Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: salimoneus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,887

    650b FS Frame Builders Collective?

    It seems that the 650b movement could really use a shot in the arm. So far much of the feedback on the performance of 650b wheels has been positive, but there really is limited available hardware right now. We need to jumpstart things and get the ball rolling.

    The biggest problems right now seem to be 1) the lack of a major brand suspension fork that is endorsed for 650b and 2) the lack of major brand FS frames that are designed for 650b.

    Unfortunately these two problems present sortof a chicken-and-egg situation. The frame makers don't want to release a production bike without being able to offer a major brand suspension fork to go along with it. The fork makers don't want to invest in redesigning and retooling a production line for something fairly new and unproven without some sort of a purchase commitment.

    The 29er had the advantage of having a couple big players in the frame industry step forward and fund the fork development. Unfortunately it does not look like we are going to be able to rely on much help from them this go around.

    It seems that a possible solution to this would be to form a collective of several smaller to medium sized MTB frame builders, those that are in firm belief that 650b has a solid place in the future of mountain biking standards. This would allow them to pool their resources together, and satisfy a minimum PO from one of the major fork makers, effectively sharing the investment and risk across the board.

    A good place to start seems to be targeted at mid-travel FS trail bikes. Ventana already has released the El Bastardo, so hopefully they would be on board. Others like Turner have plans for 650b frames, but those plans are on hold at the moment due to the issues mentioned above. So there's two likely candidates already. I'm sure we could find at least a couple others to join in as well.

    If we truly believe that this is the future of the sport, then let's not sit around waiting for someone else to take action.

    What do you think, it is doable? Is it too late? Is it practical?

  2. #2
    Mr.650b - Mr.27-5
    Reputation: Kirk Pacenti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,630
    Quote Originally Posted by salimoneus
    It seems that the 650b movement could really use a shot in the arm. So far much of the feedback on the performance of 650b wheels has been positive, but there really is limited available hardware right now. We need to jumpstart things and get the ball rolling.

    The biggest problems right now seem to be 1) the lack of a major brand suspension fork that is endorsed for 650b and 2) the lack of major brand FS frames that are designed for 650b.

    Unfortunately these two problems present sortof a chicken-and-egg situation. The frame makers don't want to release a production bike without being able to offer a major brand suspension fork to go along with it. The fork makers don't want to invest in redesigning and retooling a production line for something fairly new and unproven without some sort of a purchase commitment.

    The 29er had the advantage of having a couple big players in the frame industry step forward and fund the fork development. Unfortunately it does not look like we are going to be able to rely on much help from them this go around.

    It seems that a possible solution to this would be to form a collective of several smaller to medium sized MTB frame builders, those that are in firm belief that 650b has a solid place in the future of mountain biking standards. This would allow them to pool their resources together, and satisfy a minimum PO from one of the major fork makers, effectively sharing the investment and risk across the board.

    A good place to start seems to be targeted at mid-travel FS trail bikes. Ventana already has released the El Bastardo, so hopefully they would be on board. Others like Turner have plans for 650b frames, but those plans are on hold at the moment due to the issues mentioned above. So there's two likely candidates already. I'm sure we could find at least a couple others to join in as well.

    If we truly believe that this is the future of the sport, then let's not sit around waiting for someone else to take action.

    What do you think, it is doable? Is it too late? Is it practical?

    Chris from Pivot is interested too...

    I am all for it, though it may be akin to herding cats. Getting the right volume will be the tough part.

    Word is GF got Marzzochi to do it for a min of 2,000 units. I think it was a similar deal with Trek and Fox some years later.

    Dave Turner says he's seen the numbers for several fork makers 29er sus-fork sales. According to DT the volumes were pathetic, and it has most fork makers gun shy to do another standard. *I am paraphrasing a bit* but pretty sure he said "pathetic".

    Right now I am backing (with my $$$) any fork company that supports 650b. That's primarily X-Fusion, White Bros, Cannondale and Maverick. (others?)

    Cheers,

    KP

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: salimoneus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,887
    That's great to hear Pivot is also interested. So we've got...

