Pinkbike Poll - Should the UCI Restrict DH Racing to 26-Inch Wheels?

Apr 12, 2013 at 0:05
Apr 12, 2013
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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Sam Hill would be fined for Spandex Doping today. Will the
speed advantage of 650B wheels also fall under scrutiny?

Should DH Bikes be Restricted to 26-Inch Wheels?

Pre-season tests comparing the mid-size 650B wheels with their conventional 26-inch counterparts has not been promising for those in favor of the latter. Fox Racing Shox, has been testing its suspension concurrently with teams that are outfitted with 650B and the report is a time savings of over a half second a mile. Intense reports better. Strava times on their very technical home course varied between three and nine seconds better on virtually identical bikes and builds. Recently, Pinkbike has done side-by-side testing of 650B and 26-inch DH bikes with comparable results. With the top five riders often finishing within two seconds of each other, all eyes will be watching the first few WC DH events to see if those preseason results will translate into race-winning performances. If they do, trouble may loom on the horizon.

The UCI, in its infinite wisdom, has repeatedly banned technological improvements like aerodynamic shapes and body positions, and enforced minimum weight requirements to many racing bicycles in an effort to minimize the impact of mechanical advantages in order to produce a version of cycle racing that is man versus man. The ban on skin suits for DH was based upon the supposed evidence that Tracy Moseley may have shaved one second or more off of her time while winning the Australian WC DH by Spandex Doping. Those in favor of the ban, argued successfully that ballistic nylon parachute pants and size triple-X Moto-style jerseys flapping in the breeze should be mandated
pret-a-porter for Pro DH racing. Granted, motocross gear looks pretty butch, but arguably, the Moto style was adopted without technical consideration and thus, the ban effectively curtailed the future development of kits specifically engineered for the needs of DH competition in the name of current fashion.

650b Poll

Logan Binggeli and KHS first put the stamp of approval for 650B wheels on DH bikes with his third place performance at the 2012 Red Bull Rampage. This season we will see if the mid-size wheels will do as well in World Cup DH competition.



Of course, this is all speculative, because as far as we know, the UCI is not considering a wheel-ban at this time. That said, if the UCI is silly enough to consider a useless visor to to be mandatory safety gear, or to force a no-spandex ruling, then it should come as no surprise that somebody might, at this very moment, be successfully pushing the UCI behind the scenes to ban alternative wheel sizes. Spandex became a banned substance after it was suspected to provide a mere, one-second advantage. My God man, if 650B wheels could give a guy a three-second advantage at Fort Bill, it would be like, um, CHEATING! I am sure that some would agree whole-heartedly. Locking in 26-inch wheels for downhill bikes may be OK, provided that it could be proven that the present DH bike has reached the zenith of its performance, but that is highly unlikely.


Intense has been testing prototype 650B DH bikes for
nearly a year with favorable results. This season, a full
complement of DH forks, wheels and tires are available,
so it's going to be no-holds-barred racing.

Have DH Bikes Reached Their Pinnacle?

The proof that there is a lot more performance potential waiting to be unlocked from existing DH bikes is laughably illustrated by the fact that the simple addition of 38 millimeters to the diameter of the wheels does actually make a difference. By comparison, the invention of a larger diameter wheel for DH makes accepted technology like remote-adjust suspension and dropper posts seem like rocket science.

My opinion is that mountain bike racing is an equal blend of mechanical and human kinematics - especially so for downhill - and that there should be no restrictions imposed upon technological improvements to the bicycle beyond safety considerations. I also think that the DH bike, as we know it, has a lot of potential for improvement. If the 650B wheel does become a game-changer this season, I would much rather see it inspire further innovation than to evoke a knee-jerk response from rule-makers and become the line in the sand where significant DH development was stopped in its tracks.



Take the Pinkbike Poll

Should downhill racing be restricted exclusively to 26-inch wheels?



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453 Comments

  • + 256
 All I can say is that, if anyone... ANYONE wishes to brave Val Di Sole on a 29er, bring on the laughter.
  • + 3
 haha, exactly ... ;-)
  • + 27
 Remember the 24inch wheel fad all about faster acceleration, maybe we will see them come back at sea otter in the dual slalom haha. Let the industry play with there bigger wheels and push all the benefits on you just so you go and and spend more money resulting in 26 to still be the universal standard. Maybe ask Greg Minnaar he seems to get what he wants, flat pedally south african tracks where he can win in front of his home crowd and skin suit bans just cause they don't look right. If its all about speed then all bans should be lifted or everything should be banned that includes the top riders getting the best suspension, let them test it on the off season and practice as it gives them an edge or give the slower guys a chance to make up some time even if it involves wearing lycra.
  • + 58
 As long they don't tame the courses , BRING IT ON wagonwheel fans.
  • + 4
 no fricking way, the point of international biking is to reprisent the best of cycling, but it also has to pertain to actaul cycling. if the average rider would be interested in riding bigger wheels then they should allow it on the world stage, it gives people trust in biking companies to know that what their riding holds up onthe uci tracks and races. dissalowing this will hurt the biking industry as a whole. as for the skin suits; who the hell wants to ride with a skin suit to their local dh track?
  • + 34
 Then why just don't make a 50" wheeled bike, because bigger rolls over stuff better, win every race and call it a day?

The point I try to make is, that with 26" wheels everyone has to fight trough rock gardens equally. Now someone turns up with bigger wheels and says "Haha, it's easier and faster this way". It's a quite stupid argument. The point is not to make DH easier and faster, but to make it more challenging! If we're about to make DH more "fast", why not modify all tracks to be like South Africa?
  • + 3
 u can put bigger engine in f1 car and be faster, ride on 450cc dirt bike in 250cc class, running in walking race, but its unfair advantage just like 650b wheels, its not like better suspension or different geometry, its gives u just more speed that u wont have on 26" so its f*cking unfair and yes 650b should be banned in world cup or be the only standard but why changing standard if no ones comlaining about 26"?
  • + 32
 i dont know know why we're even putting this idea in the heads of the uci, they've already restricted pros from racing local unsanctioned races, lets not not contribute to their power trip. it seems to me like most uci pro racers could choose from a fleet of bikes to ride anyway, if it suits their style, its that competitive edge, but still the bike isnt everything
  • + 16
 Zalevsky, if everyone was like you we would all slit be living in caves saying 'there's nothing wrong with this here cave' let evolution take its course and see if its good or not after you have the chance to see the results
  • + 4
 Are there weight limits in DH or is the article referring to road racing? I don't like big wheels but if 29 inch fat bikes are the fastest then so be it.
  • + 5
 Im not against evolution, i really like improvments in last couple years but i dont think that bigger wheels are really needed, u can always put bigger or smaller even 20", but 20" is bmx already. I dont think that wheels size is right direction of evolution.
  • + 2
 but I dont care at all im not world cup racer im just ridin bikes and have fun. If 650b will be new standard someday I will ride them. If in wc someone will be a winner couse he had bigger wheels i will just stop watching this. Thats all.
  • - 18
 Knob
  • + 7
 I like what I ride(26") and I'm too old(and slow) to race WC. BUT, "Zalevsky kind of has a point in his first comment. JMO.
  • + 18
 @Zalevsky but if there is a winner because someone is running a carbon bike instead of an alluminium bike you will continue to watch? Or because they are running better tyres? Or a new better prototype suspension? There are tons of variables in DH racing already and all of them have at one stage or another caused some rider to beat another rider.

was sceptical about 650b taking off at first but i genuinely believe they will soon replace 26 inch wheels. Every company is bringing them out now and all tests are showing them to be a little bit faster but more importantly the testers and people riding them say they dont notice a difference in how the bike handles in comparison to a 26er. So I cant see any logical reason that 650b wont be the new standard. We all want better bikes don't we?

Banning it at WC level would be crazy as it would stop development of them. If there is that much of a clear advantage for bigger wheels then the teams not running 650b wheels will do so next year.
  • + 12
 the UCI just need to piss off and stop trying make all the silly rules and restrictions. just let the sport evolve. fair play if a company figure out a way to make a bike faster, they shouldn't be punished for it.
  • - 7
 Its like olympic games should restrict running on legs!
  • + 34
 "The point I try to make is, that with 26" wheels everyone has to fight trough rock gardens equally. Now someone turns up with bigger wheels and says "Haha, it's easier and faster this way". It's a quite stupid argument. The point is not to make DH easier and faster, but to make it more challenging!"

I don't understand this argument, I assume you are totally fine about new suspension designs and dampers that are also intended to make things smoother and more efficient for the rider, but when it comes to wheel size, there is not allowed to be any progression.
  • + 27
 I'm fully convinced the part of the brain which rationalises and deals with logic just doesnt exist with some people.
  • + 13
 Yes,make it more challenging,takeout all the suspension, slack headset angles, and lets go back to the DH like the ealry nineties. Because progress is baaaaaad..... and we wouldn't want tomake things easier,or make a bike more capable...the horror!
  • + 9
 Ok, so here's my take.... too early to tell. Lets see what happens this year. I have to say this though, the idea that we should try to keep this a man vs. man battle is a valid one. Zalefsky mentioned 450cc and 250cc motocross. That's a good point imo. Why not just make moto open class? Well because there are those who prefer to ride 250cc bikes, it offer's a different style of racing and some guys just don't ride those bike bikes. It would not be fair for all moto bikes to compete in the same class. 450's are a relativly new technology in fact, last 10 years or so, and the sport has gone through similar growing pains as we face now. The idea is to keep thinsg fair and entertaining for racers and spectators. There is nothing wrong with that. Im not saying to ban other wheel sizes....yet. But I can see how this could become a serious issue. What about privateers who can not afford a gaggle of bikes for different tracks? What about the fact that some of us really like long travel smaller wheeled bikes? How about the fact that stupid fast speeds are already being obtained? Im not so much worried about 650B because the wheel is not that much bigger, but 29? Is a 29 inch trail bike on a DH course, whether it's "faster" or not, a different discipline? I think so. I really think that before scream YES open the floodgates of technology!! We slow down and watch this carefully.
  • + 11
 The better question : should dh restrict the uci from f'n up the sport? Seriously? Wheel size in regards to progress is the least of your worries. As far as racing is concerned, put your results where your mouth is and accept it afterwards.
As far as wheel size debate, you gotta ask yourself ...Can I ride like chriskovarik yet on 26 and flats? No? Then sit your ass down. Haha
  • + 28
 RC: "How can I post another wheelsize-debate-article on the frontpage without looking too desperate?"
  • + 25
 Everytime pinkbike write an article about wheel size, a marketing director pops a boner.
  • + 8
 @tabletop84- you sir, are on point. Marketing 101.
  • - 1
 I think it's about time for - Looks like a session.
  • + 0
 That gives me an idea SuperSlowDH!! Enough debate, everybody on Sessions! End discussion.
  • - 5
 Since the old argument that 650b is "no better" or "just marketing" has been quite thoroughly disproven. The few of us with experience with 650b knew this all along, but those uninitiated to the ride benefits continually negative propped the hell out of anyone who challenged their uninformed opinion. Since there is an actual advantage, the 26" advocated are now claiming "an unfair advantage." Grow up.

Arguments like 250 vs 450 are mute. The best selling moto bike in the past couple years is the KTM 350. Why? Its easier to manage than a full on 450, and has more of the lightweight feel of the 250. Can anyone connect the dots here?
  • + 0
 Yeah Willie you highlight the fact that it's a good comparison.
  • + 3
 Im not talking about sales figures, Im talking the fact that there are different classes in moto...
  • + 0
 absafackinlutly!!!!!!!!!!!
  • - 2
 Exactly, unless you are one of the top 10 riders in the 250 class, or 450 class, the rules are not that important. The buying public likes the best of both worlds, and are voting with their wallets, just like in MTB. For the same reason, 650b will be the main wheel size. Some XC racers can benefit from 29er, freeriders or slopestyle riders might do better on 26", but most will do better on 650b. This is what is happening.
  • + 2
 suddenly, the matt hunter-lone wolf/freeride vibe of mtb never looked more sane or appealing. i totally agree with darkstar on different classes. anything/everything on wheels has them. since the engine is organic and in flux it makes even more sense.
  • - 18
 We can make the 26" class the "entry level" like 250 class in moto. The experienced riders will get to use the Big Guns and ride 650b. Sounds good!!.
  • + 3
 If 29ers can be ridden in XC races, I dont see why not DH. Surley they make a larger difference in XC.
  • + 3
 I don't think there will be much, if any advantage over 26" on a DH course, bar tracks like Pietermaritzburg. The argument would have held more brevity if applied to the 26" vs 29" in XC though.
  • + 7
 Did someone mention Rampage? Norbs was robbed.
  • + 2
 i guess its time to buy a new bike
  • + 2
 Sounds like the real problem is with UCI!
  • + 2
 MAKE NEW RACING CLASSES FOR BIGGER WHEEL SIZES IN DOWNHILL AND XC. That's all
  • + 7
 This may have already been said, but my concern here is that you put the less well funded guys at a big disadvantage. The big teams can adjust their bike and wheel size for every course with relative ease. However, for the little teams/guys this is really expensive. Maybe allow any wheel size, but you have to pick your wheel size at the start of the season and you aren't allowed to change it until the next season.
  • + 14
 I've never ridden a 650B, but...

