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Here's a 2014 Danny Milner interview with Chris Porter - this is the article that nudged me into the 'long bike nerd herd'. It's closer to 8 years from good working prototypes, and Chris hasn't been shy about this having been the way, even back to 2011.
Given the relative cost of welding up a couple of mules and doing some actual timed testing, I feel like there were a couple EWS titles that were just free for the taking if a brave manufacturer paid attention... thank god Megavalanche exists as an event to force that process. The original Evil Following, for all its foibles, was still a bike that converted entire fleets of journalists because a 120mm 29er could out-ride most of their ability set (and mine, for practical purposes), and that wasn't that long or slack a bike. I'm still confused why the subsequent year Specialized Camber wasn't a partial knockoff of that concept. I've been similarly confused why the FuelEX and Hightower lagged behind until My19/20 to be remotely relevant. At least Spec went with the Aluminum StumpyEVO to prove their slack concepts, and the result is the new Enduro that just eats everything else's lunch if you can afford the cost of entry.
I feel (kinda) bad bagging on some of the big design teams, but I mean every well received aspect of the just-released Slash is basically a tacit acceptance that the outgoing model was bad. The Yeti SB130 (nee 136LR) basically went halfway towards resolving everyting the SB5.5c should have been, yet it's still not long enough for my relatively close to average 6'2" self.
... and somewhere Giant engineers and PR folks are finishing off their final servings of crow and hopefully getting on the bandwagon, because we're still overdue for a proper 140mm aggressive Maestro 29er.
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