GARY FISHER 29ER
Gary Fisher pushed Trek to adopt the 29-inch wheel for
mountain bikes in 2000. It was a tough sell, and the idea
was almost shelved in 2003 due to lack of sales. Luckily,
advancements in suspension, 15QR axles, lighter wheels and
tires, 29er-optimized geometry, and improved ergonomics
saved the large-wheel format.
The newest edition to the wheel wars is the 27.5-inch
wheel, and it is doubtful that would have taken hold if not
for the pioneers of the 29er.
INNOVATIONS SRAM 2X10 DRIVETRAIN While it’s not as revolutionary as the HammerSchmidt,
SRAM’s 2x10 has reshaped the way we view drivetrains.
It tightened things up, noticeably improved shifting performance, increased reliability and simplified adjustability.
Even if you swear you will never ride a 2x10-equipped
mountain bike, the bike you do end up riding will have
a better drivetrain because of XX. That’s because to stay
in this game, you can’t let the SRAM XX drivetrain ride
away from you.
SHIMANO SHADOW PLUS
We hate calling the Shadow Plus feature a friction
clutch because, while an accurate description, adding the
word “friction” to any drivetrain just doesn’t sound like
the hot ticket. In this case, however, it is. The Shadow
Plus feature adds an internal spring to the rear derailleur
that keeps the derailleur cage from bouncing around and
possibly dropping the chain in rough terrain. An added
benefit of the Shadow Plus is improved shifting
The Shimano Shadow Plus feature was originally only
available on the company’s top-of-the-line XTR derailleur,
but has trickled down to XT and SLX, and we don’t expect
it to stop there. SRAM has already released clutch-style
rear derailleurs too.