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  1. #1
    TNC
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    Nomad/650B front

    I thought I'd make a new post on this since it involves the completed front wheel actually on the bike along with a short test.

    The bike is an '06 Nomad. I have been running an '06 66SL 170mm air fork on this bike but just installed a new '08 Nixon Elite 160mm air fork. That dropped 1.2 pounds off the bike. All wheels for this bike and forks are 20mm. The first pic shows a comparison of height between a 26" WTB Weirwolf Race 2.5 non-UST compared to the Pacenti 650B. Both tires are set up as tubeless. The difference between the tires' height as closely as I could measure was at least 20mm. Both tires are just about an exact match as far as mounted width which is fairly decent, because the 2.5 Weirwolf is reasonably wide for an aggressive trail tire. More to follow.
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  2. #2
    Got A Lust for Life...
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    TNC,
    Very cool man. Way to go out on a limb. I was thinking about trying this on my 4x. I know you'll keep us posted...can't wait.
    I am immune to your disdain.

  3. #3
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    Very interesting, I'll be watching this space for your review.

  4. #4
    TNC
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    Figuring out that the Stan's DH rim strip was the right choice to set the Blunt rim up as tubeless took up much of the morning, so I was only able to get a few miles of test time on this setup.

    I took the bike out to our rockiest riding area...a great motorcycle and MTB place south of where I live that has about 80 miles of trails...some very challenging and rocky trails...and no...we have no trail conflicts between motors and bikes. With 80 miles and at the very most about 20 motors running on the trails at a peak time, we all have plenty of room. BTW...we do yield the right-of-way to motors...LOL! The first two pics show a sample of the kind of "normal" trail. This is about as easy as it gets. Lots of hardpacked, lots of loose scrabble, lots of embedded rocks, lots of loose rocks, lots of ledges, lots of loose rocks...with everything going either up or down most of the time. A fantastic place to ride and test just about any bike component. Very few hardtail riders come back to ride here...at least on their hardtails...LOL!

    I rode exactly the same section of trail, about 5 miles, on each front tire setup...both fronts running 32 psi...everything else on the bike was exactly the same as far as rear shock setup, fork air pressure, etc. The truly brutal areas are a little further to the west of camp, so I have yet to do the "acid test" on this tire. The section I rode is still quite rocky and technical with some decent climbing and descending.

    One difference in the two tires that was most apparent almost immediately was improved cornering in sandy turns with the 650B. Was it the tire?...the size?...both? I did spend a good amount of time on the shop's ML8 in a 69'er setup, so I have experienced a little of the "big wheel" advantage.

    On climbs, decents, and rocky ground, there is the sensation of the front wheel having a smoother feedback when striking noticeable trail obstacles, but it's not as noticeable as the ML8 69'er. More time is needed in even rougher terrain and over a longer ride to get the full effect. One thing is sure...there is no downside to this setup. Frankly I was a little gunshy of the tire sucking or the wheel being flexy, but I could detect nothing that was below the performance of the CrossMax XL...a very excellent wheel IMO...and the WTB Weirwolf 2.5...a very good tire for our conditions. I'm obviously going to have to spend more time on this setup and probably scare myself a few times to really see what advantages are available. The sandy turns and such were clearly improved, so I suspect some turning performance overall is occuring. It also probably says something by the fact that I was able to ride this 650B setup as hard as my 26'er front...this being my first ride on this tire and wheel. I guarantee that I am quite confident and comfortable with the Crossmax/Weirwolf setup. The 650B and Pacenti tire fit like an old glove. I'm looking forward to pushing its limits.
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  5. #5
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    Awesome TNC

    Thanks for the pics and words. I hope the tire holds up over time as well as the initial ride.
    Looking forward to hearing more...

  6. #6
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    Cool initial review TNC, sounds promising.

  7. #7
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    What is the difference between (1) the contact point of the front tire and ground to (2) the fork crown, of the 2 setups?

    If they are about the same, the bike's angles will remain unchanged. However the trail could be different depending on the forks offsets.

  8. #8
    TNC
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    yogi, I'm sure that's a good question, but I have no idea. You think I'm some kind of engineer or something? I just put this stuff on these bikes and hope for the best.

