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  1. #1
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    Feedback from 650B HD riders?

    There is quite a bit of technical discussion on the Ibis forum regarding the challenges of converting to 650B - shock shimming, which forks to run etc. I would love to hear some riding feedback from those that have converted their 160mm HDs to 650B and if the differences were positive/noticeable etc.

    I am about to embark on my 2nd HD build (first one is stolen) and trying to get a better sense if the ride improvements of 650B offset the build challenges

  2. #2
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    Easier rolling and more traction riding rough trail, more pedal clearance. And most important.... the hipster factor

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    Derby's write up is helpful especially given we ride the same loop. But it seems he went from regular mojo straight to 650B HD, rather than HD -> 650B HD

  5. #5
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    i have HD 650b in 160 mode. basically went 650b route based on Derbys posts here on mtbr. currently running neo-moto 2.3 rear and wee rubber trail taker 2.4 front combo. cant be happier. besides other the great thing about the conversion for me, riding around front range colorado, is higher bb.

  6. #6
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    650b mojoHD.. I like it.. Though i will say-- its not a earth changing experience... The 650b's are 27" -- so not that big of a difference between 650 and the 26" wheels.. But the difference between 650b and 29ers -- is huge.. If your after full sized tires and all their benifits-- then maybe a 29er(riply) would be better for you.. Are you a big hucker? Or a tires on the ground fast rider.. IM a tires on the ground fast rider that is not into really big hucks.. A little air here and there is ok but i love high speed.. So do i really need 6" of travel for that or would i get a benifit of the larger tires gliding over rough areas helping me keep my speed up?(yes is the answer)..

    For me it goes like this.. This is no situation that 650b wont be better then 26" tires(they roll better-- faster and yet are still small enough to feel lively)-- but there is situations where a 29er could be better then 650 and worse then 650b depending on what and how you ride.. Big hucks-- jumps-- more play ride-- 650b... Higher speed-- over funky terrain with wheels on the ground-- 29er might be better for you..

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SB Trails View Post

    For me it goes like this.. This is no situation that 650b wont be better then 26" tires
    Could not disagree with you more. (At least for me) I rode my friends converted HD in 140 mode and didn't like it. I don't like the 27.5 on the HD because it's not as flickable, or playful which is key for me on descending and corning. I felt out of balance a little more, not a lot, but enough to notice that in corners it won't handle as good. The downside. Handling, being able to toss it around a little less, climbing, and jumping. I have a tough enough time climbing, and the bigger tire on this bike made it even harder. Being able to toss those wheels on a HD is tougher for me. The upside is ground clearance, and the possibility to roll over tree stumps and in SC, that is key, but when it comes to racing and corning, the 26 is much better at it than a 27.5 is on the HD. The HD was designed with 26 wheels and it works best with 26 inch wheels. Here is the thing, I ride maybe a bit differently than some with my BMX background and I have always liked the smaller wheel, so perhaps this is my thing, but I can tell when something works or doesn't work, and the 27.5 on the HD doesn't work for me. My 2 and a half cents.

  8. #8
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    Interesting question. I've been trying 650B on my Mojo classic for 18 months, and on my Mojo HD for the past four. I have two builds for the HD, one that is more trail oriented (140mm) and one that is more AM/Gnar/Enduro or pick whatever term is hot today (160mm). In short, I think the 650B is an asset in 140 mode, but a detriment in 160, for several reasons.

    One of the things I love about dw-link and general and Mojos in particular is the punchy acceleration out of the saddle. On paper this ought to be worse with the bigger wheels, but actually I find the 650B carries a lot more speed through corners w/the better traction, and really rewards jamming on the pedals out of the exit. So this is great for fast, technical singletrack. Particularly when things get rough -- rocky, rooty, off-camber, poor traction -- I'm loving the way this plays to the HD140's strong suit, which is super-stiff and confident, but at the same time snappy pedaling characteristics. It really lets you fly through the corners: super fun! This is the sort of riding the HD140 excels at, and the 650B wheels just make it more so.

    Now, I switch to 160 mode when the terrain gets steeper and the hits bigger. As fits the job, that also means wider bars, meatier tires, burlier fork. Unfortunately, the rear triangle just doesn't allow for the bigger 27.5 tires (unless it's going to be bone dry), so I'm not able to run my favorite tires for this terrain: bummer. (I have the same problem with my fork, although that's really more a part spec issue.) For this most challenging terrain, I think being able to select the best rubber for the ride and location far outweighs the minor benefits of the larger wheel. And it's a minor quibble, but basically having to shim the shock down to an effective 144mm (.25 shim = 10% of 2.5", 160mm-10% = 144 .... someone can check my math) of travel is again a bummer. Harder to tell than with the tires, but I do wonder whether losing that travel is really worth it. In 160 mode, the HD just eats chunky terrain. Mounting small tires and reducing its travel just hampers that ability: again -- in my opinion -- not worth the subtle benefit of bigger wheels.

    There are a couple of other points I could make about this 140/160 split -- such as climbing, bottom bracket height -- but I think I've droned on long enough.

