Spesh 650b prototype

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  • Spesh 650b prototype
  • Premier Icon Northwind
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    I think people are still getting a bit overexcited about the impact of 650b. Yes there’s room for short term gains but at the end of the day it’s mostly about tail-swallowing. There’s a short term increase in bikes sold as people decide to replace 26ers with 650bs, but it won’t create a single new customer so in a year, 2 years at most, everything returns to normal. Market shares might shift but market size won’t.

    To achieve that, every bike company’s having to replace basically everything they make, from tyres to whole bikes. So not only taking a loss on existing tooling and R&D, but also having to commit all of the resources which would usually be taking them forward, just to stand still.

    So it’s not a surprise that it’s smaller or less competitive companies- your Santa Cruzes, Schwalbes, etc- that got so enthusiastically into it. It’s a rare chance to not have to compete on an even playing field. Those who’re already well established- Specialized, Maxxis, etc- don’t have as much to gain anyway but would face exactly the same costs of change.

    So now, they can launch products on a timescale of their choosing, learning from the mistakes of the early adopters, having run down 26 inch production mostly on their own timing. And when they do launch the 650b Enduro or Butcher or whatever, it’ll be news, in a relatively quiet time whereas if they’d done it 6 months ago, it’d be “just another 650b story”

    (it is, of course, exactly what Specialized did with 29ers and fat bikes- wait til the market’s proven and the demand is well understood then launch a safe product. The circumstances are different but the strategy is the same)

    So perhaps they could have done better with an early launch- though remember this is with hindsight, I think very few people expected 650b to go off the way it has. But give it a year or two and I think everything will end up pretty much exactly as it was before in the small wheel market, just that some companies will have put a lot more into selling 650b than others. And Specialized will still own the 29er market.

    And they could just have easily done a Giant, who really have come out of this looking like idiots and undermined their trusted brand, and who’re going to come out the other end with a troubled small-wheel launch and a knackered bigwheel range.

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    As the MTB world goes 650, the remaining demand for 29ers is a ‘niche’ I’d be happy to be a successful player in..

    I think 29″ is here to stay and I’m sure Niner are not panicking.

    All the palaver over 650b made me curious to try 29″ in a contrary sort of way, I love it for a lot of my riding and I’m pretty sure 650b wouldn’t have the same benefits at all (simple physics rather than personal experience I confess).

    I wonder if some people will try 650b and then want more?

    I wonder if some people will try 650b and then want more?

    Well, if the market trend is anything to go by, it would appear that many people tried 29 and wanted less! 🙂

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    Yes, I was guilty of thinking a bit too UK centric then.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
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    Yeti had 12 orders from shops for the SB66 for 2014 for the entire US. Hence them canning it.

    And yet “26 ain’t dead” according to some

    Premier Icon jameso
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    Well, if the market trend is anything to go by, it would appear that many people tried 29 and wanted less!

    Quite a few did, but wanted more than the 26, or at least then saw 26 with new less approving eyes. So, here’s 650B.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    yep 650b is the way of coming back from 29 without saying it was a bad idea

    GEDA
    Member

    Since 650b rims are exactly 12.5mm bigger than 26 rims wouldn’t it be easy to just create thinner or taller tyres on 26 inch rims or or 650b rims? There is not really that much difference and I am not that convinced that you could not make a bike that had more clearance and take a larger range of tyre sizes?

    I was thinking about this on my Nukeproof Mega. Wonder where I could get some dropouts machined that are 12.5mm further back and up to make the geo the same as a “real” 650b frame. Not that I am really that bothered but since the difference is so small it must be easy to create a frame that runs both.

    toons
    Member

    12 SB66’s wow!

    asterix
    Member

    Well, if the market trend is anything to go by, it would appear that many people tried 29 and wanted less!

    Quite a few did, but wanted more than the 26, or at least then saw 26 with new less approving eyes. So, here’s 650B.

    I don’t think that happened at all – it might be the story the industry told/is telling, but some liked 29, others didn’t and wanted to stay with 26. No-one outside the industry was calling for 650B.

