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The big deal about 29er bicycles
Wes Williams was right. In the late 1990s, the tiny custom-bike builder in Crested Butte, Colo., developed a cult following for his odd Willits mountain bikes with their weird, 29-inch wheels — 3 inches taller than those on standard bikes. He told everyone that "29ers" would take over the industry some day. When mountain-bike icon Gary Fisher rolled out his own 29ers, his dealers laughed at him — until customers started clamoring for the monster-truck tires that fly over rocks, mud and sand so much faster and easier than little wheels. Today, big wheels have become the hottest story in the bike world. And Williams has a mile-long waiting list for his prestigious, all-titanium 29ers.
October 18, 2010