Making a Case for Long Travel 650b

This past week Guitar Ted over at our sister site Twenty Nine Inches has been throwing out some thoughts/rants/opinions on 650b, long travel, full suspension bikes. The thoughts/rants/opinions are more about why 29″ long travel bikes are superior but there is a good amount of information on the post.

Here are a few points he brought up that I would like to give my opinion on.

I have ridden the above pictured 650B FS bike which was a great bike, but for all the world didn’t really do much for me from a “big wheeled” standpoint. I feel that with 5 plus inches of squish on board, you are going to have a really hard time distinguishing whether it was the tire that made that bump easier or was it the suspension? Hmm…………… Seems obvious that the minimal gain in diameter from 26 to 27.5 is nearly totally masked by big travel. What’s the point?

This argument is much like running tubeless on full suspension. This also is why I recommend anyone when they start riding to start out on a hard tail bike. Can you feel the difference on a 650b hard tail vs 26″. Yes, in my mind. When you ride a 4″ full suspension bike vs a 5″ full suspension bike, can you feel the difference? I think that is in the eye of the rider. Take note that Guitar Ted also rode a converted 26″ wheel long travel. (I think he also rode the Carver but I’m not sure on that one.)

Now on to the 29 inch wheeled 5 inch travel FS bike I rode at Interbike’s Outdoor Demo. A discernable big wheel feel here, but again, not so much in the way it ran over stuff. More so in momentum and traction. That to me is the key to a long travel full suspension bike. Momentum for carrying up and over and traction for the short steeps and corners. 650B just doesn’t get there in this respect.

At 145 pounds momentum is NOT something I have going for me. Even when riding a 29″ that chick with the larger rear end passed me going down hill coasting. Now when it comes to cornering, braking and traction control I’ll normal win. One large issue I have with 29″ bikes is that you have to have momentum on your side.

So, back to a 650B full suspension versus 26″er full suspension. Obviously, unless you are into equipment disadvantages, the 26″er is by far a better choice. Heck, some big free ride rubber is already about 27.5 inches in diameter on a 26 inch rim. So again, why 650B?

Guitar Ted, I love you but I highly disagree with this one. So what if a tire measures 27.5 diameter? Am I riding on only 650b rims? No. I run that 27.5 rim WITH rubber installed.

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Behind the scenes Guitar Ted and I talk almost daily. When I first got into 650b we had very lengthy conversations about it. I don’t think there have been any arguments as I do agree with many things he says about 29ers. There always will be a 29″ wheeled bike in my stable. Do I think its a great all purpose bike for myself? Not at all. I’m not going to jump on the wagon and say 650b is the best thing out there but I can comfortably ride it at all the local trails with no suspension or gears. Clearing things that I haven’t been able to clear but on a 26″ full squish geared bike.

Bring on the long travel 650b bikes!!!

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No Responses to “Making a Case for Long Travel 650b”

  1. Making a Case for Long Travel 650b Says:

    […] Catherine Bodry wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThis past week Guitar Ted over at our sister site Twenty Nine Inches has been throwing out some thoughts/rants/opinions on 650b, long travel, full suspension bikes. The thoughts/rants/opinions are more about why 29? long travel bikes … […]

  2. Making a Case for Long Travel 650b Says:

    […] Olivia Giovetti wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThis past week Guitar Ted over at our sister site Twenty Nine Inches has been throwing out some thoughts/rants/opinions on 650b, long travel, full suspension bikes. The thoughts/rants/opinions are more about why 29? long travel bikes … […]

  3. Davidcopperfield Says:

    Arleigh what do you think about 32ers? ISO 698mm? something inbetween 29ers and 36ers. More momentum and grip than 29ers and more nimbleness than 36ers.
    a susbstantial number of 29er riders really dream of it.

  4. Arleigh Says:

    I plan on riding a 36″ at the Big Wheel ballyhoo. before then I’ll leave 36ers to Guitar Ted

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