Buyer’s Angst – Is 650b On the Way Out?

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 71 total)
  • Buyer’s Angst – Is 650b On the Way Out?
  • shooterman
    Member

    I’m just about to buy a new bike. I had sold my last 27.5 bike with the intention of buying a short to mid travel 29er.

    However, the best deal / availability I can get is on a 27.5. During my bike hunt quite a few of the shops I have spoken to said they sense manufacturers are phasing out 27.5 as newer 29er designs eradicate some of the perceived disadvantages of 29ers.

    Any views?

    Premier Icon russyh
    Subscriber

    I bloody hope not, I don’t get on with or like 29ers.  They don’t work for everyone in my experience and I tried, jeez did I try and blew a load of money trying to make them work for me.  That aside, I think the market has settled nicely with both options.  Unless 650b sales drop to an unsustainable or profitable level the i can’t see them disappearing.

    The 29er main fault was skinny internal rims and now that’s resolved with wider rims and the geometry stretching out I’d say the 29er will be the forefront of the bike world,
    the 27.5 will remain on smaller framed bikes in a range and then 29er on large XL frames (canyon/spec seem to have adopted this last year on the Neuron)

    Bikes with the boost axle seem to be getting sold as being capable of 2 wheel sizes, 27.5+/29er, seems the best place to sell as plus wheel sizes aren’t all that’s imho.

    My next bike will be a short travel 29er, There must be some truth in a short travel 29er has similar capability as a medium travel 26/27.5

    All imho dyor ;0)

    Buy the bike you want, and that suits where and how you ride, not what someone in a shop tells you to. There’s every chance they have bought too many of a type of bike and need to sell em, I’ve witnessed it myself on many occasions!.

    The only exposure that most shop monkeys have with the industry is sales guys, and they’ll tell you any old shite.

    Onzadog
    Member

    Not many people know this and the media really don’t like people knowing, but…

    …there are still loads of people out there riding 26″ wheels. To make matter worse, they’re having fun in them and riding the same stuff as everyone else.

    TheGhost
    Member

    You can’t change physics, 27.5 is the fun wheelsize.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    I’ve thought this for a while now. It won’t be done with any fanfare and there will always be some smaller wheeled bikes about, but it does look as though 29ers will be the “standard” in pretty much all off-road disciplines sooner or later. It doesn’t really suit manufacturers to support multiple wheel sizes in the long run.

    The only issue is getting replacement parts. If manufacturers are starting to move away from 27.5, chances are those parts will get cheaper before they get scarcer. Can’t see it being a problem over the lifespan of a bike bought this year.

    Premier Icon boriselbrus
    Subscriber

    The only exposure that most shop monkeys have with the industry is sales guys, and they’ll tell you any old shite.

    Nice. As a “shop monkey” it’s always fun to see what people think about us.

    shooterman
    Member

    Thanks. I suppose the fact I would need an XL frame prompted quite a few retailers to question why I wouldn’t go 29er.

    Bad time of year to be buying too I suppose. Thwarted by low stock levels repeatedly on 29ers. Was about to buy a Rocky Mountain Instinct but no stock. Same thing happened with the Intense Primer. Waited on the new Hightower but it’s gone all enduro.

    That’s what played the Jedi mind trick on me. Shops were suggesting the bike that suited me was actually one they couldn’t get their hands on for a while.

    Now looking like a Pivot Mach 5.5.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    You can’t change physics, 27.5 is the fun wheelsize.

    It’s an oddly flawed argument though.

    10 years ago trail bikes had 430mm reach and 68deg head angles as that was “chuckable” and “fun”. 10 years on its just “wrong”.

    Unless you’re actually pulling tailwhips over really tight jumps does the weight of the wheel actually make any difference? At off road speeds even my fat bike feels nimble enough even if descending on roads brings up the gyroscopic effect over 25-30mph.

    Steering geometry makes a huge difference, but that was largely down to fork offsets being optimised for small wheels and steep head angles. And ironically rather than 29ers trying to ape the feel of 26″ bikes, small bikes have just got longer and slacker to gain some of that stability 29ers were originally criticised for!

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    Nice. As a “shop monkey” it’s always fun to see what people think about us.

    I wouldn’t worry – I did my bike shop stint from 91-97 and there were always some crap bike shop staff – just as there were good ones like you or me!

    Premier Icon nixie
    Subscriber

    Why not buy something cheap SH until stock of what you do want is available again (assuming your bike less currently).

    kerley
    Member

    I briefly had a mountain bike again which was a 29er and my last one before that was 26″. While the 29er was faster I didn’t really like riding it as the wheels just felt too big. If I was to get another MTB it would be a 27.5 or even a 26.

    shooterman
    Member

    I sold my modern geo bike in February. It was 27.5. I rode my old Titus Motolite 26er a few times when I was desperate to get out. Wheel size didn’t bother me but the old school geometry did make it feel like a farmer’s gate.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Interesting thoughts. I’ve been wondering when it’s time to update my bike to a new sort of BOOST etc, more than 10 gears etc.

