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  1. #1
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    650 Invades 29r Realm?

    I am having second thoughts about the future of the 650 in the short travel XC realm. Yes, Nino gave the wheel a boost but are 29r's just to deeply rooted for a more widespread push in the 4" travel or HT xc mkt?

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    Quote Originally Posted by etanc View Post
    I am having second thoughts about the future of the 650 in the short travel XC realm. Yes, Nino gave the wheel a boost but are 29r's just to deeply rooted for a more widespread push in the 4" travel or HT xc mkt?
    Probably, but no nobody seems to be testing the waters. Scott isn't even selling Nino's bike on the open market, much less a Spark 700 which many in this forum are having wet dreams of. Makes no sense to me. If no bike manufacturer is trying to compete against 29" in the XC race category, then 29" wins by default.


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    It is still pretty early days for this wheel size. It is being focused into the particular market niche where it is unequivocally superior and will then spread and chip away at other areas, particularly destroying the 26er from all reports. It will happen incrementally over the next few years. My guess is we'll see the Scale and Spark released to the public in late 2013 or 2014. Schurter's success speaks for itself and the manufacturers will surely respond as a matter of course.

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    It's being massively hyped in the UK as the next big thing.

    However, Leisure lakes' 2013 catalogue only has one 650B bike; virtually everything is a 29er.

    I guess all the 650Bs will arrive in 2014, when it's already apparent there's no discernible advantage over 26" wheels.

    That's one post, 4 more to go before I can ask for some advice about my front suspension.

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    650B = 26" +10mm

    We are all victims of hype (but its fun, isn't it)... isn't it...?

    (posted by another soon to be 29er victim)

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3narf View Post
    I
    I guess all the 650Bs will arrive in 2014, when it's already apparent there's no discernible advantage over 26" wheels.
    I take it you've never ridden 650b and compared it to 26" on the same frame on your regular trails...Otherwise you wouldn't make such ignorant statements
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    It's not the bike. It's the rider. Nino had similar success on 29ers.

    With that said, it will be some time before more manufacturers get on board with the 27.5 wheel size. It wasnt long ago we were all screaming for more 29ers. They just got done dumping all kinds of money (and still doing so with refined geo and more frames ect.) into the 29" market and they want to recoup as much of that money as possible before they start allocating funds into another market.

    No one has made a 29er HT yet, that is making me regret my 26". I'm willing to give 27.5 a try this spring at the local demos, but I'll wait a bit longer till my choices are more open.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gadget1 View Post
    650B = 26" +10mm

    We are all victims of hype (but its fun, isn't it)... isn't it...?

    (posted by another soon to be 29er victim)
    First compare apples to apples

    650 Invades 29r Realm?-imageuploadedbytapatalk1353593570.722131.jpg

    Then personally demo each bike

    Then have an informed opinion


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    The industry requires change to remain solvent. This can be faux change like the 15mm axle standard (ooooh its lighter than 20mm ), or real change that actually benefits riders, like disc brakes, dropper posts, and yes, new wheel sizes.

    A lot of people ran out and bought 29ers when they came into fashion (a nice sales boost for the industry), and they have proven to be the solid choice for both the XC race set and oddly enough, beginners. Riders who simply want high average speed and front to rear stability to keep from going OTB.

    26ers still dominate Downhill, dirt jump (bmx not withstanding), pump track, and 4x...places where riders seek agility and playability. I've seen 29ers at Rays and it ain't pretty.

    in my opinion there's room for 27.5 anywhere in the middle ( har har) of these disciplines. Is it real change? possibly. Will it drive customers to dealers? probably. It's kind of neat to see companies like Jamis, who were early adopters of this " new standard" ( for mtb use) get some recognition. 27.5 will probably pilfer customers from both camps, that's fine, a sale is a sale in the eyes of the industry.

    If it works for YOU, that's all that matters. Just don't stand on high and prostletize to the "ignorant" who don't see the superiority of your choice. As we've seen, this is the path to supreme ******-baggery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkiNBike View Post
    It's not the bike. It's the rider. Nino had similar success on 29ers.
    Nino's success on 650b disproved the cool aid assertion that 29'ers are inherently superior XC bikes irrespective of the rider, and also the importance of bike fit for the particular rider. I would expect more pro XC riders, particularly women, (below 5'7"), on teams which have all wheel sizes available, to be riding 650b in 2013.


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by k1creeker View Post
    The industry requires change to remain solvent. This can be faux change like the 15mm axle standard (ooooh its lighter than 20mm ), or real change that actually benefits riders, like disc brakes, dropper posts, and yes, new wheel sizes.

    A lot of people ran out and bought 29ers when they came into fashion (a nice sales boost for the industry), and they have proven to be the solid choice for both the XC race set and oddly enough, beginners. Riders who simply want high average speed and front to rear stability to keep from going OTB.

