To the Point - Kirk Pacenti on 27.5-inch Wheels

Feb 4, 2014 at 0:06
Feb 4, 2014
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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Kirk Pacenti


Kirk Pacenti was already an accomplished frame builder by the time the 29er was gaining traction as the cure for all of the perceived ailments of the original 26-inch mountain bike. Pacenti could see the collision course that big-wheel developers were headed towards as the 29er evolved from its hardtail roots to gain acceptance across the entire spectrum of the sport. That traffic jam was designing the 29er to be a viable long-travel, dual-suspension platform. He predicted well in advance, that a mid-sized wheel would make more sense. To back up his well-supported theories, he designed and produced wheels and tires made in the existing 650B size at his own expense, and then visited any bike company or publication that would listen to explain the concept. This is the story of Kirk Pacent's one-man battle to insert a sensible, more user-friendly wheel standard between the existing 26-inch wheel and the relatively new, 29-inch size.


Prototype Pacenti 650B hardtail 2007

The prototype 650B hardtail that Kent Eriksen built for Pacenti in 2007 was first shown at the North American Handmade Bike Show. The fork was a custom made White Brothers by MRP and the one-off wheels were made by Cane Creek. Pacenti's tires had not yet been delivered by Panaracer.



What was the impulse that inspired you to develop a MTB version of 650B?

The main impulse was driven by two things. First, was my frustration with 29er handling in high-speed, tight corners. Second, were the design hurdles one had to overcome to design a decent handling full-suspension bike with more than 80-millimeters of travel. Today, that might not seem like such a problem, because 29er designs have come a long way with the help of one-by drivetrains, forks with appropriate amounts of offset, and recent trends in frame geometries. But, seven years ago, I felt as if we (the industry) were putting the cart before the horse. In other words: producing questionable full-suspension frame designs just to accommodate 29-inch wheels. I wanted to use the proven frame geometry of 26-inch-wheeled bikes, but fill up the available space in those designs with a larger wheel. If you look at a typical 26-inch hardtail, you’ll note that there is a lot of space between the rear tire and the bottom bracket shell. With a 650B wheel, we can use up that space and we only need to make small tweaks to the frame design - a little more bottom bracket drop, and slight adjustment to the head tube angle to produce the desired amount of mechanical trail.


When was that? What was the landscape of the sport like at the time?

I started messing around with the concept in 2004. I spent two years trying to convince tire manufacturers to make some 650B tires. But at that time, 29ers were really starting to gain traction in the market and nobody was interested. It seemed that the industry thought 29ers were the answer to everything, and were in no way interested in a third wheel size. So, in late 2006 I started developing my own tires and contracted Panaracer to make them for me. I think the timing was just about right too, with the rise of 125 to 160-millimeter-travel trailbikes and Super-D-Enduro type bikes. I knew that this is where 650B made the most sense (to start with) and would really improve the overall performance of these bikes, as well as prove the 650B wheel size as a viable option.

Pacenti Prototype 650B hardtail with pacenti wheels and tires and Maniitou 650B fork

Photographed a few years later, the same prototype frame, updated and outfitted with a 650B Manitou Minute fork, Pacenti wheels and his Neo Moto 2.3-inch tires. Pacenti now offers a modest range of rims, hubs, pre-built wheels and tires through his web-store.



At the time, who did you think were most likely to embrace 650B for mountain bikes?

Initially I approached custom framebuilders. I had a strong customer base through my bikelugs.com site, and I knew they could go into their shops and make bikes pretty quickly. I also thought it would give them a competitive advantage over big brands by being able to offer a real alternative to what the major brands were putting out. But my primary goal was to get small, innovative suspension designers behind it. Companies like Turner, Knolly Pivot and Ventana were some of first to express interest. When I started calling these companies they “got it” before I could even get the words “mid-size-wheel” out of my mouth. These designers understood the implications and positive impact the 650B wheel size would have on full-suspension design immediately. That is when I knew I was on the right track. To a man, they all pretty much said, “If we could get a fork today, we’d build the frames tomorrow." That was about five years ago, and each of these brands have a 650B bike out now.


How did you get tires and rims made?

Tires were the hard part and the key to making the whole thing work. Fortunately Panaracer was willing to produce tires for me in small volumes, and we launched the Neo-Moto in 2007. The fact that the Neo-Moto turned out to be a great tire was probably the single, most important factor in the success of 650B. Had the tire been a poor performer, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation right now. By comparison; rims were easy, because 650B had already been making strong inroads into the US market with touring and randonneuring bikes. There were already some decent rims available, but I wanted to get some real MTB rims made, so I made some calls to encourage Velocity and Stan’s to get on board - and they both seemed happy to jump in and support the concept.


Did you build your first prototypes for demonstrators?

No. I designed one bike and had Kent Eriksen build the frame for me. I showed this bike at the NAHBS show in March, 2007 and then I sent it to Dirt Rag for a review. I never intended to build more bikes. I wanted to focus on promoting the concept to my framebuilder customers and the industry at large, supporting them with tires and rims. I knew if 650B wheels were going to be commercially successful, it would only happen by getting a lot of other people and companies to produce the bikes.


Did you just guess on the geometry, or did you have a plan?

After building thousands of frames, I pretty much knew exactly what the geometry should be. The difference between 26-inch and 650B only required minor changes from 26-inch frame designs. My prototype has slightly longer chainstays than I would have liked, but we built it before the tires were ready, so we made them a little longer, just to be safe. It also has a steep head tube angle by today’s standards, but I built the bike for me and I like sharp-handling hardtails. If that bike was intended for a customer, the head tube angle would have been much slacker.



Pacenti learned a lot while assembling and TIG welding frames at
Keith Bontrager's original operation near Santa Cruz, California. Pacenti's
main business is selling hard-to-get lugs, tubes and fittings to custom
frame makers.
- Pacenti archival image
So, you have wheels and tires, how did you go about convincing people to use them?

I just started sending out rims and tires, and in some cases complete wheels for product managers and magazines to test, and promoted the idea heavily on MTBR. The idea of a mid-sized wheel resonated with a lot of members there. It was a really small, core group of guys that helped convince other riders to experiment with the wheel size as well. It just grew organically from there.


Who were the first adopters?

A few of my framebuilding customers got on board right away. But, there were a lot of end-users converting 26-inch-wheeled bikes. You know, that really surprised me. As a former framebuilder and bike
designer, the idea of converting bikes had never even occurred to me. I just assumed guys would build bikes from scratch, starting with a clean sheet of paper. But, it turns out that converting existing 26-inch-wheeled bikes was probably a big part of why 650B caught on so fast.


Can you relate some stories about your attempts to get the likes of Specialized, Giant and Trek on board?

I just started calling the few contacts I had a bigger companies. I didn't know anyone at Specialized or Giant, but I did know people at smaller companies like Cannondale, Jamis, KHS and Santa Cruz. Oh, and because of my time at Bontrager, I knew a couple people at Trek too. Most of them had a set of my wheels about five years ago, maybe more. But product development takes a long time, and most of them took a “wait and see” approach. Jamis and KHS got on board early and pretty much ran with it from the start. The bigger companies, like Trek and Cannondale, were very tight lipped about it and beyond confirming that they received the wheels and tires, they never did give me any indication that they were (or weren't) working on 650B bikes. I guess that's just the way big companies have to operate. I don’t think the guys at Santa Cruz took it very seriously at the time either - of course, this is also around the same time Rob said: “We will never produce a 29er.” Probably the funniest thing was seeing my wheels on a Santa Cruz pit bike at Sea Otter. I think it had ape-hanger handlebars and a sissy bar on it. I figured that was their way of telling me that 650B wasn't going to happen. Thankfully, Santa Cruz changed their mind.


The 29er almost killed 650B. For a while, it looked like all your efforts would be in vain. What brought the mid-sized wheel back?

The fact that 29ers had become mainstream may have caused consumers and companies to start looking for something new to buy and sell. I also think there were probably a lot of people who bought into the 29er concept early on, but once the honeymoon was over and a mid-sized option became available, they may have realized that 29-inch wheels might be too much of a good thing. I also firmly believe that the more time people spent riding them, the real world performance of 650B wheels was simply too good to ignore. The lull we saw in 650B a couple years ago was probably exact moment big companies really started working on 650B bikes full time. As you know, it can take a couple years to get things from the drawing board to the showroom floor.



KHS was one of the first mainstream brands to run with 650B. The
Sixfifty 606 hardtail
(top) dates back to 2009. Intense was the first major
name in gravity to build a production 27.5-inch DH racer - the 951 EVO.
Tom Ritchey's new P 650B is a reminder to all the sport's pioneers of
his outspoken belief in 650B back in the late '70s.

Tell us about the highest and lowest moments of your one-man 650B revolution
.
At Interbike in 2007 someone declared it: “The Year of the 29er.” I had only had tires in hand for a few months, and it was a real gut-check for me. I wondered if I had made a mistake. I should say that I have had doubts that 650B would ever be a commercial success, but I have never once doubted validity of the concept. Orders kept coming in, we were growing and I was convinced it would succeed ultimately. A few years ago I rode a trail I had never been on before and I saw some fresh Neo-Moto tracks in the damp soil at the trail head. That was a really cool feeling - to see evidence of my product being used in the field. But, probably some of the highest moments have come in just the last year or so. Seeing most of the major brands produce a 650B bike is really great for me. The idea that my concept has had such a big impact on the mainstream industry is really gratifying!


Have you profited financially from any of this?

We’ve done OK, but I knew from day one that if 650B was going to be successful, it was going to have to gain mainstream acceptance and grow beyond my control. That also meant that it was going to be very difficult for me to compete against the biggest brands. This is starting to play out, now that most of the major brands have a 650B / 27.5-inch product line. However, I felt that being the guy to innovate the wheel size for MTB use would also open other doors for me. My brand is growing (up 30% over last year) and I think the credibility that comes with the success of 650B will allow me to innovate in other areas. I have a lot of other product ideas that I am working on and want to bring to market soon. I don’t want to hang my entire career on 650B.




Now that the big players are busy capitalizing on 650B, has any notable executive or product designer contacted you and expressed sincere thanks?

No. Not yet. I doubt that would ever happen today. In fact, I knew that if 650B was to become widely accepted, the big players would start lining up to take credit for it themselves. You can see that is happening now - sort of a miniature version of the “who invented the mountain bike” argument. My guess is that half the product managers out there don’t even know who I am. They just know that all their competition is doing a 650B bike and that they need to do it too.


Are there any individuals out there who you are thankful to?

There are more than a few people and companies that made this whole thing possible, and I am very thankful for their support. Grant Petersen of Rivendell introduced me to 650B in 2004, Peter Gilbert at Cane Creek made me the first set of 650B mountain bike wheels, Tim Fry at MRP made me a handful of White Bros. suspension forks, and Panaracer agreed to make some awesome tires for me in very small quantities. I also got a lot of financial support from end users who bought my products. And probably the most meaningful to me, was the moral support I got from my industry peers. Even though they weren't in a position to make bikes a few years ago, guys like Chris Cocalis, Dave Turner, Noel Buckley and Sherwood Gibson all understood how much potential this concept had from day one. Seeing them all produce bikes today based on my concept is really cool!

Santa Cruz Bronson C

Pacenti was clear when he first began to push the mid-sized wheel concept that its ultimate application would be for long-travel AM/trailbikes, like the 150-millimeter-travel Santa Cruz Bronson. The need for light wheels. lots of rubber and predictable handling is the motivating factor. - Gary Perkin Photo



Ignoring the present three standards, If you could begin with a clean piece of paper and design the perfect mountain bike wheel, then push a button that would adjust and convert every mountain bike to that format, what would it be?

I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it like that before, but I have thought that if the industry ever got together to really sort this out and decided once and for all what size would work best as a “standard” MTB wheel, I would support the effort. My guess is that we’d end up with something very close to 650B, maybe a little bigger, perhaps 700D or 650A, or some completely new standard. But once you get much bigger than a 595-millimeter bead-seat diameter, you start running into other design problems. Right now 650B wheels seem to strike the best balance between the competing design constraints. As geometry, components and riding styles evolve, wheel sizes may evolve too. For all practical purposes, I think 29ers are about as big as we can go. And I doubt very much that the industry will ever go smaller than 650B in the future.


If you could do it all over, is there anything you might do differently?

If I had it to do again, I would definitely focus a bit more on marketing my products. Design comes easily to me, but sales and marketing is a real challenge. I might spend a little more time and energy on my own products and brand, rather than convincing other brands to jump in, but then again, if those brands didn't get involved, maybe 650B would not have taken off the way it has today? In general, I think things are working out pretty much exactly how I envisioned they would.


See what Kirk Pacenti is up to now.
Must Read This Week






343 Comments

  • + 170
 26 for life!
  • + 23
 true story Big Grin
  • - 25
flag amosmo (Feb 4, 2014 at 1:08) (Below Threshold)
  • - 48
flag wakaba (Feb 4, 2014 at 1:35) (Below Threshold)
 What an idiot. Nuff said.
  • - 17
flag deeeight Plus (Feb 4, 2014 at 1:52) (Below Threshold)
 I and millions of others didn't want to go thru life JUST with 26" wheels on our mountain bikes. Fortunetly millions outnumber the thousands of whiners who resist change.
  • + 65
 More I read the interview more annoyed I get,companies ran with your fucking idea cause they smelt more money not for any other reason.
  • + 35
 Well soon you won't have the choice of 26 so where does that leave your argument? In a decades time someone like you will say we need a new size as they don't wanna spend their whole lives riding just 650b. It's bullshit.
  • + 35
 Your millions v's thousands crap is that a survey you took yourself? No one I know who rides or I ride with wanted 650b.
  • - 34
flag deeeight Plus (Feb 4, 2014 at 2:05) (Below Threshold)
 Yes but WHO do you know? I know lots of bike store owners, lots of mountain bikers, several industry journalists and frame builders, and a handful of actual brand owners. They all know 26ers are dead except for a tiny minority segment of the bike world. Apparently you and your friends, do not. I say this often, but even IF every one of the 700K members of pinkbike and the 600K so members of mtbr were exclusively riders of 26" bikes, that's at best 2% of the annual mountain bike sales world wide. They would have to buy NEW 26 inch wheeled bicycles every year to justify to manufacturers to keep producing them, but clearly they are not. Giant sells ten million plus mountain bikes alone each year and they've basically said goodbye to the 26" wheel except for super cheap hardtails and their DH bikes. You think they're going to make a move like that on simply a whim with no prior sales data to back it up?
  • + 12
 I don't buy into the argument that brand owners took up 650b because they 'smelt money'. If their 650b bikes turned out to be a dogs dinner, and were reviewed as such by journos and the public, they would be looking at some big loses. They have to put out good quality bikes or suffer the success' of their competitors. They have to be sure that the bikes they put out are an improvement over previous models, and 650b is what they feel is the evolution of the design. I for one only own 26ers, but have ridden 650b. I like them very much. As a slight aside, I think it's easier to make a terrible 29er as it's harder to make the geometry fit the wheels. For instance, the Remedy 29er is terrible imo, whilst the Banshee Prime is really great.
  • + 37
 26" wheels will be around for a long time yet. I don't know what all the worry is about?

