650B Think Tank

Mar 14, 2014 at 9:36
by Robert Rebholz  
Photos by Shane Edel, Matthew Delorme, Ian Hylands & Rob Rebholz


In 2014, more bike manufacturers than ever are rolling out 27.5" bikes. 650B wheeled bikes are flooding the trail and enduro segments of the market. Some companies like Intense and Trek are even tinkering with the middle wheel size on gravity rigs. There is a ton of hype surrounding 650B's, but is it worth replacing a perfectly good 26" or 29" rig with the new wheel size?

You are not alone in this quandary. Last year around this time when I was eager to build up a 650B rig, but the frame options were still quite limited. I wasn't sure that I would love the middle wheel size, so I modified my Ibis HD to accommodate 27.5" wheels. While the solution wasn't perfect, I was able to get a year in on 650B's without breaking the bank.


After a full season on 27.5" wheels, I found that I was rolling over things more easily and carrying more speed than I did on 26" wheels. 29" wheels roll over things better than 650B's, but I am not a fan of the slow handling characteristics of most 29" bikes. I found that the flickability of 27.5" wheels are very similar to a 26".


In fact, when I set up my Cateye Adventure to time laps, I found that a 2.1" tire set on my Charger Pro SL 27.5" wheelset has the same circumference as a 3.0" tire on a 26" wheel! If you're from the old school and can remember rolling on 3.0" Gazzolodi's tires, you will remember A) how ridiculously heavy they were and B) how well they rolled. So in essence with a light weight 650B tire and rim combo you get the rolling benefits of the increased wheel circumference without the extreme weight penalty.

If you are thinking of making the switch to 27.5" wheels, you have many more options for frames, wheelsets and tires than just a year ago. I recently had a chance to sit down with a diverse group of industry veterans to try and get a grip on why the landscape has changed so quickly and what the future may hold for 650B's.

Just casually boosting some slush Lenosky style.

Jeff Lenosky, Iconic Street / Trials Rider & Enduro Racer

What's your preference in wheel size for trail, enduro and gravity? Where is the point travel wise where the 27.5” starts to outweigh the 29"?
I've spent the most time on 27.5" for trail/enduro type riding and I'm completely sold on the advantages of the size. The faster acceleration is really noticeable as well as the overall agility of the bike. I'm a pretty big guy so I never had a problem riding a 29er but I feel much more confident on 27.5".

As far as XC racing or that type of trail riding I can find advantages to both sized. On my 29er I feel like I'm inside the bike and it has the ability to "keep on trucking" even when you're fatigued. The 27.5" bike is a pure rocket ship, noticeably quicker, but I haven't done more then a three-hour ride on one, so I'm yet to see how it feels when you want to keep it going.

I haven't had the opportunity to ride a 27.5" DH bike but the wheel feels much more similar to 26" than 29" so I imagine it would be rad. After spending the past 6 months riding 27.5" I believe it's the ideal size once travel gets over 120-130mm.


You are going to a place like Moab to enjoy long descents, but still would like an efficient machine for the up hills. Do you bring a 160mm 26" bike or a 27.5" 130mm bike?
I've gone to Moab on all three wheel sizes and the most fun I had was last year on my Trance 27.5. It has a 160 fork in the front and 140mm of travel in the rear. It was perfect for long climbs and I'm constantly amazed at the capabilities of a modern trail bike on the way back down!


What's the thing you like most about 650B's?
The main thing is the agility compared to a 29er and the ability to run heavier duty ties without the bike feeling so sluggish. On a 29er it feels like every extra gram on a tire is noticeable so I would always sacrifice to make the bike feel quicker, I don't need to do that anymore.


Could you ever see 650B's on a dirt jump or street bike? You're a big guy- could it work better for you?
It could work but I think I'd always want to stick with 26". Running larger wheels is all about smoothing out the terrain and on a dirt jump or street bike you're riding pretty smooth terrain so there wouldn't be any real advantage.


Fox and Manitou are both offering 27.5" DH race forks in 2014. Do you see 26" wheels as dead in the water?
I've heard that most people testing 27.5 downhill bikes are pretty happy with the results. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw less and less 26” inch downhill bikes.


Will all trail bikes under 140mm be 29" bikes someday? What type of riders would benefit more from a 650B over a 29er?
I think it's going to be determined by the type of riding and bike design. In my experience 27.5" is way more agile so for courses or trails that require a lot of acceleration and might be tighter and technical they would excel. 29ers are still great when you have the opportunity to carry speed and keep it rolling.

The best thing is that riders have the choice to have a bike that fits their riding style and the different wheel sizes give designers the opportunity to create bikes that highlight the positive attributes of both wheel sizes.


Scott Boyd, Sunringle Product Manager and Ed Kwaterski, Hayes Group Suspension Chief Engineer

The internet trolls say that 650B's are the bike industry's way of 'making' folks buy new forks, frames, etc. Are they right? Why are they wrong?
Scott: I can see how consumers think that way, however the goal is to provide a better riding experience. If 27.5" increases your riding experience, then it’s worth the investment. The industry has had to spend time and money tooling up new parts. This has mainly been fueled by demand not the other way around.

Ed: The industry demands constant innovation. As a company, or as a dealer, if you don’t have something new, you are behind and losing business. This comes at a price, and that price is that sometimes what you used to ride is now unavailable. No company can afford to keep making every standard that has ever been produced. You can’t have it both ways.


Which segment of the industry drives what wheel size will be marketed most prominently? Is it frame, suspension or wheel manufacturers? Is it consumers? Or is it a mixture of all of the above?
Scott: Ultimately it’s the frame manufactures looking to make their bikes the best and most desirable. The components that are equipped on the bike are to compliment the design and complete the rider’s experience. You can’t have one without the other.


As a suspension provider, what range of travel do you think the 650B's excel at the most? What travel range do you offer 650B products for?
Scott: I feel that the 27.5” wheels will be best on a technical terrain using a 140-160mm travel bike. You get the maneuverability of the 26” with a little extra rolling advantage. However, that doesn’t limit to what we will have available for both wheels and forks to meet market demand. Currently we offer 120mm XC forks up to 203mm DH forks which cover all segments. The same goes with wheels, as we have a complete offering.


Is there anything specific to the tuning of 650B suspension? Are the wheels significantly stronger than 29"?
Scott: If all the variables remain the same… hub, rim extrusion shape, spoke type, and spoke count. The 27.5 wheels will have less deflection which relates to a stiffer wheel. Strength will be comparable since the rim design for both 27.5 and 29er remains the same.

Ed: Every suspension and bike frame should be tuned as a unique package for its intended usage.


Do you see the 650B's most benefiting xc race, trail or enduro bikes the most? Could they be a big wheel answer for people who are too short in stature to wield a 29er?
Scott: The trail and enduro segments are going to benefit the most. I also agree that a shorter person in an XC race would benefit on a 27.5" bike over a 29er. Ultimately, the 27.5” market is here to stay and it will be across all segments.

Ed: Any place where pure fun over speed is the goal, it seems would be right for 650B. As trails tighten up and travels lengthen, speed might even be better on a 650B than a 29er. In the end, I think people should ride what they like, and ignore trends.


Where is the market right now? Do you see an increased demand for 650B forks and shocks this year? Wheel sales?
Scott: The demand is up for sure. At the OEM level, 27.5" wheels and forks have almost replaced 26” sales all together.


What is the biggest benefit from switching from a 26" to a 650B? 29" to a 650B?
Scott: 26” – 27.5": Faster rolling. 29”-27.5": Better maneuverability.


Biggest limitations of the 27.5” wheel size? Where would you spot the rollability of the 650B's between a 26" and 29" wheel?
Scott: Having more tire choices for 27.5" would be the biggest limitation now. This will improve in a short amount of time. Based on the actual rim ETRTO diameters (559mm – 26”, 584mm – 27.5", 622mm-29er), the rollability of the 27.5" will be closer to a 26” wheel.


In what direction do you see the market for 650B's going? Will it cannibalize the other wheel sizes or do you see the market growing in all directions? What will happen to 26" trail bikes going forward?
Ed: There is no need for both 26” and 650B. 26” is already being completely ignored by many frame makers. Products are merely carry-over from prior years.


Do you feel 650B's are a way for folks who were late on the 29" train to hop aboard a new wheel size? How much is hype versus a real improvement in riding quality?
Ed: Absolutely I believe this. This is exactly where the consumers mentioned above are right.

Carter Holland poses with his Black Market Roam bicycle

Carter Holland, Owner of Black Market Bikes

I know you’ve been tinkering a lot with different wheel sizes on the Black Market Roam. Which wheel size do you like the best?
I almost exclusively ride 650B on my trail bike now. I have been riding 27.5” for a year and a half and I love them. We made the prototype Black Market Roam with modular sliding dropouts so you can run 26”, 27.5” or even 29” wheels. The stock Roam can run 26” and 27.5” at 120mm to 160mm of rear travel and 120mm of travel with 29” wheels.


What do you like about 27.5” compared to the other sizes?
They definitely roll a lot faster than 26”, without loosing the handling like you do with 29”. There’s about a minute long downhill near my house that I ride all the time. The first night switching from 26” wheels to 650B’s I shaved 6 seconds off my best time and was King of the Mountain.

I raced downhill on a Roam set up with 29” wheels and I couldn’t control the bike. The bike rolls so fast over stuff that as soon as I made a mistake I was off the course. The biggest drawback to 29er’s is that you can’t recover from errors unless you are really big and can dominate the big wheels.

Carter Holland destroys a corner on his Black Market Roam bicycle

What segment of the market do 650B’s excel?
In the trail and downhill bike segment they are going to take over. In that realm there is no reason to ride 26” again. My advice is to sell all of your 26” and 29” and get a 650B frame and wheels. I was hitting 35-40 foot tables at the Rampage site on a Roam with 650B’s. 27.5” don’t have that weird gyroscopic feel that the bigger wheels do.


If 26" are dead, what about 29”?
The hardcore xc guys are always going to run 29” wheels. The guys who are the Strava terrorists only care about how fast they can go, not how fun the ride is. If they come out with 36” wheels I’m sure they will ride those!


Will 650B’s ever catch on in the freestyle or slopestyle scene?
I don’t think that bigger wheel sizes can withstand the punishment of slopestyle. If you don’t land a rotation perfectly, a 650B or 29” wheel won’t hold up like a 26”. Also riders wouldn’t want the seat and wheels any higher than they are already. It takes a lot to tailwhip a mountain bike and with bigger wheels it would be even more difficult. That said I have flipped a full suspension 29er!


Mark Jordan Fox Racing Shox Global Marketing and Communications Manager

What is your personal experience on 650B's? How do you like 27.5 compared to 26" and 29" wheels? Did you have to change your riding style to use them?
I have ridden a few 27.5” bikes – the Santa Cruz Bronson, Rocky Mountain Altitude and the Santa Cruz 5010. I first rode one at the 2013 Sea Otter event. The first thing that I noticed was that the bikes didn’t feel much different than 26” and not nearly as much of a change as 29”. I’d say that I still feel that way. You get the benefits of a bigger wheel without such a big handling, geometry, etc. differences that come with a 29er.

