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  1. #1
    dwt
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    650b buzz: perfect fit for AM?

    Bicycling, Bike Rumour, Mountain Bike Action all recently have come out with articles about a surge of 650b bikes in 2012 and 2013. Links over in the 650b forum.

    Dirt Rag has also chimed in:

    Consensus among the staff here at Dirt Rag is 650b might be the perfect fit for all-mountain bikes as the travel increases into the 140mm+ range. Only recently have 29ers been venturing into this territory, but no design has been ideal. Could all-mountain be the perfect fit, leaving 26-inch for downhill and 29-inch for cross-country?
    Hmmm...
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  2. #2
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    Less travel for the same weight, fewer to no worth while fork options (32mm is bunk), weaker wheels for the same wheel weight/tech/price, tremendously fewer tire options - sounds like all mountain bliss!

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    No one will give a damn about 650b in 5 years. So you'll be stuck with awkward bike frame with limited wheel and tire choices. Almost every good AM bike out there has 26 inches wheels for a reason. I'm also pretty sure you can put fatter tires on a 26 and get close to a 650b tire size.

    Oh if I could buy Mountain Bike Action in a toilet paper roll I would, that's all its really good for.
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  4. #4
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad news View Post
    Less travel for the same weight, fewer to no worth while fork options (32mm is bunk), weaker wheels for the same wheel weight/tech/price, tremendously fewer tire options - sounds like all mountain bliss!
    Market is quickly changing as far as what's available.


    Fox, RockShox, DT-Swiss, Schwalbe and Others Develop 650b gear | The Straight Dirt | MountainBike.com

    Untitled Document
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  5. #5
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    No one will give a damn about 650b in 5 years. .
    That's what I said about 29'ers 5 years ago.

    oops.
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  6. #6
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    could be, but i wish you luck getting an unbiased answer in the holier than thou am forum.

  7. #7
    Axe
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    I am convinced by now that no engineering will really fit 160+mm of travel that I want with 29" wheels. Yeah, yeah, I know the angle that bigger wheel do not need as much travel, they can do with thinner tires to compensate for weight, whatever. Discussed ad nauseum, everybody can figure things out by know for themselves.

    I will be happy to see what they can do with 650b, especially if some good rubber (Trail King and Big Betty, and Nobby Nic will do) shows up.

  8. #8
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    No one will give a damn about 650b in 5 years.
    And replace it with what? Its a wheel size, you got to have wheels on a bike. Are you planning on riding your hoverboard?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    And replace it with what? Its a wheel size, you got to have wheels on a bike. Are you planning on riding your hoverboard?
    Yes my bike does have wheels. Funny how that works.

    My point it is stupid marketing crap. The 650b size is splitting hairs between 2 legitimate wheels size, 26 and 29. So what's next 26.75 inch wheels? 28.25 inch wheels? What wheel size will some company pay MBA to push into bikers next?
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  10. #10
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    could be, but i wish you luck getting an unbiased answer in the holier than thou am forum.
    I suppose some folks think it's better to be holier than thou in the AM Forum than a poseur in the Downhill-Feeride forum, eh?
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  11. #11
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    Yes my bike does have wheels. Funny how that works.

    My point it is stupid marketing crap. The 650b size is splitting hairs between 2 legitimate wheels size, 26 and 29. So what's next 26.75 inch wheels? 28.25 inch wheels? What wheel size will some company pay MBA to push into bikers next?
    Who appointed you the judge of what is "legitimate?" The 650b wheel size is about 80 years old. It rolls better than 26, but small enough to fit on a bike with more travel than a 29'er can take. So what's the problem?
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  12. #12
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    Yes my bike does have wheels. Funny how that works.

    My point it is stupid marketing crap. The 650b size is splitting hairs between 2 legitimate wheels size, 26 and 29. So what's next 26.75 inch wheels? 28.25 inch wheels? What wheel size will some company pay MBA to push into bikers next?
    No, it is NOT splitting hairs. There is a distinct technical challenge of fitting 29" wheels in a long travel frame, especially for smaller frame sizes. It does make a complete sense to have another option.

    It is not a new size standard. It is 100 years old. It is an accident it was not adopted for mountain biking in the beginning.

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    Has anyone tried a 650 wheel on the front of their
    bike and kept the 26er on the back? I have thought
    about doing this but I'm not sure how good it would
    work. Also could the wheel and tire fit a 26er fork?
    Or is this whole idea not worth it?