    26ers still dominate Downhill, dirt jump (bmx not withstanding), pump track, and 4x...places where riders seek agility and playability. I've seen 29ers at Rays and it ain't pretty.

    in my opinion there's room for 27.5 anywhere in the middle ( har har) of these disciplines. Is it real change? possibly. Will it drive customers to dealers? probably. It's kind of neat to see companies like Jamis, who were early adopters of this " new standard" ( for mtb use) get some recognition. 27.5 will probably pilfer customers from both camps, that's fine, a sale is a sale in the eyes of the industry.

    If it works for YOU, that's all that matters. Just don't stand on high and prostletize to the "ignorant" who don't see the superiority of your choice. As we've seen, this is the path to supreme ******-baggery.
    Good post.

    Totally agree about agility and indoor riding. I don't even take my 27.5" HT indoors . One place my old school rigid 26'er SS is in its element. That said, I think you will see a fair amount of 27.5" DH bikes competitive in 2013.

    Also in the ******bag category are the mathematicians who can prove that a wheel size is inferior without ever riding it personally.


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    Quote Originally Posted by SkiNBike View Post
    It's not the bike. It's the rider. Nino had similar success on 29ers.

    With that said, it will be some time before more manufacturers get on board with the 27.5 wheel size. It wasnt long ago we were all screaming for more 29ers. They just got done dumping all kinds of money (and still doing so with refined geo and more frames ect.) into the 29" market and they want to recoup as much of that money as possible before they start allocating funds into another market.

    No one has made a 29er HT yet, that is making me regret my 26". I'm willing to give 27.5 a try this spring at the local demos, but I'll wait a bit longer till my choices are more open.
    Actually Nino did not have similar success on 29ers; after a bit of experimentation he decided that they didn't feel right and he went back to 26 until Scott started testing 27.5 as an option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by k1creeker View Post
    If it works for YOU, that's all that matters. Just don't stand on high and prostletize to the "ignorant" who don't see the superiority of your choice. As we've seen, this is the path to supreme ******-baggery.
    Cool.

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    Good comments all. Having had my first ride on the 27.5 at a Rocky Mtn demo I really liked the wheel size and believe it should have a wider place in the market beyond longer travel bikes. I will probably move to a 29r if there continue to be limited 27.5 xc choices but I still think the wheel size would be a blast on xc bikes.

    As far as the 27.5 not being relevant and just the stuff of hype - I don't think so.

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    Troll bait alert! Is it really necessary to start polarizing threads that will ultimately draw the trolls out of the woods?

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    Here in Europe the 27,5 is getting huge, if you want a race hardtail you can choose from at least 20 different manufacturers.
    Unlike in the US the 5'' trailbile options are quite limited-
    flyMTBfish

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    Quote Originally Posted by StiHacka View Post
    Troll bait alert! Is it really necessary to start polarizing threads that will ultimately draw the trolls out of the woods?
    hmmm...a quick re-read of the posts in this flame-free thread appear to be from a group of riders having a civil discussion. Guess this puts the troll count at 1.

    Etanc, be sure to check in with StiHacka before you post next time.

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    Yea, what he (k1creeker) said! :-)

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    I sure hope more XC oriented bikes come out in 650B and the 4" range. I think that marketing will have it's way first ("it's the perfect AM size") and once it's a little more established it might broaden out into other ranges.

    I do understand why manufacturers do this, in selling a bike, you kind of need to have a clear, coherent message to tell (most) consumers. Look at Specialized, they are the master of having exactly one bike (and wheel size) for each specific purpose. They sell a lot of bikes. That said, I can't wait until we get beyond cubby-holing (sp?) each wheel size into a specific realm and just use them as options. Well, mainly I just want the bike described above :-).

  20. #20
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    Huge 29" fan here. First ten years of mountian biking on 26" wheels, the last ten on big hoops.

    Tried the 650b and really like it as a rear wheel for longer travel applications. It allows for a stiffer, shorter, stronger rear end - and better gearing with existing drivetrains. For AM applications where fat, tough rubber is needed, the 650b is more manageable weight wise, where the weight on a heavy duty 29"rim and tire is often too much to haul around and easily maneuver.

    For longer travel trail bikes and AM bikes I think the 650b may be the sweet spot.

    Only time will tell, and I'm looking forward to it.

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    I agree that you have to try it. I am close to trying 650B. I guess people are arguing whether a certain size is worth it, like whether 650B has enough benefits to be chosen over 26" or 29'er...but I look at it differently. I believe 650B can't be bad bc it's between two wheel sizes that are already fun to ride. The way I look at it, I cannot see 650B not being fun. Sure, it's not going to be quite the same as 26" and it's going to be only a little like 29'er, but I would be surprised if I ride my 26" bike with 650B wheels, or a true 650B bike and decide it's not fun.

    The industry has already chosen 650B for now, and I will give it a try. My reasoning for why I can't see it not being worth while is that I love how my 100 mm FS XC 26" Brodie Mettle MTB rides. 650B on my bike or a bike that is similar can only be as good or better.