    Premier Icon kimbers
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    To achieve that, every bike company’s having to replace basically everything they make, from tyres to whole bikes. So not only taking a loss on existing tooling and R&D, but also having to commit all of the resources which would usually be taking them forward, just to stand still.

    in with all the retooling have been some benefits for the consumer, im sure brant mentioned that when he got 650b smorg moulds done he added some refinements

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    mikewsmith – Member

    yep 650b is the way of coming back from 29 without saying it was a bad idea

    For Giant is has been, sure, but then they had various problems with their 29er range. Specialized can’t make enough 29ers to meet their demand though. I can’t see anything that suggests either the end of the 29er or the end of the growth of the 29er.

    kimbers – Member

    in with all the retooling have been some benefits for the consumer, im sure brant mentioned that when he got 650b smorg moulds done he added some refinements

    Sure, and they might not have bothered retooling the 26 inch range to deliver that improvement, but that’s a different decision- to sell an existing product that could be better. (or to launch a product that’s not too well tested then discover ways to improve it). Or to put it another way, you don’t need to change the size to improve the product. So what that boils down to is that even when there’s a benefit to the customer it’s a side effect, and smaller than the benefit if the same amount of r&d and retooling had gone into creating a new product rather than a 650b smorg

    And the bulk of 650b products are just slightly bigger 26er products.

    chrismac
    Member

    Having spent a weekend demoing 29ers and 650b’ers I have to say I don’t get the fuss. The 650s felt the same as 26ers to the point where I have no idea why anyone would change.

    My conclusion from the weekend was that wheel size is irrelevant. It’s the geometry of the frame that you put your chosen wheel into that really matters

    londonerinoz
    Member

    XC and marathon racers are unlikely to give up 29ers. They’re fast, efficient, and provide their greatest benefits where it matters most to a racer. It has to be very tight or technical before a 29er loses any ground, and even then any minute margin gained would be quickly made up elsewhere on almost any course. So even if 29ers end up the preserve of XC race machines, they’ll still be made and supported equipment wise, and they’ll still sell to anyone who wants a race capable XC/trail bike.

    It’ll be interesting to see where Enduro goes, but in the quest for competitive advantage and efficiency my bet is that it’ll end up pretty even between 650b and 29er, and DH will go 650b once the equipment is fully available.

    Sorry, but I really do think 26″ will die over the next 5 years (or 10 max) with next to no new frames being made. Who’s going to bother supplying new equipment as the old frames die or get swapped out and the market disappears? The bike industry may or may not have engineered it, there’s probably little benefit to 650b, and it won’t result in any permanent growth in bike sales, but in all likelihood the next bike most of us will build or buy will be a 650b even if we hate the idea and own a bunch of 26″ bikes. IMHO of course.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
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    Sorry, but I really do think 26″ will die over the next 5 years (or 10 max) with next to no new frames being made. Who’s going to bother supplying new equipment as the old frames die or get swapped out and the market disappears?

    You’re not allowed to have that opinion (& I agree with you) as you’ll get called a troll or deliberately inciting an argument with 26″ owners

    Premier Icon jameso
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    No-one outside the industry was calling for 650B.

    Not sure about that, a fair number of riders (inc those at bike brands) saw the good side of 29s and wanted some of that ‘more’ in the 26″ bikes that some preferred over a 29. I’m not saying you get enough of that ‘more’ stuff to make the change, but the thought process was/is there. 650 has been around a fair while, 6 years or so in the sidelines.

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    You’re not allowed to have that opinion (& I agree with you) as you’ll get called a troll or deliberately inciting an argument with 26″ owners

    On the contrary, I think most people accept this. And that’s why there’s so much resentment.

    650 has been around a fair while, 6 years or so in the sidelines.

    Yep, first Pacenti frame was 2007, IIRC.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
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    I still think Chipps’ editorial from a few issues back was spot on – 29ers will stay, mainly for HT/ST applications, 650b for longer travel and 26ers will die out, at least above the bottom end of the market.

    As said above, the wheel size actually doesn’t matter that much…

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    rOcKeTdOg – Member

    You’re not allowed to have that opinion (& I agree with you) as you’ll get called a troll or deliberately inciting an argument with 26″ owners

    Always found it the other way round tbh, 26ers see how the wind is blowing and are mostly peeved about it but realistic, it’s the 650b crowd that seem touchy on this subject, like they feel responsible (or don’t want to admit they’ve been managed into buying the emperor’s new clothes, possibly)

    duir
    Member

    Yeti had 12 orders from shops for the SB66 for 2014 for the entire US. Hence them canning it.

