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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by CannondaleF9 View Post
    All I hope is that the longer travel 29ers stay in production and that the new trend dies down as fast as it was born.
    Agreed, it might have stuck a bit better before the trail and HT angles started to be dialed across the board on 29ers, but at this point the long travel 29" units are so good, I'd only recommend the 27.5 option for somebody speccing a 17" or smaller frame, or who wants a more above-the-bike feel out of a long travel setup.
    On women's bikes, in the median size range 650B is a real improvement, because the wheel center isn't as high up as the seat tube is tall anymore, so bottom bracket drop can be in the right spot, but we're not describing a very large or lucrative part of the market discussing really discerning ladies who ride aggressive bikes.

    Out where I ride, the 29 shines just about everywhere, and unless I want to spend huge cash on a really light carbon bike with slick and supple suspension, I'm not going to have that same ability to clear chunky stuff the mid-priced 29" units specced with more reasonable parts (SLX, FoxCTD) that difference is even more pronounced.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigsj View Post
    26ers and 650b are not well differentiated. 650b only exists, after all, because it could drop into existing 26er frames. Likewise, if you really wanted a 26er you could buy a 650b bike and downgrade the wheels. There's just not that much difference.

    Furthermore, manufacturers pushed 650b bikes to market because they could claim new lineups without doing much to support a wheel that's virtually the same as what it replaced. They gain the latest buzz with little investment.

    As a manufacturer, why would you maintain a 26er lineup when you have a 650b one? 650b is new, has surging interest, and is the same as 26er functionally. 26ers are alive and well, they are just called 650b now. Anyone who's ridden a 26er has ridden a 650b, no need to pretend it's any different.

    On the bright side, 650b sucks a little less than 26", so the industry improves a little bit, though at a cost not worth the benefit. 26er will die in all markets eventually. DH will just happen later.
    Makes a lot of sense.
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by tehllama View Post
    I'd only recommend the 27.5 option for somebody speccing a 17" or smaller frame, or who wants a more above-the-bike feel out of a long travel setup.
    On women's bikes, in the median size range 650B is a real improvement, because the wheel center isn't as high up as the seat tube is tall anymore, so bottom bracket drop can be in the right spot, but we're not describing a very large or lucrative part of the market discussing really discerning ladies who ride aggressive bikes.
    Sure fit is better, but a 26" fits even better.

    As a 5'4" female who owns both 26er and 29ers, the problem with 650b/27.5 is that the wheels size is negligible from what I am already riding. If you want sheer roll over, screw the 650b, it is not even worth discussing.

  4. #29
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    I wonder if people like the geometry of the newer 650b bikes over the wheel size? I know it's anecdotal, but from talking to people on the trail, and riding partners, with 650b bikes, most weren't sure if they could tell the difference between 26" and 650b wheels, but all did say they loved the bikes.

    I'd like to throw a leg over a 650b bike, a lot of them look fun.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  5. #30
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    650B Marketing is working

    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    I wonder if people like the geometry of the newer 650b bikes over the wheel size? I know it's anecdotal, but from talking to people on the trail, and riding partners, with 650b bikes, most weren't sure if they could tell the difference between 26" and 650b wheels, but all did say they loved the bikes.

    I'd like to throw a leg over a 650b bike, a lot of them look fun.
    Very good point that I've considered because my DJ/Park bike and 29r have slack front, short stays, long tt, short stems. I disliked 29rs prior to that bike. The 650Bs I liked most are that style and 650B I liked least is shorter.

    I could tell a difference between wheel sizes when I rode my 26 in Covert back to back with mid and big wheel bikes on trails and features I know well.

  6. #31
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    For me the 650B rides more like a 26er than a 29er. My new 650B is the
    best trail bike I've ever had, but I think it has more to do with having DW
    Link suspension.

  7. #32
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    Re: 650B Marketing is working

    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    I wonder if people like the geometry of the newer 650b bikes over the wheel size? I know it's anecdotal, but from talking to people on the trail, and riding partners, with 650b bikes, most weren't sure if they could tell the difference between 26" and 650b wheels, but all did say they loved the bikes.