    LOL!...just kidding of course...but I still don't know the answer. The Nixon is allegedly more AM oriented than my 66SL, but it's certainly no XC fork, so I don't think the geo numbers will be too far afield. The Nomad has a very long wheelbase with long chainstays, so any affect may be negligible.

  9. #9
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    Mmm... that new Nixon looks soo nice. I have an '05 and have never owned a more reliable fork.
    Bike good, work bad.

  10. #10
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    Can you get a closeup photo of the amount of clearance you have between the tire and the reverse arch of the Nixon?

    Sexy fork that is!

  11. #11
    TNC
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    Here you go.

    That's 10-11mm clearance at the very top of the tire. Here are two perspectives to see the clearance around the circumference too.
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  12. #12
    Mr.650b - Mr.27-5
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    TNC,

    Great write up. Keep us posted on your impressions of the tire and wheel size [independent of one another if possible] as you get more time on the bike.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    The difference between the tires' height as closely as I could measure was at least 20mm.
    Thanks for the great initial review. I'm curious about the fork action too, is it sticky at all?

    I got my Blunt/Hope2/DT-DB 650b front wheel parts in yesterday and laced the wheel up snug. Didn't have time to true and finish the wheel.

    I measured the rim next to a DT 5.1d and the Blunt rim is exactly 1 inch larger in diameter. I guess this 27.5 inch "standard" is as meaningfull as the 26 inch. Actually they are about 26.2 and 27.2 diameter each if using true measured 2.0 tires.

    The Blunt B rim is very light weight XC race thin-walled compared to the much more stout 50gm heavier 5.1d 26'er rim. But for the front I guess it would hold up for AM. But it's very thin-walled for a rear AM wheel for landing jumps in rocks and other high impact hits. The outside width of the two rims is the same at 28mm but the Blunt's much thinner wall give a couple more mm width inside.

    It looks like Bikeman.com sent me the Stan's wider DH or Freeride rim strip having a Schrader valve instead of the Rhino-Lite with Presta version which I had ordered. But as TNC wrote the Rhino was too narrow when stretched onto the rim, so I guess I lucked out getting the right rim strip to mount the Pacenti tire as a tubeless conversion easily.

    Bikeman.com shipped within a couple days and all parts were carefully packed. This was my second order from them with easy transaction. Their email customer response before I ordered was very quick to reply, within one or two hours, when I was asking about availability of the Pacenti tires that were listed out of stock on the web site. And the web site was updated immediately about the availability so I was able to order everything online to build the wheel from one order and one place, so avoided extra shipping for more than one source.

    I should be riding this wheel by the weekend if not sooner to be able to give a ride review.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by derby
    Thanks for the great initial review. I'm curious about the fork action too, is it sticky at all?

    I got my Blunt/Hope2/DT-DB 650b front wheel parts in yesterday and laced the wheel up snug. Didn't have time to true and finish the wheel.

    I measured the rim next to a DT 5.1d and the Blunt rim is exactly 1 inch larger in diameter. I guess this 27.5 inch "standard" is as meaningfull as the 26 inch. Actually they are about 26.2 and 27.2 diameter each if using true measured 2.0 tires.

    The Blunt B rim is very light weight XC race thin-walled compared to the much more stout 50gm heavier 5.1d 26'er rim. But for the front I guess it would hold up for AM. But it's very thin-walled for a rear AM wheel for landing jumps in rocks and other high impact hits. The outside width of the two rims is the same at 28mm but the Blunt's much thinner wall give a couple more mm width inside.

    It looks like Bikeman.com sent me the Stan's wider DH or Freeride rim strip having a Schrader valve instead of the Rhino-Lite with Presta version which I had ordered. But as TNC wrote the Rhino was too narrow when stretched onto the rim, so I guess I lucked out getting the right rim strip to mount the Pacenti tire as a tubeless conversion easily.

    Bikeman.com shipped within a couple days and all parts were carefully packed. This was my second order from them with easy transaction. Their email customer response before I ordered was very quick to reply, within one or two hours, when I was asking about availability of the Pacenti tires that were listed out of stock on the web site. And the web site was updated immediately about the availability so I was able to order everything online to build the wheel from one order and one place, so avoided extra shipping for more than one source.