    Ventana, Turner, Pivot, Pacenti, Haro, and Jamis.

    That's six companies who seem likely to contribute. Not a bad start.

    Still lots of prospects left, like Ellsworth, Norco, Santa Cruz, Felt, Ibis, Intense, Kona, Titus, Yeti, and many more that I have not listed. These company names were just taken randomly from the subforums. Got to be at least a few more that are interested?

    I totally understand why the forkers would be gun shy about yet another standard. In fact I addressed that in a draft petition I created. It's still rough, but here is an excerpt from it:


    Some skeptics might be thinking to themselves: "Well, you had the 26" wheel for a while, and just recently added a 29" wheel, so now you want to come out with yet another size? Can't you guys make up your minds? When does this end? Are you just going to have another petition next year for 651a or something?"

    Those are some very good questions, ones that we have equally good answers to. The 26" wheel size has existed as the standard for quite some time, but it was a fairly arbitrary decision that determined it should be the standard. It had more to do with materials availability and manufacturing glitches than any rider input, hard studies, or analysis. Since then there have been very few complaints of the 26" wheel being too large, but complaints of it being too small were what prompted the recent 29" movement. Well now that we have had 29" for a time, hardly anyone is complaining that it is too small, if anything many argue that it is just too large of an increase to be practical for many biking applications. So we know that the usable range borders on 26" at the small end and 29" at the large end. At this point it became clear that it was time to fill the gap left in between the two sizes. With the 650b sitting exactly in between the other two, there really is no more room for another new wheel size beyond the 650b without being redundant.
    Last edited by salimoneus; 11-21-2009 at 02:43 AM.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: reformed roadie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,586
    I think Ibis and Titus might be possibilities.
    Unless something has changed radically at Santa Cruz, I wouldn't count them.

    The major difference between getting a 650b fork done and what 29ers had to face is different, and IMHO what makes the 650b great .
    There are no 26" forks I am aware of that would fit a 29" wheel.
    If Bob Fox woke up tomorrow and said "let's approve our forks for 650b use" this would be a non-issue.

    If they truly thought it required a re-tooling, they could just tweak the arch and use the next size up with a bottom-up spacer (use a 140mm travel upper for a 120 or 130 fork).
    For RS, the Pike lowers are 650b compatible, and were used for the maxle version of the Revelation - the parts are out there.
    I admit, I have no experience w/ the X-fusion, but the new velvet looks promising.

    I completely agree, full suspension bikes will be where the 650b makes it's mark.
    I hate to dismiss the Haro or Jamis, but they are not going to be the bike that takes the wheel size main stream.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: salimoneus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,887
    I think the RS barely fits the 2.3, with not much additional clearance for mud/rocks, and Fox isn't all that much better. I would expect even Fox to want to modify their forks so they offer as much clearance as the 26" forks have with 26" tires, and aren't limited to 2.3 tires. I agree though, it definitely does not seem like very difficult engineering to essentially add a bit of extra clearance. Strength and flex may be a concern as well, since the forks are going to be attached to something that's bigger and likely weighs more.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    2,018
    Lefty for all.


  7. #7
    tl1
    tl1 is offline
    Bicyclist
    Reputation: tl1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    2,848

    Shot in the arm

    Quote Originally Posted by salimoneus
    It seems that the 650b movement could really use a shot in the arm.
    Or an enema (sorry the "movement" thing suggested that). Doesn't your idea kind of poop on the fork makers that are actually supporting 650B making 650B forks now? You're kind of saying "Thanks guys, but they're not really good enough for prime time.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: salimoneus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,887
    Quote Originally Posted by tl1
    Or an enema (sorry the "movement" thing suggested that). Doesn't your idea kind of poop on the fork makers that are actually supporting 650B making 650B forks now? You're kind of saying "Thanks guys, but they're not really good enough for prime time.
    I see what you're coming from, and had some of the same thoughts myself. But it's not me saying that, it's the frame builders that are holding off on moving forward with 650b projects, because there are no major fork manufacturers with endorsed products.

