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  1. #1
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    650b vs Tall 26 Tires?

    Ran across this picture the other day of the tire height of a 650b with a Neo2.3 which got me thinking about the tires I am running on my AllMnt rig, Minion DHF 2.5 EXO front and High Roller II in rear. So ran out to the garage and measured the height of both tires.

    The DHF 2.5 (a tall 2.3 tire) measured out exactly the same as 650b with Neo 2.3, the HR2 was about 3/8th of inch shorter and think I could squeeze a DHF 2.5 on the rear of that bike.

    So am I running 650b ? What is all the hype with 650b?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 650b vs Tall 26 Tires?-650b-neo.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by In2falling View Post
    Ran across this picture the other day of the tire height of a 650b with a Neo2.3 which got me thinking about the tires I am running on my AllMnt rig, Minion DHF 2.5 EXO front and High Roller II in rear. So ran out to the garage and measured the height of both tires.

    The DHF 2.5 (a tall 2.3 tire) measured out exactly the same as 650b with Neo 2.3, the HR2 was about 3/8th of inch shorter and think I could squeeze a DHF 2.5 on the rear of that bike.

    So am I running 650b ? What is all the hype with 650b?
    The tallest 26 inch tyre I have come across measures 695mm wheel dia. ( 2.4 Continental Trail King's) compared to my 650b Schwalbe 2.3 HD's which measure 705mm wheel dia. Switching the front out only (from the TK's) I have noticed better roll and grip. Since I have had no experience of the 26 inch version of the HD, I'm not sure if the benefits are from the increased dia. or the tyre pattern itself.

    If the DHF 2.5 measures 705mm wheel dia. then effectively you are running 650b. However, there are some 650b tyres coming out that will measure 710mm or bigger wheel dia. You also need to factor in weight. What does the 2.5 DHF weigh? The HD comes in at 834 g.

  3. #3
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    I almost hate to say it, but after my initial favorable reaction to 650b, I am starting to wonder if it is different enough from 26" to merit yet another standard. Not that my opinion matters, as it's already happening. I don't think I could tell the difference in a blind test, unlike 26 vs 29.

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    What's the practical limit on sidewall height?

    For reference, rim diameters are:

    26: 559mm
    650b: 584mm (25mm larger than 26", 38mm smaller than 29")
    29: 622mm

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by loamranger View Post
    The tallest 26 inch tyre I have come across measures 695mm wheel dia. ( 2.4 Continental Trail King's) compared to my 650b Schwalbe 2.3 HD's which measure 705mm wheel dia. Switching the front out only (from the TK's) I have noticed better roll and grip. Since I have had no experience of the 26 inch version of the HD, I'm not sure if the benefits are from the increased dia. or the tyre pattern itself.

    If the DHF 2.5 measures 705mm wheel dia. then effectively you are running 650b. However, there are some 650b tyres coming out that will measure 710mm or bigger wheel dia. You also need to factor in weight. What does the 2.5 DHF weigh? The HD comes in at 834 g.
    My super tacky DHF 2.5 comes in at 935 and the hard compound version comes in at 835.

    Have had quite a few different set of tires over the last few years on this bike (Kenda, WTB, Intense) and this is by far the best combination (roll & grip) that I have had on it so far. Don't know how much of this is the taller diameter or the tires themselves.

    I just don't see the point of trying to convert an existing 26" bike to 650b when a set of taller tires appears to come close to accomplishing the same thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rice rocket View Post
    What's the practical limit on sidewall height?

    For reference, rim diameters are:

    26: 559mm
    650b: 584mm (25mm larger than 26", 38mm smaller than 29")
    29: 622mm
    Yes, the shorter sidewall of a larger wheel with the same rim width can be as stable, lighter overall, and use lower air pressure.

    I measured a new 26" Ardent 2.6 wide DH tire on a downhill bike to be 1/8 inch shorter than my (relatively short) 2.3 Neo-moto 650b. Sounds like the 2.5 Minions are taller than the 2.6 Ardent, I don't know.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rice rocket View Post
    What's the practical limit on sidewall height?