    I'd like to throw a leg over a 650b bike, a lot of them look fun.
    I got a 650b because no lbs around me was selling slack 6 inch vs 26ers. Demoing bikes made it fairly clear that my stumpy legs and long torso favored the tweener size over most the 29ers. Exceptions were the prices 111 and stump jumper. But dollar for dollar I could get a better bike in 650b.

    Love the bike (Troy) it has a shorter wheel base than the stump jumper. But with the Hans dampf only slightly smaller wheels at 28.25. Can't compare to a 26 or even an fs 2929er but coming off a ht 2929er I don't miss the roll over.

    Though really the geometry makes a much larger difference than nominal wheel size.
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  8. #33
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    Frankly, I think the 27.5 is stupid. But the 28.25...now that's a wheel size I could fully support.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcmxa View Post
    But with the Hans dampf only slightly smaller wheels at 28.25.
    The difference between 29 and 650b is 38mm always. Choice of tire doesn't change that. "Nominal wheel size" is irrelevant, it's just a name.

  10. #35
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    Re: 650B Marketing is working

    Quote Originally Posted by craigsj View Post
    The difference between 29 and 650b is 38mm always. Choice of tire doesn't change that. "Nominal wheel size" is irrelevant, it's just a name.
    Sure, that is true. My point is one can run differing volume weight of tires and alter the characteristics of the wheel fairly drastically and that other elements of the bike, such as geometry probably are more important than wheel size.

    Most of the time people seem to focus on just size in these debates, as if that was the only difference between bikes. They are these discussions that occur in all other elements being equal fictional universes. Nothing is ever held equal in the real world.

    Some 26er wheels are heavier than some 29er wheels but will be stiffer and wider. Just think off all the variables possible in wheels alone. Now throw in all the variables fit frames and components. And add cost as a major factor.

    I don't know how other people buy bikes do can't really comment on the marketing issue and how well it is working. I don't read bike magazines. I come on this forum using tapatalk mostly do don't see the ads. There are no bike billboards where I live. I dint go to races and I don't watch biking in tv. I read reviews which are influenced by marketing.

    When I got my new bike a few weeks ago, I had been liking for months, testing and dwelling bikes. I didn't look for a wheel size. I tried 29 and 27.5. I would have tried 26 but there were none in my area that meet my other qualifications for shock quality and travel and geometry.

    A subset of people on these forums get hung up on when size as if that is all people consider as if that is the only variation between bikes our all other options are equal when that is not true.

    Everything is a compromise. I got the fork and frame I wanted and components I could tolerate since not compromising would have meant waiting much longer to get a bike better suited to how I ride.

    Maybe everyone else just looks at the pictures in magazines and reads giant's expansion of wheel size and decides that 27.5 bike is for them and that is what they go get.

    Our maybe 27.5 cane about because some riders were wanting a slightly larger wheel and after years a couple of smaller manufacturers, like Jamis, started producing them and me riders liked them and bought them so more manufactures produced them and the market segment got to be big enough that it was worth manufacturers advertising based on that size as it would cause a shift in buying and perhaps spoke bike sales and it has caught on to the point where 26 is disappearing so people like me buy in because that is just what there is.

    I don't really know.

    I like to ride my bike though.
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  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    Sure fit is better, but a 26" fits even better.

    As a 5'4" female who owns both 26er and 29ers, the problem with 650b/27.5 is that the wheels size is negligible from what I am already riding. If you want sheer roll over, screw the 650b, it is not even worth discussing.
    One of the most profound responses I have come across with regard to this debate. Thank you.

    My take: it's good we have choices; ride what fits you and makes you happiest. End of rant.

  12. #37
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    I think it's less the marketing of 27.5, and more the absence of new 26" models.
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  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    I think it's less the marketing of 27.5, and more the absence of new 26" models.
    The absence of new 26" models due to the marketing of 27.5. The companies WANT us to buy them so they FORCE us to buy them.
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  14. #39
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    Interesting note from a parent who just bought bikes for his 11 and 9-year olds. Both kids (a daughter and a son) were moving up from 24" wheel bikes. Both are tall for their age, and we purchased adult frames for them. My daughter is on a 17" frame, while my son is on a 13".

