13
Jan
10

Germans love David Hasselhoff…and 26″ hardtails

While a lot of us come from European ancestry, we don’t always understand the culture of our ancestors’ current society.  Me, I’m fairly close to all German.  I understand there’s some Russian in there somewhere, but for the most part I’m kraut.

Fortunately, as a military child, I had the chance to live in Germany for a few years in my youth and after my college days worked for a German ski company that brought me over for work a few times a year, so I’ve experienced from where my ancestors set sail.  While the Germans do a lot of Really Good Things (Audi, BMW, Beer, Really Precise Stuff) there are a lot of things Germans like that leave us American’s scratching our head (David Hasselhoff, still smoke cigarettes).

It’s been well established that Germans love David Hasselhoff.  It’s also still true that Germans (and most Europeans) still love 26” hardtails.  While we in the US have, at least at the enthusiast level, cast aside the 26” hardtail and lust after all variations of 29’er or 26” full sussers, the Euros don’t adopt the technology curve nearly as quickly.  Last summer, Velonews even declared the death of the 26” hardtail, going so far as to quantitatively measure how much you were losing to either alternative platform option.  While riders like husband and wife national champs JHK and Heather Irmiger proved the competitive worth of the 29’er platform domestically, the Julien Absalons and Irina Kalentievas of the world keep winning World Cups and Championships on 26” hardtails.

How else could I know the European lust for apparently technically inferior machines?  eBay.  Last week, I placed a late 90’s Cannondale Killer V frameset that was in great condition on eBay.   The number of followers was surprisingly large, but then the questions came – would I (and how much would it cost to ship to) Germany, Italy or Spain.  In the end, the frameset went for about what was expected – around $300.  However, the winner was willing to spend 2x the value of the frame to ship it to, you guessed it, Germany.  What somebody in the US wouldn’t pay $300 for, somebody in Germany happily spent $900 for a MTB semi-icon.

The moral to the story – we still don’t know why Germans love David Hasselhoff.  But, if you’ve got a 26” hardtail taking up space in the garage that you wish you could sell to buy a sweet new 26” trailbike or 29” XC racer, eBay young grasshoppers.  For the record, the lack of a Hasselhoff photo for this post was deliberate.

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