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Thread: 650 b

  1. #1
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    650 b

    Any one ridding 650b yet ? And what are you on and were did you get it?
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  2. #2
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    i've spent time on 650 hard tails and full suss. over 20 yrs on 26 and almost 10 yrs on 29. 650b is the answer in my opinion. my next bike will be 650.

    jamis nemesis and the higher end full suss.

    rog

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    Come visit the 650b forum, we have a lot of New Englanders there since this wheel size offers good benefits for our trails. I have two 650b bikes ATM (but just one wheel set

    Here is a C456b on Mt. Pisgah in Berlin, MA:


    And here is a SC Nickel-B in Fells:


    I built them both up.

  4. #4
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    I just bought a Jamis Dakar 650b. I'm 5'8" and wanted a bigger wheel full suspension, but was afraid of going full 29er. I have a rigid 29er that I love, but just think a full susp would be too tall. I'm also getting this bike specifically to ride in technical terrain, so I wanted to have fairly beefy wheels without being too heavy, I think one of the reasons I love my 29er is because I have very light wheels on it. So I jumped on the 650b wagon.

    I have only 3 rides on it so far, but so far I love it. Honestly, I'm comparing it to an 8 year old bike, so there are substantial differences as far as axles, headset, bar, new bike is set up tubeless, etc.

    I've tried to pay attention to the the "feel" of the wheel size and honestly its tough to say. Kind of what you'd assume. Rolls better than 26, not as good as 29. Traction is awesome with the WTB wolverines set up tubeless at 22-24 psi. Steering is fairly quick, despite the head tube angle and the bike tracks noticeably better than my old bike, but this is probably cause of the stiffer front end. I haven't done any long downhills, but the bike really eats up technical terrain. Once again the suspension is brand new, but the bigger wheels definitely do help a bit.

    So far I'm happy I went 650b. The bike just seems to fit me very well and feels great. Its fun to ride.

    2012-06-28 041

  5. #5
    blet drive
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    thanks for the stoke guys my next bike i think will be 650..
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  6. #6
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    Not from your area, not even close, but thought I'd chime in a bit since I just decided to give them a go. Like IceCreamJay said, I love 29ers, but don't think they're for everyone, especially not shorter riders when travels starts to get up over 100mm.
    I tried the 650B thing 2 ways.....

    - 1st on the front of my old 26er Trance using an old Reba 29er.
    The improvement over running a standard 26" wheel was def noticeable, rolled over things easier and didn't "feel" as far away for me as the 26" wheel, no negatives for me, only positive improvement over a 26"/26" setup.

    - 2nd on the rear of my Prime FS29er with 130mm R/140mm F.
    I did not notice the lack of wheel size as much as I thought I would, it was subtle, only slightly less of a nice roll over, but way better than a 26er. Traction on climbs seemed good, but on a climb I regularly make running it stock 29"/29" I had the front end lift and maintaining traction was hard and had to stop - could have been the change in gearing or not dropping the bars a tad to compensate for the rear squat.

    I had previously setup the Trance as a 69er with 26" rear/29" front and the difference between wheelsizes was just to big, but using the 26"/650B it was much better and using 650B/29" was also a smoother feeling.

    Right now I'm back to 29/29 as I have tyres to test, but once I'd done with them I'll def be throwing the 650B back on and giving it another go and doing some fine tweaking to the setup so it's optimal. IMHO, 650B is very cool and set to give 26 wheeled bikes a damn good run for their money, especially in the longer travel side of things and for shorter people wanting this. For me though I did not see any benefits over the 29er (acceleration for me was only marginally better) and hence I'll be sticking to strictly 29ers - FYI I'm 6'2"
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    I have ridden a hardtail Jamis 650b and a Blur LT with 650b wheels. Honestly, they aren't worth it. For XC type riding that 29ers excel at, 29ers are superior. For more aggressive stuff, 26" is more nimble and more fun. The slight advantage 650b's have in "rollability" does not outweigh the noticeable loss in nimbleness/flickability/fun/insert your own adjective.

    To me, if you want big wheels, go all out and ride a 29er. 650b just isn't enough of a benefit to be worth the investment. Especially considering the limited wheel and tire choices.

    I'm not one of those 29er evangelists by any stretch, but if that's your style of riding, then 29ers are the best tool. Personally, I am going to stick with 26's. 650b is the answer to a question nobody was asking.

  8. #8
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    Great stuff

    The 650b conversion on my Prophet was a great move. I wanted to go 29'er (like everyone else), but the 650b thing kept me from doing it. I finally gave in and had a set of wheels built up and mounted with the Pacenti Neo Motos in 2.3 front and back. They are tubeless. The higher BB and slight change in height took about 2 rides to get used to, but then the comfort factor settled in and the bike has proven to be much faster. It rolls over the New England rocks and roots better. It rails through the turns and climbs better.

