The Big Mesa started out as a project for our son Elijah as he was starting to grow out of the Timber 26, or so he says he was growing out of the bike. We made a couple of samples in the XS size which seemed like a great bike for our son who was about 5 feet tall at the time. It was a camping trip to Southern Wyoming (Curt Gowdy, for those local) which had a lot of super loose, ball bearing sized rocks over basically hardpack ground surface when I took this sample bike on the trails. The locals call it “Sherman Granite Ball Bearings” which is aptly named due to the decomposition of quartz and feldspar.
Immediately I could tell the bike hooked up WAY better than the 29er with 2.25″ tires I had been riding!
But the XS bike was a little small for me at 5’4″ tall. So we made a frame a little bit bigger in a small size. We sprayed some cool colors, with a little something for everyone from sleek matte black to aquamarine blue color with the pink decals! The aquamarine blue has been dubbed “BIG Princess” which has since stuck which is the color of my personal bike.
We built my bike up with a Pike 120mm fork and 26 x 3.0″ Ranger tires laced to Stans Flow MK3 rims. The bike was perfect but the Pike fork was heavy and the wheels seemed a bit too “fat bike heavy” with the wider rubber. Elijah had been riding the 2.8″ tires and had no problems climbing and loved the additional traction. General consensus seems to be 2.8″ is the sweet spot without too much weight or “muted” trail feeling. At this time the 27.5 120mm Reba RL (boost) was also being launched, and we got our hands on a few for testing. With the new bits assembled both Elijah and I were riding sub-25 pound plus bikes with real components!
Our next family trip was to the Tucson area in Arizona where we were now riding in the sandy, loose, rocky desert floor of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The riding area is Golden Ranch, 50 Year Trail. This area is awesome! Total desert riding with a mix of just about anything. Perfect testing grounds for the 26 Plus mountain bike wheel platform – and winter in Fort Collins, Colorado still!
Right before this trip, we installed a dropper post onto Elijah’s bike. Total bike weight with dropper just 24 pounds and some change – he was in love. My husband was riding a 30 pound full suspension 29er and having a hard time keeping up with him! This was the trip where we knew we had something here that no other company was offering. We had created a sub-25 pound 26+ bike that actually fit kids in the roughly 5-foot range for an XS size. For taller kids and adults like me at 5’4″ there is now a “26 Plus” in the small size. We feel the 26+ size is way better than a 27.5+ (roughly a 29er) wheel size for the smaller people and kids/teens of the world.
Ginger, Brett, Elijah, and Evalina