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  1. #1
    dwt
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    http://www.adventure-journal.com/201...5-inch-wheels/


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  2. #2
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    Dude, I can't believe how many people on MTBR are still in 650b denial. Everywhere you look the writing is on the wall in big bold letters.

  3. #3
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    Sea Otter was just the opening salvo for 650b becoming the dominant wheel size.

  4. #4
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    Good, interesting article. I personally don't think 26ers are going any where, there's nothing really wrong with my Turner (26) now. I've ridden 29ers, they're great too, they have their places. I've been experimenting with 650 on my Turner and am shopping for one. Bottom line, if the 650 (or 29er) weren't around, I'd still be having fun on my 26er and enjoying it. The 650 will just make riding a bit more fun. I guess it goes back to the 80's when I started mountain biking. It didn't matter what we were riding or where we got our rides from, we were just out enjoying the riding and the challenges.

  5. #5
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    IMO:

    Like so many products, there are positive and negative sides on each solution.

    It's impossible (physically speaking) to have all the good aspects of a solution, and none of the negative sides.

    You can "attenuate" the negative sides on each solution, but like everything, those aspects will always be present.

    also: it's the rider, not the bike!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tkul View Post

    also: it's the rider, not the bike!
    Yes, but the bike -- whether it's wheel size, dropper post, short stem/wide bar -- can be an incredible help to the rider.

  7. #7
    dwt
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    Quote Originally Posted by jon123 View Post
    Yes, but the bike -- whether it's wheel size, dropper post, short stem/wide bar -- can be an incredible help to the rider.
    Not to mention that a world class pro, whatever they can do on any old bike, is not going to try to compete against other pros on anything less than the best possible, in every respect, equipment they can get. When success is measured in tiny increments, every possible advantage is important. Look at PED scandals for example


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  8. #8
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    And yet, where are the bikes in real life? I ride in Phoenix, where mountain biking is quite popular and we ride year-round. I ride often. Aside the from the 650b I built (and hated) several years ago, I've seen exactly one (1) 650b bike on the trails here.

    Not that I have anything against any wheel size. If it's working for you, I think that's great. But I also recognize the bike industry hype machine when it swings into action.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    Dude, I can't believe how many people on MTBR are still in 650b denial. Everywhere you look the writing is on the wall in big bold letters.
    Dude, I can't believe that people are so obsessed with the size of their mountain bike wheels.
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  10. #10
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    Likewise - I have yet to see a 650b on the trail (though I have built about a dozen of them) and I ride *every day* on trails near a metro area with >1 million people.

    Remember that most of the bikes that everyone is showing at Sea Otter are not yet available for sale (or just released), though, so we may see a big wave of them out on the dirt soon. Or not. A LOT of bike companies are releasing what look to me like pretty similar 650b setups - not sure the market can actually support them all.

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  11. #11
    dwt
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Likewise - I have yet to see a 650b on the trail (though I have built about a dozen of them) and I ride *every day* on trails near a metro area with >1 million people.

    Remember that most of the bikes that everyone is showing at Sea Otter are not yet available for sale (or just released), though, so we may see a big wave of them out on the dirt soon. Or not. A LOT of bike companies are releasing what look to me like pretty similar 650b setups - not sure the market can actually support them all.
    Still a rare sighting pretty much anywhere- both on the floors of bike shops and on the trails. One of our LBS owners told me yesterday his shop was picking up Santa Cruz, which wants him to have bikes on display. He will be stocking only Tall Boys and Bronsons. Not sure about Highballs. But NO 26'ers. We are not in Nomad territory here, and the only VPP's he thinks he will sell are in the larger wheel sizes.

    It will be very interesting to see what happens with Bronsons which can be demoed and taken home in the same day. Too often we have to order and wait for the specific bike we want around here. No other 650b's are carried in stock anywhere near here. Even if you want a Jamis 650b, you have to order it.


