650b WTB/IRD Fire 2.1 wheel set - clearance tested and mounted, now time see how she rides!
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650b WTB/IRD Fire 2.1 wheel set - clearance tested and mounted, now time see how she rides!


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 650b 1st ride (north Thetis from home): mixed surfaces including road, double and single track, rocky uphill and fast trail. Good benchmark for me as usually the domain of my great handling and light (21lbs) Orbea Alma 29er rigid speed machine. First impressions: noticeable change in ride quality with the benefits of bigger hoops (momentum, roll over rocks,etc), so faster with great spin up of rear wheel, with small change in handling (higher bb, 2.1 xc tires vs my usual 2.35 26" high rollers) that is easy to adapt quickly to. More body english and less turning from the front (if that makes sense, Foes FXR thing). Trying out 100-130-160 on Talas (100 for road, mix of 130-160 trail). 130 worked well. Wheels still felt lively and lots of fun! Climbing: helps to keep straight and steady. Addictive. Can you tell I'm impressed? Real Test> Hartland for BC's signature technical terrain. To be continued...
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 650b 3rd & 4th ride (Hartland): rains continue to be the norm here as the fall (or winter?) weather takes hold of Vitoria. Correction: Pacenti (sorry). The more I ride with the wheels, I prefer the front Talas in the 130mm position for control, better cornering and efficiency. I did a longer technical downhill in 160mm in the wet conditions on my 3rd ride and it worked almost as well as with my 26" wheels. Almost... Tires, eh? This points to some larger meaty tread needed for the conditions. I guess I'll have to break down and get a 2.3 for the front. I can't help but think what a good 650b engineered bike (like the new Foes F275) would be like. Okay, starting to dream of a new rig. I digress. This is my last instalment - I can't really add much more on this subject without putting everyone to sleep. You need to decide for yourself what's best for your style of riding and the trails you ride. I need to get out and ride more... and the 650b wheels are helping with that...
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 650b 2nd ride (Hartland): technical, rocks, roots, drops, and slippery conditions. After my initial impression and "honeymoon" with the new wheel format, here is the real thing. At least the first of many as I'm now paying greater attention to the subtle changes in geometry on the bike and feeling on the trail. Wheel physics dictate a change both in geometry but riding dynamics as well. Logically, this will take some time to sort out. The greater wheel momentum means keeping a higher velocity overall on the trail and this is no different as the trail gets very technical (roots, rocks, etc.). Okay, but what about the handling now. Climbing is better for me now for sure. Generally, there is less effort to conquer the terrain. It is noticeably different and the wheel/tire spec is a factor here. The WTB trail 650b rims with basic hubs and spoke (although 32 spokes) flexes more and is especially noticeable with the rear wheel. I ended up torqueing the qr more (it wasn't tight enough and this helped I think) - my standard 26 rear wheel is a bolt thru Hadley/Stands Flow. Nevegals seem to be a standard here at Hartland since they stick well on this type of terrain, especially in the wet wintery conditions. I plan on trying a 2.3 Nevegal or Placenti on the front. But overall, I continue to be impressed with all the gains with the mid sized hoops without any real negatives. More testing to come...
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 Thanks, it's different - bought the wheels for a fellow pink biker to see if it works, we'll see later about bling wheels..
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 I do like the red stripe tires. Bike look good

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