Orange five 26 vs 27.5 /650b

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  • Orange five 26 vs 27.5 /650b
  • Would there be a great deal of point upgrading a relatively new 26r five with decent kit on to getting a news 27.5 five? Is it likely to climb a lot better or descend a lot better? Or is just hype and re invention for no real gain?

    Frame is only one year old as is most kit on it ( even younger like pikes etc) so it’s well specced, just wondering if I’d notice any real world differences at all or should I just keep it a few years then sell it off, dunno whether I’m considering a pointless exercise really given mines was one of the last 26 frames they did

    Didn’t really want a 26 vs 27.5 debate but want to know if it’s actually going gain me anything other than to say I have the latest and greatest

    I’m riding my 26 until something essential breaks. Then I was thinking I’ll replace with something thats 26 and 650B compatible.

    I have a 650b Five. I like riding it. Before that I had a 26er hardtail. I liked riding that too.

    It’s your money mate, but the price-to-benefit ratio of your proposed upgrade would not justify it to me.

    I would I expect be losing out on selling the frame more than anything, no idea what a year old five frame goes for but new ones 1847 with upgrades

    I think my current wheels will pay for a set of new flows/pro2 and my new pikes will probably pay for some new 27.5 pikes if I sold them

    So it’s essentially the frame difference that would sting me, everything else would bang on straight across

    But as it stands my five is at it’s pinnacle couldn’t really get it any better and it’s not as if it’s four years old, it’s just a year old with mostly new parts on under a year old

    I’m just wondering if it’s actually gonna be any different to ride compared to 26″ or whether it’s just all in my head to want the latest greatest thing

    I mean can 1.5″ inches extra wheel size really make that much difference?

    Premier Icon tomhoward

    Demoed a 650b five last year, felt the same as a 26″ one, the real difference was the 29er, which I thought was noticeably better, and I’m no 29er fan!

    You’ve got New Toy Fever. Don’t be a marketing man’s wet dream. You’ve got your bike how you like it. Don’t feel all dissatisfied with it just because something new has come along.

    Google commodity fetishism. Then go out and ride somewhere gnarly, and just enjoy.

    Premier Icon Riksbar

    This months MBR has a Five RS V. Five 26 comparison. The upshott was tha 27.5 has a very different geometry and you can feel the difference, but each has areas where it excels. I guess the question is have you money you can spare?

    A few people I know said the 27.5 felt no different what so ever too, which brings me to the “what’s the point” scenario in my head

    And again a few have said the difference is the 29er but not sure I want to go that big TBH

    Hebden tbh you are right I probably am a marketing mans wet dream, but I do ride a lot, it doesn’t just sit there getting admired, it’s ridden mostly 3 times a week in all kinds of shite Peak District weather

    I think also as I’ve got my current five at its (to me) best, and I can’t really do anything Else with it territory that I’m thinking of new things to buy haha

    If it’s really no different than the 26 it seems massively pointless at least if I was going to do it I’d want to experience some form of gain performance wise

    Riskbar interesting don’t suppose you can upload the review could you?

    It’s not as if I have thousands sitting around to do it no, but I could make it happen via selling mine and putting some towards it yes

    But the outlay is going to be around a grand to swap in loss so not sure if it’s actually worth it for minimal gain really

    I’d also imagine that my 26 weighs less than a 27.5 full build as I have crossmaxs at present and I’d be getting a set of pro / flows, so I’d not be gaining a weight loss either


    NO, a 23 inch rim instead of a 22 inch rim will not make any BIG differences.
    You might be able to create a bike that suits you slightly more but it isn’t going to be much different in real terms. Very subtle differences/advantages and will come with disadvantages too. I think they are a good thing but the differences are small.

    29ers feel exactly the same as 26ers too with slight advantages/disadvantges. Bikes are very simple.

    Premier Icon chakaping

    It shouldn’t be hard to get a demo and make your own mind up.

    What do you hope to gain though? Are you racing?

