SRAM 650B Rise 40 Wheels - First Ride

Apr 20, 2012
by Mike Levy  
 
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The annual Sea Otter festival is always home to new gear, much of it being debuted for the first time. It was no different today, although SRAM chose to tackle their show-and-tell in a different manner than most: instead of the usual media circus out in the sun, they showed us their new 650b sized RISE 40 wheels at their quiet campground high above the Sea Otter venue. The small crew that gathered together to learn about the additional wheel size then hit the trails on the wheels, trails that turned out to be surprisingly fun given how much negative chatter the venue receives about its mountain bike courses.

SRAM s 650B wheels
  Class is in session. SRAM invited a small group of journalists up to their quiet campground in order to learn about their new 650b sized RISE 40 wheels.

Wheels could still be considered a relatively new addition to SRAM's component lineup, despite the fact that they already offer both carbon and aluminum rim choices in 26'' and 29'' sizes. Riders will soon have another option to pick from, though, with the July release date of the new 650b sized RISE 40 wheels. Why another wheel size? The answer is two fold: SRAM admits that there is certainly more OE (original equipment) demand for 650b sized wheels on new bikes than riders looking to make an aftermarket purchase, but the other reason is that they do see enough performance potential from 650b to add it to their roster. Like most, SRAM are happy to admit that they don't expect 650b to take the mountain bike world by storm, but it may be just the ticket for certain bikes on the right terrain. Remembering that the resistance to 29'' wheels was and still is strong, despite the fact that a well designed 29er can put the boots to a 26'' wheeled bike on many trails, makes it clear that many consumers won't be rushing to embrace 650b bikes. With that in mind it is key to remember that the 650b size isn't here to replace our beloved 26'' wheel, or the slightly less beloved 29'' wheel, but rather give riders yet another option that they can use to their advantage. SRAM now offers their RISE 40 wheels in three flavours: 26'', 29'', and the 650b size that you see here.

SRAM Rise 40 650B wheels
  Earning turns on beautiful Monterey, California, singletrack. Looks can be deceiving - it isn't the most technical terrain around, but the high speeds and dusty conditions kept the group on their toes.

The new 650b RISE 40 rims utilize the exact same extrusion profile as the standard RISE 40 rims, just in a larger diameter, meaning that the same tubeless kit can be used. Going this route allowed SRAM to manufacture and test prototypes far quicker than if they had produced the new wheels with an entirely different rim shape. Word from SRAM is that the 650b project kicked off in November of last year, a relatively short time ago when talking about brining a new product to life. Consumers can expect to be able to purchase the 650b sized RISE 40 wheels this coming July.

RISE 40 650B details:

• 650b (584 ETRO) rim diameter
• 19mm wide rim bed (internal)
• 24 bladed spokes, 2-cross (front and rear)
• Uses the same hubs as standard RISE 40 wheels
• Axle compatibility front: QR or 15mm thru-axle, rear: QR or 12x142mm
• MSRP $550 USD (same price as the 29'' RISE 40)
• Availability: July, 2012




SRAM s 650B wheels
  Earning our turns on the beautiful Monterey, California, singletrack. Looks can be deceiving - the terrain might not be considered technical, but the high speeds and dusty conditions kept the group on their toes.


On The Trail

Unlike most product unveilings at Sea Otter, we actually got to hit the dirt with the new goodies that we just spent time discussing. The singletrack around the Sea Otter venue can't be called technical by any stretch of the imagination, but it is incredibly fast, dusty, and full of some great corners. Those three points added up to a fun loop that served as more of an introduction to SRAM's 650b sized offering rather than a true test, but it was enough for us to want to investigate further, a task that we'll undertake on out own trails when we return home.

Our RISE 40 650B wheels were bolted to German made Nicolai test bikes, along with a new 650b Revelation fork and a Monarch RT3 shock that has received tuning updates for 2013 - more on those items soon. The package was new to us, but one thing quickly became very clear: the 650b wheels feel and handle more like standard 26'' wheels than 29'' wheels. While the impression is clearly going to differ from bike to bike, the new RISE 40 equipped Nicolai didn't give us the 'sitting in' feel that is associated with a well designed 29er, but rather felt very much like a standard mountain bike. We honestly can't comment on how the wheel size handles technical terrain - there simply was none of it to be found - but we can see riders being more open to the 650b option given their handling that leans more towards 26'' wheels. The question that needs to be answered in order for us to jump aboard is if the 650b size can come close to offering the traction advantage that 29'' wheels can brag about, but without the geometry challenges associated with fitting the larger wheels to a mountain bike. We're all for more options, but it needs to make sense for us to get behind the idea.