    One thing I noticed is that there are not as many of the bigger companies making 650B FS XC MTB's with 100 mm travel. It's all about 120-160 mm travel All Mountain or Hardtails. I guess the bike manufacturers feel that 100 mm travel 29'er bikes the world.
    Last edited by morkys; 11-23-2012 at 08:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTB Pilot View Post
    I take it you've never ridden 650b and compared it to 26" on the same frame on your regular trails...Otherwise you wouldn't make such ignorant statements
    Speedy single track, I really like it. Deeply technical steep, rocky rooty trails, tight switchback, drops and ramps etc, it starts to feel like what it is, a bigger wheeled mountain bike and I still prefer the 26er on these trails.

    90 percent of riders out there, are going to like the 650, especially the one's that bought the 29er hype as the next big thing. Long term I think the 29 is what's in trouble. The 650b rolls as well but has a bit more traction and can descend better, and it's a lot easier to ride fast. It's going to regulate the 29er to XC race and become the standard for the average rider who doesn't lean toward the aggressive side of AM/Freeride.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by smellurfingers View Post
    Speedy single track, I really like it. Deeply technical steep, rocky rooty trails, tight switchback, drops and ramps etc, it starts to feel like what it is, a bigger wheeled mountain bike and I still prefer the 26er on these trails.

    90 percent of riders out there, are going to like the 650, especially the one's that bought the 29er hype as the next big thing. Long term I think the 29 is what's in trouble. The 650b rolls as well but has a bit more traction and can descend better, and it's a lot easier to ride fast. It's going to regulate the 29er to XC race and become the standard for the average rider who doesn't lean toward the aggressive side of AM/Freeride.
    I think your points are well taken and valid. What you say could easily have been posted by Brian Lopes, who certainly fits "the aggressive side of AM/Freeride" definition and who has never been a fan of 29'ers. I assume that extends to 27.5", but have not heard specifically.

    What is of interest though is the current buzz about Aaron Gwin racing on larger wheels (which size not known). Could be huge.



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    Quote Originally Posted by SkiNBike View Post
    It's not the bike. It's the rider. Nino had similar success on 29ers.

    With that said, it will be some time before more manufacturers get on board with the 27.5 wheel size. It wasnt long ago we were all screaming for more 29ers. They just got done dumping all kinds of money (and still doing so with refined geo and more frames ect.) into the 29" market and they want to recoup as much of that money as possible before they start allocating funds into another market.

    No one has made a 29er HT yet, that is making me regret my 26". I'm willing to give 27.5 a try this spring at the local demos, but I'll wait a bit longer till my choices are more open.
    Nino raced the 29er once, he remained on the 26" hardtail until he switched to 650b. I like how people who don't know state something as fact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MessagefromTate View Post
    Nino raced the 29er once, he remained on the 26" hardtail until he switched to 650b. I like how people who don't know state something as fact.
    I like hyper aggressive posters and internet strongmen.

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    Been riding/ racing my 650b, 4" travel xc bike for over a year now. I converted a 2012 SC Blur XCc, awesome bike, definately a advantage over my old 26ers.

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    this is an interesting thread... a lot of trail riders in my neck of the woods switched to 29ers as they became more popular. in general, more aggressive trail riders who like to jump, etc. have mostly stuck with longer travel 26ers. On the other hand, a lot of our trails are tight and twisty and shorter wheel bases seem to work better for most folks in those situations... so, i wonder if some of those folks who went to 29ers would go to 27.5 if there were more options?...
    i need to develop my crashing skills...

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    Nice...

    Quote Originally Posted by morkys View Post
    I agree that you have to try it. I am close to trying 650B. I guess people are arguing whether a certain size is worth it, like whether 650B has enough benefits to be chosen over 26" or 29'er...but I look at it differently. I believe 650B can't be bad bc it's between two wheel sizes that are already fun to ride. The way I look at it, I cannot see 650B not being fun. Sure, it's not going to be quite the same as 26" and it's going to be only a little like 29'er, but I would be surprised if I ride my 26" bike with 650B wheels, or a true 650B bike and decide it's not fun.

    The industry has already chosen 650B for now, and I will give it a try. My reasoning for why I can't see it not being worth while is that I love how my 100 mm FS XC 26" Brodie Mettle MTB rides. 650B on my bike or a bike that is similar can only be as good or better.

    One thing I noticed is that there are not as many of the bigger companies making 650B FS XC MTB's with 100 mm travel. It's all about 120-160 mm travel All Mountain or Hardtails. I guess the bike manufacturers feel that 100 mm travel 29'er bikes the world.

    Your statement, to paraphrase, " A 650b can't not be fun to ride as it is between two wheel sizes we already know are fun", is great. It does make a lot of sense.