I’ll probably never ride a 26” trail bike again. I like how much better the bigger wheels carry speed without having to fork over some cash for a light set of wheels to keep the weight in check. For me, a 27.5” feels close enough to a 26” that I don’t have to change my riding style at all. I like them and the bike industry seems to be all over them.


Which category of bike benefits most from the 650B platform?
In our experience, we see a lot of benefits to bigger wheels – they have proven to be faster in most scenarios. Most of the time we are catering to our customers - bike brands and aftermarket consumers. I think the industry is currently giving 27.5” bikes a shake down in all categories, so we’ll know what is best in a year or two.


What do you see as the biggest benefits and drawbacks of making the switch to 650B?
In most cases, riders not only gain the benefits of a bigger wheel size but also a newer frame design. The 26” to 27.5” switch gives riders better rolling without a drastic change in bike handling. It’s basically the same going from 29” to 27.5”

A drawback is the budget in the sense that you can’t put less expensive, heavier wheels on the bigger wheel bikes and have good results. Also, there are geometry challenges with smaller riders.


Is there anything specific to tuning a 650B shock?
It’s mostly chassis tuning - stiffness for the fork length and offset for the wheel size/bike geometry.


What direction is 650B going? Are they taking over the trail market completely?
Just look at what is offered from the top bike brands. 27.5” is already taking away from 26” and 29” trail bikes. And 29” already took away from 26” XC – so it’s all getting cannibalized and it seems as though this trend will continue.


Mark Summers Co-owner of Joyride 150 Indoor Bike Park

What's your personal choice of wheel size for the park and for all around trail riding?
For the park I prefer a 26" dirt jump bike. For all around xc riding I use a 29er. I have been riding single speed 29er for 7 years. For me the tires roll great and the large volume tires suck up the trail.


What wheel sizes do you see roll through your door on a regular basis?
Definitely the young kids/teenagers are on BMX and that is our most popular wheel size. 3/4 of our riders are on a BMX and maybe 20% on 26". There is a group of the xc crowd who come in on their 29ers. I haven't seen any 650B's come through yet.


26" wheels are beginning to be phased out of the trail bike market. Do you see that as a problem?
Yes, I believe that the problem with moving to the larger wheel size is that they are too big for young kids getting into xc riding or racing. For a kid 10-15 years old, the question is, will you be able to find a decent bike for them in a proper size? So far I know of some brands that have (inadvertently) cut this segment of riders out of the picture. No doubt you need to build bikes to make a profit and reach the greatest market share possible (everyone seems to want the big wheels), but will you sacrifice kids being able to get into the sport to do so?


Hans Heim, Partner at Ibis Cycles

What has your experience on 650B's been?
I have ridden the HD converted, the HDR as well as some competitor’s bikes. I do like it better than 26”, it feels more stable, better traction and confidence inspiring. I understand why people like it. My impression is that the bikes I rode feel like they are better than my 26" bikes, but not quite as confident as my 29" at rolling over things, technical climbing and getting around corners at the limit. I would say 650B’s are roughly halfway between.

Keep in mind this is coming from the perspective of a guy who is riding a 29" that was designed to handle like a 26" and so the typical rider experience will have more positives for 27.5” if coming from a slow handling 29". We think that bad 29" bikes helped give 650B’s a great start.


What has the emergence of 27.5” wheels done to the business of frame making?
With the exception of Scott and Giant, the very fast acceptance of a new size and rejection of the old standard put bike makers in an impossible situation, having to scrap existing product, tooling, inventory that can't be sold etc. It has been a hellish upheaval for most companies and the idea that they brought it on themselves for the purpose of selling more is completely wrong.

The consumer's wishes are what drives the products for the most part and in this case, critical mass for 27.5" was reached more quickly than any change that has ever come before. Very few companies were in much of a position to capitalize on the change. When we started shipping 27.5" kits with HDRs for example, there was really only one model tire available.


Which wheel size or sizes will be dominant in the various segments of mountain biking going forward? What is driving force behind the change in wheel sizes?
I’m guessing the market will stay about the same and the 27.5” and 29” will take over the 26” in all but the lower price and kid's bike ranges. The ultimate split between them is hard to predict, but physics would seem to dictate that they both have a reason to live in the long term.

The way the market works is that frame builders are responding to what they feel consumers want and the component companies are supporting the bike brands. I think both 27.5" and 29" have a bright future. Consumers ultimately drive it, but the constraints on frame / geometry / fit mean that as the travel gets longer, you will not be able to make LONG TRAVEL small bikes that fit with 29" wheels.

The natural arrangement would end up being long travel bikes, 160mm and above, will have smaller (27.5") wheels. In turn, shorter travel and hard tails would have larger (29") wheels. It makes some sense to change wheel size as you change frame size, but you lose the ability to share parts between sizes and it's much the same as making an entire new model. There will be a lot of overlap in the mid travel range as both wheel sizes can work well.

Keep in mind that a change in tire or tire pressure is often more noticeable than a change from 27.5” to 26” or 29”. Wide rims with lower tire pressure are going to be the next big game changer and it is a more noticeable change to the ride than the diameter changes.


How did you manage to make your 120mm 29er, the Ripley work for smaller riders?
In most cases small 29" bikes do not fit small riders very well. It's hard to get the bars low enough, low enough standover, etc. We put special effort into the fit for smaller riders on our 29" since Roxy (our designer) is just over 5'.

We were able to configure the Ripley 29" frame so that it fits people even at 5' 0" tall, due to the new short taper fork steerer and smaller head tube plus designing in lots of stand over. If we made an XS for people under 5', 27.5" wheels would make it possible to get a better fit.


What do you see as the biggest benefit to the 27.5” wheel compared to 29”?
Depends on the bike, but typically, you would feel that you can change direction more quickly. It is easier to move the bike around. The bike will feel lighter even if it actually weighs the same amount. These differences are largely related to geometry and wheel / tire weight, so it depends on design and set up. We specifically went after improving these traits on our 29" so it's not so noticeable switching from a Ripley 29" to an HDR 27.5".


Do you feel 650B's are a way for folks who were late on the 29" train to hop aboard a new wheel size? How much is hype versus a real improvement in riding quality?
There is an actual improvement in ride quality both perceived and measured (timed runs), so that is not imagined. What is confusing and has really thrown people off is the first round of crappy 29" bikes. 27.5" success is partially a reaction to 29" bikes that didn't ride that well. People associate the ride with the wheel size and decide based on not liking a 29" bike they rode at some point in the past, though things have progressed and the situation has changed as the designs have evolved.

There is also a certain face saving kind of decision, folks who were down on 29" bikes not having to give in to 29" after having spoken out against them in the past. They can get some big wheel benefits without feeling like they are caving in to 29" pressure.

Since both can ride very well, there really aren't any wrong answers or bad decisions. I feel I could be happy and adapt to all around riding on either 27.5" or 29" but I do have a slight preference for 29" at this point. I would choose 27.5" over 26" without hesitation as well.


Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I did asking the questions. Thanks very much to all interviewed for taking the time to give us the low down on 650B's.

Thanks to Dustin Brady at Shimano, David Parrett at Thomson, Jeff Wilbur at Cateye, Eric Hauge at Dakine, Karl Wiedemann at Thule, Willie Ford at POC USA and Jeff Kendall-Weed at Ibis. Thanks also to Jeremiah Stich and Colin Hastings at Bert's Bikes and Fitness in Tonawanda. Thanks again to Matthew Delorme for slogging through the snow for the shots of Lenosky and Shane Edel for lugging gear to the bottom of the Niagara Gorge to take some fantastic photos.


239 Comments

  • + 113
 "After a full season on 27.5" wheels, I found that I was rolling over things more easily and carrying more speed than I did on 26" wheels. 29" wheels roll over things better than 650B's, but I am not a fan of the slow handling characteristics of most 29" bikes. I found that the flickability of 27.5" wheels are very similar to a 26"."

Okay, got it. The problem: I could've told you that and i've never ridden a 27.5er myself. The theory makes sense, the bikes look good. Personally, i'm on-board the 650B ship. But why do i have this uneasy feeling about it?

The arguments seem very redundant. Who are you trying to convince? Why are you trying so hard? Every time i read something about 650B, i never learn anything new... I guess i'm waiting for somebody to tell me something i don't know, a different perspective. Nope.

It's very paradoxical. I was sold on the idea from the very beginning, yet i still feel like it's being shoved down my throat.
  • + 20
 it's only good to give the industry a new boost. Just keep having fun on your bike.
  • - 26
flag HardtailHucker03 (Apr 5, 2014 at 7:46) (Below Threshold)
 pick a wheel size and be a dick about!!!
  • + 43
 I agree. Articles like this are just like a crazy hidden marketing scheme. The consumer is damn near like "ok holy shit we get it" but it just keeps coming. And who was the genius that said in it he will probably never ride a 26" trail bike again? Well if you can name 5 people that even sell them anymore I'd be impressed. I think it's becoming less of a choice on what we ride and the industry convincing themselves it's better for us.
  • + 17
 Comments like this get my goat:

"The demand is up for sure. At the OEM level, 27.5" wheels and forks have almost replaced 26” sales all together."

The demand is up from bike and frame manufacturers not necessarily consumers!!!

From my point of view 26 and 29 make sense existing together but the mid size is squarely for the sake of it. Since being taken on by the Enduro/ DH crowd it is a bad sign for 26, especially with such non-stop marketing like this article telling us change is inevitable and there;s nothing anyone can do so hurry up and buy 650B. It is the only future, honest guv (we'll make damn sure of that!) Wink
  • + 8
 YEAH just sip that koolaid it's good for you.
Expecting bike companies / pro's to say something bad on 650b......... you don't piss in the well that you are drinking from!.
If anything 650b gave 29" justification imao, snappy handling 29" bikes exist nowadays (thanks to years of hate from 26" ) that will stump any """""advantage"""""" that 650BS have!.
On-One codeine is one that doesn't break the bank and looks heaps of FUN! ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtXcB-SvnIY ).
  • + 60
 I think it's because there is still very little tangible evidence to support all these options about the 27.5. It's nice when people say things like 'They carry more speed over bumps' or 'the 27.5 rolls faster' or 'I'm more confident on the 27.5' and things like that, but at the end of the day it's all just opinion, and opinions can be influenced by all types of outside factors. Are they really riding faster? And is it really the bike? Or placebo effect?

One thing that jumps out is the disconnect between how much people hype the benefits, but do not notice the drawbacks. The benefits are always clear. It rolls much faster. It carries so much speed etc. But then in the next sentence they say how the bike really doesn't ride or feel much different than a 26".

To me something has to give. It can't roll like a 29" and handle like a 26". Physics won't allow that. You can't have all benefits and none of the drawbacks. IMO I think it's more that the 27.5" just really isn't that much different than the 26". That the benefits (while they do exist) are just being over stated. The 27.5 wheel just isn't that much bigger than the 26" to make such a drastic difference.