    Best, John

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    VTSession's right. Why do we need to consider a wheel size improvement? It's just like these newfangled suspension forks and shocks, hydraulic disc brake thingies, clipless pedals (why are they called clipless anyway?), seatposts that you can raise and lower by wasting time with a handlebar remote, oversized handlebars and stems, tapered headtubes, multi-durometer tires that actually grip on mountain bike trails, fragile carbon fiber that has no place on a mountain, sealed bearings that can't be rebuilt 5 times a month, through-axle hubs that take the excitement out of lofting your front wheel and trying to stick a line, gears (actually, there's a point there...), etc. Heck, why did we ever improve on the original Schwinn's in the first place? Too much hair-splitting. Stupid companies trying to sell their products by improving them. I BLAME MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    I suppose some folks think it's better to be holier than thou in the AM Forum than a poseur in the Downhill-Feeride forum, eh?
    because nothing is funner than arguing about made up physics on the interwebs!

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    both of my 6" bikes are tons of fun on 26" wheels , w/ a 650b conversion f/r they became much faster bikes that are now megatons of fun .

    building a 4" 650b bike now , going for the somewhat light / fairly heavy duty , xc'ish type

    i'm sold on 650 , it may be the perfect size .

    26" is the standard because it was commonplace and easy to adopt/morph into mtn bike useage , 29ers are 700c road wheels adopted because some enlightend few saw the faults in the 26 stuff an wanted to go faster, now people cry about the 29 stuff being too big for other than xc . so the mfg'ers , a couple of cottage shops and a few private induviduals weigh the pros and cons of both , look at whats out there and whip up some 650b stuff in an effort to find perfection . they are the new kids on the block and are getting some ribbing by naysayers and doubters , most of which have zero experience w/ said product . this is to be expected

    my first ever "mtn bike" experience was is the early 80's on my fiends sisters 650 touring rig that had semi knobs on it , she was in the army and brought it back from europe w/ lots of extra tires . smart girl . my second exp was on a c-dale w/ a 26front/24rear (85ish?), more like a bmxer but not fast

    i've always wondered why a $8k trick arse , super wazoo , latest greatest , uberlight 26"xc race winning machine of late was not as fast as that old touring rig , until i converted my bike

    3 more bikes to convert and i'll be done

    yeah , wheel weight , yep they weigh more than a 26" of comparable strength/cost but also less than a 29er of same caliber . if you want to cry about wheel weight go ride a 20"mini .

    so the 650b thing .............don't knock it till you try it kids , if you have no experience on a 650b machine i believe you don't know jack shite about them .

    in reality , what we should all be saying is something along the lines of " wow, cool new stuff out there, something for everybody now , this is good for the sport" .

  17. #17
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    Has anyone tried a 650 wheel on the front of their
    bike and kept the 26er on the back? I have thought
    about doing this but I'm not sure how good it would
    work. Also could the wheel and tire fit a 26er fork?
    Or is this whole idea not worth it?

    Over in the 650b forum this set up is known as "b26" and many folks start out that way. I did. Check that forum for threads on this, and also 650b compatible forks. Briefly, no rockshox and all Foxes can be used with 650b. The Rockshox braces are too low. Fox does not sanction use of their 26" forks with the bigger wheel even though they fit under the brace. Theoreticaly if the fork seals blow and all air is pushed out, the crown can sink below the brace and jam into the tire, thereby launching the rider into space.

    I had a rockshox fork so I bought an X-Fusion Velvet fork from Speedgoat for cheaper than a used Fox sells on eBay. Its a simpler designed fork but light and works fine for my needs You can definitely feel the better roll with the b26, but I found that my rear wheel often was not up to the task of getting over obstacles smoothly when climbing that the front wheel rolled over. So I built a rear 650b wheel and it fit my Chinese carbon hardtail with about 1/4" clearance which works fine even in the mud. Again, check the 650b forum for frames that can be converted. The geometry is a little off and your bb height goes up on a conversion, but otherwise it is ok to get the full experience of the wheel size

    Liking it much, I sold my 26" dualie on eBay and bought a new 2010 Jamis 650 B2 also on eBay for a sick closeout price in September. That's a 5" trail bike and it rocked my world. My riding buds moved from 26" to 29" and thought I was nuts to get a "non standard boutique" bike. I don't think so and things seem to be trending for 650b as the right size for 5-7" of travel.

