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Prepare for 650B/27.5" to be shoved down your throat.

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 

So I demoed what may have been my first 650B bike. Meh. It was cool and all, but I didn't feel like the positives vs. 26 outweighed the negatives. It's probably great for smaller people who have been sold a bill of goods and shoe-horned onto 29ers though.

 

What was disconcerting though was talking to the product guy and being told that they have sold only a handful of "26ers" since this came out and the list of 26" bikes that he said companies are shelving. Right now I feel like one big negative of 650B is a lack of wheel and tire options. I'm a little scared of what the 26" landscape may look like a few years down the road.

 

This may be too progressive of a thought, but I really feel like wheel-size should only be a small part of the equation, rather than being what defines a model of bike. A company should be able to embrace all four wheel-sizes within a model line. From 24" for the XS (or even XXS) bikes to 29" for the XLs and XXLs.

post #2 of 69
There are so many options today, it s tough to make a choice. Frankly wheel choices will actually make it easier for most consumers, provided the companies get the marketing right. They are using the ski industry's playbook. Now you need a downhill, all mountain, and trail slayer bike. But wait, the wheel sizes will be important for each of these options.....or in other words, you now need 9 bikes just to feel complete. Beautiful.

I will be sticking with my Knolly Chilcotin.
post #3 of 69

Sure does seem like the ski industry marketing plan transformed to the bike market. What was wrong with 26" that needed fixing again?  I have ridden a couple of 29"ers  and do not see the advantage yet and one more size will drive the bike shops crazy.

 

It will be a while before wheel size drives my next mountain bike purchase.  Looks like crazy marketing driving the "gotta have the newest thing" sickness.  See this in a lot of product segments like phones, pads, etc.
 

post #4 of 69

The advantage of a 650B is you can get a slightly larger wheel with minimal tweaks to your 26" design. As someone who has not been happy with how 29ers ride where I ride (and how I ride....I'm a hack) I'm curious to see how they work. The interesting thing is they refer to 650B  as 27.5. Reality is they are closer to 27 than 27.5.

 

As for availablity, expect a huge influx of new products the next couple years. 2 summers ago Fox announced they were going to support 27.5 and that seemed to be the turning point for the standard. Since then every manufacturer has been rushing to get out products. What is available today is vastly larger than last year and new products keep popping up everyday. 

post #5 of 69

the 27.5" movement has been starting to gain strength over the past 2 years....   some companies have picked up on it and started to offer rims and tires for it.

 

when they start winning big races.... then they'll start gaining more momentum.

post #6 of 69
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanscrazydaisy View Post

the 27.5" movement has been starting to gain strength over the past 2 years....   some companies have picked up on it and started to offer rims and tires for it.

 

when they start winning big races.... then they'll start gaining more momentum.

 

I told the guy "when a 650B wins at Mt St Anne, I'll start listening". The truth is, this shift is going to happen anyway, and the wins will come because the racers will be given and will be racing on 650B. Aaron Gwin could surely win on a 29er if that's what his sponsor required him to ride.

 

It seems that a lot of companies were slow on the 29er thing and nobody wants to miss this.

post #7 of 69

The 650 offers the advantage of a easier rolling (of course it takes more effort to get it rolling; damn Physics...) more stable and easier climbing (too) bike for cross country, all mountain riding (NOT DH) its a great choice. The 6'r is on it's way out.....  There really is no downside to a 650.  I was hesitant of the 9'r but once I got on a decent one and rode on the same trails I was on my 6'r with, I was sold (and I am a hack and the 9'r allowed me to climb faster, roll over rocky terrain with much better control).  I still ride my 6'r back east and love it but my CO bike is a 9'r all the way.  

 

There is really no shortage of wheels or tires now for the 650's. 

 

I am going to call Ski-Ra who is a recent convert to a  26 rear, 650 front and ask him to post up

 

 

Many manufacturers were slow to the 9'rs because the bike geometry had to be reconfigured and modified as did the wheels and even the tires. Schwalbe released their Racing Ralphs with a new 9'r specific tread design due to the way the tread design makes contact differently than a 6 or even a 650. Wheelsets had to be redesigned as well to be much stiffer and durable.  