Now I'm not anti 27.5. If that's the optimal balance of size and handling then it makes sense to produce that. I'm just tired of the marketing hype touting it as the next big must have thing. It's only big because it's shifting the entire industry, but in terms if changing mountain biking? Not really. Like one guy even pointed out in the interviews, he thinks a simple change in tire pressure has more of an effect in how the bike rides than the change in wheel size from 26" to 27.5". That hardly screams monumental change.

I just wish people would talk about 27.5" for what it is. A better, but not drastically different alternative to 26" inch wheels. To me it's sounds like something that you buy if you are in the market for a new bike, but not something people should be ditching their current 26" bikes for.
  • + 6
 ^ agreed.
and while we're at it...if you're a sometimes sloppy Hucker/jumper like me and case the jump you're going to be truing the heck out of your wheels all the time. At least Specialized took a cue from the MX guys and used to make 24" rear wheels. I'd case stuff and simply ride away and keep on. Seriously the whole MX bike geometry "gets it wrong"? I don't think so.
  • + 0
 @vodoo, something that the big brands dont mention about the 650b is the improvements on the bb drop. 650b bikes have an additional 12mm to drop their bb without sacrifing pedal clearance, lowering the bb will improve the cornering abilities of any frame.
Why dont they mention this? I dont know, perhaps they dont want to accept some of their current 26ers have poor cornering performance?
  • + 15
 Words in the DH WC pits is that 650b is faster, with figures to prove it, but a lot less fun to ride ... It will probably become the racers' choice, because they are racing. But for the John Doe, it's just not worth it, no matter what people say. But yeah, now try to find a brand new 26" trail bike, it's nearly impossible.

And that, no matter how you say it, is forcing the consumer to switch over 650b. Some say you can start a dictatorship by suppressing the opposition, isn't that what they are doing ?


Well at least I can see 1 good thing out of all this, is all these people selling dirt cheap 26" parts. Keep coming ! I've got a whole fleet of 26" waiting to get your cheap parts Smile
  • + 32
 Article tldr... Got to the line where he wrote:
'The internet trolls say that 650B's are the bike industry's way of 'making' folks buy new forks, frames, etc. Are they right? Why are they wrong? '

Debating and feeling passionate about your sport is not trolling. This is the perfect line that if you arent on board you are now a bike forum troll. I have ridden 650b and cant really tell to much of a difference but I dont like the marketing that is going on with this as well as being called a troll for debating.


ps. oh yea and its still called All mountain in my household. it is also called dh not gravity and it is still not considered and an extreme sport. (im niot going to rant... Im not going to rant... f*ck it.. im going to rant) there is no issue with trie size. who gives a flying 'f' what other people are riding. better worse... whatever. i will never be in the world cup and neither will my friends. this being said when i started this we had one bike type with no suspension and it was called clunking or just mountain biking. we came up with our own terms for stuff and our own take on things. north shore, jump tracks, dirt jumps... and then some a*shole corperate marketer decided to make the terms more sellable and this is what I have an issue with.... we are the customer and they should be doing what we tell them to do and catering to what we call it instead of high-jacking the whole thing and trying to create sub categories and causing a rift... we are all just clunkers and if the MTB can't understand that then I will go with the small manufacturers that just want to build bikes. Use corporate lingo on a ride and look like a newfag.. go ahead. but honestly people its like gay marriage... who gives a shit... if it makes someone else happy and they have made a choice then why would anyone else care? But I have never heard anyone say that now that anything is completely corporate it is more fun. at the moment 'go Turner'
  • + 6
 @Narro2, if you want to get really technical, 650B has an extra 38mm when it comes to wheel size. Divide that in half (because the bike sits in the middle (on the axle), and you get 19mm. So really, if the companies drop the frame (BB height) an extra 12mm, it is still 19mm - 12mm which equals an extra 7mm higher than the original 26" was before. There is only so low that you can go until you sacrifice pedal clearance. it doesn't matter what wheel size you have.
  • - 4
flag slidways (Apr 5, 2014 at 9:10) (Below Threshold)
 @narro, the exta 12mm BB drop is because of the increased wheel size obviously so it doesn't actually make the BB any lower than a 26 frame, although what it does do is create a feeling of sitting more in the bike.

Why don't we feel draw backs?
Ever considered that the 26 bike has more nimbleness than we need?
If this is true we are not reaching the limits of the 26 bike maximum nimbleness which means much of it is not been used, over time we have focused on making bikes more stable not more nimble, id expect the 650B can still be built in a way that provides plenty of nimble feeling. the upper maximum may not be the same as a 26er but if we never use that upper maximum the 650B may still offer more than we need, that is not limiting the rider therefore we are not loosing much if anything on that front but we are gaining the other improvements.

eg if a 26er bike had a nimble rating of 100 and we only ever needed to use 80, a 650B might only have a nimble rating of 90, but its still well above the needed 80. So while it may be in theory less nimble its not actually negatively effecting the rider.
  • + 9
 I'm stayin 26 because I can get more bike for my money. The 650b hype just costs too much for now. But never say never
  • + 5
 @captain, 12 mm 19 mm, it doesnt matter, whatever the measurent is it doesnt mean that all bike companies are going to drop their BBs exactly by that amount, what it really does is to provide more room to their designers to design their bikes regarding BB drop relatively to the wheelaxles, cus that's where cornering abilities of a frame come in.
Cornering improvements are not related to the BB height relatively to the ground, it is actually related to how low is the BB bracket relatively to the rear axle, that's why some companies prefer to put BB drop on their geometry charts rather than BB height.
  • + 3
 this is a bike industry created demand...pure and simple, i love my ibis mojo HD ..and now what? buy 27.5 because I can shave 6 seconds off some 3 minute descent or whatever one of these guys above said in his write up....I dont race an ibis mojo HD as a downhill bike...ibis should be offering that rear triangle for HDs in 650B beyond a one batch job run...so people can try it, and say "yes its great or no it sucks" without having to spend $4000-$5000 on the HDR, fork, wheels, and tires..the price range is higher than the frame because I dont buy non-carbon rims for carbon frames....and you cant switch to 650b by just buying the frame alone (some have done it), or the only the fork and wheels and tires...maybe the latter you can with some pacenti tires...
  • + 12
 Everyone almost forgot that last years EWS first and second place was on 26 . That just don't make sence if they not rolling fast enough
  • + 2
 It's manufactured demand. More demand = more money for companies. There is a difference between 26/650b, but is a enough to justify the attack on the old standard, no, but that manufactures more demand.
  • + 6
 bikes are fun
  • + 4
 If you love 26", vote with your wallet. Yeti stopped producing the SB66 because the bikes just sat on showroom floors...
"The industry has had to spend time and money tooling up new parts. This has mainly been fueled by demand not the other way around."
Nobody's trying to trick you or make you buy anything. 26" bikes are awesome, 650b bikes are awesome, just get on one and ride it and STFU.
  • + 24
 What I think bothers me the most is actually how PB goes about these articles. More often than not, they seem to be bullying their opinions forward and almost picking fights with anyone who disagrees. There's a few little antagonistic little quips in the article above, and I think my favorite has to be the following;

"The internet trolls say that 650B's are the bike industry's way of 'making' folks buy new forks, frames, etc."

PB is now actively referring to it's members as trolls. Not only that, but it's taking the fairly logical idea that this new push in wheelsize has a lot to do with making money rather than a better standard. PB goes as far as to try and make you feel bad for thinking before buying shit. It's pathetic, and the bully tactics should stop. This article almost comes off as begging, as if you're at the point of insulting someone to make them agree with you, as they simple don't want what you're offering.

Tip, offer something else. People want 26" articles. The Felt April Fools thing was hilarious and people jumped all over it, because it's mocking THIS EXACT sort of idiotic hype. Learn to take a hint and stop bashing the people who pay your bills.
  • + 3
 PBers are so hateful and angry! I'm just happy to have a nice bike to ride, I don't care if it's 26 or 650b.
  • + 5
 I want to think people want 26" bikes too, but the bike sales numbers say otherwise... 26" bikes sit on shop floors and they can't move their stock. They stop ordering them and bike co's stop producing them! How can you expect a bike company to pour money into R&D and production of bikes that nobody will buy? And OF COURSE it's about making money - Just stop a minute and look at how far bikes have come in the last 10 years. It's so easy to forget about the amazing things bike companies do for the progression of the sport, any little hiccup in the way people think the industry should go and they fly off the handle, accusing companies of "making them" buy new stuff they don't want... I just get pissed off that people bitch so much about this stuff. Yuo are all lucky to have the luxury to MTB, get off the internet, shut up and go ride. I do agree it's a bit belittling of PB to call their readers trolls, but take a look at the childish bickering on this post alone. It gets pretty old to read. Rant done!
  • + 22
 Part of the reason 26 is staying on shelves? Hype articles like this. People read them, see that there's no flaws in 27.5 whatsoever, and jump on the bandwagon, not fully knowing that it's not beneficial to them, or worse depending on their riding style or area, is a worse bike. Our main point is that the constant droning that PB has adopted is part of the reason the 26" market is falling apart.

People don't want to buy what's not cool. Media such as PB is making 650b out to be cool with no downsides. No wonder 26" isn't moving off shelves. Your average rider just wants to fit the image and doesn't know better.

As a news agency, PB should honestly just be ashamed of hype like this.
  • + 1
 Yeah I get it, good point
  • - 2
 what?
  • + 3
 Well all the 26 stuff is on discount now that's good. As is all the QR 135 gear. Maybe the need to build smaller bikes for kids will result in 24s getting more traction. Hope the Aussie dollar goes up again before all the 26 stuff is sold.
  • + 0
 Am I the only one who has a 650b bike because the bike I wanted evidently had 650b wheels, which are a whooping 19mm larger per side? The geo and weight is as good as a 26 inch bike, so who gives a shit just get what you want, the options are all there.
  • - 2
 "Am I the only one who bought this bike as it's right for me? I could care less about your preferences, my opinion is better. Shut up and ride what I want instead of using a biking website to talk about bike related things."

Sigh.
  • - 1
 You obviously have not tried my setup, I have been tuning it incredibly stiff for whole minutes in my basement based off off pros tunes, as they're obviously faster for everyone. I would challenge you to a race to determine who is the superior being, but my carbon headtube spacers haven't come in and would weigh me down, making it unfair.
  • - 2
 Trying a bit too hard to save yourself with sarcasm there, mate.
  • + 1
 All I'm saying is even though larger wheels may roll better, no one literally needs the best, so run what you want.
  • - 2
 Yet moments ago you were saying that the weight (clearly the most important thing involved) is as good as a 26 so why complain. I love how fast people change their tune around here.
  • + 2
 I didn't say nothing mattered, I was just pointing out all of the wheel sizes work and are fun, even if they're not all equal they're all good enough to ride.
  • - 2
 You actually really did say that. It's a couple posts up. Try reading your post? " The geo and weight is as good as a 26 inch bike, so who gives a shit " It really does say that there is no real difference and it doesn't matter, so don't complain. That was the exact thought you gave. Now that someone has pointed out how lame it was, you instantly change your tune to what everyone else is saying.