When supermarket bikes are rolling out the stores with 650b wheels, only then can you say 26" is dead.
  • + 44
 15 mm larger radius on a wheel = nothing,

tyres will make more difference, go measure the final diameter of some wheels with different tyresWink

its marketing hype thats all
  • + 15
 26" ISO 559mm
27.5" ISO 584mm

25mm diameter difference on rim.

Dirt magazine seem convinced, stating recently 0.5 to 1 second advantage per minute downhill versus 26. To most of us that probably makes little or no odds. I'd like to see some extensive testing, from say, pinkbike! There's an idea!

It just seems so odd it has taken this long to find out, almost as if they've discovered a new way to shift bikes, now that they've run out of ideas for frame design, aesthetically and practically, there was no where left to go, except wheel size change. IMO.
  • + 15
 Dirt mag have drank the Kool aid, as part of the MTB industry they have to. EG Steve jones never tires in telling people that you'd be 'crazy' to run 26 inch or consider buying a new 26 frame. The perceived performance advantages are pretty insignificant to a hack rider like myself. I have a trail frame that I can convert to 650b so im a bit more future proof than some guys who might've just splashed out on new frames, 26 carbon rims and fox 34s, but I don't want to cos the whole industry sea change stinks. Its like they tested the waters with tapered steerers and 10 speed but getting guys who want to keep it all up to date to change their whole drive train to accommodate an extra rear cog, for not much benefit really, wasn't enough of a money spinner so now they're going the whole hog. unfortunately there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of middle aged, weekend warrior, high disposable income types who love to pedal their Bronsons round the trail centre car park and think it makes them more like Peaty.
  • + 74
 This is so tired. Go ride bikes. Even this article annoys me.
  • - 5
flag fingerbangextreme (Feb 4, 2014 at 4:28) (Below Threshold)
 the obsolescence of 26 bikes will really push existing riders as well. Its not like you wait until your frame is old and clapped out before making the sudden change to 650b. In reality, your forks might last another season or two so you have to decide whether to stay 26 or not (I know you can run 650b in some 160 forks but its not ideal). If you stay with your 26 frame then next season you'll face the same dilemma with your wheels and tyres. Then when you're ready to change up your frame you've still got newish forks and wheels with little or no re-sale value. Manufacturers could offer a trade in deal for those that are hardest hit I reckon. i.e get equivalent 650b wheels at half price if you bought 26 wheels 1-2 years ago etc
  • + 4
 ^^^^^^^^^yep me too, bored with this shit, just go ride
  • + 33
 can't ride - stuck at work to earn money to pay for overpriced components
  • + 12
 Uggghhhh l agree with darkstar. But l have my own two cents to add as well: I'm guessing that everyone on here who is all "HURR DURR 26 4 LYFE" has never ridden a 29er or 650b bike, and if you have, it hasn't been in the past 3 years
  • + 2
 lol @ HURR DURR
  • - 15
flag Aibek (Feb 4, 2014 at 4:50) (Below Threshold)
 Is 650b enduro? , lets face it 650b is the bieber of wheel sizes, everybody hates them but they keep winning prizes.
  • + 41
 Unpopular opinion time: People on here are like two-year-olds. Seriously. If they see something they don't like, they won't even give it the benefit of the doubt. My two year old cousin does that with broccoli and various other foods that he's never even tried, just because they LOOK unappealing. So, pinkbikers, stop being idiots, and start trying things before you start bashing them.
  • + 16
 got to admit, I've not yet owned a 650 bike

I currently have a 29'er (Stumpjumper Evo) and spent 25+ years on 26" wheels (and 20" BMX)

would really like to try a 650 bike, as it makes sense to me, really when I think about the balance between 26" and 29'er sizes


great interview PB, can we have more of these types of interviews please Smile
  • + 10
 I could ride a Bronson and have an amazing time - that's not the point. Even if I don't notice any difference from riding a Blur. I don't believe people have the money to pick and choose frames year upon year, unless you're sponsored or wealthy who does? Buying £1500++ full sus frames isn't like choosing what to eat from a menu. As far as im concerned if you blow a shitload of money on a frame then you're tied in for a number of years. The MTB industry doesn't appear to be sympathetic to that apart from manufacturers like banshee who produce convertible frames.

anyway, I'll go out and ride soon I promise - just as soon as ive finished work Smile
  • + 10
 @mnorris122 650b users tend to talk down 26" supporters (HURR DURR 26 4 LYFE) and then cry about how open minded they are.

I don't need to check out 650b wheels because i'm happy with my 26" wheels .
  • + 9
 Yeah right go out and buy every time a new "standard" shows up? Sorta like the latest smartphone each quarter. I've ridden 650 and it's pretty cool and intuitive, but I'll ride on until my 26er breaks or the suspension is toast. Perhaps those on the silly servants payroll or pro deal can shop so often!
  • + 6
 @deeeight. Sir, you have contacts, you know people, you have been around and know more about the MTB industry than the rest of us on PB put together, however that still does not make what you say the inexorable truth.

Can I bring your attention to your assertion that you often bring up that even if everyone on PB and MTBR etc etc, it would only account for 2% of the world sales of MTBs.

Firstly, I do not doubt your figures given your apparent connections to industry journalists, frame designers and brand owners, however there is in your assertion some hugely erroneous logic; namely that anyone who does not express a preference for a 26 inch wheeled frame is, by default, a staunch believer in the wholly superior 650B or 29er wheelsize over a 26 inch one. That is just an utterly ridiculous statement I am afraid. I challenge you to make a PB or MTBR or any other MTB user forum poll and offer the following as a question and options:

1) When I bought my first MTB I chose base primarily on which of the following criteria:
  • + 9
 It's all about selling more bikes. A few years ago the trick was the development of an effctive rear sus system but this was way more substantial change. For the 27.5 fashion go and ask Mavic for this. These are the guys who have the numbers and they follow the market demand because its all about revenues. Apparently those guys are not sure aboute the future of the new trend. NO 27.5 rims are available this year's range while 5 different mofels of 27.5 wheelset models exist. In the 26 range there are double as much wheelsets. This shows that the biggest wheel manufactured is not convinced yet. Now go ask your paid editor.
  • + 17
 God! Stop whining! Buy whatever you want! We are not good enough to really feel a difference anyway. The industry provides what they think people are going to buy. People don't buy what they need, they buy what they want, and what people want is a new trendy and shinny toy. That's why we are all here on pinkbike drooling over gear, me included. Lets face it, we are not pro racers and a 0.5sec advantage is not going to make you win or lose your beer league race. I lose way more time than that due to my own mistakes. Better skills or fitness are going to make a much bigger impact than an few extra mm in your wheel size. You need a new bike and like a 650b? Go for it. You have a good 26in bike and want to change it because it's not 650b? You are a puppet!
  • + 9
 Sorry all... human malfunction with the keyboard and timing... the comment above makes no sense and I have lost the second half of it.... and I cannot be bothered, it won't make any difference anyway right. Enjoy the night all.
  • + 6
 Primary school must have been snowed out today.
  • - 1
 I agree with everyone that 26" will be around for still a very long time. 650B makes a lot of sense and will definitely be the new standard in the very near future. Great for rolling over obstacles without looking goofy like a 29er. The 29er market is progressively shrinking and will eventually fade away from memory. I sure am glad the sales guy at the bike shop wasn't able to convince me to buy a 29er! Sorry 29ers, you guys had a good run, but your days were numbered right from the very beginning.
  • + 8
 I have no problems with "27.5"... Tried it and didn't really like it. Certainly wasn't like "omg so different must buy"... So why are people complaining? Because 26" products are being dropped left and right. Does anybody not have the impression bike industry is trying to force them into new bikes? Lots of you seem to think it is cool to get led around and have your wallet emptied. People fall hook line and sinker for these easily cooked up tech debates because they assume the bike is everything to this sport. Pearls before swine kids. Hope everybody can make the best outta the wheel-size debacle the internet bike nerds and crafty bike marketers have brought down on us.
  • - 4
flag deeeight Plus (Feb 4, 2014 at 8:49) (Below Threshold)
 Its called PROGRESS people. We no longer ride bikes with 1" steerer tubes, cantilever brakes, or with 2" travel suspension forks for downhill.
  • + 20
 to all the kids saying 26 is dead, 26 will dissapear, 26 parts will become obsolete.........
bull
f*cking
shit
this is coming from a guy who rides 20",26", an 29" an might even try a 650 in a few years when my FR/DH bike needs replacing

will we ever see a 650 DJ bike? not f*cking likely, an i cant see 4Xers changing to 650 but 4X is dead riiiiiigghhht....
and
there will always be young and short people for whom a 29 or 650 wheel would just be impracticle what ever style they ride

26 is dead? LOL
  • + 3
 The truth.
  • + 5
 I am annoyed at being boxed in to change my frames, forks, wheels, tires on my mtb. In my life that cost is way more than the gains. I am NOT attached to 26" wheel-size in particular. After all "27.5" is pretty darn close to 26"... But not close enough than your old gear will be compatible... Hmmm!
  • + 2
 Why are you being boxed in? What has 650B done to box you in anymore than 15mm axles, tapered headtubes, thru-axle rear dropouts, or internal bottom brackets (all of which brought equal levels of whining from people on web forums) done already ?
  • + 5
 180mm forks with 1.5 inch ST's are damn near impossible to get hold of an 9speed parts are getting difficult to get hold of

why should i buy a new head set and stem if i wanna change my forks? and if i break a shifter why should i have to replace the whole gear set?

FK the industry
  • - 2
 I have and they don't suit my riding style I like jumps and a playfull bike maybe if I see downhills being won with 650b maybe I would consider one but there just not as fun for how I ride when I rode a 29 er I hit a 15 foot table top but short smaller jum
  • - 2
 Smaller jumps felt sketchy it climbed great and rolled over stuff great but it wasn't as fun my buddy bought a 29er last year and already regrets it.
  • + 5
 consumerism
  • + 4
 There is no arguing which is 'better' overall. Each has specific intended use and will perform for that intended use. Options are not a bad thing. It simply depends where you live, where you ride, and skill set.

For example obvious reasons:
You rarely see larger wheels at Whistler BP.
You rarely see larger wheels on Shore gnar type terrain.
But this market is minuscule on a global scale, manufactures are simply supplying to the masses where the money is. No harm in that.

It's all new and exciting, but don't worry 26 is here to stay and will probably come back stronger once the hype settles. Now go ride your bike.
  • + 10
 yeah in a few years once everybody's stable is full of big wheels they will start marketing "new" nimble, flickable 26 inch. Wink
  • + 2
 D8... Have you heard. Hub adapters, headset adapters, bottom bracket adapters... We have defeated the trap at many points. It is not easy to adapt a 650 to 26 particularly when the big manufacturers that produce affordable mtb carefully design tolerances and clearances to prevent such actions.
  • + 3
 Lol this is funny. Im all for gaining a second every minute. Too bad that second isnt worth the flickability and driftability of any DOWNHILL bike imo. Unless im a world cup rider where every mili second counts
  • - 2
 Bzzzt Wrong! But thanks for playing...

It was mentioned in the article, but to repeat... CONVERT YOUR 26er. A large amount of bikes already out there will fit the 650B wheels and so will a lot of forks. For that matter, just buy a new fork if your existing one doesn't fit. Its not going to alter the frame angles or toptube lengths or anything and the difference in BB height is minor and most will never notice beyond they're now clearing stuff they used to whack pedals on. My first 650B was a conversion, as was most every brand honcho/employee for every company that was an early adopter.
  • + 5
 hold on, i thought they were tweaking bb height,tt,angles, trail etc on "650" ftames, so its all bollox then?
  • + 3
 Sound like youre putting the "cart before the horse" there protour
  • + 5
 I mean deeeight* forget whos who now lol
  • + 17
 deeight at it again.

Comparing wheel size to steerer diameter is about as legitimate as comparing stick shift to fuel injection.

It comes down to preference. Obviously you can feel a difference between wheel sizes or you wouldn't so adamant that progress has been made. More obviously, if there's a difference so fundamental as wheel size, you can expect people will have preferences for legitimate reasons.

You would look less like a fool to consider wheel size choice to be similar to choosing certain head angles, BB heights, stem length, travel, tire width, tire pressure, grip diameter, bar width, air-vs-coil - the list goes on.

You think a person that puts offset bushings to tweak geometry can't feel both the positives and negatives of a wheel size change? Who are you to say if the positives outweigh the negatives for their style?

Wheel size fundamentally effects bike handling. If you don't feel it, maybe you don't handle a bike the same way others do. Do you like feet up scrub drifting? Then maybe big wheels won't suit you as much. Do you care to go 0.5s faster per minute? Then maybe they will. To paint everyone with the same brush is juvenile and insulting. Not everyone rides where and how you do.

Your attitude is clearly that someone who prefers the handling of a 26er is a whining internet warrior. It's probably quite hard for you to believe that some people who can ride bikes a whole lot better than you, or not, have tried both and *gasp* don't agree with your sentiments on bigger wheels.

Next you'll be telling me I'm a loser for putting an angleset on my brand new 26" steel hardtail that I bought 2 weeks ago. It sure as hell aint dead.
  • + 1
 ^+1 for Kramster. Very well said.
  • + 1
 D8, just trying to express my annoyance. Not trying to win a prize or compete with you.