Edited by Finndog - 5/30/13 at 12:20pm
post #8 of 69

I hate choices mad.gif

 

I have been on the same bike for like 7yrs., although I think the only thing original on it is the shift/brake levers.  Even the frame was replaced in 2010.  Sometime this Summer or Fall I am thinking a new bike is in order.  Everyone I know who is on a 29er, swears by it.  Do they say this just cuz they now have one?

 

I think when the time comes, I will just ask here on Epic & everyone will agree on exactly what I need rolleyes.gif.

 

JF

post #9 of 69

you'll end up with 20 bikes....

post #10 of 69

Funny thing with Epic's demo experience, I was riding with him and my experience was the polar oposite. I have been historically wrong on numerous mt bike technologies, suspension and disc brakes being two biggies, I'm actually a bit of a retro-grouch when it comes to bikes. I've been saying all spring "if you are buying a new trail bike, sure, look at a 650b, but there is no reason to ditch a perfectly good 26" bike. The wheels just really aren't very different." WRONG. They do feel like a 'tween size. 

   I think the industry is jumping in with both feet because they KNOW it is a better platform to work off for trail bikes. As far as winning 'big races'? The Enduro World Series, you know, where they race bikes that actually resemble something real mt bikers ride for fun? Owned by the 27.5 format.

 

Ride whatever makes you happy, plenty of choices, no one is trying to force feed anyone anything, but if you are in the market for a new bike and a 27.5 wheel bike looks like it might suit your needs... give it a try. 

post #11 of 69

On bigger wheels - i.e., not 26ers: It's interesting to me how much of this appears to be very subjective and personal. Not that there's anything wrong with that! I'm a smaller guy, though not tiny - more light than short @ 5' 7", 135lbs. (I think I'm an inch or two taller than Ski-ra, Finndog.) Very first time I rode a decent 29er, I was in love within a couple of minutes. It all just worked for me. There was essentially zero adjustment period - never mind what they say about slow handling, etc. (It happened to be a circa 2009 Fisher Hi-Fi, which I didn't buy because of all the well-known reliability problems with that frame, as experienced first-hand by several acquaintances and fellow travelers, but the geometry and steering were really nice.) So the while the whole idea of 29ers not being suitable for shorter people may apply for short women (e.g., if you're 5' 0"), IMHO it's way overblown for most of us, male or female. I think other factors are heavier. For example, my sense is that one of them is predilection for air time, however minor. If you're one of those people who dolphin-arcs over every little root for the sheer joy of it, and because that's just how you naturally tend to handle obstacles, you may not be as big on the big wheels. Meanwhile, people like me, who have pretty much devoted themselves to keeping things rubber-side down at every possible moment, tend to like the larger hoops. 

 

Like skis, you do need to demo. And as with skis, there are pitfalls to doing so. For example, I have learned that the VERY FIRST THING I DO after leaving the demo tent is to ride to my car, break out my shock pump and tire gauge, and let a bunch of the pressure out of shocks and tires. I have never once ridden a demo bike that hadn't been overpressurized to the point that it might as well have been a road bike, even when the techs go by some ridiculous chart written by a 200lb guy. (Whiteroom, perhaps you don't have this issue. wink.gif) You absolutely cannot tell how well a bike rides if it's bouncing off every rock like a ping-pong ball.

post #12 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post I have learned that the VERY FIRST THING I DO after leaving the demo tent is to ride to my car, break out my shock pump and tire gauge, and let a bunch of the pressure out of shocks and tires. I have never once ridden a demo bike that hadn't been overpressurized to the point that it might as well have been a road bike, even when the techs go by some ridiculous chart written by a 200lb guy. (Whiteroom, perhaps you don't have this issue. wink.gif

No, don't have that issue, I keep a shock pump in my hydration pack...

post #13 of 69

I have actually brought my tubeless wheels/tires so I could give the bike a fair chance.

 

I guess my 9er is now old tech lol.

 

Finn your backwards 26 for Co and 29er for back east. There is not really little chunk and sustained rock gardens in steamboat springs....

 

So far strava is proving the 29er is faster in most places as long as the turn do not get too tight. If someone wants to donate a 26 inch/650B FS I can very easily see which is truly faster.......

 

its the only not subjective way to measure whats 'best" as soon as you say I have more fun on XXXX then your reason is just an opinion and really who cares then?

post #14 of 69

there's also the 69er.

