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Thread: The 650b SASS

  1. #1
    Retro Grouch
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    The 650b SASS

    Well I did it. Bought myself a Stan's NoTubes 650b wheelset. Okay, so there are no Tubeless 650b tires out there yet, but I guess that's the disadvantage of being cutting edge (I'm also guessing I could make these Kenda 2.35 Nevegals tubeless if I tried). As I explained in my earlier post, the frame was gift from my riding buddy Spike. I have always had a soft spot for a chromed bike, but now I had to figure out what to do with it. I already had a rigid bike, so I tried riding the SASS as a fixed gear. Very cool, but I was using the rear wheel from my other rigid bike so, I still needed to make the SASS unique in my stable. Then it came to me, All my mountain bikes are 26" and Spike riding a 29er. The SASS has tons of room for bigger wheels, so why not go with 650b. I wanted to keep the wheels under $500, but the choices in 650b rims is still pretty limited, especially if you want a rim with can handle rim brakes (needed for a flip flop hub). The choices seemed to be between a Velocity Dyad, Weimann Discovery or Stan's No Tubes ZTR355. Hub wise I wanted a disc freehub and not necessarily SS specific; disc because a SASS is a disc specific frame (although I'm going to use a an old style cantilever on the back) and I have plans on drilling a cog to fit the rear disc mount. Oh yes, and I'm gonna need a wide base cog, as the freehub shell is aluminum; staring out with a 32:20.

    As I said at the begining, I decided on the Stans Notubes Wheelset. The one thing I did not think through, was the mounting of the rear wheel with a skewer; the house hub Stan uses is a cartridge bearing type. I have never used a horizontal tensioner, but in this case I might have to, as I don't think the hub can be easily converted to a solid axle. I installed the tires and mounted the wheels. There is tons of room for the extra 3/4" radius and 2.35 tires, except you can not push the rear wheel all the way forward in the horizontal dropouts, or you will run into the chain stay brace, but it's really a non-issue as there is over 2" of adjustment.

    The only real issue is using the rear skewer. I tried the skewer that came with the wheels and didn't even come close to holding the wheel. I replaced it with an old Shimano and I could not get it to move, but tomorrow will be the test. Yes, tomorrow, Spike and I go to Demo Forest. I don't really know if the additional 3/4" will make that much difference, but it's well known that 1 1/2" does, so I'll let you know.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The 650b SASS-650.jpg  

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    The 650b SASS-6504.jpg  

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  2. #2
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    Looks real nice Brad. Looking forward to the review.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  3. #3
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    Definitely looking forward to hearing about how those big boys work out.

    I mean, it's made by Bianchi, it's made of steel, it's chrome plated and it's a Shiny Ass Single Speed...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by alshead
    Definitely looking forward to hearing about how those big boys work out.

    I mean, it's made by Bianchi, it's made of steel, it's chrome plated and it's a Shiny Ass Single Speed...
    Indeed

    Well I'm back from my bike ride. Sometimes you have to wonder, was it the weather, the condition of the trails, or some new wheels that made it the best ride of the year. It rained in the area about a week ago and the ground was still soft but not sticky. The weather today was 70 deg with patchy clouds. Santa Cruz Demo Forest is, well some of the best tecnical riding in the state. We had a blast.

    Now for the wheels. The match of the 650b, 20T cog and Bianchi frame was perfect. I have been struggling to get back into SS shape for the last 4-5 months and today it all came together. my other rides are a 26" Rocklobster 34:19 with a 100mm shock and a 26" converted Bonty 32:18 with a rigid fork. The 27" Bianchi is a 32:20.

    The ride from the highway trailhead to Buzzard Lagoon is a road ride of 1.5 miles. I noticed that the ride had more of a road bike feel than before with 26" wheels. This may sound funny talking about wheels, but the 27" wheels roll better. Once I was on the fire road, climbing toward the demo forest trail head, this rolling feeling continued. It also might have been the new 2.35 Nevegal tires (I rarely ride anything other than 2.1), but the climbing seemed more effortless. The bike felt like it had more momentum and I found it more natural to stand as I was climbing over rocky areas, where I previously sit and grind, for fear I would spin the rear tire or lighten the front too much.

    Once we got to the top, it was time for coasting and singletrack. As I said before, the trails were fantastic. With a rigid fork, you are sometimes forced to keep a tight grip on the handlebars, which can jump around as you coast through bumps and divots in the trail. The 650b wheels calmed this action, which also made it easier on my hands and wrists. There were lots of twists and turns, along with log hops and a small patch of baby heads; today it all seemed easier. Even the 3 mile fire road climb at the end seemed a little less arduous.

    So were the 650b wheels worth it? Probably, but I will need to do some more riding on them to know for sure. Also, I did wait until my LBS opened and bought a Surly Tugnut to keep the rear wheel in place with a skewer; it was a non issue. Also, I switched front wheels with my buddy's 29er and with a 2.1 tire it fits the SASS front fork with about 1/4" to spare; can you say 79er?

    Brad
    Last edited by aka brad; 10-24-2009 at 06:34 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Nice! Love the chromed out look. 79er is even better if rigid.

  6. #6
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    That first picture is greatness. Between the Virgin in the back, the rock garden around the tree, the homemade bike stand, the rusted parts on the ground and the dope bike....you have some great things going on there.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by richardthomas
    That first picture is greatness. Between the Virgin in the back, the rock garden around the tree, the homemade bike stand, the rusted parts on the ground and the dope bike....you have some great things going on there.
    You can take a redneck out of the trailer park, but you can't take the trailer park out of the redneck.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding
    Nice! Love the chromed out look. 79er is even better if rigid.
    I didn't get a chance to ride the 79 as my buddy was in no mood to ride a 29er with a 27 front tire, but indeed both bikes were rigid..
    Just one more rep and I get the toaster!

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