Trying to put different wheel-sizes into frames not designed for them is like trying to stuff 10lbs of shit in a 5lb bag, the result is going to be a stinky mess. D8, why don't all brands offer 650 dropout tabs? Why did 26 fork arch clearances drop? Greedy.
  • + 3
 Didn't see any 27.5s on the top of the podium last year in downhill hmmmm
  • + 5
 For all you clowns bitching about how this is some marketing scam simply for bike companies to make money. What the f*ck do you think every other advancement to modern mtb's has been? Do you think if 650b wasn't around every bike company would stop putting out new and improved 26" models every year? Arguing that its just a scam to make money is a stupid waste of breathe. Of course they want to make money, why the f*ck else would they be in business! Were you pissed when disk brakes hit the scene? Were you pissed when trail bikes started having slacker angles/ better overall geo? No. Not to mention that 650 is actually better than 26. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that a larger wheel rolls over things better. Even if it's marginally better, it's still better. So what's the issue? You can have a bike with the same proven geometry that doesn't get hung up as easily as 26 and feels just as snappy in every other aspect. How is this a problem? 26 is not going to just disappear, as long as there are people out there riding it. Why would the industry just stop selling a certain product? If money can still be made on something it will be. New frame designs for 26 might become more rare in the future, but wheels, tires, etc. will be around for a LONG time. Aftermarket / upgrade sales still account for a big chunk of the market since not everyone buys a new bike every year. Manufacturers aren't going to just abandon those sales.
  • + 2
 Refer to kramster and jcklondon's posts
  • + 5
 26" riders are becoming the new rejectionist rebels of the bike industry. At first I was stoked on 650, not as much anymore since they haven't lived up to the hype. I'm not making a lifetime pledge, but I will be rolling them for awhile. I'm disapointed there hasn't been more experimentation with 650 front /26 rear 'moto' combo, especially for DH. It requires a whole new frame geometry, unless you have adjustable BB height.

26 definitely is not going away, but there will probably be significantly less selection of tires and rims because of the emergence of 650b, which is a too bad.
  • + 1
 I don't understand why the sea to sky population wont adopt the 650b. IMO, it's the best wheel size for that part of the world. If you are riding in serious moraine rock like whats found in the Rocky Mountain areas (in Alberta or close to), yes 26" is the way to go. But stuff like Whistler and the North Shore, 650b is the way to go. 29" is just gay.
  • - 3
 Haha deeeight, most of the people you listed supporting the move to this ridiculous wheel size are people that will profit from it. Of course they embrace it you dipshit.

Speaking of dipshits, Satanslittlehelper, if you think that every bike company puts out new & "IMPROVED" models every year, you are lost. The money mongers that live here (in this industry) continuously look for ways they can change & reinvent the wheel, (pun intended, I guess). It never needs reinventing. There are few problems that need addressing with modern bicycles that haven't been solved one way or another. It's just a f*cking bicycle for f*ck sakes. You still see derailleurs everywhere because they're profitable & they afford companies the ability to conjure up more & more silly contraptions to squash a shock for idiots like you to wet your shorts over. Things continue to exist in many industries that make no sense in any way except for profitability. Bigger wheels have one petty advantage to offset all the disadvantages. The general public will never know the difference until they go to buy a new part & can't get what they should be able to because dickbags like this one wanted to change shit for a $. Most riders who know what's going on, appear to be pissed about it.

As long as I can keep my 24's rollin' I'm fine.
  • - 4
flag deeeight Plus (Feb 4, 2014 at 19:27) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah yeah... apparently multiple US pro gravity series podiums, wins and an overall title for 650B DH bikes isn't any DH wins. At what stage do the deniers stop ignoring actual race results ?
  • + 14
 At what point will you realize some people don't give a shit if it's 1% faster. I ride what I do because I like the way it handles. Physics works both ways. You cannot tell me physics says it rolls better, and turn around and say it's not less playful, slower to accelerate, harder to whip, harder to break into a drift, harder to swap full left to right rapidly, cuts a longer radius in a turn for an equal lean angle and has less clearance over the back wheel in steeps.
My real world testing has show one benefit and many disadvantages. That is my opinion for my riding. Time to stop being a know it all and admit not everyone shares your opinion after giving it a solid try.
  • + 1
 D8: "At what stage do the deniers stop ignoring actual race results ?"

When the race results come at the World Cup DH races, World Championships, and ews overall. I'm not saying it won't happen, but it hasn't yet.
  • - 2
 woohoo! a new comment from peelight!! Smile


*goes to negprop without bothering to read*
  • + 6
 I dont think anyone disputes that there are a couple of benefits from bigger wheels.

The MAJOR problem is the fact that by changing ONE element (wheel size) we end up with a huge amount of redundant parts (frames! forks! suspension! etc)

Everyone can except technological advances, however this is too expensive for the benefits that it offers.

PS yes I have ridden a 27,5" and it worked well (better in certain conditions than the 26) but not SO well that I said WOW f*ck me I'm gonna change my whole set up, buy a new bike etc
  • + 4
 Gotta be honest, to that point stewartluxton, I agree 100%. I don't have anything against 27.5. I do like my 26 though and I like all my 26 parts. The marketing strategy has failed on me. Ill be keeping my 26 frames and wheels as long as possible just to suck the life out of my parts.
  • - 8
flag deeeight Plus (Feb 5, 2014 at 5:22) (Below Threshold)
 Every year there's a NEW standard or something that results in redundant parts. Its been happening for 30 years in mountain bikes. Either learn to adapt or get the hell out of this sport.
  • + 4
 Back to square one d8. Kramster already addressed this few posts up. Uwotm8
  • + 1
 @freeride-forever Name one bike that has remained exactly the same for more than 2 model years...Oh right, you can't. There are plenty of other changes like this that make older bikes obsolete. Hardly any fork companies are making forks with a straight 1 1/8 steerer at this point. There are thousands of frames out there that can't accept a tapered steerer. So I guess all those people should be up in arms and screaming about having to buy a new bike and how non-tapered is just better? You say -" You still see derailleurs everywhere because they're profitable & they afford companies the ability to conjure up more & more silly contraptions to squash a shock for idiots like you to wet your shorts over. " - This! Hahahaha How the hell does the use of derailleurs pertain to anything besides a drive train? I mean I get that suspension design has evolved to combat pedaling forces, chain growth, etc. But derailleurs are still around because they make the most sense for the given application. What do you want a shaft drive bike? And I'm the dipshit? Thanks for the laugh chief!
  • + 2
 D8, either learn to debate or get out of the comment section. You starting to look like a senile old man, repeating yourself and ignoring the details of those you are attempting to ridicule.
When bars reached 800mm did you quit the sport or buy a shorter bar? Are you a wide bar denier despite clear advantages due to the physics of leverage? Or do you just have a preference based on your riding style.
  • + 1
 oh deeight just stop it already! I can't hear this shit anymore...
  • - 5
flag deeeight Plus (Feb 5, 2014 at 8:24) (Below Threshold)
 Yes...because i'm the one looking senile ignoring details... I have narrower shoulders for my height than most so I prefer narrower bars on my bikes, not to mention the close spacing of trees on the trails I like to ride. 800mm bars are fine for some folks and some trails but not for me. I simply don't bother to buy an 800mm bar but I don't care that they exist or are driving out the production of the 680ish bars I like. That's the difference between me and progress deniers like the folks who flock to the 650B articles.
  • + 2
 Now, if you would just get on here and say "I prefer bigger wheels on my bikes, not to mention the type of terrain on the trails I like to ride. 26 in wheels are fine for some folks and some trails but not for me. I simply don't bother to buy an 26 in wheeled bike but I don't care that they exist. That's the difference between me and progress deniers like the folks who don't like tapered steerers"

Try it. People might actually respect you for it. How many times do we have to say 650B is fine to exist and suits some people better than 26 before you stop labeling us as 'deniers'. Yes, you are the fool ignoring the details.
  • - 2
 @Tabletop84... Then stop reading any article that clearly in the title relates to 650B/27.5 wheels. You clicked to read the article, its your own damn fault. You have no one to blame for not liking it but yourself.

@Kramster... Been tried, doesn't work. People who whine on forums have no effect on the industry (bicycles, cameras, cars, mcdonalds food, etc) as they're people who typically have too much time on their hands. I have time because I work from home but the majority of folks do not and the ones actually spending money in bike stores on new bikes each year at best read reviews but never post comments/reviews themselves. They do their reviewing with their wallets. And the wallet reviews were already leading to diminishing sales of 26ers, especially DH bikes. Its a tiny market segment. DJ/Slope/DS/4X/Trials/FR/DH combined are a tiny portion of most brands sales each year and brands are in business to make money, not lose it just because a small group of people only want to ride those diciplines. There are small niche brands that only cater to them already and they'll do fine but when they also start trying out alternative wheel sizes... its because either they as owner-riders want to have them, or its because their ACTUAL customers (the ones actually spending money, not the catalog browsers who simply talk about owning something) are demanding it.
  • + 0
 Right about that.
  • + 5
 D8
The big problem I have with you is that you like to use the words denier and whiner when referring to anyone that doesn't share your opinion. I also work from home, hence available time. If you're insinuating I don't ride much and don't buy much, then you're pointing the finger in the wrong direction. And if you think I'm alone, you're also quite wrong.

Chromag still sells more 26 than any other size. And let us not forget that Commencal makes all 3 wheelsizes in a single class of bike and the most popular choice for the employees is the 26 and the favorite of the Pinkbike testers was the 26.

There will be a market for something that the majority of people do not want, not because they are fools, but because they are very particular about the handling of their bike and they've made a choice with eyes wide open. Maybe you should try opening yours and maybe you'll accept there are 2 legitimate sides to this argument.

If you think all these current sales results are based 100% on performance and handling without marketing influence you are a bigger fool than you appear. Some people, even though they are the vast minority, are selling 650's to go back to 26. Is there some nasty name you want to call them?
  • - 1
 No whiners are the folks who come into these reviews only to bitch about whatever is reviewed. Doesn't matter if its 650B, a new headset standard, the weekly product reviews, or whatever. A lot of folks only want to complain about stuff they aren't going to buy anyway. The deniers are the ones who like the ostrich in the looney tunes cartoons, think that by burying their head in the sand they'll be able to ignore all the changes that are happening in the sport. If you want to stop the death of 26" wheels, spend more money (collectively) on the wheel format. Quickly. Because the reason a brand like Giant switched so many models to 650B (both 26ers and 29ers) was because they could see what was happening with their dealers.

Chromag is one of those niche brands I referred to that cater to the gravity diciplines. But their entire annual sales are less than some large bicycle stores do let alone many other bike brands. As to people making choices with eyes wide open... really? That's what you think? You think all the anti-other size arguers on here have actually spent time on things other than 26ers (or 24s for that matter) ? For a format that has gone to virtually no bike models to dozens of models in 5 years, I'd be surprised if more than a few thousand PB members actually have saddle time on a 650B.
  • + 5
 OK deeeight. I have composed myself after some dodgy keyboard (read human) malfunctions and wish to raise a point about a point that you repeatedly raise. Let me give you one of your quotes:

"its because their ACTUAL customers are demanding it."

I am a language teacher; it's my job to deconstruct language and enable others to then reconstruct it. I understand the nature of language in a way you understand the bike industry, and your repeated use of the word "demand" is causing issues here I suspect.

There are two branches of demand: creation and fulfillment. Your position assumes that the "demand" seen in bike shops across the (well, not Japan yet, 27.5 are rare as rocking horse sh%t and only now appearing in shops) world is one of fulfillment; queues of customers who have been knocking on the doors of the bike shops for years demanding a new wheel size that the MTB big players have been refusing to supply until now.

Others here are coming at it from the other side; seeing the demand as creation by the industry, which, as you say rightly, is part of what being in business is about. I am in business and I do the same with my advertising.

When you suggest that anyone seeing it as creation is deluded, an ostrich etc etc, you are denying what has been part of business for years, demand creation. It exists deeeight, whether you like it or not. Sure, keep your head in the sand if you want and deny it all you want, however it exists, only a fool denies it, and only a fool who does not understand business. Equally, as you say, someone who suggests the rise of 650B is purely an industry conspiracy is the victim of an overly active imagination in my opinion. Learn a little humility Sir, your obviously relevant opinions here would count for so much more if you were to.
  • - 3
 I don't mean to say the consumer market is demanding 650B specifically but they're definitely proving with their pocket books that they want something other than 26". Most every brand was already dropping 26ers from their XC lineups in favour of 29ers before the 650B explosion started happening 21 months ago (when Nino Schurter won the first world cup XC on one). Rocky Mountain for example was onto 650B later than say Jamis, KHS and Haro but obviously earlier than Trek or Giant. At the time they redesigned the Altitude from having 26er and 29er versions to JUST being 650B, they'd already eliminated the vertex 26er hardtails due to lack of sales, as well as half the entry level XC hardtails that were 26ers below the Vertex series. For this year, they've dropped 26ers altogether except for the Slayer and Flatline and Flow, and the very bottom most XC hardtail. The Element full suspension is now 29er only, The Thunderbolt 650Bs have essentially replaced the 26er Elements, the Altitudes are still 650B, and there's a host of 650B hardtail XC models. The Slayer is due for a redesign this year though so we'll see what is revealed at Sea Otter but I will not be surprised if it becomes a 650B also. The Flatline's probably overdue now for a redesign as well come to think of it. Now RMB went that way because the 26ers had stopped selling essentially.

As is often pointed out, exceptional bike handlers notwithstanding, its not the easiest thing to jump a 29er, and there are geometry limitations to really long travel with them, whereas 650Bs are very flickable shall we say (honestly, comparing identical brand/model tires and rims, the weight difference of 26 to 650B is at best a hundred grams per wheel even with slightly longer spokes) enough so that Logan Binggeli has backflipped his KHS DH 650B consecutive years at Redbull Rampage and Stevie Smith won the crankworx big air competition on a Devinci 650B last summer.
  • + 7
 People are buying 650 cause they realise manufacturers are stopping 26,nobody was unhappy with 26 till someone made 650b the only option. Manufacturers get to make a shed load of new money with the 'need' to jump to 650. None of this crap is for the consumer,get a grip.
  • + 1
 @ Freeride-forever:
Just the other day, overheard at the LBS: "I was in real estate and investment banking, but moved into the bike industry so I could make some real money..." Get a clue.