What if 650B is 1% faster and 10% less fun.

WC will use it. Manufacturers will put R&D into it instead of 26. They will sell a 1% faster bike and discontinue the 10% more fun bike (or put less R&D into it).

Maybe a 650B is just as much fun. But either way, when the manufacture has to spend resources on developing bikes for 3 different wheel sizes, this whole argument that bikes are expensive due to quantities of scale just gets a whole lot worse. Maybe there would be a DHR2 exo 3C by now if they weren't wasting time making moulds for 3 different sizes. Maybe there would be a new lower slacker lighter NomadC by now instead of a Tallboy and Bronson. Maybe the price would come down if there was only 1 wheel size.

For the record, I support the ban on fairings, skinsuits and visorless helmets. Otherwise we might see people wearing teardrop helmets, body fairings and sporting shaved legs by now. Not a good look. Not to mention, you would have to start paying for your favourite bike manufacturer to do wind tunnel testing and fairing design which would show up in the cost of your bike whether it came so equipped or not.
  • + 1
 A factor for sure dhx, and a major driving force behind the rules in motorsport.
  • + 5
 let them race whatever bike they want.. just as long as they wear full fingered gloves.
  • + 5
 @Willie1: I know i sound like im contradicting myself here as I think 650Bs will take off but you really do talk a lot of nonsense. A different class for a bike that is 0.5seconds quicker per mile? Most DH courses are less than 2 miles long. You rave about 650b as if its in a whole other league to 26 inch. Its clearly not, its an advatage similar to how carbon over alluminium is. Fort william is about 3 miles long so a 650b may be 1.5 seconds a lap faster to a consistent world cup level rider. To most of us who make lots mistakes on our race runs it wont be a huge advantage. A different class "for the big boys" really is laughable though.
  • + 3
 I don't think there should be different classes. Its the pro 26" guys who are now crying foul. Look at all my posts over the past year. I ride 650b, feel a huge difference, and find them simply a more enjoyable product. I have been neg propped hundreds of times because I have posted based on first hand experience, not internet rumours. I was being sarcastic about the "big boys" class, to poke some fun at the 26" religious zealots, using their own argument on them. It was obviously not well liked Smile
  • + 7
 You know somebody lower on the page here just brought up snowboard and skiing, and that's another good one to compare to. Do you realize that just about every aspect of DH ski equipment is regulated? Do you know why that is? Length, width, radius of the sidecut, width of the ski under binding, bindings, boot height, ect ect. Rules for all of that. I think we all need to realize that in the grand scheme of things DH is a young sport. We ought to stop pretending we know everything about everything because we don't. Let's see how things play out but I would not be so quick to judge equipment regulation.
  • + 3
 By all logic of the lycra case, bigger wheels should be banned. But I know I'd rather not see it banned, to see if bigger wheels really have the balls to stand at the top level. At the end of the day, won't we all be better off if there is definitive proof from the WC on which wheel size is actually superior?
  • - 1
 If the UCI try to ban/restrict anything else, bikes will end up without wheels eventually.
  • + 4
 racing is all about speed. hot, nasty, badass speed and yeah, politics. dh needs to be the F1 of all cycling sports. the clock will always decide who is right. it will play out soon enough and the racers/mfgs will be forced to do what is necessary to be competitive, successful, and most importantly, profitable. that, in turn, will be forced on us as consumers and our choices. i don't think it will ever be profitable for mtb event organizers to have to start running "top fuel, pro-stock, and stock classes" on top of skill level and age classes for grassroots or smaller events.

No rules to break here just yet in regards to wheel size but this is beyond blackbox vs privateer equipment. It may take a full season or more to get a fair look at it. i'm sure it will get screwed just like the true spirit of the enduro format will. hell, the uci can't even be insightful enough on matters concerning licensed/unlicensed qualis/events for their racers. good luck.
  • + 3
 fullbug gets right to the point.... professional cycling is a mess.
  • + 4
 When professional motocross/supercross switched from two strokes to four strokes about ten years ago, the four strokes had more power,(faster) and were much easier to ride/race. People did complain about them at first, but they weren't banned by the AMA and now they are embraced and it has brought a lot in terms of racing. If they ban 650b wheels, they are essentially banning progress in the sport. They didn't ban 29 inch wheels in xc racing why wold they ban 650b for downhill?
  • + 1
 thnx, darkstar. i think RC proves it in the article as well. he is just as scared as the rest of us about what else the uci can screw up.
  • + 1
 @ rbspecial - I am surely not in support of banning 650b. We gotta see how this goes first. But regulating wheel size? May be something that is needed down the road, maybe it just becomes 650b only? Who knows. Way too early to tell.
  • + 6
 "why changing standard if no ones complaining about 26"?" one answer: money. just follow the money. the industry wants to sell something new. everyone talks about performance advantages and real world testing that drives equipment changes, sure that could be the case, but it all starts with "what does our sponsor want to push this year?"

Imagine if a WC racer told his coach that he/she was faster on a 1996 yeti arc hardtail for, say, a South African track, do you think theyd let him/her ride it?

the uci is all about sponsorship money. part of the reason they considered banning wc riders from racing in unsanctioned races.
  • + 2
 Nothing you can do to stop that. To compare to Motocross again, 2 strokes were the shiz. Explosive power and lightweight. But in anticipation of them becoming illegal manufactures started pushing 4- stroke big time. This was reflected in what you found under the riders. In fact it was often speculated that Ricky Carmichael left Honda in order to sit his ass back on a two-stroke. (there wer emany reasons he left Honda) ... it was not very long before he was aboard Suzuki's 450. Well fast forward almost ten years four stroke moto bikes are tits. So should we ban anything but 26? No, should we regulate wheel size at some point? Maybe.
  • + 1
 The big money guys will have an equipment advantage unless everyone is forced to ride the same bike. Let the races be the proving ground for new gear. Even seal suits.
  • + 1
 Darkstar's post is really interesting. Maybe one day there will be a 26 class and a 29 class just like they have single speed in XC racing or hardtail in DH already. However, that begs the question of which is the premier class. I think that would only happen if top riders started riding bikes completely custom built for the course, which would be truly unfair to the privateers.
  • + 2
 i would like dh wc to allow different wheel sizes at the moment. how could anybody not be interested in the comparison b/w wheel sizes played out amongst the fastest in the world?
  • + 1
 The moto classes argument doesn't make sense. They're different classes because they have motors that generate power. There is very little downside picking up a bigger moto so it's only unfair for the smaller ones. In biking, humans generate the power, if anything according to your argument, they should instore rider weight classes, which we can all agree that it would be uncalled for. What would be next anyway? a class for people using tubes and one for tubeless? Classes for different widths of bars? classes depending on your gear ratios?

ASSUMING they DO NOT tame the circuit, let the best bikes win.
  • - 5
 they should make it so no gay people can race... so the rules out 29ers
  • + 2
 The one thing that I think will happen if 27.5s and 29s start getting more popular everything to do with the trails will change, longer wider berms shorter jumps more straight section not as much tight dh stuff
  • + 6
 I think what a lot of people are forgetting is that although 650b may be faster, that does not make it superior. What about for us riders that ride and race for fun. 26" bikes will always win the fun factor just like 250cc bikes vs 450cc bikes in mx. On a 26 you feel more in control and the bike is more maneuverable. You whip and scrub easier aswell as manual. Shouldn't we have the choice to race what we want without being disadvantaged. And what if bike companies stop making 26' bikes because 27.5 are doing better at the races. for most of us riding and racing is about fun and pushing ourselves. I believe that dh courses atm have the right balance between difficulty speed and danger and for the courses to stay the same, we have to limit changes to bikes just like what has happened in mx. If the wheels get bigger then all that will happen is all the bumps and drops on the courses will get bigger. no change in difficulty but as things get bigger people fall harder. Dh does not need to be more dangerous. It already only attracts thrill seekers. If people want to ride clown wheels then they can do it in their own class where they can use less skill to have less fun seeing as thats what they seem to want.
  • + 0
 @PLC07

Just like bigger engines generate more power (450>250), bigger wheels roll over stuff easier. And as wheels are the almost the "base" of the bike, it kinda is like a bigger engine on a MX bike.
  • + 1
 UCI should fine big wheelers and make them ride the rest of the season in a gay pink skinsuit. Corse designers should be hard at work reminding people why 26" is the dh standard. Once you start with the roadie thought process of using parts to gain advantage theres no turning back. Could end up making the whole dh mtb sport look like a bunch of spandex millionaires sniffing eachothers buttholes like the UCI road circuit.
  • + 1
 So you want to eliminate any mechanical advantage, so everyone should be using the same bike. Which do you suggest?
  • + 1
 I say let it be open. No limits. If all racing goes lycra with 29ers then we have learned a lesson about bikes. If I am right the lycra may happen, but the bikes will change with every race. The independents will always be at a mechanical disadvantage anyway, and a lot of independent racers have a quiver full of bikes at home anyway. If you can afford to race you usually have a few bikes. If not you will pick and choose your races until you get a sponsor.
  • + 1
 If I'm a pro rider, I couldn't care less how much "fun" it is to ride, I want to win the race so I can pay my bills. I think manufacturers have come far enough to know that a popular product for racing isn't necessarily the favorite of causal riders, the freeride movement proved that. If 27.5 wheels are the new favorite for racing, 26 will still be made if they continue to sell.
  • + 3
 The four strokes should be banned because I don't like the deep sound that the engine makes.
  • + 3
 run whatchu brung playas
  • + 2
 how is it an unfair advantage if everybody can do it?? if you dont want to run the larger diamter tires, don't. But don't start claiming an unfair advantage because you didn't choose the same tire size of the person that wooped you!! Why don't they jsut be honest and say taht person beat me becasue they are better!! This world is breeding to many f&*king nancys!!
  • + 1
 @Lehel-NS well then they should regulate tires as some tires have more/less rolling resistance...
and rim width because it offers more traction...
and bars width because it offers more leverage...
and suspension travel...
You get the point.

Let them try whatever they want and what works will stick out...
  • + 0
 I don't mean to come across like a dick in my first pinkbike comment, but doesn't anyone remember the the reason why 26in wheels became the industry standard to begin with? It was because they were considered and recognized as a child sized wheels and thus cost less to import(lower tarrifs). That's the only reason 26in wheels became the standard for so long. Otherwise we would all have been riding 650's for the last 30 years. 26in wheels never were the superior wheel size, just cheaper across the board/sea.
  • + 3
 Welcome to the forum. Feel free to voice your opinion. If anyone takes offense or neg props your comment that means your really onto something and pulling peoples cards.

Kids bikes started on 24" wheels giving the misunderstanding that 24s are for small people. In the bmx scene 24s are considered big bikes and usually only very tall 6'4" types are riding them. Most pro bmx riders on 20" wheels are over 6 foot at least. The 26" was the original size for hybrid crap bikes and mtb. The 650b was a euro touring wheel size many years before that. My shop has tons of evidence of this in the basement of old crusty 650b tires and rims. The way I see it 26" is a direct evolution of the 20" bmx wheel. Everything I learned racing bmx influences what I do on the trail with the 26". The bigger sized wheels start to loose this feeling and relate more to a 700c road theme. Some people need help elevating over rocks and maintaining speed so let them buy the big wheels.
  • + 1
 For Sale Giant Glory 26" Downhill bike in good Condition.
  • + 2
 I look forward to such bargains
  • + 2
 To start off, I don't care about what wheel size DH should be. I just would like some standards to keep the sports cost down so a working man can go out and race. It is why motor sports at certain levels regulate everything.

One of the best things about DH right now is that privateers have a chance at racing in the big events with top sponsored athletes. A few of my friends fall into this category. If wheel size is not regulated at the WC level, privateers will not be able to afford three DH bikes end of story.

In my opinion if you have regulations (in dh) that keep costs down you will eventually have a larger market to sell to which will grow the (dh) sport.

