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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Mar 2004

    69er vs 650B/26 (TNC / McG???)

    I've ridden the Top Fuel 69er and loved it. Really really loved it. Thing is that the 08 is sold out nationally and they are really fuzzy on when the 09 Top Fuel is coming out. So.....

    For those of you who have ridden a suspended 69er and a suspended 650B front, how do they compare?

    I guess I am considering getting a fuel EX and running a 650B on the front. I know it will slack the front a little (good) but how does the front 650B really compare to the full 29er front? Esp since the 29er has 100mm travel and the 650B will have 130 with the fox (or maybe 140 if I switch it to a Pike). I'd have the new full floater stuff and more rear travel which would be nice, but I do spend the bulk of my time on a SS 29er and really do like the big wheel up front......

    McG or TNC - you may be the only people able to answer this that I know has ridden them.....others?????

  2. #2
    TNC is offline
    noMAD man
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    Jan 2004
    Boy...that's a tough question because there are so many variables.

    What I liked about a 69'er...that tall front wheel rolled over just about everything and cornered amazingly well as long as you didn't let the front geometry get too tall.

    What I didn't like about a 69' have to sacrifice too much valuable fork travel IMO to hit really rough, technical terrain...especially at speed.

    Now...anyone who knows me is aware that I'm pretty much a long travel trail bike type of rider. The areas I ride have a lot of rocks, ledges, and other challenging features that make a long travel bike a pleasure. I am also fairly old and don't like getting abused by stiff, short-travel bikes, and would never ride a hardtail MTB...LOL! Jay...your mention of a SS 29'er makes me cringe!...LOL! The 69'er I rode was an ML8, and when the terrain got really rough, I felt the longer front travel was a little more valuable than the big wheel and 4-or-so inches of travel. When the 650B came along and allowed me run my 6+ inch fork with a taller wheel setup on my Nomad, it was magic. So as you can see, it depends a lot on what kind of bike you're going ride and what kind of riding is a priority for you.

    Look...everyone is different. Where you ride, how you ride, what works best where you ride, what sick fetishes you have...yes, I'm talking about you demented rigid, SS riders, you whackos (LOL!)...and many, many other variables that exist within the ranks of mountainbikers. So, bottom line is that it is hard to give absolute advice.

    Now...I'll also confess that I have recently pulled an '06 Trek carbon 9.5 Fuel off the wall at the shop and built it up. This is the 4" travel rear model with no rear axle pivot...very basic. I put a 130mm RS Revelation dual air fork on it, and I have been very impressed with the performance of this bike. It is no Nomad, but it is very fun to ride and even reasonably good in rough terrain...surprisingly. I am going to toy with the idea of putting a 29 front wheel and Maverick DUC32 on this thing. I don't expect Nomad-style travel or performance out of this thing, and I suspect the 29'er front might be a better match for this bike. Perhaps I'll see. Here's a pic of that Trek. Notice the ridiculous spacered handelbar height...hey...I don't like racerboy ergonomics on my bikes...LOL! I'm thinking a DUC32/29'er up front with a lowered handlebar might be just the ticket

    IMO it just comes down to the type of bike and riding you'll want to do with your setup. The beauty of the 650B is that you get the tallest wheel/tire setup possible without sacrificing fork travel. That may or may not be critical for your situation.

    I'll also add that I think the DUC32/29'er front setup may be the best overall choice in a 69'er setup. I like the overall lower A-to-C height, the weight, the stability, and fork action. Others may have their own favorites.
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    Last edited by TNC; 11-05-2008 at 01:23 PM. Reason: add pic

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MMcG's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    I'm not sure I can help much. But here are some thoughts.

    I did a Schwinn Rocket 88 as a 69er full squish with an 80mm Reba up front and that worked really well. Perhaps it was the way the suspension works on those bikes combined with the ICBM headset design Schwinn used in 2001, but with that set up the bike wasn't overly choppered out and travel front and back was very close to equal. 3.5 inches in back and 3 in front.

    The only front suspended 650b bike I've ridden is the Carver that I rode in Providence at the Dirt Demo East. That featured a 100mm XFusion Velvet and it sure did ride nice. Quick, and balanced and flickable, yet it rolled really well and fast.

    My only other point of reference is some 69er experiments as well as extended time on the Carver Bumblebee which featured 650b in back and 29er in front. I liked that combo moreso than any 69er combo I've ridden as the bike again felt more closely balanced in terms of front and rear wheel sizes.

    Not sure if that helped you at all, but I figured I'd throw it out there just in case.


  4. #4
    Reputation: LIV2RYD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    I have been riding an 07 GF HiFi Pro with a 650B front wheel for over 7 months. This is a 120mm bike on both ends. I ran a 80mm Reba with a 29er front end for a year before the conversion. I much prefer the 650B on the front, the increased fork travel far outweighs the added wheel dia of the 29. The steering is a only a tad slower but the Manitou Minute has a tendency to run low in its travel and the 650B balances this out perfectly. After tweaking the cockpit to match the revised geometry, I feel that I'm really onto something. In fact, its the best setup I have ever run. I have several 29ers (Rig and a Dos Niner) to compare but no 26ers any longer. Here is New England, my experience is that 29ers tend to be slower steering and feel a bit sluggish on many singletracks I ride. I ran time trials all year long and my best times are on the 650B/26 hybrid even though my 1x9 29er Rig is nearly 4 lbs lighter. I always felt faster on my Rig or Dos but my times were always better on the HiFi. Disclaimer: My 29er times were better on open, buff trails but typical NE singletrack was where the HiFi ruled.

    I should point out that all my bikes are size small frames which makes a f/s 29er out of the question. I would love to test a f/s 650B in the 120mm travel range. That Waltworks 650B with a Ventana tail section has me real interested. I think this combo may be perfect for small frame riders looking for f/s and tight handling. For now, my HiFi gets most of my time unless I'm in the mood to ride a single speed.

    My ability to ride over techincal terrain at speed on my HiFi is unmatched. I have stopped being surprised by how often i can clean stuff that stops all my 26er riding buddies cold.
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  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    Mar 2004


    thanks for the comments guys. I know this is a loaded question. Aside from wheel size, I really think that geometry of the top fuel 69 plays into this a LOT. slack front, long front-center, and short chainstays make it feel like a whippy moto-BMX mutant thing.

    I guess a 650 B on the front will raise the Fuel EX BB a tad, slacken the head angle about half a degree, and wheel size should kick the trail # closer to that of the remedy for a bit more stability.
    I like slow handling bikes, so this might be an option if no news comes on the top fuel 69 for 09

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