@ minty1: quite a few people were running 650b wheels in frames and forks (any Fox) that would fit them about 5+ years ago, when there weren't any 650b bikes. How is that not consumer driven? Have you ridden one?
  • + 3
 Must have been a shitty banker.
  • + 2
 Yes I've ridden several,noticed very little,if any,difference at all,personally I don't need the extra half second on a full decent/climb whatever that they say you can 'benefit' as I'm not racer enough. I know people who ran wheels as you described,mainly to see for themselves what the fuss was about,they all reverted cause although they where better in some instances they where worse in others.
  • + 0
 Actually here on pinkbike, TONS of folks were complaining about 650B bike reviews even before companies started dumping 26er models. Same way they were whining about 29er bike reviews. Same way they complained about Tapered headsets, 15QR fork dropouts, anything new / alternative comes along, you can be damned sure people will complain on here.

In a sport where the difference between first place and fifth place often comes down to a few seconds (such as DH racing), 1 second per minute advantage adds up after four minutes of racing to several spots better placing.
  • - 3
 ^^^ That's math and logic. Watch the neg. props pile up.
  • + 1
 Wonder what people are going to think about a large American brand that likes the colour "red" in their graphics, who are launching one of their popular suspension bikes in 650 next season Wink
  • + 2
 Thanks for the clarification deeeight. Can I ask you how you know the sales figures for RMB? If you know someone in the loop, maybe you could have a word and try and convince them that if they were to go public on some of the numbers, it might go some way to getting the conspiracy theorists to, at least see another point of view, and at best, even maybe put a sock in it?

Honestly, I found this next line genuinely surprising since it doesn't sit with the experience of some local LBS owners I know over here. "Now RMB went that way because the 26ers had stopped selling essentially". Maybe Japan is "lagging behind" yet 26ers haven't been stagnating and are still selling very well over here if the LBS owners I went riding with as recently as last Wednesday are being honest with me.

I am in no way accusing you of not telling the truth, however could you see how this would be surprising to people over here?

Yes, it is only a small cohort, yet in Japan we have been unable to read about 650B except in overseas publications until the autumn editions of the print mags last year here. My local LBS owner told me only a couple of months or so ago that he though that "26ers were not going away anytime soon", however if things progress as they seem to be, he may not have the choice to sell any in the mid term future if the big players stop making them. Anyways, as ever, thanks for your comments Sir and have a good weekend.
  • + 1
 Wow... how much time have you invested into this thread alone deeeight? I'm starting to wonder if you don't have a vested interest beyond wanting more variety in 650b bikes.

I'm totally plagiarising, but you sir are a "wheel size evangelist".
  • + 1
 Not all companies will quit making 26" if there is still some demand for it, and there obviously still is. But there will likely be less selection of tires and rims at the high end.

The 650b does give a racer an added one second every minute in a race, but if a disadvantage in agility compared to a 26" caused a racer even one crash during the EWS series, the bigger wheel wouldn't be worth it.

Nico Voulliouz won an EWS on a 650b by just a slim margin and he was probably correct when he have his bigger wheel the credit for the win.

Bur shortly after that win, Nico was injured in a crash and was out for the rest of the season. We don't know if the wheel size was a factor, but it is a perspective to consider and that could be part of why some DH racers might hesitate to jump over to 650b.
  • + 2
 And Stevie Smith won the crankworks big air DH on a 650B and set the fastest qualifiying times at the world cup final (or was it worlds... i forget now) on a 650B but also crashed in the finals. Perhaps DH bike racing should adopt the formula that they use for Rampage and is used in ski/snowboard... two runs to get your best final time. That would certainly get more spectators to stick around spending money longer at events.
  • - 1
 if they did two runs there wouldn't be enough time in the day.... spectators would need to set up camp.
  • - 1
 They would if they did as other sports do and limit the final field after qualifiying to a certain number of spots. I mean if you're incapable of posting a good enough time in qualifying then you shouldn't be taking a spot in the finals. Sandbaggers should stay home.
  • + 2
 Nice... you referenced two relatively flat and easy courses where you basically pedal your a$$ off to the finish line and then feel like barfing your guts out? Those aren't "real" DH courses like Champery, Schladming or Val di Sol.
  • + 4
 D8, Having two runs would take some excitement out of it, especially if conditions were worse in the second run. I like the big qualifying fields, gives you a chance to see more racers and gives the up and coming racers experience. If only 20 or 30 guys qualified there wouldn't be as much incentive for teams to sponsor racers or to travel very far.
  • + 2
 Protour nailed it
  • - 1
 Please stop deeeight. Your just embarrassing yourself
  • + 1
 Seriously that's the best retort you can come up with?
  • + 1
 Sry would you like me to write an article?
  • + 4
 Shock News just in: I went and took some initiative and tried to track down the RMB sales data that D8 keeps espousing, and guess what, I found this:

www.canadiancyclist.com/races12/Supplier_Q3_2012.pdf

These are the sales figures for 2011 to 2012.
Take a look and educate yourself people.

Some interesting point to note is that sales of 29ers doubled in a one year period (193% growth), whilst simultaneously 26 inch MTB bikes (including full sus, front sus and rigid) sales fell by between 20 and 50% depending on the period you choose.

Simple conclusions:
a) 29ers could be said to have been eroding 26 inch sales recently for Canadian bike makers. AKA Consumers are buying many more 29ers over 26ers.
b) The 26 inch market is in decline at point of sale regardless of what we and our close mates think.
c) There would appear to be a logical choice for the companies between either trying to stave off falling sales of 26 inch, or promote an alternative,
d) It makes business sense to put marketing efforts (demand creation) into 650B then given all this.

It is a shame that we will all have to eat a little humble pie and say, D8, you speak the truth about sales of 26ers.
  • - 1
 Banshee offers 650b dropouts, but anyone riding gnarly shore wouldn't even thing about 650. This new sales scheme is focused on peeps who don't have a f*cking clue, are there really that many lame riders who don't have a clue?
  • + 2
 More pple with 29ers = less ppl with 26. Thats pretty obvious
  • + 1
 I don't know that it's as simple as that, many mountain bikers own more than one bike. Multiple wheel sizes. Also, even though decline in 26 sales is evident, there is also a decline in available 26 models. Manufactures replaced 26 with 650 and 29 models, no shit you sell less 26. Im not defending the "26 will never die" viewpoint btw.... this whole debate sickens me, but everyone needs to be realistic. This is a industry driven shift, not a consumer one.
  • + 2
 " Not all companies will quit making 26" if there is still some demand for it [on Pinkbike], and there obviously still is [demand on Pinkbike]. But there will likely be less selection of tires and rims at the high end.

There, PROTOUR, fixed that for you.
  • - 1
 I own lots, but I decided two years ago that I wasn't going to be building anymore 26ers for myself EXCEPT for my snow bike. It is bigger wheels only for me for now on (and the snow bike is effectively a 29er given the diameter of the tires). I knew where the industry was going, and I knew that longer travel 650B and 29ers were in the development pipeline amongst the major brands.

In 2012 we saw 650B achieve dominance in XC racing, last year we saw it at the high end trail bike end (that Santa Cruz's largest dealers suddenly found themselves stuck with 26er models when after the release of the Bronson all their on-the-fence customers suddenlly want to order one was pretty damn telling as to where folks with money actually were spending it). This year we have Giant leading the leap as it were converting virtually every 26er model other than the DH rigs and lowest entry model hardtails to 650B, even switching away from 29ers on some models... well... you can argue till your blue in the face that 26ers are superior in whatever situation for whatever reason, but they're not superior when it comes to actual sales and that's what matters to bicycle brands. They're rushing to meet the demands of customers who apparently were ACTUALLY waiting for a middle-step size between 26er and 29er. This year's sales numbers will be interesting to say the least. Because if people with 4k to spend on a full suspension boutique trail bike in 650B than in 26", then the odds favour the same result with the people looking to spend $700 for a big brand hardtail.
  • + 1
 anyone got a plugin for my browser that will negprop d.ate so I can I can contribute without losing time and possiblymissing out on other stuff?

cheers
  • + 0
 Which just goes and provides further proof to my bringing logic and facts to discussions on here being a waste a time.
  • + 2
 + propped you on that one Wink
  • + 2
 Calling big wheels progression and technology instead of preference, while accusing people who don't share your preferences after trail testing 'deniers and haters' is neither factual nor logical, regardless of what sales data might suggest.
  • + 2
 @Darkstar.

"even though decline in 26 sales is evident, there is also a decline in available 26 models. Manufactures replaced 26 with 650 and 29 models, no shit you sell less 26."

The data I referenced is for sales for 2012 as compared to 2011. If your assertion were correct, we should be able to look at the bike product range for companies in 2012 and see.....

a) 650B models and
b) exclusive 29er versions of products that used to be 26er until 2011 and that then were not offered as 26ers in 2012.

The product catalogs I looked at don't agree with what you are saying.

What D8 has been saying, and that the data bears true, is that, at the point of sale, 29ers were more popular than 26ers over the past 5 years or so and that the CEOs and Directors of those bike companies have a duty of care to their employees to ensure that sales, and therefore jobs, can be maintained.
  • + 1
 They didn't even chart 650B as a catergory in 2011-2012, because there were only two brands at the time with production models (Jamis and KHS) and neither are distributed well in canada.
  • + 1
 Obviously, orientdave's account has been hacked by D8
  • + 3
 I like that!! Nice chuckle over lunch... cheers. I suspect it may be more likely that I have a mind that increasingly understands that my own views can forever change and be changed by experience... or good old fashioned facts.
  • + 1
 "Only a fool doesn't change his mind"

-someone once said
  • + 2
 I had to do a lot of research into this, there is tomes of data to trawl through, but in the end I think I found the answer Smile

www.pinkbike.com/photo/10614027

now lets go ride!
  • + 94
 Wheelsizes are like tattoos - if you like it, get it. If you don't, don't.

Ride your own way.

Unless your trying to compete (at any level) isn't the main priority of any rider to have fun?

Have fun on 29'ers? Ride a 29'er.
Have fun on a 650'er? Ride a 650.
Have fun on a 26'er? Ride a 26'er.

Have fun on a scoot'er - go to hell, your an abomination. A bastard child caught between the cycling and skating world. No one likes you.

(great article though, I enjoy reading about the efforts people go to in the industry.)
  • + 28
 Dude, this is what you don't get. Nobody has a problem with the 27.5 as as size, the problem is that the industry is trying to make 26 obsolete for no apparent reason. It's not like the 29'', when the 29'' came out, you still had choices, even on the same model.
  • + 1
 More than right spyretto. An argument to that is how can the industry 'convert' everyone to 27.5 or 29 if people aren't interested.

If the masses keep demanding 26 inch then businesses would be silly to stop making it. Only reason I could assume the industry is jumping on the 27.5 wagon is because more people want it.

What other reason would they have for making more 27.5? (I assume) 26'ers require less materials to make, there for cheaper to make, whereas 27.5/29'ers would require new tooling/more material.
  • + 5
 Nah, you're all wrong again. 2 wheels suck, unicycle is where the fun is. If everyone would just try a unicycle they would see that this whole 2 wheel thing is just a conspiracy that the industry is forcing down our throat.
  • + 2
 You must be really fun at parties Protour
  • + 3
 @OzMike I would agree with you but you do realize that people dont always have a choice. Just have a look at the entry level market for hardtails right now. Most of the 26'' are gone. Does it make sense to you? Do you think there was sufficient time for people to choose? And it's entry level models, most of the people buying a 500e hardtail are not really following MTB, they dont even know what a 650B is
  • + 2
 I don't think any company is actively trying to make 26" obsolete, but they are doing it by chasing more sales. Does that make sense? Passively killing it off I guess?
  • + 1
 I can say in my local area alone no one has purchased a 26 over the last two seasons myself included,and my LBS has not even brought any 26er's into the shop unless ordered and had only one last season.if that is any indicator of shops overall then yes 26er's will end up being special orders with a lot less choices from manufacturers for for those who do.it is the sign of the times like it or love it,just get out and ride what you have no matter wheel size!
  • + 2
 This is a major problem with the cycling industry, and it always has been. The drive to introduce new and ever changing product sometimes comes at a cost (no pun intended). I love technological advancement, but sometimes we lose perfectly good designs or products for no apparent reason other than to make more money. There is nothing wrong with 26" wheels, yet somehow the industry is trying to push that size out. Why? What purpose does that serve? Would they not make more money having choices in wheel sizes?

We rode 26" forever yet now they are considered useless? I don't get it. I will be riding a 27.5" bike this year, but would happily ride a 26" bike (again).
  • + 1
 This is madness!
  • + 1
 good article from someone's original perspective. first he was thinking outside the box now his thinking is the box. nbd. it happens all the time to everything. All i know is i lose ride time every time i involve myself with these deba
  • + 3
 ReadingRacing is right. the industry is making what people are buying.. right now, what is selling is 27.5 and 29. Yes, we all still have 26" bikes and love them, most of them DH bikes.. but, the "average consumer" isn't buying DH bikes, they're buying XC and trail bikes, those are more efficient with larger wheels. blame science, it's not an industry conspiracy.

All I have are 26" bikes, but my next AM rig will probably have 27.5" wheels. Pedaling up is a pain, might as well make it easier, right?.. the DH bike will still have 26" though for quick turns, low CG and lots of room for squish...
  • + 1
 DrSanchez,there is nothing wrong with 26" wheel size and they will still have a place,remember 26 became the standard because of availability of rims and tires back to Mtn bikes Klunker roots and took off from there.you can only put so much blame on the industry,a product has to measure up too,consumers are a picky lot and not easily fooled,wheel size can have effect on your ride and or the style or terrain you are particular of.I happen to own all three sizes,29 XC for point and shoot,27.5 for Enduros,tech,just about everything and a 26 Slope style for ride parks and steep gnar.for me it is worth having three wheel types,but for others a one bike fits all may fit your bill and that's all you can afford,but I think it is great to have a choice but unfortunately 26" is now going to suffer a bit for certain discipline's and may be rightly so! get out and demo all wheel sizes you just might surprise yourself! really these are good times for bikes and riders in general!
  • + 1
 Money talks. The industry will make 26" bikes if that's what people buy. And there are plenty available still this year with many of the major brands still offering a high end long travel 26" bike in their range. If people continue to buy them in quantity, the companies will continue to offer them. But that's not what is happening--most sales are going to 27.5 and 29. One thing the industry will not make is a bike for internet whiners.
  • + 3
 what came first the chicken or the egg? Did cyclists want bigger wheels first or were they introduced then the industry made us think we needed them?

