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  1. #1
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    Vintage dude, 5'9" XC riding, full sus -- 650b or 29er?

    I'm 51 y.o.. I have an old Litespeed soft tail. My boy is getting old enough to ride with me, so I am now looking to get a new full suspension MTB. Before kids, I used to love epic XC riding. I don't want to deal with the recovery time from injuries, so I am not as inclined to try stoopid stunts. My body does not do as well with abuse as it used to, so comfort is a major consideration. I have a fetish for lightweight bikes. I love my tubeless tires on my road bike. I have 30" inseam; I don't know if that is a consideration.
    Should I be looking for a 650b or a 29er?
    jW

  2. #2
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    Everyone on this forum, including myself is going to recommend a 650b/ 27.5 bike and on the 29er forum they will recommend a 29er.
    Im also 51 years old, stand 6' tall, ride mostly XC and have ridden all of the wheel sizes and I believe the 650b to be the best of all sizes but the choice is up to you, demo 27.5ers and 29ers and see what you like best for your riding style and terrain

  3. #3
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    Yep, what he said...But I'll throw in there that I would ride 650b...

  4. #4
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    My deciding factor might be

    the availability of parts in your area. How hard would it be to get tubes, tires and what not when you really need them. I have called around town a few times about 650b bikes and got laughed at by the person on the phone. Just a thought...

  5. #5
    NedwannaB
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    Uuuhm interwebz?

    Quote Originally Posted by rotten1 View Post
    the availability of parts in your area. How hard would it be to get tubes, tires and what not when you really need them. I have called around town a few times about 650b bikes and got laughed at by the person on the phone. Just a thought...
    -OP mentioned tubeless, but 26" tubes work fine.
    -Plenty of tire choices a few days to deliver, just like ant other part ordered from lbs.
    -That and rims are the only "what naughts" that are involved.
    Wait,who did he tell you that?....

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    -OP mentioned tubeless, but 26" tubes work fine.
    -Plenty of tire choices a few days to deliver, just like ant other part ordered from lbs.
    -That and rims are the only "what naughts" that are involved.
    And that's only an issue for the time being. This is all changing rapidly and won't be an issue much longer.

    My LBS is actually liking the idea of 650b. He's got more of an all mountain/freeride focus, but to him 29er was over rated. He's liking the idea of 650b. Some bike shops will get on the bandwagon and some won't. Vote with your wallet...Your demand should dictate their supply, not the other way around.

  7. #7
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    Interwebz true

    but try going out for a ride, blow through your tubes or a tire, stop by local shop so you can ride home and all they have are 26'er or 29'er, the internet doesn't do ship diddly for you there. Maybe you can stuff a 26 tube in there, but what about the tire? And what if you can't locate a ride home? The local shop getting 650b in the future won't help there either.

  8. #8
    NedwannaB
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    Apples to oranges scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by rotten1 View Post
    but try going out for a ride, blow through your tubes or a tire, stop by local shop so you can ride home and all they have are 26'er or 29'er, the internet doesn't do ship diddly for you there. Maybe you can stuff a 26 tube in there, but what about the tire? And what if you can't locate a ride home? The local shop getting 650b in the future won't help there either.
    Having a bike shop conviently on way home from ones pedal to trail and back is rather unique. There could be alot of things that could break on ride that the lbs wouldn't necessarily have on shelf. Being unprepared on trailride without tube/patch kit/liner sleeve has no baring on 26-27.5-29 er.

    Just sayn.
    Wait,who did he tell you that?....

  9. #9
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    You are right.

    No one has ever blown through both tubes, one in tire and the one carrying, patch kit fails (due to a large hole), torn a tire (see large hole part), not able to get cel coverage or not been able to thumb a ride and had to walk for miles in increasing heat until a good person decides to finally pick you up and take you to the local bike shop.
    That never happened to anyone ever.
    Not once.
    Never.
    And the bike shop didn't have 650b bikes, tubes or tires. Luckily, I was riding my rode bike with a common size of 700c wheel.

    You asshats are acting like I am saying don't get a 27.5, as if I am against your precious little part of the MTB world, glad you got it all figured out. Dude can get what he wants, just bringing out one single little point that may or may not be an problem.

    Just sayin'.

  10. #10
    NedwannaB
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    Welcome to the club, being an asshat and all, I ride 700c along with 26, the bastard tweener and 29also.

    Nuff said.
    Wait,who did he tell you that?....

  11. #11
    Wrench
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    Quote Originally Posted by rotten1 View Post

    You asshats...
    You've lost all credibility for any opinion posted thus far by insulting everyone in this forum that gave small critiques of your claim.