    Most riders who've spent a lot of time on varied types of 26" wheeled bikes and 29" wheeled bikes will know they clearly both have strengths and weaknesses.

    That being said....

    The way I see it is that for most riding applications the 650b will help diminish the weaknesses of the 26" while probably retaining almost all of the benefits.

    DH and FR aside, too much of mountain biking is about the relatively limited horsepower a human can produce/pedal, and any design that helps alleviate that burden wins out. Little wheels suffer here greatly due to their rolling resistnace and that applies to most types of riding including AM, trail, XC, race. So, larger wheels have quite the advantage. The 29" has the clear advantage here.

    When maneuverability, sturdiness, and longer travel are paramount then the 650b will win out over a 29", but don't give up much to a 26". When overall speed is needed the 29" will likely win. The 26" wheel might be best suited to DH, and FR, but I think the 650b might have the edge even here as it will have better roll-over characteristics.

    There will always be a large contingent of riders that want the simplicity and light weight of a HT, or to a lesser extent, a SS. For the average Joe mountain biker on a HT, the 29er will win out.


    I'd say its the 26" wheel that will fall behind in mainstream mountain biking.


    While it may be a matter of semantics, I wouldn't call a sport that entails only pedaling up a mountain, "mountain biking". By the same rationale, I don't call DH, "mountian biking", or at least not mainstream mountain biking. Nothing against DH, I did it for quite a few years.

    Rocky Mountain bikes is moving the way of 29 for xc/trail, 650b for AM, 26 for DH.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smellurfingers View Post
    I like hyper aggressive posters and internet strongmen.
    Sounds like you are still interested in being president of my fan club?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTB Pilot View Post
    I take it you've never ridden 650b and compared it to 26" on the same frame on your regular trails...Otherwise you wouldn't make such ignorant statements
    You were enjoying the higher bottom bracket. Oh, unless you tried 650B wheels on a geometry corrected frame on your regular trails..... Otherwise you wouldn't make such ignorant statements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatnold View Post
    You were enjoying the higher bottom bracket. Oh, unless you tried 650B wheels on a geometry corrected frame on your regular trails..... Otherwise you wouldn't make such ignorant statements.
    What's your point... What's ignorant about my statement? 13.7 to 14.0 inch unsagged BB height on trails that are all rocks and more rocks is an improvement I've ridden the Carbine and Firebird, each as 26" and 27.5" set-ups on the same trails, multiple times. That fact would not make me nor my statements ignorant on the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Your statement, to paraphrase, " A 650b can't not be fun to ride as it is between two wheel sizes we already know are fun", is great. It does make a lot of sense.

    Most riders who've spent a lot of time on varied types of 26" wheeled bikes and 29" wheeled bikes will know they clearly both have strengths and weaknesses.

    That being said....

    The way I see it is that for most riding applications the 650b will help diminish the weaknesses of the 26" while probably retaining almost all of the benefits.

    DH and FR aside, too much of mountain biking is about the relatively limited horsepower a human can produce/pedal, and any design that helps alleviate that burden wins out. Little wheels suffer here greatly due to their rolling resistnace and that applies to most types of riding including AM, trail, XC, race. So, larger wheels have quite the advantage. The 29" has the clear advantage here.

    When maneuverability, sturdiness, and longer travel are paramount then the 650b will win out over a 29", but don't give up much to a 26". When overall speed is needed the 29" will likely win. The 26" wheel might be best suited to DH, and FR, but I think the 650b might have the edge even here as it will have better roll-over characteristics.

    There will always be a large contingent of riders that want the simplicity and light weight of a HT, or to a lesser extent, a SS. For the average Joe mountain biker on a HT, the 29er will win out.


    I'd say its the 26" wheel that will fall behind in mainstream mountain biking.


    While it may be a matter of semantics, I wouldn't call a sport that entails only pedaling up a mountain, "mountain biking". By the same rationale, I don't call DH, "mountian biking", or at least not mainstream mountain biking. Nothing against DH, I did it for quite a few years.

    Rocky Mountain bikes is moving the way of 29 for xc/trail, 650b for AM, 26 for DH.
    I will probably write about this elsewhere later, but a lot of all of this arguing about wheel sizes comes down to a few simple points.

    As you mentioned, there are advantages for each wheel size for different applications. If you are racing, the fitter you are, the more advantage you will have with 29'er if you can keep your momentum up. For 650B, you may find you can go a bit faster than 26" when racing. For downhill and freeriding, the size and maneuverability of the 26" and perhaps still the 650B may be better than 29.

    There is one thing that is important in all of this, and that is the difference between differences that you adjust to, and the differences that you just can't get used to. Over the years, we've all made changes to our mtb's and often it causes changes that you adjust to. From what I understand, in my limited experience on a 29'er, these bikes feel different, and often it makes riders in single-track and tight twisty trails with opportunities to jump feel that the 29'er is limiting them because it is not "feeling" the way they like, or they actually feel they are unable to make it perform they way they want, be it because of the larger wheels, longer chainstays and/or longer wheelbase. I notice even one person mentioning the gyro effect of the larger wheels. The point is, it makes a difference whether a person takes the time to adjust and then they become used to it.