    For reference, rim diameters are:

    26: 559mm
    650b: 584mm (25mm larger than 26", 38mm smaller than 29")
    29: 622mm
    There isn't one... unless you factor rim width in also. Surly Nate tires are nominally a 559mm bead seat x 3.8 inch wide tire, designed to fit on a 63mm width rim, but some fat bike riders use them on rims up to 100mm width to increase the amount of casing in contact with the snow. The diameter of those tires are so close to 29 inches that Surly and Salsa at least advertise their bikes as being good "I own 1 bike" type of bikes, because with a second 29er wheelset, they can be ridden in the summer time on regular trails. However a foldable tire for a fat bike, with a single-ply casing and a soft rubber compound good for snow riding is still at best, 1.2kg. A 29 x 2.4 is around a pound lighter and for most riders... just fine for already packed snow trails.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by In2falling View Post
    My super tacky DHF 2.5 comes in at 935 and the hard compound version comes in at 835.

    Have had quite a few different set of tires over the last few years on this bike (Kenda, WTB, Intense) and this is by far the best combination (roll & grip) that I have had on it so far. Don't know how much of this is the taller diameter or the tires themselves.

    I just don't see the point of trying to convert an existing 26" bike to 650b when a set of taller tires appears to come close to accomplishing the same thing.
    Rubber is the heaviest part of the rotating mass equation of a wheel. To get a 26er format tire tall enough to equal the roll-over ability of a larger wheel format tire, takes a LOT more weight than simply stepping up a wheel size. A Schwalbe Racing Ralph 650B x 2.25 is the same diameter as your DHF and weighs about 525 grams. A nobby nic is only maybe an ounce heavier than the RaRa in the same width. The jump in wheel weight specific to going from 26" to 650B (rim weights and slightly longer spokes) is at most 3 ounces grams for equal cross-section rims.
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    Quote Originally Posted by In2falling View Post
    Ran across this picture the other day of the tire height of a 650b with a Neo2.3 which got me thinking about the tires I am running on my AllMnt rig, Minion DHF 2.5 EXO front and High Roller II in rear. So ran out to the garage and measured the height of both tires.

    The DHF 2.5 (a tall 2.3 tire) measured out exactly the same as 650b with Neo 2.3, the HR2 was about 3/8th of inch shorter and think I could squeeze a DHF 2.5 on the rear of that bike.

    So am I running 650b ? What is all the hype with 650b?
    And then there's always the possibility the DHF 2.5 will come out in 650B?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by loamranger View Post
    The tallest 26 inch tyre I have come across measures 695mm wheel dia. ( 2.4 Continental Trail King's) compared to my 650b Schwalbe 2.3 HD's which measure 705mm wheel dia. Switching the front out only (from the TK's) I have noticed better roll and grip. Since I have had no experience of the 26 inch version of the HD, I'm not sure if the benefits are from the increased dia. or the tyre pattern itself.

    If the DHF 2.5 measures 705mm wheel dia. then effectively you are running 650b. However, there are some 650b tyres coming out that will measure 710mm or bigger wheel dia. You also need to factor in weight. What does the 2.5 DHF weigh? The HD comes in at 834 g.
    I've had the TK 2.4's and they were horrible compared to even 26" HD's. The stiff casing gave a harsh ride even at very low pressures. Even worse than Big Betty's. I imagine the DHF 2.5 gives the same horrible harsh ride. Need a 180mm fork just to smooth the tire out.

    650B HD must be a huge improvement in ride quality over these tall pig iron DH tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gvs_nz View Post
    I've had the TK 2.4's and they were horrible compared to even 26" HD's. The stiff casing gave a harsh ride even at very low pressures. Even worse than Big Betty's. I imagine the DHF 2.5 gives the same horrible harsh ride. Need a 180mm fork just to smooth the tire out.

