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  1. #1
    Genius
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    650b Fad or not?

    As a business owner I will sell anyone, anything they are willing to buy. I have no problem watching others spend money as they see fit. But I see 650b as a fad. Bikes are like trendy clothes. The manufacturers have to come out with the "next great thing" every few years so they can sell us "something better". Unfortunately, its really not better, its just different. There is no science behind it that says its better, rather its a marketing scheme to get you and me to buy more, by telling us the bike will somehow make us better riders which is a falsehood.

    30 years ago there was really just one "mountain bike". Now there are 15 genres of the mountain bike and the water has become muddied to the point that most people don't really even know what they REALLY need for the type of riding they actually do. Study after study, test after test, shows no measurable improvement from a 26 to a 29. Where one has an advantage/disadvantage the other has an advantage/disadvantage so in the end its a moot point. This is the same with 650b, where it will have a slight advantage against the others, it will have a disadvantage some where else which will be the equalizer.

    I personally would rather see manufacturers continue to improve upon what we already have, rather than introduce a new platform. But alas, most people will still buy into the fad, and then a couple years later not be happy with the 650 and will go onto the the next fad. The 650b size has been around for a long time — at least 50 years. It was a popular trekking and tandem size in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, for instance.

    It's history repeating itself, its predictable, and therefore is a fad.

    I welcome your thoughts and look forward to the discussion.
    Last edited by De La Pena; 12-09-2012 at 12:43 PM.
    "I think im gonna go to walmart and look at the mountain bikes and see if i can salvage the rear frame."- Nick_Knipp 3/21/12

  2. #2
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    10 years in and the manufacturers on board and its still a fad?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    10 years in and the manufacturers on board and its still a fad?
    Yep ^^^ just like 29'ers were thought of as a fad 13 years ago. Same with the 26'er they all have their followers and place in the sport. I don't think any of them will be dropped, at least not in the near future. "Run what ya brung" and stop sweating what the competition is using. Besides they have been around long enough that even if all manufacturing stopped, there is enough parts in the marketplace to satisfy the need for many years to come.
    Last edited by DIRTJUNKIE; 12-09-2012 at 12:21 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    10 years in and the manufacturers on board and its still a fad?
    Thats just it. 650 has been available for a good decade but yet many manufacturers still haven't touched it and don't plan to, while others are just now, or in the next year or two planning on releasing such a bike.

    There is also 32" & 36"ers that debuted in actual races in 2007 and are currently being sold by a select few at this very moment. Any traction there?
    Last edited by De La Pena; 12-09-2012 at 12:36 PM.
    "I think im gonna go to walmart and look at the mountain bikes and see if i can salvage the rear frame."- Nick_Knipp 3/21/12

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6bobby9 View Post
    Thats just it. 650 has been available for a good decade but yet many manufacturers still haven't touched it and don't plan to, while others are just now, or in the next year or two planning on releasing such a bike.

    There is also a 33" bike being offered by a rare select few. Any traction there?
    You answered your own question. "While others are just now, or in the next year or two planning on releasing such a bike".
    Right there it should tell you it's not going away anytime soon. The ones that are holding back will soon follow or miss the boat. This same thing happened back in the early 29'er history. Many refused to jump thinking it was a fad but soon realized the huge desire in the marketplace. And before you knew it everyone was on board with it. The 29'er had several years of slow but all of a sudden took off. I suspect the 650b will follow suit. As for the 32"-33" -36 that IMO may or may not stick around but if so will always only have a small diehard select following.
    Last edited by DIRTJUNKIE; 12-09-2012 at 12:45 PM.
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  6. #6
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    BTW. The 650b size has been around for a long time — at least 50 years. It was a popular trekking and tandem size in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, for instance. So it's not new. Its just back.
    "I think im gonna go to walmart and look at the mountain bikes and see if i can salvage the rear frame."- Nick_Knipp 3/21/12

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6bobby9 View Post
    BTW. The 650b size has been around for a long time — at least 50 years. It was a popular trekking and tandem size in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, for instance. So it's not new. Its just back.
    True! But in the MTB world it's only been about 10 years. Most any size will work on the pavement.
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  8. #8
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    me thinks i detect a troll.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    me thinks i detect a troll.
    Now that's going to leave a mark.
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  10. #10
    AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6bobby9 View Post
    BTW. The 650b size has been around for a long time — at least 50 years. It was a popular trekking and tandem size in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, for instance. So it's not new. Its just back.