SRAM s 650B wheels
  Levy leads SRAM's Tyler Morland and Scott Hart into the thick of it. The sheep own the hills in these parts and they weren't too fussed about a few mountain bikers making their way past.

There is bound to be resistance to 650b wheels within the cycling community, but we can only see them gaining more and more traction given that component manufacturers like SRAM and tire companies such as Schwalbe and Kenda are pursuing the concept. 650b wheels and tires have actually been around for many, many years after all, and who is to say that 26'' is the only size that makes sense, let alone 29" wheels. In the end it all adds up to more choices for riders to pick from - the 26'' wheel isn't going anywhere, but having the option to pick from three wheel sizes is likely going to be our future.

SRAM RISE 40 650B wheels. Photo by Adrian Marcoux.
  The group takes a breather above the Sea Otter venue to discuss wheel sizes and sheep.

Photos by Adrian Marcoux
www.sram.com
Must Read This Week

126 Comments

  • + 97
 Let me know what conclusion you come to regarding sheep. I am much more interested in sheep herding than I am 650b wheels.
  • + 24
 Sheep herding is the new 29".
  • + 17
 With new geometry on 29'ers its soo much easier to herd sheep!
  • + 39
 So , how big is a ' 650B ' wheel ? bigger then a 29 or smaller ? Egg shaped?
  • - 9
 Sheep herding? 650B sounds like sheep shagging to me. According to that open minded SRAMs "speech" Im happy they recieve the vibe what people think of niners.

More intermediate standards, whats next? Different wheel sizes, handlebar, axle diameters, stanchions, steerers, accordingly to frames' suspension travel?
  • + 16
 i wont be a sheep and go 650b... or has someone already made that joke?
  • + 6
 @ waki: don't all those intermediate standards already exist?
  • + 4
 The other day I saw a Scott Genius prototype 650b AM bike. They are coming..... no doubt.
  • + 5
 Sheep herding isn't the new 29", it's the new planking. everyone's doing it. soon there will be a slew of dumb internet video's about it...
  • + 4
 Nah, sheep herding is here to stay. The industry said it.
  • + 7
 650b is the future of most high end mountain bikes, except for maybe the rear wheel of DH bikes, xc guys who prefer 29 ers, or short or extremely stubborn people who prefer 26.

I hate 29 ers but I recently rode one of these and it felt perfect. Made me realize 26 is too small, couldn't believe it.

And not only this, but 22" wheels are taking over BMX! Who would have thought this 5 years ago?
  • + 5
 Kirk Pacenti a native of Chattanooga, TN was one of the first to start really pushing the idea of the 650b, so its funny how i've kind of been able to meet him and watch his story unfold. He is a millionaire now, Panaracer thought it was a good investment and bought his original design I believe. I've actually had a chance to ride one of the originals and can say that it feels soooooo much better to me than a 29'er, the cockpit is well centered and it doesn't feel like you have a freaking whale of a wheel in front of you when handling tight corners and jumping. I was unable to get true trail time on it though, but am definitely interested in this size and will be watching it and disregarding 29'er news....
  • - 4
 no i dont want your shitty 29ers or 650bs or droppers seat post.....im fine with 26 inch wheels and quick release clamps so stop trying to shove it down my throat like a telemarketer.
  • + 5
 @TheSpecializedSalmon - I'm confused... where in there does it say that 26" wheels and standard seat posts are going to become unavailable? Oh wait, it does't.
  • - 3
 Mike, I love your articles, but the sarcasm in this comment is at best petty, and worst bullying.
  • + 2
 Waki has brutally truthful sarcasm....
  • + 1
 @ffsphoto... the Scott Genius 650b has been out for a few years now. Its not "coming" its HERE!
  • + 1
 650b with 2.1 tire is the same diameter as a large 26x2.6 dh tire. aka 27.5" so basically the rolling over power of a DH tire without the weight, grip level and pinchflat resistance (unless you run tubeless). I'm all for trying different wheel diameters (I run a rear 24" wheel). Might suit some people.
PS: I don't get why BMX didn't just go 24" (cruisers already exist for racing) instead of thinking 22" is the sh*t!
  • + 1
 so now companies are going to have to produce 27.5" forks for these wheels.. what's wrong with 26"??
  • + 0
 @dwdw Yeah and the tone "TheSpecializedSalmon" used was at the very height of politeness itself no doubt... keep it up Mike!
  • + 2
 I always thought that 27.5's were the chicken before the egg, well I heard of them before the whole 29" craze. Ride what feels right and calm down haters big wheels aren't that scary, for me I'll stick with my 26" but I am happy for up hill, hard tail and tall riders to reap the rewards of a bigger wheel. It's not easy to put a Ferarri engine in a Honda, standards are a thing of the past now let's just buy what suits us best and be glad about the range of options we have.
  • + 4
 @jackclark89 Mike Levy is the author of the article, who invites comments beneath his articles. He also remains my favourite Pinkbike author for his seemingly objective review of products. I am not going to defend TheSpecializedSalmon, but my expectations for Mike remain high. He is in a position of power and influence in this community. I do not appreciate a reader getting cut down for expressing his/her opinion by the author. Like it or not, Mike Levy is a role model, and I expect him to rise above this behaviour. Let's keep Pinkbike a safe place to express opinions!
  • + 3
 @dwdw - Well put and noted. Not a very tactful comment on my part.
  • + 2
 @dwdw agreed. I think i get easily riled by the constant dogma propogated by those who don't want to see this industry progress. it's the same kind of bull you get between riders who spout crap like "your Spesh (or insert big brand name here) is shit because it's not made by some Canadian dude in his shed" - the point being that not everyone can afford this level of craftsmanship, but it comes out in this rather ironic kind of elitism, which makes trail riding with certain riders uncomfortable.