    Demo would be fine I’m sure, that’s a good question Chakaping if be hoping it would maybe climb a bit better like I know the 29er does, but not compromise the downhill side of it

    What exactly would I gain, I dunno it’s a good question to put it all into perspective

    Maybe I should just be happy with the five I’ve got, I do love it and it’s exactly where I want it to be in terms of build

    Premier Icon roverpig

    I’ve also got one of the last 26″ Fives and struggle to see how they could make it better. Different, yes, but not better. I had a flick through the MBR piece comparing the two and although the reviewer tried hard to claim that the 650b was better overall he also said that the 26″ version was lighter, accelerated better and was more fun, so it wasn’t clear why the 650b was better. I think it was a but more stable, so if that’s what you are after it might still be worth considering.

    Not sure how you can buy new 650b Pikes for the same price as you sell your 26″ ones either, unless you are banking on finding a sucker.


    I’d say that if your going from 26″ crossmax to 27.5″ Flow ex’s then the potential speed gain of the bigger wheel would probably be cancelled out by running a heavier wheelset anyway.

    Rover just meant as in I could sell the pikes for around 450-475 and get some 27.5 from Germany for 525 ish so no great deal of loss ( I know if lose a max of 100 quid ) I just meant that I’m not gonna have to shed out another 300-400 quid for some better forks

    Yeh my mates just sent me the mbr review thing abit weird as you say it states the 26 is lighter ( as is my build too) and quicker to accelerate, but not as stable

    Thing is since I’ve put the pikes on mine it feels amazingly more stable over the 32s it pretty much transformed the feel if the bike on the peak rocky downhills for me

    Steve very true by the sounds of it, my wheels weigh about 1590 according to mavic guessing the flows will be nearer 2000grams right especially on 27.5 version


    A good bike is a good bike regardless of wheel size, your 26″ five remains a good bike (especially in the build you have by the sounds of it). I’ve got a retro 26″ Alpine 160 with 1 1/8 headtube and 27.2 seat tube, I’ve got it just how I want it too – ccdb air, devilles (would’ve been pikes if they did a 1 1/8 steerer), crossmax enduros etc and it rips, such a fun bike, my next bike may well be a 650b if that’s all that’s available in a few years but whatever wheel size it will be, it needs to be a fun bike first and foremost.

    Premier Icon Mugboo

    If you were ready for a new bike then why not but as you’ve just built your dream machine then, no. You did buy 650b Pikes to be futureproof didn’t you?

    On the other hand, you are supporting your countries economy buy spunking another bag of sand.. 🙂

    Premier Icon merynella

    Don’t forget you’d be changing to 27″ not 27.5, so not quite the difference you think. If there’s a marginal gain in one area there’ll be a marginal loss in another. What is it you want different from the performance you’ve got. Riding 26″ bikes last year after owning a 29er, I preferred the obvious improved manoeuvrability and didn’t notice worse climbing (though my 29er is a short travel hard tail and the demo 26s long travel full suss). I’d want to try one first. It should be easy to get and Orange demo.

    Really useful info guys puts it into perspective and stopped me spunking a load of cash

    My pikes are 26″ they had no 27.5 on offer and I got these at a great price too, they are worth every penny tbh

    I’m very happy with my build it’s as good as I can get it without getting some carbon wheels or similar which I’m not overly fussed about as the crossmax are great light wheels and full UST, wish they were a tad wider mind on the negative side

    Reading the review on mbr and your views it’s fairly obvious it’s not clear cut that I’d actually be getting a better bike, more than likely negatives and positives , and as I like climbing I don’t want a heavier bike too! Something I didn’t realise or think about until this thread

    I’ll just buy some xtr pedals instead I think to finish mine off 😆

    OP – I am so glad you asked this question. It is something I have been pondering myself.

    I got a 26″ 2013 build, swanky tuned kashima fork and shock, pretty much everything as I wanted it….but then have followed a few people on bigger wheels and saw them rolling whilst I pedalled. Had a go on some bigger wheels (not a Five) and the experience was very different than I was expecting – I really liked it.