I want DH to be man vs. man. Not like F1 or Moto GP where Money wins most of the time and ability second. Yes it takes a lot of skill to pilot those machines but how many people racing ever get an opportunity to move up to those ranks? .00000000000001% that makes it kinda dull in some way. Keep it simple and the real talented racers will always make it to the top. Price the general public out of the sport and you are left with a bunch of pansy rich kids traveling in pimped out rigs to local races. F$@k that. I want to know I can go race with the best of them. I may never win a pro race but it is a ton of fun racing with them and being competitive.
  • + 1
 Prices are going way up either way. If the riders have to pick which sled is best for the race there is a chance for an upset (as we saw with this 29er).
Still you make a good point. Not everyone can afford to pull a different bike out of the stable depending on the race. I know I can't. Does this mean we should see 29er DH and 26er DH series? It would still allow for innovation I guess. . .
  • + 1
 Innovation is when riders elevate themselves to reach new levels of speed and skill, like in bmx. This current trend of flopping wheels if the track is too bumpy is all about compensating for having a small one. Companies sre loving it because THEY WANT YOUR MONEY.
[Reply]
  • + 79
 I guess my problem with 650b is that at the end of the day, I don't care how fast I go. For me, riding bikes is all about having as much fun as possible. If 650b really is faster, companies will pour money into it to win races, because winning races is important for selling DH bikes. However, from everything I've heard, 650b just isn't as much fun as 26". I don't want everyone to ditch 26" for 650b to gain speed at the expense of fun.
  • + 3
 Every review i have read the testers said they couldnt feel a huge difference between the 650b bikes and 26 inch.
  • + 4
 Then you've been living in some sheltered closet of a world because there's been hundreds of people posting online about how fun 650Bs are to ride, and dozens of magazine reviews saying the same.
  • + 7
 My Personal opinion is that if a World Cup rider wants to use 650b then let them, but they cannot switch back to 26" when the track is more suited to it. They should have to pick a wheel size and stick to it so they get both the benefits and the drawbacks.
  • + 2
 Not a bad idea ben. An interesting way to look at it and make teams consider choices rather than a blanket ban or an unintended whitewash. To be fair, I don't see what the big deal is about anyway, it's really a non-issue for me. As long as they are racing downhill and riding like maniacs I'm happy.
  • + 7
 scotteh.... I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to the average rider. The majority of people, those who ride mostly for fun, won't care about the differences in these wheel sizes. I mean look at the article, " teams that are outfitted with 650B and the report is a time savings of over a half second a mile". I understand that's maybe a big deal for racing but to the common rider even that doesn't mean a thing.
  • + 9
 I am with you Scott. It would be a shame if faster race times made 26" wheel DH bikes obsolete. For those of us that own DH bikes primarily for bike park riding it would be a decline in performance IMO to run larger wheels. I would MUCH rather give up a little speed through the rough to have a bike that jumped better and was more playful.
  • - 1
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQT8rY-sqSo

The whole KHS team is on 650Bs now, so... watch the video and tell me that they aren't having fun...
  • + 9
 deeeight, watch the video and tell me they arent being paid to ride a bike for a living. whatever bike you got, thats gonna be fun, but at the end of the day, they were paid to ride. and paid to look like they are enjoying it.
  • + 4
 deeeight... you don't even ride downhill, let alone race. 650 does not equal fun anymore than 26". Clearly, you need the help of bigger wheels to get you down the hill and that's OK. We're not all old posers... why are you trying so hard to convince people that 650 is better than 26"?
  • + 1
 @dingo-dave... no I don't race anymore, nor do I DH ride anymore either but I DO have hundreds if not thousands of hours of ride time on 650B bikes, more than anyone else in this city, and I know that they are a lot more fun than 26ers to ride. Now fine, you don't wanna believe me nor professional racers riding team bikes from companies that have embraced the wheel size. Fine. Obviously no amount of testimony by others will convince you. Perhaps ride one yourself? Phatmoose now has a shiny new 2013 Xprezo 650B full suspension in their demo fleet. Why not rent it this spring and take it out and ride it ?
  • + 0
 Phatmoose in fact has three xprezos as their demo fleet, one 26er and one 29er to go with the 650b, so customers can decide which wheelsize they like best since the bikes share the exact same single pivot suspension design, they all ride about the same. Wheel size and travel are the only differences worth considering.
  • + 1
 @deeeight, do you know if xprezo has kept the pivot location the same relative to the bottom bracket? If so, then the bikes won't ride the same. The 29er will feel mushier because the axle is higher relative to the bb/pivot. I've witnessed this first hand with 29er that weren't slightly adjusted from their 26er versions. You can overcome this with shock valving but it just adds harshness to the ride.
  • + 5
 Reality check: "Fun" is a subjective concept.

Furthermore: "Fox Racing Shox, has been testing its suspension concurrently with teams that are outfitted with 650B and the report is a time savings of over a half second a mile."

Are you kidding me? all this trouble so pros (which 99.999999939848374583% of us will never even come close to ride as fast) can gain 0.5s over a mile? That's probably 0.00000028381s for us, big deal. I was quite indifferent to the arrival of 650b as I just bought a 26" but the way they marketed 650b it sounded like we'd break the sound barrier with them. I was actually eager to try one but now I must admit that I really couldn't give a shit anymore if the performance gain is that laughable.
  • + 3
 i absolutely love the looks of those xprezo's, would love to try one. on the 650b note, just tried one the other day. now, a two hour ride is not definitive, but, i genuinely enjoyed it. i have owned a 29 ht and 29 fs bike (both giants), they can be very enjoyable, but i honestly prefer/have more fun on 26" wheels/26" geometry, so i was suspect of 650b. for me, the best way i can explain my experience (w/ the middle size), is that it was as fun and rode similarily to my 26" ride. yet i also noticed a genuine performance advantage when cornering and maintaining speed through rocks/roots. so to me, its just like any other performance upgrade you might make to your bike, whether that be a suspension/tire/wheel/or frame upgrade in order to have more fun. now, will i go out and buy a 650b bike right now, abso-effin-lutely not. but my next bike just might have the middle size.
  • + 1
 @bogey, when you design frames for different wheel sizes, you don't simply change the back end to have more clearance. You also change the BB height and other parts of the frame geometry. In any case, Xprezo's been slow to update their website this year and the new S-650 model doesn't have any geometry figures listed online yet but the Wuuu (26er, 100mm rear travel) has a 13" BB height and the W-29 (90mm travel) is listed as having a 1.9" BB drop which requires some mental math to actually compare them, but from their diagrams, the Wuuu's BB center is basically in line with the axle centers and the W-29 its clearly well below it.

@PLC07... if you bothered to read FURTHER, the very next sentences were...

"Intense reports better. Strava times on their very technical home course varied between three and nine seconds better on virtually identical bikes and builds."

And yes, half a second a mile when the difference between first place and fifth place is often as little as 2 seconds, IS significant to professional riders. Three to Nine seconds over the same course, better on a 650B to a 26er, with the same riders, can mean the difference with merely equally the competition or actually crushing them. How would the world cup or US pro gravity tour overall title last year have been different (and the ensuing contract re-negotiations for salaries and sponsorships) if any of the top riders who DIDN'T win events (and the points that come with them), suddenly been 3 seconds faster on their times? This is the thinking of many team managers who have high priced talent under contract now, and a lack of these new bikes to put them on and are likely complaining vocally in the pits to anyone in the media (like Richard Cunningham) who'll listen.
  • + 2
 deeeight, you take the fun out of bikes.
  • + 4
 Actually, deeeight takes the fun out of being ignorant. Smile
  • + 4
 You know what's fun? Riding DH. It's also rad.

The article was about whether or not 650s should be allowed to race with 26ers... not about which one was more fun to ride. I'm just tired of the constants rants trying to convince people that 650b is more fun than 26". Ride what YOU enjoy and stop with the preaching.
  • + 5
 @deeeight

Oh, they can ride whatever they feel faster. If 650b is faster then so be it. If 29" is faster then so be it. I'm not a hater, if in a few years a size sticks out as a better wheel size when the time to change my bike comes, I will probably go with it.

What I don't like is that we're being sold pseudo revolutions before they even benchmarked them... and when the real test numbers come up, the difference looks mostly insignificant for the consumer. It makes them look dishonest at best in a lot of people's eyes. The industry is starting to sound so facetious that I wouldn't be surprised if in a year or two they'll announce they're bringing back penny farthings because the front wheel rolls over obstacles better while you can manual on the smaller back wheel to accelerate faster. I used to read a lot to stay up to speed with the new stuff but to be honest, I hardly ever browse bike related stuff anymore as it's such a joke now... and not a funny one.
  • + 1
 @deeeight, I guess you didn't read very well because I was asking a question because you seem to be a know-it-all about the Xprezo bikes. I clearly know that you can't simply add more room for bigger wheels but unfortunately this has been done over and over again even by some somewhat seasoned designers which has made for some lousy feeling 29ers. BTW, it seems like you don't understand it either if all you think about is BB height relative to the rear axle. Hint: for the same travel bike, the bb height should be the same but you need to move the main pivot.
  • + 1
 I quit ski racing cuz the FIS (UCI equivalent) kept changing ski regs in the name of athlete safety. It is complete BS! They have more control over that stuff with course design than anything else. They change regs for ski manufactures so athletes have to pony up thousands every year in new gear. And I am not talking about the 1% of sponsored athletes, I am talking about the other 99% who are trying to be the best or race for FUN. Cuz that is why we race... Let there be some standards that help control cost i.e. wheel size (don't care 26, 27.5), weight (new lightweight materials are usually cost prohibitive to the working man) and amount of travel (trail bikes just don't belong in DH period). Some regs are good for sport, skinsuits are just retarded in mountain biking.
[Reply]
  • + 59
 I think restricting racing too much tends to restrict companies from being as innovative.....I've seen it in the automotive world
  • + 13
 like F1 ???
  • + 2
 Yes but there is a line too, what about performance enhancing drugs? they are an innovation too!.
without restrictions there will be chaos and anarchy, should we let motorcycles race with bikes as they are the evolution of bicycles?

as for that stupid law of sanctioned races, that is just business management and money hording rule !
  • + 4
 F1 would be much more fun if they were allowed to do whatever they wanted to make the cars faster.

Ground effect cars were awesome.

It's a race. Why make it slower? It's not like everyone isn't on the same playing field. If bigger wheels work for a course, you should probably be using them.
  • - 2
 But is 650b needed innovation? or is this just change for change? If this will be something like replacing two stroke dirt bikes by 4 stroke, then i dont want this innovation. Someone says that 650b is not that fun as 26". We ride 26 for so long and no one complainig, so why change this? u can put 29" or even more as well and get more adventage but for what? Im not against new things, but if this new things have a sense, like wide bars or slack geometry. In racing there must be rules that guarantess fair competition. Think about how much faster this wheels will be on flat tracks like Pietermaritzburg.
  • + 3
 It stops the progression of the sport. Imagine we might be riding penny farthings if the UCI didn't like progression of technology
  • + 7
 @Zalevsky twostroke engines are coming back haven't you heard anything about direct injection? .
twostrokes were banned because manufacturers push 4 stroke engines , do you how many parts are in a 4 stroke motor, i'll tell you more moving parts than a whole 2 stroke engine! = more replaceable parts = more money to manufacturers !
as far as pollution goes , its funny because governments all over are testing nukes and crapping all over the planet yet they asks us to give up what we like!
1 fukushima (or chernobyl )= 1000's of years of 2 stroke pleasure!.

there is nothing like the sound & smell of a 2 stroke ! (sorry if i got carried away this it a touchy subject to me Smile )

LONG LIVE 2 STROKES!!!!!!!!!
  • + 4
 "twostrokes were banned because manufacturers push 4 stroke engines"

650b resemblance?
  • + 8
 The fact that some of you are comparing using different wheels to performance enhancing drugs just goes to show how absolutely ass backwards the thinking here is. It's laughable how threatened so many people feel here over a different wheel size. Next thing you know you'll be saying they should restrict tire width or tread pattern, or hell make them all ride the exact same bike. Since you know, different bikes offer advantages over other bikes right?

If you're going to say they should restrict one thing, you had better be prepared to have solid logic behind why one thing should be banned another shouldn't. And so far, I've yet to see anyone do that.

Or you know, let's just stifle innovation and help slow the growth and advancement of our sport all because some kids are afraid of a bigger wheel which is only advantageous in certain conditions. GET YER TIN FOIL HATS BOYS!!
  • + 2
 Different wheel size's are not the same as tire pattern or suspension technology or carbon frames. It's just not. It's a fundamental difference. Should 26 inch bikes be allowed for bmx racing? .... Im not for or against yet if you read my above comment, but it's food for thought.
  • + 4
 Like Motocross!, 2 different categories 250cc and 450cc, in MTB DH should be 26" and 27.5" and plus DH races.
  • + 0
 Two strokes were never banned. They just couldn't compete with the displacement advantage the rules gave 4 strokes. The rules were made when the best 4 stroke engine was the old Rotax, or Husky 4 stroke. They needed the advantage in displacement to compensate for the extra flywheel effect (slow revving) in those engines. Yamaha, took an F1 engine, made it a single cylinder, lightened the reciprocating weight and KABAM! 2 stroke killer. Once the manufacturers spent all of their R&D money developing competetive 4 strokes, they opposed changing the displacement rules, as at equivalent displacements, 2 strokes will make more power. All the R&D money would have been lost.
  • + 1
 @ Darkstar, 26" wheels are allowed in BMX. In the cruiser class, the max tire diameter is 26". If your tire is bigger than 1.75", the diameter will probably slightly exceed 26". I raced BMX cruiser class for years. 24" wheels allow bigger tires (important with no suspension) and be under 26". I don't know what the rule is in 20" class offhand, but 22" wheels are actually legal.
  • + 2
 Again, there are many parrallels between this and motocross. I never said anything against the possible advantage of 650b. But rules concerning wheel size may be something to look at in the future. As I said before, I think we shoudl seehow this plays out this year before reaching conclusions.
  • + 0
 Yeah "Cruiser Class" you keep proving my points. And can't we discuss without you neg propping me?
  • - 2
 I don't use the prop feature. Its for immature kids. I will give positives, but I never touch the negative.
  • - 3
 Yeah wtf ... lol
  • + 5
 I can certainly see both sides of this and have to question a few things. First is the debate about limiting technological advances. I certainly don't want to limit technology, but I do question whether wheel size is a technological advance. Is it? Or is it just a bigger wheel? And if that's the case I think the comparisons to things like the classes of Motocross racing are fair. Because in that case riding a bigger bike isn't a technological advance, its just riding a bigger bike.