The same goes for whenever a new standard is introduced, as soon as someone mentions 29", 650B, ISCG05 (as opposed to Old), Easton's new Stem/Bar standard, 10speed or dropper seatposts, there will always be some idiots who think that they will no longer be able to access the older stuff and "I may as well go and throw my bike in the trash" kind of rhetoric which is ridiculous. 26" wheels, tyres and tubes will still be available for a long time, as will chain guides with BB and ISCGOLD mounts, standard bar and stem diameters 6,7,8,9 speed components (and ways of using 4-9 speed with 10speed components), QR seatclamps and standard seatposts, along with rigid forks for mountain bikes (actually making a comeback DUE to 29" wheels) and canti and V brakes if people want them. No one HAS TO engage with any new standard if they don't want to. Most of that rant was actually aimed @SpecializedSalmon.
  • + 3
 What SpecializedSalmon said was a fairly brutal and unwarranted attack on Mike's well written (and most importantly impartial) article, and i think he had a right to defend it, and while yes he could have risen above it, I'm of the opinion that he quickly and efficiently made the point i did in my long drawn out rant, in less than two lines. There's no way that was bullying - not even at worst - which by definition has to be a repeated attack, which ironically is the kind of thing i (and probably MIke) read all the time in these kind of (above) responses any time a bike journalist dares to breathe a word of a new standard.

I'll reiterate your point: "Let's keep Pinkbike a safe place to express opinions!"
[Reply]
  • + 26
 I'm not gonna moan about all the new standards, as this is what makes the sport progress.. but I really think wheels should be the last thing. 26 inch ftw.
  • + 1
 what makes sport progress is people riding and training and inspiring each other by getting better - not figuring out how the hell will I find in this variety of nonsense a part that fits my 3 yr old bike without needing to buy a whole new bike...
  • + 1
 I agree with the first part, but you lost me on the rest
[Reply]
  • + 26
 Here we go again, time to sell those 29ers, they are sooo yesterday news.
  • + 13
 Come on. We all know what the 650 in your name is referencing.
[Reply]
  • + 12
 For those bemoaning 'new' standards, why not take a look at the old ones? 26" is a pretty good size wheel, but it was almost arbitrarily taken on. If you are 6'2" riding a 650 wheel you are in proportion to a 5'10" rider on 26 inch. Add the better traction and bump resistance of a larger wheel and the extra choice makes sense. This is how technology works. This is why cars are no longer on leaf springs and band brakes. And who can argue with extra choice?
  • + 2
 The people that can see that extra choice at point of purchase means less choice when it comes to buying tyres/ sourcing spokes/ tubes/ new forks/ frames/ brakes. Its not 'New' Standards that are the problem but the sheer bloody number of them all at once.
[Reply]
  • + 11
 650B = 27.5" = 584BCD - these are all the same thing, however they are not the same as 26" or 650C