    Nice! So it cant be a fad then.

  11. #11
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    Love mine. I haven't been on my 26" since I got my 650B a year ago. Nino Schurter seems to like his. Logan Binggeli did OK on his at the Red Bull Rampage.I always think it's funny that some people are self-appointed keepers of the approved wheel size flame. I guess since 29ers caught on, they had to find a new holy grail to hate. Like my kids tell me, haters gonna hate.

  12. #12
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    I kinda stand on the same side as the OP. 650 wheels have been around for decades. Road trickles down to mtn biking. Argue it all you want. Whats the percentage of 650's on the road?

    Remember the 24/26? Suppost to make DH bikes spin up faster in the 90"s. How many
    DH bikes are running this today?

    How about 69ers? Whats the percentage of those being ridden today? built? sold?

    What is the percentage of road bikes with 650 wheels being ridden and sold these days? Who's buying/riding them?

    Lets face it. Theres only so many times you can reinvent the wheel.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo Troll View Post
    I kinda stand on the same side as the OP. 650 wheels have been around for decades. Road trickles down to mtn biking. Argue it all you want. Whats the percentage of 650's on the road?

    Remember the 24/26? Suppost to make DH bikes spin up faster in the 90"s. How many
    DH bikes are running this today?

    How about 69ers? Whats the percentage of those being ridden today? built? sold?

    What is the percentage of road bikes with 650 wheels being ridden and sold these days? Who's buying/riding them?

    Lets face it. Theres only so many times you can reinvent the wheel.




    They sell plenty of them in Europe.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    They sell plenty of them in Europe.
    And I predict 650b will take off huge in the U.S.A. here shortly.
    I know for myself having been on 26'ers for all of my MTB time. And not being completely sold on 29'ers, if I were in the market for a new ride the 650b would be at the top of my list. A happy medium between the 26'er and 29'er.
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  15. #15
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    Don't think so, I like mine. Unlike the 29er there's not much to adapt and so far it fits many of the bikes I ride. For the most part the experience has been great and it enhances the riding experience, lots of pros and not as much cons I can see when the time comes to replacing the wheel I'd go 650b.

  16. #16
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    I'm thinking 650b rear and 29er front.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    I'm thinking 650b rear and 29er front.
    A 97er

  18. #18
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Mountain bikes are just a fad.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    Mountain bikes are just a fad.
    ^ This.

  20. #20
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    Some of the first MT bikes were 650b. 26" wheels were taxed at a lesser rate since they were kid wheels. Seriously! That is why they flourished.

    I converted my Prophet to 650b. It is a better bike. I know a few people who ride 650b as well. Definately not a fad.
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  21. #21
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    It seems like a nice in between for some people. Its just more options and better for the industry all around. Having never ridden one I still I think at some point it may take over 29er sales.

  22. #22
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    Each wheel has it's own domain in my opinion. I ride fast XC trails, therefore a wheel size that rolls fast is important to me, so I ride a 29er.
    Something wrong with your bike? Blame it on super human strength and sleep well at night knowing you are more than a man.

  23. #23
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    In the history of bikes, many wheel sizes have been added, and very few 'deleted'.
    Many of us are simply thinking, 'well, it was about time!'

    Progress rolls on....

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinewmexico View Post
    Love mine. I haven't been on my 26" since I got my 650B a year ago. Nino Schurter seems to like his. Logan Binggeli did OK on his at the Red Bull Rampage.I always think it's funny that some people are self-appointed keepers of the approved wheel size flame. I guess since 29ers caught on, they had to find a new holy grail to hate. Like my kids tell me, haters gonna hate.
    Perhaps next time you should let your kid's respond.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo Troll View Post
    I kinda stand on the same side as the OP. 650 wheels have been around for decades. Road trickles down to mtn biking. Argue it all you want. Whats the percentage of 650's on the road?

    Remember the 24/26? Suppost to make DH bikes spin up faster in the 90"s. How many
    DH bikes are running this today?