    650B HD must be a huge improvement in ride quality over these tall pig iron DH tires.
    Not my experience with 2.4 Rubber Queens (TK's) with Black Chili, they roll really well, good grip and the least harsh of all the tyres I've used. Most of the user reports I have read concur. That said I'm really liking the 650b HD's and they are a good match with the TK's on the rear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rice rocket View Post
    What's the practical limit on sidewall height?

    For reference, rim diameters are:

    26: 559mm
    650b: 584mm (25mm larger than 26", 38mm smaller than 29")
    29: 622mm
    So if Continental made a 650b version of the 2.4 TK with the same profile as their 26 inch version, then the wheel diameter would be around 720mm.

    Most 26 inch AM tyres measure no more than 685, so 720 would be a significant increase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gvs_nz View Post
    I've had the TK 2.4's and they were horrible compared to even 26" HD's. The stiff casing gave a harsh ride even at very low pressures. Even worse than Big Betty's. I imagine the DHF 2.5 gives the same horrible harsh ride. Need a 180mm fork just to smooth the tire out.

    650B HD must be a huge improvement in ride quality over these tall pig iron DH tires.
    Not my experience at all.
    I found the 2.4 TKs quite supple and grippy in both the UST and normal casing. They are too big for my liking as a trailbike tire though.

    The DHF in dh casing is stiffer than a trailbike tire and it needs to be: it is a dh tire. In the lighter casing it is a great aggressive am tire choice.

    No need for a 180mm fork to help with your tires (?), that fork is for smoothing out the chunder.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeEight View Post
    Rubber is the heaviest part of the rotating mass equation of a wheel. To get a 26er format tire tall enough to equal the roll-over ability of a larger wheel format tire, takes a LOT more weight than simply stepping up a wheel size. A Schwalbe Racing Ralph 650B x 2.25 is the same diameter as your DHF and weighs about 525 grams. A nobby nic is only maybe an ounce heavier than the RaRa in the same width. The jump in wheel weight specific to going from 26" to 650B (rim weights and slightly longer spokes) is at most 3 ounces grams for equal cross-section rims.
    The weight issue can be a double-edged sword type of situation with tires.It really depends on where you're riding and makes favoring a Nobby Nic to a Minion DHF a bit ridiculous.I understand there are a lot of trails where a Minion (or even a Nobby Nic) is overkill but on the alpine terrain we ride a tire under 800-900 g won't last a month of semi-aggressive riding.

    But putting the weight issue asside, I think the question the OP posed while very interesting (I was wondering about the same thing, to be honest) is a bit outdated at this time when tire manufacturers are starting to make true high volume 650b tires, not conversion friendly ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1soulrider View Post
    Not my experience at all.
    I found the 2.4 TKs quite supple and grippy in both the UST and normal casing. .
    Compared to what? They are no where near as supple or grippy as an HD even in pacestar compound.The HD's are not a supple tire compared to schwalbe lighter, Triail snakeskin and conventional sidewall tires. Casing suppleness also adds cornering traction. I found the TK 2.4's hardly had any more cornering traction in the loose than a MK2 2.4, which are not great. They are both just too narrow.

    If DHF 2.5's are even stiffer, then even more reason for using a more supple 650B alternative as a AM tire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gvs_nz View Post
    Compared to what? They are no where near as supple or grippy as an HD even in pacestar compound.The HD's are not a supple tire compared to schwalbe lighter, Triail snakeskin and conventional sidewall tires. Casing suppleness also adds cornering traction. I found the TK 2.4's hardly had any more cornering traction in the loose than a MK2 2.4, which are not great. They are both just too narrow.

    If DHF 2.5's are even stiffer, then even more reason for using a more supple 650B alternative as a AM tire.
    Compared an array of tires from Kenda, Maxxis, Specialized, Schwalbe and other Conti tires. I have a ton of tires as I feel they are one of the most important aspects of a bikes performance.