    Of course…tick tick tick goes the brain “Damn wish I had waited a year and gone 650b”

    This thread has somewhat settled me back into getting on and riding what I have. Although I would still be keen to hear from genuine Fiveophiles who have run the 26″ for years and made the change to 650b, for I think they may offer the best impression of the difference.

    Premier Icon roverpig

    There are bigger wheels and bigger wheels though. The difference between 26 and 29 is pretty obvious, but the difference between 26 and 650b is somewhat more subtle. I can understand somebody switching from 26 to 29, if that’s your thing, but 26 to 650b is going to be a bit harder to justify.

    I ain’t changing my 2011 Five until I absolutely have to (if ever) Still really enjoy riding it even with those titchy wheels. 😆

    Premier Icon accu

    I have 2012 Five and love it and to be honest getting sick of hearing about 650b the benifits seem tiny and for years the bike industry has been telling consumers the wheels are the best place to save weight on a bike for fast acceleration and a fun ride, seems they have just found another way to make your current bike out of date just like with tapered head tubes for instance now some forks are not even available with a tapered tube and I can remember reading that the benifits to that we’re small too but they have to keep flogging you bikes. Basically make it hard to find parts people will buy new bikes!


    Had 5 versions of the Five from sub Fives to the new 650 Five, at 27.5 lbs without pedals not exactly heavy(10 speed,dropper post, Stans rims hope hubs, tubeless), it is by far the best Five I have had,it is noticably different. I think it is the geometry that makes it, as much as whatever is gained from the wheel size, front centre is longer, BB lower on a pro rata basis. Used as only bike for everything.

    There’s no way I’d sell a good recent 26″ bike which I liked to get a 650B version of the same! I do think that for many riders the slightly larger wheels represent an incremental improvement but no more so than better forks or shock or a better tune or better tyres for your riding would represent. And if these new 650B versions didn’t also have the geometry updated in other ways I don’t think people would be noticing half as much difference.

    I’m now riding a Spitfire with 650B wheels. It’s an incredible piece of kit but if I’d had a similar 26″ FS with comparably good parts and spent this much to change then I doubt I’d be happy with the outlay. Coming from a 140mm 26″ hardtail I’m blown away but I’d put far more of the improvement down to the fantastic forks/shock/suspension and the long low slack geometry (wheelbase 2″ longer, BB 1+” lower, HA 2 deg
    slacker) than to the wheels being 1″ larger.

    On Thursday night I was out in the mud, two wheel drifting round fast corners like I’ve never managed before. The new bike made it way easier but improving my footwork and body position was definitely a far bigger contributor than 25mm more wheel! ‘Marginal gains’ are for top level competitive sport – as rank amateurs we can make far bigger gains through improved skills/fitness than a fractionally superior bike can provide.


    Theres LOADS of space on my 08 Patriot and rear 26 wheel. Try it OP. When my 26 rim is goosed I certainly am

    Theres LOADS of space on my 08 Patriot and rear 26 wheel. Try it OP. When my 26 rim is goosed I certainly am

    Try it if your bike has a lower BB than ideal for your riding or you’re happy to run it with more sag (front and back) and/or a shorter fork. If any of those aren’t the case then you’re losing much of the positive of 650B and gaining a negative instead.


    OP – for war it’s worth I would have done the same, keep what you have and make a few selective upgrades, IMO it’s to worth taking the hit on a 1yr old frame for that switch. As we’ve all posted numerous times £200 with Jedi on a 1:1 skills days will be the best upgrade you can make.