    How about 69ers? Whats the percentage of those being ridden today? built? sold?

    What is the percentage of road bikes with 650 wheels being ridden and sold these days? Who's buying/riding them?

    Lets face it. Theres only so many times you can reinvent the wheel.
    Not always. Sometimes it's the other way around. Look at disc brakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZXFT View Post
    Each wheel has it's own domain in my opinion. I ride fast XC trails, therefore a wheel size that rolls fast is important to me, so I ride a 29er.
    I agree with this. 650b is going to grow incredibly in the next 2 years. 26" wheels will soon be in the minority as far as new bikes go, but of course, we'll still see tons of them on the trails,

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deep Thought View Post
    Not always. Sometimes it's the other way around. Look at disc brakes.



    ,
    And high performance clinchers, and tubeless tires, and higher cadence/small ratio chainrings, and sloping top tubes/compact geometries, and 1 1/8 (or 1.5) headsets, and tapered steer tubes, and strong rims, and ahead set style (non quill, non threaded) stems, and press fit Bb systems, and dual sided clip less pedal systems, and shoes you can actually walk in, and suspension, and high performance lighting systems, and....

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    me thinks i detect a troll.
    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE, View Post
    Now that's going to leave a mark.
    ^^ Nah. I do my best to ignore crazy posts (such as b-kul) that erroneously accuse others and stay on topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Don't think so, I like mine. Unlike the 29er there's not much to adapt and so far it fits many of the bikes I ride. For the most part the experience has been great and it enhances the riding experience, lots of pros and not as much cons I can see when the time comes to replacing the wheel I'd go 650b.
    ^^ I have had forum discussions with mimi1885 a few times in the past, a few years ago, and find this rider to be well versed in all things mountain bike. Thanks for your input Mimi.
    Last edited by De La Pena; 12-11-2012 at 01:06 PM.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deep Thought View Post
    Not always. Sometimes it's the other way around. Look at disc brakes.

    I agree with this. 650b is going to grow incredibly in the next 2 years. 26" wheels will soon be in the minority as far as new bikes go, but of course, we'll still see tons of them on the trails,

    I think you are on to something here. May be the next wave would be 650b AM HT, that can be double as a fat 26er do it all HT or snow bike

  29. #29
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    I also like to hear what Mimi has to say. He really
    knows about bikes.

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  31. #31
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    I simply do not get the 650b sizing.
    If you don't like the 29er wheel sizing for any of it's supposed advantages, the 650b should be even less appealing. It's less than a 29er.

    If 26ers become the minority, it will truly be a sad statement of trendy consumers power over the marketplace.

    Why not 32" road bike wheels?

  32. #32
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    Bottom line it's an oppurtunity for "market" growth.
    Having said that a variety of wheels sizes hopefully means greater range of fit options for riders.
    I like a larger wheel size but 29' just seems too big for me. I like my 26' but can't help feeling a 27.5 would be a better fit for me and my ridng style.
    More wheel sizes gives me more choices and I like that.
    Happy Trails
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    I think you are on to something here. May be the next wave would be 650b AM HT, that can be double as a fat 26er do it all HT or snow bike
    Ha! Now you're talkin! I could be into that.

    Quote Originally Posted by turbogrover View Post
    I simply do not get the 650b sizing.
    If you don't like the 29er wheel sizing for any of it's supposed advantages, the 650b should be even less appealing. It's less than a 29er.

    If 26ers become the minority, it will truly be a sad statement of trendy consumers power over the marketplace.

    Why not 32" road bike wheels?
    Which is precisely why some people like it. Maybe it will be a sad statement for you if (when) 26" wheels become the minority, but for others, it will be a triumph of innovation. Just because you don't get it personally doesn't mean it's without its advantages.

    Quote Originally Posted by jollybeggar View Post
    Bottom line it's an oppurtunity for "market" growth.
    Having said that a variety of wheels sizes hopefully means greater range of fit options for riders.
    I like a larger wheel size but 29' just seems too big for me. I like my 26' but can't help feeling a 27.5 would be a better fit for me and my ridng style.
    More wheel sizes gives me more choices and I like that.
    And that's what it's all about. Don't like 650b? Then don't buy one.