If you look at the ETRTO numbers you can understand the difference in diameter

Name ETRTO or BCD
26" = 559
650C = 571 (used on small road bike and tri bikes)
650B / 27.5" = 584 (what this article is talking about)
700c / 29" = 622 (Road wheels and 29" mountain bikes)
  • + 2
 Thanks for the info man!
  • + 1
 So it is closer to 26, most people erroneously think it is right in the middle.
  • + 1
 It is pretty much in the middle! OTBSteve just gave you the rim diameters remember to factor in the tires. I'd say on a trail bike the tires would be 26x2.3, 650Bx2.2 and 29x2.1 which would put the 650b in the middle diameter wise. I'd need to check to be sure of course.
  • + 1
 Name ETRTO Real diameter
26" = 559mm = 22"
650C = 571mm = 22.5in
650B / 27.5" = 584mm = 23"
700c / 29" = 622mm = 24.5
Front MX rim = 533mm = 21"
24" = 507mm = 20.5"
20" = 406mm =16"
[Reply]
  • + 10
 All its gonna take is someone to win a world cup DH riding the new standard. Now that may never happen, but don't think people are not gonna test it out. Faster is faster. Fashion is fashion. Products are products. Bikes are bikes. Life goes on.
  • + 7
 A 650b bike recently won a World Cup race... XC though.
  • + 2
 I too was going to point that out! I'd say that 650b is more likely to be used in DH than 29 as it offers advantages but without as much"change"
We shall see!
  • + 2
 ..and Today in the SOC Pro Dual Slalom (Cody Warren 650b Intense Tracer)
[Reply]
  • + 5
 In the future ...
We will wheel size will be as important as frame siZe when selling bikes
5'5 - 5'8 26 / 5'9 - 6' (650b 27.5) 6+ 29r
(of course for xc / all mtn ... As big travel & huge hoops dont mix super well)
But it will be intereseting to try slightly taller front wheel for dh
Its evolution
Get used to it!
I do agree it seems lately that shit changes ( like the explosion of headset/ bb / axle standards lately)
Just for the sake of change
Its very tricky to maintain replacement parts
And its crazy to tell customers that their 2 year old bike is completly out of date
  • + 5
 The changes are technically driven, not whimsical. Tapered headsets are the best of 1.5 and 1 1/8, but lighter, putting the strength where you need it on the bottom race. The thru-axles and BB are seeking stiffness and increased bearing sizes for durability. Its totally good the the industry is branching and evolving the last thing you want is "standards" then the innovation ceases. JMO
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I just finished building my new 26er, and have been thinking that at 6’2’’ I should be runnning a 29er with 820mm bars. Then I starting oogling Moonlanders on the interweb. and the new Skye from inspired. Ride what you like and have fun doing it!
[Reply]
  • + 5
 It is 27.5, in between 26 and 29, the 650 B wheels can usually fit most standard 26" forks and frames, might make you faster, might not, most definitely will make your tire choices very limited.
  • + 1
 Not really, the tires that are currently available are very good and range from 2.1 to 2.4 : Pacenti, Schwable, Kenda
  • + 1
 There are not very many brands making them, and the ones that do offer only 1 or 2 choices, so yeah, the choices are limited, it might be awhile before they are easy to find.
  • + 1
 Although I just came across this site, www.650bpalace.com
I am looking to get some 650b wheels and tires and give it a go.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I dont understand why some people in the mtb community hate on very new thing that comes out. 650b has been around for ever and has intersted me for a longtime. The problem was that tire,wheel and bike choices were very limited so I never tried it. I think options are good. If you don't like something. Stick to what you like and don't bitch about the advancements. If people want to be sheople and bandwagoners let them. What is it your concern ? It's their money. I just don't get the hater mentality. Relax. It's just bikes.
  • + 4
 All the tools out there getting so fired up about a change that they don't have to make (your choices aren't going away, they're simply expanding) are confusing to me. Seriously?!? More options that allow you to match your ride with your local terrain... How's that a bad thing? Go ride your frickin bike to get some of that pent up stress OUT!
  • + 2
 On the filpside, all of these companies pursuing 29er technology are spending R&D money in places that don't help me at all. Because of this, real man bikes are progressing at a slower rate.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 With 60% of new bikes sales in the US last year being 29 inch. I think it was a marketing land slide. It does show sheep buy 29 inchers. So I see a bright future for bike sales and the 650b. For my part I'm sticking with the 26 inch format. The reason lighter, cheaper, more selection, stronger and what the heck I'm reminded every day, I'm a mortal . After all one has to be alot better rider to make it around those switch-backs with a 29er
  • + 2
 Problem is that, according to that statistic, 60% of people buying new bikes spent all their money on their 29ers.
  • + 1
 Yeah, no money left for investment in our ridiculously outdated 26" rims man.
  • + 1
 Can we have some proof of the 60% statistic please?
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Next thing you know they're going to start adding suspension front and rear to mountain bikes like come on, rigid all the way, and just say no to clip less pedals thays da devil inside
  • + 2
 Some of these people will hold onto the rear deraileur like a pacifier when more frame companies go inboard IG hubs or gearboxes. Sheesh. ;-)
  • + 1
 No whay, susmpenshion wouldbe wayy to hevvy on a bycycles! cant happens.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I really don't see that extra 1 1/2" making any difference.