    I should be riding this wheel by the weekend if not sooner to be able to give a ride review.
    Bikeman.com is a great place to order from - because essentially you are ordering from a local bike shop ( just not local to you - well unless you live in Maine that is).

  15. #15
    TNC
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    Derby, on the fork action, it's too early to pass final judgement with only about 12 miles on the fork now...but frankly it was quite smooth with no notchiness or appreciable stiction after the first 2-3 miles. I had to change pressure on the trail as it was "softening up". In the past, I had a Sherman Firefly with TPC+ and a Sherman Flick Plus with basic TPC. In the case of the Firefly with TPC+, I thought the compression damping was too harsh in its softest setting while the TPC in the Flick was just about perfect. But waaay back I had an X-Vert DC with TPC+ that was also perfect. Just depends on the shim stack setup from the factory I'd guess. The TPC+ in this Nixon looks to be right for me. Derby, both my Shermans were coil forks...very smooth, no stiction...and this Nixon is already appearing to be very supple...always a nice surprise for an air fork. I've been running an '06 66SL, and after a good deal of putzing with oil levels, weights, etc. I got some very nice compliance out of it all the way from small bump compliance to big hits. If this Nixon can approach the action of my 66SL, I'll be very pleased.

    I'm glad Bikeman sent you the right rim strip. It sounds to me like they've been doing some personal experimentation of their own to have figured this out. I'd agree with you that this Blunt rim might not be an aggressive trail rim for the rear of something like a Nomad or other bigger hit bike. When I saw that the built-up wheel and tire weighed almost the exact same weight as my CrossMax/Weirwolf setup, I was surprised. The CrossMax XL wheel is actually up to handling light FR...very tough and light. I'm not too concerned about the Blunt for the front...at the moment. Funny thing...since running tubeless setups for years now, I've not bent or dented a rim, and honestly my bikes have gotten more aggressive as well as my riding. Tubeless tire setups just don't seem to need as low a psi setting to achieve good carcass compliance on the trail IMO.

    Good luck with your build-up...looking forward to seeing the results.

  16. #16
    TNC
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    Here's a pleasant surprise on the weight of the built-up Blunt wheel and Pacenti tire compared to my CrossMax XL and Weirwolf. The Blunt/Pacenti is 4.45lbs...2030g. The CrossMax XL/Weirwolf is 4.56lbs...2070g. That difference could even just about come down to the amount of Stan's in each tire. My 650B wheel is about the cheapest version you could get through QBP's WheelHouse custom build. It has brass nipples, 14/15 DT spokes, and a Dimension front hub. For a front hub, the Dimension is pretty good and is even covertible from standard QR to 20mm just like my CrossMax front hub.

    Here's a better "posed" shot of the overall bike with the new fork and front wheel to show size relationship. It's not a dramatic visual impact like a 69'er by any means.
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  17. #17
    TNC
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    OK...a little different take today. This afternoon I rode this setup on our local trail. It's about an 11 mile affair through all manner of terrain changes. It has smooth sections, rocky technical sections, and even man-made stunts and such. It's an extemely fun trail, but since it's on a relatively small plot of land, it twists and turns a lot. I ride this trail often as much as 4-5 times a week and even helped lay some of it out...so I know it like the back of my hand. It's a good test track, because of such familiarity there are no surprises, so you know when something has changed on your bike.

    This is the first time I rode this setup on that trail. With all the twists and turn, I fairly quickly noticed a cornering improvement. The bike was more sure-footed in all corners, and this was reminiscent of the ML8 69'er setup...just not as pronounced. There are lots of imbedded rocks, some ledges, and some jumps. Unlike the motorcycle trail that I was riding yesterday, on today's home trail I could detect a benefit from this front wheel/tire. How much of it was the tire and how much the wheel size, I can't swear to, but the Weirwolf 2.5 tire works extremely well for everybody on this local trail, so I've got to attribute some of this to the taller wheel. This Pacenti tire is very good as is, regardless of wheel size. I'm in west Texas, and it's rocky and loose here more than anything else. Kirk's tire is darned good and can stand on its own merit. It's standing up to tubeless setup in our local rocky terrain which is also infested with mass quantities of cactus and mesquite thorns. The tire hasn't burped or shown any signs of being puncture prone.

