650b – a fair observation

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  • 650b – a fair observation
  • Premier Icon stilltortoise
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    This is not another “which wheel size is best” thread, but I did think this blog post hit the nail on the head.

    clicky

    ChunkyMTB
    Member

    He said ‘rig’…

    Rorschach
    Member

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZblxVza9JMk[/video]

    Premier Icon variflex
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    Very good article and I think its spot on.
    To answer the authors question of why the sudden dominance is simply economic and profit led. It just shows how good marketing is these days and once a few of the mainstream manufacturers made the commitment it was an easy decision to make for the others. Risk trying to flog 26er kit to people who already have it (remember suspension and brake technology hasnt moved on in the last few years) or sell them something “new” and hype it up….I would if I was them, so fair play.

    I wont ditch my 26ers until they are beyond reasonable repair or the maintenance costs get excessive. But then again Im lucky to have both 26ers and 29ers.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
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    Meh…

    Its all just the same old Wheel Blah now…

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
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    What is the resistance about the change?
    Why do people care so much about this change?

    Two of many ace quotes from Santa Cruz Head Engineer Joe Graney in that video, but the best is:

    You don’t have to feed the trolls

    I like that guy, but I bet the SC bosses hope he doesn’t get rolled out in front of paying customers too often 😆

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
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    It’s American led though isn’t it, nothing really do do with this side of the Atlantic, because it’s in the good old US of A where the relentless, capitalist materialism is most keenly developed and people are conditioned to always want what’s new and different. So the consumer demands ‘change’ and ‘new’ and the profit-driven industry obligingly serves it up on a slightly larger plate than before, because that’s what it has to do to continue to grow.

    So ultimately 650b is capitalism in it’s purest form, with tyres on. No, seriously…

    I suspect the most significant thing about 650b wheels is the change in BB drop vs 26 wheels yet the greater packaging possibilities vs 29 wheels (especially on smaller and/or longer travel frames).

    Premier Icon richmtb
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    Well the most powerful word in advertising is “new”

    650B does just seem like its new for the sake of it though.

    As for fast adoption, its pretty inevitable once choice is removed

    Premier Icon D0NK
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    What is the resistance about the change?
    Why do people care so much about this change?

    Are you an idiot? I can think of a whole bunch of reasons why a mainstream switch to 650b is bad for end users and I’m sure Mr Graney knows them all too, he shouldn’t be claiming ignorance when his company decides to cash in on the new standard

    It’s American led though isn’t it, nothing really do do with this side of the Atlantic, because it’s in the good old US of A where the relentless, capitalist materialism is most keenly developed and people are conditioned to always want what’s new and different. So the consumer demands ‘change’ and ‘new’ and the profit-driven industry obligingly serves it up on a slightly larger plate than before, because that’s what it has to do to continue to grow.

    So ultimately 650b is capitalism in it’s purest form, with tyres on. No, seriously…

    I thought it was the oposite? The USA went for 29ers in a big way whereas Europe didn’t. 650b was ‘developed’ as a crutch to ‘help’ luddites on this side of the pond get arround the idea of big wheels.

    A bit like the Whyte 46, the Ammericans seemed quite happy on 5-6″ travel bikes for all day rides from the start (SC heckler, Mountain Cycle Fury, Specialized enduro), the UK needed it’s hand holding and to be sold a 4″ bike that could be converted to 6″.

    I still think that everything will end up 29″, unless they don’t fit (small bikes). There’s even sub £300 29ers now.

    Are you an idiot? I can think of a whole bunch of reasons why a mainstream switch to 650b is bad for end users

    I don’t see it as a bad thing for anyone. My 26″ bikes are still just as good as when they were new, they haven’t suddenly gotten worse. If I want to buy a new bike I can, the fact that the new bike is somehow better/different isn’t a bad thing.

    If it was just marketing they’d sell 26″ and 650b (LOOK YOU CAN BUY BOTH!!!!!! BUY BUY BUY!!!!!!!!)

    forzafkawi
    Member

    Joe Graney – what an arsehole! I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t end up with his own “reality” TV show soon.

    Premier Icon jameso
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    It’s American led though isn’t it, nothing really do do with this side of the Atlantic, because it’s in the good old US of A where the relentless, capitalist materialism is most keenly developed and people are conditioned to always want what’s new and different.

    The UK’s not the same then? I’d say it is.

    Premier Icon variflex
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    If it was just marketing they’d sell 26″ and 650b (LOOK YOU CAN BUY BOTH!!!!!! BUY BUY BUY!!!!!!!!)