3/4" change in radius, or 19.05mm...so the circumference is going to change by roughly 5%.

At say 10mph the wheel will go from doing 129.3 rpm to doing 122.2 rpm..."Significant!" (Based on rim diameter, for you calc checkers out there...)

7 revolutions in 270m...I think I'll be doing nothing about my wheel diameters thank you very much...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 The flaming and hating really does make mtbrs look like a bunch of whining dbags. More options is a good thing. I ride a 29er because I can ride faster and farther with less fatigue (I do just fine in the switchbacks, thanks) - which is a good thing. My friend can keep up with my squishy 29er on his 26er HT - good for him, but I don't want to ride that back breaker. At just under 5'9", a 650b setup might just fit perfect for me. Go ahead and hate while I get faster and more comfortable on the trails.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 maybe this article should have mentioned that round 1 of the UCI World Cup XCO in South Africa was won by Nino Schurter (SUI), riding the new 650b wheels.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I was happy with 26" but with 29" overbearingly proclaimed as the future I'm 110% behind 650b knocking the wind out of the hybrids sales.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 hpw big is 650b, its gibberish to me, i dont speak roadie
  • + 4
 Is it 27.5" or what
  • + 6
 65cm innit, and about freakin time too, stupid imperial measurements, get with the future.......... METRIC baby all the way
  • + 2
 It's not 65cm Kimbers, it's 584mm rim, and a '27.5'in wheel once the tyre is on.
  • + 0
 704mm OD with an inflated 2.35 pacenti neo-moto. ..and 650B was to be the std wheel size for MTB originally but for a shortage of stock in the wheel manufacturing industry which led to 26" wheels being adopted as an alternative. History Yo.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Wheels don't matter as much as having fun. Pick what works best for you don't be afraid to try new things. Can you rip a trail with them. That's what I want to know. Yes. then the argument is settled they are a good wheels size. Same with 26 and 29.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I ride a 29er and love it, and I just dont see how having something in between a 29er and a 26 will help. And by the way, that trail you guys are riding, Couch Canyon, is super gnar.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I think my feelings on all the standards can be summed up with the words of Grandpa Simpson, "My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it."
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I'm sick of all these new wheel size advocators, detractors, journalists and advertising. Let pros use the size wheel they like and may the best size win!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i haven't even tried a 29er and here comes a new standard. so i guess i'll just keep my 26er and wait for all the new standards to come in until these knit wits have made up their minds.
  • + 0
 Last year I tried a 29er and I didn't like it, last year I tried a 650 b and I didn't like it, this year I tried a 29 er and it f****** rips so I bought it.
  • + 1
 What knit wits? You mean us, the riders who through their purchases control the market?

