650b All Rounder

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  • 03-22-2009
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    650b All Rounder
    Last summer I spend a lot of time riding a 650b converted Trek 400 on the road. It was a great ride, and as I rode out further from my house, I kept finding more unmarked dirt trails along the Charles River (Boston) in the towns of Waltham, Newton, Weston, Needham, and Dedham. Riding more dirt with this bike let me to switch the Panaracer Col de la Vie tires for Fatty Rumpkins. They were much better with a bit more cushion, yet still pleasant on the road. Unfortunately they didn't REALLY fit in chainstays, and I also began to think there might be a stouter frame better suited to this exact tire.

    I chased my tail a bit on this one, until I got a suggestion from the gentleman who has been building 650b conversions for the Bikeman blog, Ed Braley. This frame would not have hit my radar, but now that it's built up, I can only say good things about it. If you can't tell from my low res ride photos, it's a Motobecane Fantom Cross "Outlaw". I suppose the disc-only part qualifies it as "outlaw":) . Too bad the decals are clear coated over the brushed aluminum.

    Not sure if yet the frame could take a tire as big as the Quasi Moto, but there is still more room to fill beyond a Fatty Rumpkin.

    Anyway, I've really been enjoying this style of bike. It can handle quite a bit of singletrack without feeling bogged down on the road, so it makes for a good ride when I don't feel like throwing the mtb on the roof and driving out. I apologize for the photos- I only had the iphone with me, but the components don't warrant greater detail anyway- best in soft focus.
  • 03-23-2009
    Cracked Headtube
    gREAT BUILD! oops. Great Build! Way to utilized equipment!
  • 03-23-2009
    Bits and bobs
    Thanks Jeremy.

    You know, the moustache bar was never quite right on bikes I built only for riding on the road, but I'm finally appreciating it on a bike that's also ridden offroad. It really helps climbing, only to the limit of the tire of course, but additionally it adds a really reassuring brake position for downhills that push the limits of the bike. I suppose Grant Peterson knew this long ago with the XO-1. Nothing like rediscovering the recent past with trial and error. Too bad the old Bridgestones were not also 650B........

    I should also add that the Panaracer Fatty Rumpkin is possible of more than than it's meager inverted tread suggests. I've gone up a few surprising dry and leafy steep climbs that looked impossible. It's absolutely no Neo Moto (like on my 650b'd Kona Unit), but it gets me home on the road well too.
  • 03-23-2009
    I like it. What are the short bar extensions near the stem? The frames of road brake levers? That might solve a project that I'm considering, to somehow retrofit an alu MTB riser bar with extensions a la the Satellite bars by bontrager. Thanks!
  • 03-24-2009
    Exactly, they are old plastic Modolo brake lever bodies. Gives me that once in while upright position. Idea came from here: http://www.stanford.edu/~dru/moustache.html
  • 04-09-2009
    I think a better tire is a Grand Bois Hetre. In the 42 size, its an all round tire on road and off road. As a "demi-balloon", it will match any frame!
  • 05-24-2009
    Dirty Tiger
    Wow, That bike looks like a fun ride.
  • 05-28-2009
    This forum, & my recent education concerning the latest in bicycling (esp mountain bikes) is ruining me. The bike pictured is sweet. The more I learn the more I want to know. I had enough hobbies already but now this!
  • 06-04-2011
    What hubs did you use for the wheelset?

    I know this frame is designed for 130mm hubs.

    This bike really needs 135mm rear spacing.
  • 06-09-2011
    I agree
    Yup, should have 135 spacing. However, the only 130mm disc hubset I could find at the time was a Velocity set that has held up very well.