    I disagree, the amount of capital bike manufacturers have to put into producing bikes is incredibly high, and when ordering a batch (for companies like SC say in the thousands) they have to be certain they are going to sell them. The last thing they want is a huge stock of frames or even complete bikes at the end of a season still sitting on the shelf as it can devalue a brand if they have to offload too much stock quickly.

    Most manufacturers cant risk producing both 26 and 650 of the same model, hence the turning point was when suspension, wheel and tyre manufacturers committed to high volume 650b output, it was then an easy decision for the likes of SC to make. Its purely a numbers game and given the interest the likes of SC already had with regards to 650b it was less of a gamble than some other manufacturers.

    As SC led the way, they have probably reaped the most benefit in 2013/2014 but the others will catch up this year and next.

    Premier Icon BigDummy
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    Isn’t the fast adoption of 650b the result of the slow progress that 29ers made?

    Most of us follow the arguments for bigger wheels, and most people who have tried 29ers seem to agree that they are quicker – but many have reservations about handling and strength in demanding applications. A huge chunk of the market was saying “I like 29ers, but I’m slightly too rad for them”.

    Then 650b comes along, which is basically the wheel size that is like a 29er but a bit more rad, and large numbers of people are saying “this is just what I have been waiting for for the last couple of years”.

    It’s perfectly possible that in a few years’ time, 29ers will look like a marketing exercise for 650b…

    Premier Icon aracer
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    thisisnotaspoon wrote:

    Are you an idiot? I can think of a whole bunch of reasons why a mainstream switch to 650b is bad for end users

    I don’t see it as a bad thing for anyone. My 26″ bikes are still just as good as when they were new, they haven’t suddenly gotten worse. If I want to buy a new bike I can, the fact that the new bike is somehow better/different isn’t a bad thing.[/quote]
    So you don’t think having less choice in tyres for your 26″ bike when you go into a bike shop in a couple of years time (assuming you can get them at all) is a bad thing?

    Premier Icon D0NK
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    I don’t see it as a bad thing for anyone.

    second hand prices of 26 take a nosedive, getting spares, keeping spares for different wheel sizes, wheel/forks/frame incompatibilities, LBSs not stocking anything coz they don’t want to get caught with the wrong size. of course some/all/none may apply to you but there’s plenty of reasons it’s disingenuous of mr graney to feign ignorance.

    If it was just marketing they’d sell 26″ and 650b

    hmm maybe but I think if you produce both you look like you’re unsure and hedging your bets so punters hang back to see what’s going to happen but if you (and the rest of the bike industry in an orchestrated attempt to force this upon us offer us the benefits of imperceptibly bigger wheels) jump in with both feet then the new definitive standard is born and punters don’t worry about getting stuck with the betamax wheel size.

    Premier Icon aracer
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    BigDummy wrote:

    Then 650b comes along, which is basically the wheel size that is like a 29er but a bit more rad, and large numbers of people are saying “this is just what I have been waiting for for the last couple of years”.

    Are they? If so it’s only because they’ve been suckered by the marketing, not because it’s a real advantage.

    I’d hazzard that it’s less of a risk for Specialized/trek/giant (or other big brands) to produce both. They probably wear out tooling and have multiple production lines and therefore need multiple lots anyway. Whereas a company making only 100’s of bikes might only have one mould. Thus Specialized/trek/giant could have had parralel production lines* of 26, 650b and 29″ bikes, but opted not to.

    That suspension, wheel, tyre and frame manufacturers all took a ‘risk’ and made ‘only’ 650b bikes, I’d take as pretty conclusive evidence that they really do think it’s better. It’s a heck of a risk to assume that a bike mag would buy into false marketing, and one test win in the likes of MBR can sell out an entire seasons stock of that model. Look back at bargains like the Specialized Pitch Pro, they practicaly couldn’t give them away for £900, it then got 10/10 in MBR, they sold out almost overnight and went upto £1700 the next year.

    *or maybe they make batches, I’ve no idea, but I’d bet they could have made other wheel sizes economicaly.

    second hand prices of 26 take a nosedive,

    If you have parts to sell before they’re compelely worn out and need replacement, maybe you’re the one too swayed by marketing and shiny new stuff, not the person buying a 29er?

    mindmap3
    Member

    The original article was quite interesting; there do seem to be a lot of people who see 650b as a magic bullet despite not having ridden one (especially on places like MTBR). If the story is true, the disdain the guy expressed when he realised the bike he thought was nice until he realised it wasn’t the latest thing is quite funny.

