It seems the bike industry wants you to prepare yourself for a flood of ‘tweener wheels on bikes next year. Nobody wants to be left out of what might (or might not) be the next big thing in mountain bikes.
650B wheels, or 27.5in are set to (probably) appear on bikes with 120-160mm of travel that may or may not appear in the next couple of years. Certainly in the USA, the 29er is now the great majority in bikes from hardtail to 120mm of travel. However, many companies feel that beyond that, the 29in wheel starts to bring in disadvantages with travel and clearance, which is why many of them are looking to the 27.5in wheel to fill that gap. It’s likely that 170mm+ bikes will stay 26in.
Anyway, not being one to be left out, and with an existing 27.5in tyre in the range for a few years, Schwalbe is coming out with a full line of ‘tweener tyres for 2013. Here’s what it says:
“650B bikes have some technical advantages that make sense„ says Schwalbe Senior Product Manager Markus Hachmeyer who, several years ago introduced the Racing Ralph 27.5 x 2.25 to the range. At Eurobike, Schwalbe will have expanded virtually all of its MTB range for 2013. Racing Ralph, Nobby Nic, Hans Dampf, Rocket Ron and Rapid Rob cover nearly all MTB terrain conditions. 650B-bikes combine the advantages of the 29er and 26 inch models- virtually the best of both worlds. They are quiet and more stable, roll as easily as a classic 26 inch and have better traction. At the same time they are also more agile and responsive than 29ers. In addition longer suspension travel is easier to realise on a 650B. Whereas 29ers are rarely available with more than 130 millimeters of travel by design without major disadvantages, 650B bikes can be built with greater suspension travel. Naturally smaller riders will be interested in the compact-650B bikes as an alternative to 29ers.”
So there you have it. Those tyres again?
and Rapid Rob
Interestingly, the press release ends with “It is yet to be seen in the long term whether these three sizes, 26 inch 29 inch and 650B can co-exist together.”
Schwalbe’s 650b tyres will be out in the UK in about January.