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  12. #12
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    Giant has made it pretty clear that they will be throwing 26ers under the bus, and I imagine most other manufacturers will follow suit.

    Juskaitis also bluntly acknowledged that he didn’t expect all three wheel sizes to exist very far into the future. “It’s a tremendous pain to make all three, and have our shops understand three different technologies, and have our shops carry all those wheels and tubes,” he said. “We just can't sustain three wheels sizes. It’s too many SKUs. You have to kill something.”

    It's just a matter of economics, as it always has been.

  13. #13
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    For those in Strava mode, maybe every second counts on their ride... for me since I ride in group, who cares about those tiny/big seconds? Unless I'm competing against my shadow...........

    For everyone interested in wining, yes, I agree that you need the latest item, but for the weekend warrior, the most FUN, is where I spend my Euros. But how many of us is in that boat?
    PS - Yes, 29er(275 give some advantage, I'd like to think about that!

  14. #14
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    I just purchased an Altitude 750 650b.
    I am not one who is trying to shave some Strava seconds. I will never race. I'm more competitive with myself than others. I went with the in between size because I wanted the best riding platform that I could afford. Moving from 26" was decided upon for many reasons all which have been beatin to death here an elsewhere. Bottom line, going to 650b made the most sense for me, and I am glad I had this option.

  15. #15
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    When asked, my LBS said the 650b will never see the light of day. Haha, so I went home and rode mine.
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  16. #16
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    Nice article. But, 650b isn't a metric size, it's a traditional French size (like 700c). Surprised no one else commented on that.
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    I did see an Intense 275er on Gooseberry Mesa in Utah this year and a 275er in Moab. The 275er in Moab was a Rocky Mountain Altitude my buddy rented. Seems like tire size is a topic in our groups when we stop. When we gliding down the trail, it doesn't matter much.

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  18. #18
    dwt
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd View Post
    Nice article. But, 650b isn't a metric size, it's a traditional French size (like 700c). Surprised no one else commented on that.
    Too many USA 'mericans on this site. Except for nut/bolt sizes & suspension travel, most of us know little about metric here, and even less about traditional French wheel sizes.

    Of course, all we have to do to learn about wheel sizes is consult Sheldon Brown's website:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html




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  19. #19
    dwt
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    And yet, where are the bikes in real life? I ride in Phoenix, where mountain biking is quite popular and we ride year-round. I ride often. Aside the from the 650b I built (and hated) several years ago, I've seen exactly one (1) 650b bike on the trails here.

    Not that I have anything against any wheel size. If it's working for you, I think that's great. But I also recognize the bike industry hype machine when it swings into action.
    I have seen none as well, except for my own, which I love. Will have company when the local Santa Cruz dealer gets his Bronson which is on order.

    By the same token, I have never seen a SRAM XX1 drivetrain. I suppose this reflects that both XX1 and 650b are still relatively novel products with high price points, and has little to do with the quality of each in terms of performance vs. what is readily available and popular: like 2X10 29'ers for example.

    The debate over whether 650b is market driven hype or rider driven evolved product apparently still rages. When I read mtbr and look at WC racing results, I incline to the latter


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  20. #20
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    XX1 is everywhere around here. I've personally sold at least 10 bikes just in the last few months with full XX1 (including a 650b!) SRAM OEM guy told me they're selling the stuff (aftermarket stuff) at something like 10x the rate they projected.

    I even saw a singlespeeder with XX1 cranks and ring the other day, which makes no sense at all to me since chain retention shouldn't be a problem, but whatever.

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  21. #21
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    I wrote about this before but I spent time with the mtb product managers from Spec'd three years ago on my local trails. They were talking about what to do about long-travel bikes because 29rs were too long. I also spent some time with the RockShox guys two years ago talking about 650. Both groups said 'no way', 'nothing in development' and that 650 didn't make sense. I was riding a 650 Spec'd at the time and they looked at it and just said 'no'. They were very resistant to 29 back in the day as well. I never thought I would hear Chamberlain say he now chooses to ride 29. To me, it means the enduro29 is THAT GOOD.

