For 2009, the general theme in 29er FS bikes was "more travel". Squeaking out another 1/2" to 1" of travel seemed to be the goal and many nice trail bikes were created as a result. Selfishly, I wanted to see a couple of companies go in the opposite direction but nothing hit the mark. For 2010, at least one company is offering a 29er FS bike aimed squarely at the racing crowd and I am excited about it.
The 2010 Gary Fisher Superfly 100
Velonews reported on the Gary Fisher 29er a few days ago and Twenty Nine Inches did a follow up post. G-Ted reports that Fisher predicts a frame + shock weight of 2100g...that is 4.63 lbs for the metric-ly challenged. Holy crap!
Who else might surprise us with a lightweight 29er FS rig? Specialized had an Epic 29er at Sea Otter but nothing else has leaked yet. Turner, if you are listening, please build a 29er version of the Nitrous.
The Lenz 3.0 has been all alone in the sub 6lb 29er FS frame category for a long time and at 5.4 lbs for a large frame + shock it is almost a pound lighter than anything else out there. Niner tried to compete with its Jet9 but I think that the frame spent too much time in the all-you-can-eat line. A medium Jet9 is 6.2 lbs. My 2008 Sultan, billed as a trail bike, is even more portly at 6.5 lbs for the large frame + RP23.
In my opinion, a 4" travel 29er FS bike built up to 24.5 to 25 lbs would be an ideal everyday race bike.