I also can understand the argument about technology taking some of the challenge out of DH racing. I mean if bigger wheels just roll over shit then doesn't that defeat the purpose of the technical tracks? And we'll just have to keep making the tracks harder? But at the same time doesn't suspension technology do the same and no one complains about that.

It would be nice to try and limit technology but that's not going to happen. That's what drives the industry, that's why people by new bikes. I know its a weird comparison but It almost like golf. New technology keeps making longer, straighter, more forgiving clubs. They could limit the technology and they do to some extent, but golf course have changed to adapt. Courses are longer and more challenging to keep pace which is what will happen with DH tracks as the bikes make it easier to ride them.
  • + 3
 I'll just leave my thoughts here.

I personally don't care what wheel size I'm on. The only issue I see is that the bigger race teams can afford to have both 26'' and 650b ready for their riders to pick and choose from. For racers on a budget it's expensive enough to travel with one race bike. I fear that this may lead to giving the "bigger" teams more of an advantage.
  • + 2
 It´s time for DH Pro Racing to have different categories, to push every technology advance... Like in other sports.
  • + 3
 Phil makes a great point. Some else made a comment below regarding that issue and suggested that riders be able to choose whatever wheel size they want but they have to ride that wheel size throughout the entire season. They'd have to declare a wheel size and stick with it regardless of track.
  • + 2
 I really like that idea
  • + 4
 @willie1 you obviously don't know much about mx then, 2 strokes were banned due to emission levels. There is hope to bring back two strokes in fuel injected versions. Also if four strokes are so good, why do they need an engine of almost double capacity to compete with a two stroke? Sure there are advantages to 650b but there are draw backs like the raised bb height and small loss in maneuverability, basically it's the same as 4 vs 2 stroke some people ride quicker on 2 strokes others on 4 strokes and that's on all levels.
  • - 2
 Well 2 stroke's tend to make power quite differently than 4 stroke. With an emphasis on top end power as opposed to lowe end torque..... so it's not exactly the same. Four stroke turns twice per cycle, but there is only one power stroke per cycle. The two stroke turns once per cycle, but still has one power stroke per cycle. The power stroke on the four stroke engine has to carry the engine through an unproductive turn, which the two stroke doesn't.
  • + 2
 Yeah they do have different characteristics that help in different situations, I was just pointing out that this yamaha he spoke of was clearly not a 2 stroke killer if it had to have a much larger displacement to equal or beat 2 strokes. I've always had 2 strokes and I just love the way they handle, I hope they make a comeback in mx races it'd be interesting to have that extra contributing factor to race performance where the riders could choose their preferred bike type. Also in extreme enduros a lot of the top guys pick two strokes. We shall see who takes the win at the dh races this year, I don't think 650b will make any miracles just aid certain riders styles.
  • + 2
 Yamaha is best known for chewing their whole transmission in a month!, i ride on a kx500 from time to time it makes lots of power and torque everywhere low high and mid. (though frame angles feel ancient need to AF it!)

as far as the 650B stuff , as long as there are 26" wheels i will use them, if they run out while i still can pedal i will go to the next small size be it 650B or until then 35". but please stop referring to wheel size that predates mtb as an innovation!

don't hate anything (almost) or afraid of progress i'm just content with what i got today!.
  • - 2
 "Different wheel size's are not the same as tire pattern or suspension technology or carbon frames. It's just not."

Horse shit it isn't. They all can provide MASSIVE benefits over other variations that share the same category as them, you'd have to be baked out of your gourd to think otherwise. To discredit any of those things as being inconsequential is to spit in the face of the innovation of the sport. They all matter and they all make a difference. Do you honestly think the professionals who ride think those things don't matter? If you do I have news for you.... as well as an irritated legion of engineers who spend their lives tweaking everything we ride on ever so slightly because it all matters. Using that logic we'd still be on hardtails using cantilever brakes because allegedly none of that matters.

Don't try to stifle innovation and progression. Accept the changes to our sport with open arms and stop thinking it's you vs them. If something doesn't work it won't survive long. Fads have come and died when they were proven to be useless. If any of this is a fad and is useless, it too will die. If you've been in the sport long enough (for me 20 years now) you've seen changes come and go. Just accept it. The only constant is change.
  • + 1
 @ EuanBisset: please show the number in the AMA rule book that banned 2 strokes. I was racing moto during those years and followed the debate closely. Yamaha got permission to break the production rule to develop the 4 stroke "clean" engines. The 4 strokes are still non EPA certified. The rules were amended so each manufacturer could use a non production motorcycle for 1 year to develop the newer engines. You can look this up, but I will probably just get neg propped into oblivion for actually knowing the history and rules on this. Sigh Frown
  • + 2
 Here: I'll make it easy for you: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/asp/racing/2012/AMA_Racing_Rulebook_2012.pdf

See pg.10.

@EuanBisset: The reason everyone was shocked is no one believed a 4 stroke could accelerate as fast as a 2 stroke, even with the displacement advantage. The 4 stroke was a 2 stroke killer because of the displacement advantage, which was originally 550cc. Remember no name KTM riders getting holeshots in pro races just because of that incredible engine? (I still have my 2002 KTM 520sx.- don't ride much anymore, but it is a great bike.) ¨They changed the rules to 450cc a couple years later. Please SLOW DOWN and read more carefully. You are jumping to conclusions.
  • + 2
 Devils advocate: Technology rules do force manufactures / teams to become more innovative within the rules. A lot has been gained through the subtle evolution of every mm of the DH bike. Like with the motorsport analogy, if you could have unlimited displacement, cylinders, tire size, aero, power adders, weight... you would likely over compensate with one aspect, leaving another to be overlooked. The rules should be steadily be updated to allow the latest technology, but not until the current tech has been thoroughly exhausted.
  • + 1
 Good points GTI

@Cyrix, I did not say those things were not important or did not provide advantages. But I stand by my statement- they are not the same thing as different sized wheels. I also never said we should jump to regulating them just yet, but it may be needed down the road once we find out what effects this has on DH racing as a whole. This is all just discussion, no reason to get wound.
  • - 1
 @ Darkstar, when you post relatively unrelated ideas, such as 250 vs 450 comparisons to wheel size, make unsubstantiated claims about the relevance of previously well documented performance differences, make false accusations (neg propping for example) people get ANNOYED! (Wound as you call it.) Stop posting crap. For example you posted 26" wheels are not legal in BMX. I know this not to be true. You didn't state you were referring to 20" wheel class only. My retort was accurate. I DID race BMX on 26" wheels prior to my knee surgery. You are trolling these boards posting inflamatory ideas to start arguments. Please stop. Research your ideas before you post, and at least try to make sense and be accurate.

In any event, this debate is all reactionary, as all these kids thought 650b was just marketing. Its pretty obvious it isn't. For some reason people think 650b is a conspiracy. Just about everyone who has ridden one has raved about how good they are. Eating your own shit is hard when you make an ass of yourself.
  • + 1
 The comparisons are to Motocross in general which has gone through similar difficulties regarding equipment regulation. I never stated any direct comparison between wheel size and engine size. They do NOT allow 26 wheels in 20 inch bmx racing, which is what I was referring to when I said "bmx". (oh look bmx has wheel size classes) I am not trolling I take offense to that. I am not trying to start arguments. You are the ass Willie.

And let me be clear with you as It looks like you have not actually read my posts, I am not for or against regulating wheel size. I am also not against 650b, 29, 20, or any other wheel.
  • + 0
 Smile

20" wheels are how much different in size to a 26" wheel? 24 to 26" is much more similar to the difference between 26 and 650b isn't it? They are the same class. Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile This keeps coming back to all the arguments over the past 2 years where all the kids were saying 650b is a disadvantage, and was being promoted as marketing to make money. Now its an "unfair advantage?"
  • + 0
 Oh, BTW, stop getting so wound up!!!
  • + 0
 Alright enough of this... and we have yet to see what advantage it offers... Bring on the racing. Lol. Smile
  • + 0
 UMMMMM.... the teams are saying this is a done deal. Did you not read the articles over the past year, or actually ride a 650b bike? This is already proven.
  • + 1
 Yes I have read the articles. Last I checked there was a large majority of guys on 26. There's no "done deal"
  • + 0
 And again I have nothing against 650b. It's you that's being argumentative for no reason whatsoever
  • + 0
 Keep deluding yourself. The only people who won't be on 650b is the makers who don't have a production model ready, as it would show off their 26" product isn't good enough if the pros don't run them. The most likely path is Specialized and Trek lobbying to ban 650b because of the performance disadvantage they have this year, and won't be ready for 650b until next year. Specs has the 29er Enduro though, but it isn't quite a DH bike. Demos won't sell well if Gwinn doesn't win on his demo, and is beaten by guys on 650b. A quick fix is to quickly tool up a new rear triangle with the clearance and dropout placement to accommodate the new wheels, and offer it as an option. Unfortunately, Spesh has been VERY public about dismissing 650b, and they would have to eat shit to get out of this. Maybe they are about to release a 29er Demo?

from the above article:

Pre-season tests comparing the mid-size 650B wheels with their conventional 26-inch counterparts has not been promising for those in favor of the latter. Fox Racing Shox, has been testing its suspension concurrently with teams that are outfitted with 650B and the report is a time savings of over a half second a mile. Intense reports better. Strava times on their very technical home course varied between three and nine seconds better on virtually identical bikes and builds. Recently, Pinkbike has done side-by-side testing of 650B and 26-inch DH bikes with comparable results.

Which team would willingly give up that kind of handicap?
  • + 1
 Is the four stroke engine exhaust cleaner than two stroke exhaust? that might change my mind about them but I still don't like the deep sound they make.
  • + 1
 I think so, that's why a lot of lakes have banned two stroke boat motors
  • + 1
 its cleaner, but not EPA legal. The manufacturers have to lean out the jetting on the off road "legal" models (specifically California) to the point the bikes barely run, use throttle stops to prevent full RPM, and put restrictors in the muffler. As soon as they are sold, the owner removes the limiters, and they no longer will pass emissions tests, but they could be sold as "legal. I have a chain Husqvarna that is a 2 stroke with a valve to prevent some of the blow through of incomplete combustion, and they have 70% fewer emissions. It sounds half way between a 2 and 4 stroke. Its an odd sound, but its cleaner.
[Reply]
  • + 54
 NO! The UCI needs to go F-off and stop making ANY rules...
  • + 15
 that was my reaction right after reading the title of the article
  • + 12
 Seriously? Everyone is still outraged about the UCI not allowing riders to race in unsanctioned events. How did they think this poll was going to be answered?
  • + 1
 Well said! Plain and simple!
  • + 1
 They're not: "Of course, this is all speculative, because as far as we know, the UCI is not considering a wheel-ban at this time."
  • + 3
 I really appreciate the no spandex rule.
  • + 4
 Still want MTB to go it's own way and kick the UCI to the curb. hell, even road racing should do the same: this will open a can of worms, but: disc brakes on road bikes=safer bikes, less horribly injured racers. That should be what any rule making in a sanctioning body should be about: safety. Any other rules are about power plays, and should be kept from happening.
  • + 2
 This was an asinine title for this article it has nothing to do with the Uci.
[Reply]
  • + 28
 I say leave the option to the teams... Just like the XC guys get to decide based upon what they prefer for the course whether they want 26, 27.5, or 29... let the DH guys decide based upon the course and their preference as well. Unless wheels start blowing apart and posing a safety concern, let the riders ride.
  • + 1
 BBLB, you're wrong (unfortunately). We need to ban all but one size of wheel and all but one size of frame. XS frames and 29ers for everyone!
  • + 1
 I get it!!!! Ban EVERYTHING except what you personally like. That makes much more sense !!!! Wink
[Reply]
  • + 16
 This is stupid, if a wheel size is inherently better, what is the point of telling racers that they can't use it? I personally like the agility and jumpability of my 26", but I'm not going to tell Logan Binggeli that he can't race 650B.
  • + 8
 exactly let people chose what suits them and the track, don't tell people whats best for them or force people to use certain wheel sizes
  • + 11
 I'm not going to tell Logan Binggeli that he looks pretty butch in his DH gear either...
[Reply]
  • + 21
 Just ride bikes.
[Reply]
  • + 17
 UCI needs to stop making up stupid rules !!
[Reply]
  • + 11
 Im so fucking done with the wheel debate. Just stop complaining and comparing. They all have a purpose and restricting them is just another way to separate them and cause another argument. just stop, please
[Reply]
  • + 10
 I think they should be allowed to use 650b the guys at the top will stay on 26 which worked fine before and they'll still win so why not let people swap to 650b? let the field sort itself out, I'd say wheel size depends on the track though (which contradicts what I just said)
[Reply]
  • + 10
 Are they going to ban clipless/flatpedals too next year? Or suspension? They give an advantage too. Let's also get rid of bikes with gears, cause that feels like cheating!
[Reply]
  • + 8
 You should have called it "Pinkbike Troll"!!