    I’ve not ridden a bigger wheeled bike because I’m quite happy on my 26 inch bikes but my Banshee frame can take 650b is I want to experiment although I doubt I will for some time having bought new wheels last year and most recently forks. To be honest I’m not even curious about them, he main thing holding me back in terms of speed is me. I’d be better off riding more, going running etc than spanking a load of money on new wheels, tyres and forks or and drop outs for my frame.

    We do seem to have got to a point though were big wheeled bikes don’t look silly any more and have good geometry. I guess at some point I’ll have to change but I’m happy for now.

    Premier Icon DezB
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    I’ve seen this 650b/27.5 train a coming for a couple years now, but what blows me away is how fast the general public clambered aboard.

    Yeah? Did they? I wonder if any “general public” have heard of it at all!
    And if they’ve bought one it’s probably because it’s what they were sold.

    (Anyway, that’s as far as I read. Never have I been so uninterested in articles about MTBs)

    Premier Icon D0NK
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    second hand prices of 26 take a nosedive,

    If you have parts to sell before they’re compelely worn out and need replacement, maybe you’re the one too swayed by marketing and shiny new stuff, not the person buying a 29er? as a net buyer rather than seller of second hand goods that is actually a positive for me, I was altruistically pointing out the negatives whether they affected me or not, for the community 😉

    Premier Icon tomhoward
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    I wonder if any “general public” have heard of it at all!

    Doubt it, I know keen riders from different areas of cycling (road and BMX) who, 6 months ago, didn’t know what a 29er was.

    Premier Icon D0NK
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    but my Banshee frame can take 650b is I want to experiment

    see this doesn’t seem right to me. Either it’s a 26″ or a 650b frame surely geometry won’t be quite right on one of them. Bu tthat could just me being naive thinking 650b frames are designed specifically around the wheel size rather than the manufacturers unpeeling the 26er decals from last year’s framesets and slapping on 650b BNGs 😉

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
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    Interesting article but I was drawn to the trek 650b article and it’s summary table that says Nb 26 and 27.5 are essentially the same thing so we have grouped them together!!!! Quite.

    Steve77
    Member

    650b got big so quickly because of 29ers. If there hadn’t been years and years of people banging the drum about the advantages of big wheels there’s no way anyone would bother changing from 26 to 27.5″

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    650b got big so quickly because of 29ers.

    so it’s 29er riders that deserve the shoeing then?

    mildred
    Member

    It’s American led though isn’t it, nothing really do do with this side of the Atlantic, because it’s in the good old US of A where the relentless, capitalist materialism is most keenly developed and people are conditioned to always want what’s new and different

    How do you think Orange fits in with this statement? They’ve jumped into the 27.5 bandwagon quite keenly (serious question by the way).

    I personally think it’s all tosh – I don’t think the analogies the author of that article gives are very good. An hydraulic disk brake is a far cry from a cable rim brake, and badly made cable disk brakes are pretty far removed from a well made disk brake. This is not evolution as the ‘standard’ already existed – it is pure marketing guff.

    I can’t say I found any difference in the 27.5 I tried when compared to the 26″. I couldn’t actually tell.

    asterix
    Member

    I can’t say I found any difference in the 27.5 I tried when compared to the 26″. I couldn’t actually tell.

    correct – the difference is soooo… small, most people cant tell either when they look at a bike casually without reading the tyre or when riding

    see this doesn’t seem right to me. Either it’s a 26″ or a 650b frame surely geometry won’t be quite right on one of them.

    The two Banshee frames in question have swappable dropouts and adjustable geometry, so you can move the rear dropouts up and down to change the BB height and head and seat angles. Even in the highest & steepest position they’re quite low slung bikes whilst in the lowest & slackest position they’re very low indeed. Different dropouts and a slightly bigger wheel allows you to have more trail (slack head angle + bigger wheel radius), large BB drop for stability but higher BB for ground clearance. However they’re quite unusual frames in that sense.

    One tested on 26s:

    http://www.vitalmtb.com/product/guide/Frames,7/Banshee-Bikes/Spitfire-v2,12133

    The other one tested on 27 and a bits:

    http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Banshee-Rune-650B-Tested-2013.html

    mindmap3
    Member

    Chief beat me too it.