    What kind of tire pressure do you run and what type of terrain do you ride? What type of bike do you run? These are key factors in why riders tend to disagree about tires.
    A ht rider from Sun Valley is going to have a completely different opinion of a tire compared to a 6" am rig rider from Az.

    The TK 2.4 is too narrow?! It is as wide as some companies 2.7 tires, and has huge volume. Big even for a dedicated dh tire.....

    Not involved in arguing that a big 26" tire is a better choice than a 27.5 tire, just didn't agree with your assessment of the tires mentioned above.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    I almost hate to say it, but after my initial favorable reaction to 650b, I am starting to wonder if it is different enough from 26" to merit yet another standard. Not that my opinion matters, as it's already happening. I don't think I could tell the difference in a blind test, unlike 26 vs 29.
    Thanks for your honesty. It's always refreshing when someone is willing to go against popular opinion with a sincere viewpoint.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1soulrider View Post
    Compared an array of tires from Kenda, Maxxis, Specialized, Schwalbe and other Conti tires. I have a ton of tires as I feel they are one of the most important aspects of a bikes performance.

    What kind of tire pressure do you run and what type of terrain do you ride? What type of bike do you run? These are key factors in why riders tend to disagree about tires.
    A ht rider from Sun Valley is going to have a completely different opinion of a tire compared to a 6" am rig rider from Az.

    The TK 2.4 is too narrow?! It is as wide as some companies 2.7 tires, and has huge volume. Big even for a dedicated dh tire.....

    Not involved in arguing that a big 26" tire is a better choice than a 27.5 tire, just didn't agree with your assessment of the tires mentioned above.
    Agreed tire discussion is always contentious.I also have a ton of tires, in all three sizes. I was using it on the front only of my Meta 6 but it was no where near as good as an HD. I'm only 160lbs and riding it as low as 16 psi[ there's a break even point in sidewall thickness where low pressure can not reclaim ride comfort. Std snakeskin is it]. A heavier rider and bike would be able to smooth it out, but it has has serious stiff apex reinforcements which make the ride harsh.Any Geax 2.2 tire or Michelin 2.1 would be smoother. Large volume is no guarantee of a smooth ride,at least on the front anyway.
    I think your getting a lttle excited about it's size. It's only 5mm taller than a HD and the casing is narrower. As far as tread width, the widest part[only 50%of the tread] is only about 58mm.Even a No Ni 2.4 is wider.The Hd is about 61mm for the full circumference. The majority of the tread on the TK 2.4 is only about 55 mm wide. if your on the edges, in the loose, there's not enough rubber on the edges to push off.Fine if the tread can still touch hrad pack or if your only on the shoulder where most of the tread is concentrated.
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 12-29-2012 at 12:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    I almost hate to say it, but after my initial favorable reaction to 650b, I am starting to wonder if it is different enough from 26" to merit yet another standard. Not that my opinion matters, as it's already happening. I don't think I could tell the difference in a blind test, unlike 26 vs 29.
    You wont if your looking for rollover[ bike mag hype]. You will if you compare stability and cornering traction in loose conditions. I prefer 26" on my slacker bikes as it adds too much stability and they ride like 29ers.I ride some hard pack sweeping groomed trails where it makes absolutely no difference in wheel size.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvs_nz View Post
    You wont if your looking for rollover[ bike mag hype]. You will if you compare stability and cornering traction in loose conditions. I prefer 26" on my slacker bikes as it adds too much stability and they ride like 29ers.I ride some hard pack sweeping groomed trails where it makes absolutely no difference in wheel size.
    Hi gvs, can you clarify what your trying to say here? Thanks.

    Have you tried the HD in both 650b and 26 inch?

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    There's very little difference in rollover from a tall 26" to a 650B tire.There is however a big difference in cornering traction and stabilty at the apex of corners in loose conditions. For that reason anyone with trails that are hard pack , without trail chunder, will struggle to notice any difference in wheel size besides acceleration, momentum and steering. All negatives for the bigger wheel sizes of similar weight tires.