There are no backroom meetings or conspiracies controlling the industry, my fellow freerider, this is just free market capitalism at it's best. Be a positive & progressive part of it and get some 650 wheels while the idea is fresh. We can establish this as the new superior standard, all we have to do is buy the stuff and then there will be more choices. Act fast to turn back the tide 29ers, too many riders are hooking up with wagon wheels and we need to stop that virus in it's narrow semi slick tracks before it spreads. Please try 650b
  • + 4
 We do not control the market , we can only buy what is made available to use , so we have little to no conrol in real terms.
  • + 1
 we sure do control the market! and if I need something I cant buy, I make it, thats why I have a machine shop in my garage :-)
[Reply]
  • + 3
 great ... just what consumers needed - again - more mumbo jumbo, more standards, more confusion , more money ...
  • + 1
 More variety is a sign of healthy innovation and allows us to find our own custom configuration. Its exactly what consumers need.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Wouldn't be surprised to see the DH boys running 650b up front with a 26 at the back. Slacken out the head angle and help rolling resistance. Sure there'd be a lot of haters at first tho'...
  • + 1
 I really doubt 2 different size wheels on the same bike will become popular again. How do you buy a wheelset? Also, I love the fact that once my back tire (Minion DHF front and rear) starts wearing out, I can move my front tire to the back and replace the front. This way, my front wheel always has just a little fresher tread than my rear wheel.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 no simply, no more choice to the ride, means there has to be more standards put in place. And with more standards put in place means the costs go up. And with the current prices its already bad enough.
  • + 3
 See that's what I don't get....... and Im not arguing with anybody here, this is friendly conversation, but what do you mean "bad enough" ? You dont think you can get more bike for your money than ever before? Or are you speaking of the aftermarket? Because all that's really happened there is there are more choices.......meaning you CAN spend a lot on say ........handlebars, but certainly don't HAVE to.
  • + 5
 I'd disagree as there has always been multiple wheel sizes throughout the history of cycling. Just look at xsn0w's post. Those are all "26" inch sized wheels that exist outside the mountain biking standard. Most of which have been around since the seventies. Not to mention the fact that there are 12",16",18", 20", 24", 700c, and 650c Road wheels. All of which have no effect on each other when it comes to increases in price. In fact I can't really think of any scenario at all in which more choice=more standards=higher prices. In general capatalistic economics doesn't it go the other way? Less choice=less standards=monopoly=which then results in overblown prices due to a lack of competition. If you know of one I'd like to hear about it. If you're however thinking that the current spike in bike prices was caused by the current popularity of 29ers, then be away that that's the logical fallacy of correlation=causation. I'd actually argue that the number of options have no correlation with price (factors such as quality excluded). Anyone who's tried to sell a BB, Rear Deraileur, Front Derailuer, or Crankset, knows that there's a whole list of "standards" to consider, but for the most part they all float around the same price bracket. Also not to be redundant, but the 650 wheel size isn't anything new. It's been the go to size for undersized road frames for a very long time. It would seem most companies are trying to see if it'll be a good middle ground for mountain bikers. Not create a new standard.
  • + 1
 While more competition equates to lower prices, increasing the number of standards can increase prices. This boils down to production costs and the manufacturing process. Eg. It would (conceptually) cost a manufacturer more to produce 500 26" rims and 500 650b rims than it would to simply produce 1000 26" rims.

But, does this mean everyone should ride bikes that are all exactly the same, just because it would potentially lower the price? I'm pretty sure the general consensus is "no".
  • + 2
 Nice example. I thought about that afterwards, but in that case isn't that a risk carried mainly by the manufacturer? I mean, sure, if they have a higher cost of production their prices will have to rise, but if a manufacturer starts supplying a product for which there is no demand then they're the ones who in the end lose.

I would think that maybe the huge push of manufacturers could be a result of not enough demand for 26 and 29 together in the same market, and that demand (despite what most pinkbikers may believe) is actually alot higher for 29ers. So manufacturers are trying to push the market that direction so that they can keep their prices down by only producing one wheel size. (Fits with your example of 500 of product A + 500 of product B > 1000 of product A)

It's something I've noticed in the shop I worked at with as well. Without any real pressure from salesmen, our supply of 29ers would be depleted about mid season, while our original purchase of 26ers would generally hang around until the spring of the next year. Hence why my boss began purchasing more 29ers because he was turning a profit.

