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The 29er - A Brief History

22nd April 2013

As part of our 29er week we are starting with a brief history of the 29 inch wheel

The 29 inch wheel first started off life in 1981 when English mountain biking pioneering Geoff Apps contacted Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly with news that he had built a prototype off-road bicycle that used the larger diameter 700Cx47 Nokian Hakkapeliitta snow tired from Finland. However due to the poor supply situation at the time, the mountain bike industry decided to stick with the smaller 26” wheel size.

It wasn’t until ten years later that many bicycle manufacturers started to produce a variety of 29” wheel bicycles but many projects were just that and it wasn’t until 1998 when Gary Fisher pressured Wilderness Trail Bikes (WTB) to produce a 700c tyre that had mountain bike tread a breakthrough was made. The next year WTB released the Nanorapter tyre which became the first true 29” tyre. This allowed Gary Fisher Bicycles, (now a division of Trek Bicycles) to become the first major manufacturer to offer a line of 29ers.

The Supercal 29 - Early Gary Fisher 29er


The 29ers were not popular at first but started selling well in 2004 when Dual Sport or Hybrid bicycles started to become popular. These bicycles, a blend of characteristics of road bikes, touring bikes and mountain bikes where just what were needed to launch the 29er mountain bike.

With each season that past more manufacturers included a small range of 29” mountain bikes into their catalogues and now in 2013, there is almost as many 29er's as there are 26” wheeled bikes. Some are hailing this as the biggest advancement in mountain biking since the first purpose built mountain bike was born in Marin, California.

We are hosting a 29er Demo Day this weekend at Haldon Forest so you can find out for yourself if you think 29er’s are the next big thing. We have 29er’s from Specialized, Whyte, Cube, Marin, Rocky Mountain and Giant so there will be plenty to choose from.

Riding starts at 9am Saturday 27th April. 

For full details of the event visit our Facebook Event Page.


Further reading on 29er's can be found at