The blog on the Mountain Cycles site gets the message across pretty well I felt: http://www.mountaincycle.com/blog88
Of course, since the bikes went ‘live’ the opinions have been coming thick and fast… as is to be expected in Internet Land. First observations are that the San Andreas 2.0 is polarising people into love/hate. There is a list of growing ‘the more I look, the more I like’ but either way, I could not be more chuffed; that I think bothers some out there, as I think I am meant to be more apologetic. If you want a design that appeals to everyone, go buy a something beginning with ‘G’. No offence, but their bikes appeal to everyone, they are in every way the 50th percentile – that’s treading what I call the safe line. Things people remember, stand out. They might not like them at first but after a while they come around. The original San Andreas was like that, actually, most Mountain Cycle’s were like that. At the time you either loved or hated them. I loved the San An, not so much the Moho and the like. 20 years on though, people who hated the SA love them. Says something right there and I’m happy we’ve got MC back where it belongs – on the edge.
Now I’m not comparing the new to the old. Never intended to, never would, but in many ways the parallels are interesting and the comments coming forth mirror those that the first SA received at the time. What I do find most interesting are the amount of people saying ‘but it looks nothing like a San Andreas’. Well duh! I answered this recently with this comparison: ‘Does a 1964 Ford Mustang look anything like a 2010 Ford Mustang?”, How about a new vs. old Chevy Camaro? Well no, they don’t. I ccan imagine the reaction if Ford or Chevy just rehashed the old designs, so sure, the lines are similar, actually more ‘reminiscent’, but that’s the end of it. It’s more about the overall feeling and a clear, modern interpretation.
Somehow though, in bike land, new should look like old and if it can’t, it should, it seems, look like everything else out there – swoopy TT, saggy DT and something in the rear. Unchallenging at best.
I’ve never done unchallenging and I am not about to start.
Funnily enough, the new San An does actually have a pretty clear lineage, you just need to look at the two side by side. I know I did, and I have been around the San An since 1993. Some out there have already picked up on this, at least those who care to not jump to a conclusion in what I like to call ‘an Internet Second’, a measure of time about half of a ‘New York Minute’.
Perhaps the greatest unknown for most, and in my eyes the greatest mistake made by MC, was that back when MC conceived the Fury, it actually was as a replacement for the San An, after it was realised that as an adaptable chassis, the monocoque was a disaster. It was a mistake as they should have phased out the San An (rather than make the DNA) and called the Fury, San Andreas. Line the SA1, the Fury and the SA2.0 up in a line, and you’ll see a direct lineage. The Fury was, and now the SA2.0 is, a solid solution to creating a design and production efficiency the original San Andreas lacked, while trying to be true to the old girl. So, no new San Andreas was ever going to replace the original, it was and remains, infeasible at so many different levels, hence will always be an ‘original’.
I guess that means if you have one that’s intact, polish it and hang it on a wall, because it’s a true collector’s item.
There is no apology to those that somehow, and unrealistically, are disappointed. The San Andreas 2.0 is in every way as much a departure from the norm as the original, just in a design, production and market environment that has moved on over the past 20 years. True change uproots people’s ideas of what is and what should be. I also sit comfortable in the fact that no matter what we would have done, the minute we stuck ‘San Andreas’ on it, a segment was going to get their nose out of joint. It might mean we’ll loose some die hards but at the same time, we’ll gain a lot of new blood and that’s good for a brand. Languishing in the past is never a good thing.