    And I can understand some of the reasons as to why they would take that position. I'm probably not the best one to make an argument for it, but I can try.

    Companies like Fox, Rock Shox, and Marzocchi have been making reliable and affordable mid travel forks for quite some time now. They have a substantial portion of the market and have quite a loyal following. It's great that some smaller fork makers have been able to get 650b stuff produced more quickly, but some of the prices I have seen seem quite steep, and many people have never heard of some of these brands.

    I think being able to present your 650b to the world with a Fox or RS fork on it, would be much more effective at gaining acceptance in the industry than with brands that most people have probably never heard of. It's unfortunate for the smaller players that already have products available, but it's just the way it works.

    In other words, it might not be the best idea to hinge the success or failure of a new standard, on products that are relatively untested. In the mid-travel fork arena, Fox, RS, and Zoke have been pretty heavily tested and are widely used. I can't say the same for the others because I'm just not familiar enough with them.

    It's also a matter of service. You can pretty much go to any decent shop and have your Fox/RS/Zoke serviced by a qualified technician. What am I supposed to do when my White Brothers fork has a problem? Can you even buy those at local shops? I've never seen that brand before. Then again I try to avoid the LBS as much as possible.

    Again, no disrespect intended for those guys that have put themselves out there and already produced 650b endorsed products, that's great and I applaud them. I'm just looking at the state of things today, seeing if there is anything we can do to regain some momentum.

    Oh, and make sure you bag that poop.

  9. #9
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: Walt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,292

    Just asking...

    ...but is there a reason not to just use a 29er fork (of which there are several from most of the big sussy fork manufacturers)?

    I mean, sure, it's ~15mm taller than it needs to be, but then again, you can fit as big of a tire in there as you want without worrying about clearance. Or you can go with WB.

    I'll be honest - I love the 650b size for a lot of riders, but I probably only get 1 or 2 _requests_ for 650b bikes per year. Ventana is making a 650b FS bike, and I doubt they're having trouble keeping up with demand. There just aren't that many 650b riders yet, and many of the folks who would consider it are geeks who want a custom setup (nothing wrong with that, but they're not going to run out and buy a Turner, or whatever).

    I have to think that a minimum order of suspension forks from, say, Rockshox, would be more forks than there are 650b mountain bikes ON EARTH. Probably 5 times as many. MTBR gives you a very distorted idea of what people are riding - folks who read and post here are not representative of the mountain bike buying (and profit generating) public.

    In short, give it time. There is simply no way the current market can support what you're asking for. In a couple of years (especially if the economy improves) it might happen. In the meantime, support the folks who have put their money where their mouths are (ie, Pacenti, White Brothers, Ventana, your custom framebuilder of choice, etc).

    Just for kicks, here's a 650b FS setup I built last year. To date, it is the only one anyone has ordered.

    -Walt
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: salimoneus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,887
    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    ...but is there a reason not to just use a 29er fork (of which there are several from most of the big sussy fork manufacturers)?

    I mean, sure, it's ~15mm taller than it needs to be, but then again, you can fit as big of a tire in there as you want without worrying about clearance. Or you can go with WB.
    Are you asking me personally, why I don't just use a 29er fork? Well I'm actually pretty happy using a 26" fork for my experimenting. Even though a 2.3 tire is as big as it will fit, that's about as much tire as I need and I don't ride in mud too often. My main issue is the fact that I'm stuck with 26" in the rear, because there are so few 650b FS frame choices available.

    As far as Ventana or Turner selling their 650b frames with 29er forks, I'd have to think there are several reasons why that probably won't fly. Otherwise why would White Brothers and others have even bothered making 650b specific forks to begin with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    I'll be honest - I love the 650b size for a lot of riders, but I probably only get 1 or 2 _requests_ for 650b bikes per year. Ventana is making a 650b FS bike, and I doubt they're having trouble keeping up with demand. There just aren't that many 650b riders yet, and many of the folks who would consider it are geeks who want a custom setup (nothing wrong with that, but they're not going to run out and buy a Turner, or whatever).
    I would argue the reason that people are not asking for custom built 650b frames yet is exactly because no major fork makers have an approved product yet. They aren't willing to risk the investment on something new when some of the major components are question marks. But slap on a Fox or Rock Shox and the buyer's comfort level goes up dramatically.