    It boils down to these three things and/or a combination of these three things:

    1) You either want to go faster;

    2) Have more control over rough terrain

    3) Have more fun on the terrain you ride

    Some people insist that when they go from a 26" bike and try a given wheel size, like a larger 29'er, they never get used to it and find they either don't have the control they used to, and/or they don't have as much fun anymore. This is either because of a lack of the same degree of control in twisty, tight, jumpy trails, or they don't have as much fun because of the degree to which they no longer "feel" the trail. It's funny, because it's the very fact that 29'er roll so much better over stuff that makes them easier to handle the bumps and go faster, that some feel is dulling their ride. On the other hand, the larger wheels and longer wheelbase and chainstays make tight handling less effective and/or rewarding to them. Then again there is increased traction with 29'ers.

    Everybody approaches these changes differently. Some people ride the new wheel size and adapt and appreciate the benefits, while others don't like the changes no matter how long they ride. You simply have to ride all three wheel sizes until you find the one you want, however, I disagree that at this point you can say that any wheel size is wrong. Even 26" mtb's are still perfectly fine. Mine works great, it's just that there are improvements with the other wheel sizes. And it depends also where you ride, who you ride with (what are they riding) and are you racing or not.

    If you are racing, you may want to use the fastest wheel size solution that works for the trails you race on. Even if it doesn't feel the same, and feels like you aren't able to control the bike to the same degree, it's still possible that the 29'er will be a faster choice even on somewhat twisty terrain simply because of it's rollover ability and traction. If you aren't racing and want to just ride and have fun, then 650B and 26" are perfectly fine, or you may like 29'er. It's yet to be determined just how well 650B can compete against 29'er when racing.

    I think when comparing these wheel sizes, if you aren't taking into consideration the following, you aren't giving them all a fair chance.

    Lot's of variables. Are you racing or riding? What do you want out of your riding experience? Can you adjust to a bike with larger wheels on the terrain you ride? Are you having fun?

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    Good thoughts...

    Quote Originally Posted by morkys View Post
    I will probably write about this elsewhere later, but a lot of all of this arguing about wheel sizes comes down to a few simple points.

    As you mentioned, there are advantages for each wheel size for different applications. If you are racing, the fitter you are, the more advantage you will have with 29'er if you can keep your momentum up. For 650B, you may find you can go a bit faster than 26" when racing. For downhill and freeriding, the size and maneuverability of the 26" and perhaps still the 650B may be better than 29.

    There is one thing that is important in all of this, and that is the difference between differences that you adjust to, and the differences that you just can't get used to. Over the years, we've all made changes to our mtb's and often it causes changes that you adjust to. From what I understand, in my limited experience on a 29'er, these bikes feel different, and often it makes riders in single-track and tight twisty trails with opportunities to jump feel that the 29'er is limiting them because it is not "feeling" the way they like, or they actually feel they are unable to make it perform they way they want, be it because of the larger wheels, longer chainstays and/or longer wheelbase. I notice even one person mentioning the gyro effect of the larger wheels. The point is, it makes a difference whether a person takes the time to adjust and then they become used to it.

    It boils down to these three things and/or a combination of these three things:

    1) You either want to go faster;

    2) Have more control over rough terrain

    3) Have more fun on the terrain you ride

    Some people insist that when they go from a 26" bike and try a given wheel size, like a larger 29'er, they never get used to it and find they either don't have the control they used to, and/or they don't have as much fun anymore. This is either because of a lack of the same degree of control in twisty, tight, jumpy trails, or they don't have as much fun because of the degree to which they no longer "feel" the trail. It's funny, because it's the very fact that 29'er roll so much better over stuff that makes them easier to handle the bumps and go faster, that some feel is dulling their ride. On the other hand, the larger wheels and longer wheelbase and chainstays make tight handling less effective and/or rewarding to them. Then again there is increased traction with 29'ers.

    Everybody approaches these changes differently. Some people ride the new wheel size and adapt and appreciate the benefits, while others don't like the changes no matter how long they ride. You simply have to ride all three wheel sizes until you find the one you want, however, I disagree that at this point you can say that any wheel size is wrong. Even 26" mtb's are still perfectly fine. Mine works great, it's just that there are improvements with the other wheel sizes. And it depends also where you ride, who you ride with (what are they riding) and are you racing or not.

    If you are racing, you may want to use the fastest wheel size solution that works for the trails you race on. Even if it doesn't feel the same, and feels like you aren't able to control the bike to the same degree, it's still possible that the 29'er will be a faster choice even on somewhat twisty terrain simply because of it's rollover ability and traction. If you aren't racing and want to just ride and have fun, then 650B and 26" are perfectly fine, or you may like 29'er. It's yet to be determined just how well 650B can compete against 29'er when racing.