It has to be said that I am not taking sides, just thinking out loud.
  • + 1
 The industry...that is to say the four or five guys who invented the sport as far as production bikes go, wanted bigger wheels first but couldn't source the tires needed for the bikes they were building so they had to "make do" with 26 inch wheels. The third choice became the only choice because of tire availability. That's it. Well tire availability is no longer an issue but people seem to want to keep clinging to the third choice forever it seems.
  • + 1
 Exactly,26" made sense for it's time and the industry built around it,just makes sense that wheel size should mature too with all of the wonderful useful technology that we have access to for Mth bikes today!
  • + 1
 horses for courses. good time to be a mtn biker. period. from wheel sizes, amazing suspension to full blown bike parks in just the last decade. if one was to really worry about wheel size and the future get started on a 20 now! it's all down to aquired early skills in the end that you can adapt to change with whatever wheel size.
  • + 0
 That's true, folks who start with BMX also usually don't have built-in size prejudices.
  • + 4
 i think so. atleast it's what i've experienced, deeeight. i have a preference for 26 and still ride 20s but i've owned 29s and just recently started riding some 650b. any damn day on dirt on 2 wheels is a good day.

for me it is quite simple a.riding style + b.terrain + c.wheel size = fun X 100. abc the equation with whatever one wants. if it doesn't =funX100 then one needs another outlet.
  • + 45
 Ailments of 26? Like what? Like you needed to sell more stuff and ruin the inter-compatibility of older components? Don't get me wrong. Having choice is nice, but limiting the mid travel range only on 650b is not choice. 26 is not dead but you guys are really trying to kill it. And you're trying hard!
  • + 6
 That is where 26 seems the most endangered, in the high end mid travel market. But it should be safe for 26 for awhile in DH. I laugh when i think of the prospect of people stocking up on 26" tires because they might become extinct. Reminds me of when I bought a few extra 8 speed high end cassettes cause I was mad Shimano was switching to 9 speed. I never used any of them, eventually became unstubborn and tried 9 speed and liked it. Anyone need an xtr 12-32? Probably can get more on ebay than what i originally paid for it though.

When you say "you guys" are trying to kill it, you are actually referring to cunsumers, not the industry. I know it might feel like a industry-wide conspiracy against your interests, but it's not. Not every company is eliminating 26, just the ones who are willing to take the risk because that is what they think consumers will want.

I for one would like to personally thank Kirk Pacenti for his willingness to try something new and his perseverance to make it stick. Cool that Grant Peterson is also connected to the idea. I haven't bought a 650 yet, but whenever I test one I'm impressed and look forward to getting one some day. As far as maneuverability and agility is concerned, it doesn't feel much different than 26, just a bit faster with improved traction and a little smoother ride.

Funny that little companies like Haro and Jamis knew right away that 650b was a hit, while big companies like Specialized said it was unnecessary and are now eating their words.

Only part of the interview i didn't like was the discussion about another tire size between 26 and 29, that would me redundant. If anything, try a 36" or something.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYt6IqaHk_Q&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I'm surprised that bigger wheel sizes haven't been tried with road bikes, imagine how much faster a 900c would be than a 700c. Maybe just for taller guys, but it would haul ass and be fun I think
  • - 1
 The consumers are just fueling the furnace. The industry and the total omitting of the 26 platform IS killing.
Risking and trying something new is not the same as releasing a completely new lineup ONLY in 650b, while not having an alternative to it in 26in form.

Good way of trying something new -> Yeti, which has the same platform in different sizes (SB66, SB75, SB95)
Bad way of trying something new -> Santacruz and Kona offering a mid travel platform only in 650b.
  • + 1
 You nailed it on the head when you said the consumers are feeding the furnace...because if consumers aren't interested it doesn't survive. And then you completely contradicted yourself with everything else you said!
  • + 3
 A question I have is why try and kill off any wheel size? I'm going to be riding a 650b for the first time this year, but I would happily ride a 26" if it came down to it. I would even try a 29'er provided it worked for my needs. Each wheel size is good for varying needs. Ever see a huge dude riding a 26" bike? It looks very odd. One the other hand, ever see a short person riding one? Equally as odd. The point? Each size has its merit. Choose what's right and giv'r balls.
  • - 2
 @drsanchez. it's pretty simple. if a couple major companies change the majority of their bikes to a different size, they will sell the bikes (because of their low pricepoint, and consumers dont have the choice!). then other companies will follow suit, thinking, oh man, giant did that? they are a huge company, they know something we don't. they are influencing the market and pushing this change (whether needed or not, long term they are making money off of it)
then what happens next? take a guess. they have the ability to do it again. and again and again... and make money.
  • - 1
 I could actually see the sport splitting up in the future and there being some companies who stick to 26 who develop more of a cult following, and others who just do 650b and 29 as more of the mainstream...but if 26" continues to dominate the gravity racing scene in the ews and World Cup races, maybe momentum could eventually switch back to it, but it seems like 650 might at least take over enduro eventually. Time will tell.

I think there will still be high end 26 parts available as long as there are mtb's, just not as much selection.

One bad thing about all the sizes is that it probably makes tire companies less likely to make mud spike tires, because it is less profitable to make a niche product in different sizes because of the increase in manufacturing costs.
  • - 2
 @Protour... regarding selling old hordes of stuff, yes ebay or retrobike. Hell I just sold a Fat Chance Big One Inch rigid fork on ebay to a german yesterday for $550USD... when they were new 20 years ago they cost about $300. A buddy of mine sold a Syncros powerlite fork on ebay to another german (euros love old canadian/american mtb history) for $222.50US. Neither of us actually got our forks new though and neither paid all that much for them. A NOS Super Monster T sold on ebay for MORE than the thing was originally retail a decade ago only a month ago.
  • + 0
 Crazy, think I paid less than $40 for the xtr casettes in the mid 90's on a Performance mail order closeout and just saw a few new ones on ebay for between $100 and $400. Sometimes being a parts hoarder pays off if you buy good stuff. IMO, the holy grail of old bike parts collecting is the original Rock Shox fork with the pink stickers.
  • + 23
 When will someone in the industry step up and admit that rider size should be a factor in choosing wheel size? It's not just about travel or trail type. At 6' 3" a 29er is different for me than for my 5' 7" buddy. Ideally, each bike size would come with a different wheel size. It only makes sense. That level of personalization is obviously too expensive for companies, so no one talks about it. It's still all about the money.
  • + 3
 thats what they do for road bikes...the 650 size is for small size frames and regular size is 700...good comment scaliwag! Btw this is where the inovators got the "NEW" mtb wheel sizes from....existing road sizes.....
  • + 4
 As a 6'6" person trying to build a new DH bike I am all over this. My Enduro 29 is the first AM bike to fit me correctly, and I've been doing this for 20 years. It's been my experience that people complaining about wheel size are very average and can't see that different wheels for different people in different places might make sense. The good news is that someone who says '26 for life' is someone you can stop listening to right away.
  • + 0
 Check out the Liteville website. Jo Klieber is one of the world's most brilliant bike and component designers. He has a lot to say about rider size vs wheel diameter.
www.liteville.de/t/25_29.html
  • + 3
 Still not convinced smaller people should have playful bikes with lots of rolling resistance and the opposite for very tall ones.
  • + 2
 EnuroManiac, I agree. Ideally people can choose whatever they like. But generally speaking, at least to some degree, wheel size is relative to body size. It has to be. How can we assume that frame size, handlebar width, seat height, even crank length are all relative to a person's size, but the wheels wouldn't be? It's not just about the bike or the trail although they are both factors. I'm taller than average, and 29 doesn't feel big to me in general. It feels like it "fits." Different trails can impact how comfortable my big wheels feel, but that's nothing new. Some trails make me want a bigger/smaller frame, higher/lower seat, longer/shorter cranks, etc. Why not wheels? Which is exactly why we all need... more bikes! Smile But when it comes to average trail riding, I think wheel size could often correspond to bike and body size.
  • + 1
 oops forgot to mention the 24" size wheel used for small mountain bikes for ages,,,,guess we have lots of choices....maybe they should invent a 32" wheels for NBA players and super tall dudes....
  • + 1
 Scaliwag got it right, and you should start writing marketing material, and buying up some unique 26" domain names and trademarks. When 650b flattens out - they won't come back to JUST 26, they're going to go to ALL wheel sizes and their relation to the RIDER. Right now wheel size is being compared to performance, which is fine, but it's not the whole story.

I don't have a dog in the fight, 650b is coming. I'm riding 26 & 29 now. IF I get an opportunity, suppose I'll try 650b, but I'm not feeling like my riding or my riding experience is suffering from wheel size.
  • + 1
 I don't know if all wheel size have something to offer as I never tried 650b yet to know if the difference is significant enough.
But saying they'll come back to all of them (sizes) is something I am skeptical about. We see more and more rims or tyre appearing in size 650b and 29" but no 26". Remember about straight steerer tubes on fork? Right? They would still fit in a modern frame with a specific headset. But the RS Pike for instance only exists with a tapered steerer and it surely is not the only one. Fox 831 for instance, surely plenty others as well.
  • + 10
 So, the problem with 26'' is that there is space between the rear tire and the bottom bracket shell ????
WTF is this even an argument ????
  • + 5
 he actually tells us why we need this new "innovation"
"The fact that 29ers had become mainstream may have caused consumers and companies to start looking for something new to buy and sell"
- it all about finding a new gimmick to sell to people who would never actually going to ride their new 10,000$ plastic framed 0x12 drive train toys with the latest "right" wheel size or what ever the current gimmick is right now.
  • + 2
 Exactly! Unbelievable!
  • + 2
 ...like the devil reads the bible...
  • + 7
 This basically says it all:

The fact that 29ers had become mainstream may have caused consumers and companies to start looking for something new to buy and sell. I also think there were probably a lot of people who bought into the 29er concept early on, but once the honeymoon was over and a mid-sized option became available, they may have realized that 29-inch wheels might be too much of a good thing. I also firmly believe that the more time people spent riding them, the real world performance of 650B wheels was simply too good to ignore. The lull we saw in 650B a couple years ago was probably exact moment big companies really started working on 650B bikes full time. As you know, it can take a couple years to get things from the drawing board to the showroom floor.
  • + 10
 So that's the guy I have to write to complain about the rapid depreciation of my 26"? Wink
  • + 1
 Ha ha, that)s your revenge. Be carefull, it may catalyze another reaction of mine Wink
  • + 7
 I'm going to say this.. On sunday we had a group ride with over 10 people. We rode up steep climbs and down tech downhills for over 4 hours in sea to sky here in BC. There was 5 people on 29s, 4 people on 26 and 1 person on 27.5 but get this... We all had fun!
  • + 7
 Hey hey, wo wo wo, the text on the opening picture... why is someone assuming with such confidence and writing in a tone suggesting that 650B is the bright, better future that will revolutionize the way we ride, before it actualy happened? Yea I bet it will prove to be so great that people will be fighting over who came up with this idea, Dave Weagle, Kirk Pacenti, Gary Fisher and Joe Graney in the ring yhm... Don't call the day before the dawn Wink I have little against those wheels, carbon and other tiny adjustments, but hello, riding a 29er isn't really changing anything fundamental, you apply same movement patterns, you apply nearly identical technique to anything you do on it. It's a bloody bike. I'd prefer Kirk to talk about his wider rims and tyre pressures, because they have much bigger influence on how we ride bikes than the stupid wheel size. And you also tell me that it was 29ers that were a fab... sounds true, but the rules of this game make statements like this as relevant as stuff polticians say on Fox news.

A cool article otherwise. Lots of good questions RC
  • + 2
 Like it or not, ya gotta state your opinions flat out and straight up in PB if you want to survive. Otherwise, an editor is walking into a gunfight with a Boy Scout knife.
  • + 1
 Off course. That was a good interview Smile
  • + 0
 Fully disagree. Fortunately, this guy seems to have discovered the ultimate remedy againts the 26" disease, a horrible plague that I suffered year after year without seeing the light of salvation. God bless him.
  • + 5
 As long as they continue to produced all the wheel sizes, included the classic 24 and 26 then I have no problem with it. Realistically it all comes down to the size of the rider. You can't tell me that someone like myself at 5'4", 145 lbs, is going to be as comfortable on a 27.5" as someone who is of normal size! Think about it, a 27.5" bike to me is like a 29" to someone who is 5'10", 175lbs +
It's not any different than when you where a kid and moved up in tire size as you grew, the problem is some people just don't seem to understand common sense and try to make it sounds like its better.
  • + 5
 I love that he recognises so many people for even minor efforts in making it a reality - he even drops in 'the guys on the MTBr forum'. I don't think anyone ever 'invented the wheel', but for the efforts of many people directly and indirectly involved in its conception.
  • + 5
 The marketing people found the way to sell more bikes, but no worries when the 650b novelty wears off then the industry will discover the 26" again and advertise it as the greatest thing, the classic, the most playful, the most fun etc. In the mean time I just enjoy riding my 26".
  • + 5
 I am not 27.5" hater. Deffinetly not 29er hater. I do own 26er and 29er. It is great that the guy was able to choose his own way of MTB and managed to convince other to his idea.
But I am really pissed about what the bike industry is doing. OK, maybe not all manufactures but in general. Maybe 26ers are not dead yet, maybe they won't extinct... But when I am looking on my favourite kind of bikes of some of the biggest brands I do not see 26ers anymore.

I do not believe that this is because people are more interested in 650B. Some of the brands have switched from 26" to 650B in one year... From no 650B to no 26" WTF? How they were able to determine if noone is interested in 26ers anymore?

I would really like to try the middle standard, but I do not want to be forced to change my bike every time bunch of people decide they know better.
I like my old bike, but it is freaking hard to get enduro/FR fork with 1,125" steerer. Decent 9 speed drivetrain is more expensive then it was before industry introduced 10s. Old standards are slowly dying because industry do not want to support them anymore.