    But the big picture is that I'm really glad to have both 650B and 26" wheels for 140 & 160mm modes, since I think they play to the strong suits of each of the HD's personalities. The differences are subtle, but it's great to have one other tool for dialing in the ride.
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  9. #9
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    I'd never heard of Wee Rubber until this week. Seems like great rubber. Is Neo-Moto the best for rear clearance?
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  10. #10
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    The funny part is I totally agree with mazdaspeed... For me--Im not a jumper-- i wish i was but i end up wadded up on the side of the trail when i go for big air lol.. So for me-- the statement of "there is nothing i cant to better on 650b vs 26" is true.. But if i was one of those badass big air guys or one of those jump/jump/jump/tabletop/jump down the trial guys-- id be all over 26 wheels for sure.. Again-- its down to the answer you give when you ask yourself-"what is my riding style" is..

  11. #11
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    Feedback from 650B HD riders?

    Owned a 160 HD for almost 3 years, sold it an replaced it with 140 HD 650b and been riding it for a couple of weeks now. Amazing! Being the HD an excellent bike as it is, the conversion injects extra oomph to the already great setup. Combined with Enves AMs, XX1 and a 34 Talas 27.5 160/120 on Hans Dampfs the bike rides beautifully. I mostly do enduro style hard riding with technical climbs and fast rocky singletrack descents. My old HD 160 had a 36 Talas 160/120 and iodine wheels on 20mm hubs that provided great front end stiffness and descent confidence that I thought were going to be trade-offs with the 650b. Couldn't been more wrong, the big wheels make up for the slimmer front end which is greatly appreciated while climbing. Pull the trigger on a 140 HD 650b that is Ibis approved, you wont regret it!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by emextreme78 View Post
    Owned a 160 HD for almost 3 years, sold it an replaced it with 140 HD 650b and been riding it for a couple of weeks now. Amazing! Being the HD an excellent bike as it is, the conversion injects extra oomph to the already great setup. Combined with Enves AMs, XX1 and a 34 Talas 27.5 160/120 on Hans Dampfs the bike rides beautifully. I mostly do enduro style hard riding with technical climbs and fast rocky singletrack descents. My old HD 160 had a 36 Talas 160/120 and iodine wheels on 20mm hubs that provided great front end stiffness and descent confidence that I thought were going to be trade-offs with the 650b. Couldn't been more wrong, the big wheels make up for the slimmer front end which is greatly appreciated while climbing. Pull the trigger on a 140 HD 650b that is Ibis approved, you wont regret it!
    You like the climbing with the 650B better? Now Hans will disagree with me but I climbed better on my 140 when it was a 140, but now that it's a 160 it's harder to climb. Again my buddy is on a 140 650B but climbing on that seemed even harder than on a 160.

  13. #13
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    Feedback from 650B HD riders?

    Absolutely, the 650b gives you greater clearance and better roll momentum that translates to better climbing. The new xx1 with a 30t ring produces almost equivalent gear ratios to my old 2x9 xtr (factoring 175 crank size increase and the larger wheel), so at least on paper displacement is roughly the same.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by benja55 View Post
    I'd never heard of Wee Rubber until this week. Seems like great rubber. Is Neo-Moto the best for rear clearance?
    trail taker is great, try it, you will be amazed, supposedly it fits on the rear too but neo-moto 2.3 is all i need in rear, it has got decent volume and the clearance is good. i currently switched to 1x10 ,32 front 11-41 rear. just one more thing to be completely happy, and that is different shock.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by brankulo View Post
    i currently switched to 1x10 ,32 front 11-41 rear.
    11-41 rear?! is that a typo, a custom-made cassette or have I missed the release of a wide-range 10spd cassette?
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  16. #16
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    41 cog from mtb tools + 36-11 cassette

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by brankulo View Post
    41 cog from mtb tools + 36-11 cassette
    thank you! that's great, any compatibility issues for you?
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by emextreme78 View Post
    Absolutely, the 650b gives you greater clearance and better roll momentum that translates to better climbing. The new xx1 with a 30t ring produces almost equivalent gear ratios to my old 2x9 xtr (factoring 175 crank size increase and the larger wheel), so at least on paper displacement is roughly the same.
    We are both on 3x10 shamino xtr. I can't think of trying to climb the stuff here locally with xx1. I am slow going up, fast going down. I am not sure xx1 is for me, I really need as many gears as possible sometimes, which may be the reason why I can feel the difference between 27.5 and 26 inch wheels on pretty much the same bikes. I really do have a much harder time climbing and corning at speed on the same frame (HD) with 27.5. To me it's a very large difference.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdotrider View Post
    thank you! that's great, any compatibility issues for you?
    no, not really, however i started with 41 cog plus 32-11 cassette i had already and the step between 32 and 41 was too big, i was missing a gear in between so i got 36-11 cassette. it also shifts cleaner now to 41 cog. i also had a rub when in 32 gear between cage and 41 cog but it got all solved by installing 36-11 cassette and longer chain. works great for around $100. you will also need to decide which gear from casette to get rid of, most people remove 15 and 17 and install 16. i used 16 cog from my 32-11 cassette.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mazspeed View Post
    We are both on 3x10 shamino xtr. I can't think of trying to climb the stuff here locally with xx1. I am slow going up, fast going down. I am not sure xx1 is for me, I really need as many gears as possible sometimes, which may be the reason why I can feel the difference between 27.5 and 26 inch wheels on pretty much the same bikes. I really do have a much harder time climbing and corning at speed on the same frame (HD) with 27.5. To me it's a very large difference.
    Finally someone who doesn't like the conversion. I have a few questions. I have some extreme hi-class problems. My main ride is a Lenz Sport Mammoth 29er. My back-up ride is a 2010 Yeti 575. To keep me honest I ride they Yeti every 3rd ride. Back to back rides my 29er is more fun. My Yeti suspension is more fun than the Lenz, but the 29er wheels are simply better than 26. I have been riding since 1988, 6'2 225lbs w/gear. I know what works for me and what doesn't. Or at least I think I do.

