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  1. #1
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    26/650b noticeable diff?

    I have heard some people say when they hop on a 650b bike coming from a 26er that there is not a noticeable difference. I am just curious from you guys if that is the case or not.
    And yes, I plan on test riding one soon, I am just curious as to everyone's first impressions.

  2. #2
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    Here's an example of how my 27.5 felt different than a 26. I recently rode with a friend on a 26 who always rides faster than me. We were pedaling on pavement at the same pace, and I kept running up on his back tire. It took me a minute to figure it out. We were pedaling at the same pace on different sized tires, and mine covered more ground with each revolution.

    The biggest difference I notice between 27.5 and 26 on trails is I can hold a line better on the bigger wheel on a steep climb. I just lock in and go instead of the front tire wandering. When I go downhill, I don't notice any difference. Speed and momentum take over.

  3. #3
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    Gotchya. I here it's more of an abrupt change coming from a 29er. From what I hear 650b is actually closer to 27 instead of 27.5.

  4. #4
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    I felt a difference when I converted my bike. It isn't a huge difference, but I felt like
    it did roll over rocks/roots/obstacles better, esp on climbs. I don't feel like I lost anything
    with regard to agility or quickness. I do have a friend who went 650b then switched back
    to 26 for a bit when his wheel needed servicing. He noticed that he felt able to get up to
    speed faster with the 26er wheels.

  5. #5
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    Best thing you can do is thoroughly test ride one under every condition that your accustomed to I spent two weeks on a demo Zeus long enough that the infatuation wore off and discover it's attributes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by techfersure View Post
    Best thing you can do is thoroughly test ride one under every condition that your accustomed to I spent two weeks on a demo Zeus long enough that the infatuation wore off and discover it's attributes.
    Yeah it's hard for me to test ride one on my trails for that long. I wish I could borrow one for a couple of weeks but all the 650b dealers are far from rural Wyoming where I live. Gonna test ride a buddy's tomorrow on a real trail which should be cool.

  7. #7
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    Guess were pretty spoiled here in my part of Pa,we have an amazing LBS that builds premo demos to test for on the cheap.I ended up with a Carbine and fits my overall riding style to a tee! but also have a SS2 for ride parks and more DHish terrain,still adore a 26er for this use.last but not least have a 29er hardtail for point and shoot fast groomed trails.in a nut shell all these wheel sizes have a place in Mtn biking,none better or worse depending on your cup of tea!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by techfersure View Post
    Best thing you can do is thoroughly test ride one under every condition that your accustomed to I spent two weeks on a demo Zeus long enough that the infatuation wore off and discover it's attributes.
    When you say the infatuation wore off. Do you mean to say that you decided you liked your 26er better?

  9. #9
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    Sorry I was not more clear,what I meant is that you need time to get over the shiny happy newness of a new ride to get to the meat and bones of it! I don't like one or the other "better" but enjoy all wheel sizes for IMO it's intended purpose.that being said my 650b is my favorite all around ride when I want to go out and test myself against diverse challenging terrain and still have a great ride getting to and fro.

  10. #10
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    When I rode a Jamis 650B on my daily trails I noticed a difference and it wasn't small. Unfortunately I didn't like the Jamis and my Felt couldn't fit 650B.
    When I mentioned I liked the bigger wheels, they convinced me to try a 29er and I ended up buying one.

    Now that there are more choices in 650B, I may get one. It sounds silly but the biggest thing holding me back is I really love Specialized tires. Haven't found any I like as well as my current combo. If Specialized made 650B tires, I'm pretty sure I'd switch to 650B.
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  11. #11
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    In my opinion its not the increased roll over as much as the increased momentum that draws and keeps me on 650b wheels. There are certain sections where I've noticed the increase roll over of the slightly larger wheels but its nowhere near that of the point and shoot of a 29er. However I have noticed that when riding with people on 26" wheeled bikes if we are both coasting, I catch to him. That's biggest difference I've noticed.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by techfersure View Post
    Guess were pretty spoiled here in my part of Pa,we have an amazing LBS that builds premo demos to test for on the cheap.I ended up with a Carbine and fits my overall riding style to a tee! but also have a SS2 for ride parks and more DHish terrain,still adore a 26er for this use.last but not least have a 29er hardtail for point and shoot fast groomed trails.in a nut shell all these wheel sizes have a place in Mtn biking,none better or worse depending on your cup of tea!

    What shop were you able to get a Zeus to demo?

    Give us a quick review on the Zeus, specifically how it handled and it suspension's feel, compared to the Carbine.

