Schwalbe NN/HD 650b x 2.25 vs 26 x 2.35?
Slowly but surely getting the parts together for an Enduro/Super D racing machine.
Background information: I'm 5'6", 145lbs in racing shape. "Pro" XC racer who likes to have fun going downhill, too. Never owned a bike with more than 100mm of suspension; two 29er HTs and a Giant Anthem X 26er. I've borrowed a Glory DH for extended periods of time, and it was a hoot. Looking to haul ass downhill and crush the uphills on any Super D course, and have fresh legs after the climbs during Enduro races. Building up a super light yet functional (see my physical stats again) bike based on a Santa Cruz Blur LTC frame.
One very serious consideration is wheel size and tire size. My fork, a DT Swiss EXM 150, will accomodate a 650b x 2.25 Nobby Nic. A 2.35 is just a hair too tall. Alternately, I could go with a 26x2.35 and have a normal amount of room to spare. I will use either the chinese carbon 30mm rims, or Arch EXs.
I'm a big fan of larger wheels, but a long travel FS 29er is just too much bike for me. My profession does not allow for physical weakness, but I just feel like it's a lot for a smaller guy to muscle around, particularly at speed. Not to mention, it's also very expensive to build one up at a nice light weight.
So, what to do? 650b and a 2.25, or 26 with some big meats?
I can vouch for 26x2.35" Hans Dampf on a LTc being damn fun & confidence inspiring. Not so sure about their racing prowess as they roll a bit slow thanks to their large footprint, and are a little on the heavy side (my snakeskin trailstar versions weighed in at 760g and 810g). If I were enduro racing I would go for something lighter as I do notice the weight of the HD's when climbing (compared to my previous set of Conti Mountain King II). I can push harder to overcome the extra weight, but obviously this means fatiguing faster. I have about 30lbs on you for reference.
I can't comment on 650b as I have no experience with it. What I can say is that the 2.35 HD's measure up at about 27" diameter (on 19mm internal width rims), so it's almost in 650b size territory anyway.
My personal pick? 26" wheels (650b gear is rare as hens teeth where I am, for that alone I'll take 26"); snakeskin Nobby Nics front and rear, 2.4" trailstar version up front, 2.25" pacestar (the slightly harder compound) version on the back. I think this combo would be a good tradeoff between weight, casing volume and durability.
Will be interesting to see what Santa Cruz comes out with on April 1, rumors flying about that it is a 650b enduro bike.
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