    We had both kids ride a number of test bikes.

    My 9 year-old son couldn't reliably handle a 650B wheeled bike, but he did quite well on the 26". My 11 year-old daughter would handle either, but she looked more comfortable with the 26", so we went with that bike.

    It could be that 26" will become a kids' wheel size.
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  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    I wonder if people like the geometry of the newer 650b bikes over the wheel size? I know it's anecdotal, but from talking to people on the trail, and riding partners, with 650b bikes, most weren't sure if they could tell the difference between 26" and 650b wheels, but all did say they loved the bikes.

    I'd like to throw a leg over a 650b bike, a lot of them look fun.
    As GSJ1973 pointed out back on page 1, 27.5 is less than a 4% increase in diameter. I can't get myself to believe this will make any discernable performance differences. The thing is, I agree with you here too OldHouseMan: while the new wheel size alone doesn't make a difference, the demand influenced (and enabled) the industry to redesign bikes, and things like geometry, materials and other features have improved a bit faster as a result. For this reason, I think the 27.5 surge is a good thing. Some awesome new bikes out. It's just my opinion that many of these bikes would be just as awesome if they had 26" wheels.

    I was recently shopping for a trail bike and found a bike with the geo and other characteristics I wanted and it happened to have 26" wheels: a Knolly Endorphin. Saved me some cash too

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmovies.org View Post
    It could be that 26" will become a kids' wheel size.
    Thought they always were.
























    kidding....kidding....please, no death threats from the 26" fans.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmovies.org View Post
    Interesting note from a parent who just bought bikes for his 11 and 9-year olds. Both kids (a daughter and a son) were moving up from 24" wheel bikes. Both are tall for their age, and we purchased adult frames for them. My daughter is on a 17" frame, while my son is on a 13".

    We had both kids ride a number of test bikes.

    My 9 year-old son couldn't reliably handle a 650B wheeled bike, but he did quite well on the 26". My 11 year-old daughter would handle either, but she looked more comfortable with the 26", so we went with that bike.

    It could be that 26" will become a kids' wheel size.
    The first determining factor when choosing a wheel size IS rider height. There are other factors but in MOST cases.... taller the rider = bigger wheel size.

    At one point I had 12',16',20',24', 26' and 29" wheeled bikes in my garage. Now that my boys are older (9,13,17) we have 20" (BMX) 26" and 29".

    I have been riding 29'ers since 2005 and love them. If 27.5 wheeled bikes would have come out first I would have given them a try. I am 6'2" and ride mostly XC so 29" wheeled bikes work great. If I was to get more into aggressive trail riding I would consider a 27.5" wheeled bike....at least demo one.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by CannondaleF9 View Post
    The absence of new 26" models due to the marketing of 27.5. The companies WANT us to buy them so they FORCE us to buy them.
    I don't think they're forcing anyone. There are still many vendors out there with 26" wheel models, and many of them quite good. BUT, due to previous marketing (and people with 26" frames putting 27.5 wheels on them), it's just the "next thing". MTB business is all about what's new, and sometimes about what's better.

    That being said, I did just buy a Remedy 8 27.5! I really haven't noticed much of a difference between the Remedy and my 2012 Blur LTc aside from the suspension design. That's a good thing!
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  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    Sure fit is better, but a 26" fits even better.

    As a 5'4" female who owns both 26er and 29ers, the problem with 650b/27.5 is that the wheels size is negligible from what I am already riding. If you want sheer roll over, screw the 650b, it is not even worth discussing.
    Very true - I guess I was trying to figure out what an ideal quiver bike would be, since most buyers are looking for a bike that fits well enough to do what they'll charge through on the hard side, but still roll well enough to handle most of what they're actually riding (XC-CX stuff by mileage). It's more of a case where a bike with decent rollover can have a lower standover while still keeping a bit of BB drop - it doesn't sound like much because it isn't much, but I can appreciate why the smaller frame setups on trail bikes can be better in a lot of the geometry minutiae like chainstay length, standover, and trail with slightly smaller wheels.