    I think when comparing these wheel sizes, if you aren't taking into consideration the following, you aren't giving them all a fair chance.

    Lot's of variables. Are you racing or riding? What do you want out of your riding experience? Can you adjust to a bike with larger wheels on the terrain you ride? Are you having fun?
    Good post.

    One disagreement though...most of us aren't arguing Your post is a good example of open mindedness viewing the issue from more than one angle. Many of us are really into the sport and find if they can't be out riding or trail building they'd rather be reading and posting about biking while drinking their coffee.


    Your 3 questions you posted as a framework in which to help judge the wheel size options is very good, but I'd like to add one more, and that is:

    What type of trails do you ride on?

    Without going into too many details I think trail type strongly influences the wheel size decision. For example, if you ride gravity oriented, well groomed , stunt filled tracks, the 26" will likely be your best bet. For chunky, bumpy, non-buffed, up and down trails larger wheels would be a better choice. Maybe a longer travel 650b or a 29". If your trails are are more open xc-like, then probably a 29".

    Also, keep in mind what each person feels makes a ride "fun" is variable. Personally, my most fun on a bike is clearing technical climbs. Way back when, fun for me on day one was trail riding on my Bullit with a double crown fork, and then the next day, on the same trails, riding my rigid SS.

    You need to consider it might not be much fun for a rider who is on a nimble, 26" bike well designed to handle buffed out, stunt filled trails if the trail he is on has no features to make use of that design.

    I think many riders and their bike type preferences evolve around the types of trails they have availalable, and riding a bike that best suits that terrain will be the most fun.


    It is a misconception that small wheeled bikes are a whole lot more nimble, or maneuverable, and thus "fun", than larger wheeled bikes. Looking at wheelbase, chain stay length, and total bike weight, comparing the overall percent difference between bikes is not that much difference. Keep in mind, when comparing similar bikes of different wheel sizes, a 26" bike will have more travel, a slacker HTA, and thus a relatively longer wheelbase. The wheelbase issue becomes less significant. And, as you've suggested, riders can adapt and compensate.


    Just some thoughts, now it's time for me to go and ride.

  34. #34
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    Looks like some folks think 27.5" will phase out 29", others that it will phase out 26", and others that we will see 3 wheel sizes in mtb for a long time.

    I'm with the 3 size prediction. There are conditions, riders, sus. platforms, and specific characteristics and goals that favor each, and plenty of reasons for anyone with enough coin to own, ride and enjoy at least one of each.


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    Ok, so when comparing wheel sizes, we can actually add more variables, I agree. Maybe it's more complicated.

    The type of trails you ride.
    Whether you want to race and go as fast as possible as your main goal.
    Whether the quicker, more jumpable, wheelie/manual-able and maneuverable quality of a small wheel is desirable to you.
    Whether or not you can adjust to the largest wheel that works on your trails in order to benefit from the better rollover and traction.
    Which wheel size is the most fun to you, gives you the most fun feel of the trail while still providing good rollover and traction.
    How do you fit on different bikes with different wheel sizes?

    I don't think everybody is arguing, but some people become dogmatic about wheel sizes. I think everybody should just ride what they like and there is no reason to say that any one wheel size is the best or that any one wheel size will disappear in any absolute sense, at least, not yet. 29'ers and now 650B bikes are being made now that have geometry that maximizes the effectiveness of their wheel size. More people should try different wheel sizes.

    If anything, I could see the number of xc and all mountian 26" bikes continuing to reduce in numbers bc I believe we may find that 29'ers and 650B can do those tasks as well or better. People who say 29'ers will disappear aren't aware of the number of people enjoying 29'ers, both beginners and experienced riders. I know too many people who love their 29'ers. I could see the existence of 650B reducing the number of 26" bikes, but 29'er is still significantly different from even 650B. I personally can't see 29'er ever being eliminated at this point. I honestly think most bikes in the future will be 650B and 29'er. If I was a millionaire, I'd make 597 mm 650 wheels and play with them too.

    What I am planning to do myself, is get a bicycle going with each wheel size and ride and compare each to one another and also let friends and other riders try and compare too. In the next few years I hope to own:

    1) Keep my 26" FS XC MTB and/or add 650B wheel capability to it (I can run 2.1 Neo on the rear but I hope to modify it to accept up to a 2.35 650B tire)
    2) 650B FS (especially if my experiment with 650B on my 26" FS XC bike isn't enough)
    3) 29'er FS
    4) A 29'er hardtail for use as a convertible 2 x 6-10 geared bike, or a 1 x or a SS and/or fully rigid.

    It will take a while to obtain all these bikes and the hardtail and/or fully rigid world won't be my main place because of a sore low back. Either way, I hope to try and compare these wheel sizes as much as possible. If I can fit 2.35 rear 650B on my FS XC bike then all I will need is a FS 29'er and I can start comparing all the wheel sizes.