And don't tell me that 650b is significantly better. Even if this is true, I cannot really tell because there are thousand other things that have impact oh how a bike performs.

P.S. Sorry for my English. I freaking cannot learn this language even though I have to use it everyday at work.
  • + 4
 Your English is really good, and I agree with your sentiments.
  • + 5
 Thank you Mr. Pacenti for thinking outside the box, for not settling and for trying to make the industry listen to your vision.
I'm very happy with my 650b front wheel (using your Pacenti DL31 rim) and I like having options.
Sincerely thank you.
  • + 4
 ££££ is what its all about, I've ridden 26" all my life and never had a problem so why change. All the newbies coming into mtb have little choice at the moment by the looks of it as 650b is forced everywhere i go, i feel sorry for people new to the sport as a lot of information will be forced upon them and they may make the wrong choice just for the sake of someone else's profit margins.

Be careful when you choose what to buy, look at more important things like head angle, wheelbase, overall bike geometry, these are the import ants choices not wheel size.
  • + 4
 Being objective about wheel size I see more advantages for my riding style with 26".That said, I've tired 27.5 and didn't feel there were any major disadvantages, so I'm not too worried about being corralled by the industry eventually. There will be a slew of 26" stuff on the used market for many years to come. I'm more than happy to scoop up deals as long as I can. My vote for wheel size will be caste with my wallet. I'm loving my 26" carbon wheels I just bought for a steal. Thank you 650b. Continue your blitzkrieg though the market and I'll happily pick up the crumbs left in your wake. I'm looking forward to 26" deals for many years to come. When that pot of gold dries up, I'll be happy to ride 27.5 or whatever else the industry comes up.
  • + 4
 26 is faster in the tech. No arguing....
If 26 "dies" we all go slower in the tech. This is a bad thing. I have no issue with larger wheels. I have a HUUUUUUUGGGEEEEEEE issue with indutry types spouting all this bulls**t about 650b being .5s faster per minute. ON WHAT TRACK? Its sure as hell not every track. When 26 dies ALL my trails will either be ridden slower or made wider. I will be very angry. Just my opinion like...
  • + 0
 ^^ Pretty much!
  • + 5
 I would like to propose an adjustable wheel size mtb. At a press of a couple of buttons, your frame, fork, suspension and wheels will adjust accordingly. 20"-40". You name it. Now that's innovation.
  • + 3
 My problem with 650b is that it is too close to 26".
650b is not equal to 27.5, it is smaller. They should have come up with a new mtb size that wouldn't displace 26"... like a 28". Now that 650b is becoming mainstream, 26" is going to disappear.
  • + 1
 675E is the perfect size... just wait... you'll see, it's the next big thing. Also, 18mm thru axles are going to get big soon.
  • + 3
 I'm holding out for a set of Double Ds Smile What can I say, i know what I like ot ride.
  • + 1
 Have you seen the E's? They're for "E"nduro riders. Gnarly climbs and descents, but well worth the ride Wink
  • + 3
 Funny to say that costumers are asking for 650B. A poll made by PB last June (www.pinkbike.com/news/Pinkbike-Poll-The-One-Bike.html) asked the question "What if you were forced to choose one bike that you would have to use for every aspect of your cycling for the rest of your life?" Regarding whellsize the current voting result is 992 for 29", 2969 for 27.5" and 7871 votes for 26". So where is the consumers preference?
  • + 3
 Do you really think Pinkbike poll responders represent the mountain buying public at large?
  • + 1
 What I think is that people is buying 27,5 over 26 not due to any performance issue, but because that is what they find in the shops. And yes, I think the poll result is representative. Given the choice many people would buy 26".
  • + 3
 650b is the new standard? But I just bought a 29er hardtail. Guess I missed the boat on this one. I'm kidding. It crossed my mind to get a 650b, but I would use this for commuting and maybe xc stuff to stay in shape. I have enough clearance in my 26" fork and frame to run 2.1 650b's, but it is the same size or even a touch smaller than the maxxis DHF EXO 2.5 tire I'm currently running.

Bike Magazine had a poll about why everyone is wanting 650b. I think the media has blown this thing up bigger than ever. I don't have friends acting the way they did when they got a good 29er. "Dude!! Buy a 29er. They're awesome". I know one person out of 20 or so people I ride with that have a 650b. He has a Bronson, but rides his 26" Nomad more, because in his words,"It's just a bit more fun. For what ever reason, I just like it more". I rode his bike and it felt a bit bigger and rode fine, but then rode his Nomad and honestly, it was more fun. Same wheels (Ringle) and brand and size tires but in 26 and 650b. The factory Santa Cruz Enduro racer runs a 26" Nomad. Just sayin.

Still, the choice for 26" is disappearing with manufactures commiting to 650b, I don't think it's because of the consumer demand, but in a mentality. Giant didn't have 3 sizes of everything last year and have racks of unwanted 26er's. To pull the plug on every 26er, that's disturbing. I love my 26er. It rolls over stuff just fine. I can whip it through the tightest singletrack, which is all I really ride. Just hope it's not the end. Truthfully, saving 1 second on my trail rides isn't worth the $2000+ it would cost me to switch.
  • + 3
 I bought a 650b, cuz I found a bike that I liked. it just happened to be a 650b.I didn't see any sort advantage to riding 650b, and would of bought it regardless of its wheel size. am I but hurt cuz the mtb industry gave me a wheel size I didn't really need? no. in 4-5 year I will do it all over again and buy which ever new bike that I see fit, regardless of the wheel size.
  • + 1
 I have had the pleasure to have been mountain biking for 30+ years now. I have ridden and or owned bikes with wheels ranging from 24" to 29", varied and some admittedly very awful early suspension designs.This last year I have ridden over 20 different bikes and I picked a 650b/27.5 bike for my personal trail bike not because of wheel but because the bike worked the way I wanted it to. My hard tail ss is still 26" and am looking at replacing it with 29. For DJ and downhill I would stay with 26 because the bikes I like are built around that wheel size. As far as resale I can say that XC and trail 26" bikes are hard to sell right now and I have to admit that I do keep that part of the equation when looking at new bikes. As a bike shop guy I am not happy about the crazy amount of wheels, spokes, tires and tubes we have to carry because of the three wheel sizes right now. I am curious how it all plays out in the end but, I have learned that changes happens and there is little use in crying about it.
  • + 3
 This is the most absurd series of comments. Why the hell is everyone so resistant to change? It's just like when full suspension rigs were just getting popular and everyone on their hardtails was calling them clunky pieces of crap with no future. The reality is that Pacenti spoke with a series of people that had been interested in 650b in the past and decided to try it out for himself. He didn't convince Cane Creek or White Brothers to produce a ton of 650b product, he got them to produce a few one offs that he could try out and let others take a look at. The handmade bicycle show is not a place where the latest and greatest typically shows up - it's where creative minds are given an opportunity to show off their latest creations. Pacenti was dabbling with something that was of personal interest, and it ended up catching on. Do I think it's stupid for companies like Giant to ditch their entire 26" lineup? Yeah, I do, because there are going to be people that dislike 650b and will therefore not buy a Giant. Nobody is forcing you to buy 650b - the market moves with consumer preference, and you vote with your wallet.
  • + 4
 Curious to know what Mr Pacenti thinks about the handling of 29ers now that the Enduro 29er is out, 155mm travel, super short chainstays. Certainly doesn't ride like any 29er I'd ever experienced before.
  • + 1
 I'd be much more likely to go with that bike than a long travel 650. I liked my 29er with the 140mm fork on it, if it had more travel in the back I might have kept riding it, but ended back up on a 6" 26er. Maybe when I turn 50 in a few years, I'll treat myself to an Enduro...
  • + 3
 You the dinosaur get your self a 29er, So he says that the problems of early 29'ers have been rectified by 1x drive trains, increased fork offset, and I'll add lighter carbon rimmed wheels, better tires etc. So remind me what is the point of sub 160mm 650b bikes again?
  • + 5
 Better rolling speed and traction through corners is the point. Ride a 29'r and you'll feel the speed you carry over small roots and rocks. 650 basically feels like your old 26" wheel after a few rides but you'll find you carry a little more speed and the trail feels a little smoother.

I've rode 26" wheels on aggressive all mountain trails for years in the PNW, I now have a new 650 covert that is absolutely amazing. Whats not to like about it?
  • + 4
 Are all the naysayers of change riding DH on rigid bikes w/cantilever brakes, rat-cage pedals, non-adjustable seatposts, & thumb shifters...or are they all just close-minded hypocrites?
  • + 1
 bravo. bravo. I feel the same.
  • + 2
 Bike mags bible of bike tests says it all for me. Check out their review of the Yeti SB75, the testers not only agree that whilst it's a good bike it's not as good as the SB66, but go on to have a discussion about 650b in general and state '650 are great bikes, but are NOT as good as 26' and 'riders should get a 26 and a 29'. Refreshing to hear journos say it how they see it and not through the prism of advertising revenue.
  • + 2
 mbuk mag saying the same thing on mid price hardtails, 26" more fun and quicker to ride,
  • + 4
 I want to try 27.5 AND 29.
And I really hope I'll be like "WOW omagad amazing! I absolutely need one NOW."
Like discbrake, suspensions, adjustable seatpost...
  • + 2
 one of the main selling points of bigger wheels is it smooth's out the rough stuff, F**K THAT, i Iove riding through the rough bits as fast as I can go, that's what suspensions for, if I wanted smoother trail rides I'd be a roadie

and as for half a second faster over a mile, big deal, 1 min faster over a mile and yeah I'd go for bigger wheels tomorrow,

and as for all the after market manufacturers supposedly dropping 26" components, does anybody realy think they'd throw all there expensive tooling away, no chance, they could get it all back out of the stores and be producing 26" forks etc within 24 hrs
  • + 1
 This is true, but KHS is far from a recognized player in the DH world. The caption makes a different claim.
  • + 1
 Thanks RC just wanted to clarify.
  • + 2
 PS. RC We definitely a Player in the DH World... unless ofcourse the USA is not recognized around the World. Just saying Smile
  • + 2
 It went like this.

30 years ago MTB was a niche sport, and one with a limited market. Bikes were of a muchness, with a few exceptions, and only a handful of riders were spending a lot of money. The main companies at the time, mindful of that market, created and developed products for their end users and anybody who tried to rock the boat with useless 'innovations' was quickly shut down or forced to rethink their product.


20 years ago things were a little different. High end DH and XC bikes were becoming more popular and the big manufacturers found that there was an increasing demand for high end bikes. In the beginning, spending over a grand on your bike was not only unheard of, it was practically impossible, nothing cost that much. Giant and Specialized started making weird looking full sussers and more and more of us were buying them, and it attracted more and more people to the sport. the image of a rider in full armour hammering down a mountain on a 1k+ full susser was an attractive one, then the likes of Bender and Napalm turned up with their enormous 12" travel huckers and it all went mad for a bit. You were nobody of you didn’t have a set of super monster Ts or Shivers on your oversized DH bike. It was a great time, and the NWD videos opened the market up further. Suddenly spending 2 or 3 grand on your bike was not only possible, it was pretty much demanded.
  • + 11
 So now we've reached the point where MTB is a mainstream sport, or at least, the bikes are available to everybody, everywhere. Where, in the past the market was limited to maybe a million riders worldwide, now its tens of millions, maybe more. The money men have realized that bikes are now objects of desire and people will spend a grand more than they have to in order to get the best looking bike they can. They might not need the latest gear gadget, but they will buy it anyway, and then come on sites like this one to show it off. It’s become a fetish among a certain demographic to have the lightest bike, and if that means replacing a minor component at a cost of hundreds of pounds in order to save a few grams they will do it. The same goes of DH riders having the newest forks and brakes. There’s nothing wrong with the old ones, but these ones are NEW! If you don’t have the NEW! ones, you’re not a proper rider.

And that’s the problem and the challenge we're facing. Do we really want something just because it’s new? Giant seems to think so. So does Specialized, among a few others. Before they wouldn’t have dared upset their target buyers, but now we're no longer the focus of their advertising. They no longer have to cater to our needs, they can create a wholly false need and there will be a demand for it simply because it’s NEW! and we will look like a bunch of reactionaries because we're not buying into the hype. They’re trying to make us feel that we're being left behind if we don’t buy their NEW! bikes, and that the sport will progress without us.

All we can do is refuse to play and hope that this strategy fails in the long term. All the arguments in favour of 650b are bogus mumbo jumbo about how the bike 'feels' more stable and it 'responds' better. It’s all crap. There is no real benefit to bigger wheels to you and I, they’re only of benefit to the people who are trying to sell you them. So don’t buy them.
  • - 1
 I totally agree man. Let's ride sometime, when you're in the states. Cool.
  • + 2
 Bar width make a difference, rotor size makes a difference... So, I think we can all agree that wheel size does make a difference, however changing wheel sizes require you to buy a whole new frame and fork. That's the big ($$$$) issue!
  • + 2
 Maybe we should all go out and try a few 650b's and see what it's all about.
I have, and I think that 650b is a terrible idea. Clearly the worst combination of the other two sizes (26 & 29).
Compared to a 26, it is slower to initiate a turn, maaaaybe offers better bump absorption (who cares with modern forks, anyway), duller feeling overall, less manageable in the air.
Compared to a 29, no comparison there really, the 29er leaves it behind all the time.

Although, it seems every other person is very eager to buy a new 650b bike, as they feel convinced that they will have an advantage over others. So, I can't really blame the bike industry, it seems they have won this one!
  • + 4
 The future of 650B is guaranteed because of the diminishing choice of 26" bikes/frames. Pure marketing genius.

