In 2011, 29ers finally caught on across the board, with every major manufacturer getting into the big-wheel market. This coming season, not only is there going to be a proliferation of models as brands fill out their ranges, but there is also a move toward bigger-travel, trail-oriented 29ers. Whereas previously the majority of 29ers were either hardtails or cross-country rigs, as wheel and frames weights decrease, suspensions get refined, and a broader range of parts become available, a new crop of 120mm 29ers (that's five inches) are coming to market. Ibis's long-awaited Ripley, which trades the Mojo's linkage for a pair of eccentrics with bushings, is a prime example. And a few companies are going bigger still: Trek is rumored to be working on a 140mm Roscoe 29er. Here are a few of the most compelling full-suspension 29ers we saw at Interbike.
BMC Speedfox SF29 At "only" 100mm of travel front and rear, this bike is more cross country than trail bike, but it typifies the near-total shift that has taken place toward 29ers. Because Europeans have been slow to adopt big wheels, European brands' have been glacially slow getting on board. The fact that companies like BMC have jumped in with multiple 29er models this year is a sign of the total big-wheeled ascendency. This hydroformed aluminum bike borrows the company's APS suspension from it's successful Speedfox and Fourstroke lines and will come in two specs, Shimano SLX ($,2500) and SRAM XO ($4,500).