If it's really about 2 seconds faster on an average DH course as we've seen it on forums then 26" DH bikes will have disappeared in 2 years anyway.
[Reply]
  • + 9
 UCI can suck a fatty, whoever can ride their bike down a mountain the fastest is the best. that is the only rule in this sport
[Reply]
  • + 6
 They shouldnt' restrict it to 26". Give the bigger wheels a go and let it play out, see what happens. It would put a lot the speculating to rest, at least! After a season of "mixed" riding, there should be some evidence that one is indeed better or not.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 Yeah they should be banned, like skin suits and anything else that makes you faster but doesn't make you look like a motocross racer. I think pedaling should be banned and we should replace cranks with footpegs.
  • + 3
 That would solve the derailleur/gearbox problem too, a win-win situation all round.
[Reply]
  • + 8
 No, they should not. Let people ride whatever they want, everybody has the same options, no advantages, just preferences and skills, period.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 1) this has nothing to do with UCI, its pure speculation on the writers part. Although UCI will make a ruling on this sooner or later, the title suggests that this has already happened, or that the decision making process has begun, when it hasn't.

2) if a larger wheel gives an advantage then they should be restricted to events that are for that wheel size. its not rocket surgery. you can't run a 26" in a 700c race, and vice versa.

3) your bike wont explode because theres a different wheel available, so stop worrying. you dont have to buy it. hell, you probably dont even need it.it is not required of you to purchase every new piece of equipment that comes on to the market In order for you to be a mountain biker. so hush.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 Restricting wheel size is ridiculous. There's very clear tradeoffs in wheel size and it's still a bike regardless of wheel size.
  • + 4
 There are*
[Reply]
  • + 5
 As long as an option is available to everyone, then I say that warrants it the right to be aloud. Until majority of the racing no longer falls into the riders skill and level of ability to win, let technology follow its course.
[Reply]
  • + 8
 Your not restricted to suspension travels so why place a restriction on wheel sizes?
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  • + 5
 I guess the Problem is that many Suspension Companies don't even have 650B or 29" in their Product line (at least for Downhill Forks). DVO and Manitou are the only one I think.

So if sombody comes now with a, let's say dorado and 650B and beats all the Fox "normal 26" riders" (I dont't know if thats posssible...^^), what are they supposed to do? Either put a lot of money in development or release an unfinished product. OR of course loose some customers in this segment.

That makes me think that the big Suspension companies like Fox and RS will not support this decision, at least in this point of time.
I think their word weighs pretty heavy everywhere in bike business and you don't want to piss them off...


I guess I', just trying to say that the decision is not so easy as it may look.
Just my 2 cents... oh and of course i voted for "let evolution improve things" ;-)
  • + 8
 So you must have missed the 2nd sentence of the article (and several preceding articles on this and other sites) stating that Fox has been testing 650b along with several teams? They already have 650b lowers for the latest generation 40. X-Fusion's new fork is going to be offered in 650b and it's pretty safe to assume that RS has it sorted as well. The entire industry from frame manufacturers, to rims, to tires has jumped on the 650b train before it even fully left the station. No way the 2 largest suspension supplies have sat this one out.
  • + 2
 i guess you cought me on that... my bad, it was just too early for me... Razz

You are probably right abou fox (though I remember they tested stuff that never made it to production...)
xfusion on the other hand is not really present in the downhill sector and RS hasn't even announced anything about other options...

Anyways,.. I'd love to see manitou more present in the WC. Maybe it's an option for them the get it.
To also keep small teams compatible, maybe it would be an idea to say that teams have to stay with their wheelchoice over the whole season. To have all the spares and materials for both types will probably blow up their budget.
  • + 2
 Ukli- great response. You didn't keep arguing when you were presented with new information.
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  • + 5
 "an effort to minimize the impact of mechanical advantages in order to produce a version of cycle racing that is man versus man" Eeeeerm it has become more like a "who's doped the most" version of cycle racing...
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  • + 4
 A sad day that RC has to utilize sensationalism to attract readers...Come on man, would have been better just to headline the fork development and wheelsize debut in DH. I think there was already stark evidence that everyone has had it with UCI/USAC and rules.
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  • + 4
 No way If the 650b is going to truely give such an advantage it will be a natural progression anyway and we will end up just seeing every rider on it by choice anyway. DON'T STOP PROGRESSION Some tracks could benefit from a 26er while others not so much, both deaigns come with advances and draw backs compared to the other. We have seen margins hart 11sec, kovarik 14sec, hills Val do sol and champery. These gaps cannot be made up on wheel size, the better rider will come out on top no matter what.
  • + 0
 Half a second here and there could easily come down to form on the day too. It a big call and while in the instance of a tight race it may matter which I doubt Because there are too many variables in a dh race that can affect these times but that will be the natural progression of the sport and of bikes.
  • - 3
 i think the uci should allow this season people to ride whatever they want. next season if the 650b are faster they should say you are only allow 650b or 26, but not both. a transition year to see what happens, then a decision to make it fair again
  • + 1
 I think having the option would be better, I mean we dont force riders to only ride a air or spring shock, both have separate feelings and performance. We also don't restrict riders from changing geometry during rounds or changing leverage rates and suspension travel. Wheel size is a minor change that is just like any other technical or tuning change. Is be curious to see the actual test pinkbike did, if it was a few riders doing 5runs each isn't much to I off. You really need a proper testing ground with multiple trails a riders spending significant time on both.
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  • + 4
 Without regulations and uniformity in equipment for competitions the Record Books, Record Times, and established races courses become obsolete and un-comparable. Moto, NASCAR, F1, the NBA, NFL, MLB, EPL, the Olympics and just about every notable athletic organization in the world has regulations to keep the "Competition" about man vs man and allow congruency and comparison of accomplishments across the years. "IF" 27.5 or any other wheel size is to be allowed in sanctioned DH racing, for the sake of true "competition" man vs man, than this new bike should have its own class. Otherwise our sport is just a hodge-podge or directionless and unrestricted "events" rather than true athletic "competitions".
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  • + 4
 This is going to make local downhill races all the more hilarious. Cue the kids backed by parents with shed loads of money turning up to races with a van full of downhill bikes in every wheel size so they can 'choose the right one for the course', while the rest of us stick with our trusty 26inch that has served us so well. 'Daddy, Daddy, I need a 29er and a 650B now if I'm going to become a pro'. Also, 650B, what a terrible name for a wheelset, yet another reason why I'm sick of this stupid topic.
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  • + 7
 I DON'T CARE ABOUT WHEELSIZE, JUST GET OUT AND RIDE LIKE A MOTHERF****R!!! Rant over.
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  • + 6
 I actually got to demo the norco range 650b and I like 26 inch more but I think it is just a personal preference or I just wasn't entirely use to them
  • + 5
 Its definitely opinion. I got to demo the norco range as well. It currently stands as my favorite bike that I have ever ridden. It felt like I could go just as fast down as my DH racer and up just as fast as my xc bike. 160mm, rearward axle path, and 650b. It was my dream ride. But also. If you like 26" better. Then ride till you can't anymore. Its all the same to me. I'll see you on the trails.
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  • + 3
 So i'm probably a bit late to this debate this time.
The wheel size debate is fascinating as it's quite difficult to see where the advantage of running a larger wheel comes from. After running some preliminary numbers the suposed advantage of the bigger wheels on square edge hit of various heights is actually very small, the difference in vertical acceleration as the tyre climbs an obstacle at typical trail speed 20kph is in the milliseconds to the point of being negligible. So if there is reason for the reported increase pace of larger wheels it must be something else. I suspect that its due to the contact patch of the type or greater volume of air in the tyre leading to less contact patch variation. If this is true then it opens the question of 650 with a 2.3 vs a 26" with a 2.7 or 650 with a big volume vs a 29er with a smaller volume and also brings back the discussion on rim width for tyre stability. I think i might write an article...
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  • + 3
 The funny thing about skinsuits is these used to be used by a LOT of riders in the 1990s when DH was all about the fastest speeds down fire road descents off the tops of mountains. John Tomac, Philippe Perakis, and others set record speeds wearing skinsuits over their body armor to smooth the airflow. The UCI was fine with it until someone complained coughbribedcough from another team when their rider lost.
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  • + 3
 It's not gonna make one bit of f*cking difference. The UCI is almost as dumb as those in the industry responsible for all these stupid wheel sizes because they're running out of shit to change on bicycles to sell all the dumb turds something "new".

f*ck off with all the unnecessary sizes of shit. Innovation? Wow, give that genius a Nobel Prize, he thought of, oh holy f*ck!!!! A BIGGER WHEEL DIAMETER FOR A BICYCLE!!! Can you baleedat?!. Genius, just pure f*ckin' genius!! Narrowly beating out the other a*sholes who thought of the brilliant idea to add yet another axle size to the mix, taking a step down in strength, rigidity, durability & saving no weight over the already well established 20mm standard that performed its job perfectly. Congratulations to all, you really are the pinnacle of society, fighting for new standards in all the wrong places in an industry where no one gives a shit about doing it in any of the right places (seat posts anyone?).
  • + 0
 Actually it is a great innovation - it's just a new way to make our bikes "obsolete" by not making or "old" standard any more, so that we MUST switch to the next "great thing". And BTW if anyone think that they wouldn't have to switch they are wrong - this is just in link the moto industry that when even after the 2 stroke were still wining they force there top riders to switch to the lame 4 stroke and stop producing s stroke - only to discover that it is so expensive that they have hard time finding someone who would actually buy it. bigger wheels are not innovation, innovation is replacing the few left over we have from road cycling such as the derailleur or give us low stand over frame with slack HA not only in downhill bikes?
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  • + 3
 Realistically the fact that DH bikes run 26" wheels is only because people arbitrarily picked that as a good wheel size. The idea of limiting DH bikes wheels to a size that could have just been picked by throwing a dart at a target is preposterous. DH RACING is about being FAST, so why limit tech because it's getting FASTER???
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  • + 3
 for goodness sake, its like saying all DH bikes should be the same brand! just let things develope, its exciting and great for the sport. can't wait to see how it plays out, if another design is better why should you not be allowed to use it. Maybe everyone should have the same tyres, same frame, same forks, in fact lets just have cloned riders and all fall asleep. Bring it on.
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  • + 4
 This article isn't about the UCI, this is pure speculation drummed up by RC to imply the superiority of wheels bigger than 26 inches. He is just a marketing crony of all companies looking to push big wheel products...
  • + 2
 I agree with you...but my Stumpjumper Evo 29 is still amazing. There is definitely something to these wagon wheels.
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  • + 6
 i just rode a couple of 650 b wheel bikes at a demo today and they feel so boss 160 mm of travel feels like 7
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  • + 4
 2. Intellectual Wanking

Engaging in an intellectual discussion that has little to do with the key facts of the conversation at hand.


www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=intellectual%20masterbation
  • + 1
 good stuff!! although this comment board may not qualify as inteleKtual discussion
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  • + 3
 Just have fun.... Seriously. If a homie can shred on circus wheels, then let him, I'll keep my 26s and have MY idea of fun on MY bike. What someone else rides is of no concern of mine. I have yet to see a bike that actually gives an unfair advantage....
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  • + 3
 Let people ride whatever they want. I personally doubt 650b offers any advantage. It's not like Logan Bingelli is going to suddenly start winning all the world cups. Some riders will prefer big wheels others won't but wheel size won't be deciding winners.
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  • + 3
 the highest level of mountain biking should be similar to the late group B rally car regulations. no regulations at all. go balls out, understand the risk, and do anything and everything you can to win. thats what leads to innovation. you cant have great innovation with limits.
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  • + 3
 was gonna tick yes but, not for the reasons given. Not all riders are the same hieght.. so while a 6ft+ rider might get an advantage from a bigger wheel a shorty might wanna stick to 26inch
run what ya brung!
if they dont restrict pedal type then why wheel size?
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  • + 6
 Adding a few inches to the wheel radius is hardly 'innovation'. Is there a 650b or 29ererererer patent?
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  • + 5
 They are the worlds best athletes. Let them decide what wheel size they want to use. It's their job to race so they will pick what gives them the best outcome
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  • + 6
 Who cares what wheel size? As long as it rolls all wheel size should be allowed!
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  • + 6
 Let the teams race, if the 650b wheels dominate then next year all the teams will have them as we'll.
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  • + 3
 I am far far from a UCI fan but Yes, in my opinion they should pick one size for competition. To be honest I was shocked the first time I watched one of the XC events on Freecaster and saw such varied equipment in use. Cycling competition is about the physical ability of the human so it seems the only way to make it truly fair is to mandate some basic equipment standards. There is an undeniable advantage to larger wheels and that should be removed from the equation. If you look at the amount of equipment regulations for roadies It just seems odd that the UCI has been so liberal with MTB equipment.
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  • + 2
 I don't care what size they end up with, I think they just need a standard size. Just like most spec car racing series. There is a standard for everything. If evolution to a faster bike means bigger wheels, do it, just find a standard.
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  • + 3
 Bigger wheels are definitely faster.....the pros will all switch....then amateurs will follow....and beginners have lots of used 26" bikes available....trickle down effect......
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  • + 3
 If it doesn't get banned, then won't everyone be moving to 650B to get the advantage? Once everyone is running 650B, then there is no advantage in it. Give it a year and we won't need to worry about it. Just my thoughts..
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  • + 2
 I'm not from the DH scene, but I kinda hate this discussion about the wheelsizes.. ride whatever you like. If you think 650B is a big advantage..ride it. But at the end of the day the better rider wins the race.. thats for sure Each month there are plenty of articles in the bike magazine about 650B or 29ers .. It's getting reaaaaally lame
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  • + 2
 Push the technology as far as it can go. Technological improvements at the professional level usually trickle down to the consumer. It is an irony to see it flowing from the consumer to the pro. A very rare situation! But I say open the doors, the floodgates, whatever you want to call it. DH racing is still a very new sport. The idea that the bikes are somehow at their zenith is a joke. Anyone remember Honda coming out of nowhere and kicking everyone's A$$? The idea of them wanting it to be rider versus rider makes sense. But EVERYONE has access to all three wheel sizes for less money than a bombed out used car. The team with the most money isn't going to have some super duper advantage by sheer volume of dollars.
  • + 1
 great point about this change developing from the consumer end into racing, very rare indeed!
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  • + 3
 What UCI needs is a restriction on their restricting. This organization is such a joke. I guarantee that riders will see none of the added revenue that comes from making such a change.
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  • + 3
 Not gonna happen. There are no bans on wheel sizes in XC and DH won't be any different. Plus there's too much money invested by countless companies into 27.5 and 29 to ban it now.
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  • + 2
 It's called racing restrictions. It's a good thing to make standards for high end competitions like this. Hence why you don't see F1 cars in Nascar races.

