Mountain Biking’s Aqua Conspiracy

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First it was the Santa Cruz Nomad. They rolled out this beautiful new 27.5 bike with radical geometry, sick handling and bottomless suspension in a … what color did they call it? Aqua?

Um er well...
Um er well…

It was a kind of greenish blue. Close to cyan on the digital color chart. Not a bad color for baby pajamas. Or a kitchen bowl set. Come to think of it, Apple had an iMac in the exact same shade. Somehow it didn’t make the transition to the MacBook or iPhone.

But aqua on a mountain bike??

There was lots of snark on the forums at first. Then some guys said oh well, the bike is too good to pass up on the basis of color alone. Santa Cruz quickly added a stealth black option to the Nomad color palette. And it quit calling the color aqua, substituting “turquoise” instead.

OK, we thought. An aberration, whatever you call it. Time to move on.

Then Yeti issued its hot new carbon frames, the SB5 and SB6, in what it called turquoise.

Quoi? No, a-qua...
Quoi? No, a-qua…

Not to be outdone, Ibis came out with its long-awaited Mojo HD3 in turquoise. Only it didn’t call it turquoise. It called it “blue.”

I guess it’s blue. It’s blue like, say, baby poop is green.

Really? Blue?
Really? Blue?

But what exactly is this? Why all these boutique, high-end, custom bikes going for this arguably atrocious color scheme?

Now there is precedent. A color called aquamarine has showed up on Porsches.

An acquired taste
An acquired taste

And Harleys.

Only its owner could love
Only its owner could love

But there’s a reason you don’t see a lot of them around. Or anything else in “aqua.”

It’s just not a great color.

We think maybe the Taiwanese carbon factory where most of these bikes get made scored a great deal on some surplus aqua paint somewhere. Maybe from the US Navy. Or a Japanese toy company.

So what the hey, Ibis and Santa Cruz and Yeti and who knows how many other suckers to come said OK — no doubt in order to keep their $2,999 bike frames “affordable.” (Actually, the Yetis are in the $3,400 range. But still a bargain!)

Fair enough.

We’re patient. We can wait till next year’s models come out.

We bet they won’t be offered in aqua.

The only problem is, as a result they’ll probably cost more.


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