    Now my problem. I have lusted after the Mojo since I first saw it years ago. So sexy. Also the dw-link (Being a Clyde. I always have to run higher pressures, send shock to push, compromise somewhere). The Price has always been out of my reach. However, I just scored a used 2011 HD 12x135 maxle for a price I couldn't say no to. I live in southern CA. My shortest ride is 8 miles. Longest is 30. I ride up at Mammoth, Big Bear, MT Wilson Shuttle as well (this is the only place my 29er has been sketchy). Where and how i ride around home really dictates that i use a triple. For two weeks I haven't been able to stop thinking about what to do. Build 26 or 650b.

    So, it sounds as if we are a bit similar in style and opinion. I get little air when its safe, but I ride fast and flowy. I can't stop thinking about the wheel choices. I know the answer. Build it as a 26" love it. Than try 650b. I guess I want to know more of "Why". You don't Ike it. Where do you ride that it isn't more fun? Why? You are about the only nay sayer I have come across. I have ridden in Northern CA, ID, MT, UT, AZ, VT, NH. I've been all over. Anyway I am rambling and curious. Thanks for your time.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mazspeed View Post
    Could not disagree with you more. (At least for me) I rode my friends converted HD in 140 mode and didn't like it. I don't like the 27.5 on the HD because it's not as flickable, or playful which is key for me on descending and corning. I felt out of balance a little more, not a lot, but enough to notice that in corners it won't handle as good. The downside. Handling, being able to toss it around a little less, climbing, and jumping. I have a tough enough time climbing, and the bigger tire on this bike made it even harder. Being able to toss those wheels on a HD is tougher for me. The upside is ground clearance, and the possibility to roll over tree stumps and in SC, that is key, but when it comes to racing and corning, the 26 is much better at it than a 27.5 is on the HD. The HD was designed with 26 wheels and it works best with 26 inch wheels. Here is the thing, I ride maybe a bit differently than some with my BMX background and I have always liked the smaller wheel, so perhaps this is my thing, but I can tell when something works or doesn't work, and the 27.5 on the HD doesn't work for me. My 2 and a half cents.
    You're using some pretty vague descriptions to come up with quite a direct opinionated view point. When you've been riding for a longer time, and have ridden a lot of bikes, a lot of trails, and have raced a bunch of races you start to get a more dynamic and broader viewpoint on what works, how, and why. If you can pump and whip a corner on a 26" and have developed the fundamentals on cornering properly, then you can apply those fundamentals to any bike no matter what the wheel size. If you're just out there "bombing, jumping, ripping gnar and going fast downhill" without any real experience, a small change in wheel size might throw you way off. A true racer knows that different bikes with different setups give you edges in certain situations and its all about understand the pros and cons on each setup and picking what suits you best. While 26" bikes do change direction quicker, they also become more unstable and slower through the rough and fast loose corners. The bigger the wheel the more the gyroscopic effect, therefore the bigger the wheel the more input you have to do to get it to change directions ie: pumping. If you don't know how to pump and corner correctly, the bigger wheel size might make it that much harder as the rider was relying on the bike to get them through situations instead of their skill-set. A true experienced rider will just work a little hard to get the bigger wheeled bike to corner harder, and enjoy the benefits of the bigger wheels on the sweeping corners, in the rough, and fast sections.

    This is likely why, you are having a harder time on the bigger wheels and appear to be so against them. While I'm not a big fan of the bigger wheels for similar reasons ( I don't totally disagree with you), I'm not so "against" the bigger wheels to the point of completely dismissing them. They offer some advantages and disadvantages. Lets try and be more neutral when giving recommendations, and look at the big picture instead of that "one ride on a buddies bike" that you went on. I know the OP asked for feedback and you're just telling them your experiences, but it comes off pretty one sided. You've become a pretty vocal dude on this board and I think you have interesting insight, just realize that your experiences are limited and there are reasons why some people might enjoy things that you might not be able to comprehend at this point in your riding career

    Not trying to rub you the wrong way, just trying to show you some different perspective.

  22. #22
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    I found mazda's post pretty helpful since I'm a $hitty climber and it does seem like the 650B could be a small disadvantage in terms of initiating momentum on steeper/more technical climbs

  23. #23
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    Dude, if you're a $hitty climber, you have bigger problems to worry about than 1.75" bigger wheel on "steeper/more technical climbs"
    Again, I'm not for or against the 27.5 wheels. I'm just saying lets be realistic and use some logic here folks.

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    thanks guy

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    I actually find that climbing (especially technical climbs) are easier with the bigger wheels. To me the rollover advantage outweighs the minimal loss in acceleration when climbs involve rocks/roots - perhaps coming off a long-travel 29er I'm used to carrying a bit more speed into punchy climbs and therefore benefiting from the rollover and extra momentum of the bigger wheels.