    The nature of our local trail apparently suits this wheel/tire setup quite well, and I'm definitely more jazzed today about the potential benefits of this setup. This weekend I go back out to that ranch with the 80 miles of trail for some camping and riding. I'm looking forward to some more time on this rig.

  18. #18
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    The bike was more sure-footed in all corners, and this was reminiscent of the ML8 69'er setup...just not as pronounced.
    Are you saying that the 29er up front corners better?

  19. #19
    TNC
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    Yes. This sounds counterintuitive, I know, but the longer footprint allows you to crank the bike over more aggressively in corners and carry more speed. I'd probably run a 29'er front if you could get more travel out the forks...but you can't. Physical limitations will probably always prevent 6-inch-plus forks on long travel bikes. Dirt motorcycles have used the larger front wheel to rear wheel concept for decades...and for good reason. Of couse, the caveat is that you can only go so tall on the front before overall geometry is affected in a negtive way that kills that cornering benefit. Everything's a compromise.

  20. #20
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    Smile

    TNC,

    I too have a 06 Nomad have been thinking of doing exactly what you have done with the 650B. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think I'll do the same now that I know it can work. BTW, are you riding in New Mexico? The photos look like trails I have ridden in NM. Thanks.

    Hangumhigh
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  21. #21
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    It looks like the dirt bikes I have seen lately have a bigger wheel up front but because of the much fatter tire in the rear, the overall diameter is about the same.

    I agree with you TNC. I would be all about a 29er up front if it were to be a decent fit with a fork with a respectable amount of travel. Even if the bike was designed around this concept, the front end would be soo high and the toptube would have to slant down very steeply(not an attractive look IMO). This is why the 27.5 wheel is such a hot topic in our little circle. Like you said, it is a comprimise, but we can squeeze every bit of wheel size we can up front and still have our suspension.
    If I can make a tubeless setup with the new Stans rim and the Neo Moto, I wil be racing with it this year. I know the racer boys will be looking at me stangely(mostly because of the 2.3" tire size), but they will mostly be looking at the rear of my bike when thay can get a glimps of it.

    Hangumhigh, you are close, TNC lives in western Texas. I live in southern NM (Las Cruces)which is very similar. I used to live western NC - awesome riding. Were have you ridden here in NM?

  22. #22
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    I lived for years in Albuquerque. Therefore, I rode there and around Santa Fe and Los Alamos. I now live and ride in Roanoke Virginia. I still miss new Mexico trails and green chile.

    Hangumhigh
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  23. #23
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    I still have trouble spelling Albutquerquey. I moved here 1 year ago yesturday and the 40+ expert guys are wanting me to move away already.
    My freinds back east go out and race the XXC (that's double length XC races) in Virginia. They love that stuff.

    I bet you are looking forward to your 650b conversion. It sounds like a winner from what TNC's has said. Thanks again TNC for all the time you spent giving us the lowdown Looking forward to more....

  24. #24
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    TNC, Thanks for figuring out the Blunt tubeless info. It's going to help out a lot!

  25. #25
    TNC
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    Hang, I live NW of Abilene, TX. The ranch in those pics with the 80 miles of trail is halfway between Abilene and San Angelo...about 40 miles from where I live. We have camping facilities and such out there, and I usually stay out there 2-3 days at a time. It's an awesome place. The terrain is indeed like some of New Mexico and also some of the Texas hill country. Here's another shot.
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  26. #26
    TNC
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    yogi, on the front/rear size relationship on dirt motors, most of them use 21" rims in the front and 17"-19" rims on the rear. My dirt motor has about the largest tires available on it, and the front is 27" on the tire outer diameter and 25" outer diameter on the rear. So as you can see, there is still a taller bias on the front of a dirt motor.

  27. #27
    emtb.pl
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    that's alot compared to BLT clearence!