Thumbs up. Two of them. To you.
  • + 2
 I gave my own personal opinion, I wasn't trying to dictate to the mtb world. In buying a bike, there are more important things than just wheel size *to me*. Frankly, I was just putting it out there that I don't think wheelsize is the most important thing in the world. If you or someone else thinks larger wheels are that groundbreaking, or horrible if that's your stance, good for you.
  • + 2
 Hey Dillon. Come up to Silver Star this year... Ill race you either one of my 26ers... you can choose which course up there. We will see how much your pro-tune and your 650b is worth.....careful though.. you may get your ass spanked by an old man on a 26er with an aluminum frame. Im just teasing though... well sort of... i will race you.
  • + 3
 Yet that's what nobody is saying. I like how you're now making examples of the extremist opinions in here to try and dilute the fact that you've just had a total 180 in your opinion. And by "gave my opinion" I think you mean "said some hype line to get attention then changed my mind immediately after I didn't get what I wanted." Switching constantly isn't an opinion, no matter how ya spin it.

Also I enjoy how you're totally pushing aside everyone's real complain; we can't choose what we want. We would love it if we had tons of 26" options, but we don't. The market is moving to 650 without any real intelligence. THAT is what we're complaining about.

How about this. If you're just here to say "Hur hur go ride your bike", instead of making that comment, log off and "hur hur go ride your bike." We're here to talk about bikes and the issues we feel the industry is facing. It's fine and dandy if you don't want to be involved in that discussion, but don't just drop off some condescending "I know it all" comment then change what you're saying so people don't say your shit stinks.
  • + 1
 Haha sounds fun, I'm sure I couldn't possibly lose on slightly larger wheels :p
  • + 2
 Options are best, but we have less of them. I wasn't commenting on availability, I just think the switch to 650b is fairly minimal performance wise. I only commented on performance, and I apologize to anyone who was angered by me giving my 2 cents on only one of the factors in riding and buying a bike. (by the way I already got back from today's ride..)
  • - 2
 You weren't commenting on anything. The words came out for the benefit of you reading them. Nobody is mad over a post of opinions, however I will note I find it frustrating when people like you come into an article, constantly change their tune, give mock apologies to events that didn't happen, while shrugging off the fact that you made an idiotic comment. Spent enough time on you though. Please don't bother apologizing, explaining yourself, or any other broken record shit. The biggest way you can apologize is by letting this conversation continue.
  • + 1
 You were the only one piping up over me giving my opinion on 650b,which coincidentally this post is about. I cannot see why you are so angered that I think it's not a massive problem. I think compatibility issues are a pain, but over than that there is definitely a small but real performance boost. That's my opinion for everyone to take it for what it's worth. If you believe that my comment is "bad" or "wrong" , no shits will be given, and I'd rather not try to explain myself to a wall any longer.
  • - 5
flag sherbet Plus (Apr 5, 2014 at 18:26) (Below Threshold)
 "My opinion is constantly in flux and I'm now going to insult you." Ahaha. Thanks for the laugh.
  • + 4
 I'll be keeping my 26" bike at least another season. I don't feel like dropping $4000+ on a new ride. I ride, I don't race. New & shiny is exciting, but I have a lot of other things I can do with $4000 or $5000.
  • + 3
 group bullies beating up on another herd's wishy washy bully....nice kids, nice!
  • + 1
 Bottom line most people are pissed because they hate change haha. I wonder if this same uproar happened when we moved from 24 to 26. The same thing can be said for all that and hey look we all got over that.
  • + 6
 There was a window of time, 2012 and 2013 seasons, where the buyers buying new bikes made the choices. 26" was still available. I made my choice and bought a sb66, guys would come up and say, "dude, sweet bike, I wonder if they will make a 27.5 version, I would totally buy that!" It was the 29er success that opened the door for a new size, all of these people had "rollover" envy, but didn't like not being able to manual or bunny hop I guess. The bottom line is, the actual people buying the bikes the last two years bought into the hype, and now we are all going to have to deal with the change....good thing that mountian bikes are still fun!
  • - 2
 I think what is interesting is how people are saying 650b doesn't make any difference to speed than why complain about the change? Look at any group of riders it doesn't matter if they are all on the same bike and same wheel size there will always be a faster rider, one who can move the bike around more than the other.

People are acting like the wheel size has destroyed their riding and its going to limit them. Lets get real, most of us don't reach the limits of the bikes we ride 26 or 650b they will both take you far enough and provide you with more than what we need.

Take a step back and look at bike geo 3-4years ago. 65degree headangles, shorter wheel bases, higher geometry. The changes that have taken place since than have done more to make bikes less playful than this wheel size does. Its blown out of proportion, people are upset because they feel 650b is been forced on them even if it doesn't effect their ride they are angry about the principal of it.

We need less wheel size complaining and more riding the damn bikes. Having the opportunity to just own and be able to ride bikes is something many people don't have the option of.
  • + 4
 I think "I found that I was rolling over things more easily and carrying more speed" is the heart of the whole debate...
Assuming that's true (either that or it truly is a conspiracy from our marketing overlords...), why would I ever want to roll over things more easily if I am not racing? I ride to have fun, I want to *hop* over things, find the better lines, have fun! If you give me a bike that rolls over things I'll have to find bigger things to ride over to get the same fun!
  • + 45
 650 is heavier, weaker, less responsive, heavier to accelerate. Complete bikes weigh 2lb more than the 26 version. Riding wise not faster. This article is complete marketing bullshit. I want hard numbers and not testimonials.
  • - 1
 Look at the dh results of 650b bikes lately and the back to back tests that have been reported over the last 12 months!! Like it or not in the majority of situations they are quicker than the equivalent 26er. just a question but have you ridden one? If no then try it you may actually change your mind
  • + 9
 That's the bottom line. Try it. Because sadly we all know we can not trust the likes of Mitch Ropelato when he tells us he loves his 29er the most. Not because it can't be true or because Mitch isn't trustworthy, but because he rides for the big S and they are pushing 29s. Basically, talk to and listen to people with zero vested interest in whether you buy it or not. Or just try it like sewer said.
  • + 6
 sewer-rat, it is all very well saying things like that off hand but show us some numbers to back this up. They aren't out there because the differences are extremely hard to quantify!

" I want hard numbers and not testimonials."

Agreed
  • - 14
flag deeeight (Apr 5, 2014 at 8:44) (Below Threshold)
 Now entering, the internet troll from switzerland...
  • - 1
 Now, if 29 is the marathon and XC bike of choice because its so much faster - as in its so fast its dangerous because you cant recover a mistake according to Mister Black Market Bikes, (brakes and skill required maybe?) how then do you fathom Shurter and co on 650B's winning stages in the Cape Epic marathon stage race a week or two back. They were on their much slower 650B bikes with only a little more rollover ability than a 559 (also from the article). It all makes perfect sense doesn't it....
  • + 1
 www.pinkbike.com/u/mattwragg/blog/26-vs-275-vs-29-Wheels.html




See above should help, this also completely depends on the trail etc - I say this as on most Xc a 29er will slay anything. Believe me after riding all 3 wheel sizes (and coming from a dh / motocross and 25 years of riding 26" bikes) it makes sense in 90-95% of the time. The one thing I have noticed as a negative is the rear end is a bit longer so you do have to learn to accommodate this on jumps etc but it's that minuscule and you roll faster into them it's hardly noticeable. AS STATED ABOVE - TRY ONE, then if you don't like it slate it. You guys sound like someone who says they don't like some food , steak / curry whatever when you've never tried it
  • + 2
 ...and when everybody has 650b and the same times who will have profit?

Besides, sewerrat, the reason you're slower isn't because you have 26" ... Just how many moronic articles on here have you read to come up with that idea? Rotting you brain.. Ride your bike and you will get faster.
  • - 3
 Now entering, the wheel size Columbus with stories of goldilocks........
  • + 1
 The rider, because they will be travelling further in less time! And guess what if they train harder they would still travel even further. Your logic is flawed I'm afraid, do you ride one or have ridden one? No probably not so shove your draconian comments where the sun don't shine
  • + 4
 Let me help you here. If every rider has 650b, just like every xc rider has 29, the finishing results will be same relative positions if they all rode 36". If a bike is really what makes racers fast(as these ppl have convinced you of) then everybody will have just buy that bike. Advantage goes bye bye. Now ask who sold you guys all those bikes? Who profited? It wasn't you because you're finishing same spot in the field.

Besides the reason you are slightly slower than another guy has nothing todo with your wheel-size, unless you are a world cup level athlete then i apologize. Wink
  • - 4
flag deeeight (Apr 5, 2014 at 9:58) (Below Threshold)
 Oh don't mention 36ers... Pinkbike children can barely manage 650B and 29ers... we really don't want them to find out about the NEXT wheelsize just yet.
  • + 0
 Really I don't need or want your help, what I do know though is from a recreational point of view I travel further quicker, noticeably on the climbs and road to my local trails. In another term say driving for example You are basically saying that a more experienced driver in a faster car would be faster than an inexperienced driver in the same car, well that obvious isn't it Smile . I'm all for riding different styles etc and don't want to start a slanging match but I reckon in 2 years you will be on 27.5. Try it
  • + 2
 @deeight: Factbased world vs fantasyland? Marketing is not exactly rocket science and 29/650 was a very costly, for industry and consumer, move without any tangible advantages. That is idiotic. Big wheels are for tall people. Remember how you outgrew your 20 wheeled bike? Same principle...
  • + 7
 Get on one and ride it. Quit looking for "hard numbers" to tell you which bike to buy. Testimonials (rider perception) is the only thing that matters for most people.
  • + 6
 Nice one Max , it may not work for everyone and that's fair enough but how can you slate something when you haven't tried it
  • + 5
 "Get on one and ride it. Quit looking for "hard numbers" to tell you which bike to buy. Testimonials (rider perception) is the only thing that matters for most people."

Yet 26 is touted as the most flickable and fun bike to ride and most people ride for fun... yet we are somehow convinced (and forced through lack of options and media hysteria) that we should buy something other than the most fun bike :/ Slightly hypocritical you have to agree.
  • + 4
 I'm not saying buy one or the other, I'm just say MAKE YOUR DECISION BY RIDING THE BIKE, not by reading internet articles or looking at ration and rollover numbers.
  • + 0
 Forgot to say dude, I ain't slow - let's see some more of you riding than your 23 shots. if your such a prophet to the sport then show us, nah thought so
  • + 2
 559 is heavier, weaker, less responsive, heavier to accelerate. Complete bikes weigh 2lb more than the 24 version. Riding wise not faster. This article is complete marketing bullshit. I want hard numbers and not testimonials. says I. Then the BMX guy says 24 is heavier, weaker, less responsive, heavier to accelerate. Complete bikes weigh 2lb more than the 20" version. Riding wise not faster. This article is complete marketing bullshit. I want hard numbers and not testimonials. Then the guy on the 16 inch pit bike says 20 is heavier, weaker, less responsive, heavier to accelerate. Complete bikes weigh 2lb more than the 16 version. Riding wise not faster. This article is complete marketing bullshit. I want hard numbers and not testimonials. Can we please ask Chris Akrig as he rides everything from 16-29.
  • + 1
 Please, Chris Akrigg HATES 27.5, says it's nothing but marketing hype. He'll ride anything else though, and do it like a boss.
  • + 1
 "I'm not saying buy one or the other, I'm just say MAKE YOUR DECISION BY RIDING THE BIKE, not by reading internet articles or looking at ration and rollover numbers."