    Cheers folks

    appreciate the info and advice I think its pretty much pointless for a few gains given the cost to do it, im pretty sure my five will be about the lightest 26er out there without compromising its intended purpose

    If it was 3 years old id be doing it but my last five lasted 3.5 years and i should really do the same with this, given the build spec too I cant really get it any lighter / better than it is

    So im sticking with it, I just feel a bit robbed given it was one of the last 26ers without havjng a clue it was being discontinued, had I known this I would have waited, but thats the cycle industry for you….I’ve still got an ace bike

    anyways im still chuffed and its good to know I wouldn’t be buying something that’s a massive difference really from what I have


    Um, this is is exactly why the industry has ‘brought back’ 650B and claimed they’ve had it wrong with 26 all these years… the market’s gone to road bikes and they’re looking at massive financial shortfalls with MTBs if they can’t get us all to buy new ones.
    By and large 26 is perfectly fit for purpose – do you think we’d have been quite happily riding it for 25 years if it wasn’t?

    That’s why they’ve not done the usual with new standards which is to give us the choice – but instead forced the issue by removing support for 26. Sorry, OP i know you’re not looking for a debate but it strikes me that the decision you’re thinking about is exactly what the bike companies are trying to push us into…

    If 650B is that good and they’re confident it’s better, why is 26 being killed?

    Premier Icon roverpig

    Another thing to consider is that this is Orange’s first attempt at a 650b bike. I’m sure they know what they are doing, but I’ll bet the next iteration will be better. One of the things that has made the 26″ Five so good is that it is the product of many years of tiny tweaks. That’s not really specific to Orange though. I dare say we’ll look back on these early 650b bikes in the same way as we do the early 29ers once they’ve actually nailed the geometry.


    That 650b Five has far more aggressive geo than the 26″. If he 26″ had the same geo I wouldn’t change but it doesn’t so if I had the choice I’d go 650b. That said I’d rather a good, lighter 120/130mm 29″ than either.

    Roverpig a good point probably worth waiting a year anyways to see what changes they make, they basically made the five 26 as perfect as it could be then made it obsolete, not really there fault if that’s the market , just seems a waste tweaking the five all those years and when they finally got it spot on it was no more

    I may even just did it off and get a Santa Cruz next time , best start saving now….


    If they released a 650b version of the Five with the same geo as the 26″ it really would be obsolete! I’m pretty sure you’d find that the guys at Orange would rather had the 650b type of geo on the 26″ but were probably scared to death of changing something that was still (oddly) selling so well. Geo wise that 650b Five is bang on.

    Premier Icon roverpig

    I guess it depends what you want. You are right, there is more to it than the wheels and I’ve not ridden one yet, but it looks like a bigger bike overall to me. Better on the descents no doubt, but is it better on the climbs and on XC rides?


    yep the 650 Five is better up along and down!! steep uphil, front does not wander as longer front centre. down, longer front centre puts you further behind the front wheel, weight is more centred on bike therefore grip at both wheels.
    Cornering longer wheelbase and lower BB gives more stability.

    Premier Icon Paceman

    I’ve lusted after an Orange Five for ten years or so but different bikes have come and gone and i’ve never had the funds at the right time. When I have been looking for a new bikes there’ve been very few Fives around second hand or at least very few for much less than the new price. I’m now very happy in 29er-land so I don’t think i’ll be getting a Five anytime.

    However, there do seem to be more 26er Fives available second-hand than i’ve ever seen before. I’ve no idea whether this has anything to do with the new 27″ version??


    Longer wheelbase isn’t much help if you’re riding super-tight switchbacks, of which there are plenty in the ‘cheeky’ Pennines. Having said that, I’m sure the 650b Five is absolutely mint, and when I’m bored of my 26″ Five, I’ll be having one myself. Certainly got no worries about it being the first iteration of their 650b – Orange know exactly what they’re doing, and reviews in Dirt and other mags suggest they’ve got it spot on with the new bike, unlike some other brands who basically just stuck bigger wheels in their old frames. It’s all personal anyway – I’ve still not heard anyone say the new Five is more ‘fun’ than the old, although I do believe it might well be a better performing bike in terms of covering bigger miles with more speed in more comfort. Still doesn’t necessarily make it more fun though. Some riders like a bit of sketchiness and that ‘small’ bike feel.

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