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The latest bestest "thing" in MTB wheels

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

So I know several riders around here who are unloading their 29er's and buying MTB's with 650b wheels/tires.  I love my Scott Scale 950 and am not at all interested in replacing it, besides which its only three years old.  One of my MTB buddies and I were talking about the advantages of the 650b setup and it occurred to me that since my bike has disc brakes I could just buy a set of 650b wheels/tires and put them on my current bike.  The guy I was talking with had recently taken delivery of his new Trek 650b bike after selling his 29er.  When I mentioned this, he looked seriously pissed.  Neither of us could think of any reason why my idea won't work, even after talking to a couple of bike mechanics who also couldn't see any reason why just changing wheels/tires wouldn't work.  I could even run the 29 on the front and the 650b on the rear, sort of like Trek's old 69er bike.  I can't believe this is a totally original idea, somebody must have thought of this before me, maybe someone here.

 

So, anybody here know of any reason why this wouldn't work?

post #2 of 15
You probably can ... Late and on a phone, but two things that come to mind immediately are:

You will still have a bike with the downsides of 29er geometry - e.g., chainstays - but not the upside of the big hoops.

If you played your cards right first time around, your wheels are the second biggest investment in your bike, component wise, after the frame. And tires ain't cheap either. So when you say "just" replace the wheels ... doesn't make sense to me. It's like saying "just" get a new pair of ski boots.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

"Just" might have been a poor choice of words but an additional set of wheels and tires would be cheaper than spending $1800 or more on a new bike.

post #4 of 15
I think qcanoe got it right - you end up with 29er geometry (and looks) with smaller wheels.

The presumptive benefit of a 27.5 is the ability to keep the quicker 26'er geometry but with larger tires, sort of a one bike quiver notion rather than having both a 26'er and 29'er.

Now if you have no need for a 26'er from a geometry perspective...what problem are you solving?
post #5 of 15

Your pedals will be 1/2" closer to the ground....

 

What don't you like about your 29er?  I notice some downside with mine but I suppose you have to look at the upside too..depending on the riding you're doing and the size of frame you have..

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott43 View Post
 

Your pedals will be 1/2" closer to the ground....

 

What don't you like about your 29er?  I notice some downside with mine but I suppose you have to look at the upside too..depending on the riding you're doing and the size of frame you have..

 

Exactly.

post #7 of 15

It's actually a bit less than 1/2"..nevertheless..the biggest complaint about the 29er's is the geometry compromises necessitated by the big wheels..putting smaller diameter wheels on it doesn't change that..other than making the bottom bracket that much lower..and BB height is fairly important for MTB'ing.  So it might be better to just live with the 29" wheels..  This is one of the unfortunate side effects of manufacturers changing stuff so often..

post #8 of 15

Meh, 10 years ago the internets was chock full of roadies doing the same thing with 700c (and some 27") frames and they had to get longer reach rim brakes.   If I never see another post on how good Tektro R559s look on a   vintage bike...

Sure, give it a go.   Especially if you like to build your own wheels.

 

I don't think it will improve anything, but you might like it and that's justification enough.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

I really have no complaints about the bike.  Maybe it caused me to crash 3 times at the same corner in a race because I tried to make the the turn too quickly, but then it may have just been me.  I like being able to roll over roots and rocks that would just about bring my old Pro-Flex Reptile to a standstill.  I heading out tomorrow for Grand Targhee and the Wydaho Mountain Bike Festival.  There will be unlimited demos so I will probably try a couple a 650b bikes and see if I even like them.

 

Lowering the BB is not something that thrills me a whole lot, considering how many dings I have in my bash guard, so this idea is pretty much gone.

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott43 View Post
 

Your pedals will be 1/2" closer to the ground....

 

What don't you like about your 29er?  I notice some downside with mine but I suppose you have to look at the upside too..depending on the riding you're doing and the size of frame you have..

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

 

Exactly.


Ya ground clearance change is the biggest geometry factor.  Might be able to swap out the cranks?:rolleyes

post #11 of 15
Scott's essential point (and my comment) was about the big picture. The observation about the bb height was in passing, I think. in other words we're all saying the same basic thing.
post #12 of 15

I think I'd look on this as an opportunity to dump the 29er and try a 650b for a while.  :)  Can always go back and buy another 29er later if you don't  like the 650b.  Nothing like a new bike to perk you up and give you some perspective on new tech.  You're kinda going half-way back to a 26er..so you might find the sweet spot.

post #13 of 15

You would lower your BB half an inch or so, as noted above.  On some bikes with higher BBs, that wouldn't matter a lot (most Treks), but on bikes with lower BBs, it would be pretty lousy (nearly all Specialized mtbs, for instance).

 

In any event, most of the so-called disadvantages of 29ers are mostly marketing hokum, until you get up to and beyond 150mm of travel, which is where 29ers really get pretty truckish (the Specialized Enduro 29er being probably the most notable exception to this -- it turns on a dime, too much so for my tastes, in fact).

 

But heck, it might be a fun experiment.  Maybe you could borrow a set of the tweener wheels and give it a try.

 

Interesting related note:  Tracey Mosely, arguably the fastest female enduro racer on the planet, chooses the Remedy 29er over the 650B version "because I'm faster on it".

post #14 of 15
The latest bestest wheels if it's always wet.

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post
 

So I know several riders around here who are unloading their 29er's and buying MTB's with 650b wheels/tires.  I love my Scott Scale 950 and am not at all interested in replacing it, besides which its only three years old.  One of my MTB buddies and I were talking about the advantages of the 650b setup and it occurred to me that since my bike has disc brakes I could just buy a set of 650b wheels/tires and put them on my current bike.  The guy I was talking with had recently taken delivery of his new Trek 650b bike after selling his 29er.  When I mentioned this, he looked seriously pissed.  Neither of us could think of any reason why my idea won't work, even after talking to a couple of bike mechanics who also couldn't see any reason why just changing wheels/tires wouldn't work.  I could even run the 29 on the front and the 650b on the rear, sort of like Trek's old 69er bike.  I can't believe this is a totally original idea, somebody must have thought of this before me, maybe someone here.

 

So, anybody here know of any reason why this wouldn't work?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

You probably can ... Late and on a phone, but two things that come to mind immediately are:

You will still have a bike with the downsides of 29er geometry - e.g., chainstays - but not the upside of the big hoops.

If you played your cards right first time around, your wheels are the second biggest investment in your bike, component wise, after the frame. And tires ain't cheap either. So when you say "just" replace the wheels ... doesn't make sense to me. It's like saying "just" get a new pair of ski boots.

 

GEOMETRY- most 9'rs have been designed around the 9'r wheel size so reach, Wheelbase, head tube height, shock and fork setup as well as chain stay length are longer (among other things too). So although it will "work" it won't give you the performance of a 27.5 bike built around those wheels.

 

I just bought a 27.5 and also own a 9'r. Both are great for what they are designed for.  I love the 27.5 on tight switchbacks (up and down)and the ease of getting the wheels to roll and overall quickness but the 9r flat out rolls faster and maintains the roll easier with the bigger wheels. It rolls over stuff easier too. 

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