Get Trendy.

The 650b wheel is a niche market, as niche as they come right now. Well the 36er might be a bit more hidden and harder to come by as of today but most folks don’t know what 650b is, or was, or will be.

The largest issue I see holding back the 650b, or any large technology advancements, is that the cycling industry is trying to streamline every part of the bicycle.

As a shop employee I can recognize the need for standardization. In a shop it helps with stock, knowledge and over head. In the industry at large it helps with tooling cost and allowing all the parts to work together. Being too standard can be a problem too as it can keep from the industry growing. What would of happened if years ago when Aheadset was figuring out thread less technology they thought to themselves “Gee, this is going against every threaded headset standard and we might have to redesign forks too! That is sure a lot of work, let’s give up.” If they had said that or thought anything along those terms we all, maybe, would be riding thread less headsets.

Everyone is scared of the 650b. If this is to catch on, who is to say that a 28″ wheel won’t be released at the next Interbike? No one. So now the industry is huddled up, waiting for the next big name to jump on board before THEY take the head first plunge. The ball (or trend) has started to roll and as the ball is getting larger it also means larger companies are starting to jump on.

One other thing I am noticing, almost daily, is that the consumer base is catching on and this trend is not stopping. Every one of my last 6 rides, on one of my 650b steeds, someone has taken notice. They stop me in the parking lot or at the end of a race to ask me about it. Sure, these are avid cyclist that search the internet and MTBR daily but they know what it is! They have been interested enough to read up, visit this blog and others, to be educated.

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No Responses to “Get Trendy.”

  1. Quinn Says:

    I don’t think people are scared of 650b, I think they veiw it more as a misfit a wheel for little person that didn’t Really have a shot at a road race, or “Those” people that ride porteurs. and once 29er hit, and then “27.5”, it felt to me like it was a sad attempt at being a “little peoples” attempt at having their 29er.
    since then I have seen it become more valid every day.

  2. Arleigh Says:

    Quinn,

    I understand and respect what you are saying. BUT never once did someone have a true theory behind 26 or 29 wheels. 29ers came around due to the fact you could put tires on already available 700c rims.

    Many old timers, like Ritchey, have even said that fact. They used what was available. 29ers are not made for everyone or for all areas.

    I don’t think a 29er is perfect but it works for many. I don’t think the 650b is trying to replace or anything like that – I do however think it has a stronger feel/use/etc than say a 26″ With how it holds energy, can fit standard geometry, and rolls over things better.

    Why handicap yourself if you dont have to??

  3. Mark Says:

    I’m still anxious to get a hold of a 650b front wheel (I guess I’ll have to have one built) and give it a true test.

    I wish that fork companies would get on board to embrace the wheelsize. suspension fork makers that is. White Brothers forks are nice – but sure are pricey. I know that you can use XFusion forks – but also those seem to be quite hard to come by these days (maybe a lot of people hot on the 650b movement have snatched them up).

    Makes me wish I had kept my RS Psylo that came on my Balfa Belair way back in 2003 as that seems like a fork that offers lots of clearance at teh crown. However they are becoming more scarce on the used market as well.

    Lately I’ve been thinking about a long travel (120mm) 29er hardtail, but perhaps I should re-think that round a 130mm 650b hardtail. But this would require me to find a good used Psylo (125mm is close enough), or an elusive and probably still costly on my low budget XFusion fork.

    Still – perhaps it has more merit than a long travel 29er hardtail……hrmmm…….I’ll have to do more thinking on that.

    Cheers,

    Mark

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