    The Zeus is on my short list for my next frame.

    Thanks.

  13. #13
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    I *personally* can't tell the difference going from 26 to 650b but for my riding style/terrain/body (run over/jump over, super steep rocky, skinny and tall) nothing under 29" really makes much sense so I'm a terrible test case.
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  14. #14
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    Wow, I am sensing a lukewarm reception to 650b in general. I love my 29er but I miss the flickable nature of a 26er. I think a lot of the 29er feeling slower is that the tires are more stable at higher speeds thus you feel slower. I feel a 650b would be funner in the more technical sections. We will see tomorrow.

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    I don't like to overhype anything, but a year ago I owned a 26-inch full suspension bike and was perfectly happy with it. Then I bought a hardtail 29er and learned the benefits of larger wheels. I converted my FS 26 to 650B and don't see myself ever owning another 26er. I prefer 650B wheels and see no downsides (except the cost of converting).

  16. #16
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    I feel on my 29er when I go down steep technical climbs that if I don't have it pointed perfectly I will OTB. That is what I miss about smaller wheels. Oh, grass is always greener I suppose.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    I have heard some people say when they hop on a 650b bike coming from a 26er that there is not a noticeable difference. I am just curious from you guys if that is the case or not.
    And yes, I plan on test riding one soon, I am just curious as to everyone's first impressions.
    If you put 650b wheels on a 26" bike you already knew well, you'd definitely notice the differences. It may not be as obvious to some if their first 650b experience is clouded by new frame, new geometry, new suspension, new everything bliss...makes it harder to tell where the goodness is coming from.

    But, all else equal, you'd notice a calmer cornering attitude w/ improved grip (the larger wheel and increased steering trail adding stability and bigger contact patch hooking up better), a little more rolling efficiency, a little more climbing traction, a little more smoothness and confidence charging through rock gardens... So, no, there's no big "WHOAAH" feeling of incredible rollover like you can get with a 29er, but the drawbacks seem fewer and less noticeable than a 29er also, at least if we're talking about a full susser with a decent amount of travel. The very small decrease in (I hate to say it) "flickability" and acceleration are just that...very small. But all the poppy, agile, easy to manual, tight trail prowess remain in full and everything else just gets bumped up a level.

    Regarding actual diameter, the early options were right around 27.5" (Pacenti Neo Moto 2.3 = 27.6", Nevegal 2.35 = 27.75, 2.1= 27.5"), and a lot of the new rubber hitting the shelves is closer to 28 than to 27.5".

  18. #18
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    Started riding a 29" hardtail last Fall and was instantly riding my local XC trails faster and enjoyed the stability and rollover, but I knew that I'd be updating my old 26" full suspension and just pulled the trigger on the Bronson(27.5"). Like others have said, it feels more like a 26", but better. I also don't see myself on a 26" anytime soon.

  19. #19
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    I have to admit that when I first got my new Carbine 275 the first couple rides felt awkward to me, I started with some of the newer 28" diameter tires. Granted I've never owned nor ridden a 29r so the bike felt big and clumsy and very different from all my previous 26" bikes. I've since put RR 2.25 tires on it which measure exactly 27.5 and dialed in the suspension better and now it feels very quick to me after a couple weeks of riding but there was an adaptation period where I was trying to ride it just like I rode my old bikes. Now I've learned to carry momentum better and leverage that momentum on climbs, this is a huge benefit when done right. At first I was climbing like I used to and taking some zig-zag lines with stops and turns and it's harder getting the 650b going from a dead stop than the 26" wheels were. All in all after a month and half on it I'm hooked on it for my trail bike but for now will keep rolling 26 for my DH bike.

  20. #20
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    Over 5 years ago I fit 650b wheels with Neo-moto 2.3 tires into my Mojo designed for 26 inch wheels. I didn't notice a big difference except for my rocky rooty rutted tail interests the much too low BB height and insufficient pedal clearance with tall 26x2.4 tires was fixed by the near 1/4 inch greater wheel radius of the relatively short sidewall Neo-moto 2.3's.

    After a few rides, I put my 26 inch wheels with bigger volume easy rolling tires, Mutanoraptor 2.4's, back on the same bike. As soon as speeds increased after a long climb the bike felt harsh and slower coasting, and needing more effort to pedal the many rocky rooty trail sections.

    I put the 650b wheels back on and have never looked back. It helped that the Neo-motos grip while braking and cornering better and roll nearly as well on hardpack as the Mutanoraptors.