    And yet 26″ ain’t dead” according to some

    Was one of the 12 Jared Graves, winning EWS stages, coming second overall and even getting bronze in the DH World Champs……………on a 26″ SB66?

    26″ certainly wasn’t dead for him was it?

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
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    Was one of the 12 Jared Graves, winning EWS stages, coming second overall and even getting bronze in the DH World Champs……………on a 26″ SB66?
    26″ certainly wasn’t dead for him was it?

    I’d also ride one if Yeti were paying me to

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    And you think Yeti pushed him to ride the SB66 that they were about to discontinue?

    dirksdiggler
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    every bike company’s having to replace basically everything they make, from tyres to whole bikes. So not only taking a loss on existing tooling and R&D, but also having to commit all of the resources which would usually be taking them forward, just to stand still

    That’s what happens every time a manufacturer comes out with a new platform anyway.. its not 650b specific!

    Fox’s RAD lower castings are made from different toolings that their sprung RC2 lowers.. 26 or 650.
    Model year frame revisions require different tooling and still need R&D to decide what changes they want to implement.. comes with tooling changes. I don’t think the cost is as significant as you are suggesting.

    JCL
    Member

    FYI Specialized wanted to keep a 26″/29″ line-up but the dealers weren’t ordering 26″ so they had no option. Doesn’t look like they’re putting a lot of effort into 650b though, just new rear ends.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
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    And you think Yeti pushed him to ride the SB66 that they were about to discontinue?

    No idea, but Yeti are signing the cheques, let’s see what their team are riding this season, the now discontinued 26″ or something bigger, what’s the betting the team riders have a “revelaton”*

    *ride whatever the bill payer asks them to

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
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    No idea, but Yeti are signing the cheques, let’s see what their team are riding this season

    I am reasonably sure they wouldn’t go to the trouble of producing SB66’s for the team when they can’t sell them to the public.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
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    Premier Icon Northwind
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    dirksdiggler – Member

    That’s what happens every time a manufacturer comes out with a new platform anyway.. its not 650b specific!

    Of course it isn’t 😕 But it’s normally done for performance/progress reasons, and it’s normally not done across the board. Also, all products have a lifespan and costs are amortisised across that lifespan, cut a product life short and you effectively increase the cost of that product as well as the next. There’s absolutely no question this has happened with a huge number of products.

    Pick up a 650b Revelation, say, or a Nobby Nic- these aren’t products that were about to change, yet here’s a new version that does nothing but duplicate the last. And tooling’s just a part of that cost, you’ve got unsold inventory etc (at all levels- from manufacturer down to your LBS)

    duir – Member

    Was one of the 12 Jared Graves, winning EWS stages, coming second overall and even getting bronze in the DH World Champs……………on a 26″ SB66?

    26″ certainly wasn’t dead for him was it?

    That was 2013. Yeti intended to produce the bike for 2014, but couldn’t sell it. Which has left them with no 6″ bike to sell for this yeat, just the SB75 which is a bodged 66 with 125mm travel. They have a bike in the pipeline, but the market moved faster than they could.

    Premier Icon roverpig
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    Thanks Northwind, that’s an interesting and thought provoking analysis. I guess it gives the lie to the idea that 650b is some sort of industry conspiracy. Why would they all get together and agree to do something that increases their cost and doesn’t generate any new business? The whole wheelsize thing might be annoying for us consumers,but it sounds like a disaster for those who are trying to make money out of selling bikes.

    Personally I’ve got a 29er HT and a 26″ full suss and as I sit here nursing my broken arm, I’d just be happy to ride either of them.

    Premier Icon ChrisI
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    I am reasonably sure they wouldn’t go to the trouble of producing SB66’s for the team when they can’t sell them to the public.

    Given Graves appears to be riding the SB66c again this season – definitely pre-season, its on Faceache, and so is Hannah Barnes, it looks like they will keep the production going for team riders. John from Yeti has stated the SB66c is the favourite staff bike as well, but no sales from bike shops has killed it off, they have said they will bring it back as soon as the demand from shops is there.