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    I have to think that a minimum order of suspension forks from, say, Rockshox, would be more forks than there are 650b mountain bikes ON EARTH. Probably 5 times as many. MTBR gives you a very distorted idea of what people are riding - folks who read and post here are not representative of the mountain bike buying (and profit generating) public.

    In short, give it time. There is simply no way the current market can support what you're asking for. In a couple of years (especially if the economy improves) it might happen. In the meantime, support the folks who have put their money where their mouths are (ie, Pacenti, White Brothers, Ventana, your custom framebuilder of choice, etc).
    I don't see why there would be an issue with more forks than bikes. If 5 or 6 frame builders can commit to a certain number of frames each, then weight the financial obligation accordingly, each will make as many as they have committed to, and enough forks should be available. That is the point of the collective, so that no one company has to take on all the risk themselves. Unfortunately we won't have a Trek or Gary Fisher to drop a money bomb for us this time around.

    I also understand it will take time. Even if everything works out perfectly and something like this goes through, it's still going to take at least a year and probably more to see the end results. But it's going to be a much longer wait if companies continue to keep their 650b plans oh hold until some magic fork fairy appears.

    I think Kirk's signature line really hits the spot...

    "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." - Henry Ford
    IMO we can't just sit around waiting for the mountain bike buying public, hoping they start demanding this stuff. You just do what you think is right, and keep pushing until it either gets there or fails miserably.

    Nice bike btw!
    Last edited by salimoneus; 11-22-2009 at 12:41 AM.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    2,018
    I think for custom orders......a 29'er fork is a viable option.

    But since most of us are converting 26" frames an X-fusion is the absolute best way to go at this moment. I personally don't like the fact that WB built a "special" fork for 650b. I don't think retooling was all that necessary. Just open up the 26" a little bit. Riders with 26" forks certainly won't complain about having extra room. I won't recommend Fox anymore since they refuse to allow 650b (but they do work very well).

    Seriously, have you seen the Velvet? It is exactly what everyone on here has been asking for. And it is priced VERY WELL! If I were in the market today for a 650b fork, I'd be all over a 2010 Velvet.

    With that said, I have my C-dale Flash on order....alloy (Made in USA) with 650b approved lefty. Heck you can run 29" on the lefty if you reduce the travel (same fork as on the Flash 29'er).

  12. #12
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: Walt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,292

    Clarification

    If you're designing a bike from scratch (whether it's a production bike or a custom one) all you need to know about the fork is A) Will the wheels fit and not bottom out on the crown and such, and B) What's the axle-crown length (and rake). Designing a 650b around a 29er fork is dead easy to do, and there's nothing stopping any manufacturer from doing it. The forks are available, they work great, and the only drawback is an extra 15-20mm of axle-crown length (for folks who need their bars *really* low, this could be a small problem, but I have to think that it would only rarely pop up).

    WB makes their fork because their stuff is modular and it takes very little effort to make things a bit shorter than a 29er fork. And they can make them as needed, rather than having to invest big money in molds and such. So it's not a risk for them.

    Conversions are a different story, and not the point of the thread, as I see it. As for having not that many FS options, if nobody is buying the options that are out there (and every single one is waiting for their favorite suspension design, from their favorite manufacturer, in 650b) then I wouldn't expect to see it happen. If people see demand, they'll build the bikes.

    So there's not much demand and there's a viable solution (existing 29er forks) - I don't see why any group of builders would thrown down ~$25k+ each for forks that they may never sell.


    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by salimoneus
    Are you asking me personally, why I don't just use a 29er fork? Well I'm actually pretty happy using a 26" fork for my experimenting. Even though a 2.3 tire is as big as it will fit, that's about as much tire as I need and I don't ride in mud too often. My main issue is the fact that I'm stuck with 26" in the rear, because there are so few 650b FS frame choices available.