I agree in principle, but it is hard to try the equivalent 26 when they aren't even being made. That is the main issue IMO
  • + 1
 Agree with beardless here but I did find some data showing a test between all wheel sizes in the attached link. In the mag review they stated this was conducted on same bikes etc set up same with the same rider. Enjoy the read , it's quite interesting

magazine.bikeradar.com/2012/11/15/matt-pages-wheel-size-test-the-results
  • + 1
 It is one of the better tests but is far from perfect as Matt would agree.

Only one rider
Only one course
Only one day
Only 4 laps
High variance in lap times
Bias as bike type was known at the time of riding
"Equivalent weight bikes" bias's towards 29 and 650B since the added weight in the wheels has to be subtracted in the other components, i.e. not equivalent builds minus the wheels
etc
etc
etc

As I say, a good article and the best test to date but far from scientific or robust. Any test that does not appreciate limitations in interpreting results would get immediately ignored in the scientific community. There very often is no right answer for how to test stuff in the real world but you absolutely need to mitigate limitations as much as possible or at the very least be able to account for their effects when interpreting data.
  • + 1
 I agree with you there but I imagine it being very difficult to do a real world repeatable accurate test. I do a lot of testing of brake discs at work and it's easy to have all parameters etc as it's on the Dyno and you use vehicle data. With this however it's quite different and interesting to see in the real world. I know from using my old trance which was lighter than my five I could travel to the local forest in 20 mins, on the five the exact same route takes 18 and on my 29er 17, the five is the most aggressive / overbuilt of those also
  • + 0
 I know a team here a the nationals who's bike can run 26 or 650b, the frame does not change so there is no incentive to push the larger size for sales as its the same frame, the team rider I know has tested the wheel and is sticking with the new size. The wc is a stage for riders to get faster and progression no company will produce a slower bike for sales. If you do that the slower bike will not win and will evidently be slower this leads to low sales. Manufacture want their bikes to win to get exposure and to show they are the fastest bikes. Producing a slower bike is just shooting yourself in the foot. 650b is the better size for downhill.
  • + 0
 And I can recall an article by the angry s/s dude where all his sixer laps were faster than his niner laps in a 24h race.
Still waiting for someone to explain how Shurter and co won stages off niner riders on 650b in a marathon I mean 650 is THE trail bike wheelsize according to these marketing gurus.
  • + 2
 Yes, exactly headshot. The angry SS article was a really good one with limitations discussed throughout and an nicely balanced test. Still not a large amount of data but his overall thoughts were that the Niner was losing out on the constant accelerations the course demanded plus accelerations when overtaking. You would have thought the Niner should have dominated an endurance event especially when both bikes had rigid forks, but not at all in his experience. The 26er was an Ibis Tranny so hardly an XC race machine which is even more amazing. Bigger wheels for constant velocity make complete sense but I've always said that most MTB riding involves a lot of accelerations and decelerations which get ignored in these debates (people have even flat out laughed at me for suggesting this!)
  • + 30
 What is this an infomercial for 27.5, hahah. Seriously how many more times are they gonna say its better than 26.....but it feels just like it.
I mean if your so after the feel of 26... why dont you just ride a 26? Its like there paid drones just repeating the company line.
Personally I dont race and could care less if im 6 sec faster over a mile, I ride the bike for fun and that is really the main purpose.

Who are you trying to convince with these articles?....we get it, its "Just like 26 but better"
  • + 4
 Accidentally neg propped but meant to give positive props. Thats what I get for doing this on an ipad mini instead of my older, yet larger screened ipad2. I hate marketing.
  • + 9
 I've heard their "it rolls over stuff better" argument a million times already... but I never picked mountain biking to "have it easy". If I didn't want the trail to bother me, I would have picked XC marathon or road biking as a discipline instead of DH/AM. All I want is a fun bike that is bombproof and I already have that with my Demo and my Dixon.

I'm not saying I'll never buy a 27.5 because I rode one and I barely felt a difference so I wouldn't cry too much if that's all that's available at that point... but until the time to buy a new bike comes, it would be nice if they could f*ck off with the 650b hype already.

Oh and if the 27.5 bikes were THAT good, I don't think they would need that much marketing to get the point across...
  • + 5
 More marketing horseshit for 650b, thanks for nothing. But it's all worked, hasnt it? Look how excited everyone gets when PB reviews a new bike every week. Or should I say the same old suspension designs, that haven't changed in the last 10 years, but now in carbon with bigger wheels. Yea, very exciting.
  • + 1
 "Or should I say the same old suspension designs, that haven't changed in the last 10 years, but now in carbon with bigger wheels."

Haha that cracked me up, so true. To be fair, the rate at which the industry innovates isn't pinkbike's fault though.
  • + 18
 I have a 2.5 year old bike with:
26" wheels
140mm fork with 20mm thru axle
9 spd drivetrain
135mm rear axle
1 1/8" head tube

I do not consider this an old bike, yet in this short time frame ALL of these spec sizes have become (or are becoming) obsolete.

Thank you bike industry, for forcing a lot of changes in a short amount of time.
  • + 2
 26 inch wheels and 3x9 for life!
  • + 2
 I'm in the same boat! Bet you still have fun though, right? I don't get the hype about tapered steerers too... Surely the stiffness is in the axle?
  • + 18
 Wow, it wasn't that long ago PB was putting out unbiased articles like the one below where testers picked 26" over 27.5.

www.pinkbike.com/news/26-vs-275-vs-29-Wheels.html

Now articles are so biased towards 27.5 is becoming comical. When was the last time we saw an article talking about how 26 is lighter, stiffer, stronger, more agile, less rolling resistance, better acceleration, easier to trick...... Or how 27.5 is heavier, less agile, more rolling resistance, less agile, weaker, harder to trick....... See how easy it is to make one sound better than the other.
  • + 9
 They're an internet magazine. They know that the 26 vs 27.5 vs 29 "debate" stirs a lot of drama so they ride the wave by making hollow articles about heated topics just to get more hits which translates into more advertiser money.

Lately, this site has been looking an awful lot like buzzfeed to me and that is not a good thing.
  • + 4
 Not just lately Wink I can see through the relentless SRAM advertising but this wheel nonsense is unavoidable. If the manufacturers and media have their way it isn't possible to buy a new 26er soon. I can choose to ride Shimano though Wink Being called trolls does little to enlighten the reader of PB either. As soon as Peatys no bull series starts again the world will be a better place Wink
  • + 1
 best thread in the comments section. Props to all.
  • + 21
 if 27.5s are similar to 26" why change?
  • + 11
 Yeah everyone keep a 26 and get a 29er. That'll really throw a park tool in the industry's 27.5 wheel!
  • + 19
 And what about the 559????
  • + 8
 Damn straight! Comparing mid size to 29 is easy. Justifying it over 26 is a much harder marketing sell so lets skirt the issue all together or throw in some token subjective nonsensical comments about rolling feel Wink
  • + 8
 559 *forever !!!

*until supplies last/ become overpriced niche products.
  • + 14
 I love how all those being 'interviewed' are; 1) a pro rider whose sponsor now only sells 650b trails bikes, 2) two reps from the only two brands to make 650b compatible dh forks and 3) a bike rep whose company purely makes trail bikes (aka 650b's primary market). 650b should have been the size of the first ever MTB wheel, but now that we have a 26" to compare it too it just doesn't make as much sense to just scrap another industry standard and buy all new shit.
  • + 4
 It is almost as though the whole thing was set up for one purpose, and one purpose only
  • + 14
 After reading this article I can't help but feel that I have just been subjected to the most boring sales pitch ever . . . Are you 650 or 29 . . . Are you Al Qaeda or Taliban ?

I guess I am now officially bike forum troll, do I get a T-Shirt or something?
  • + 12
 In skiing, the market supports a huge variety of shapes, lengths, construction etc. of skis, which provide for the various ways that people enjoy skiing. You'd come across as an idiot arguing that one characteristic is better for all. I understand that a bigger wheel will: hold more momentum, deflect less, accelerate slower, turn slower, and fold easier, but unless I'm racing (which I'm not), then all that matters to me is how much fun the bike feels when I'm riding how I like, on the trails I want to ride. For now, my setup (of which the wheels are just one part) is the result of years of refinement, and it feels like an extension of my body as I play on the technical AM trails around my home. The big wheels I've tried simply haven't provided the ride qualities I'm looking for. Choice is good, but trying to make the case that we should all want the same thing is absurd.
  • + 1
 As someone who rides a 29er, and likes it, this is what bothers me about the marketing of 650b.
  • + 5
 If I want an All Mountain Snowboard to go in my quiver with my trick board I don't need to buy new boots and bindings. With a few exceptions you need a new frame to run 650b. As someone who has ridden 24" and likes it, this going bigger than 26 is a step in the wrong direction.
  • + 11
 "What is the biggest benefit from switching from a 26" to a 650B? 29" to a 650B?
Scott: 26” – 27.5": Faster rolling. 29”-27.5": Better maneuverability."

You can also reverse things : 26” – 27.5": Less maneuverability. 29”-27.5": Less rolling.

Basicly the whole page is about comparing 27.5 and 29. They talk very few about 26.

In the end it's becoming boring earing all day about wheel size, I just say pick a wheel size and have fun with !
  • + 4
 Man, you are so right there.

This wheel size thing gets ridiculous and at best leaves me yawning...

How absurd could this whole sale comedy become (because in the end we all know it's just about selling the new crap)...well, let's reinvent the wheel!
  • + 14
 650 PissTank.

"I think....."

I think I'm tired of EVERYBODY's opinion on wheel sizes.
  • + 3
 I agree, why can't we all just pick a wheel size and "not" be a dick about it.
  • + 8
 because the bike manufacturers are taking away our choices. If they gave us a choice between 26" 650b and 29" then we wouldn't be having this conversation. The bike industry is being a dick about it, not the rider.
  • + 3
 That what I'm saying, why can't riders pick what they want to ride without the industry making us think we need something else? It really is getting old.
  • + 11
 "Keep in mind that a change in tire or tire pressure is often more noticeable than a change from 27.5” to 26” or 29”. Wide rims with lower tire pressure are going to be the next big game changer and it is a more noticeable change to the ride than the diameter changes."