    However, the writing is on the wall for shorter travel & hardtail 26" bikes, for the most part. Cross-country racing will continue to be dominated by 29ers. Entry level hard tails will likely move to 29ers in the next couple of years as 29" parts become even more accessible and less expensive. People are starting to see that 29" wheels have real benefits for beginner riders. I think that 26" wheels will stick around in longer travel bikes, but 650b bikes will slowly start to push those out as the technology around that wheel size increases.

    You guys can decry the "trendiness" of 650b all you want. When I hear what these guys, who are certainly "in the know" are saying, it doesn't sound like a fad to me.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BO-qMkhmK0Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  34. #34
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    The biggest fad in cycling isn't 650b it's fat bikes. Or as I like to call them fad bikes.

  35. #35
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    I'm not real deep into the industry side of things...I just like riding my bike.

    But, I do listen to some cycling podcast, and on the latest spokesman's roundtable (The Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast), they talk about this.

    Apparently, the cycling industry is about to get deep into 650b. 650b and 29ers are the way forward, and 26 is getting left behind. I'll have to re-listen, but I think they were talking about frame geometries or something.

    I'm sure some of the smaller builders will keep doing 26, but apparently the big boys are leaving it behind. FWIW...

    but, as I said, I'm just a rider....just passing along what others have said.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Here_and_Gone View Post
    Haha...I'm seriously considering getting a 26" cruiser/park DJ bike and converting it to 24"...along with a shorter crank set.

    Yeah, those "old" wheel sizes! LOL!
    ha!

    I've been considering at 24" bmx bike for playing around...until this weekend. I rode a Surly pugsley. I now have a new purchasing target



    I'm a fan of bike fads

  37. #37
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    A lazy market would just design around existing standards.....

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6bobby9 View Post
    As a business owner I will sell anyone, anything they are willing to buy. I have no problem watching others spend money as they see fit. But I see 650b as a fad.
    You kinda give the answer yourself. People like to blow cash on shiny stuff. You like to give them the opportunity to buy that shiny stuff. Now all you have to do is to guess if enough people think 650b is shiny enough to part with their money and for you to make a shiny profit.

    My personal opinion is that wheel size matters squad, but then again I'm not a "flavor of the month" kinda guy.

    If I was running a business I would tell people to buy a 26'er because you won't feel any difference anyway and with all the hype people stick to 29'ers and 650b's driving prices up, a 26'er will currently give you more value for your money.

  39. #39
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Quote Originally Posted by Here_and_Gone View Post
    This is a lazy reply.

    You are capable of so much more.

    Is it 'revolutionary?' NO, they basically invented a pill...
    No, it is a retort pared down to the essence of your assertion....

  40. #40
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Quote Originally Posted by Here_and_Gone View Post
    No, it was/is lazy way of securing more clock parts.

    It's a complete cycle.
    Haha, I figured you were one of us retarts...

  41. #41
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    @ 6bobby9, let me guess. The business you own is not a bike shop.

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    What difference does it make, are you kidding? Our shop is pumped to be buying for ourselves and selling the Rocky Altitude 650b to customers this spring. We see 650b as a shot in the arm of an already healthy mountain bike market. Let the good times roll.

  43. #43
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    It's actually okay for cycling to be growing. Selling bikes and putting more people on bikes is a good thing. If you don't want to buy anything that's okay too.

    If I wasn't excited about mountain bikes I wouldn't bother. People don't work in the cycling industry to get rich.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    The biggest fad in cycling isn't 650b it's fat bikes. Or as I like to call them fad bikes.
    Isn't that the truth! So many of my buddies are lusting after fat bikes. More power to 'em, but they just don't appeal to me. Then again, I avoid snow at all costs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Here_and_Gone View Post
    Who gives a crap about what some industry shill is spewing about the latest and greatest in wheel sizes. As others have said, it's not a revolutionary idea or concept. The fact that mountain biking has evolved simply makes them a viable OPTION! It has as much to do with the people behind the scenes than it does all the BS marketing hype. The idea that it will somehow replace existing platforms is ludicrous. It's nothing more that strategic fear mongering in order to sell product.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm glad there are more options. But, we should be careful not to confuse a contemporary wants with traditional needs. My current ride would likely fit the bill for a slight increase in wheel size, but I'll probably wait until more tire options are available...along with wider profile rims. Hopefully, they won't be any heavier. If anything I may just go with a front 27.5, but I certainly won't be buying a brand new bike simply because it's designed around a brand new platform in it's infancy. Most anything can be designed around the existing suspension platforms, anyway. That is where it's at! This whole 27.5 epidemic is quite entertaining on the surface. It speaks to a lazy market! LOL!
    Those people usually have some foresight on what's coming next from their companies, so I think there's some value in listening to what they have to say. I'm not saying anyone should just blindly agree with them or believe what they say, but I wouldn't just write them off completely. They have their finger on the pulse of the sport more than most consumers do. I thought it was an interesting video.