 

26" in the brack

 

29er in the front

post #15 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

 I have learned that the VERY FIRST THING I DO after leaving the demo tent is to ride to my car, break out my shock pump and tire gauge, and let a bunch of the pressure out of shocks and tires. I have never once ridden a demo bike that hadn't been overpressurized to the point that it might as well have been a road bike, even when the techs go by some ridiculous chart written by a 200lb guy. (Whiteroom, perhaps you don't have this issue. 
wink.gif
No, don't have that issue, I keep a shock pump in my hydration pack...

Guess I set myself up for that. I keep a floor pump in my trunk, which is what my mind was thinking about while my fingers typed something slightly different.
post #16 of 69

it's all good, just messin' around.

post #17 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

its the only not subjective way to measure whats 'best" as soon as you say I have more fun on XXXX then your reason is just an opinion and really who cares then?

 

You always harp about what's faster, but the problem is that's just your opinion of what "best" means.  I don't personally care what's faster, I do however care what's more fun.  The two don't always have to go hand in hand.  Sure, that's just my opinion... who really cares?  Me.

post #18 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 

You always harp about what's faster, but the problem is that's just your opinion of what "best" means.  I don't personally care what's faster, I do however care what's more fun.  The two don't always have to go hand in hand.  Sure, that's just my opinion... who really cares?  Me.

This year one of the mtbr.com reviewers decided to compare a 26" hardtail to a 29" hardtail in one of Colorado's endurance races. He went out of his way to try to get two bikes that were as close to each other as possible. To his surprise he got slightly better times with the 26" bike. He attributed it to the fact that 26" bike are easier to accelerate and cornered better. This offset the advantage his 29er had when at full speed. He acknowledged he would have had better times on the course with the 29er if it were empty but during the race the 26" bike was better with dealing with the constant slowing down and maneuvering around other riders.

post #19 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

So I demoed what may have been my first 650B bike. Meh. It was cool and all, but I didn't feel like the positives vs. 26 outweighed the negatives. It's probably great for smaller people who have been sold a bill of goods and shoe-horned onto 29ers though....

+1icon14.gif for the new 650b wheel size! 

 

I recently converted the front end of my 26'er Maverick ML-8 to a 650b (easy mod involving only a new front wheel and 3/4" fork shims so that it doesn't bottom out on the bigger wheel). My experience so far is completely the opposite of epic's: essentially nothing but positives - it rolls better through rough terrain, formerly nastly drop-offs now feel mild, it pulls me through corners like on rails, the feeling of an impending endo or front-wheel washout has been drastically reduced, and, unexpectedly, allows far better low-speed handling in technical terrain like obstacle-course switchbacks (I am able to hold a track stand a lot longer thereby allowing course corrections more readily).  I haven't yet seen a benefit in steep-uphill technical terrain perhaps where "rolling through" the terrain doesn't occur and lifting the front of the bike over obstacles is perhaps a bit harder.  Also, to be fair I didn't change anything else on the bike so the head angle was slackened by 1deg which could be a source of some of the improvements, but probably not most.

 

I will agree with epic that this format is "great for smaller people" - I am short, with very short legs, and am challenged to find even a 26'er that has sufficient standover clearance, so a 29'er was out of the question.  But I did have 29'er envy based on real evidence (I wasn't "sold a bill of goods").  I ride the super-techie rides just west of Denver where 5" to 6" travel, drop seat posts, high-volume tires are very useful for making rides enjoyable vs. hair-raising.  Most of my fellow riders have switched to 29'ers and the performance gains that I've seen has been astonishing: they immediately could handle bigger drop-offs then me, they were flying through rough terrain that made my teeth chatter, and they were pulling away from me in flowing terrain as if on rails with an electric motor.  The only place I could still hold my own was steep uphill technical terrain.  Some of the smaller 29'er riders do report that the disadvantages of slower acceleration and loss of low-end gearing can be taxing, so this has been more reason to wait for a better tire size for the rest of us.

 

There's nothing holy about the 26" MTB wheel (it became the standard for practical reasons only, not due any long-term evolution like that for the 700 and 650 sizes for road and Tri bikes).  The 29'er has clearly proven this though, for me, it's just too big.  I see the 650b as just another MTB technology advancement like indexed shifting, clipless pedals, suspension, drop-seat posts, big-volume tubeless tires....  My Maverick is in it's 5th year so this 650b conversion was merely a test to confirm that my next bike will be based on the 650b wheel size - I for one no longer see the value of a 26" MTB!