I don´t understand this, if its so much better how can tier pressure and wider rims be more noticeable.
And if frame geometry and suspension designs have improved, why is the credit only being given to the wheel size.
  • + 3
 I feel that the evolution towards shorter chain stays, lower bottom brackets and slacker head angles has been halted by the switch to 650b when the clear step forward would be towards the 24 inch wheel which better accommodates all three traits and allows for wider rims and tyres, the other two evolutionary steps being shat on by 650b. This all gives engineers a new problem to overcome with ever more proprietary designs until we finally come to an evolutionary dead end and all bikes are awesome at everything and there is no reason for us to buy a new one ever again at which point the industry will collapse. Mind you I haven't slept in 48 hours and may be losing it.
  • + 9
 How does an engineer list the biggest drawback of 650B being tire selection.

He should really turn in his engineer card if he doesn't say something about it weighing more than a 26" wheel.

Matter of fact, no where in the article was this listed....
  • + 8
 I could care less about what the manufacturers say is best. My 26" rig rips and I'm not changing until I find a bike that shreds and is more fun to ride than what I have… So all you folks that got suckered into the big wheel fad, put on your goggles, cause when I shred on by on my tiny lil wheels it's gonna get dusty! Peace out fools!
  • + 8
 "Ed: Any place where pure fun over speed is the goal, it seems would be right for 650B. As trails tighten up and travels lengthen, speed might even be better on a 650B than a 29er. In the end, I think people should ride what they like, and ignore trends."

But only if it's a 650B or a 29er right ?

The way you explain it if I'm riding for fun and not just pure XC racing it sounds like a good old 26 inch tire might work best for a lot of people.
  • + 9
 What a shit article. I'm sorry but wheel size or not a lot of the riding qualities or treats those guys were talking about could have been from (good or bad) frame, bike setup or rider ability.
  • + 8
 Food for thought, 650B will theoretically top out at a higher speed but how often do you get your 26" wheels to their maximum rolling speed? How many times during a ride on your 26" bike are you spinning out in top gear, wishing your wheels would roll faster?

650B will smooth out some bumps on the trail but at the same time, you'll need stronger legs to get them to accelerate as quickly as 26".

If your legs are strong enough to drive bigger wheels, they're great. For the average rider there'll be next to no real world benefits.
  • + 8
 The bike industry NOT the bike riders said lets make a wheel an inch bigger. WHY? To sell a whole new range of bikes.
Heavier wheels and slower tuning. Bike industry joke. Don't worry the bike industry will find other ways to suck your wallet dry.
  • + 8
 Mark Summers had a great point i have not heard, that the 10-15yr old market will be S.O.L. to find a bike that actually fits in the near future. If 26 dies the industry will be cutting off its future riders/customers. I have a 15yr old on a 26 & 9yr old on a 24 and know that a well sized bike makes the biggest difference especially for kids.
  • + 7
 Someone might have touched on this and I missed it. How come no one really ever seems to mention what is a big benefit I see with wheel size, which is, everyones body is a different size so why not have different wheel size options? I don't make my 8 year old ride 26, I'm 6'3" and 29ers just fit me better without even factoring in performance. Am I missing something? Just seems to make sense to me. I think losing 26ers is a mistake as the bikes could fit various size peeps better with the 3 choices?
  • + 5
 My sentiments exactly snowsnow. I am 5'7" and ride a 26". I rode a 29er once and felt like a kid on an adult bike. Bikes should be sized to fit the riders. I am excited to ride a 27.5 at some point as I may see some benefits of larger wheels without going to big with 29. The bike industry should not alienate the rest of us riders who are 5'9" and under. We need our 26" bikes. If all of the bike CEOs were 5'5" with Napoleonic tendencies, there would be no bike with wheels larger than 26"
  • + 1
 Exactly. Because properly scaling bikes to rider size is too much work. If everyone was 5'10"/165lbs there could be one ideal per style/terrain.
  • + 1
 Maybe...
  • + 7
 "The best thing is that riders have the choice to have a bike that fits their riding style and the different wheel sizes give designers the opportunity to create bikes that highlight the positive attributes of both wheel sizes"

"Both wheel sizes" How can you say riders have a choice and not include 26? There was no mention of the benefits 26" has over the other sizes other than for DJ, and SS. All we hear is the same better roll over/faster argument over and over. It's hard to say we aren't being socialized to move away from 26". Companies have made a big investment in 650b, so this doesn't surprise me. I would say look past the marketing and go with what you like, but it sounds like we will not have that choice in spite of the aforementioned quote.
  • + 6
 I have been intrigued by 650b for years. It just makes sense. But what I find difficult to swallow is the the over night killing off of 26". How many riders own 26" right now. Tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands ? People that have invested thousands of dollars into products that suddenly have become obsolete. Not everyone can afford to buy a new bike every year or every 5 years for that matter. How much longer will the industry support high end 26" products ? Eg. Wheels, tires and forks. What happens to all the 26" bikes that no one wants, can't sell or buy parts for. How can I sell my 26" bike to anyone at this point to fund a new 27.5 when it is obvious that the likelyhood that 26" support will be gone in a couple of years. I think the industry jumped into this too quickly without thinking about the effects. Or maybe they know exactly what they are doing and are forcing hundreds of thousands of people to ditch their old bikes because they are faced with an industry that will no longer provide support for 26" products. I am not hating on wheel size at all. I will probably buy 27.5 in the future. Not like I have much choice anyway. But for many riders like myself that have invested $10k or more in the past 2 years on 26" bikes it's no wonder why this is a bitter pill to swallow. I just hope that the industry will continue to support 26" with top end products for at least another 5-10 years to help make the transition easier. But I have feeling they won't.
  • + 5
 You've only interviewed people that are part of the production side of the industry and no normal riders (meaning people who have to pay for gear and will feel the outdated supply of 26" tire threads soon)

Hardly a think tank.

You just gave those people a platform to further justify pushing this unnecessary trend.
  • + 5
 Would we have the same marketing hysteria if things were the other way around ? In other words, having us switch from 650b to 26" ?

....unfortunately I think we would....

Don't forget that wheel size is just ONE parameter in the equation of a good bike (fun to ride, stable etc.) !! What about geometry, kinematics, weight ?

I guess, sadly, wheel size is just easier to advertise !!
  • + 7
 Wait a couple of years when the 26" will be discovered again and marketed as the most playful, fastest accelerating, lightest, stiffest etc. If the 27,5" hype dies out they need to come up with a way to keep selling new bikes and make people change their existing ones.
I am not against any of the wheel sizes it's good to have the choice, I just don't like this marketing hype surrounding the 27,5". They are pushing it as the next best thing after the slice of bread. Couple of years ago they said it's not as playful as the 26", not as good rolling as the 29" but by now it became the best of both worlds somehow. Smile
  • + 5
 If you can't get around a corner faster then 30 km/h, it doesn't matter if you ride 30km/h with 26", 27.5" or 29" wheels!
Since my suspension works perfect, I can't get the point why bigger wheels should roll better over rocky and rooty terrain …

So still happy with 26" :-)
  • + 5
 If buying a bike today i wouldnt mind a long travel 650B bike, however my problem with this is that I cant keep changing my bike and components every year, im on 26" wheels and 2x9 gears and have no problems with it, but i cant find a clutch derailleur for my 9speed and my bike and components will be worth shit in the secondhand market, and like it said in the article on 650B you cant get away with a budget wheel build you need highend to make it feel agile like the 26", i wear out some gear or component every season and just replacing stuff like that is enough for me, i just dont like all the expenses of constant changes..
  • + 5
 I've been riding mountainbikes for 10 years now xc, downhill, all mountain, you name it. For the last 2 seasons I was on Specialized Pitch Pro upgraded mostly to SLX components. This year I decided to get a new ride as spec was getting older. I bought Giant Trance 3 27,5. You know what? I sold it just after a month when I realized that I had considerably less fun than on the older bike. That weren't the wheels but the overall package that was just shitty quality. The cheapest Rock Shox Sektor Turnkey with steel stachions, Deore components for 2300$ is just ridiculous. I wasn't happy with what I got even though I didn't pay even close to retail price. All in all I totally agree with what Andreu Lacondeguy said a while ago: Get f*ucked MTB industry. I will have shitload of fun on my mid range roadbike I bought barely used for 1000$ a year ago. This is definitely money better spent. The ever changing MTB standards and increasing prices are making this sport less accessible to average Joe.
  • + 8
 That was maybe the stupidest article on pinkbike ever. Just a lot of nonsense marketing blabla.
  • + 5
 For people who cannot afford to taco a rim or want a set of wheels that will stay true longer and be used over all catagories (since not all of us can have mutliple bikes) or not have to replace every season 26' is the smarter and stronger rim size to take even says in the interview above that 27.5' are as weak as 29' sure they may roll faster but if your not racing ? I think each may have their relative benefits but in the end we need something we can use and abuse and still ride off into the sunset at days end. To build a stronger larger wheel means more weight (cost relative) and more gyroscopic forces regardless of frame design. But if that's what your after go for it no matter the size just get out there on the trails and go hard and enjoy the rush !!
  • + 4
 Lets face it. The place where the limits of mtb are really being pushed are at rampage and guess what only ONE rider there had 650b wheels last year

. The Oakley sender was back flipped on 26" wheels, the canyon gap was flipped on 26" wheels and rampage was one on 26" wheels.

650b may be a second faster but the majority of mountain bikers just ride for fun which a where a 26" bike excells. I don't mind 650b or 29ers but if/when 26" wheels get phased out I am going to be p*seed!

plus who needs better rolling ability when on a 26" bike you can just jump it all
  • - 1
 I like to watch the Rampage, but the equipment they use is completely irrelevant to me. I don't do back flips, and want a bike that helps on technical climbs and rips downhill. I rode 26" bikes for many years, but reluctantly tried a 650B bike and loved it. For me, the perfect rig is a 6/6 bike that is stiff, pedals great, and descends like a mini DH bike. All bikes like that are a compromise between weight, DH/XC geometry, and strength. I found that 650B was the best compromise given my body type, the terrain I ride, and the ride characteristics I find most important.

I don't understand why everyone is getting all pissed off. If you like your current bike, awesome. If you are looking for a new setup, go try lots of different bikes and find the one that works best for you. If it's 650B, great. There's lots of awesome bikes on the market. Same for 29ers. If you like quick, flickable bikes, you'll get a great deal on a 26in bike right now. The supposed demise of the 26er is a bit premature and overstated, IMHO. Options are good, and there are lots of them out there right now.