    We'll see. Good luck
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  18. #18
    007
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    I've got a new set of hubs on the way and am trying to figure out if I want to try the 650b thing or not . . . I know that the rim options for AM are there (Stans Flows), but the one thing thats kinda holding me back right now are the tire selections. I'm sure there are more rubber options than I'm aware of, but right now it seems like there's only a handful of 650b tires readily available.

    I'm also really excited about the Fox 34's coming out . . . I think those are going to be a great trail fork.
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    650b as it's been said is nothing new. It's been used in europe for years etc.. over there 29er's are like 650's, the complete opposite of the US. For some reason we adopted the ungodly size of 29 and keep trying to push it into bigger an bigger frames etc.. As you go up in suspension, it just makes sense from a design aspect that the wheels would get smaller. It's coming and I think you will see 29ers rule the xc circuit, but 650's get very popular in the longer travel trail bike/all mountain etc...
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  20. #20
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    Yay I hope they accelerate the 650b! I want a 5-6" 650b nomad or similar. I ride xc to dh and own 26ers and a 29. I am almost 100% sure 650b is the sweet spot for me for trail/am/light fr. That said, I wont buy into 650b until it is well established. I am quite particular especially given my height and weight.
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  21. #21
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    Oh look, Fedex just dropped of some Stan's Flow 650b rims.....
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    We'll see what the market decides. 29er has probably reached its limit in the market; as 29ers make great xc/trail bikes but start to become more and more niche as you progress into DH. 650b may well be the AM choice 5 years down the road and may even penetrate the DH market; it has a small yet devoted set of followers which may convince others to give it a shot.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post

    Over in the 650b forum this set up is known as "b26" and many folks start out that way. I did. Check that forum for threads on this, and also 650b compatible forks. Briefly, no rockshox and all Foxes can be used with 650b. The Rockshox braces are too low.
    This is not 100 percent accurate.

    there are a few Rockshox models that work such as the Pike, and a few other models (Lyrik I think).
    [IMG]http://forums.mtbr.com/data:image/gif,GIF89a%12%00%12%00%B3%00%00%FF%FF%FF%F7%F7%EF% CC%CC%CC%BD%BE%BD%99%99%99ZYZRUR%00%00%00%FE%01%02 %00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%0 0%00%00%00%00%21%F9%04%04%14%00%FF%00%2C%00%00%00% 00%12%00%12%00%00%04X0%C8I%2B%1D8%EB%3D%E4%00%60%2 8%8A%85%17%0AG*%8C%40%19%7C%00J%08%C4%B1%92%26z%C7 6%FE%02%07%C2%89v%F0%7Dz%C3b%C8u%14%82V5%23o%A7%13 %19L%BCY-%25%7D%A6l%DF%D0%F5%C7%02%85%5B%D82%90%CBT%87%D8i7 %88Y%A8%DB%EFx%8B%DE%12%01%00%3B[/IMG]

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMcG View Post
    This is not 100 percent accurate.

    there are a few Rockshox models that work such as the Pike, and a few other models (Lyrik I think).
    [IMG]http://forums.mtbr.com/data:image/gif,GIF89a%12%00%12%00%B3%00%00%FF%FF%FF%F7%F7%EF% CC%CC%CC%BD%BE%BD%99%99%99ZYZRUR%00%00%00%FE%01%02 %00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%0 0%00%00%00%00%21%F9%04%04%14%00%FF%00%2C%00%00%00% 00%12%00%12%00%00%04X0%C8I%2B%1D8%EB%3D%E4%00%60%2 8%8A%85%17%0AG*%8C%40%19%7C%00J%08%C4%B1%92%26z%C7 6%FE%02%07%C2%89v%F0%7Dz%C3b%C8u%14%82V5%23o%A7%13 %19L%BCY-%25%7D%A6l%DF%D0%F5%C7%02%85%5B%D82%90%CBT%87%D8i7 %88Y%A8%DB%EFx%8B%DE%12%01%00%3B[/IMG]
    if Pike supports 650bs then they are not bigger than my 26 inch wheels with Conti RQ 2.4 because clearance between knobs and the fork arc is less than 1/4 inch.

  25. #25
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex_k View Post
    if Pike supports 650bs then they are not bigger than my 26 inch wheels with Conti RQ 2.4 because clearance between knobs and the fork arc is less than 1/4 inch.
    Right, and fat bikes have the same diameter as 29rs.

    But you can get 550g 2.25" Racing Ralph and it will be bigger the 510 2.25" Racing Ralph on 26".

    I wish they made RQ in 650b. Then I will be very inclined to try it.

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