    Due to bottom bracket preferences and loving my T-130 i’m thinking sticking with Whyte.

    They’ve got some great deals on S-150s which i could then get some boost adapters for my Hopes and have the best of both worlds, 29er and 27.5. Only downside would be when switching i’d probably have to spend 10 mins re-indexing… So maybe i’d just stick with the 29er version. But i don’t know if i’d like it as much as the T-130.

    The obvious answer could be sticking T-130 and 27.5 but seems weird to have owned 3 bikes then all the same but later versions.

    Nice. As a “shop monkey” it’s always fun to see what people think about us.

    You should try being a teacher or a fireman! 🙂

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    I had sold my last 27.5 bike with the intention of buying a short to mid travel 29er.

    However, the best deal / availability I can get is on a 27.5.

    Regardless of whether 29 is becoming “the new normal” (it kind-of is IMO), I’d say stick with your original plan or you may come to regret it anyway.

    Something I try to do now is to buy stuff when there’s a great deal, rather than when I actually need it (if that makes sense?). As somebody suggested above, if you can’t get the bike or the deal you want now – perhaps a secondhand short travel 29er will be useful in confirming or disproving your original decision.

    Premier Icon simonchan
    Subscriber

    It’s not on the way out, but it might/already is becoming the less popular choice for XC/trail/enduro bikes.

    When talking to my local (where I used to work), they’re telling a similar story to what you’re experiencing: almost all the 29” stock for 2019 has been sold so folks are stuck waiting for 2020 bikes and they’ve struggled to move 27.5” off the floor, hence the deals.

    As mentioned though, buy what you like to ride! The industry goes through trends, but unlike the quick demise of 26” there’s still enough OEM sales of 27.5” to keep support for spares and parts going. The only thing to keep in mind is resale value when you want your next bike if the industry is still big on 29” wheels.

    P.S. I jumped into 29” wheels just over 10 years ago so never bought a 27.5” bike, but I will say that the latest crop of short travel 29” bikes are impressive, truly getting over almost all the previous negatives aside from the weight difference. I’m about to jump from a 2016 Trek Fuel EX to an Ibis Ripley v4, just as soon as they get more stock in Europe 😉

    P-Jay
    Member

    Who knows, the ‘industry’ has managed to support 2 current wheel sizes for, well it must be 10 years since 29ers were mainstream?

    26ers are still being ridden and maintained 5+ years since they ‘died’ I really wouldn’t worry about it.

    Buy the bike you want, although by the sounds of it you wanted a 29er, don’t buy a 275 just because thats all they have.

    I was told recently by one brand that they were selling 5 times as many 29ers as 650b. I tested both with the intention of buying the smaller wheels but loved the 29er. It was fun, stable, comfortable, I love it. If you don’t like 29ers it may just be you haven’t tried the right one yet. Maybe, it’d be boring if we were all the same.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    This wheelsize stuff is getting beyond silly.

    yeah, that’s it really.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Clearly what we need is a new wheel size that sits somewhere between 27.5 and 29″ which combines the strengths of both without any of the drawbacks.

    Premier Icon Jon Taylor
    Subscriber

    Just buy a whole new bike and enjoy it. Within 2 years whatever you buy will be obsolete – the manufacturers will have made all new standards so that you can’t upgrade and will have to buy a whole new bike next time, whatever you do.

    deadkenny
    Member

    29ers are too big for me as a short arse. So non starter there.

    Got two 27.5s and a 26. The 26 doesn’t get ridden so much, but getting it out a bit recently I just love it, as much as the others. Noticeable thing though is I seem quicker on the 26. It may be the faster acceleration, not sure. Depends on the trails though. Short and twisty and the 26 wins. Long and flowy and 27.5 is a blast once it’s up to speed. Not that much in it though.

    The wheel size isn’t really the big deal for me though. The 27.5s I’ve got are just longer / slacker due to being more modern, and that has advantages, plus different bikes as gone light carbon, shorter travel, and a lot more fun. The 26 feels a bit short now, yet it never did before, and again, still quicker on some trails. I’ll keep it going for some time yet, or at least until the frame falls apart.