    I feel 650b is the correct small wheel size, except for very small riders or slope style stunters wanting a very small bike closer to BMX 24" in size.
    Last edited by derby; 06-28-2013 at 08:12 AM.

  21. #21
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    OP, it's harder than you may think to get worthwhile feedback about this, for at least two reasons.

    First, not very many people are comparing apples to apples. For example, I'm forming opinions about the plusses and minuses of my 26" set-up vs my 650b setup, but for me that switch means different tires (skinnier for 650b to fit my 26" fork and triangle), different wheels (carbon vs alloy) a different model rear shock, and the altered geometry of the same frame with different size wheels. So, yeah, I definitely notice a difference when I switch, but is that difference caused by the wheel size? How can I know?

    Second, people ride totally different styles of trails. Flowy-smooth Socal Guy's experience with 650b may not mean all that much for me in rocky tech east coast trails. I had one experience with my 650b set-up on my local trails, a very different experience on shuttle days.

    And there are other factors at play too, obviously. I mean, a lot of people singing the praises of 650b have recently sunk a big pile of cash into making the switch. No one wants to decide they wasted money, so that might color some of what you read, too.

    Some questions lend themselves to easy, reliable, trust-the-consensus answers on the forums, some don't. To me, this is one that doesn't. My two cents.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    OP, it's harder than you may think to get worthwhile feedback about this, for at least two reasons.

    First, not very many people are comparing apples to apples. For example, I'm forming opinions about the plusses and minuses of my 26" set-up vs my 650b setup, but for me that switch means different tires (skinnier for 650b to fit my 26" fork and triangle), different wheels (carbon vs alloy) a different model rear shock, and the altered geometry of the same frame with different size wheels. So, yeah, I definitely notice a difference when I switch, but is that difference caused by the wheel size? How can I know?

    Second, people ride totally different styles of trails. Flowy-smooth Socal Guy's experience with 650b may not mean all that much for me in rocky tech east coast trails. I had one experience with my 650b set-up on my local trails, a very different experience on shuttle days.

    And there are other factors at play too, obviously. I mean, a lot of people singing the praises of 650b have recently sunk a big pile of cash into making the switch. No one wants to decide they wasted money, so that might color some of what you read, too.

    Some questions lend themselves to easy, reliable, trust-the-consensus answers on the forums, some don't. To me, this is one that doesn't. My two cents.
    I am not asking for a plus or minus. I was asking what, if any difference they noticed since I have read the leap from 26 to 650b is less drastic than 29er to 650b. The whole point is that if I get many responses, I can get a decent idea of how people have accepted (or not accepted) the wheel size. Appreciate all of your input though. I am gonna see if a riding friend of mine will let me test ride his genius tonight on a group ride.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by derby View Post
    I over 5 years ago I fit 650b wheels with Neo-moto 2.3 tires into my Mojo designed for 26 inch wheels. I didn't notice a big difference except for my rocky rooty rutted tail interests the much too low BB height and insufficient pedal clearance with tall 26x2.4 tires was fixed by the near 1/4 inch greater wheel radius of the relatively short sidewall Neo-moto 2.3's.

    After a few rides, I put my 26 inch wheels with bigger volume easy rolling tires, Mutanoraptor 2.4's, back on the same bike. As soon as speeds increased after a long climb the bike felt harsh and slower coasting, and needing more effort to pedal the many rocky rooty trail sections.

    I put the 650b wheels back on and have never looked back. It helped that the Neo-motos grip while braking and cornering better and roll nearly as well on hardpack as the Mutanoraptors.

    I feel 650b is the correct small wheel size, except for very small riders or slope style stunters wanting a very small bike closer to BMX 24" in size.
    One of the few ways to notice the differences without many other factors, not all frames have this option. I came from a 26" Spitfire to a 27.5" Carbine so multiple changes. Aluminum to Carbon, Banshee V4FB vs VPP... Carbine climbs much better in the saddle than the Spitfire did but the Spitfire is better out of the saddle... Anyways, I'm sure if I got a Carbine 26" I'd have had to adjust as well.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I *personally* can't tell the difference going from 26 to 650b but for my riding style/terrain/body (run over/jump over, super steep rocky, skinny and tall) nothing under 29" really makes much sense so I'm a terrible test case.
    I'm sure to catch grief over this but agree with Walt. Can't tell a difference. I can tell differences only when I'm really watching for it and even then the differences are minimal
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  25. #25
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    Sounds like you're on the right track. Good luck and have fun.

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