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  1. #1
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    650B S-Works Epic - First Ride

    I finally got the new wheelset for my 650B Epic project - WTB Laserdisc hubs and Stan's rims. I went with the new 2009 hubs (stainless bearings) and the pair weighed in at 1589 grams. I mounted up a Neomoto front / Quasi rear combo and headed out to the nearest trailhead. It was pretty muddy (probably shouldn't have gone) but I figured I've been waiting so long for the wheels to arrive, I just couldn't hold out for bone dry trails.

    I picked a local loop that has everything from baby heads, roots and rocks, to a 2 mile stretch of groomed roller coaster. The trails were pretty muddy in spots, but there were enough dry sections that I could open it up and get a real feel for how the bike handled with the new wheels.

    My overall impression was that the bike had loads more stability with the larger wheels - almost as much as a 29er. I could drive much harder into corners and I had way more traction than I should have with a glorified cross tire on the back. The great part was that the bike was still just as flickable as with 26" wheels - I don't feel I lost anything in terms of quickness or handling. It was still very easy to wheelie and bunny hop, but was again...much more stable than with the smaller wheels. I also felt like I had at least another inch of travel. I was running the Brain shock on full cush with 26" wheels, but dialed it back a couple of clicks due to the extra comfort from the wheels. That also made the bike accelerate and climb better.

    I've had very high expectations for this wheel size and the initial ride did not disappoint. I think 650B borrows acceleration and quick handling from 26" wheels, and traction and stability from 29" wheels.

    It's hard to say I'm completely sold after only 1 hour in the saddle, but I can definitively say that this wheelsize has a LOT of promise. I can't wait till things freeze / dry up so I can get back out and ride some more!
    ~ May The Schwartz Be With You ~

  2. #2
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    pics....
    Attached Images Attached Images
    ~ May The Schwartz Be With You ~

  3. #3
    Eating Hot Pockets
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    well if nothing else, the sloppy conditions were a good test of clearance....did you notice any issues with the reduced room for mud?

  4. #4
    Harshing my mellow, man..
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    Looks nice, very nice. I love how the Bepic works. Did you feel any difference in climbing? I know when I was on my boss's bike, I felt like I could climb anything. It's completely wonderful. Hope you enjoy yours as much as we enjoy ours.

  5. #5
    www.derbyrims.com
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    He's hooked. No going back to 26 wheels now!

  6. #6
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    This was definitely a good way to test mud clearance!

    The only issue I had was up front, oddly enough, where I have tons of clearance. At one point in the ride I had to stop and clean out the ball of mud that had built up under the arch. I think anything would have had the same problem, given the conditions. I generally don't ride when it's muddy, so I'm not worried about it at all.

    The climbing was exceptional. My benchmark for climbing is my Niner AIR9 w/ a very light tubeless wheelset. I feel like I can climb anything on that bike. This was very, very close, even with the Quasi. I can't wait to find out if a Neo 2.1 / Fire XC / Nevegal will clear in the back. I think with a meatier rear tire, this setup would be VERY hard to beat.
    ~ May The Schwartz Be With You ~

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the report. Cool looking bike.

  8. #8
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    epic

    what year is you epic? btw-sweet setup!

  9. #9
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    2005 - last year before the S-Works went carbon. I think the rear triangle is the same from the M4 generation on up, though....so clearance in the back would be the same regardless of the year or material.
    ~ May The Schwartz Be With You ~

  10. #10
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    I've got the 2006 M5 frame in XL and I'm keen to convert, however from my calculations the Neo-motos will hit the crown of my F100 rl forks at full compression. How have you found this? Thanks

  11. #11
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    I took all the air out of my F100 and fully compressed it. It's close, but there's definitely still clearance. I suppose it's possible to have contact if you were going full bore, landing a jump....and then you just happened to lose all your air. I've never had this happen in 20 years of riding, so I'm not losing much sleep over that scenario. There's a surprising amount of room with a Fox fork, even with a Neomoto. I have less clearance with a Racing Ralph 2.4 on my Reba 29er fork.
    ~ May The Schwartz Be With You ~

  12. #12
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    Awesome.

    Thanks for posting the report!

  13. #13
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    I took the Epic out for a spin today with the 26" rear wheel back on, Conti Mt King 2.4 tire. I actually liked this combo a lot. I didn't really notice much loss in traction with the smaller wheel (the difference was probably offset by that big tread) but it seemed like the bike was a lot quicker to accelerate out of corners and seemed easier to wheelie. The Neomoto on the front is definitely going to stay, but I have to say I really like the option of running different treads on the back....there are just SO many 26" tire choices.

    Anybody else find that running 650B front / 26" rear turned out to be the "magic" combination?
    ~ May The Schwartz Be With You ~

  14. #14
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    Magic Combo

    Quote Originally Posted by southy
    Anybody else find that running 650B front / 26" rear turned out to be the "magic" combination?
    Funny you should ask. I'm still flip-floping between my 2003 Santa Cruz Superlight, set up as a 27.5/26er, and my 2007 Heckler, with 27.5 front/rear. Both are heaps of fun. The Heckler more so pointed downhill. I whole heartedly agree that a 27.5 up front is better than a 26.

    All bikes are fun, though aren't they?

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