    I've only tried the Hd in 26" so all of the above is a direct 26" front comparison, the rear only follows. Your 650B Hd should be streets ahead of a TK2.4 in the front end cornering traction.
    I still ride the MK2 2,4 on the rear of some bikes and it's only 5mm ride height lower than the TK2.4 and a rat load lighter and smoother.
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 12-29-2012 at 04:16 PM.

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    FWIW, I just measured my 26" Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 2.5" - on an Easton Haven wheel - and it came in a hair under 26-3/4". I have no idea how the OP's tire measured a full inch taller than that.

  23. #23
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    Note: I am a tire tester and pro-reviewer of bike components (tires, etc.), the former for one particular large brand. But I am as full of it as the next person, so take it with a grain of salt.

    Although I strive to be objective as possible in all my reviews and testing, tires are somewhat personal, and how they react and work for me, and my local terrain, makes it all the more difficult. So I try to be overly picky, and dig deep into their characteristics, and look for strengths and weaknesses in any terrain and conditions. I have tested tires on my Ibis Mojo HD (26 & 650B), Mojo Classic and Moots Mooto-XZ 29er, in any sort of terrain that Colorado, Utah, AZ (a few forays in SoCal) can throw at you. My local testing terrain is predominantly loose rocky conditions, with many long steep climbs and descents, rock gardens, slick rock, an occasional smooth singletrack and lots of ugly loose gravel. In the Colorado Springs area where I ride, we have Pikes Peak gravel (pea gravel) on most of our trails, and it's one of the most nightmarish traction eaters that I have ever dealt with. Cornering, braking and climbing can be a lesson in humility.

    Harsh TK's =>
    In regards to the 26" TK 2.4 (Black Chili version), I never found them to offer a harsh ride, at least at 18-24psi. They are still my fave tires of all time, and I have gone through at least 7-8 pairs. Found them to offer excellent flotation and traction in loose conditions, and they are sticky on slick rock, and are conformable and pliable in rock gardens. They have one of the fattest carcasses on the market at an almost true 2.4. Specified tire size by manufacturers are pretty useless, and are only a general indication of skinny, medium and fat widths. Other fat tire have more width in regards to their knobs than the TK, but not usually the carcass.

    650B vs 26 =>
    There is no way that the OP measured properly. Large 26 tire measure at most a hair over 27, 26 comes in from 26.5 to 27, while any 650B is 27.5 to almost 28, comparing the same model (NN 2.35) the difference is close to an 1 inch (give or take)

    gvs_nz =>
    How much experience have you had riding 650B tires and wheels? What are your local conditions that you ride? I find the 650B have better rollover than 26 IMHO, though obviously not a 29er. Personally in my local conditions, I don't like the MK2 2.4's, I find they aren't as sticky on rock ramps and don't offer near the traction in loose conditions, though they do offer better acceleration, rolling, faster steering, and are lighter.

    MK2 2.4 Protection
    Casing width - 2.25 inches
    Casing height - 2.05 inches

    TK 2.4 Black Chili
    Casing width - 2.38 inches
    Casing height - 2.27 inches

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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    FWIW, I just measured my 26" Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 2.5" - on an Easton Haven wheel - and it came in a hair under 26-3/4". I have no idea how the OP's tire measured a full inch taller than that.

    Opps my bad , I measured it with the wheel on and looked like it was 27-1/2. I just took the wheel off and it measures out at 27-1/4 right down the middle knobby to knobby.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    I almost hate to say it, but after my initial favorable reaction to 650b, I am starting to wonder if it is different enough from 26" to merit yet another standard. Not that my opinion matters, as it's already happening. I don't think I could tell the difference in a blind test, unlike 26 vs 29.
    Exactly the point, for me. as soon as it starts to be really noticeable, then I start feeling all of the things in the ride that I hate about 29-ers!
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