    The way I see it, you can choose a parts spec that will allow you to go either 26 or 650b just by swapping wheelsets...so build yourself up that dream 26er and when time/money allows pick up a 650b wheelset to play around with...can't go wrong either way.
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  26. #26
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    26 v bigger wheels

    Cornering:
    Pros
    easier to turn quickly, less steering input needed, pumps in and out of tight corners easier,
    switchbacks take less manuevering.
    Shorter wheelbase and shorter chainstay means way more responsive, berms faster, wheelies outta corners easier.
    Cons:
    Less traction / tire footprint, more likely to wash out on off cambers or sweepers, less stable, more sensitive to weight balance

    Jumping:
    Pros:
    If you know how to; easier to add style to your jumps
    Easier to boost lips and easier to pop steeper jumps
    way more control in the air

    Cons:
    if you don't know what you're doing, easier to go OTB

    Straight line speed through Rough:
    Pros'
    Easier to pop/jump/gap over obstacles
    pick slalom lines easier and faster

    Cons
    Less momentum
    More work/rougher/bumpier
    Less stable

    Steep DH sections/trails
    Pros:
    Easier to get your weight back if needed
    Easier to get your center of gravity lower

    Cons:
    Go Over the bars easier
    more work to keep bike from bucking and endoing
    have to keep weight further back, less control over frontend

    pedaling:
    Pros
    steep climbs, easier to maintain momentum
    faster cadence

    Cons:
    Harder to keep momentum over anything rough
    harder to keep momentum on anything other than steeps
    doesn't cover as much ground for each pedal stroke
    square edge bumps reduce momentum

  27. #27
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    Listen! Wheel size thinking is circular...

    Quote Originally Posted by Yody View Post
    I'm just saying lets be realistic and use some logic here folks.
    THAT! The reality is that most of this stuff is in the head. Ask yourself these questions before worrying about wheel sizes:

    1) Am I riding enough?
    2) Am I having fun riding?
    3) Am I riding to the max of my potential?

    Worry about those first, THEN start worrying about wheel sizes.
    - -benja- -

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdotrider View Post
    I actually find that climbing (especially technical climbs) are easier with the bigger wheels.
    Ditto, although for me I think the noticeable gain is in traction rather than roll-over. One of the unsung benefits of 650B conversions as opposed to dedicated frames is the relatively short chainstay. Still keeps it super-simple to loft the front wheel up & over stuff, then the rear just claws its way up the obstacle. This was made very apparent to me the first time I rode up in Tahoe (climbing up to Toad's from the Luther Pass side, for those of you who know the area), and was amazed how much easier it made the granite step-ups.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdotrider View Post
    thank you! that's great, any compatibility issues for you?
    Check out the recent thread on Shimano drivetrain that Yody started. There's a bunch of info on this conversion/kludge.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yody View Post
    You're using some pretty vague descriptions to come up with quite a direct opinionated view point. When you've been riding for a longer time, and have ridden a lot of bikes, a lot of trails, and have raced a bunch of races you start to get a more dynamic and broader viewpoint on what works, how, and why. If you can pump and whip a corner on a 26" and have developed the fundamentals on cornering properly, then you can apply those fundamentals to any bike no matter what the wheel size. If you're just out there "bombing, jumping, ripping gnar and going fast downhill" without any real experience, a small change in wheel size might throw you way off. A true racer knows that different bikes with different setups give you edges in certain situations and its all about understand the pros and cons on each setup and picking what suits you best. While 26" bikes do change direction quicker, they also become more unstable and slower through the rough and fast loose corners. The bigger the wheel the more the gyroscopic effect, therefore the bigger the wheel the more input you have to do to get it to change directions ie: pumping. If you don't know how to pump and corner correctly, the bigger wheel size might make it that much harder as the rider was relying on the bike to get them through situations instead of their skill-set. A true experienced rider will just work a little hard to get the bigger wheeled bike to corner harder, and enjoy the benefits of the bigger wheels on the sweeping corners, in the rough, and fast sections.

    This is likely why, you are having a harder time on the bigger wheels and appear to be so against them. While I'm not a big fan of the bigger wheels for similar reasons ( I don't totally disagree with you), I'm not so "against" the bigger wheels to the point of completely dismissing them. They offer some advantages and disadvantages. Lets try and be more neutral when giving recommendations, and look at the big picture instead of that "one ride on a buddies bike" that you went on. I know the OP asked for feedback and you're just telling them your experiences, but it comes off pretty one sided. You've become a pretty vocal dude on this board and I think you have interesting insight, just realize that your experiences are limited and there are reasons why some people might enjoy things that you might not be able to comprehend at this point in your riding career