The more MTB develops and technologies go in different directions, the more restrictions you will see, and that's good. It will create more sub classes and more race "categories".
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  • + 4
 Let the rider choose what they want to ride, if the 29er seems better then let the guys on the 26 choose what they think will be better in the end.
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  • + 4
 If they want to ban it from dh then then they must ban it from xc and then see what the riders and manufacturers have to say!
  • + 1
 Good point, you just destroyed RC's silly question.
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  • + 2
 I reckon riders should be given the option at the beginning of the season to choose the wheel size they'd like to race with for the whole season. That way the best all round wheel size will come out on tops (I think). Otherwise everyone is going to be chopping & changing bikes & wheel size at every race.
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  • + 2
 I'd prefer rules that enforce more dh-worth courses and then wheel size can sort itself out on tracks that test technical descending skills rather than velodrome power. This will also have the benefit of making bikes for trails that the masses actually like to ride.
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  • + 6
 The only thing that needs to be banned from MTB racing is... Engines.
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  • + 2
 Yes I agree to prohibit certain types of equipment, I am also in favor of the istauration as a weight limit on the road.As this will avoid arms races, the prices of bikes that are constantly augnmenter, and this will put the driver in place. And finally avoid any speculation such as: "I ​​won on such a product, it is necessarily good!"
  • + 2
 And I say to ALL disciplines, XC to DH.
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  • + 4
 Come on people, RC is just shoving it in your face after everyone bashed him countless times on liking 650b bikes. Most of you said he was full of shit.
  • + 1
 Willie 1 you are the biggest 650b fan boy ever. Rc may still be full of shit. So far we've not seen 650b bikes in any serious downhill races so these so called advantages are pure speculation. Until we see the pros switching to 650b because they can't compete without them it is all bullshit.
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  • + 2
 No, its the same as regulating ski or snowboard size. Could you imagine Shaun White being told he HAD to ride a 170? A rider needs to be on a bike that optimizes personal performance and safety so long as the trail is not adversely affected.
  • + 2
 It's actually nothing like that. Shaun White does not race. It's freestyle thats totally different. AND.... in DH skiing there are rules regarding lengthand width of skiis. In fact bindings, width of ski under binding, boot height...........rules for all of that.
  • + 1
 Well, I stand corrected. Thanks for the tutorial Darkstar63.
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  • + 7
 UCI! BRING BACK SPANDEX!
  • + 6
 ONLY FOR THE LADIES! Big Grin
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  • + 2
 Seems pointless, IF 650 genuinely gives these teams a huge advantage then there are two eventualities - 1. After one season, the teams sticking with 26's (who are, at this point the 'bigger' teams - Syndicate, Trek, Specialized) cry foul and they get banned, or 2. every manufacturer wants the advantage and switches to 650B bikes which leaves us back where we started.

I have no particular opinion on the 26/650/29 debate, it just seems like if they are as amazing as everyone's making out (of which I'm quite skeptical), the advantage can only possibly last a season or two.
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  • + 5
 If it's a bicycle it should be allowed to race. If you can qualify on a road bike at a world cup, then why not?
  • + 1
 That is exactly what i think. The time will tell wich wheels are faster, natural selection my friends.
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  • + 2
 There is no question about some of the benefits of a 650. And there should be no question that racing standards need to keep the sport on a level playing field. We have these types of standards in every other sport. If they want to make 650's the standard...fine. But racers need to be compared on their skills, not what wheel size they bring to a race. If the average joe wants to bring their 650 to ride the likes of Whistler, great. It is good for the bike industry, get more people excited about bikes and good for all of us. But I'll be sicking with my 26 to max out my fun and enjoyment...
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  • + 2
 This is a laughably stupid question, and argument. If the UCI wants DH to be a rider vs rider sport, the only way to do that is mandate everyone rides the SAME bike. WC dh should be about the top riders, going as fast as possible on whatever equipment they think works best for that track, on that day. If you want to limit their wheel choice to "even the playing field", why are we not limiting their tire choice? or rim weights? or travel? or geometry?or underpants choice? Someone could be getting an unfair advantage by riding commando....
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  • + 5
 As long as it remains a non motorized bike, I don't care what they come up with. Will make watching even better!!
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  • + 5
 When can we vote to have Rob Warner as chief, CEO and administrator of UCI?
  • + 1
 A Rob-Warner designed DH Kit? Could be interesting.
  • + 2
 My guess is it wouldn't have pants.
  • + 1
 I don't know Warner usually raced in tights...
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  • + 2
 The spandex ban, was most likely there prevent us mtbikers to look gay! Moto gear adapted to Dh is bad ass!

Anyways, why would they ban something that anyone can use of free will? Same for wheels or any other gear or component. Plus if they apply this rule, we can say adios to 650b market and any evolution of our sport.
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  • + 2
 i think you should be able to join any bike contest on any bike. wich bike is the apropiate will be set by the podium. 26 inches bikes are now the favorite election by the riders, but maybe 650b is going to be better, we should not be afraid of making the sport evolve.
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  • + 2
 I dont even understand why this is a debate. What about lock out suspension? Pretty dam unfair. Or bikes with more speeds? Or bikes with super wide tires? These are waaaay bigger advantages. One time i borrowed my buddies trek session 10 (sick sick sick Dh race bike) and i usually ride my ridiculously heavy RMX. My times were almost identical. It means its the rider that makes the difference. Big wheels do not equal faster times. No Im not a Dh racer. But spandex is a gimmy. Of course they should allow it. What a stupid debate, pretty much any sport that involves athletes going fast will warrent it. The bottom line is that its still a bike and world wide racing should involve all of the latest tech. I mean we can fight about what's faster, or we can let everybody race on whatever they want and we can actually see what's faster. Im 6'5 and 26" wheels just feel too small for me on fast decents.
  • + 1
 its not a debate its RC effectively trolling the pink bike population.
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  • + 2
 I dont ride downhill so couldnt really give a fuck. But in saying that, I do think bigger wheels can make for an unfair advantage. Correct me if im wrong but for shorter riders, I dont believe riding a 29er downhill rig would be an option as it would be just too dangerous for obvious reasons. And taller riders would then have an unfair advantage. But im really fed up with this wheel size debate bullshit. How much easier does a bigger wheel make things, marginally thats all, yes theres a difference but theres no amazing mind blowing difference from going from a 26 to a 29 inch wheel.
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  • + 2
 If you get a smoother run on a bigger wheel go for it. I ride my big board on a powder day for a reason...It floats better and makes my day more fun. Why restrict fun. 26 is cool for the last however many years but its day has definitely come. bigger wheels smooth out bumps and require less suspension bottom line. The whole argument of 450 cc and 250 cc doesn't compute in my book. We are dealing with gravity not horse power.
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  • + 2
 Looking backward, no one complained about the advent of 8" rotors, soft compound tires and 203mm of travel. It's all a crutch, why single out 650b? Evolution always has, and always will, happen
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  • + 2
 Any one know what teams have been testing 650b If the gains are that big then there needs to be no UCi involvement all the teams will naturally go with the quickest wheel size anyway.
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  • + 2
 LET IT ROLL! Why not. If it starts to make a difference like in a motocross race where there are 450's and 250's, then break it up into classes! LET THEM RACE! Don't stop progression!
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  • + 2
 "the simple addition of 38 millimeters to the diameter of the wheels"
Correction - for what its worth the difference between 26in and 650B is actually only 25mm (bsd of 559mm - 584mm = 25mm)
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  • + 1
 Would it be an unfair advantage if a racer chose to use a 7 inch shock over a 9 inch, a 9 speed instead drivetrain over 10 or 11 speed, some 2 piston brakes over 4 piston, carbon over aluminum or when chosing a specific terrain tire when racing?

I say let the racer make the choice on race day as to what equipment he should use to obtain the best results.
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  • + 1
 650b rims have been around for zonks, this is NOT a new wheel size... I grabbed this (below) off Bikeradar just so those interested might find some incentive to track the 650b history and consider how 26" rim sizes came into the industry in the first place.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If 650b wheels have advantages, why have mountain bikes traditionally used 26in?

Regular mountain bike wheel size arrived at 26in as much by accident as by design. Many of the old steel-wheeled clunkers that gave birth to the original mountain bikes had 26in wheels, so early aluminium rims were simply made to replace them, although the long wheelbases and big tyre clearances of frames back then could easily have accommodated bigger wheels and tyres.

650b rims and tyres were readily available, as were the old 27in road rims, which effectively standardised into the 700c road rims of today. It’s those 700c road rims that have had their rim beds widened to take fatter 29er mountain bike tyres. By the time the early mountain bike bandwagon got properly rolling, 26in rims and tyre choices were becoming more plentiful than 650b or 27in. Inevitably most frames were being designed around 26in wheels too, so the habit stuck.

Well, it stuck among most of the mainstream builders. A few custom builders were still meddling with big wheels on mountain bikes and it wasn’t long before Gary Fisher got people talking again by launching a range of 29ers. A few others followed and within a year or two the fork, rim and tyre manufacturers started creating more choices for the slowly growing base of big wheel fans.

Now that 29ers have earned a place in the mainstream, 650b has returned to the spotlight. It makes sense that wheels measuring half way between the established 26in and 29in standards should be considered.
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  • + 2
 "the ban effectively curtailed the future development of kits specifically engineered for the needs of DH competition in the name of current fashion"

^^Yes.... and I'm ok with that.
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  • + 1
 By all means, include the other wheel sizes, but create different categories for each plus maybe an "open" category where they can compete between themselves. Why the hell would you discriminate different wheel sizes from ANY discipline the sport offers?
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  • + 1
 i love the innovation bring on the change. with out the innovation we would be still ridding hardtails racing down fire roads. there is a 20 year pic of Steve Peats Kona Hei Hei from 1993 and his current 2013 Santa Cruz dh bike. the only thing is the mountain bike industry changes their stuff faster than i change my underwear. i don't want my good decent parts obsolete by next season.
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  • + 2
 OK I'm all for improvements but at the same time, having more options and sizes really does complicate things. Anyone whose has to buy a headset will know what i'm talking about.
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  • + 2
 Skinsuits should not be banned. No wheelsize should be banned.

Nothing should be banned unless it is blatant cheating (doping, engines etc). Technological advancements are not cheating.
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  • + 1
 I personally don't think they should be banned . Although I do think there should be clear guidelines about what is or isn't allowed kind of like the tech regs in other sports. I think if the rider is good enough the 650b advantage won't be there Tbh . You could give Gwin square wheels and he would still win lol I think the real test will be if 650b wheels can be applied to current frames that the everyday rider owns as at the end of the day very few of us can afford to buy new frames suspension etc on a whim because a bike company says its a second a mile faster mountain biking is consumer driven so its us that will decide if 650b sticks around or not .
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  • + 1
 If the UCI doesn't squash 650B the outcome on used bikes sale pricing will be catastrophic within the next year or so. Every kid on the planet is gonna have his bike up for sale. Personally I'm ok with progression but it stops at the 650B for me. The 29er just looks fricken gay. Handling looks sluggish at best for DH.
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  • + 1
 Lets face it, Racing is where its proven or disproven that something is better/faster/more relaible.

Did, in 1995, we limit suspension travel to 3" ?
Is there a limit on how wide or narrow your bars can be?
How about limiting tyres to 2.5" ? Would that be OK.
Can you use both flats or SPD's in DH?

Allow it - its the ultimate test, on some courses it may be faster, on others slower - thats what racing is for - THE ULTIMATE TEST!

If it's better then we know its not just a marketing ploy, if its not, it will be shown up as complete bollocks.

