|Rock N' Road Tire (Image file from All Hail the Black Market)|
I'm a pack rat.
More specifically I'm an information back rat.
I collect, hoard, and distill information.
Often I've found that during the process of writing a story I have almost too much information. Some times I'll find a quote from one source that's a tiny bit better than it is from another or some times things need to be edited down purely for the amount of column inches or word count you are allotted. The sad fact of the matter is you can only say so much in a thousand word article and as such a lot of material is left on the editing room floor.
Almost four years ago I started researching the development of twenty-nine inch bikes and as a result I wound up talking with a lot of people who were involved with twenty-nine inch bikes from the get go.
I worked on the Singletrack Magazine story for almost three years. Originally the story was slated to be published in an American magazine but for a variety of different reasons it was shelved and was slated to die a slow death. When I saw that the editors of the American magazine had zero interest in ever having the story see the light of day I shopped the story around until I finally found some one who said they'd run it and to that end I'm eternally grateful.
As a side note the Rock N' Road could easily be converted to a drop bar bike and back again depending on the rider's needs. Pretty slick.
Although Joe's quotes had to be cut for space but, as I've said, I'm a pack rat so here's the letter I had gotten from Joe concerning the subject;
Basically what I did for Bruce Gordon was produce the drawing which required a bit of design and consulting with Bruce for his Rock N' Road tire and to go with his Rock N' complete bike.
It was a 28" tire based on the Nokian Hakkapelitta. Bruce liked the tire from Nokian, yet thought he could make one lighter and lower cost and add a few things etc. Cheng Shin (who makes their house brand Maxxis tires) in Taiwan made it in a small quantity.
After that some European brands made various versions of Trekking or 28 inch tires which is still a popular segment of cycling in Europe today. Wes got started with these as far as being the first to make true off road big wheel bikes with them. Bruce's bike with the Rock 'n' Road tires was more for dirt road smooth(er) single track riding.
Nobody made a true 29er tire until the WTB Nanoraptor I think. Wes pushed WTB to make a tire and so did Don Cook. Basically with some input WTB designed and produced the first 29er tire, although I'm not sure about this. Mark Slate who owns WTB would know about this no doubt.
Currently most 29ers are 100-120MM travel forks, rigid and FS bikes. Then there is the 150MM and up travel Freeride or DH genre perhaps first done by Intense, which remains to be seen if it goes anywhere. Already there are numerous subcategories of 29ers. The Pugsley and Salsa Mukluk and from a few small frame builders are technically 29ers and yet another category for off road riding. I would say there is also a 29er road or street category if one wants to get more into it.
Perhaps you may remember Don Cook's story that Dirt Rag printed a few years ago. Much it was historically and technically inaccurate since none of the info in it was checked. _ _ _ _ _ (the editor of Dirt Rag) said it was intended as something like "a fireside chat" (whatever that means). I made a stink about that I regretted.... oh well. Wes never was properly given credit or a correction in Dirt Rag I think.
Anything more you need from me, please let me know.