    Winter is coming up here in the Toronto area of Canada, so my regular dirt riding season is disappearing. I'll be here on the forums thinking out loud while the snow flies, unless I manage to get out for some winter riding
    Last edited by morkys; 11-24-2012 at 10:03 AM.

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    "The type of trails you ride."

    This ^^^^ is the one. Last year, I had narrowed down my choice of new bikes between a Tallboy C and Blur XCc. XTR builds for both (yeah I know, tough problem to have ) I would have loved an in-between 650b wheel size (SC are you listening), but I ended up with the XCc, knowing that I could always mod it to a 650b.

    For me, it came down to the trails I ride - twisty, flowy, fast, mostly buff singletrack with lots and lots of climbing (3hrs, 4-5k is typical). The XCc was also 3lbs lighter for the exact same build. Add in the fun factor and for me it was a no brainer. The only advantage the 29er had was on a few chunky downhill sections. Everywhere else, the XCc just smoked the Tallboy and did it with much more fun and agility... again, on "the type of trails I ride".

    I firmly believe that all three wheels sizes will flourish, but I also think that you will see 650b making huge inroads with smaller travel bikes. The single biggest limiting factor now is short travel fork production. I think once Fox gets into the under 140mm travel 650b segment (hopefully with light 32mm offerings in 2014), manufacturers will follow with a great selection of short travel 650b bikes.

  37. #37
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    We the people ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ausable View Post
    Here in Europe the 27,5 is getting huge, if you want a race hardtail you can choose from at least 20 different manufacturers.
    Unlike in the US the 5'' trailbile options are quite limited-
    Like i said in many other threads, this ^^. The world =\= US and there are dozens of Euro frame manufacturers that have been making XC racing bikes for months, i've posted quite a few on the pinned frame thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by fatnold View Post
    You were enjoying the higher bottom bracket. Oh, unless you tried 650B wheels on a geometry corrected frame on your regular trails..... Otherwise you wouldn't make such ignorant statements.
    You do know that some frames come with too low BB's and the conversion actually corrects that, right ...... right ?
    2006 Cannondale Rush 650b
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    Yeah, Fox is absent from the 100-120 mm fork market for 650B and there are not as many 100 mm travel 650B FS bikes out there.
    Last edited by morkys; 11-24-2012 at 02:34 PM.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post

    Your 3 questions you posted as a framework in which to help judge the wheel size options is very good, but I'd like to add one more, and that is:

    What type of trails do you ride on?

    Without going into too many details I think trail type strongly influences the wheel size decision.
    My wife and I were just talking about this. The trails I ride on are quite twisty and rooty with lots of switchbacks and sudden steep inclines and short descents - on these trails I personally find a 650b hardtail to be a lot more fun than a 29er. We were looking at a bike video of wide open trails out in Colorado, I think it was, and we decided that if we rode those kind of trails, 29ers might be better.

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    When fox rolls out their 120mm 650B fork, I will celebrate because the xc's are on the way. It could happen in 2013, look how fast Turner and others responded. It seems the geometry does not need a major rework and the FEA could be minimized due to the development of the 29r.

    I would add to the wheel selection equation would be the design considerations of different builders. I want a 650B xc frame but if I can't get say a top tube length that suits me or a suspension that works for me, I'll go 29r even though the 650B is the optimal wheel size for my xc riding. We need multiple builder choices for the wheel size to be competitive in the 29r dominated xc mkt.

    Last point - rider size. I can see that generalities about rider height and wheel size seem valid but there are many shorter riders who ride a 29r and tall riders that have not warmed to the larger wheel. I am with others here, we should hope for a wide range of travel and wheel choices - should the mkt allow.











    Quote Originally Posted by Fiendbear View Post
    "The type of trails you ride."

    This ^^^^ is the one. Last year, I had narrowed down my choice of new bikes between a Tallboy C and Blur XCc. XTR builds for both (yeah I know, tough problem to have ) I would have loved an in-between 650b wheel size (SC are you listening), but I ended up with the XCc, knowing that I could always mod it to a 650b.

    For me, it came down to the trails I ride - twisty, flowy, fast, mostly buff singletrack with lots and lots of climbing (3hrs, 4-5k is typical). The XCc was also 3lbs lighter for the exact same build. Add in the fun factor and for me it was a no brainer. The only advantage the 29er had was on a few chunky downhill sections. Everywhere else, the XCc just smoked the Tallboy and did it with much more fun and agility... again, on "the type of trails I ride".

    I firmly believe that all three wheels sizes will flourish, but I also think that you will see 650b making huge inroads with smaller travel bikes. The single biggest limiting factor now is short travel fork production. I think once Fox gets into the under 140mm travel 650b segment (hopefully with light 32mm offerings in 2014), manufacturers will follow with a great selection of short travel 650b bikes.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by k1creeker View Post
    hmmm...a quick re-read of the posts in this flame-free thread appear to be from a group of riders having a civil discussion. Guess this puts the troll count at 1.