    Not trying to rub you the wrong way, just trying to show you some different perspective.
    Well I am not sure how I could be more expressive in the time I have to comment. I get your points to a degree but you seem to think that if you can do this on a 26, you can do that on a 27.5. Doesn't work that way. As far as the experience, I have plenty of that. I was a nationally ranked amateur racer with 2 sponsors in the 80's. Cook Bros and later on Boss. I won 6 nation events and placed top 4 in 26 of them. This was in the early to mid 80's. So yes, I do have the experience on a bike and can tell the difference. I also think the bomber and daily rider can also tell the difference if he or she is in tune with their bike. It doesn't take a national racer to do this. Half of your argument doesn't hold any water to me because it simply isn't so. For me at least. And for other riders as well. I can name 2 riders who don't like this setup either. When you start talking gyroscopic effect and crap like that I lose interest fast because it doesn't amount to anything I can mention in a form about how much nonsense that is on the trails. I am giving you my perspective as a rider for this setup on this bike, nothing more, nothing less. When you try and put science into it I lose patience very quickly. Also I am not having "a harder time with bigger wheels". I am not at all against them in any way. 27.5 is great for a lot of reason and for a lot of riders, but on this bike for me, it simply doesn't work as well for me. I am not telling someone what they SHOULD run, all I am doing is giving my perspective on it. I don't think my race experience is relevant to giving out advice either. If it comes off as one sided, that's because for me it is. But to say that I have trouble with or don't like bigger wheels is not even close to anything I have ever said. I get your point, I just hope you get mine as well.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by spunkmtb View Post
    Finally someone who doesn't like the conversion. I have a few questions. I have some extreme hi-class problems. My main ride is a Lenz Sport Mammoth 29er. My back-up ride is a 2010 Yeti 575. To keep me honest I ride they Yeti every 3rd ride. Back to back rides my 29er is more fun. My Yeti suspension is more fun than the Lenz, but the 29er wheels are simply better than 26. I have been riding since 1988, 6'2 225lbs w/gear. I know what works for me and what doesn't. Or at least I think I do.

    Now my problem. I have lusted after the Mojo since I first saw it years ago. So sexy. Also the dw-link (Being a Clyde. I always have to run higher pressures, send shock to push, compromise somewhere). The Price has always been out of my reach. However, I just scored a used 2011 HD 12x135 maxle for a price I couldn't say no to. I live in southern CA. My shortest ride is 8 miles. Longest is 30. I ride up at Mammoth, Big Bear, MT Wilson Shuttle as well (this is the only place my 29er has been sketchy). Where and how i ride around home really dictates that i use a triple. For two weeks I haven't been able to stop thinking about what to do. Build 26 or 650b.

    So, it sounds as if we are a bit similar in style and opinion. I get little air when its safe, but I ride fast and flowy. I can't stop thinking about the wheel choices. I know the answer. Build it as a 26" love it. Than try 650b. I guess I want to know more of "Why". You don't Ike it. Where do you ride that it isn't more fun? Why? You are about the only nay sayer I have come across. I have ridden in Northern CA, ID, MT, UT, AZ, VT, NH. I've been all over. Anyway I am rambling and curious. Thanks for your time.
    Well, the conversion to me just doesn't work, not sure if it's isolated to a few or what. I just got done with a big ride and I am really out of it, but real quickly before I pass out. I think I will climb much better on the 29er Ripley simply because of what it is. It's certainly possible you may like the HD at 27.5. I don't want to discourage people from trying it. I do get air, not nearly like I did when I was a kid, but I can still get my fat rear end in the air, but at 42 I have decreased skills that don't allow me to go all out anymore. But by reading your post, sounds like we are similar in styles. I would build a 26er first and then you can always try the 27.5 later. Or grab a ride from someone in your area that might have one.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by mazspeed View Post
    Well I am not sure how I could be more expressive in the time I have to comment. I get your points to a degree but you seem to think that if you can do this on a 26, you can do that on a 27.5. Doesn't work that way. As far as the experience, I have plenty of that. I was a nationally ranked amateur racer with 2 sponsors in the 80's. Cook Bros and later on Boss. I won 6 nation events and placed top 4 in 26 of them. This was in the early to mid 80's. So yes, I do have the experience on a bike and can tell the difference. I also think the bomber and daily rider can also tell the difference if he or she is in tune with their bike. It doesn't take a national racer to do this. Half of your argument doesn't hold any water to me because it simply isn't so. For me at least. And for other riders as well. I can name 2 riders who don't like this setup either. When you start talking gyroscopic effect and crap like that I lose interest fast because it doesn't amount to anything I can mention in a form about how much nonsense that is on the trails. I am giving you my perspective as a rider for this setup on this bike, nothing more, nothing less. When you try and put science into it I lose patience very quickly. Also I am not having "a harder time with bigger wheels". I am not at all against them in any way. 27.5 is great for a lot of reason and for a lot of riders, but on this bike for me, it simply doesn't work as well for me. I am not telling someone what they SHOULD run, all I am doing is giving my perspective on it. I don't think my race experience is relevant to giving out advice either. If it comes off as one sided, that's because for me it is. But to say that I have trouble with or don't like bigger wheels is not even close to anything I have ever said. I get your point, I just hope you get mine as well.
    We both ride HD160's and You aren't going to see me ever with a 650B wheelset on mine so we're on the same page, I don't like the whole idea of it either. I don't want to drag this out, just wanted readers to get some perspective on everything. You even had one guy thinking that a 650 isn't for him because of steep climbs, lol.

    BTW I'm no engineer or science geek. I didn't think using the word gyroscopic meant we getting all scientific.

  33. #33
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    My main riding partner has tried 27.5 on his HD several times and it never stays on long. Speed difference was small according to Strava, but the 27.5 was slightly slower. One point here is that his 26 setup is Easton Haven Carbons vs Stans Flows on the 27.5. Each time he has put them on for a week or so, but he does not like the way they ride. Bike is not as easy to move around and the weight change is noticeable. The wheels are still hanging in his garage and I may slap them on for a little while and give them a shot. I still think that wheel weight is a bigger issue than wheel diameter. The other issue is the one that Mazspeed alludes, the gearing change. The reason most people climb faster on 27.5 or 29 wheels is that they are forced to based on the gearing. If you correct for gearing the larger heavier wheel will be slower. I recently hopped on a 29r Spider Comp with a 2x setup from my HD with a 1x setup and a 38T up front. I was slower on every climb with the 29r every time.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yody View Post
    We both ride HD160's and You aren't going to see me ever with a 650B wheelset on mine so we're on the same page, I don't like the whole idea of it either. I don't want to drag this out, just wanted readers to get some perspective on everything. You even had one guy thinking that a 650 isn't for him because of steep climbs, lol.