    As far as Ventana or Turner selling their 650b frames with 29er forks, I'd have to think there are several reasons why that probably won't fly. Otherwise why would White Brothers and others have even bothered making 650b specific forks to begin with.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: salimoneus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,887
    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    So there's not much demand and there's a viable solution (existing 29er forks) - I don't see why any group of builders would thrown down ~$25k+ each for forks that they may never sell.
    -Walt
    I think whether or not the 29er is a viable solution to 650b, has already been answered by the industry. I see not a single frame builder selling their bikes with a 29er fork attached. Not a one.


    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    and the only drawback is an extra 15-20mm of axle-crown length
    I'm no suspension engineer, but doesn't that basically mean that there is 15-20mm of extra length that is basically wasted, when it could have been used as actual travel? That's a big deal, especially considering that people are riding harder and longer today than they were even a few years ago. There's also issues with geometry to consider.

    Look, I'm not going to go back and forth with you on the viability of using the 29er forks, I'm really not qualified, and it's really not the point of this thread. If the industry thought it was the proper move, they would have already adopted that approach a while back since it would have been the easy road. I just haven't seen any movement towards that, and all signs point to having 650b specific forks. It makes sense considering the compromises one is left with trying to use parts that weren't designed for your application.

    As far as investing in forks that they may never sell, that's always a risk you take with business. No guarantees. But enough outside people have stood up and voiced their support for this, from racers, to frame builders, to respected enthusiasts, to anyone else willing to invest their own dollars into it, that it seems pretty clear the 650b standard has a place in the future of mountain biking.

    When you consider how popular the do-it-all mid travel trail bikes have become, people really like having that one weapon that can do everything. I think the 650b fits into that scheme perfectly for many riders, and it's future is very bright.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: coconinocycles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,002
    Quote Originally Posted by salimoneus
    I see not a single frame builder selling their bikes with a 29er fork attached. Not a one.


    .
    i do. my wife's bike with a fox 80mm 29er fork should be up & running next week.......so far i have buit 650B's with: rigid, R-Shox 29er Rebas, Fox 29er & now, a lefty......Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    steve garro el jefe/el solo. coconino cycles www.coconinocycles.com www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

  15. #15
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: Walt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,292

    Tilting at windmills?

    First off, I'm really not trying to start an argument. I love 650b (though I don't ride them much myself, since I'm big enough that 29" wheels are a no-brainer) and I'd like to see a Rockshox/Fox/Manitou 650b specific fork. I just think that you're wasting your time advocating this - the only thing that will convince the big fork makers to do this is if they think it's a SLAM DUNK. NOBODY is throwing capital at risky projects right now, and this is the king of all risky projects.

    If there is demand, 650b specific forks will start being made by the bigs. If there isn't, they won't. Look at the boards - there are probably 1000+ people on MTBR at any given time, and on a typical day, only 15-20 of them are reading the 650b/69er board. That's not enough people. Without having hard numbers, I'd guess that there are a couple hundred 650b specific (not frankenbike conversions) mountain bikes being built per year, worldwide. We need an order of magnitude more before the fork makers take notice. Give it a couple of years and then come back to this idea. The collective purchase thing will never, ever fly.

    As an aside, I have built several 650bs with 29er forks on them, and I know many others have done the same.

    -Walt

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: salimoneus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,887
    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    We need an order of magnitude more before the fork makers take notice. Give it a couple of years and then come back to this idea. The collective purchase thing will never, ever fly.

    -Walt
    I think you're making a mountain out of....well maybe not a mole hill, but maybe a foothill. The order of magnitude needed is exactly the size of the order that the fork makers will accept. That's all, no more no less.

    I don't see why you are so pessimistic about this, probably because you are completely satisfied with your 29er. But many people are not, which is why 29er fork sales have been "pathetic". It's just not the be-all end-all solution that some would have you believe. I think the 650b has infinitely more potential than the 29er. I could see how some people that feel an emotional attachment to 29ers wouldn't want the 650b out so quickly though. They want to enjoy their honeymoon while it lasts. There's also that whole "exclusivity" thing that some people enjoy. That will surely be gone once the 650b really hits the scene.