Thats it, stop whining about it, and UCI - get a F**king grip.
  • + 1
 Did anybody read the article?
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  • + 1
 I think everyone who is saying its an unfair advantage needs to go back and reaqd their posts over the past two years andf look at how many times people said 26" was FASTER, FUNNER, and BETTER in every way. Now that the actual performance advantage is clear, people are changing their tune?
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  • + 1
 The goal of racing (from my selfish pov) is to design/refine gear that will ultimately trickle down to me. I'm never going to wear a speed suit, so I don't want them wasting time dialing those in. I do want them to spend time figuring out what wheel size works best in each racing discipline - that's what's going to convince me to change wheel sizes or not the next time I buy a bike.
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  • + 1
 I wholeheartedly think that wheel size should not be regulated. anyone can run 26 or 27.5 or 29...making it equally fair amongst the racing crowd. It is sad to think where the sport of cycling has come in the past few years...in terms of racing. After all, don't we all ride bikes because it is what we love to do??
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  • + 1
 The rules aren't needed, but how to best acknowledge the performance advantages and trade-offs is a necessary debate. I think the tracks themselves should govern the wheel size choices and just let this distinction occur organically. KHS should be able to field a racer, even if their wheels happen to be a burden. With enduro gaining so much market share the WC DH tracks that favor larger wheels would be instantly successful enduro world series venues. Our consumer hysteria may be simply alleviated by promoters realizing the opportunity to invest in the newer format
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  • + 1
 What the hell question is this?
The way that the pro riders win or lose on 26, 27.5 or 29 in all disciplines including DH is the way that us amateurs can decide between them! Removing other wheel sizes from racing dumbs down the sport and confuses the consumer and the whole industry. If Sam Hill or Arron Gwin are quicker on all or certain courses on another wheel size, I want to know which ones, most likely it doesn't actually matter that much, but lets see, more bums on seats at least?
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  • + 4
 Aaron Gwin world champion in south africa with a Specialized enduro 29 !!!!
  • + 4
 Everyone think he moved to Specialized for money, or the Demo, or b/c he was mad at Trek World Racing...but I think it was for the Enduro 29. The raddest f'n bike ever made.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 If ANY action is to be done at all have different classes to run in, a DH26 and DH27.5 and XC26, xc29 or something like that but don't stamp out new tech just for the sake of fairness if you wanted to make everythign good and fair why not put everybody on the same bike and tell them to ride around in a gym cuz thats the only way things would be fair, you can't control the damage to a track during a race, rocks get kicked berms get torn up, it starts raining, shit just happeneds and racing is about bringing the best you have for the track and pushing the limits of your bike and body, and in racing your bike really shouldn't be holding you back so why limit a whole design. If UCI wants to have a 26" only DH race then there better be a 27.5 or even a 29 in class too....

also good job PB for lighting up a flamewar, this is good stuff
[Reply]
  • + 5
 UCI should restrict itself to road racing only
  • + 3
 agree bro, they are killing the sport trying to "improve"....
[Reply]
  • + 5
 They should ban 29ers ONLY because they are freeking ugly Smile
[Reply]
  • + 5
 at the end of the day, to quote ricky bobby, "i wanna go fast".
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I would rather stop biking than ride a 29er. No wagon wheels, keep it real.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The UCI is ridiculous. Mountain biking is a sport marked by constant improvements in technology and we celebrate these improvements in tech. Maybe instead of thinking about banning new tech because it might give an advantage, we should celebrate it and force every company to improve to stay competitive. Or, if we're that worried about somebody having an advantage, why doesn't everybody have to ride the exact same bike? Then whichever company had the most money to spend lobbying the UCI would be the standard and we wouldn't ever have to worry about someone having an unfair advantage ever again!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i think the progression is good but needs to be slowed down before we reach whats technically possible .. look at skateboarding .. the only thing that ever progressed was off road boarding and the areas of which they could skate, and you rarly see skateboarders now as the technoligy has died out, people want new things but to keep mountain biking in general alive .. we need to slow the progression down .. look at the bikes 15 years ago .. its amazing what people can do in that time and its amazing how the sport has progressed..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Was there a poll when 6-7-8 inch travel bikes were being made and put into the World Cup circuits? Didn't think so, or what about the first suspension bikes? Didnt think so either. Its progression in the sport, weather there good or not I have no idea and couldn't care less.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Right thats a great idea....its an option to run a larger wheel just like its a option to run fox or rock shox, air or coil shocks, this wheel debate is getting so stupid! hey people JUST RIDE THE BIKE.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 If someone wants to run a bigger wheel size...let them. If there is any advantage, it is the fault of the people who dont use them that they lose and while it may give the other guy an advantage anyone can use any wheel size that they like so there is nothing stopping all the racers from racing on whatever wheel they want.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The UCI cant be an advocate of pushing biking to the next level when they ban everything that shows up on their doorstep. I say let them use the newer wheel sizes as long as you do not jeopardize the technicality of the courses. once you start making the courses to accommodate the bikes, in stead of making the bikes to go with the courses then you start going backwards. keep the courses super technical and let the riders make the choice.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I have drag raced for years. My weapon of choice is a 4cyl import that blows away vetts and many high powered v8 cars. This is all good when it comes to friendly and "open track" days BUT....when it comes to the elite pro top fuel there are things called classes and qualifying. Have a 26, 27.5 and even a wagonwheel 29 class. Have qualifying and if a 26 rider is faster than a 29 over the rocks then so be it. Run what you brung!! This will let all wheels sizes and still allow innovation. Having also studying physics for years a bigger wheel roll bigger thing with less resistance. This is an advantage all day and there is nothing anyone can say to change that. If all wheels won't be fair in the sport maybe it would best to make the sport fair for all wheels.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 YOU GUYS ARE MISSING THE POINT. THE UCI IS NOT ACTUALLY PROPOSING ANY REGULATION CHANGES!!! THIS IS JUST A "WHAT IF" ARTICLE.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The bike doesn't make the rider... what makes you faster are your own skills, yes the bike plays an important roll but it doesn't mean she's going to make you slower. Let the rider ride what makes him comfortable and most important have fun in it!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Most UCI rules are based on rider safety and equality.
There is no safety issue with 650B wheels in comparison to 26". Let's face it , a top rider pushing his/hers limit will have the same danger of hurting themselves no matter the wheelsize.
As for equality, there is no real price difference between the two sizes. A rider from a developing nation will be able to get the same bike for the same price. If you look at road racing, this plays a bigger difference where a rider from Italy can get much lighter wheels and components than a rider from a developing nation that does not have the same resources to benefit their athletes.
  • + 1
 If 650b DH bikes are truly faster it really does put less wealthy riders at a disadvantage. Riders that have already invested in DH bikes likely can't just go out and buy new ones so they're stuck with bikes that are slower which puts them at a disadvantage. The UCI does think about this sort of thing and puts rules into keep a somewhat level playing field.

The UCI certainly isn't rational so who knows what they'll do?
  • + 2
 Racing is expensive. It always has been. The world isn't fair. My brother makes more money than me and drives an 8cyl Audi, where I drive a VW Passat. Should we make laws to make sure he can't have a faster car than me? How many people winning DH races are using 3-4 year old equipment? If you want to win, you need to spend.
  • + 2
 So you live in a place where you can make more money if you work harder, smarter, longer, whatever but you choose not to. This is not at all the same as a discussion about sport and the cost of entry or upgrade for the general public especially when you're talking about younger rides. There are many people running bikes that are a few years old that are winning races. As long as tires are decent and suspension is good it doesn't make much difference. We're not talking about pros here. If you know the UCI at all, they do think about the cost of entry to the sport when making rules. IMO they don't do a good job making the rules but this is definitely in their minds when they make rules. This is one reason that they require pros to use products that will be available for sale to the public because this advances trickel down technology in most cases.
  • + 1
 As I said in a post above: this advantage applies more to pros. When my kid was in the Novice class in BMX, kids won on Huffy Wal Mart bikes. Once he was on the podium in the intermediate class, equipment became much more important. The difference in skill was much finer in the upper level of the intermediate class. Run what ya brung until you start getting competitive, then equipment makes a difference. (set your bike up correctly first- proper sag, tire pressure, riding posistion etc, then upgrade as you break things.)
[Reply]
  • + 4
 if UCI does this it will hinder the development of the downhill bike, plain and simple.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 What if pros have to race in all disciplines, but they had to do every style of race on the same bike, and they can run whatever the f$&k setup and wheel size they want, fastst combined time is the winner.

Flame away, i dont care i ride a mtn bike, not a cc, trail, all mtn, freeride, dh, slopestyle, dj, cyclo cross, fat bike, etc.....
[Reply]
  • + 1
 In the past 10 years, advances in geometry and suspension have have made some trails which we used to think of as life-threateningly challenging in to leisurely rides around the park. In this same time period a growing number of trail builders have gone to work building new trails for these new bikes and updating the old, outdated ones. This movement from 26" to 26.5" wheels is exactly the same that we've recently equipped ourselves to deal with: we're simply making trails that previously required more "skill" (read: experience) to ride accessable to lesser skilled (lesser experienced) riders. In the case of competition and specifically DH riding, changes to courses will be faster and they will quickly adapt to make courses more challenging in technicality or length. The problem I see with this is that we're allowing people to travel more easily over the most dangerous parts of the trail, and in the case of experienced, competitive riders, we're forcing them to travel over these obstacles faster with more danger to themselves and their equipment or forcing course designers to make them more dangerous. Again, nothing new, but they're pushing us further, faster, and hopefully making their bikes strong enough to deal with these expected changes to our newly outdated trails.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I've not read all that ^ and sorry if someone has already said it, but surely allowing any wheel size in the races will answer the 'what wheel size is best' question as the pro's will work it out pretty quick. However I think that it may be worth the UCI saying you can use any wheel size, but you have to use the same size wheels for the whole season to stop the riders using different wheels for different tracks!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I think the bike community has more major concerns about why we let UCI run the racing scene they are sh!t
[Reply]
  • + 4
 RC + An article about DH = FAIL
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  • + 4
 29ers are super cool. Just kidding they are super gay
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  • + 3
 the proper tool for the proper job, that's all what we do when it's time to decide !
[Reply]
  • + 4
 let people race what ever they want!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 If the UCI can make money off it in anyway they will do what pads their pockets.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 You should be able to do anything that makes you as fast as you can possibly be. (except for taking PED's)
Restricting clothing and wheel sizes is stupid...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 We're in a dumb world if innovation is defined explicitly by increasing the wheel size.

By that logic, a 29 x 6" fat bike will be top.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 29" should be a class of its own.... 20" bmx doesn't race 24", and that's for a reason, it gives the other competitor an unfair and unequal advantage. Each wheel size should be in a class of there own!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 If it will bring more people to races and into biking in general, why not? Its quite exciting to imagine what bikes will be like in 20 years time if this cause such a stir now
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Racing is about going fast at whatever the cost. leveling the field is for those who still need to gain experience at the lower rungs of competition, WRC is for boys, Group B was for men (juha kankkunen) mentality
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Jesus Crist! This is mountain biking, the UCI needs to chill out with all their rules and regulations. Why on earth should we control what bikes people ride? It should be a racer's choice on what their weapon of choice is!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I think that whatever wheel size they decide on it should be used by all the racers so that it's the fastest rider that wins and not the fastest bike.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Another great article by Mr. Cunningham. Reminds me of the good ol' days of Mbaction. I personally think if 650b are faster, which tests seem to show, they there will be plenty of teams using them this year. As for the arguments for different classes I find that to be ridiculous or that it'll be unfair because only the bigger teams will be able to afford different wheels. 1. the big teams ALREADY benefit from better equipment because they have the best riders AND more money! 2. Saying that teams with access to 650b wheels have an unfair advantage is the same as saying that black box riders have an unfair advantage. If you argue for different classes then you should also separate classes based on factory/prototype equipment only.
I think that if 650b are that much faster we'll be seeing alot of DH bikes for 2014 with them as OEM.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I don't mean to come across like a dick in my first pinkbike comment, but doesn't anyone remember the the reason why 26in wheels became the industry standard to begin with? It was because they were cosidered and recognized as a childrens size wheels and thus cost less to import(lower tarrifs). Thats the only reason 26in wheels became the standard for so long. Otherwise we would all have been riding 650's for the last 30 years. 26in wheels never were the superiour wheel size, just cheaper across the board and sea.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Let the racers use spandex, big wheels, any crazy tech they want. No drug testing either. If someone wants to race a 29 inch carbon DH bike that weighs 20 lbs and has Shimano airlines while wearing spandex and doped on on more EPO than Lance have at it! It's all about pushing limits. Let's stop using Bingelli Rampage run as an example of 650b superiority. It is a judged event, not a race against a clock. The wheels had no bearing.... unless KHS bribed the judges to ensure positive press for their bike and rider.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 "Data" to show that a toprider can shave off 1-2 secs on a racecourse with preferential setup for larger wheels? So its an XC/Enduro trail?

In real life this does not matter. None are "pro" except maybe 50 people around the world. You ride fast, stop, chat, ride. Fun is the word, seconds dont matter at all.