    Also, I've marched through snow and desert alike with mechanical issues. I've also fixed just about everything there is to fix in the field. Your mindset carries you far if you come prepared. I once made a tire boot out of stacked leaves from a local bush.

    I've raced XC and Endurance on 650b for two years now. Before that I was on 26". I still race a 26" SS on occasion as well. I am tubeless, but have used 26" tubes for 650b with good effect.

    Don't be worried about parts. I started into the game late, or so I thought, back in 2010. Now we have so much more available to us.


  12. #12
    just some guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by J-Dubya61 View Post
    I'm 51 y.o.. I have an old Litespeed soft tail. My boy is getting old enough to ride with me, so I am now looking to get a new full suspension MTB. Before kids, I used to love epic XC riding. I don't want to deal with the recovery time from injuries, so I am not as inclined to try stoopid stunts. My body does not do as well with abuse as it used to, so comfort is a major consideration. I have a fetish for lightweight bikes. I love my tubeless tires on my road bike. I have 30" inseam; I don't know if that is a consideration.
    Should I be looking for a 650b or a 29er?
    jW
    I'm about the same size as you and just a bit younger. Also an XC guy who likes a light bike. I'm skinny and still love the XC thing so for my local trails which require some fast acceleration and maneuverability I found the 650b to be more fun and a more natural fit for me. If my preferences and/or trails were just a bit different a 29er would have been really fine as well. If you possibly can, do some test rides and see if you like one more than the other...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rotten1 View Post
    but try going out for a ride, blow through your tubes or a tire, stop by local shop so you can ride home and all they have are 26'er or 29'er, the internet doesn't do ship diddly for you there. Maybe you can stuff a 26 tube in there, but what about the tire? And what if you can't locate a ride home? The local shop getting 650b in the future won't help there either.
    Pretty sure 26er tubes will work on 650b...

  14. #14
    NedwannaB
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    FNFAL I just noticed your TD post, will have to read the blog. And it sounds like a fantastic adventure! And to think you did it on a 26" wheel too!
    Wait,who did he tell you that?....

  15. #15
    650b me
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    Considering your 30" inseam, I think you would be happier on a 650b. My inseam is 30.7" and I find 29'ers just feel too big for me. Plus, the ride feel is pretty different, with 650b being much more playful.

  16. #16
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by rotten1 View Post
    . I have called around town a few times about 650b bikes and got laughed at by the person on the phone
    Why few on MTBR use LBS for anything other than dire emergency. Why pay a huge mark up only to get laughed at by some jackass punk who knows less about bikes than you do?
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rotten1 View Post
    No one has ever blown through both tubes, one in tire and the one carrying, patch kit fails (due to a large hole), torn a tire (see large hole part), not able to get cel coverage or not been able to thumb a ride and had to walk for miles in increasing heat until a good person decides to finally pick you up and take you to the local bike shop.
    That never happened to anyone ever.
    Not once.
    Never.
    And the bike shop didn't have 650b bikes, tubes or tires. Luckily, I was riding my rode bike with a common size of 700c wheel.

    You asshats are acting like I am saying don't get a 27.5, as if I am against your precious little part of the MTB world, glad you got it all figured out. Dude can get what he wants, just bringing out one single little point that may or may not be an problem.

    Just sayin'.
    I think you have anxiety issues and should stay home....

  18. #18
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    I'm way shorter than the OP

    Quote Originally Posted by talabardio View Post
    I'm about the same size as you and just a bit younger. Also an XC guy who likes a light bike. I'm skinny and still love the XC thing so for my local trails which require some fast acceleration and maneuverability I found the 650b to be more fun and a more natural fit for me. If my preferences and/or trails were just a bit different a 29er would have been really fine as well. If you possibly can, do some test rides and see if you like one more than the other...
    And a few years older. But at ~5'-7" I do alright on my 29r! Horses for courses. It's a small frame so it's plenty playful, doesn't mind tight switchbacks but likes the more open fast terrain better, so when that's the plan of the day I take it. Just took it out for first ride from setup SS to 1x9. Only thing I'll change is flip stem. Good to go.

    More serious rides? The 650ht or SS get pulled out. Messing around rides? I take the 650 fs trailbike. Thinking about putting my old v-brake 26" SS back together but really don't think I will be riding it much.....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Vintage dude, 5'9" XC riding, full sus -- 650b or 29er?-razzo-1x9.jpg  

    Vintage dude, 5'9" XC riding, full sus -- 650b or 29er?-finished-bastard.jpg  

    Vintage dude, 5'9" XC riding, full sus -- 650b or 29er?-motowolverine.jpg  

    Wait,who did he tell you that?....

