650b balance and traction comments- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    650b balance and traction comments

    I've been thinking about the whole 650b thing and one thing that occurred to me is that most reviews, as well as riders' offhand comments of 650b bikes talk about two things being exemplary - balance and traction.

    I've noticed the same things on my Bastardo. Almost immediately I was commenting on how easy and natural it was to ride, and how the bike felt "balanced" beneath me. Some of this has to be proper sizing and correct stem, seat height, etc., but could the wheel size have something to do with that?

    Another is traction. I have to say that I have a hard time finding a circumstance to break loose the rear tire, and even more so than what I remember on a 29er. I am wondering why that is.

    And there is also something about having just that added bit of stability over a 26er combined with the added bit of agility over a 29er, that makes me want to ride this bike hard. Anyone else experience that with their 650b? Or maybe it's a Ventana thing.

  2. #2
    TNC
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    Your bike could contribute to some of these issues for sure. It's a great bike. However, the 650B is incrementally taller, and will contribute to overall traction. I think a 29'er corners better...in the traction department, not the tight turning department...but it's everywhere else in my bike riding where the 29'er doesn't float my boat. Bikes and components have gotten darned good in recent years. Nearly every improvement will be somewhat incremental. The 650B allows what is basically a 26" bike have the absolute tallest wheels/tires without killing travel or killing geometry aspects that people like about the 26'er.

  3. #3
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    I agree with both posters about the 650 wheels size. I never got on with a 29er for the kind of riding I do. 650 wheeled bikes seem the best of both worlds -- 650s can carve and turn like a sharp handling 26er and roll and hold the trail like a 29er.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by daves4mtb View Post
    I've been thinking about the whole 650b thing and one thing that occurred to me is that most reviews, as well as riders' offhand comments of 650b bikes talk about two things being exemplary - balance and traction.

    I've noticed the same things on my Bastardo. Almost immediately I was commenting on how easy and natural it was to ride, and how the bike felt "balanced" beneath me. Some of this has to be proper sizing and correct stem, seat height, etc., but could the wheel size have something to do with that?
    Well, without a proper context, "balanced" is an terribly ambiguous term.

    Assuming you mean it's very easy to keep the bike from tipping over in technical situations, That's probably true for you since your bike is 650b-specific, but this is not so clear-cut for 26" conversions when riding uphill, as we will be either running higher centers of gravity or running the seatpost lower than optimal for climbing power. When the trail turns downhill, the conversions really shine at their brightest IMHO.

    Another is traction. I have to say that I have a hard time finding a circumstance to break loose the rear tire, and even more so than what I remember on a 29er. I am wondering why that is.
    I can think of at least three possibilities, from least likely to most likely:
    1) If your 29er wheel/tire combo is unusually heavy, the unsprung weight of the wheel may prevent it from tracking as well over chatter as it could.
    2) You may have more and possibly better travel on your 650b bike than on the 29er
    3) you just happen to be running tires that work better for your riding style on the 650b. There are very few 650b tires (if any) that are exactly the same as their 26" and/or 29" counterparts.

  5. #5
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    No hands balance is easy

    I've never ridden a bike with easier no hands balance than my 650b Mojo, straight ahead and turning, riding down the back streets to the trail head or back.

    Handling balance from tight single track to DH bike park feels very natural too with 650bs on the Mojo. The handling was great to start with the original 26" wheels to start with, particularly on tight and technical trails. 650b feels more stable and still nearly as nimble on the same bike, not to mention the easier rolling and smoothness improvement and added traction.

    I have never been able to ride a 29'er no hands on pavement, very spooky! Handling usually is very poor, twitchy and floppy at the same time. There are a couple I rode that handle OK, but not no hands. 29'ers do not have a natural balanced feel at all to me.

    Many, most 26'er are spooky no hands too, but usually handle well to excellent.

  6. #6
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    There's definately more cornering grip/ traction with 650b over the 26" and it carves better without inherant twitchy feel of the 26". Like a 29er you can hang out over the front more without the wheel washing out on you in the loose conditions. That with a slight effective wheel base increase may give you the balanced feel? If that's what you mean?
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 07-01-2011 at 11:18 PM.

  7. #7
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    Took my 2011 Stumpy 650b out last night for the first time...It felt "right" I put it through the paces....great in tech sections as well as the downhill runs....it was awesome. Seemed to soak up more of the small chatter vs the 26"......more than I expected it to. The traction was increased on some of the tight loose sections. 2x10 helps too....every gear feels great, even before the 650B conversion.

  8. #8
    Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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    I don't get the "effective wheel base" comment... wheelbases are always measured on the axle center distance. Changing wheel sizes on a vehicle doesn't change the wheelbase, unless you alter where the axles sit.
    I don't post to generate business for myself or make like I'm better than sliced bread

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