    I have ridden my friends' 29'ers (Hi-Fi, Camber, Tallboy) and I liked them, but I prefer the higher BB on my converted Prophet. I rode a Specialized carbon hardtail 29'er (forget the model) and that thing was sick. I won't be getting a hardtail, but that thing was smooth. light and flickable.

    I was rolling with 2.35 Nevegals on my 26" wheels before. The conversion dropped 2 pounds off my bike!

    The Neo Motos are amazing, expensive but amazing.
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wibbly wobbly View Post
    The slight advantage 650b's have in "rollability" does not outweigh the noticeable loss in nimbleness/flickability/fun/insert your own adjective.
    I honestly notice no loss of nimbleness or fun, in fact the opposite because the bike grips and rolls better. Of course I may not be comparing apples to oranges. I'm comparing an 8 yr old bike to a new one and most of the improvements have nothing to do with wheel size.

    Quote Originally Posted by wibbly wobbly View Post
    650b is the answer to a question nobody was asking.
    Hey, I was asking.

    Personally I feel that for southern NE terrain the 650b is a good fit. The wheels seem right at home here.

  10. #10
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    thanks again guys.. let my search begin..
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by icecreamjay View Post
    Hey, I was asking.

    Personally I feel that for southern NE terrain the 650b is a good fit. The wheels seem right at home here.
    I'm asking too. I found that my hardtail 29er was great, but my FS 29er was awful. Just terrible. Picked up a bike to convert as I really like the benefits of FS (better climbing traction, suspension duh) but I can't do that with a 29er. It's too darn gangly and compromised. I'm hoping 650b will give me better rolling to get over all the roots, but not lose so much in the switchbacks.

    I think if you want a hardtail, 29er is totally doable. I think if you want DH or all you do is drops, 26" is the way to go. I think if you're corralled into one bike that's really flexible, 650 is a good choice.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    I found that my hardtail 29er was great, but my FS 29er was awful. Just terrible. Picked up a bike to convert as I really like the benefits of FS (better climbing traction, suspension duh) but I can't do that with a 29er. It's too darn gangly and compromised.
    This is what I was afraid of. I love, love, love my rigid, SS 29er, but just think the FS 29er would be gangly (great way of putting it). But I did want wheels bigger than 26. Process of elimination left me at 650b.

  13. #13
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    I've been riding 650B for a couple of years. I had an Igleheart 953 650B SS and currently am building a 650B IF Deluxe (just got a rigid fork from IF). The wheels for the IF arrive tomorrow so I should be out an about by the weekend.

  14. #14
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    And what may I ask was your 29er FS? I'd suggest you not judge 29ers FS bikes just based on your experience with one bike, try others with different geo and thinking behind the design and you might find you like it, I know I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    I'm asking too. I found that my hardtail 29er was great, but my FS 29er was awful. Just terrible. Picked up a bike to convert as I really like the benefits of FS (better climbing traction, suspension duh) but I can't do that with a 29er. It's too darn gangly and compromised. I'm hoping 650b will give me better rolling to get over all the roots, but not lose so much in the switchbacks.

    I think if you want a hardtail, 29er is totally doable. I think if you want DH or all you do is drops, 26" is the way to go. I think if you're corralled into one bike that's really flexible, 650 is a good choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    And what may I ask was your 29er FS? I'd suggest you not judge 29ers FS bikes just based on your experience with one bike, try others with different geo and thinking behind the design and you might find you like it, I know I do.
    It was a Voodoo Canzo.

    I've been around long enough to know what works and what doesn't, at least for me. The suspension was horrible, a bad shock (radium) combined with spindly stays (flex) combined with massive chainstays (18.3") and a low pivot point (below the small ring) created a bike that didn't accelerate on command, respond to pedaling quickly, dig in on climbs, nor corner well. The lockout was the best thing about that bike.

    The Scott corrects some of the issues with the Canzo. 1" shorter chainstays, and a delightfully responsive aluminum frame that jumps when and where I tell it to.

    Now, the Scale uses an angled seat tube in order to achieve such short chainstays. that might be possible on an FS frame, but you have two major compromises. You either have a low pivot that doesn't allow for chainstay growth, but you end up with even more clearance issues, or you have a high pivot that allows for a super short static chainstay, but lots of chainstay growth under compression. There's no good answer, either you start long and get short with bad pedaling performance, or you start short and get long with good pedaling. So what do you want, a bike that handles well but pedals poorly, or a bike that handles poorly but pedals great?

