“Roll it, rip it, punch it” is how Carver Bikes explains their 96er mountain bike. This bike is different, using two different size wheels. The front is a 29er and the rear a standard 26″. Why?
To answer that, I’ve been riding a 96er for the past month. Truth be told, I figured it out day one (but don’t tell Carver that because I don’t want to give this bike back). The answer is the 29″ front wheel makes you a better rider. You can roll over things like rocks, downed trees, fallen riding mates, so much easier with the larger size. And it gives you the confidence to keep trying bigger things to ride over.
At Interbike tomorrow, the bicycle industry’s big US show, many companies will be showing off 29″ wheeled mountain bikes as the next best thing; but only if you are tall. Those of us with shorter inseams lose clearance on those big tired bikes. But the Carver gives enough room with the benefit of the big wheel up front.
Is that just my opinion? No, mass bike producer Trek thought the idea was so good, they stole it. They embarrassingly even used almost the same name “69er” (lacking any cleverness whatsoever) and have incorporated the two wheel sizes in a few models.
Carver is upping the game as well. This year they are selling custom Titanium frames for just $1000. That is a deal. And, a full suspension version of the 96er is coming along.
Price $399 (painted frame only) $1500 (complete cross country build with Rock Shox Reba fork)
Frame: Aluminum, welded in China by a guy from Maine (no kidding). Eccentric bottom bracket allows single speeders to use quick release and adjust bottom bracket height. Painted or ball burnished available.
This bike rocks. It climbs fantastically well, it descends like a DH bike thanks to it big wheel up front, it is fast, and best of all: confidence inspiring. It is well thought out and made by a company that has a great idea.
Product Page [CarverBikes]