    Obviously, they had no reason to listen to me and there's no way I knew this was coming like a frikkin tidal wave, but it's really amazing. It's rider driven for sure. People rode it and saw the benefits right away. Of course it's not for everyone.

    The hype comes from the riders, through the marketing you see. It's not invented. There really isn't a lot of BS in the bike industry. 650 really seems like a good idea and has been validated by a lot of people. It's ok to not be into it but don't say it's not beneficial to have real choice with the wheel size. It makes you sound like a congressman...

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmats View Post
    Good, interesting article. I personally don't think 26ers are going any where, there's nothing really wrong with my Turner (26) now. I've ridden 29ers, they're great too, they have their places. I've been experimenting with 650 on my Turner and am shopping for one. Bottom line, if the 650 (or 29er) weren't around, I'd still be having fun on my 26er and enjoying it. The 650 will just make riding a bit more fun. I guess it goes back to the 80's when I started mountain biking. It didn't matter what we were riding or where we got our rides from, we were just out enjoying the riding and the challenges.


    ......except that this somehow became a fanboi contest about which wheel size will kill which.

  23. #23
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    I have two friends on Intense 650b bicycles. I've given them the parking lot/around the block test and must admit that I found them to have a very similar vibe to 26". Rather than feeling confused (when I ride most 29ers I am left asking why), I wanted to take the 650b out on the trail and rail the piss out of it!

    I'll be keeping my 26" wheels though - unless I have a sudden influx of disposable cash.

  24. #24
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    Has anyone ever thought that some might NOT like the increased rollover? I agree 27.5 and 29 add efficiency and newer riders will feel more comfortable on them (which is great for the sport of mountain biking). But what about those of us who like to pump through terrain on "AM" bikes and bomb through the chunder feeling it below us, using our arms and legs to throw our bike around. I like the challenge of mountain biking. I like the feel of maneuvering through steep, technical sections on a 26. I have a hardtail 29er for those days where efficiency and simplicity is valued above all else, and it beats me up less than my hardtail 26 did on long rides, but it's not my most FUN bike to ride by a long shot. I don't want to steamroll rock gardens, I want to feel them. Maybe I'm the minority. If I was racing I'd feel differently, but I'm not...so I want the most fun per mile, and for now, that is my 26 inch bikes.

    I'm glad we have choices, I hope that remains to be true. I hope some of you can see the validity in my point. I've tried 29" full suspension bikes and they weren't for me. They were stable at speed, they made some sections much easier to clean. But they still turned slow and made some trails feel flatter. Some people love this, but in my mind if your bike is doing half the work for you, what's the point? Flow is awesome, but I don't want EVERY trail to be smooth, buff singletrack either. I'll be sad if the 26 goes away at some point (not even factoring all the money I've invested into 26 and 26" wheels and tires).

    That being said, I will demo some 27.5 bikes when I get the chance and see how I like them. I haven't written them off completely, but I still feel they may lose some of what makes mountain biking fun in the first place. I like having modern suspension and hydraulic disc brakes, etc, so I'm not against progress in technology. Increased rollover to make riding through terrain easier just sounds the opposite of appealing for me and my riding style. If it retains the same playful feel as my 26 without muting the trail, maybe I'll be on one someday. Time will tell.
    Last edited by BaeckerX1; 04-23-2013 at 11:12 AM.
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  25. #25
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    Unless you ride a rigid bike, or a BMX, in order to better feel the chunder, I don't think what you're saying makes any sense. I mean, if the trail feels too easy, you can always go faster, or ride gnarlier trails, right? Mountain bikes inherently make trails easier to ride - that's the point. You don't *have* to ride wide knobby pneumatic tires or suspension, and they definitely make the trail feel muted as compared to, say, bare wooden rims on a rigid bike.

    That said, it's all subjective and if you know what makes you happy, stick with it.

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