If that is the case then the 650b most likely is an idiotic idea, simply because the market has shown that it can't support multiple wheel sizes in the mountain biking sector. If that is not the case, and the 29er fad really is just the evil plot of suits in backrooms wearing monopoly hats, then the 650b is nothing more than a welcome idea to an already diverse sport.
  • + 4
 650B isn't the same as 650C. 650B has never been the go to size for undersized road frames. What it has been is the go to size for tough working road bikes and touring bikes through much of europe for many decades. The wide commercial availability of knobby off-road tires in the format though is a relatively new thing though they did exist three decades ago but their lack of supply in north america is why the first production mountain bikes used the 26 x 2.125" Balloon tire bike size instead. If Nokian (the tire maker that had the tires back then) was able to supply both the europe/asian market AND the north american market with the tires needed by the early production mtb brands and pioneers... then we'd have all been riding 650B bikes all this time already.
  • + 1
 @deeeight.. I know.. hence why when I mentioned ""26" inch sized wheels that exist outside the mountain biking standard. Most of which have been around since the seventies." I was refering to xsn0ws comment about the various sizes labeled as 26". These tires sizes are also labeled as being a form of 650. Which is why later in the comment, I refer to " 650c Road wheels", and when I referred to the concept of a "650 sized wheel [as] nothing new" I left out the lettered suffix as I was referring to all forms of 650s. The most prominent form of which has been undersized road frames. I can understand where the mix up came from though. Thanks for explaining. I also really like your point about the fact that if tire producers had been able to supply the mountain bike movement in american markets we'd all be riding 650Bs. I agree.
  • + 1
 also.. OTBsteve explains the whole 650 different sizing thing really well a little up the page for anyone who hasn't quite grasped the concept.
  • + 2
 R&D money going towards developing 29ers means R&D money not going towards developing 26" bikes. Also, this additional R&D could lead to an increase in prices of 26" bikes. I can believe that 29" bikes are outselling 26" bikes in Pocatello, ID as they definitely make sense for the terrain there. In Jackson, WY 26" bikes are still predominant by a long shot.
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  • - 1
 29'er dh bikes coming soon... 29'er or die hahahaha. People were scared to break the mold of 24's to 26's too! 29's are the new 26's in that sense. Big fan of 29's personally. just wish there were more options and stronger wheels. Its different but once you make the switch its hard to go back to less performance lol..
  • + 1
 If you want a stronger wheel, you should get a normal bike. 29er wheels are weak because they are too big.
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  • + 2
 For all you haters....go dh a dandy horse and tell me you don't like technological progression with bikes!!
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 Yeah, keep the Standards coming... We gotta support this industry and our LBS somehow.. lol
  • + 2
 The way I see it, they're the ones who should be supporting us...
  • + 4
 As far as changing standards, trust me, this is nothing. Besides the fact that it isn't actually changing a standard, in my line of work the standard for everything changes on a daily basis. It is, quite simply, retarded.
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  • + 2
 Short riders like me will say "Eh, 26 is plenty big." while tall riders will be like "Hellz yea! Finally a bike my size!"
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  • + 2
 just put a rubber queen / trail king 2.4 on your 26`r wheel, there you have yout 650b effective diameter!
  • + 1
 i did just this, 2.4" on the front, and 2.1 on the rear with full suspension, it handles rather slick and i definitely notice more control over the technical stuff with no real added resistance.
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 What a load of bollox!!! What ever next??? 650b 29er 33er 25er 47er 1532er??? Its just getting beyond a joke now!!
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  • - 1
 Fucking wank . .Laughable ....it's anything to get us to part with our money ....it's not just wheels ,handle bars, stems, ....head sets . . The list is endless . .Put a higher walled tire on if you must !
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  • + 2
 this is better than 29" wheels, but I'll stick to my 26"
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  • + 0
 How bout we grow out balls back and stick to 26" wheel? They have never gone wrong, why change? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"
  • + 1
 Ok then ballsy, rewind, go full rigid single speed and STFU because you obviously dont need options or change.
  • + 1
 How is 26" wheel "ballsy"?
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 650B = 27.5"

Of course.........................That makes sense???

I'll stick with my 26" thanks
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 Oh my god , more bitches here then at a beauty pageant!!! Sorry if you pussy hurts cuz you can't ride a 29er or a 27.5 er get a life!
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 a href="http://www.i-mtb.com/nino-schurter-interview-and-650b/">650B with Nino who thinks they are better./a>
  • + 3
 He thinks what he's paid to think.
  • + 3
 No he tested all three sizes as Scott makes all of them. Compared the wattage/heart rate and the 650b was on balance the fastest. Plus he could't get good position on the 29".
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  • - 1
 You say all it brings is more options for the riding public, but further diversifying the products on the market will also always lead to higher prices overall. It's a major issue with the industry already.
  • + 15
 I don't think that's fair to say. If anything you can get more bike for your money today than you EVER could before. Dead serious. Because all this new tech trickles down to the lower priced bikes and component groups. Secondly : High end bikes have always been and always will be high end bikes. Period. And a majority of enthusiasts will always welcome the latest and greatest for thier bikes and pay $$$ for it. Third, as far as the manufacture of rims is concerned- you make a 20" the same way you make a 26" the same way you make a 650 the same way you make a 29". You just make them bigger. Then pin em or weld em and your done. I don't feel like writing an essay right now but I whole-heartedly disagree with this push-back on new tech and standards. I like bikes. I like all kinds and I always want more bikes and more parts. Im addicted. I think many of you are too - it's fun. We do this for fun, right?
  • + 1
 Well said
  • + 2
 More options don't increase the cost of a part, especially in mass production. It's competition that increases the price of the part, which is why if a big manufacturer like SRAM builds a 650B wheel, it's going to be comparitively inexpensive at first because very few people are doing it.

