650B Mountain Bikes Coming, Backed by Rockshox, WTB, Schwalbe & More!

We’ve heard tremors of some major (read: top four) bicycle brands coming on strong with 650B mountain bikes for 2013 data we’ve seen from Rockshox’s internal OEM ordering website shows that they’ll be supporting manufacturers with the boingy stuff up front.

UPDATE (Nov 12, 2014): Yep, 650B is here to stay, with virtually every bike, wheel and suspension manufacturer now offering something with 27.5″ wheels. It’s a remarkably fast move considering it was less than three years ago that the first public murmurings were heard about the wheel size going mainstream.

Locally, we’ve seen a few unofficial mods on Specialized’s full suspension bikes with 650b wheels crammed on them, but Jamis the most aggressive brand reliably pumping out bikes with the mid-sized wheels recently. What’s looked like a losing battle could now propel them to a leadership position if they play their cards right, but it’s looking like they’ll have some stiff competition.

If you’re unfamiliar with the benefits of 650B, the short of it is this: You get most of the improved roll-over-everything wheel diameter of a 29er while retaining most of the flickability of a standard 26″ mountain bike. You also have slightly less rotational weight than a 29er. And on longer travel full suspension bikes, there’s less of an issue with clearance compared to 29ers.

Looks like we’ll have to add another category for our posts, and we’re definitely looking forward to the lively banter in the comments section.

Thanks to Pete for the tip on this one!

Comments

thebikegnome - 01/27/12 - 8:12pm

nice !

chase - 01/27/12 - 8:12pm

Well I guess now that the industry feels they have done all they can for 29ers they are starting on 650b’s before going to 36ers

Pete - 01/27/12 - 8:33pm

X-Fusion’s Velvet has been 650B for a while now.

Paul in VA - 01/27/12 - 8:33pm

It’s a nice retrofit up front for 26ers.

professorVelo - 01/27/12 - 8:47pm

okay. first I was going to write something sarcastic about the appearance of yet another ‘do everything’ standard, but then I remembered I don’t even ride mountain bikes and immediately felt better.

Le Piou - 01/27/12 - 9:31pm

finally!!!!

650b is THE perfect standard for MTB.
I agree that 29ers are great for XC, but for All-Mountain or Enduro, they are just to big…
It all started with 26ers for a bad reason… It’s time to fix it!

Sven - 01/27/12 - 9:43pm

Call me cynical but….
“Must sell more product, must create another ‘standard’…..”

craigsj - 01/27/12 - 10:01pm

“If you’re unfamiliar with the benefits of 650B, the short of it is this: You get most of the improved roll-over-everything wheel diameter of a 29er while retaining most of the flick ability of a standard 26? mountain bike. ”

That is marketing nonsense. 650b is 40% of the way between 26er and 29er, it does not cherry pick the best features of both except in the minds of those who believe in magic. A 29er has 2.5x the rollover benefit compared to 650b.

Interesting thru-axle spec on that fork…

Marc - 01/27/12 - 10:11pm

Craigsj,

You say that “a 29er has 2.5x the rollover benefit compared to 650b”- I’m not challenging you, but am curious about the logic behind the statement- are you saying that the 29er is 2 1/2 times as far from a 26in wheel as a 650b is?

Nice catch on the thru axle- does anyone want to take bets on the meaning? Typo or new front hub standard?

mike p - 01/27/12 - 10:20pm

I’m pretty sure most of the 650b haters out there have never ridden 650b

Jesus CHrist - 01/27/12 - 10:24pm

typo

best biker - 01/27/12 - 10:43pm

650 is so much better than 29. die 29, die!

stratosrally - 01/27/12 - 10:48pm

I really feel that my Haro Beasley 1×9 650B was the perfect choice as a guy whose 30″ inseam Levi’s need to be worn with the cuffs rolled up… and the Pacenti Neo-Motos it came with are still holding up extremely well.

Haro pushed pretty hard with the 650B size for a while, but my understanding was that too many bike shops were reluctant to stock spares.

bob - 01/28/12 - 12:49am

650B because I like how 29ers I’ve ridden and because I don’t have the funds for a frame. Got some 650B rims for $40 each, had most of the spokes already (plus had some spare hubs) and only had to get some tires. They just fit onto my Scott Scale with Fox F110s, and yea it voids the warranties but they ran out a long time ago.

skidad - 01/28/12 - 1:32am

Nice to see craigsj trolling here as well. Are we gonna believe you (and your obvious disdane for 650B) or all the manufacturers who now have big money on the line who believe in the size. It’s not a gimmick so get over yourself. Go try a nice 650B bike (Jamis Dakar 650 or a converted Mojo HD or Turner 5 Spot for instance) for a full day or week and get back to us. There is something about the size that just feels “right” and it works very nicely.

morpheous - 01/28/12 - 1:56am

Current Fox forks up to work today for 650B? I personally have run 650B on the Talas 32(90-140mm) & 36 (100-160mm) Float models, and on the 180mm Vanilla Coil. I just laced up a pair for my DH rig for this season. (Fox 40, 203mm) I have been running 650B F/R on my 160mm AM bike for two years now. No issues except great rolling and improved traction. 650B will be the standard in 5 yrs.

Adam - 01/28/12 - 10:32am

I think there is a legitimate place for 650B wheels, but it’s reserved for full suspension big wheel bikes.
There could be some gains to be made in the downhill arena with bigger wheels, better ground contact, etc.

The benefits of a 650b versus a 29 on a hardtail are lost on me. Even for a technical riding oriented bike. I have a 28″ inseam and while I was very reluctant to move to 29, now that I have, there is an appreciable difference of how and what I am able to ride, and at speed.

It took 10 years for 29 to really get a sure foothold and now become a staple, will it take 650b as long?

mr.650b - 01/28/12 - 1:03pm

It good to see this stuff finally go public… Still more to come!

Vissile - 01/30/12 - 8:23am

@ Sven – I doubt it’s a matter of creating another standard so they can sell more product.
As they come out with another wheel size standard, the shops (and even suppliers) are going to have a hard time stocking all the necessary replacement parts – especially on an up and coking standard where you might end up getting stuck with leftover stock years later.

AlexK. - 01/30/12 - 11:55am

This is a step in the right direction, but we need more choices. Could we get a size that sits between 650B and 700C? That way we could get the best of both worlds without having to sacrifice. To make it easy, let’s call it 675B/C.

greg - 04/03/12 - 10:13pm

650b, or 27 1/2″, is the best of the three, according to mountain bike action “shootout: wheel wars 29 v 27 1/2 v 26″ see: http://www.mbaction.com/Main/News/Shootout_Wheel_Wars_29_vs_275_vs_26_5159.aspx

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