As others have said, thanks for nothing kirk.
  • + 3
 Sometimes you just have to be careful when choosing your audience. This is like "gettin' out of the closet" in the 80's. You'd risk getting kicked in the face. We need a face for the 29'er too.
  • + 2
 Its the arrogant dude who works for Niner that says 29 will eventually dominate all forms of racing.
  • + 4
 I always wonder how much of that arrogance is him being worried that 650b is going to eat his company for lunch. I don't think 29rs are going away, but he's probably selling alot of W.F.O.s and R.D.O.s. those are sales that could easily be cannibalized by 650b, since 29er isn't the new exciting wheel size anymore. Should have called your company something else, dude...
  • + 2
 Originally Posted by MBA
What are your thoughts about the future of 29-inch, 26-inch and the new 650B wheel sizes? - Twenty-nine -inch wheels will supplant 26-inch wheel bikes by 2017. In ten years, all mountain bikes sold from $1000 to $1500 and above will have 29-inch wheels. There will be holdouts, of course, and 26-inch wheel bikes will be sold at places like Costco and K-Mart, but the 29er will take the place of the 26-inch bike as far as the average mountain bike goes. - Chris Sugai
  • - 2
 That was written a couple years ago but it was well after RC left MBA. You can blame Jimmy Mac and the current crew at MBA for that pipedream statement.
  • + 1
 I was just posting the exact quote to add to the thread not to bag on RC.
  • + 2
 I wonder how long someone who has a hatred for 650b has been exposed to bike culture. I have ridden (loved) bikes my whole life and if there is one constant, it is that everything changes. Believe it or not there was a time when people said "Mountain bikes!? that will never catch on." yet here we are. Ill be the first to admit that it seems that in the last five years standards seem to change faster then the weather. Its hard to keep up. Skewers to 20mm to 15mm, 1 1/8 to 1 1/2, 135 rear spacing has changed so the good old days of upgrading parts until you buy that new frame and starting the process over has come to a hault. Annoying? Yes. Extremly annoying but this is known as growing pains. Suck it up and if you dont like 650b dont buy them.

Forward thinkers are always meet with the screams of the closed minded. i dont mind trying new wheel sizes or sharing drinking fountains. The bike industry will move forward with or without you. Learn to deal.
  • + 4
 It's such small percentages between 26 and 650b. If you're good you're good, if you're shit you're shit, wheel size won't change that.
  • + 2
 So he says that the problems of early 29'ers have been rectified by 1x drive trains, increased fork offset, and I'll add lighter carbon rimmed wheels, better tires etc. So remind me what is the point of sub 160mm 650b bikes again?
  • - 1
 That it seems to work on more play-oriented bikes. 29ers definitely rule on rough ground and in the mud but as soon as you leave the ground they just feel a bit unwieldy to me. The feeling of being 'in' the bike as opposed to 'on top of it' that makes them corner so well all of a sudden seems to work against you.

Bottom line: 29er for ""enduro"" and XC, 26er or 27.5er for anything involving jumps.
  • + 5
 There are jumps and drops on enduro courses...
  • + 1
 Jclnv, he doesn't say the problems have been rectified, he just says 29ers have come a long way. 26 and 650 are still faster for most cornering situations. The fact that Clementz won the ews series on 26, and the world cup DH and the world champs were won on 26 shows it still has dominance, despite what consumers are doing with their money.
  • - 2
 Yeah yeah Clementz won the EWS blah blah. Moseley won the womens on a 29" and Francois Bailly-Maitre kicked Clementz and everyone else's ass at the Mega Reunion on a 29". Nobody makes a 29" DH bike so that's a pointless comment.

Good 29" are way, way, faster than 26" for Enduro. Sure the fastest guys are still the fastest regardless but you put the right guy on a 29" and he will be quicker than he was on 26"/650bs. If you don't see that you haven't ridden a good one or you suck. It isn't even close.
  • + 1
 I'll believe it when I see it.
  • + 1
 I don't see why everyone have to be so negative to 650B wheels. I have ridden a 650B all mountain bike the entire season and I think its a better then my previous 26 AM bike. And seriously, I don't feel the difference between the two wheel sizes when it comes to having fun downhill.
  • + 1
 "The fact that 29ers had become mainstream may have caused consumers and companies to start looking for something new to buy and sell."

This is why both 29ers and 650B have become the new trends. Bike companies need something new to sell, and there'll always be people willing to buy the "next great thing".

Completely unnecessary for the sport, in my opinion.
  • + 1
 The bike industry who may have individuals that ride but are most concerned with profit tried to sell us 29 inch wheels. Now the bike industry is forcing 27.5 wheels. Many bike companies are ditching the 29 inch wheel and the 26 inch wheel.( Giant and Rocky mountain for starters)
Different wheel sizes is about selling more bikes NOT about making better bikes.
I have never had an issue with 26 inch wheels. If it aint broke......................
  • + 1
 All my bikes are 26". That said i have tried friends 29ers (meh) and a Bronson 27.5 (superb). Personally, I'm glad we have all this innovation and change, though the progression is not for everyone. No one has a gun to my head.

PLUS, I now have a huge supply of new or nearly new 26er parts to choose from as buddy climbs onboard the 27'5 or 29 bandwagon. Same goes for drivelines, I havent tried 1x11 yet but suspect its balls out excellent. In the mean time i scoop up the 10 spd cast aways cheap.

BONUS !
  • + 1
 I like the 650 b concept, since I found 29er had too many advantages and disadvantages so a middle ground is great. Although its funny that frames are still as large and nobody is doing anything on sizing so bike frames actually got taller. Funny how I always go back to 26 as it just feels right. I may try a conversion on my 26 before I make my 650b change.
  • + 1
 I am as pro 26" wheel as the next person. But different wheels sizes make sense. 650b has been around for a long time. With working in a bike shop for a long time there are lots of tire sizes mainly for old 10 speed type bikes. My wifes old norco hisper bike that I refurbished is a 27.5 wheel just marked differently. The ISO is the same.

Bikes need to evolve. It did it with 29er's and they now have there place. Competition XC, Long Distance biking, and trail. 27.5 you will see trail, freeride, enduro. 26" will be low end MTB, comfort, city, Downhill, dirt jump, freeride, trail. It's all preference.

If you like 26" wheel that what you like, that wheel size will always be around.
  • + 0
 all good points....till companies flat out stop making 26" even tho every forum on the internet is screaming at them for doing so. Then some noob on a big wheel goes round widening and straightening all the local tracks so doesn't have to slow down and hold up all the 26ers. Then everyone buys a big wheel to ride the new wider track faster. More tracks get widened....repeat ad infinitum till we are all riding on roads, on road bikes. Then my full face will have to be put away forever
  • + 1
 Kirk is a pleasure to deal with. Wish him the best. I had lots of questions when I was purchasing some new rims, and he personally answered them in detail. I have a set of TL-28s that have two years on them, and they're still as light as average carbon rims (at a fraction of the price).
  • + 5
 Pick a wheel size and be a dick about it!
  • + 5
 *insert annoying conspiracy bullcrap here*
  • + 2
 Waaa! It's not 26", so it must suuuuck! Your bike doesn't have 26" wheels, so you suuuuuck. Looks like a Trek! Look at me! I'm so hardcore ;'cause I ride blah, blah, blah! Look at meeeeeee!

But in reality, nothing can or will ride just like your old bike. Not a 650B, 29er or even the exact same 26er. Everything changes: geometry, tubing, suspension, materials, injuries, capabilities and that's never-ending mistake of the whinger who cannot accept change. Hey killer, that doesn't mean you have to like change. Get it?
  • + 1
 lets put in everybody´s mind, now they all have bikes, that they need to change everything... not a simple upgrade, or component... ALL... y€€€€aaahh!!! stupid question: since it´s a old concept, why it took 30 years of moutain biking to figure out now that we all need bigger wheels?? and yes, i´ve already tried 27,5 and 29...
  • + 1
 Man you flat earthers gotta hate. You should carefully read the forward at beginning of article ( I know it might take awhile for some of you, so go slow.)MTB history 101. Let your mind open up , it might hurt first. Here's a thought, let's ride what ever bike we enjoy to the best of our abilities and go home contented. Now go burn some books or something.
  • + 1
 ok my burn will include the Mountain bike action rave reviews about Bio Pace chainrings, u brakes, and elevated chainstays ha ha
  • + 0
 - Biopace chainrings DID actually work, problem was how they were marketed. If they'd only put them on low end bikes for people new to cycling, and made them optional as an aftermarket sales item for the mid to higher ranges they'd have been fine.

- U-brakes also DID actually work, but the problem was where they were used. Instead of putting them on the seatstays like cantis, they ended up on the chainstays on most bikes where they collected mud and then ceased to work. They were put there
because the increased leverage led to flexing the stays apart, and rather than going to larger diameter seat stays or a shorter stay
configuration or something with better reinforcement (like GT's triple triangle design, or Rocky Mountain's use of monostay/wishbone seatstays) they just moved them down to the chainstays which were typically larger diameter/stiffer already. So the problem wasn't the brakes just frame designers who were lazy.

- Elevated chainstays we can actually owe to RC for their origin and popularity. As a means to solve a problem (mud clogging around the BB shell / drivetrain) they work well. They also eliminate chainslap on the chainstays and chainsuck also. But if not properly designed you end up with frame flex in a place you don't want it. They're still good today if you want to do a belt driven
bike since you don't have to split the rear end apart to fit the belt like you do traditional double-diamond hardtail frames.
  • + 1
 After seeing the results for the many surveys PB puts out, it is obvious that 60-75% of PBers are DHers, and also a large % live outside the US. I have a 26" hardtail, and a 27.5 trailbike, and I'm in the market for a 26" DH. I love both for different reasons, but it is a little annoying that the US frame companies have drank the 650b kool-aide, and think there is no reason for anything else. I had to go to the UK to get a quality 26" hardtail (thank you OnOne for making the 456evo!!) which is retarded. All three wheelsizes have their places, and the big-box retailers will sell whatever they think is in style (I saw a homeless guy riding a POS 29er the other day). But the point is you guys need to realize that you do represent a small % of the bike community, and not everyone else rides 26" DH bikes with 20mm through axles. As some of you have said, progress is what drives this industry, otherwise you'd be using rim brakes to stop your 9mm axled elastomer-damped hardtail.
  • + 1
 Coming from bmx I noticed a huge difference going from 20 inch wheels to 24 inch wheels. The cool thing I could see with these wheels is you could build a jump bike designed for really big jumps. The larger wheels and tires can help you roll over the smaller stuff but then you could have some stiffer short travel suspension like 140mm to soak up the impact from really big hits. This way you can go fast over some rough stuff but your pedaling ability isnt hindered like on a dh bike and the suspension takes the big hits protecting the frame and your own joints. Plus the larger wheels could help make it very stable in the air. Obviously the bigger wheels could hinder spin tricks but this would be a big jump bike that could replace the dh bikes the guys are using in the FEST series. Just a thought....
  • + 1
 if the MTB industry gets its way (and to hell with the riders) and makes 26 obsolete then what happens with lifetime warranties on frames? presumably they'll be honoured and therefore most manufacturers will retain their machinery/moulds. Would it reach the stage where your frame is useless, despite the lifetime warranty, because there are hardly any forks/wheels/tyres? I spose we'd still have DH wheels/tyres
  • + 0
 Lifetime warranties are for DEFECTS for 99% of brands that offer them. Crashing your bike into a tree isn't a defect neither is forgetting its on the roof rack when you try and park in the garage. 99.99% of frames made with lifetime warranties don't ever have a defect. The only time most humans in the bicycle world ever even learn of someone trying to claim on a warranty is on a message forum on a very large site like this one or mtbr, but even then most fall into the JRA category of claims.
  • + 0
 99.99? 67% of mountain bikes I've owned have been warrantied. Where are you getting your numbers mate?
  • + 1
 From the REAL world. How many bikes have you owned ? Three? I've owned a couple hundred (what can I say, I'm a bike hoe) and I've taken advantage of a lifetime frame warranty precisely ONCE. I've worked in shops where I've had to deal with customers trying to claim frame warranties and out of thousands of bikes sold, I've had to deal with two myself and both had clear impact marks on them from things.

Hell you can figure out warranty stats pretty easy in the real world from product recalls... when a company recalls a batch of tens of thousands of parts after the CPSC for example tracks the failure of FOUR of them...
  • + 1
 That also doesn't make any sense. If you've owned a "couple of hundred" bikes and your are younger than 105 years, you dont have enough time to put into riding into each bike. You see in order for a bike frame to be in need of lifetime warranty, it has to riden to a respectable proportion of what is considered lifetime. Unless of course you own a bike rental business.

And how on earth is it possible not to know exactly how many bikes you've owned? They are bikes, not pieces of underwear...
  • + 2
 Not only that spyetto. Where do these people ride there bikes. Do they ride in Canmore AB on the weekend and have there bikes serviced in Ontario? I'm thinking anyone that services their bike in Ontario are pretty much riding in a parking lot.
  • + 0
 Then you need to come to ontario, quebec also... you DO know what the laurentian mountains are right ? They still teach geography in canadian schools don't they ?
  • + 0
 I faled. The Laurentian mountains are approx 6 hours away from Ottawa. Further adding to the confusion of how you have the time to test all your warranties. But I understand what you are saying it's just that some of us disagree with the amount of time/type of riding it takes to actually test your bike. Not saying you can't find some gnar around your area, it's just that it would be hard to test all those bikes with that little of it (that's close to you). Hard to imagine that Ontario/Quebec once hosted the highest mountain range in the world. The Torngats are great though, I hope somebody does a free ride video there if possible.
  • + 0
 The laurentians are a chain of mountains, just like the rockies. They extend across ontario and quebec and new york state. I am looking out my bedroom window at them now. They exist and I can ride my mountain bike right to them in under an hour.
  • + 0
 Hahahaha. @deeeight. I have been all around from where you at. But like the Rockies. NO!. Rocky's feed the whole continent. Plus that they have some of the greatest sedimentary mountain formations that are special to the planet. Maybe the greatest scientific site on the planet, with the oldest fossils of life ever found in the Burgess Shale. Highest peak in the Laurentians is like 1175m, not even a quarter of some of the highest Rocky's in the States and mt Robson stands at 3,955m. The coastal mountain ranges are just as high too, although not as nice in terms of rock type/formations. The line between hill and mountain has always been blurry. But just for the sake of respect for the great beasts of planet earth. A large rock formation should only be classified as a mountain if it has a heavy coat of snow on top during the summer. Otherwise, the pile of snow I have shoveled off my driveway can be referred to as Mt. Sithbike. You won't be able to see it's snow caped peak on Google Earth, just like the Laurentians.
  • + 1
 NOOOOOO!!!! 650BS. The industry is trying to screw me! I can't part with my 26. Please dont let 650 take over. Next thing you know, they'll take away 3x8 drivetrains and V-brakes. All marketing hype IMO. Screw you KIRK, you demon.

