I spent a lot of time at Saddle Drive this year riding and talking about bikes with plus-sized tires (or at least plus-compatible). It definitely seems to be the theme of the moment in mountain bikes.
Then there was the Foundry Firetower XT. Not plus compatible. Just a lightweight, race-inspired carbon hardtail 29er with cross-country geometry.
The Firetower is in line with Foundry’s “spirit of competition” motto, designed to be fast and nimble. Tire clearance tops out at 29×2.25″, which did seem a little weird next to all the 3.0″ tires I was seeing. But plus isn’t for everyone, and 29ers are certainly still very relevant, especially in XC racing.
The Firetower comes with a 100mm RockShox Reba fork, a Shimano XT drivetrain, and Shimano SLX brakes. The bike comes spec’d as a 1x but is certainly 2x compatible. It has a BB92 PressFit bottom bracket and a 142x12mm thru axle. The lightweight Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires are mounted on DT Swiss rims. Brake and shifter cables are internally-routed, but there is no internal routing capability for a dropper, because the bike wasn’t really designed with one in mind.
I didn’t get to ride this bike to offer you any insights into its performance, but it seems like for someone who’s into cross-country racing or wants a light singletrack rig designed for speed, this could be a good fit. One of the guys from Foundry mentioned that one of the target groups they’d like to market to are high school mountain bike racers in the NICA program, which is gaining momentum across the country.
Complete bikes and frames will be available this September in sizes S-XL at $3,700 and $1,400, respectively.