No reason to get all bent out of shape and start thinking the industry is trying to limit your options. There has never been more options!
  • + 4
 Dear MTB manufacturers, please find below a short list of options for making your 26” bikes roll faster and feel more stable, these options will not cost you a fortune in re-tooling costs and might even make your bikes seem more awesome to prospective purchasers:
1. Don’t put a crap OEM spec fork on your bikes, I cannot stress this point enough. The fork maketh the bike, crap fork = crap handling bike.
2. Don’t put crap, heavy OEM wheels with rubbish hubs on your bikes. It’s a fairly well understood fact that wheels are about as important as it gets in terms of a performance upgrade. This is principally because the wheels your bikes come with are crap.
3. Don’t put crap OEM versions of OK tires on your bikes. Pick a properly good all-round tire and then use the same ones hanging on the wall in my LBS - not the paper thin, wirebead version. And ship them tubeless with a set of tubes thrown in for those who are so inclined.
4. If your bikes have crappy geometry and don't feel stable at speed, just fix it.
  • + 10
 650b is the most successful marketing scare campaign in the history of forever. Basically a few companies started to dabble with the idea of 650b, then Giant announced that it was going to be 650b or nothing from now on and the entire industry shat itself that they were going to be left behind. Suddenly we’re told we should all sell our 26" bikes and buy a new 650b just to shave a few seconds. Who are we going to sell our now worthless, 3% slower 26" bikes to? After all, who would ever want to ride one of those again?
Why aren't people buying 26" bikes this season, they're too scared to. How can there be not enough sales of the SB66 to justify Yeti making them, yet this season everywhere you look companies big and small now have fat bikes in their range? Fat bikes ffs, how niche can you get. I can now buy a carbon fibre fat bike but not the bike that took Jared Graves to 2ND in the EWS, I guess it just was #notenduroenough anymore. This is F'ing ridiculous. So few people come close to realising the full capabilities of the bike they already ride. You want to carry speed and roll faster? Learn to corner properly and then start to pedal like a demon between those corners, maybe even try manually occasionally or floating through rough sections, if you're not already doing those you don't need a 'faster' bike yet. Did I mention this is F'ing ridiculous?
  • + 3
 Spot On!
  • + 1
 Nico Vouilloz said (and Gerome Clementz confirmed one year later), it's 1 sec difference over a 3 minute course...this is a 0,556% difference.
And the comparison bikes are the old 26" Lapierre Spicy and the new one 650B Spicy. I have tried both and they are night and day in geometry and details. The new one is much better in my opinion without the wheel factor. So if we want a fair test, we have to make bikes in 26" and 650B with the same about geometry numbers and only minor changes (like offset etc...). Then the same suspension, wheels, drivetrain, brakes, handlebar, stem and tires...
  • + 4
 My regular trails haven't got gnarlier, I enjoy getting wild at 'x' speed, having a cheeky drift around corners and pulling a manual between pumps. Why would I want a bike that'll make my trails seem lame, not drift as easily and be more difficult to manual? Like, all the things I find FUN on a bike.
  • + 4
 How to make a 26 ride like a bike with bigger wheels for under 30 USD:
1) go to pep boys an buy self adhesive balancing weights for Car-alloy-wheels. a pound for 650B or 2 Pounds for 29er.
2) take of the tire apply balancing weights evenly around the inside of the rim and reinstall tire.
3) cut every 6th spoke for 65B and every 4th for 29er to simulate the soft wheel effect.
Done!
  • + 4
 This again huh.
Now tell me who can't give it a rest?
Really trying to push this aren't they.
By the same reasoning you could argue 26 is an ideal wheels size halfway between 24 and 27.5!!!

Wow they are trying hard to argue that 27.5 is the same but different but better whilst being unnoticeable
  • + 7
 "The internet trolls say that ...." WTF.
No trolling, its the nacked truth!
  • - 5
flag deeeight (Apr 5, 2014 at 8:45) (Below Threshold)
 If you haven't ridden the bikes with the wheelsize in question, and are spouting off like you're an expert on them...then you're trolling.
  • + 6
 Internet troll is 650b marketer's dismissive and denigrating label of somebody who is a customer of company that makes 26" stuff.

Remember you dimwit 26"(aka most of the bikers out there) buy the 27.5 stuff... Because 29rs. Got it? These ppl are a THINK tank and they were published on pinkbike. This is srs business. Wink
  • + 3
 I'm looking to buy right now and thought this article might help, not sure it does as each commentator speaks from there own perspective or the brand they support. Right now I can't decide between the Trek Slash or Specialized Enduro 29, according to spesh the enduro handles like a 26 due to its geometry and short stays, but this article doesn't seem to acknowledge the enduro or bikes like it can exist, and instead only 650b are the option.
  • + 5
 As long as it says "Enduro" I don't care what size wheel it is...I just need to fit my Specialized "Enduro Grips" I just purchased!
  • + 3
 The thing that is never mentioned in these articles about 650B is that the bikes reviewed are all running 3000 carbon wheels. Your midrange $3000-4000 trail bikes are going to see a much bigger drop in performance relative to 26 because of added wheel weight. On the higher end where your wheels are super light, I'm sure that the disadvantages of 650b are much less noticeable.

I'd love to see pinkbike or anyone else do a side by side comparison/review/testing of a midrange sb66 and sb75. Everything I've heard is that the sb75 doesn't ride as well. My local shop is one of the biggest yeti dealers in the US and they said they can't get anyone to buy one. In fact, I've been looking at getting a new bike to replace my 2012 RM Slayer 70 and haven't been able to find a 650b bike that rode as good when I demo or is reviewed that well. I have to believe that if there were any truth to them actually significantly shaving times, the mags,websites, and manufacturers would have edits up showing this because it would be awesome advertising to sell new bikes.
  • + 3
 You've only interviewed people that are part of the production side of the industry and no normal riders (meaning people who have to pay for gear and will feel the outdated supply of 26" tire threads soon)

Hardly a think tank.

You just gave those people a platform to further justify pushing this unnecessary trend.
  • + 5
 I run a 650b in the front and a 27.5 in the rear. I tried it the other way and it made my bike handle heavier and it would lock my brakes up.
  • + 3
 If 650B is so awesome and flying off the showroom floor, why do I only know one guy who rides one? All my other friends are on 26 and a few ride 29. The 29r guys are pretty slow haha. There seems to be a disconnect between pinkbike and the real world.
  • + 1
 Also, I forgot to add that I really hate it when "advances in technology" are counterproductive to advances of my checking account balance.
  • + 3
 I do hate the industry labeling everyone who doesnt tow the corporate line as being an internet troll. I had some respect for pinkbike for not following the Steve Jones / Dirt model but it appears they are as in on it as the rest. I dont mind change but its like anyone who has a word to say against change is a trolling dinosaur. Its like the whole smoking / not smoking fags debate with people who support 26 labeled as the pro-smokers!
  • + 2
 Went ridding yesterday to the local Freeride/DH spot, must have been about 10 riders, all on 26" inch...guess what they were all having fun!

There was no one on a 27.5" but an XC rider came through on a 29" (very slowly)

I have nothing against 27.5", I see the benefits to Pro racers trying to gain milliseconds but my issue/concern is that it should be an ADDITIONAL OPTION to the line up of bikes available not the only option!

P.S I can't go as fast as my bike will take me in most situations...when I can I'll look for a solution.
  • + 2
 Why am I such a 26 inch loving freaking troll? Because I have a barely one year old $3000 dollar bike, and that I just bought a new Pike for, that's why! OK so I can earn $3000 in a month or two, but I can't freaking save $3000 in a few months, it takes 6-12.

If you write articles that make my bike seem shitty, unfashionable and slow, when the difference is barely different to changing tire pressures or buying a high volume tire, sure it will annoy the piss out of me, sorry. Now some more chumps who work in the industry and get free or cheap bikes to extoll the virtues of 27.5 yawn.......

I don't mind 27.5, I'd be happy to ride and own one, just quit trying to make me feel shitty about having a 26.
  • + 5
 Rode in sticky snow today on my 26. Snow clung to my tires making them at least at 27.5. Saw no benefits.
  • + 4
 PB: Hey Industry, aren't our members a bunch of trolls for not buying into the 650b marketing hype?
Industry: You bet! They should buy the latest and greatest!
  • + 5
 Do you see an increased demand for 650B forks and shocks this year?

What's a 650b shock?
  • + 2
 Manufacturers need to realize 28.2" will become a thing if they kill of 26". You know some weirdo will make a 28.2" bike then all the rest will have to follow. God help us all! Bike manufacturers, please don't kill 26" for your sake and ours!!
  • + 2
 What trail is that along the river?! I only skimmed through the article and comments to see what trail that was to no avail. Anyone know? Looks awesome! Nice pics!

I forgot to mention....."wheel sizes"
  • + 1
 Never mind...Niagra Gorge...
  • + 1
 I've rode 26,27.5, and 29 I've ridden bikes that I hate and love in all three sizes. To say I'd never ride one wheel size because of this new one is crazy! My bandit 29 handles quicker and doesn't have that slow feeling that my friends old 29 hardtail had that made me vow to never own a 29. My bandit 29 is nice on the technical roots climbs and miles of no elevation change. But if I moved to Colorado I'd probably go with 20 more mm travel and smaller wheels. Thing of it is I've ridden walmart bikes and had a blast. Just find a bike YOU like, ignore all the haters, and go have fun!
  • + 1
 For all the people complaining about the demise of the 26 in wheel quit bitching. If you want a 26 in bike there will be plenty of deals. Look at Steepandcheap.com and you can get a SB66 on close out all day long. I like my 27.5 trail bike but I still love my 26 in dirt jumper and dh bike.
  • + 5
 27.5 = marketing
26, Semper Fi .
  • + 3
 Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the ability to roll over things faster one of the benefits of bigger suspension not just wheel size.
  • + 2
 All I want to know is if pros at World Cup level are blowing through wheels every run, or is it every other run? Or are the tracks so tame that that is not even an issue anymore.
  • + 1
 I have a hard time believing it's really that much better... but I'm very curious to ride a 650b rig. Like, really get some pedal time on something that's set up correctly for me. But until that happens and I'm completely blown away, I will keep loving my 26er!
  • + 6
 I rode my bike today.
  • + 1
 I lived and grew up racing and having fun on a 20" bmx. Back then 'mountain bikes' with 26" wheels just felt wrong to jump, pump or do anything on other than ride across a bumpy field.
Im 37 now and have my 20" tucked away in the shed, my sons got a 16" hot rock and i ride an sb66c to keep fit and to keep that feeling i had when i was 18 doubling everything and trying to go as fast and as smooth as possible everywhere, all i remember is it being fun. And if bigger wheels take that away from me then i'll keep my 26", but i can't say i've tried one yet tbh!
  • + 4
 They all like the acceleration and maneuverability of the 650b. WAIT TILL THEY RIDE THE 26".
  • + 1
 have you ever put a 27.5 wheel near a 26 wheel?
do it.
The difference is so insignificant and small. you wont belive it!
so, I'll just keep riding my 26er till it dead....... (and continue KOM ing better then friends on 27.5 Smile )
  • + 2
 being a short guy who rides small frames, 15" depending on the model, what if I want my wheels proportionate? and they roll plenty fast enough. how stupid does a small or xs frame look with big wheels?
  • + 3
 I hate the bike industry. I hope mountain biking turns in to rollerblading and the people driving these trends do something else with their time.
  • + 2
 "My advice is to sell all of your 26” and 29” and get a 650B frame and wheels. "