    Anyway, I just don't agree we need to wait a couple more years, I think there is enough interest in this right now. How many rims and tires were available in the beginning of the 29er movement? Right now there's several 650b rims and tires available, with more coming out as we speak. There's already a handful of frames, and several fork options. I think we've already progressed far enough that sitting around and waiting is just not in the cards.

    As to using 29er forks, I'm sure it's physically possible to do that, there is nothing stopping anyone from playing around with that idea. I just don't think it's worth the compromises that you are stuck with in the end, and apparently neither do Ventana, Jamis, or Haro.

  17. #17
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: Walt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,292

    So call them.

    Fair enough. Let us know how it goes. Best of luck. I'm not clear on why information from someone who not only builds 650b bikes but has worked in the bike industry for more than a decade comes across as a personal attack, but whatever.

    I don't think 26/650b/29" are "better" or "worse" than each other - they're condition, terrain, and rider dependent. What works for you might not for me - claiming that 650b (or 29, or whatever) has "infinitely more potential" is just silly. The "movement" mindset has really never made sense to me, though.

    Edit:

    The El Bastardo and the Dakar are designed around a 517m fork:
    Manitou Minute 29er 120mm: 520mm
    Reba Team 120mm: 526mm (a little longer due to the TA setup)
    Fox F29 120mm: 520mm

    The Beasley is designed for a 485mm fork:
    Rockshox Reba SL 80mm: 485mm
    Fox F29 80mm: 481mm

    There are a plethora of options for almost any setup. You just have to be a little bit creative.

    -Walt
    Last edited by Walt; 11-22-2009 at 01:45 PM.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    847
    Quote Originally Posted by salimoneus
    I think whether or not the 29er is a viable solution to 650b, has already been answered by the industry. I see not a single frame builder selling their bikes with a 29er fork attached. Not a one.
    Lighten up, look around and listen a little. That's what I try to do.

    Walt suggests designing a 650b frame around a 29er fork which is a perfectly viable and logical idea. Read the Coconino blog and you'll find 650b frames designed around all kinds of forks. A KHS racer has stuck one on his 650b frame and says it rocks on his blog. There is no reason why a custom builder cannot design a frame around a 29er fork and make it work great.

    Now whether a bike company would design a frame around a 29er fork is another matter. At this point in 650b bike making, it will take some creative thinking to get what you want but good ideas are out there and there is no reason to reject positive input.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    1,869
    Quote Originally Posted by 88 rex
    Seriously, have you seen the Velvet? It is exactly what everyone on here has been asking for. And it is priced VERY WELL! If I were in the market today for a 650b fork, I'd be all over a 2010 Velvet.
    I was looking at KHS for a cheap steel 29er hard tail and came across this 650 with a velvet for just over $1000 complete.

    http://www.khsbicycles.com/02_six-fifty-606_10.htm

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    2,018
    Quote Originally Posted by crashtoomuch
    I was looking at KHS for a cheap steel 29er hard tail and came across this 650 with a velvet for just over $1000 complete.

    http://www.khsbicycles.com/02_six-fifty-606_10.htm

    I THINK that is last years Velvet. It has been redesigned for 2010.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: salimoneus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,887
    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    Fair enough. Let us know how it goes. Best of luck. I'm not clear on why information from someone who not only builds 650b bikes but has worked in the bike industry for more than a decade comes across as a personal attack, but whatever.

    I don't think 26/650b/29" are "better" or "worse" than each other - they're condition, terrain, and rider dependent. What works for you might not for me - claiming that 650b (or 29, or whatever) has "infinitely more potential" is just silly. The "movement" mindset has really never made sense to me, though.
    Walt, I haven't taken anything you've said as a personal attack nor was that the motive of any of my replies. If so then I apologize, that was not my intention. I do appreciate your input on the subject.

    I agree with you that no one standard is "better" than the other, which is why I haven't made that claim. I do however feel that the 29er is more on the upper bounds of what is practical to ride. It's definitely not recommended for smaller or even some mid sized riders.