    Also bearing in mind how small the actual difference is between a 26inch wheel and a 650b, the drop outs don’t need to vary too much. In fact there are one or two people running 650b wheels with the 26 inch drop outs on MTBR.

    asterix
    Member

    thanks chief – very interesting to see those adjustable frames

    Premier Icon D0NK
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    The two Banshee frames in question have swappable dropouts and adjustable geometry

    fair enough, thought I’d heard some manufacturers say “yeah you can squeeze a 650 in there” on otherwise 26″ frames.

    Premier Icon Nick
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    Not sure why anyone gives a shit.

    I’m test riding a couple of bikes with 650b wheels on Friday, if I like one of them I might buy it.

    There are multiple reasons why I’m test riding these two, wheel size figures way down on the list.

    1. Does it ride nice?
    2. Is the price right?
    3. Can the shop do me the deal I want?
    4. Is the bike available in the next 3 months?
    5. The spec (forks, frame design, drivetrain, components, travel, tubeless ready, wheel size)

    The first four are way ahead of the last one, no point in the spec being spot on if the thing is hard to get a test ride on or not available (Whyte T129S), or costs too much (Santa Cruz Bronson mmmmm), or isn’t available from the shop I want to use.

    Premier Icon SimonR
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    @Nick – well said sir!

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
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    The UK’s not the same then? I’d say it is.

    Id say the US is slightly more culturally consumerist, but more to the point, the 650B thing seems to have been driven by demand from US consumers in the same way that 29ers were. I don’t honestly think Brits gave a stuff about 650B until the industry started throwing it out there. I think we’re secondary consumers in that sense, we don’t drive the change we just lap it up.

    It’s like mobile phones where there’s a new model every year with incremental developments to satisfy people’s obsession with new. Buy new stuff to give an impression of forward movement and change.

    How do you think Orange fits in with this statement? They’ve jumped into the 27.5 bandwagon quite keenly (serious question by the way).

    We’re all part of the same global market, so once there’s a shift, why wouldn’t a British brand roll with it? It’s not like Orange or anyone else over here were early advocates of 650b is it? They’ve just decided the wind is blowing that way and hopped on the latest trend. But my point was that it started in the US and with US market demands, we’re just sucked along in the wake.

    Personally, I don’t care. I just ride bikes and enjoy it. I’d be conflicted if I were trying to choose between a Blur TRc and a 5010c, but as I can’t begin to afford either and I’m happy with the bikes I have, I’ll just keep on riding what I’m riding, rapid rise mechs, nine speed and all…

    Premier Icon D0NK
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    Not sure why anyone gives a shit.

    did you read this and the many many other threads on this? If you want someone to highlight the reasons again just ask.

    There are multiple reasons why I’m test riding these two, wheel size figures way down on the list.

    but yes if this is your first or only mtb then none of those reasons apply.

    rapid rise mechs, nine speed and all…

    please make it stop, not sure I can handle the death of proper shifting and proper wheels in one thread, I’m looking at having to go back to “normal” shifting soon as my RR stocks have dried up, 🙁

    Premier Icon Orangejohn
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    I have lost count of the number of times that people say and have said there is no difference between 26 & 650b.
    I have seen the charts showing 26, 650b & 29 wheel sizes.

    However when I’m loading my 650b wheels into the boot of the car and then my wife’s 26 wheels there is a significant difference.
    I do run big tyres but my wifes tyres werent XC skinny.

    There is a difference! I also think there is a difference in the ride but having never back to back tested how can I be sure.
    Having said that a fair few seem to comment that there is no difference but haven’t actually ridden 650b.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
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    So the consumer demands ‘change’ and ‘new’

    I think its more the case that the consumer fears ‘change’ and ‘new’ but in doing so drives that change. So when people are making a significant purchase (a new bike, a new phone, an new PC) they want to buy as ‘changed’ and as ‘new’ as they can, partly because if you’re going to spend you want the thing you buy to look and feel newer than the thing you’re replacing, but also for fear that they’d otherwise pour a lot of cash into something that might quickly obsolesce.

    Premier Icon jameso
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    Id say the US is slightly more culturally consumerist, but more to the point, the 650B thing seems to have been driven by demand from US consumers in the same way that 29ers were. I don’t honestly think Brits gave a stuff about 650B until the industry started throwing it out there. I think we’re secondary consumers in that sense, we don’t drive the change we just lap it up.

    I’d agree with that. The UK has never really driven MTB development at that level, just had a different take on what / why than the US as a generalisation. In reality there’s as wide a range of bikes popular on both sides but in the US a shift among 20% of riders becomes a significant market, over here it’s still a niche.

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