    BTW I'm no engineer or science geek. I didn't think using the word gyroscopic meant we getting all scientific.
    No problem, I didn't want to come off like a jerk or anything. I tend too and that's not what I was going for. Sorry if I came out a little strong.
    Anyways the gentleman who I may have told not to go with 27.5 was also not my intention. But all things being the same, if he has my riding style and struggles going up like I do, 27.5 may not be for him either. Although I would never discourage anyone from doing so, my own experience hopefully can garner some light into others as well that may have similar backgrounds in 20 inch BMX riding. By the way, the same guy who I ride with and his HD just shelved the wheels today and is going back to 26. I think he is going to build a 27.5 bike. Hans may shot me but I may go back to 140mm as well. I am not sure yet depending how my SLR rides but I am loads faster on 140 than 160 on fast downhill rides like Jones. And entirely possible I sell the SLR for the Ripley.
    Salespunk, the gearing aspect I took into account, but it's quite possible that the larger tire might effect gearing more than I anticipated. I figure one full gear for the tire change. Right now I am in the highest gear possible when climbing steep hills. If I had a lower gear than the one I have, and used 27.5 it might be a wash. I don't know the gear to tire difference, maybe Hans can chime in with that one.
    Again guys thanks for listening to my 2 and 1 half cents of advice. If it's worth even that much

  35. #35
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    vow, that is some reading for todays morning. thanks guys, very interesting, it is actually good to see different opinion as all of the 650b HD conversion reviews so far were pretty positive.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by mazspeed View Post
    No problem, I didn't want to come off like a jerk or anything. I tend too and that's not what I was going for. Sorry if I came out a little strong.
    Anyways the gentleman who I may have told not to go with 27.5 was also not my intention. But all things being the same, if he has my riding style and struggles going up like I do, 27.5 may not be for him either. Although I would never discourage anyone from doing so, my own experience hopefully can garner some light into others as well that may have similar backgrounds in 20 inch BMX riding. By the way, the same guy who I ride with and his HD just shelved the wheels today and is going back to 26. I think he is going to build a 27.5 bike. Hans may shot me but I may go back to 140mm as well. I am not sure yet depending how my SLR rides but I am loads faster on 140 than 160 on fast downhill rides like Jones. And entirely possible I sell the SLR for the Ripley.
    Salespunk, the gearing aspect I took into account, but it's quite possible that the larger tire might effect gearing more than I anticipated. I figure one full gear for the tire change. Right now I am in the highest gear possible when climbing steep hills. If I had a lower gear than the one I have, and used 27.5 it might be a wash. I don't know the gear to tire difference, maybe Hans can chime in with that one.
    Again guys thanks for listening to my 2 and 1 half cents of advice. If it's worth even that much
    No problem, you didn't come off as a jerk at all

    Yuck, my HD started out as a 140 and I don't think I'd ever go back. Dropping the weight of taking off the 36 up front was nice, but on DH theres nothing like having that 36 up front, and the rear suspension just feels better at 160 to me. Maybe you like less travel and the lower BB height? Sell the SLR and get a Ripley,and the leave the hd at 160

    I'm also wondering what the 650B wheel does to the HD "Scientifically speaking" lol ? Does it change anything with the suspension? Obviously it changes the geo a little but how does that affect the DW link?

  37. #37
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    Feedback from 650B HD riders?

    Wow!!! What side of the bed did you wake up on?

    He made very valid OPINIONS (hopefully you noticed I capitalized OPINIONS). Everyone has different riding styles & likes. Just because his opinion is different than yours doesn't give you the right to insult him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yody View Post
    You're using some pretty vague descriptions to come up with quite a direct opinionated view point. When you've been riding for a longer time, and have ridden a lot of bikes, a lot of trails, and have raced a bunch of races you start to get a more dynamic and broader viewpoint on what works, how, and why. If you can pump and whip a corner on a 26" and have developed the fundamentals on cornering properly, then you can apply those fundamentals to any bike no matter what the wheel size. If you're just out there "bombing, jumping, ripping gnar and going fast downhill" without any real experience, a small change in wheel size might throw you way off. A true racer knows that different bikes with different setups give you edges in certain situations and its all about understand the pros and cons on each setup and picking what suits you best. While 26" bikes do change direction quicker, they also become more unstable and slower through the rough and fast loose corners. The bigger the wheel the more the gyroscopic effect, therefore the bigger the wheel the more input you have to do to get it to change directions ie: pumping. If you don't know how to pump and corner correctly, the bigger wheel size might make it that much harder as the rider was relying on the bike to get them through situations instead of their skill-set. A true experienced rider will just work a little hard to get the bigger wheeled bike to corner harder, and enjoy the benefits of the bigger wheels on the sweeping corners, in the rough, and fast sections.