    When you increase the clearance, you increase the possibilities, without compromising chainstay length. Hell, bikes like the Rush and others don't even need to be converted. You get the same chainstay length but you get a little less mud clearance. As I am a *****, mud clearance typically isn't a big issue but for a few seconds at most.

    Anyways, the wheel debate will rage forever, but those are my findings. Most other 29er FS bikes have 17.5" stays or longer. I just don't believe those "work" for east coast trails. You can force them, but switchbacks are not kind to long chainstays, and when your GPS looks like ramen noodles, it makes you think. The satori comes close, but it's pivot location is still going to contribute to CS growth, so you're looking at 17.5"-plus stays under sag. The DW bikes come in at 18+. The Tracer29 is 17.5".

    Can they work? Yes. They will definitely work for some people. If you ride long straight lines and gradual climbs, anything will work. Like I suggested before though, if you want one bike, why not hop on something that mixes all the best, with none of the worst?

  16. #16
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    .....and you're writing off FS 29er because THAT bike didn't ride well You've pointed out ALL the flaws with that frame and the why's of it would ride like a truck, as I said, try to ride a newer bike, with chainstays under 18" and the rest of the geo designed to suit and frame stiffness. FYI, the chainstays on my Banshee Prime prototype are 17.6" in the slack position and I can pop the front up at will and it does just dandy through the tight twisties, but really excels in the chunk, slow or fast.

    If I thought like you I'd have also given up on them years ago because of the flexy noodle rip9, but it did well enough that I could clearly see the benefits of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    It was a Voodoo Canzo.
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    Ah yes, the Banshee prime. The bike so good you can't buy it. The bike so good that the few people who were given prototypes shout about how good nobody else can know it is. Mmm hmmm.

    Look: I'm writing off FS 29ers because they physically do not and can not make sense for tight twisty trails, which are most common on the east coast. Yes, you can get a bike that has a more vertical axle path and maintains the same chainstay length the entire time. Yes, chainstay length is not solely responsible for how a bike handles. And yes, people will constantly defend what they purchased even if it's not as good as they think.

    I truly believe that 29ers have merit. I think the wheels are not as slow to spin up as people b*tch about, and I think that the rollover and traction benefits are very real. I just don't think you can get around the physics of wheel size, mud clearance, and pivot location when you get above 3" of travel. I think 29er wheels are awesome for competitive XC. They ride fast as hell when it's time to move. They make hardtails feel like 4" travel 26ers, without the penalties of pedal bob. If I had room in my stable, I'd keep the Scott. Hell, I've given thought to selling my DH bike at a loss just so I can keep the HT around and get more use out of it, as it's that much fun. I just think that when you start upping the travel on big wheeled bikes, you end up with compromises that you don't need to put up with. It's like seeing a 5'2" woman on a 29er with a -15* drop stem, it's a compromise, and it's likely that she'd be better off on a smaller wheeled bike that's more appropriate to her body size. For a WC champion, do what gives you the edge. For a weekend warrior, are you really going to put up with riding a bike that also fits somebody 6'2"?

    Now, this is all my opinion. You don't have to come to my house bearing the torch of the 29er mafia. I've been riding for ~16 years, on full suspension for 90% of the time. I've spent most of that time on the east coast between boston and upstate NY. I can fully appreciate that a 29er would work on a nice flowy, hillside singletrack that cuts through the plains of california. I can understand that a 29er will grind out a 2mi climb better than anything else. I'm finally starting to become able to see through all the BS that the MTB industry spits at you. Your DW links, your VPPs; often times they don't do anything better than a well designed single pivot. Yes, on paper they may and people will damn sure yell at you if you say otherwise, but out on the trail, it comes down to fluff.

  18. #18
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    I completely disagree with your assessment of FS 29ers on New England trails. But to each his own. You are entitled to your opinion. I just don't like the way you make blanket statements that they can't work on New England trails. I have a Kona Satori and think it works great on our trails. I guess we can agree to disagree.

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    satori has nice short chain stays as might next years hei hei series. vroom vroom!!!

    rog

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    A 650b-ed SC Nickel has 16.7" chainstays. I occasionally ride with some folks on new nice 29ers like a Spec. Stumpjumper with 17.7" stays who know their sh*t and the Nickel still runs circles around the 29ers in tight spots. Just saying

  21. #21
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    Not yet you can't, but people should be getting their production frames come end of August. As to the hype and people being "given" prototypes and gushing over them, that is most definitely a false statement. Of the about 70 frames produced roughly 2/3 were sold, at a nice price, to people who signed up to test knowing they would be riding prototypes and that the design and weight etc could change dramatically.

