Got an older('96) Heckler that was my main ride back in the day but spends time as a back up bike now. One of those that is worth more to me than the few dollars I could get if I sold it. Don't mind putting time and money into a conversion to 650, and have a few questions for those with experience.

Front fork (Manitou Skareb 120) won't clear a 650 wheel with big tire as it barely clears a 26 2.4 racing ralph. Would like to use a big volume tire up front so new fork is a given. How about a 29 fork? Or should I stick with a dedicated 650?

I would probably get Stans Arch/Hope 650 wheelset. Front brake will be disc as fork and wheel set will work but bike only has V-brake mounts on the rear stays. If the V-brake will work on the Stans wheel that would be best as my trails are mostly XC single track stuff with some man made features. V-brakes are XT and actually stop pretty damn good.

Any advice on this conversion?