    Etanc, be sure to check in with StiHacka before you post next time.

    I think you would be more lenient so I'll ping you for editing before any further unintended trouble making efforts on my part. Thanks.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by danielsilva View Post


    You do know that some frames come with too low BB's and the conversion actually corrects that, right ...... right ?
    Really? Which one's?

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    My Brodie Mettle has a 12.85 " BB height so a 13.35 BB height is not a bad change for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by morkys View Post
    My Brodie Mettle has a 12.85 " BB height so a 13.35 BB height is not a bad change for me.
    ......but I wouldn't call Paul Brodie's design a mistake that needed correcting.

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    True, my BB height wasn't too low to begin with, but another 1/2" higher shouldn't be bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by morkys View Post
    True, my BB height wasn't too low to begin with, but another 1/2" higher shouldn't be bad.
    Not at all. My comment was really about the post that sorta looked like he was saying that 27.5 will correct poorly designed frames, while I feel the opposite it true. Manufacturers take wheel size into consideration when designing frame geometry. If you have a frame you really like, there's going to be a give and take when converting to larger wheels, especially once the initial stoke wears off. For me to make 27.5 my only bike, the trick is going to be finding a frame that figures out a way to have short chain stays and an aggressive seat tube angle with the increased wheel size, which may not be easy.

    I'd really like to have one as my trail bike but the difference isn't stark enough for me to spend the coin today. I would say if you are a bit uncomfortable on high speed rocky rooty trails, the 27.5 will smooth that out a bit and help keep you off the brakes. In my experience though, there is a bit more front wheel wander though these same sections if you are really blowing through them trying to maintain a tight line and there's a bot more work in the tight and twisty sections......but long up and down singletrack rides, I can't think of a better set up.
    Last edited by smellurfingers; 11-25-2012 at 09:18 AM.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by smellurfingers View Post
    Not at all. My comment was really about the post that sorta looked like he was saying that 27.5 will correct poorly designed frames, while I feel the opposite it true. Manufacturers take wheel size into consideration when designing frame geometry. If you have a frame you really like, there's going to be a give and take when converting to larger wheels, especially once the initial stoke wears off. For me to make 27.5 my only bike, the trick is going to be finding a frame that figures out a way to have short chain stays and an aggressive seat tube angle with the increased wheel size, which may not be easy.
    Gotcha. That is why I want to modify a spare seat stay to allow a larger 650B tire clad wheel to fit. I've compared the specs of BB height and cs length with a true 650B bike like the KHS 3500 and apart from my bike not having the same travel, if I lengthened the effective chainstay length 1/2" or less, and it fits 650B wheels with larger 2.25-2.35 tires, the BB height and cs length will be similar to the KHS 650B bike. And of course, I wouldn't question Paul Brodie's design instincts. My Brodie Mettle has a 70 deg head angle and I chose it for that reason among others. It rides great as is. Hoping 650B wheels don't reduce it's good handling at all.

  48. #48
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    For me, until a big company like Specialized etc. makes a 27.5 HT, it will be a niche in that market. Seems to be gaining popularity in the FS category.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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    Choices are great, but the people claiming the death of 26" wheels obviously don't ride with the same folks that I do. Not everyone needs bigger wheels and for some guys a larger wheel is more of a nuisance than an advantage. I know I'm not the only one that falls into this category and I've ridden all three wheel sizes in varying forms of hardtails and full-suspension. For my riding style the 6" travel 26" bike is the ticket.

    I've seen a whole lot more interest in 650b from 29'er XC guys than from the all-mountain/freeride 26" guys. With 6" or more of suspension if you need a bigger wheel to ride something it's not the bike's fault.

    Hopefully, this is the last time that the bike industry re-invents the wheel.
    Last edited by Dougie; 11-25-2012 at 10:17 AM.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougie View Post
    Choices are great, but the people claiming the death of 26" wheels obviously don't ride with the same folks that I do. ... YES, CHOICES ARE GREAT! So why do so many people get their panties in a wad, when more choices come to the market? Especially when nobody dictates what size you have to use. No, 26" is not dead, nor will it ever be; It's just going to be another choice.

    ...With 6" or more of suspension if you need a bigger wheel to ride something it's not the bike's fault. 6" suspension has nothing to do with climbing rocky technical trails. A larger diameter wheel provides a better roll over capability and a larger contact patch for better leverage in loose and steep climbs.

    Hopefully, this is the last time that the bike industry re-invents the wheel.
    HOLY $H!T, THEY REINVENTED THE WHEEL?!?! I thought they just started recognizing more a wheel size that has been around for some time now.
    Everybody should just relish in the choices, ride what you want and quit whining about the other choices that has no effect on you Not to say that you are whining Dougie, just a statement in general.
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