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Old 10-23-06, 05:22 PM   #1
hobbsc
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History Lesson

I've been thinking about building a steel framed, fully rigid, single speed 29er for a while now. As I was looking at parts the other day, I got a little curious about suspensions and wheel sizes.

Where did the mountain bike wheel sizes come from? Is there something magic about the numbers 26 and 29? Why not 25 or 30 inch wheels?

Rear suspensions, who first came up with the idea? Is it a "new" thing?

I'll start doing my homework, but I wanted to ask here as well.

cmh
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Old 10-24-06, 12:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by hobbsc
Where did the mountain bike wheel sizes come from? Is there something magic about the numbers 26 and 29? Why not 25 or 30 inch wheels?
Standardization is the reason for the wheel sizes. Early bikes had wheel diameters all over the place. Ordinaries (big wheel bikes) had different sizes depending on the rider because the bike wasn't geared. The 26" mountain bike wheel came from the Schwinn Excelsiors that the guys in California were using. When they started building their own frames, they just kept the size because they could get wheels and tires easily.

The 29" wheel is really a dressed up 700C road wheel. Europe calls them 28" wheels. The size depends on the outer diameter of a idealized tire. The inner diameter of the rims are 622mm which is a 24.4" diameter. Confused yet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbsc
Rear suspensions, who first came up with the idea? Is it a "new" thing?
The rear suspension is way old. Here's an early but not the earliest from 1892. Here's an early front suspension.
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Old 10-24-06, 09:02 PM   #3
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That's hilarious...the second one looks like a girvin crosslink.
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Old 10-26-06, 02:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyccommute
Standardization is the reason for the wheel sizes. Early bikes had wheel diameters all over the place. Ordinaries (big wheel bikes) had different sizes depending on the rider because the bike wasn't geared. The 26" mountain bike wheel came from the Schwinn Excelsiors that the guys in California were using. When they started building their own frames, they just kept the size because they could get wheels and tires easily.

The 29" wheel is really a dressed up 700C road wheel. Europe calls them 28" wheels. The size depends on the outer diameter of a idealized tire. The inner diameter of the rims are 622mm which is a 24.4" diameter. Confused yet?



The rear suspension is way old. Here's an early but not the earliest from 1892. Here's an early front suspension.

Excellent analysis. I'd like to offer my opinion on "28ers". Over there, cyclocross is popular and if you measured the tires you'd find they come out to about 28 inches. Though, this must be folks from the UK as I cannot imagine folks on the continent using Imperial units. We get "29er" because we're using truly FAT MTB tires instead of the merely "enhanced" tires like a cyclocross bikes. Just wait till we donwhill MTB tires and have 3.0" tires, then we'll have 30ers ;-)
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