    I still defer to your practical judgement on that, because at my size if I care about anything other than descending then I'm on a 29er all day every day. I'm Deezee's size, so that's just the size of bike that feels right, and comes with all the benefits of physics now that the hardware has gotten so well sorted.

  20. #45
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    I have weird proportions - 5'11" with a 35in inseam. I feel like I sit on top of the 27.5 bikes and because I weigh a lot it is hard to keep the front end down when climbing a steep hill. I like the roll over ability of the 29er and the snappy feel of my short travel 29er. I have a SuperMax fork and carbon rims and those combined with a stiff frame creates an east coast machine. Ironically I can run RaRa and RoRo tires without getting flats. I have to run a heavier rear tire on my 27.5 but to be fair with that bike I get lazy about choosing lines with a 150mm Pike and a 900+gm tire on the front. It's a hoot going down hill and popping over stuff, but the 29er is like a locomotive - its fast and all business and only front travel and impending doom limits its speed. The bad thing about a 29er is running aggressive tires. On my 29er they are slow, slow, and slow. Great traction however. The TK on the rear of my 27.5 feels like it spins up more quickly. All being said, the 29er, even with shorter travel, gets me through the chunk more quickly than my longer travel 27.5 and kills it on the flats and climbs. Would the decision be different if my inseam was shorter? Quite possibly.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcmxa View Post
    Sure, that is true. My point is one can run differing volume weight of tires and alter the characteristics of the wheel fairly drastically and that other elements of the bike, such as geometry probably are more important than wheel size.

    Most of the time people seem to focus on just size in these debates, as if that was the only difference between bikes. They are these discussions that occur in all other elements being equal fictional universes. Nothing is ever held equal in the real world.
    I agree but you were guilty of this yourself. You changed the entire bike, including wheel size and tires, then proclaimed "coming off a ht 29er I don't miss the roll over." How would you know? You focused on wheel size while changing things you acknowledge are more important. Perhaps your 27.5 bike with 29er wheels would be even better. You may be missing the rollover and don't know it and you can't mitigate the disadvantage of the smaller wheel by using as large a tire as you can find then pretend that tire doesn't exist for 29" too!

    Ultimately we ride bikes, not wheels. It's true that larger wheels work better, if you have the room, but that's no guarantee that a given 29er rides well. I'm confident that many 650b bikes ride well, often better than some 29ers...but that's in spite of the wheel size, not because of it. MTB performance progresses and much of that doesn't involve the wheel itself.

  22. #47
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    This is one of those weird internet discussions where logic and reason seems to have prevailed - there so much other than just wheel size on the bikes that changes the character of the ride, we're finding most of the angles that come back to that same inescapable conclusion.

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    I don't think they're forcing anyone.
    Well, if you are a bike shop selling Giant for instance and boom the marketing comes out virtually eliminating two wheel sizes it sure seems like it. My local lbs for instance struggled and had to pick up a few new lines to be able to sell 29ers for instance last year. Giant all but wants to eliminate 2 wheel sizes when you read the below.

    650B For Giant's 2014 Elite-Level Mountain Bikes - Pinkbike

    "The off-road world now has three wheel sizes from which to choose. Through extensive research and ride testing, Giant has
    thoroughly analyzed how each size performs under different riding styles and in varying conditions. Our findings show that
    mountain bikes with 27.5-inch wheels deliver superior performance without the compromises of 26 or 29-inch-wheel bikes.
    So to create the best off-road riding experience, Giant has fully committed its 2014 lineup to this superior technology."


    27.5 TECHNOLOGY: Three reasons to believe











    I do think Craig summed it nicely in another post about the 3.7% difference, I always thought it was about 3.5%. Anyway, hardly "new technology" and the above marketing is very misleading when you ride the bikes back to back, IMHO.

  24. #49
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    I LOVE those infographics.

    FWIW, it ain't working at my LBS. And the local Giant shop got sold this spring. Go figure...

  25. #50
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    Heh, that's funny! The local Giant shop in my town also just sold. Probably coincidence, but perhaps not. If you can afford it, I think it makes more sense to offer a wide range of products and let the consumer decide what they like best.
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