It is unclear whether this new trend called 650B is the next thing in MTB or not. Is it compromising between 26” or 29”? Does it really mean to enjoy the best of both worlds? ...
Until a few years ago, the common diameter of a mountain bike wheel was 26 "(inch), in the past years, companies have started to manufacture mountain bike wheel of 29" (inches). Soon all bike companies raised production lines and multiple models of these huge wheels. What thought to be as a passing trend, turned out to be a great success and it’s here to stay!
Of Course each wheel size has its advantages and disadvantages – we are not going to discuss it right now ...
Recently there is a very big buzz regarding the new wheel diameter 27.5 "(inches), a kind of intermediate size, which supposedly is a winning combination of these two worlds. I see this as some kind of compromise ...
Those who could not afford to buy a new MTB, found some original ways on how to turn the bike with minimal cost from a 26” to a 27.5".
As one who loves innovation and change, I decided to try as well.
The first test I did was to assemble 27.5" wheels on the bike - fits easily, since this is a large frame. And thanks to Liteville’s design – the larger the frame is, the longer it’s chain stays.
The second test is to fully compress the Suspension – to see tire Clearance.
The front was easy, A fox 36 hosted the bigger wheel with 4mm tire clearance from the arch and the Crown did not touch the tire when fully compressed. Rear wheel fitted without a problem and even left a space of 1.4 cm. But when fully compressed the tire came in contact with the seat tube... The solution to this is very simple – shorten the stroke of the suspension. That is done by adding a bumper inside the air shock. Since I have 165mm of rear travel, I can settle for 160mm and that is to above and beyond ...
What about geometry? The wheel axles are 19mm higher, it raises the center of gravity and changes the bikes angle and of course their behavior.
The solution to this is very simple, shorten the fork to 150mm, the rear suspension, of the 601 has adapters for geometry changes. With changes of 2 cm, to lower the BB by at least a cm and accordingly change the head angle of the bike.
I usually ride it with the “high” settings running on 26” wheels so eventually with 650B on the lower geometry setting I got a very similar geometry to that of a 26-wheel.
I've have not tested them thoroughly, so in order to fully review the behavior and feel the difference if there is any, I will publish it in about a month from now.
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