    Tony Ellsworth even said flat out the reason he does not offer a Small Enlightenment is because "if you're shorter than 5'5" or so, you're gonna have a hard time really getting the advantages of a 29" wheel without sacrificing the handling of the bike". Listen to his comments on the subject at this year's Interbike.

    For that reason I think that 650b offers a wider range of riders the opportunity to take advantage of some of the larger wheel benefits, while at the same time keeping most of the frame geometry and wheelbase the same. It's just not physically possible to do this with 29" wheels.

    So yes I do believe that 650b has much more potential, but that's not to say that a 29er won't still be the best option for some. I think especially for taller guys (and gals) and for some riding styles the 29er will certainly be the way to go.
    Last edited by salimoneus; 11-22-2009 at 11:16 PM.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    955

    29er Fork

    I agree with Walt and Steve in regards to just designing a frame around a 29er fork. The major manufacturers could do the same. I'm currently having a 650b custom frame built around a C'dale Lefty with 480mm AC which is in the same ball park as the AC on other major manufacturers 29er forks. It really isn't a big deal to the frame builder. If the major manufacturers wanted to jump on the bandwagon they could just build the frame around a 29er fork. C'dale uses the same Lefty on both 26" and 29ers. The AC doesn't change for the Lefty on these bikes. So would people only buy a production 650b bike if it only came with a 650b specific fork? I don't get it. Most riders wouldn't even notice the slight change of head angle from different length forks even if the frame wasn't built specifically for that particular fork. Think about it. You can make the AC change by the amount we are taking about just by adjusting the sag.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    569
    Salimoneus,

    While your intentions are good, I personally do not believe that a lack of a 650 engineered model from RS/Fox is what is holding a mid-sized/large manufacturers back from embracing the wheel size whole heartily. It simply boils down to economics. Speaking with a prominent rep from Trek about their offerings for the coming years, the comments were focused on model numbers and sustainability.

    Though the conversation was lengthy, in short; introducing a new model (650b full susser for example) is strictly dependent on projected long term profitability when contrasted with R&D, fixture developement, material costs, advertising and warehousing/stock. So much of the decision to move forward is based on pre-sale figures/commitments from shops to purchase the product. At the current time, there is just not a large enough demand to support the costs of 650b development for many manufacturers regardless of component availability.

    In looking at the history of the 29er, the "industry" as a whole was slow to accept and introduce a 29er model until the new platform had proven it's self. There are always some smaller innovative companies who will roll the dice and bring a new product to the table, but often there model runs are small, limited in design variances, and financial liability can be closely managed to limit the financial risk. Many larger manufacturers still do not have a 29er product despite the ergonomic advantages for larger riders and perceived commitment from the rest of the industry. In the same vein, how many LBS can you go into and pick up a 29er tire of your choosing? We still have a long way to go.

    I feel that the 650b platform will need to suffer through the same acceptance/proving period before you see a larger product market. This will need to be driven by the smaller builders and creative thinkers. We are ahead of the game time wise due to the diligence of Kirk, as there are many tire/rim options available now.

    As much of the impetus needs to come from the smaller builders, you will not see a push for a specific fork from Fox, Rock Shox, or others, as quite honestly, we don't need or desire them.

    One of the beautiful properties of the 650b tire size is that with a little judicious design work, a frame can be crafted that can accept a 100mm 26er fork, a 650b sussy fork, or a 80mm 29er fork with little change in the front end performance. That versatility is a greater selling point to my customers than a fork that is endorsed by a big brand suspension company. Companies like White Brothers are small enough to be innovative and profitable for such a small segment as the 650b market, they should be supported for not only making the effort, but for the level of craftsmanship they bring to the table.

    I too look forward to the day with anticipation that more folks will be able to experience a properly designed 650b ride, but until then, I'm pleased and excited that we are part of the grass roots effort to bring it to fruition.

    rody
    As requested by the MTBR gods, I am the voice of Groovy Cycleworks, check it out... http://www.groovycycleworks.com

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.