The major issue with the industry is that the majority of its customers are PMSing teenage boys who run their mouths and balk at the slightest sign of something new that might 'revolutionize the industry'. Don't get me wrong, I dislike the idea of mountain biking being revolutionized, because, let's face it. Revolutionize is a strong word, typically meaning "Out with the old, in with the new". This isn't a push to remove the 26" wheel from the industry. Leave that to Niner. This is an effort from a dedicated cycling company to bring the best fit options to their riders and customers.

Wheelsize is just as important as having the correct fit in your saddle. Too narrow, too wide, too cushy, too stiff... It all leads to discomfort while riding, which slows us down and makes the ride less enjoyable. 650B is like a 137.5mm wide saddle- wider than 130, not as wide as 143, and perfect for everybody who's too skinny for a 143 but not skinny enough for a 130.

Ride your bike. If you like it, fine. If you're curious or if you don't like it, try out a 650B wheel. From a cycling standpoint, it's worth trying out every option until you find your fit.

And if you simply want to throw fits about new options that are threatening your beloved bike's pride, then... Well... Most everybody on here's already really good at doing that anyway.
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  • + 1
 men are men and the sheep are nervous
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  • - 3
 A 650B is a just type of 26" diameter wheel apparently? BFD. From en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_wheel#700C_Road_bicycle_wheels.2FISO_622

The common "26-inch" wheel used on mountain bikes is an American size using a 559 mm rim, traditionally with hooked edges.
There are four other "26-inch" (British designation) or "650" (French) sizes, from the narrow tires to the widest, which traditionally all measured the same outside diameter.[22]
ISO 32-597 (26 x 1 ¼) - 650 - also Schwinn 37-597 (26 x 1 ⅜). No longer made but still in use.
ISO 37-590 (26 x 1 ⅜) - 650A - Common on 3-speed English bicycles. Note same inch-size designation as Schwinn size.
ISO 40-584 (26 x 1 ½) - 650B - French tandems, touring bicycles; enjoying a revival.
ISO 28-571 (26 x 1 ¾) - 650C - Formerly 47mm wide on Schwinns, now narrow.
Widths of tyres and corresponding ISO width designations may vary, though the rim diameter remains the same.[23]
  • + 1
 Not sure what that is but the 650b wheel they are talking about is a 27.5" diameter. Jamis makes a few rigs with 650b wheels.
  • + 2
 @xsn0w

There are lots of different names for wheels of the same size. A '26 inch' wheel has a 559mm B.S.D and a 650b has a 584mm B.S.D.
  • + 1
 This is not the same size though. The one pink bike is talking about has a 27.5" diameter.
  • + 1
 For the real size of those wheels you need to look at the second ISO number,which measures the actual diameter of the tire. The 650 listed here (32-597) is 26mm (almost an entire inch) larger in diameter than the 650c (28-571). Anyone who's worked in a shop probably has had the problem of trying to put new tires on an old schwinn. Fact is they won't fit at all. Schwinn also did the same thing with their 27x1 1/4 rims as well.
  • + 2
 650b and 27.5 refer to the same thing. I don't understand the hate. I have ridden all three, and am considering changing my dh to 650b now. I like the 700c/29" for trekking, gravel roads etc. 650b just works better than 26". There is minimal weight difference. It slackens geometry by approx 1deg feeling ( great for my mojo sl.) The rolling efficiency is just so much better. This is what the standard should have been to start with.
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  • + 1
 Gotta keep pimpin' them bikes!
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  • + 0
 650b wheels: don't be sheepish, ewel love it!
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  • + 0
 I like this idea, but it's not my first choice.
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  • - 2
 beauty clark beauty!!
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