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Subscriber

    Clearly what we need is a new wheel size that sits somewhere between 27.5 and 29″…

    Nah, what we need is two wheelsizes further apart… so that it’s worth having both available and supported. May I suggest the two we had before 27.5 came along…

    Giant (and others) wanted to replace 29 and 26 with one new wheelsize, and ride the wave of having the newest thing… but 29 won’t die… the latest bikes (in both 27.5 and 29) are amazing. But we could (I’d argue should) have had amazing 29 & 26 bikes at this point. Updated geom 26 bikes, with the latest forks/rims/tyres would have been, er, RAD.

    trumpton
    Member

    29ers are too big for me as I am only short. I hope they do not vanish. I can see them becoming quite rare though.

    mariner
    Member

    Just put a 29er on the front and 27.5 on the back.
    (Managed to get away with not mentioning axle width)

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Subscriber

    Just put a 29er on the front and 27.5 on the back.

    That’s what I do.

    Premier Icon flange
    Subscriber

    I’m currently tossing up whether to sell my 2019 stumpjumper and return to 650b wheels. I’ve got a 29er anthem for the distance stuff which I honestly think is better than the smaller wheels (I’m quite tall too at 6ft2). But for fun stuff, I just feel more comfortable on 650b, maybe its because I’ve ridden 26 inch for so many years. For reference I’ve had a Yeti, Salsa, the stumpy plus an older Camber, Kenesis FF29er, Remedy 29er and a process, all in 29 inch flavor. I just don’t seem to get on with them.

    I’d imagine the shops want to phase out 650b as it must be a ball ache having to hold stock in both wheel sizes.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    I bought a bike last November that came in both flavours, and hadn’t decided which one I wanted until I got to the counter of the shop…

    I bought 650b in the end, as I thought the 29er version was a bit too cumbersome plus lingering thoughts about how manoeuvrable the 29er would be in nadgery stuff (probably bias and incorrectly as it goes)

    nothing really to add really other than get what you want, 650b aren’t going to suddenly become unavailable in the time you own the bike

    Sui
    Member

    deadkenny

    Subscriber
    29ers are too big for me as a short arse. So non starter there.

    Got two 27.5s and a 26. The 26 doesn’t get ridden so much, but getting it out a bit recently I just love it, as much as the others. Noticeable thing though is I seem quicker on the 26. It may be the faster acceleration, not sure. Depends on the trails though. Short and twisty and the 26 wins. Long and flowy and 27.5 is a blast once it’s up to speed. Not that much in it though.

    I agree, ive only had a limited blast around on 29’s and found them to be more sluggish in tight stuff and initial acceleration, but on the positive side of 29’s i do get how once going they are rolling faster and i’m putting in more effort on my 26 than those on 29.

    The industry should never have adopted 650b, it was/is an absolute waste of time resource and money for users. There is clearly a difference between 26 and 29, but 650b well it’s a bit mleh..

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    Aren’t most eBikes 650b?

    philjunior
    Member

    It will undoubtedly become less common – look at EWS and world cup DH where they wouldn’t (initially) adopt those huge wagon wheels from XC.

    Small sizes though it makes sense, then again so does 26er and how many bikes use 26in wheels on their S/XS frames?

    Having said that, one of my newer riding mates seems to pop tailwhips/jump better than me. He rides 650b, I ride the correct wheel size (29er), so that’s probably why.

    TL;DR, I think the perceived demerits of a 29er can be designed out and ridden around to a great degree (buzzing my arse on the back tyre over certain bits of trail does happen and for shorter riders you can’t design around this, but I move about more than most). But there will always be advantages in smaller wheels.

    The demerits were just used as an excuse to bring out 650B everywhere, as people weren’t as frightened and it wasn’t perceived as a wheel size for XC racers and nichemongers.

    Specialized Bighit, anyone?

    trumpton
    Member

    Specialized Big hit lol.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    27.5 is a blast once it’s up to speed

    LolZ

    nicko74
    Member

    the latest crop of short travel 29” bikes are impressive, truly getting over almost all the previous negatives aside from the weight difference

    Which sums up the whole 29″ thing for me: “the latest ones are so good, we’ve almost got rid of all the negatives compared to the previous standard”

    But yeah, having used 29″ as a way to shift more bikes and parts, and 27.5″ to do the same, we’re about due for another meaningless standard…

    Premier Icon Poopscoop
    Subscriber

    Having gone from 26″ straight to 29″…. I tend to agree with those that said it should have stayed with those wheel sizes.

    27.5 was/is a total load of balls.

    That said I hope it doesn’t die out because not everyone is tall enough for 29 and need a smaller wheel choice…. So on that basis I really hope 27.5 doesn’t die.

    27.5 was/is a total load of balls.

    So, it’s taken the industry 10 years to get 29ers working for all, but 650b is balls?. Oaft. 🙂

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    Anyone else reading this and getting nostalgic for 2016?

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 71 total)

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