    This is likely why, you are having a harder time on the bigger wheels and appear to be so against them. While I'm not a big fan of the bigger wheels for similar reasons ( I don't totally disagree with you), I'm not so "against" the bigger wheels to the point of completely dismissing them. They offer some advantages and disadvantages. Lets try and be more neutral when giving recommendations, and look at the big picture instead of that "one ride on a buddies bike" that you went on. I know the OP asked for feedback and you're just telling them your experiences, but it comes off pretty one sided. You've become a pretty vocal dude on this board and I think you have interesting insight, just realize that your experiences are limited and there are reasons why some people might enjoy things that you might not be able to comprehend at this point in your riding career

    Not trying to rub you the wrong way, just trying to show you some different perspective.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbbiker View Post
    Wow!!! What side of the bed did you wake up on?

    He made very valid OPINIONS (hopefully you noticed I capitalized OPINIONS). Everyone has different riding styles & likes. Just because his opinion is different than yours doesn't give you the right to insult him.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    No no it's cool. He didn't insult me. I am very ok with his language. He wanted a better explanation than I gave for my findings or opinions. That was ok for him to question it. Thanks though

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yody View Post
    No problem, you didn't come off as a jerk at all

    Yuck, my HD started out as a 140 and I don't think I'd ever go back. Dropping the weight of taking off the 36 up front was nice, but on DH theres nothing like having that 36 up front, and the rear suspension just feels better at 160 to me. Maybe you like less travel and the lower BB height? Sell the SLR and get a Ripley,and the leave the hd at 160

    I'm also wondering what the 650B wheel does to the HD "Scientifically speaking" lol ? Does it change anything with the suspension? Obviously it changes the geo a little but how does that affect the DW link?
    It doesn't do much to the DW per say, but one of the things I really noticed was pretty weird, and this could have been suspension or wheelset and I have heard this term being used before was the sensation of laying down in a corner. The bike wanted to lay down in fast corners and I really had to fight high speed berms when on his bike. My buddy didn't notice till I told him what I was feeling and where. I outweigh him by 20 pounds and that's all it takes. I had him hit a line on Jones as fast as he dared and to tell me what he felt. Nothing twice, than he just dumped the third time. He comes back and says "I know what you're saying". Now having said that when I go though a corner I tend to pedal though really hard and lift the front wheel BMX style and rail the corner sometimes on one wheel. The 26 makes it pretty easy to do if the bike is set up correctly. I can't do it very well on 27.5. The bike built for 26 is now not as flickable and that's a big deal for me. For instance I just changed my seat post to a "Lev" and I thought I had my post right where it was. I was off and forward about 1/8 of an inch and the bike was very front unstable when sitting in a fast corner. I deweighted (if that's a word) my sweet spot and came down Jones rolling the jumps and not jumping because I felt so off. With 27.5 wheels I feel even more off than having my seat forward 1/8 of an inch. I don't drop the seat much when going downhill, instead I tend to fall back and steer with my front against the back of the seat at times. One big advantage and I did ride his bike at the college trails in SC is all the big roots that people go over with their top gear hitting the roots all over the trails there. The 27.5 never once hit any of them so ground clearance was great in trails where that's needed. The reason why I like the 140 again is it just seemed a bit more playful. This is because I was on a 32 which I bent, but it did seem a little more playful. The bike was 28.5 pounds when I had it built up for the first time. Now at 32 it's not nearly as playful and I am trying really hard to find lighter stronger parts that will put me at the 30 pound sweet spot.

  40. #40
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    I tried 650b on my HD 160 for a while and didn't like it very much compared to 26". It just didnt feel right to me, but thats not to say it wouldn't feel right for some one else. I like my HD to be super nimble. I even run a smaller frame size than I should to make the bike even easier to move around.
    Im not against 650b, infact I will be buying an xc 650 fs bike in the near future. 29" wheels are to much for me at 5'6" tall.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mazspeed View Post
    No no it's cool. He didn't insult me. I am very ok with his language. He wanted a better explanation than I gave for my findings or opinions. That was ok for him to question it. Thanks though
    It cracks me up how Hot & Bothered folks get over riding and wheel sizes. We're all talking about BIKES here people. It's not the damn Hurt Locker or some such.
    - -benja- -

  42. #42
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    Collectively we use this platform to share/gain knowledge for the benefit of ourselves and, more importantly, the community. Each one of us, and no one else, is the better judge to assess the value of our contributions. For the sake of this community and the quality of its knowledge-base, subscribe solid accounts of direct experiences and avoid second hand portrayals and friend of a friend stories. Keep the discussion alive and dont stop pedaling!!

