Sunday, February 5, 2012

Goldilocks... Meet bike world. Bike world... Meet Goldilocks.

Some call it a 650B

Some Call it 27.5inch

What is it then? Really, its right in between a standard 26 inch mtn wheel size and a 29er.

Why on earth would "they" introduce a new wheel size? The short answer is because it makes sense. The long... Because there IS in fact an argument between 29ers and 26ers. To me this simply states that these two wheel sizes have both ups and downs. With any person that brings the topic up we hear things like "it rolls faster" or "its smoother" or "it keeps its momentum better" for 29ers. With a 26 inch wheel we hear things like "its lighter" or "its more agile" or "more durable". So.... why not have it ALL?

A.K.'s Redline

A.K. built this bad ass 650b bike up from a Redline Monocog Flight 26er frame. It has Pacenti Quasi moto tires in a 2.0 width. She put the Velocity 650b wheelset on it with polished Shimano XT disk brakes and Richey components. Its one sweet bike!

What about tire clearance on a 26inch frame?

Many 26inch bikes will take 650b tires but not all. The picture above is A.K.'s bike with just enough clearance to fit the 2.0 tire. Its not a problem at all unless you wanted bigger tires. The larger wheel size will also lift the ride-height of a bike by a little under 2cm (or about 3/4 of an inch). This will slightly effect the ride of the bike but also give you more ground clearance. You should also know that the 2cm ride height boost also happens on most full suspension bikes (to compensate for the suspension action). This just means if you don't notice it on your full suspension you probably won't notice it on your 650b conversion bike.

My Phil Wood 650b conversion bike

Yes, it is a Phil Wood bicycle frame (made for 26ers). I got this about a decade ago while at a bike convention in Las Vegas. It was one of the first disk brake single speed bikes out there. The problem... It was always a little bit of a low rider and only made worse with my 180mm crank arms. So my solution: toss on some 650b wheels. Not only did this correct my ride height issues but it got me into the wheel size. Even after the first ride I though "why is there even a debate over 26ers and 29ers when you can just go in the middle and get the best of both worlds?". The Goldilocks fable instantly popped into my head. Not too big, not too small... just right. Years of debate seemed wasted (I'm a 6'4" 26er fan due to the "too big" feel that 29ers have and need to explain myself a lot). Why would I even need to talk about the other wheel sizes? The 650b wheels do what a bike product is supposed to do... go unnoticed. It just rides, no need to think about it being too small or too big because its neither of those. Why should you be thinking about that stuff when your biking anyway?

Jamis Nemesis 650b

What about tires, rims, forks and bikes? Get em, they are out there and available. Many fork manufactures have been making them for years, tires are available at most of our distributors, many rim companies are making them and lets not forget about Jamis. They have multiple 650b complete bikes available in steel, aluminum AND full suspension. We have the Nemesis at our Minnehaha location ready to roll.

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