A friend is getting into mountain biking (having been lured away from the dark side) and is looking at a bike from C2W scheme (limited to Evans by his employer). So he asks me and some others what he should be looking for - the usual stuff is uttered about hardtail,best frame/fork/wheelset you can get for the money (£1000 limit), etc. etc...
...and as we all starting mountain biking in the 90's (or early) the question of 'which wheel size' was answered with a resounding 26" - probably because we all have them, and 'wot's not broke don't need fixing'.
So... he comes to me today and says that the choice of 26" bikes in Evans is limited (about 5/32 - 1 trek, 2 bmc's & 2 pinnacles) in his budget (£800 - £1000), there is 1 650b and the rest are 29"
It would seem that the big bike manufacturers have decide that 29ers are the only way to go for entry(ish) level mountain bikes.
Should we be advising him to go with a 29er (as the marketing men want) and ensure that he always has enough spare tubes etc. of his own or buy one of a dwindling stock of 26" bikes like the rest of us??
Very confused, slightly angry that the decision has been taken away from us (the cyclists) and worried that when I come to upgrade my frame the budget will need to include new forks, wheels etc.
Any reasonable sane advice would be welcomed
(Realising that I've opened the BIGGEST can of worms and this could run and run!! (I've drawn up a comfy chair!))