Also what the heck is 142 thru axle? and how is it better than my 3/8" bolt on axle? Anyone?
  • + 2
 Don't worry Americans, according to proper authority, if you like your 26" wheel, you can keep your 26" wheel! Well, at least we have open borders for everyone else to get em..lol
  • + 4
 He was right about the limitations of 29, and companies like Specialized were stupid in saying 650b is unnecessary.
  • + 1
 Pacenti? So this is the douche bucket dick bag greedy a*shole profiteer in charge huh? You're the genius behind the "increase the radius of the MTB wheel by a whole 3/4"" idea? I wonder if this guy had any role in such gems as 15 mm axles, or 10 speed cassettes? Probably not. Probably took a lot of engineering resources to add that extra 3/4" to the radius of the MTB wheel.

Well f*ck you guy. Take your stupid f*cking idiot idea & jump off a cliff with it. A bender sized cliff, to flat.
  • + 3
 For forks sake, the difference between wheel size performance is less than the difference lasts night meal makes. The marketers are making a killing.
  • + 1
 CAUTION: Opinionated comment below!

So this guy 'invents' 27.5 to address the shortcomings of 29" for long travel dual suspension applications and in doing so makes something more like a 26" wheeled bike.... sounds to me like they should have just stuck with 26" in the first place! I've had a go on a few of these big wheel bikes... and they suck IMO, nowhere near as fun or fast as a 26" on any nice technical trails.

Maybe they have a use on all these nice new 1.5m wide tarmac-smooth "flow trails" everyone wants to catch a gondola ride to the top of nowadays... but then you're better off with a bmx really!
  • + 1
 It really is this simple.

if you think that the multiple wheel size choices is a divisive attempt by the bike industry to further fragment bicycle standards to accelerate the which at which currently owned bikes become obsolete and hence increase new product churn and their profitability, then stick with the brands who stick with 26".

Otherwise jump on that bandwagon brother.
  • + 2
 thanks kirk, im very happy with my 650b option, its the best xc hardtail i ever rode, climbs well and still kills it on a descent. fastest bike i have ever rode in 25 years of racing
  • + 1
 It just pisses me off that people may be buying anything out of industry pressure. Buy what you love people. Pedal out in the woods as far away from the nearest pavement as you can and get rad with it. Simple.
  • + 0
 I have a 2010 ReignSX 26 inch wheel base! Are you telling me this bike is not good enough for the trial! that I need a new bike replacement? Prove it!

My bike is outstanding! And it maneuvers all over da place...

Honestly; I do not need another bike similar to this one, regardless of the wheel size! Its the greatest of bikes; what would I replace it with?
  • + 2
 Banshee Rune , lower leverage ratio, shorter chainstay, slacker headangle, 26/650b compatible....just a possibility !
  • + 3
 i love 650B it means all 26" stuff is in the sale!! WIN FOR ME!! wahoooooooooooo
  • + 1
 Now if only the majority could even think that far ahead. Well done.
  • + 1
 The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and more efficient over bumps and round. The bus didn't care. I don't care. I like the wheels on the bus the way they are.
  • + 0
 In my head I put this Kirk guy next to Miles Dyson from T2. Truely believed he was doing the world a favour, but in the end decided to blow himself and his abhorrent creation up, for the good of humanity. Sorry Kirk. I know you were trying to help....
  • + 1
 wait...did you just compare Kirk Pacenti and 650b to a character in a Terminator movie???

I'm stumped.
  • + 2
 Yeah man. I was pretty pleased with it as a similie as well, pretty self explanatory I thought. What part of it has stumped you? I'm happy to expand on it...
  • + 2
 I don't think 650b is going to result in an apocalypse or any one's death…

Fatbikes, on the other hand…

Honestly, did you have to look up Miles Dyson? I thought I had a wealth of useless movie knowledge in my head, but that's next level shit.
  • + 1
 Haha! Yeah if I'm being honest I did have to google his surname. I knew who I meant but its been a long time since I watched the film.

Perhaps they won't cause the apocalypse, but I do have the strong suspicion they will mean the end of technical singletrack. Which is essentially the same thing....

Seriously man, I can (and do) ride most modern trails on a cyclocross bike. Not in any way saying that I am super skillfull on a bike or anything. More that most modern trails (Of the wide/surfaced/bermy type) are a bit lame. Fun. But not exactly challenging, hence the cx bike to put a bit of the challenge back in. Must say I do avoid the bigger jumps when on the cx bike. Does that mean I ride a 29er?
  • + 1
 Technically, yes, your CX has the same 700c rims diameter as a 29er, or any road bike.

I don't think that is the case RE: summing down trails…maybe the opposite. I think a slightly larger wheel works better in gnar / rocks / roots - doesn't get caught as much, but still agile enough to maneuver. For the groomed, smooth flow trails, with jumps, 26" is probably ideal…especially if you are getting airborne.

I prefer natural terrain as well.
  • + 1
 They are faster in a straight line over almost any terrain. But not all roots rocks etc come at you in a straight line. Their lessened agility in the corners is highlighted best by really gnarly corners.
  • + 1
 and IMO the best dh tracks are the ones with the most gnarly corners.
  • + 1
 I don't think any of our bitterness has anything to do with performance or preference. The bottom line is that some of us cannot afford to upgrade frame, wheels, and fork simultaneously.
  • + 1
 especially for marginal changes.
  • + 1
 Then don't.
  • + 1
 might have to when suddenly in the space of 6 months everyone stops making parts for what was 2 years ago considered the best wheelsize.
  • + 0
 I need to try 650B and 29ers. Which hopefully can happen this summer, and then I'll see where I stand. I think 650B bikes are great bikes, and so are 29ers, and so are 26" bikes. All have their place in the market, and I don't think that any will die off soon due to their uses in their respective bike markets (i.e. 29=great for XC/Trail, 650B= great for AM/Enduro 26=great for DJ/DH)
  • + 1
 "This is the story of Kirk Pacent's one-man battle to insert a sensible, more user-friendly wheel standard between the existing 26-inch wheel and the relatively new, 29-inch size."

Shirley that's a matter of opinion?
  • + 11
 Don't call me Shirley.
  • + 0
 Whether the mountain biking community like this change or not, it's happening. Change and development in commercial technology is totally natural, and necessary for companies to gain and maintain a competitive edge. YES it' annoying that 26" bikes will become obsolete, YES if you have a 26" bike, you will eventually (when it wears out or your preferences change) have to upgrade, but, if nobody bothered to pushe the design envelopes, we would all still be riding bikes from the 80's. We have little choice but to go with the doubtless overwhelming data that led to the 'industry' changing the norm, I suggest we come to terms with it and stop moaning....just ride what you have, and if you are worried about some kid on a 29er or 650B being faster or better than you....TRAIN HARDER!!

Please, let's stop bitching about this -it aint gonna change now!!
  • + 2
 Im not in any way worried about some loser on a big wheel being faster than me. I really do not care. What I am worried about is him "modernizing" all my local trails for his big wheels, making them all into bloody fire roads.
  • + 3
 It's about time you show up, we have been looking for you for awhile, the notorious 26 killer.
  • + 1
 Who invented the mountain bike?! My dad invented downhill 50 years ago when he took the engine out of an old motor bike pushed it to the to of a big rough hill and rode down!!!
  • + 0
 I have one 29er, one 650b, and 2- 26" bikes.. I like each one for what it is and I'm glad I have the chance to own all of them. Thanks Kirk. Also, thanks to the guys who did all the R+D with their own money before it was mainstream such as DERBY on MTBR...
  • + 2
 Guys! I came up with a new wheel standard its called the 69-B, it feels really good :-)
  • + 2
 Just spent some $ on some carbon 26" wheels and a 26" Pike...

No 650b for me...
  • + 4
 Any interest in a N.I.B. betamax player?
  • + 3
 Now I know who is the one to blame.
  • + 4
 kill it with fire
  • + 0
 Nobody needed 650b rims because tire size profiles can have a similar effect to making your wheel a larger diameter. Why reinvent the wheel when you can simply reinvent the tire?
  • + 0
 The funny thing is all these posters who are all "26 4 Life!, 650B sux monkey balls! Hardtail, harcdore! blah, blah, blah" would trade their right nut to be in Kirk's place. Fact.
  • + 0
 This is what we no 26 is and 29er is but testing the 27 was like testing the 26 so whats up I no that its ok but just ride it and you will see _____o^o____O^O_____ don't look for more ..
  • - 2
 Whether you like it or not, 26" wheeled mountain bikes are on the way to the history books. If your love and enjoyment level of mountain biking is dependant on riding a bicycle with one specific wheel size, then I feel sorry for you. Change happens. If you accept it rather than resist it, you'll be way better off. All the arguments in the all the mountain bike forums in the world aren't going to save the 26" wheel. If there was no advantage, and no demand, companies would not be making the move to 27.5". Period.
  • + 1
 I didn't even read the interview. Just came straight to the comments for real enlightenment.
  • + 1
 Selling my 650B crap.
WTB a Spec Pitch frame for cheap. That's the real shit!! Anyone?
  • + 3
 inb4 waki
  • + 1
 26= downhill bike
29= xc
27.5 will have both traits but not excell in either if you know what i mean.
  • + 1
 Holly crap talk about opening a can of worms! Kuddo's to those that what to experiment!
  • + 2
 Ride what you like, just not a horse Wink
  • + 1
 Ain't nothin' wrong with horses. I have a 1900lbs draft. He's like a 29er on steroids. Trots at 19 mph for as long as you like. They climb like no ones business. We hit around 20 mph uphill. Done super sketchy descents on him. Then did it later on my bike, can't believe I did it on a horse. Sure some other horse owners are crazy (the horses AREN'T, the owners are!!) and don't know how to prep horses for bicycles. His very first trail ride, I rode my bike while my wife rode him. Bombproof to bikes. Yes, it does piss me off too when I hit a trail and have to ride on the hoof print pot holes... Pisses me off more when you get someone with a sketchy horse, yelling at you cuz they haven't worked on THEIR horses issues, makes horses look bad..

Best thing to do when you come up on a horse, talk, say hello, make sure the horse see's your face, from as far back as you can. Ask if you need to stop. If the horse starts moving all over, stop and wait!! Keeping talking the whole time. They think your a monster and will eat them, talking lets them know that's not your plan. They WILL kick you if you get to close. Mine will want to race you... haha
  • + 1
 Props to you being a responsible owner then. Not all are, just like not all riders show good trail etiquette when coming up on them. I bet your rollover is a lot better than my 27.5 too.
  • + 1
 Yeah, he has 40 inches of travel... Or inseam (he's 17.2 hands or 5'10" tall) so we clear 2 foot logs no problem, like they're not even there. It's the tree branches that give me issues. Cut for normal sized horses.

I rode mountain bikes for 15 years before I met my wife, she had the horses. She ran me up a ski hill on my first horseback trail ride and I was hooked. What took me over 2 minutes to do on my bike took 40 seconds on a horse. I had my opinions about horses back when, didn't like them, but after being around them 10 years, it's the owner that dictates what happens. We work really hard on our horses to keep them safe for us and other people. Our horses were a bit sketchy of bikes so I fixed it. Have a shared trail around us and even bikes coming from behind doesn't phase them. Drives me crazy when I'm coming up to horses from the front and the rider starts yelling at me, but I do what I need to keep the peace, I keep my mouth shut. haha
  • + 1
 Thanks Kirk! Sincere appreciation for starting this snowball, I'm now riding a bike that I enjoy more.
  • + 0
 P.s. If all my tracks end up straight wide motorways I will buy a 29er. Just to get the boredom of such rubbish tracks over with .5s per minute faster.
  • + 2
 Yep thanks to this mo fo all our bikes are old hat.
  • + 3
 Dumb.
  • + 2
 the part saying: 26 inches are dead made me laugh at least.
  • + 2
 i not need 27.5 wheels to be happy on a bike!!
  • + 3
 I don't need 26" wheels to be happy on one either.
  • + 6
 When I was a boy, my bikes were assembled from parts that more affluent families left out beside their garbage cans on Thursday. I was happy just to be on a bike - something that I still cherish today.
  • + 2
 I like my 26!! Be sad to see her go.
  • + 1
 DON'T START BELIEVING !
Just try, and ride whatever you want to. Big Grin
  • + 0
 God, you shouldn't have posted his name on the internet !!! That guy is so much hated right now !!!
  • + 1
 Yes! He is the Salman Rushdie of the mountain bike world, and will have to go into hiding…(google it)
  • + 1
 Psst. It's SherWOOD, not SherWIN.
  • + 1
 HAHA we are flriends, he's going to kill me.
  • + 1
 Hey atleast the parts are assembled in Chattanooga, that's pretty cool...
  • + 0
 perhaps the real acceptance of 650 B will come when PinkBike makes a 650 B Bikes/Frames/Parts section in the Buy and Sell!!
  • + 1
 HAHAHA!!
  • + 1
 Because sales numbers simply cannot be used as a thermometer for product acceptance!! Those simpletons!
  • + 2
 Epic Swindle.
  • + 0
 "700D or 650A" First casually dropped in a 650B interview. Wonder where it goes from here....
  • + 1
 Oh any mountain bikers who've been privy to wheelsize discussions for the past twenty years have known about the other wheel size options out there and the limiting factor has never been the rims (because those of us who cared are usually wheel builders also and can take rims, figure out the spoke lengths and then assemble the needed wheels) but the lack of tires. If Kirk hadn't had panaracer take a chance on a small production run of 650B tires which were basically a modified version of their Rampage tire design, then the death of 26" would still have 29ers to blame. Hell 29ers are 700C anyway. Its the same damn wheel size as road bikes are today, just the rims are wider to support meatier tires.
  • + 1
 28" Wheels on sale at a Bike shop near you soon!
  • + 1
 What will be the future for all mountain hardtails?
I wonder
  • + 1
 Spot the dinosaurs ;-D
  • + 0
 I knew they wouldn't like that............
  • - 2
 650b, thanks for helping me get faster whilst not having to ride a 29r!
  • + 4
 Jesus. It's a bike, not nut cancer.
  • + 1
 Are you fucking serious, this the lamest comment ever. Travesty.
  • + 1
 Insert jimmy Fallon thank you card writing segment here! Lol
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