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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    650B front wheel only - Worth it?

    I have a 2006 Specialized Stumpjumper Expert and have been toying with the idea of putting a 650B wheel on the front and keeping a 26" on the back. The question I have is whether it is worth it or not. Is there truly a benefit to this set-up? I figure I can drop the fork (Fox Talas) a few mm so as to not screw with the geometry too much.

    The terrain I ride is typically quite rocky (Northern NJ).

    Any thoughts?


  2. #2
    Reputation: Rainman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Good job! 650b..

    Absolutely and definitely worth doing. The 650B front wheel will drop your endo ratio, roll over logs roots and rocks better, increase your cornering traction and grip, and give you more pedal clearance from pedal strikes.

    What's not to like about that?

    It is inevitable ...

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Doesn't that frame have clearance for 650b rear in the swingarm. I would do both sides. I found the 26/650b combo great for downhills, but not much to write home about climbing.(compaired to climbing with 650b front AND back which climbs much better for many reasons).
    But if I could only do front I would do it verses 26/26. Then as mentioned by the experts, drop you stem some.
    Last edited by ghawk; 01-25-2009 at 09:26 AM.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: reformed roadie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Rainman is right...10 minutes till wapner.

    I have a 650b on the front of my blur XC...I ride similar terrain in Eastern PA. It is a noticeable improvement.
    There have been occasions, going over big logs that I feel it made the difference between cleaning it and going OTB.
    Also it rolls much better through rock gardens.
    Larger contact patch = more tractions around corners.

    I don't notice much, if any problem climbing. In fact, there has been only one case where it was a negative.
    On one extremely tight switchback, I thought for a moment that a 26" wheel would have been better. I got around, but with a little extra effort.
    Once, in 6 months of use. It's a no brainer.

    Definitely adjust your position slightly. Lower bars, slide saddle forward and raise. I would do it slowly, in small increments until you find a sweet spot.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    I roll 650 front only

    I really like the feel. There was a slight adjustment at first. I even swapped back and forth on a couple of rides to make sure I could tell the difference. Like others have said, I lowered my bars to put the riding position back to normal for me. That was the only other addition.

  6. #6
    ride more
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    rode that way for a while now, I found it too be way better. Definatley worth a try!

  7. #7
    TNC is offline
    noMAD man
    Reputation: TNC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Purs who posts here and has a current thread going about his BLT2 with front and rear 650B had the same SJ as yours. The wheels on his current BLT2 came off his '07 SJ Expert. I run a Nomad with a 160mm Nixon and 650B front, and it works excellently.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Purs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    I rode this stumpy for awhile with just the 650 up front and noticed an improvement. Then put one on the back to go with it and liked it even more. Like everyone said, rollover, cornering, basically everything seemed better. I may be in the minority but I also noticed a big improvement in climbing with the 650 in back....
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    2010 SC Blur XCc

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Both front and back. I think 99% of your riders who can will wind up running it that way after a longer period of experience and experimentation. (Of course there are guys out there that like 26/29 though too.)
    Sometimes it depends on your orientation. Down-hill guys seem to think the 650b up front is the bee's knees. While XC guys like running on either end which really has a large impact climbing.
    I really like the way 650b in back balances out the bike. Climbing really steep technical stuff with dynamics of the wheel momentum and chain tension relationship; I seem to to be able to sense the feeling of the back wheel better for various balance/momentum related maneuvers as well as rock clearance and quicker handling of higher bb.
    But, as stated before if I could only do it on the front due to clearance issues in the back, I would although I think the percentage of handling improvement with a front only is lower than I originally thought, it is still much better than 26/26.

  10. #10
    Reputation: Entrenador's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Late report here

    Quote Originally Posted by reformed roadie
    I have a 650b on the front of my blur XC..
    I built up my blur XC a few months back, and added a 650b wheel on the front. At first, it seemed a bit raked out, which put me off. I lowered the bars and readjusted the saddle position. I was playing with the idea of lowering the fork travel from 100mm to 90mm.

    I realized that with the 26" wheel in the front, the bike felt twitchy and unsafe on the steep descents, so I had inflated the front shock a bit extra to increase the preload, and to keep the front end up. Once I remembered this, I reset the front sag to the proper level (about 15psi less), and now the bike feels amazing. Two weeks ago, I knocked out a 45 mile, 7700' elev. gain ride on it, and recently I spun it up a baby-headed climb with ease -- a climb that I'd be unable to manage in the past on my other bikes. How much did the 650b wheel have to do with this? I can't say for sure, but I can say the bike now climbs as well as with the 26" wheel on the smooth ups, and climbs better on the bumpy ones. And, it descends everything much better than it did with the 26" wheel.

    I won't say that the 650b front only format is right for every bike, but I can say it will turn a one-trick-pony blur XC into a very versatile bike. It's certainly worth considering & exploring the geometries for.

    Good luck.

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