    I am definetly going for a 650b front on my BLT.
    Looking at all the pics on the mtbr showing tire/fork clearence I have to say: it's plenty of room compared to my BLT & NobbyNic 2.25 rear (819rim,stan'sNT,30psi)
    I can also see that 650b will fit my 32 talas!
    There is nothing that could stop me now!
    or is there...
    I live in Poland and I don't think i'll be seeing 650b here soon. Ay ideas where to get rim&tire for 650b conversion that could be shipped overseas? Or should I just ask someone to order these for me and than send as private parcel?
    BTW, TNC, what chainring combo are you running on the Nomad? looks bigger than 36t, don't it?

  28. #28
    TNC
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    krolik, my chainrings are 22/32...plain old stuff. The e13 bashguard makes things look big at the BB.

  29. #29
    emtb.pl
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    krolik, my chainrings are 22/32...plain old stuff. The e13 bashguard makes things look big at the BB.
    Ha!
    Is it a 40t chainring or what? It looks BIG!
    I just received my 36t e13 for my BLT and am going to 24/36 this year.
    And 650b/26".
    Thanks for the info

  30. #30
    emtb.pl
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    Quote Originally Posted by krolik
    Ha!
    Is it a 40t chainring or what?
    Errr...rockring

  31. #31
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    TNC are you taking into consideration that by putting the 650 up front you are also slacking the head angle of the Nomad and making it close to what you were previously running with a 170 fork. Wouldn't a more convincing accurate test be to have an adjustable fork which you could adjust so that the head angle stays constant. I believe I saw in one of your other posts how you felt that the Nomad worked best with a 170 fork. Again by adding the tire height you are essentially getting the h/a back to that of the 66 sl. However when you run the 26 inch wheel you are at 1 degree steeper h/a. Just some food for thought.....

  32. #32
    TNC
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    Yes, I generally agree with just about everything you said here. Yes, the head angle is very important to most riders, me included. Yes, I have about the same geometry that I had with the 66SL. As to testing with an adjustable fork, that might be interesting, but I have no interest in travel reduction forks as a rule.

    There are a couple of other factors to consider, however. The reason for going to this setup was to achieve a better rolling front wheel/tire setup and a better cornering setup. I was very impressed with the 69'er setup on a shop ML8 that we built but not the reduced fork travel required to get that big wheel. The 650B was the best compromise to retain long travel with the tallest wheel possible. The cornering benefits of a taller wheel/tire setup was the most surprising to me. That longer footprint really does improve performance. I was ready for the rolling-over-obstacles improvement, and that too is present.

    Maybe I'm missing something in your post that you were making a point about. When talking about a 170mm fork generally being the "ideal" for a Nomad, that's still my opinion, and this was based on ride height. The Nomad is a little bit of a pedal smacker in rocky terrain with a short fork, and of course the 650B taller wheel/tire setup retained the ride height that I like with this Nixon fork. Two things on that issue: I have no intention of going back to my 26'er front setup on this bike except on a temporary basis because of jacking up the 650B wheel in a wreck or such. Secondly, the Nixon actually seems to ride a little higher in its travel than my 66SL and it dives a little less when you drop into a hole or hit an obstacle, which was a pleasant surprise. The overall balance of ride height is still retained with this fork and wheel setup, but the real advantage gained is in the wheel/tire size as it relates to that aforementioned rolling and cornering performance...and fortunately the tire is a winner in terms of traction and design.

  33. #33
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    one point

    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    Yes, I generally agree with just about everything you said here. Yes, the head angle is very important to most riders, me included. Yes, I have about the same geometry that I had with the 66SL. As to testing with an adjustable fork, that might be interesting, but I have no interest in travel reduction forks as a rule.

    There are a couple of other factors to consider, however. The reason for going to this setup was to achieve a better rolling front wheel/tire setup and a better cornering setup. I was very impressed with the 69'er setup on a shop ML8 that we built but not the reduced fork travel required to get that big wheel. The 650B was the best compromise to retain long travel with the tallest wheel possible. The cornering benefits of a taller wheel/tire setup was the most surprising to me. That longer footprint really does improve performance. I was ready for the rolling-over-obstacles improvement, and that too is present.