    Isn't fear mongering a little strong here? Isn't selling more product the goal of any business?

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Here_and_Gone View Post
    Herein lies the rub, donchathink?

    I'll put the video on the cue, just because this has become a somewhat interesting (and civil) discussion.

    Thanks.
    I guess I don't understand what you mean by that.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Here_and_Gone View Post
    Consumers are THE primary stakeholder.

    Not factory racing teams and their sponsors.
    Consumers don't drive innovation, though. Race teams and their sponsors do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deep Thought View Post
    Consumers don't drive innovation, though. Race teams and their sponsors do.
    Yes and no at the same time on both points. Yes, new and proto are somewhat refine by racers/sponsors but once the products come out, consumers vote with their money.

    Remember what shimano did with the XTR 960 series, dual control and no trigger shifter. I'm sure SRAM has the series to thank.

    Many racers love the rapid rise and dc, consumers disagree, in the end consumers win.


    Sent from my iPhone 4s using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deep Thought View Post

    You guys can decry the "trendiness" of 650b all you want. When I hear what these guys, who are certainly "in the know" are saying, it doesn't sound like a fad to me.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BO-qMkhmK0Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Sounds like a bunch of guys who gets paid to talk bikes. You pay me enough and I'll do the same thing.

    Listening to guys who get paid to promote what ever is new isn't the best source of info in my opinion. For me, I could careless what some company man or paid sponsored Pro has to say, it's reading what real mtb enthusiast has to say about a particular part or bike is what counts.

    Anyhow, I wish the 650b success but it's not my cup of tea.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandrenseren View Post


    My personal opinion is that wheel size matters squad, but then again I'm not a "flavor of the month" kinda guy..
    And you don't sound like a well rounded experienced kinda guy either. Either you've ridden all 3 wheels sizes and know the pluses and minuses of and differences between each, or you have not and are talking out of your ass.

    I find it difficult in the extreme to believe that anyone who has ridden all three or even just two out of the three can say with a straight face that wheel size matters squat. You are begging the question how the industry in the last 10 years went from ALL 26'ers to mostly 29'ers. If you think that has to do only with fads and marketing and nothing to do with function then you are in la la land.

    As far as the so called "new" middle size wheel, again you and OP can't knock if you haven't tried it. Your SPECULATION that they are just the flavor of the month has ZERO relevance whether there is a valid performance difference over the other two for a specific rider in specific terrain. The market will decide the question.

    I have been riding mtbs for over 20 years and know from side pull, v, and disc brakes, and tubed vs. tubeless tires, for example. I am a "does it make my ride more fun" kind if guy. So I try the new or different equipment and judge it on its merits. If it is better than what I have now, I take it. If not, I don't. Very simple. I held off trying 29'ers for way too long and seriously regret the wait.

    As to three wheel sizes, having ridden them all, my quiver, so long as my budget allows, will have at least one of each, to be ridden according to what mood and terrain dictate. Such as HT 29'er XC bike, 5" travel 650b trail bike, and 26" fully rigid SS indoor park bike. Those represent a tiny portion of a huge market of possibilities and different bikes for different people and different tasks
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  50. #50
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    I would gladly ride a 650...

    ...as well as a 26", a 29'er, 20" BMX, dirt jumper, XC, CX, downhill, all-mountain, hardtail, rigid, 1X 8/9/10, single speed, fat bike, fixed gear, trials, or anything else. Aluminum, steel, carbon, bamboo, titanium, scandium... it doesn't matter.

    I love it all, fad or not.

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