What are the drawbacks? Heavier tires, heavier and weaker rims, heavier and larger frames, funny looks, less flickable, another standard made to increase cost.

Its a dumb marketing move and not an sound engineering decision.

Stop Richard Cunningham. He is an industry shill promoting what he is told to promote. This guy should write for an industry rag like MBA.

I say - 26 is better riding, longerlasting, cheaper and looks better.
  • + 2
 Bollocks you talk much.
  • + 3
 Bigger wheels faster? BS. Marktingbla. They are heavier, harder to accelerate, weaker and an eyesore. Where exactly do you see progress, flatlander?

XC/Enduro and Dh/DJ are two different sports. Bringing them together is pointless and failed many, many times.

If I do XC/Enduro, I grab my old and low 26` 1992 Pinemountain hardtail with cheap Duro fork and Maxxis Detonator slicks. Climbs and descends better than fancy and expensive XC/Enduro bikes from today. And
  • + 0
 650b will accelerate faster. The tire is the heaviest part of the wheel, and 650b tires have more air volume, allowing lighter tires, and even smaller casings at superior traction to 26". The weight fartherst from the axle has the biggest effect on rotation. 650b can have EQUIVALENT performance to 650b at lighter rotational weight, better performance at equal weight, and vastly superior performance at a slight weight penalty. If this wasn't true, 29ers would have never taken over XC, where weight is king.
  • + 2
 different wheel sizes don't increase cost. they make different wheel sizes to sell more bikes, the same way car manufacturers make different car/truck models (w/ diff size wheels) to sell more cars/trucks. so if bike mfgs only made 26" then they would sell less bikes, which means prices would be no cheaper than they are.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 How fast do we want to go?

12 inches of travel?
32'' wheels?

Why stop at 650b? Its not some huge technological advancement, it's just common sense- bigger wheels will roll over the rough stuff easier. Equivalent to taking out your V6 and dropping in a V8, then being in awe of the "progress" you've made.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 isn't it physics 101 that a larger diameter wheel can roll over obstacles easier than a smaller version? so if a larger wheel does things easier, then the jumps get bigger. then after 10 or so years, somebody comes out with a bigger wheel version, we have the debate all over again, the jumps get even bigger, and so on and so on, until we're riding on big ginormous clown bikes....
[Reply]
  • + 0
 would like to see what size the pros choose and who comes out on top. top pros racing in same class using thier choice of wheels, i think it will sort itself out. 15 years ago i never thought i'd own a 4 stroke mx bike. just bought a spandex out fit and a TT helmet, and going to shave my body. i'll still look good on the podium.
  • + 2
 they don't - they are riding what they are told - its their job to promote a product not to ride whatever they like!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 The UCI is considering banning racers from racing (enforcement of article 1.2.019)...and RC is worried about wheel size.

Weak sh*t.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The UCI control our sport to much already, If riders want to use 26,27.5 or 29 wheels then so be, it let the rider decide what works for them, even if it means everybody sticks with 26 out of choice instead of force!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 You put a guy on top of a mountain with a pedal bike and point him to the finish line – that’s DH racing. How he gets it done should not matter
[Reply]
  • + 3
 look at BMX. olympic cycling sport. 20" races 20". 24" races 24".
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Anyone up for a pole where we restrict UCI involvement in mountain biking?
  • + 2
 no, but a poll yes.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Why? Why put on more restrictions? Even if nobody runs 29 inch wheels at least give riders a choice!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 "Have DH Bikes Reached Their Pinnacle?"

OMG... haha... That is all.

Typical RC article.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 29er's are for xc guys who were Lycra and can't ride over some little bumps! Queres!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Why is everyone being a little bitch about 650b wheels? There is a natural evolution of bikes and if 650b becomes the new standard, then just make the course more difficult... stop your whining already
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I will stick on 26 for down hill race . now lighter dh frame carbon and even wheelset is carbon on dh bikes. so why go 650b or 29er bikes ?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I feel you gave to allow it. I feel sorry for the privateer who will probably have to add a 27.5 er to his quiver just to keep up with the factory riders
[Reply]
  • + 3
 This article is nothing more than a 650B advert in disguise!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 What did the 26 inch wheel ever do wrong to be chased out of town?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 26 is a mtb tradition.Wink
[Reply]
  • + 3
 26 only, definitely ban em, drop that ban hammer
[Reply]
  • + 3
 It won't be long until the penny farthing makes a comeback!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I'd be more concerned about how incredibly dull dh racing has become over the last few years. Try looking at dh skiing for pointers and make it into a proper sport:
[Reply]
  • + 3
 stupid idea. just like the whole skinsuit scenario !
[Reply]
  • + 1
 They shouldn't enforce bike design, let the teams run what they want. However, maybe make the riders run the same wheel size all year. No changing it up.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 29'ers not only look stupid and goofy, they're heavier and simply cannot perform as well on a highyly technical track like a 26". I just hope 29'ers eventually fade away, seeing them makes me cringe.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 I dont care about what wheel size people use, but going from riding a 26" wheel bike to toying with my friends 29" bike.....the advantages are clear. My only issue is that the playing field should be level, as in select a single whel size and make it mandatory. So if they are going to allow 650B or 29" wheels, pick one and make it the standard. I feel downhill should be like NASCAR, level playing field, who is the best rider.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Racing at WC level should have a standardised wheel size.

Either they're all on 26" or they're all on 650b, it doesnt matter which.

If one has a clear advantage over the other (as seems to be the case based on various recent tests) then the fine balance between man and machine starts to swing in favour of machine, which has to be contrary to what the UCI is trying to acheive, like us, they want the best rider to win races, not the best bike.

If there are further advancements to me made in DH bikes (and there certainly are), then at this level, its up to the manufacturers to find those advancements within the rules.

This system works well for just about any other sport you care to mention, motorsport included. Without them it would be a complete technology free for all where riders were seen as a less important component than the bike they're riding.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I don't care what the uci thinks, as far as I'm concerned their antics recently show they have no place in MTB.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Any question that starts "Should the UCI Restrict DH" the automatic and correct answer is always "NO THE LAST THING WE NEED IS MORE RESTRICTIONS!"
[Reply]
  • - 1
 i haven't read all the comments so i might be repeating, and i don't race, but the fact is is you want races that are "fair" there needs to be standards. i.e.: no rockets on the bike is probably a reasonable rule. there also need to be community cohesion. i.e.
: no skin suits in dh. so should 650b's be restricted? maybe, maybe not, but some limit has to be laid down obviously.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Anyone who argues that the spandex ban was anything but good for mountain biking is a clown.
  • + 1
 one of the few positive moments for the uci
[Reply]
  • + 4
 UCI = shut the f**k up
  • + 1
 Where did you read the UCI has anything to do with this?
  • + 2
 Well you can start with the title?..
  • + 1
 Dude really,,, take your meds and you won't get lost anymore
  • + 2
 ...this is all speculative, because as far as we know, the UCI is not considering a wheel-ban at this time.
  • + 1
 I re-read the entire article, including the title and all it says is that:

a) 650b is a technological improvement

b) the UCI (like other sports federations) banned these before.

RC then poses the question whether they should do it in this case - all speculative indeed.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Why not just make everyone ride the same bike with the same tuning and see who's really the best rider...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 have 26" classes and 650b classes.It is like a stock class and a mod class.Let them spend there money on new sh#T i will buy there old sh#T and have the same fun..
[Reply]
  • + 2
 WTF UCI bring on penny farthings and multi coloured lycra, I'm sure Rob Warner could commentate it :-/
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Mountain bikes are made for 26's!!! People who invented bigger wheel sizes just wants attention!! WTF!!!
  • + 1
 Beach cruisers were made for 26. 650b was the original offroad size. If there was better supply in North America, no one would have even considered 26.
  • + 1
 you're right, if ritchey, fischer, etc, would have had the same access to 650b tires/rims as 26'', the 26" mtn bike may never have existed.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Should clipless pedals be banned because they seem to be an advantage over flats?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Don't give them any ideas...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Lol ......yet another way to try get more money out of you ....fucking arseholes !
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i think they should ban brakes cuz they slow everybody down!!!! in my opinion maby the riders are getting faster every year????????
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Thoughtless people making thoughtless rules. I don't watch hockey any more because the NHL and referees, have to much control over who wins.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Does any one know if the UCI dictate that road bikes must have 700c wheels? Might be a good indicator,,,,
[Reply]
  • + 4
 26 till i die !!!!!!!!!
  • + 0
 so when 26 goes out of production next year you will..........
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Freeride truly is dead. Worrying about the legality of wheel size???! What is this world coming to.
  • + 1
 i think we are talking about DH
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think they should be 27.5, would be nice to see someone starting making them
[Reply]
  • + 1
 All I know is that once I get the money it will roll straight into a Lenz PB-J. The worlds only downhill 29er in production.
  • + 1
 you (odirt), are a bright young boy!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 UCI could have 2 classes, just saying I like how moto has 2 separate classes, completely different, however, I think it would be cool. Yeah I don't know...
  • + 2
 Agreed!, "chainless" (a true gravity race) and "chain driven" an enhanced gravity race.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 In any case... anybody who can actually afford racing can also afford a different set of wheels, forks, etc,, through their sponsors. So who cares, the field will be equalized anyways..
[Reply]
  • - 2
 yes 100 percent if a 29er or 650b rolls faster then a 26er and it is helping someone its unfair to the bike companys that are only producing 26er dh bikes i think 26 should be a standered uci downhill wheel for racing but thats my opinion cause some companys are much smaller then others so the budget might not have it to create a 650b dh bike which results in them not winning because 650b rolls fast thats not fair to the rider and bike companys
  • + 1
 A small company will not have the resources to put together a champonship winning team anyway. Making an existing design 650b compatible is not costly. A different set of dropouts, and a different set of youkes on the rear triangle. No biggie.
[Reply]
  • - 2
 Separate them to their own class, just like every other organization. You cant run a cruiser in a 20 inch class in BMX why would you want to chance getting beat by the extremely unfair advantage the 29er provides. Trust me, go ride a 29er and you'll be pissed the next time you see your rival on a bigger wheel.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Jesus more MBA type articles from this douche. Stop presenting your lame anecdotes as facts, pinkbike please realize RC should be writing for Bicycling mag.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 This whole debate kinda sh!ts in the corn flakes of those who argue that 650b wheels don't give an advantage over 26" wheels...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 should ban the UCI and i miss the whole body position ban what is that about?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 29ers are super cool just kidding they are super gay
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I guess to be, 650b and 26" is a case of, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 If you consistantly loose on your 26" wheel maybe it is time you put up or shut up. Evolution people.....let it happen, we all make choices in life.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This (below) will be all the rage next season.

www.pennyfarthingbike.co.uk/index.html
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Honestly though, i cant understand why something that can make you faster would be restricted?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 let UCI eat shit....
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Troll food I sense...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 UCI - UNITED COUNCIL OF IDIOTS!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i chose the last option,i don't care who wants to try what,so long as there are no motors involved I'm a happy camper Smile
[Reply]
  • + 2
 PLEASE, DON´T FEED THE TROLLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 UCI = United C*nts International
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Let the riders do what they want.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Wouldn't it make more than enough sense to have different categories for the new larger wheel sizes?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Whatever is the most fun!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Get rid of the UCI...problem solved.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Thats like racing BMX on 26" wheels.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think if UCI don't bring out a strict rule for the wheel sizes, each racer must choose individualy
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Sooo, Is the UCI basically just like a home owners association?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I know... Just ban UCI!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 24" rear, 29" front with 650b tubes.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Its a bit unfair for shorter guys who aren't able to fit 650b wheels like me...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Split it into two classes, one for each wheel size... simples
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I hate conservatives but for this situation i have to say, "F*CK 29ers!!!!"
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think the UCI should just piss off and let people race and ride bikes. 26, 29 or 27.5 who cares.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Much as I cant stand 29" wheels, in no way should UCI ban any type of improvement.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 f*** off UCI, you are ruining my favourite past time.
  • + 2
 You missed it! get it Smile
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Still a better love story then twilight
[Reply]
  • - 1
 this isn't going to happen lol spandex looked silly anyways who cares theyre not going to ban wheels, they will evolve, clothing doesnt need to.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 We need a BLOCK feature for 29er/26 articles. If we block the person does it block their articles too? I wish.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 If the guys want to race with a 26-incher, then let them, they are just giving themselves a disadvantage to the 29ers!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 The bike industry should keep on pushing boundaries and technology and introduce 29DH bikes.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "Should the UCI restrict--?" NO!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 if strava says they are quicker then it must be right.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 If 650b bikes are sooo much faster why dont you stop complaining and start riding one?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i can ride both of them.let people decide.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Different bike, different class Is it that hard
[Reply]
  • + 1
 daf*ck how o inter a 29" wheel on a fox 40 O_o
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Just make 3 diff classes
[Reply]
  • + 0
 If 650b is faster then everybody is going to adopt it....so no issue.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 29 in front, 24 in back!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 uci are really losing their case on these silly rules
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I would love to see a DH 29.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 3 different size classes. racers can race all three classes if they choose or stick to one or two classes..
[Reply]
  • - 1
 its only a bike guys
[Reply]
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