    Maybe I'm missing something in your post that you were making a point about. When talking about a 170mm fork generally being the "ideal" for a Nomad, that's still my opinion, and this was based on ride height. The Nomad is a little bit of a pedal smacker in rocky terrain with a short fork, and of course the 650B taller wheel/tire setup retained the ride height that I like with this Nixon fork. Two things on that issue: I have no intention of going back to my 26'er front setup on this bike except on a temporary basis because of jacking up the 650B wheel in a wreck or such. Secondly, the Nixon actually seems to ride a little higher in its travel than my 66SL and it dives a little less when you drop into a hole or hit an obstacle, which was a pleasant surprise. The overall balance of ride height is still retained with this fork and wheel setup, but the real advantage gained is in the wheel/tire size as it relates to that aforementioned rolling and cornering performance...and fortunately the tire is a winner in terms of traction and design.
    The point that I was trying to make is that perhaps the performance advantage that you are getting from the 650b is not neccesarily because of the taller wheel and tire combo but because of the slacker head angle, that is why I thought it would be interesting to test the 650 vs the 26 with exactly the same head angle, I know for a fact that when I make changes to my head angle it affects weight distribution aswell as turning behavior, therefore changing the way the front end carves. Again if all was exactly equal you could definetely attribute all the changes to the wheel and tire but in this case not everything is equal cause of the head angle change.

  34. #34
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    TNC,

    The Ranch looks awsome. I'd say you're fortunate to have such great riding, so near to home. The only riding I've done in Texas was at Palo Canyon. Thanks for sharing the photos. Later.

    Hangumhigh
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  35. #35
    TNC
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    Palo Duro

    Quote Originally Posted by Hangumhigh
    TNC,

    The Ranch looks awsome. I'd say you're fortunate to have such great riding, so near to home. The only riding I've done in Texas was at Palo Canyon. Thanks for sharing the photos. Later.

    Hangumhigh
    Hang, Palo Duro is a fun, flowy trail but not much on the technical front...unless you know a couple of secret places. Even then, there's not much that's hairy. I'd be satisfied to ride there on an XC bike. Like I said...fast and flowy.

    You mentioned New Mexico earlier. I've ridden a few times in the Cloudcroft area, and it was fun. The Rim trail was a great forest ride, and the A-Trail that goes all the way down into Alamogordo is a hoot. I've been curious about some of those trails newly opened in the Gallup area...almost have a slickrock look to them.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by seis.seis
    The point that I was trying to make is that perhaps the performance advantage that you are getting from the 650b is not neccesarily because of the taller wheel and tire combo but because of the slacker head angle, that is why I thought it would be interesting to test the 650 vs the 26 with exactly the same head angle, I know for a fact that when I make changes to my head angle it affects weight distribution aswell as turning behavior, therefore changing the way the front end carves. Again if all was exactly equal you could definetely attribute all the changes to the wheel and tire but in this case not everything is equal cause of the head angle change.
    You make a good point. The slacker and more rearward the fork angle (or rear suspension wheel path) with no other change in springs damping, etc, the smoother the suspension absorbs bumps and frees up riding momentum. I think the same weight spring is compressed further hitting a bump at a slacker fork angle and the wheel has more time to rise over the obstacle, with a more progressive and smoother rate of trnsfering stress to the frame and rider.

    There are a few other significant factors to a larger wheel than the frame angle change it does. Even with the same frame angles and overall wheel weight maintained (and shorter travel to compensate for the higher axle), there are these factors of swapping to a bigger wheel:

    1. Steering trail is longer and more stable but slower turning, even with the same fork lowered in travel to maintain the prior fork angle,
    2. The angle of the wheel’s contact point hitting the same bump is flatter and so smoother with a bigger wheel slowing the speed of raising the axle, fork, and frame over the same bump,
    3. And there is increased rolling wheel momentum effect like a flywheel from weight moved further from the axle on a same weight but bigger diameter wheel.
    4. Plus the “magic energy boost” factor, that can’t be quantified, of riding something new and different – it really takes some ride time to get over this mental boost when buying into something new and recommended.

    I’m really enjoying going to a b/26 combo. It feels much like adding an inch of travel to the fork but without added brake dive, plus choppy rocks that would still hang up a 26 wheel with longer travel are noticeably freer rolling over.

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