A group of single people is one of the most significant subsets of the 29-incher market sector. There are a lot of them, they don’t cost much, they are simple to use, and they are not difficult to locate. Of course, I’m referring about the dizzying variety of options available on the market for single-speed 29-incher hardtail mountain bikes.

You may be wondering, “What is it that mates these two things together like white on rice?” This question is directed for those of you who are new to the game. It is difficult for most people to make sense of this peculiar event since it defies explanation and makes it hard for them to get their brains around it. Is there any sense to be found in any of this? Or is there more to it than meets the eye? It’s possible that there is a link between these two apparently unrelated items, even if there doesn’t seem to be one at first glance. Let’s take a more in-depth look at single speeds and huge wheels, shall we?

To begin, there is the ongoing controversy about the use of a single speed, which has been discussed at length on several occasions. There are as many different persons and reasons to go into single speeds as there are reasons to get into single speeds. The notion has always had a punk rock, rebellious undertone to it, which is one of the reasons why so many mountain bikers are drawn to its ideal of being basic and unadorned. The 1990s saw an explosion of titanium, anodized, and suspended mountain bike bacchanalia. At the same time, single speeding was gaining popularity as a way to get things done on the cheap.

The early single-speed freaks used cast-off steel stiff frames to challenge the preconceived notions of this period of mountain riding, which was already considered to be overdone and overhyped. However, similar to the way that punk music was finally adopted, single speeding evolved into something that was a little more mainstream. If what I just said makes any sense to you, it used to sound more like the Sex Pistols, but now days it’s more like Green Day.

29″ Single Speed Mountain Bike

Then along came these guys sporting those huge wheels. While 29”ers never were anything like punk rock was to single speeding, the format didn’t really jive with mainstream mountain bike culture. Off road bicycles were supposed to have 26 inch wheels, not these overgrown, heavy, slow hoops. But I guess if you are seen as the red headed step-child of mountain biking, you might as well be subversive too, and I suppose it was something like that that inspired the boys up in Minneapolis, Minnesota decided to mate the single speed with the 29inch wheel.

The next thing everybody knew, the Karate Monkey emerged from the Surly stables and it was “on” from there!

The big wheels and the single speed get along quite well, thank you. Mountain bikers all over the world caught on to the way the 29 inch wheels made single speeding more enjoyable. What with the momentum saving nature of the larger wheel and the smoother ride, it seemed a match made in heaven. Or maybe from the wrong side of the tracks. Who knows?

One thing is for sure, there are a lot of companies out there that think this is what the market place wants. You shouldn’t have any problem finding a 29”er that is single. Speed that is!