    That is until their new bike arrives 😉

    Premier Icon jameso
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    all products have a lifespan and costs are amortisised across that lifespan, cut a product life short and you effectively increase the cost of that product as well as the next.

    True, but tooling tends to be costed over ~3 years of product based on fashion and / or technical changes anyway, even with continuity designs tools wear and need to be re-made, so 650 has done no real evil there )

    Hob Nob
    Member

    Given Graves appears to be riding the SB66c again this season – definitely pre-season, its on Faceache, and so is Hannah Barnes, it looks like they will keep the production going for team riders.

    Only because they don’t have anything else for him to ride yet.

    ratherbeintobago – Member

    I am reasonably sure they wouldn’t go to the trouble of producing SB66’s for the team when they can’t sell them to the public

    Probably have plenty spare ones in stock they can’t shift.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    jameso – Member

    True, but tooling tends to be costed over ~3 years of product based on fashion and / or technical changes anyway,

    For some parts, sure. Others, a longer life will be expected. (some parts of a Rockshox Lyrik are unchanged since 2007, and it was still a competitive product, for example. The current Revelation/Sektor had years to go, still a superior product to the main competitor but 4 years old and now becoming prematurely obsolete)

    One that really springs to mind is Kenda, they had to push the old Nevegal design onto 650b to get a product on sale, now barely a year later it’s being replaced. And they’re still having to service the 26 inch market too. So first excess costs of moving to the new platform before the new tyre was ready to go, and now excess costs of running 3 lines instead of 2 in order to fill an overall market which is exactly the same size.

    It is a very good point about tooling having its own lifespan though, and products in general. tbh this is one of the places Specialized probably benefit here, as they’ve allowed their 26 inch ranges to run down naturally over the last few years rather than running them as long as possible then crash-changing.

    dirksdiggler
    Member

    But it’s normally done for performance/progress reasons

    Right. and in the cases of the manufacturers that entered into the 650b market when the time was appropriate for their product cycles this is exactly what has happened.
    Manufacturers who are chasing their tails to get 650b product out there just for the sake of it, or because they didn’t see it coming – sure.. but that’s their own error.

    Unsold inventory at the manufacturer level? How much inventory do you think smart manufacturers hold?
    it gets booked, it gets made, it gets sent.

    Revisions to forks and tyres.. sure, some added tooling costs, but if they hadn’t changed sizes, the tools would wear out at some point and need replacing anyway. Yes it costs more to make a brand new tool, but replacing worn out tools with like for like still has a cost.. but I’d hope to think that the replacement like for like tool still has R&D considerations with real world feedback or making improvements.

    I agree that SantaCruz likely increased the cost of the Bronson as it was prototyped and slated to be 26. Then revised for production at 650b.
    Scott however rolled straight into 650b as their pull shock 2nd gen Genius was at the end of its product cycle. They would have created new tooling along the lines of the spark platform for the genius anyway, so no difference to them than updating that bike in 26 wheels.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    dirksdiggler – Member

    Right. and in the cases of the manufacturers that entered into the 650b market when the time was appropriate for their product cycles this is exactly what has happened.

    Yep. Specialized in other words. And Maxxis probably, and assorted other late entries. And no doubt some few of the early entries too.

    But, what’s clear is that this change has been done on a route march timescale, so a huge number of products won’t be shifting at the time they naturally would. even in those companies clever/lucky enough to get the timing right most of the time, there’ll still be substantial exceptions. And even in an ideal world the overlap of 26 and 650b is creating a very messy time where, as I mentioned, manufacturers have to run 50% more product lines to provide an equivalent service a market that hasn’t actually grown.

    Premier Icon roverpig
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    I can see that sponsored riders will ride what suits their sponsor, but surely this only applies if there really is no performance difference at all. When DH races are won by less than a second the 26/650 bike only needs a slight performance advantage for the riders to demand it.

    If the XC racers stick with 29ers and the DH racers stick with 26″ then 650b is just for the weekend warriors, which could be a hard sell in the long run. So 650b really needs to break into one of those areas in decent numbers.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    When DH races are won by less than a second the 26/650 bike only needs a slight performance advantage for the riders to demand it.

    And for that there needs to be a performance advantage of heavier wheels, it’s a bit like they have been putting the koolaid in the water in some places.

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