    I rode a Banshee Paradox for over 1.5 years before the Prime and I can tell you, I am thinking about dropping the cash for the production frame for the few nice tweaks to geo, HT, adjustable drop out/geo and weight savings over my proto and I think that says a lot. I figured going to a bike with a WB 3"> longer than my Paradox with stays about 3/4" longer the bike would ride like a truck, but it doesn't, the ability to feel any difference between it and the Paradox is very hard indeed. I now regularly clean sections of trails I had trouble with before - ups, downs, flat, chunky tech.

    And to say the Prime is it all would be false, there are now a load of slacker, 5"> travel FS 29er out there that are being described by their owners and honest reviewers as being very nimble. The Prime proved to me that it's about the entire package, not just one number and that 17.6" is not long for stays on an FS.

    Go right ahead blanket judging FS 29ers, it's your loss, not mine.



    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    Ah yes, the Banshee prime. The bike so good you can't buy it. The bike so good that the few people who were given prototypes shout about how good nobody else can know it is. Mmm hmmm.
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  22. #22
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    I don't think anyone should be blanket judging any wheel size. I feel all 3 wheel sizes are valid and its just another way to customize the ride and fit of the bike. I agree with the FS 29er lovers, I'm sure they've found a bike they like and it works for them. I also think Sandwich has a point with matching wheel size to rider size. Frankly the reason I chose 650 over 29 is that I'm on the short end of average. I'm sure I could find a 29er that fits, but I just think 650b will fit better. The argument that there aren't enough rims and tires for 650b is valid, but hopefully they keep coming and in time that will change, thats what I'm betting anyway. We'll see.

  23. #23
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    Yup

    I ride with a crew who all ride FS 29'ers. If what I see is any indication , then a nice 29'er is very trail capable. I went 650b on my Prophet and I see how much of an advantage the bigger wheels have rolling over the rocky, rooty New England trails. I gained speed and momentum with the conversion. I have tons of BB clearance and a 6" travel bike. The 29'ers don't. I am 5' 8" at 165. 650b is me. 29 works for taller and bigger. I see no advantage for 26. That is the story going forward.
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prophet Julio View Post
    I I see no advantage for 26.
    26" wheels are lighter (but stronger) and thus will accelerate, brake, and turn quicker. I demoed a nice GT 29 fs and I saw no overall advantages. Sure it rolled over stuff a little easier (almost unnoticably) but it felt too tall. I had a hard time leaning the bike over like I could with my 26 and overall it felt too slow to react. It kinda felt like I was on a road bike. If you like to sit and cruise all day then a 29er might be for you. But I like to get into the trail and throw the bike around and dance through the trees. If a big wheel could overcome the laws of physics and give me the same feel as a 26 then I would give it another try.
    Last edited by woodsguy; 07-21-2012 at 05:57 AM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prophet Julio View Post
    I ride with a crew who all ride FS 29'ers. If what I see is any indication , then a nice 29'er is very trail capable. I went 650b on my Prophet and I see how much of an advantage the bigger wheels have rolling over the rocky, rooty New England trails. I gained speed and momentum with the conversion. I have tons of BB clearance and a 6" travel bike. The 29'ers don't. I am 5' 8" at 165. 650b is me. 29 works for taller and bigger. I see no advantage for 26. That is the story going forward.
    it's not that 29ers can't work. It's that there's a large tradeoff with going monster size that you don't have to worry about when you take smaller wheels. I made my hardtail work, and I made my FS 29er work. It's just that they didn't work as well as I feel they could. I truly felt that the FS bike was a downer in technical situations, but it made up for it in rolling ability...ie, a compromise. I'm hoping that a 650b takes a little from each field and rolls it into a zero-compromise bike.

    And it's not a blanket judgement. It's actually pretty specific. I thought the 29er did well up at the kingdom trails. I thought it could do well on the fast sweeping trails of upstate NY. I think it would be fantastic on similar trails out west. I just don't think that in Eastern MA, where you're up and down and up and switchback and rocks and etc., they are the best choice.

    I really think the best geometry for eastern MA is a higher BB and a steeper HA. The "california" geometry of slack HAs and low BBs doesn't work right for tighter, off kilter turns. They do better with wide and fast. A converted 650b, on paper, is a great option for that.

    And remember, this is my opinion. If you want to run a 29" wheeled bike with 6" of travel, 31" bars, a 66* HA, and a 12" BB height up at Chelmsford or Sutton, that's your prerogative. I just don't believe it'll be faster, easier, nor more comfortable than a well sorted 26 or 27" bike.

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