least one 29er on their sales floor. This probably would not have been the case just a year ago. The popularity of 29ers has caught the attention of many big name manufacturers and because of this many of them have added their own 29er for their lineup.

The first shop I visited is a high end bike shop. They carry smaller bike brands like Salsa & Felt. At this shop 29ers were very commonplace and the sales people were very familiar with 29ers. They consistently recommended them for mountain biking to many of their customers. I came away pretty stoked because the 29ers were holding their own at the shop.

The next shop I visited was significantly larger. It had a ton of bikes from different manufacturers and 29ers were still well represented there. The 29ers they had were by Redline and Specialized. Only a short year ago this shop wasn’t even carrying any 29ers. Why? Because they didn’t carry Redline bikes and Specialized was still dragging its feet in coming out with their 29ers. Now Specialized got on board and added a hard tail plus a full suspension 29er to their lineup. The shop, likewise, did the same to their sales floor. Redline had a strong showing here multiple Mono 9’s, Monocogs & Monocog Flights.

The 3rd shop on my list was a Trek/Gary Fisher dealer. I knew this bike shop would be filled with 29ers but I was surprised when I walked in and only a few 29ers were on their sales floor. I inquired about this and was told that their supply couldn’t keep up with the demand for 29ers and the 29ers were flying off the floor as soon as they were built!

Moe & his KHS Solo-One

The last bike shop I visited is a little shop that I’ve been frequenting off and on for the last few months. For mountain bikes they carry Santa Cruz, KHS, Cannondale and Trek. Although half of those manufacturers carry 29ers the LBS had only one 29er on the floor, a lonesome KHS Solo-One (not kidding… a “solo” “one”). I was a little bummed that this shop didn’t have more 29ers especially from KHS who has wholeheartedly supported the 29er movement with rigid, hardtail and recently full suspension 29ers. When I inquired as to why they stocked only one 29er the owner mentioned that he had not ridden a 29er yet. Ahhh… I get it now. In my opinion you really can’t realize the benefits of the 29er unless you’ve had some seat time. His reasoning for carrying the Solo-One is that if any of his customers were interested in trying a 29er the cost would not be prohibitive to get onto one. Valid point.

So, are 29ers coming around? In my neck of the woods I would have to answer with a resounding “yes?. All of the LBS’s I visited carried at least one 29er and many of them had 29ers from different manufacturers. For some of these LBS’s the 29ers were a strong part of their bottom line. Music to my ears!

What about for you? Have you started to see more 29ers out on the trails and in your LBS?

6 Replies to “Quick Survey… 29ers at your LBS?”

  1. You can look at this situation in two ways.

    One would be the demand. If the store doesn’t have enough people asking for the product, then they have no need to carry it.

    Then there’s also the credit terms that some shops have with mfgs. Let’s say Redline has a 30 day term with a shop, so that means they have to pay back RL the cost of the bike, plus shipping within 30 days of receipt of the bike. But what happens sometimes is the lack of general interest from customers to move these bikes out the door.

    I know if a dealer that has two of those train wrecks that Trek called the “69er” in that gawdawful color, “rootbeer”. These bikes were listed over 2k and are still sitting at the store. The shop has discounted the bikes so many times that its now listed at their cost.

    The other situation is the area. SoCal has a HUGE 29er community. I see those things everywhere. Maybe SoCal is just better groomed for the 29er movement than most places. I had heard that Ga. has a weak 29er market because the terrain there is mostly woods and 29ers have a harder time dealing with tight single track that require the rider to maneuver quickly through trees….

  2. Ghost, those 69ers did not sell very well. I believe an LBS has had one in stock for over a year! Even at cost, those bikes don’t seem to attract buyers. I wouldn’t buy one, I would rather get a FS 29er instead.

  3. Didn’t they have a Maverick fork on that one? The look of the bike certainly is strange.

    The guy that repeatedly grabs the #1 pro plate at Southridge
    XC rides a Titus Racer-X custom 69er. They look wierd but apparently they perform well.

  4. the 29’er thing has definitely caught on here in central Pennsylvania. As far as the trek 69’er thing, I dont thing the silly high end single speed ones did very well but the top fuel FS ones are back ordered all over the place. Im really thinking hard about one if/when my santa cruz blur finally breaks.

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