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by mazspeed View Post
    It doesn't do much to the DW per say, but one of the things I really noticed was pretty weird, and this could have been suspension or wheelset and I have heard this term being used before was the sensation of laying down in a corner. The bike wanted to lay down in fast corners and I really had to fight high speed berms when on his bike. My buddy didn't notice till I told him what I was feeling and where. I outweigh him by 20 pounds and that's all it takes. I had him hit a line on Jones as fast as he dared and to tell me what he felt. Nothing twice, than he just dumped the third time. He comes back and says "I know what you're saying". Now having said that when I go though a corner I tend to pedal though really hard and lift the front wheel BMX style and rail the corner sometimes on one wheel. The 26 makes it pretty easy to do if the bike is set up correctly. I can't do it very well on 27.5. The bike built for 26 is now not as flickable and that's a big deal for me. For instance I just changed my seat post to a "Lev" and I thought I had my post right where it was. I was off and forward about 1/8 of an inch and the bike was very front unstable when sitting in a fast corner. I deweighted (if that's a word) my sweet spot and came down Jones rolling the jumps and not jumping because I felt so off. With 27.5 wheels I feel even more off than having my seat forward 1/8 of an inch. I don't drop the seat much when going downhill, instead I tend to fall back and steer with my front against the back of the seat at times. One big advantage and I did ride his bike at the college trails in SC is all the big roots that people go over with their top gear hitting the roots all over the trails there. The 27.5 never once hit any of them so ground clearance was great in trails where that's needed. The reason why I like the 140 again is it just seemed a bit more playful. This is because I was on a 32 which I bent, but it did seem a little more playful. The bike was 28.5 pounds when I had it built up for the first time. Now at 32 it's not nearly as playful and I am trying really hard to find lighter stronger parts that will put me at the 30 pound sweet spot.
    Now thats a post i enjoyed reading! Great feedback. The guys at pinkbike noticed a similar feeling in the corners when test riding the new 650b intense DH bike. (sorry dont have the link. Cellphone). On a sidenote you would prob like ditching that big ring on your crankset or a bash guard.

  44. #44
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    No prob, my pleasure. Can i trouble you to find the link? I am curious what others have said. Thanks Yody. You going to Otter?

  45. #45
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    Might go saturday. Not confirmed yet. You?

    Exclusive First Ride: Intense 951 Evo – 650B DH Racer - Pinkbike

  46. #46
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    Friday for sure. Ill read the link. Thanks for that.

  47. #47
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    I don't claim expertise, just providing another data point.

    Me: rode my HD 160 with 26" the past year, recently switched the front only to 650b. (A couple other variables -- old rim Flow, new rim carbon, old tire Hans 2.35, new tire Nick 2.25).

    For the me, the biggest difference has been on tech climbs. Not a night-and-day difference, but an easily noticeable improvement in rollover. Also a more subtle improvement in momentum on the flats. I haven't noticed much difference on the downs. I honestly haven't noticed any disadvantages, but again I'm running a lighter tire and rim now so that offsets the bigger-wheel penalty.

    Running 650b in front hasn't changed my life yet, but so far I'm happy with it.

  48. #48
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    I want to jump into the fray to remind folks to keep your rims and tires in mind when comparing the wheel sizes. If you switch from 26" Iodines to 650b Enves, naturally you are going to retain a lot of the maneuverability. Likewise, if you go from carbon Havens to 650b Flows, you're sure going to feel it.

    I personally went from a Mojo SL with Iodines to a 650b HD140 with carbon LB rims. I dropped close to 200g going to the bigger wheels and tires. I had the SL stolen and I moved to very different terrain before I got the HD built up, so I've never had the chance to ride the two bikes in the same month, or even on the same trails. I think my current 650b wheels feel about as maneuverable as my old 26" ones, but I've never had a direct comparison. If I did get to compare back-to-back, I don't know whether I could easily sort out the handling differences related to the wheel size alone if there was a significant wheel weight difference.

    The bottom line with 650b for me was that I wanted to try it, and if i didn't like it, I could always swap it out. The HD is such a versatile frame, we're able to try two wheel sizes with two travel settings. And of course, if you invest in high-end 650b wheels and decide you hate it, these days I'm sure you won't have trouble selling them.

  49. #49
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    Seeing the objections to 650b on and HD, it seems to add up that, besides tire options available to clear, the 1/4 to 1/2 inch change in BB height is the significant difference in the handling. A lower BB is more stable, but pedal clearance is sacrificed. For groomed DH berm railing a lower BB if fine, no pedal clearance problems. BTW, the HD140 has a 1/4 inch lower BB measured with the same wheels and same fork.

    Wheel weight and gearing for climbing can be closely equalized with today's rim and drive-train options.

    I see only the traction advantage for bigger wheels on buff or groomed hard-packed, and more traction can make a good balanced drifting bike become twichy and more suddenly wash out. It's when the trail is rocky, rooty, eroded, the bigger wheels and higher BB on the HD140/650b or HD160/26" have an advantage. The bigger wheels on a HD140/650b (140mm fork) end up with a BB height the same as the HD160/26" (160mm fork). The bigger wheels roll easier, and smoother, with better traction with the same tire model. The HD160/26" has more travel for an advantage landing bigger jumps. The HD140/650b manuals just as easily as the HD140 with 26 inch wheels, or as easily as an HD160/26" wheeled higher head tube height with the HD140 650b's handle bar raised about 1/4 inch to the same height from the ground as the HD160/26".

    The 2nd gen HD with fixed front der hanger and added seat tube tire clearance, can use a 2.25" stroke shock, allowing about 152mm travel with the excellent 650b Neo-moto 2.3 tires. But bigger tires on 26" wheels and 1/4 inch more bottom travel of the HD160/26" do give more rim protection landing the same big jumps.

  50. #50
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    Derby is dead on with his positives and negatives.

    The "drop" that everyone is noticing relates to the BB being over 14" high with 27.5's on. It has a huge impact on handling since this is where most of the rider weight is leveraged on the bike/wheels. The higher the Center of Gravity/BB the more pronounced this Drop will be. It is also why the Blur TRc is such a great candidate for the 27.5 conversion. The BB on that bike is almost 3/4" lower than the HD which has it's own side effects. 27.5 wheels bring it right into the normal range for AM bikes these days which are usually 13.5-13.8" high BB's.

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