 

BTW - I had no problem building up the wheel using a Stan's rim (my go-to rim anyway) and the tires were limited to some of my preferred choices anyway like the Maxxis Ardent and several Schwalbe models.


Edited by ski-ra - 5/31/13 at 10:05am
post #20 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post

This year one of the mtbr.com reviewers decided to compare a 26" hardtail to a 29" hardtail in one of Colorado's endurance races. He went out of his way to try to get two bikes that were as close to each other as possible. To his surprise he got slightly better times with the 26" bike. He attributed it to the fact that 26" bike are easier to accelerate and cornered better. This offset the advantage his 29er had when at full speed. He acknowledged he would have had better times on the course with the 29er if it were empty but during the race the 26" bike was better with dealing with the constant slowing down and maneuvering around other riders.

 

so endurance races or XC races? in most Endurance races traffic is not a problem..... I could see a 26 FS being a weapon out west for XC(not endurance) races) 

 

in colorado with buffed trails with steep climbs. Lets try flattish new england/mid atlantic junk. 

 

like I said if someone wants to give me bikes to test I am all for it. 

 

ski-ra what loss of low end gearing? 24/36 is a stupid low low gear even a 29er does anyone really need a lower gear than that?

post #21 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post
...ski-ra what loss of low end gearing? 24/36 is a stupid low low gear even a 29er does anyone really need a lower gear than that?

 

My lowest gear is a 22/34 (which is a tad lower than 24/36) and yes I use it a lot to recover during the flatter sections in the very steep and long uphill technical climbs we have in CO.  I'm not sure where in CO you ride but much of what I do could hardly be called "buffed" (yes there is some but, due to erosion, the steeper the trail the less likely it will remain buffed for very long).  I'd be glad to show you what I mean....

 

Anyway, if you take that 24/36 and move it from a 26" to a 29" bike it will be like changing your lowest gear to a 26/36 (a 29" wheel increases the gear-inches of your lowest gear by 11%)...which is hardly stupid low anymore (and I ain't no dummy either).rolleyes.gif

post #22 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

...(I think I'm an inch or two taller than Ski-ra....

 

....So the while the whole idea of 29ers not being suitable for shorter people may apply for short women (e.g., if you're 5' 0"), IMHO it's way overblown for most of us, male or female....

 

Yeah I'm 5'5" but I've got the legs of perhaps a 5'2" person so stand over clearance is a very real issue for me (more so than for small women since they typically have longer legs than a similarly size guy).  I know a few women my height that have no problem straddling their 29'er, but when I straddle it (the bike that is) it's clearly a ball-buster.

 

Also, I'm not sure I agree with your "only 5'0" women need not apply for a 29er" theory.  In talking to women that have tried or ride 29'ers I've found that even if they are relatively tall some find the higher gearing and longer acceleration times to be taxing.  I know of one 5'8" or so woman who definitely has an issue with this (and has kept her 26'er for this reason).  Women typically do not have the same leg strength as men (no insult intended).  Though your cut-off point might well be right for someone riding flatter and/or less technical terrain (i.e., I know a 5'4" woman who prefers her 29'er but she's not much of a technical rider, while one of the best women riders I know won't go near a 29'er because she's a 5'2" technical demon that won't ride on any bike with less than 6" of travel).  

 

It's a blurry line that definitely provides a place for the advantages that a 650b provides to some of us over both a 26'er and 29'er .


Edited by ski-ra - 5/31/13 at 4:31pm
post #23 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski-ra View Post

 

My lowest gear is a 22/34 (which is a tad lower than 24/36) and yes I use it a lot to recover during the flatter sections in the very steep and long uphill technical climbs we have in CO.  I'm not sure where in CO you ride but much of what I do could hardly be called "buffed" (yes there is some but, due to erosion, the steeper the trail the less likely it will remain buffed for very long).  I'd be glad to show you what I mean....