  19. #19
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by rotten1 View Post
    no one has ever blown through both tubes, one in tire and the one carrying, patch kit fails (due to a large hole), torn a tire (see large hole part), not able to get cel coverage or not been able to thumb a ride and had to walk for miles in increasing heat until a good person decides to finally pick you up and take you to the local bike shop.
    That never happened to anyone ever.
    Not once.
    Never.
    And the bike shop didn't have 650b bikes, tubes or tires. Luckily, i was riding my rode bike with a common size of 700c wheel.

    You asshats are acting like i am saying don't get a 27.5, as if i am against your precious little part of the mtb world, glad you got it all figured out. Dude can get what he wants, just bringing out one single little point that may or may not be an problem.

    Just sayin'.
    Vintage dude, 5'9" XC riding, full sus -- 650b or 29er?-imageuploadedbytapatalk1358185576.753198.jpg
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  20. #20
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    The bike matters more than the wheelsize

    I know I'll get crucified for this but... the big driver of how a bike feels is the geometry. You can get on a Jamis FS 650b with a 44" wheelbase and 45cm chainstays and... it'll probably feel like a bit of a tank. It's long, it's kinda slack, etc. You could take a, say, Lenzsport 29er out that has an inch less wheelbase and 1cm shorter stays and it'll probably feel more playful/easier to toss around. I have a (hardtail) 29er with 40cm chainstays sitting here and I guarantee it's easier to wheelie and manual than any mass produced 650b bike in existence (heck, I don't know of any custom ones built that short.)

    There are a LOT of different geometries out there for both 650b and 29, even if we're just talking about XC bikes, so it would be a good idea to ride some different examples of both to see what you prefer. There is not a "right" answer to this question that is universal based on just your body type, or age, or any other single variable. You just have to ride the bikes and see.

    -Walt
    Waltworks Custom Bicycles
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    www.waltworks.com
    waltworks.blogspot.com

  21. #21
    jrm
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    You can use

    Quote Originally Posted by rotten1 View Post
    but try going out for a ride, blow through your tubes or a tire, stop by local shop so you can ride home and all they have are 26'er or 29'er, the internet doesn't do ship diddly for you there. Maybe you can stuff a 26 tube in there, but what about the tire? And what if you can't locate a ride home? The local shop getting 650b in the future won't help there either.
    26" tubes on a 9er and/or 650b.
    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  22. #22
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I know I'll get crucified for this but... the big driver of how a bike feels is the geometry. You can get on a Jamis FS 650b with a 44" wheelbase and 45cm chainstays and... it'll probably feel like a bit of a tank. It's long, it's kinda slack, etc. You could take a, say, Lenzsport 29er out that has an inch less wheelbase and 1cm shorter stays and it'll probably feel more playful/easier to toss around. I have a (hardtail) 29er with 40cm chainstays sitting here and I guarantee it's easier to wheelie and manual than any mass produced 650b bike in existence (heck, I don't know of any custom ones built that short.)

    There are a LOT of different geometries out there for both 650b and 29, even if we're just talking about XC bikes, so it would be a good idea to ride some different examples of both to see what you prefer. There is not a "right" answer to this question that is universal based on just your body type, or age, or any other single variable. You just have to ride the bikes and see.

    -Walt
    You're one of the last people who would get "crucified" on MTBR.

    As just another Joe who rides bikes, I would defer to the former pro racer now bike builder on most technical bicycle questions, and would guess that is the consensus opinion.

    Help me out here: is it not true that in choosing a bike, a rider will first take into account a few presuppositions, such as : 1) where/how will the bike be ridden; 2) the rider's particular height, weight and skill. IOW, who is the rider and where will he/she be riding, and for what purpose: fun, training, racing?

    Then, there are a number if variables: including geometry AND wheel size; suspension or no; lightweight or heavy duty frame/components, etc.

    Me as as example: old guy, fit (but not an animal) many years of experience, 5'10" 180 lbs. I will be riding variable "AM " terrain; including technical sections, steep climbs and fast descents. I want 5" but not 6" of travel. I want the bike to weigh as much less than 30 lbs as is feasible/affordable. Therefore I am looking at Norco Sight B1, Turner Burner, Jamis, and maybe Scott Genius or RM altitude in 27.5"
    Last edited by dwt; 01-14-2013 at 03:24 PM.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  23. #23
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    Walt is absolutely right - wheel size is just one variable among many. Any of the three wheel sizes will work just fine. But personally, I think the OP should look at lightweight XC 29ers. There are a lot of choices in that category and the big wheels really shine on bikes with 120mm or less of travel. Although 650B is the next big thing, there still aren't that many models available and even fewer bikes in the shop to test ride.

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