 

Anyway, if you take that 24/36 and move it from a 26" to a 29" bike it will be like changing your lowest gear to a 26/36 (a 29" wheel increases the gear-inches of your lowest gear by 11%)...which is hardly stupid low anymore (and I ain't no dummy either).rolleyes.gif

 

 

I could easily put a 22 front tooth little ring on there for making my bike 22/36 or a 24/36 in 26 inch gearing. but I also ride a 32x19 SS and can make 99 percent of climb on it, so the little ring on my Anthem X barely get used.

 

start riding a SS and you will not use your granny all that much....

post #24 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

 

 

I could easily put a 22 front tooth little ring on there for making my bike 22/36 or a 24/36 in 26 inch gearing. but I also ride a 32x19 SS and can make 99 percent of climb on it, so the little ring on my Anthem X barely get used.

 

start riding a SS and you will not use your granny all that much....

Wasn't your point that a 24/36 is stupid low, so does that mean that a 22/36 is absurdly stupidly low?wink.gif

 

You do make a good point, though there's only one 2x10 drivetrain on the market that I know of which is designed for a 22T low: the SRAM X9/XO and I think the 22x36 crankset is new for this year so that wouldn't help a 29'er a year or two ago.  And yes you can change any 2x10 crankset's inner chain ring out for a 22T but that kind of jump is a bit much even if the drivetrain can handle it - that's why I chose to run a 22x32 crankset (even a 22x34 or 24x38 seems a bit much but I'll have to get used to something like that on my next bike).  There's a reason why a 22x36 crankset is an odd beast though that's what I'd get if I bought a 29'er which ain't gonna happen anyway...I'll keep it in mind for any whining 29'er.icon14.gif

 

Other than that the SS is not a format for me and it wasn't a variable in my 26" vs. 650b vs. 29" post - that's a whole different animal that I'll let you enjoy and post about for the subject at hand.


Edited by ski-ra - 5/31/13 at 7:57pm
post #25 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

...I'm a little scared of what the 26" landscape may look like a few years down the road.

 

This may be too progressive of a thought, but I really feel like wheel-size should only be a small part of the equation, rather than being what defines a model of bike. A company should be able to embrace all four wheel-sizes within a model line. From 24" for the XS (or even XXS) bikes to 29" for the XLs and XXLs.

 

I agree with the "scared" part - my experience says that there's little need for the 26er anymore.  So wouldn't a 24", 650b, and 29" lineup fill the range of needs (i.e., the 26" and 650b are essentially redundant so one of them will die away)?  Interesting thought - will there be a battle royale between the 26" and 650b duel.gifor can the industry support both - my money is on the battle with the 650b winning though only time will tell....  popcorn.gif

post #26 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski-ra View Post

 

I agree with the "scared" part - my experience says that there's little need for the 26er anymore.  So wouldn't a 24", 650b, and 29" lineup fill the range of needs (i.e., the 26" and 650b are essentially redundant so one of them will die away)?  Interesting thought - will there be a battle royale between the 26" and 650b duel.gifor can the industry support both - my money is on the battle with the 650b winning though only time will tell....  popcorn.gif

My guess is 26" bikes will disappear over the next few years for high-end models but continue for entry level, high volume models for years, if not decades, since the factories are already set up to make 26" rims and frames thus keeping the costs down.

post #27 of 69

Personally, I think my next bike will be a 24" dirt jumper.

post #28 of 69

I'm gonna be reincarnated as a BMX racer!

post #29 of 69

all 559mm bikes here

 

still works just fine for me

post #30 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski-ra View Post

I'm gonna be reincarnated as a BMX racer!

 

Yeah. I probably would not have been a bmx kid anyway, but it's moot because the whole sport came along after my time. (When it did come along, I looked down my nose at it because, firstly, "bicycle motocross" seemed like a moronic oxymoron and, secondly, because the tiny bikes also seemed to suggest that the riders must not be playing with a full deck.) I now ride regularly with a guy who is a dozen years younger, who was a professional bmx stunt rider for a while, and his bike handling skills put the rest of us completely to shame. You can feel us all groan inwardly with our own sense of inadequacy when he blasts past us at a rest stop, comes to an abrupt halt three feet beyond (without any skidding, of course), pivots the bike 180 degrees on a nose wheelie, and sets the rear wheel down oh-so-gently, facing us in a track stand as though nothing special had happened. cool.gif

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