this is advice from who, Carter Holland ? ...dont you make 26" bikes ? they must be worthless now huh ?
  • + 4
 maybe i like the playfulness of 26 inch wheels. Douche
  • + 0
 I wish they would talk to a designer when they asked these questions. A 26" wheel on a standard trail bike has a BB rise of a few mm, by the time it has sagged, it's a BB drop, but as you go over top outs your feet are above the axle line. By going 650b (which is no where close to being a halfway house, much closer to 26") you always maintain a BB drop of a few mm. Increasing stability.
I want to stay 26" as I ride for fun, but the next bike will be a 650b as that's what I need to have a bike with current standards.
26" will never die though as jump/street/slopestyle bikes would not see any benefits.
29ers are probably faster around a trail with good flow. 650b is so close to 26 you don't feel any more sluggish out of corners, but they are more stable. 26 was only chosen to avoid import tax. I don't think as a 26 rider I'll feel any real disadvantage to a 650b in terms of fun, the only reason I'm annoyed is how quickly my Pitch has become obsolete.
29ers however are for timed efforts, not the fun factor, and I will never be a 29er guy. All be it the Kona Process 111 looks like fun.
  • + 0
 Here we go again. Carter Holland shaved 6 seconds off his time. Rec. Rider I work 5 days a week help with 3 kids,look after the house and ride 3 to 4 times a week (sometimes) I have a 26" if I buy a 27.5" my ride would be easier and faster and if I get a 29" it would be alot easier and faster but with less control.I ride for recreation,health,excercise and most of all FUN. I never once found my 26" too be difficult riding so I guess if I buy a 27.5 or 29 I just have to ride harder, faster and further. Bike companys are the same as golf companys,they have a new driver that is 3 yards further then the old model, or the bike company has a new bike that is faster then the old model. Just enjoy riding and what ever happens, happens. End of story.
  • + 2
 What is the bike industries definition of short people? Of course bigger wheels roll faster DOWNHILL, but have you seen a 4feet tall person on a 650b, 27.5, 29ers?
  • + 0
 26" wheel bikes will never die. I myself ride a 29er and 26. Adding the 650B into the mix doesn't matter. 29er and 650b bikes are more expensive than the tride and true 26. The 26 will get more popular again due to it's price. As for the sluggish feel of a 29er we just need to adapted to them. Plus they come with much wider bars which makes them slower. But that's just my oppinion
  • + 1
 200 posts or so marketing the same old arguments why 26" is better: summed up as "I don't want to spend money." Interestingly, the manufacturers make what sells. Notice a connection between those ideas?
  • + 3
 28.25" would be a great wheel size..... Maybe in a couple of years 27.5 won't have enough roll over for everyone Wink
  • + 2
 Haha, 27.5 is a "gateway" size
  • + 2
 Ed: "In the end, I think people should ride what they like, and ignore trends."
Wow, a logical statement on pinkbike? That's almost unheard of.
  • + 4
 This pannel is 650 sponsered if you read between the lines
  • + 3
 F off with pushing 27.5 already !!!!!!
Let us make our on choice !
26 forever !!!! Smile
  • + 3
 Wow, such a desperate move by PB to justify the 650b hype. Great job PB, great job!
  • + 0
 'Just bought my dream bike -- a brand, spanking, new, 2013, Santa Cruz V10. Yee-doggie! She's wearing a mixture of Saint and Zee bits and bobs. It took a few years to panhandle enough quarters to afford such a pristine, high-maintenance girl. I am confident she'll be a blast to ride hard. In future, I'll likely get a tweener, trail bike -- big girls need love too, right? -- however, for the time being, I'll be having fun riding my bike, regardless of what shoes she'll got.

Rogue comment to follow. As some say in NF, "Run what y' brung."

Most importantly of all, have fun, everyone.
  • + 1
 this might be good for a possible price drop to get rid of 26" dh bikes, if so that would be sweet since i have no issues on my 26" dh bike but it would be great to upgrade for cheaper.
  • + 2
 Dear Bike Industry,

On behalf of all the fat asses out there, please do not drop the 26 incher. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

230+lbs kitted out
  • + 2
 I say if you have extra cash to burn, go and get a 650b or 29. As for me an average rider who just go out and have some fun, I'd just go and keep on riding my 26...
  • - 1
 Thanks for all of the commentary! The purpose of the article was to get a pulse on what manufacturers and riders were thinking about the new wheel size. The reason why it seemed like it was nailing the same points home is because of the consensus of the industry. I have ridden the three wheel sizes and can kind enjoyment in all of them. At the end of the day the industry isn't making you buy anything- just giving you more choices to have fun. I hope you all have a rad season on whatever wheels you settle on and hope you got some modicum of information out of my work. thanks, Rob
  • + 1
 find ?
  • + 4
 robertbbr, you say the industry isn't making us buy anything just providing more choices. Please explain how the industry is providing more choices when there are almost no 26" trail bikes this year? Basically overnight, the industry has decided to produce 27.5 frames, tires, and forks while nearly totally dropping 26. That's removing a choice, not providing another one.
  • - 1
 they're removing 26" because there is no real demand for them anymore. sad but true. bike companies aren't gonna supply if there isn't any demand. waste of money and r&d. if someone has a couple of grand to spare on a new bike, how many would really choose the 26"? and if they really want a new 26", what company is offering one? less and less, frames and/or parts. again, sad but true. I'm all for MORE choices, I'm totally AGAINST taking them away.
  • + 3
 robertbbr,
Yes, another click bait "article" gets a ton of replies, gaining you cred in the PB offices, satisfying the web marketing department and their advertisers.

Unfortunately for your audience (you know...the trolls), the article is packed with such obvious bias, it's as if you asked the "Think Tank" to write the questions themselves. I've seen fewer softballs at an NCAA softball tournament.

The piece certainly gives us an idea of what industry insiders think...but that's about it.
  • - 1
 I take a lot of crap for sticking up for my short travel 29er (anthem x advanced). I like it a lot and it's overkill for my usual riding grounds but it's faster and rewards my riding style (smooth and fast).

When 26s are cheaper I'll pick up an older base trance or glory for under $1k for when I want to ride a smaller wheel size. There are definitely times when it would be a lot more fun. People that are on the "26 4 life" bandwagon are in a good spot to pick up some 26" wheeled bikes on the cheap.

That being said, I live in a condo and I only have so much storage space. If I had to have one bike it'd most likely be a 27.5.

When I'm done with the Anthem, I'll most likely get a 27.5. By then they'll be on the secondhand market.
  • + 0
 Don't bother the 29 anthem is a weapon, love mine it's so nimble for a wagon wheeler and aggressive Xc
  • + 2
 f*ck me, i just came out of 24" to 26, and now this...am I so slow, or is the industry so fast
  • + 0
 "We like the marketing rollover resistance of the 29", without introducing new frame technology to convince the 'nimble' 26" market to buy brand new bikes."

So yeah, 26 is "dead"...
  • - 1
 I recently installed a set of 27.5's on my old 26 inch hardtail frame, and was blown away by the improvement: just as fun and flickable, but more stable and rolled better. It is an improvement in every aspect. There is a hidden theme in all this 27.5 vs. 26 vs. 29 that is not readily pointed out in these articles ........ Highly (HIGHLY) skilled riders, like the dirt jumpers and trials (that's trIAls not trAIls) riders, prefer 26 inch wheel for most of their riding. They can carry speed everywhere, and the quickness of the size matches their skill level.
  • + 1
 i only think it´s strange it took over 30 years to find out that we ALL need bigger wheels!
  • + 2
 I went outside today and rode my bike. It was pretty cool.
  • - 2
 In before marketing BS.

I think the article is trying hard to convince us because people refuse to accept that 650b is the future and it is infact faster.
People will whinge that sponsors are forcing them but they are not that is BS. The worldcup races is the testing ground with the goal to go faster they will not build a slower bike for sales. They will build a faster bike for sales. Sponsors are not forcing these riders. They spend hours testing different geo, suspension curves and everything else with the end result been the best one and wheel size is no different. If someone is running the larger wheel its because they have found it to be better.

I'm all for people to pick a wheel size you enjoy and ride it but don't be so dismissive of something based on hypothetical suspicions and start getting all conspiracy theroy on marketing.

Every part of bikes have been consistently improving over the years when did a manufacture ever make a slower bike for sales??? They won't and the new wheel size is progression.

Ride your bike and have fun if the 26wheel disappears guess what the trails will adapt to the large size and when they do the 26 will be a disadvantage.

Ride your bike and have fun.
  • + 0
 Spot on. Racers want the tech that gives them wins. They can choose any wheel size, any frame material and in most cases any travel. We're seeing world cup dh courses where 29 and short travel are chosen over 26 dh rigs. Some teams are opting to run 275 all year. If they thought they were slower why would they give up a podium just to promote a wheel size? Guy in 10th place doesn't get much notice and neither do his wheels.
  • + 0
 I think the choice of none dh bikes is a good point PHeller, we have seen riders use shorter travel bikes like AM and enduro style bikes for tracks like South Africa and even Canberra, if sponsors were too controlling there is no way they would let a downhill rider use a bike that is not even designed for downhill in a race. As you said recognition in lower spots is also low, why would a sponsor build a slower bike and place their athlete lower down reducing not only their exposure but their claim to performance on that bike. No sponsor wants to get zero coverage. They want max coverage and maximum claim to performance which means top step of the podium.
  • + 3
 But surely then, the industry should recognise that despite the products trickling down from people whose life is measured by the clock they will often end up in the hands of people whose main objective is fun. Before everyone shouts that going fast is fun, yes it is but not everyone is bothered about squeezing every millisecond out of a run. Which is ultimately the sort of difference we are discussing. If it was hands down better these debates wouldn't happen.
  • + 1
 I think for downhill riders and bikes the goal is speed, it always has been. Bikes built for fun are more geared towards AM bikes or bikes with more compact steeper geometry, there are many dh bikes though that due to their geo and suspension curve are more playful, look at say the old ironhorse compared to the v10, both 26 wheel but both drastically different in feel. As are all bikes today given they all run the same wheel size they all have drastically different feels. Downhill bikes playfulness is way more dependent on suspension curve, and suspension set up along with geometry. I think people are placing too much emphasis on the wheel size and not enough about the rest of the design that makes a bike playful. Its hard to do so with bikes that don't come with adjustments but many bikes these days do and you can set it up very much more park orientated. Even the pros have set ups they use off race day for fun.
  • - 3
 Some people just refuse to grasp that the sport constantly evolves... at one time there was no such thing as a downhill racer or xc racer...mountain bike racers were simply people who raced mountain bikes. For the first ten years or so of organized racing, a racer competed in practically EVERY dicipline offered at a race. Trials, XC, DH, DS, Logpull, Hillclimb... they did it all. Hell even into the early 90s many racers still did that (though logpulls and hill climbs had vanished from race weekend formats, and trials became something they used as a demo to wow spectators in between races). Courses evolved in that time too. At one point a DH race simply meant down a hill... usually down a fireroad/logging road type course. If there were rocks and jumps and such its because the roads were poorly maintained and they had ruts and cracks and huge potholes. Speeds were in the mid 60s (miles not kilometers) and gearing was enormous and wheel travel minimal. Today wheel travel is enormous, the courses are carefully built/groomed/chosen, and the gearing is minimal and the top speeds are a lot lower. Race times are similar only because the courses are a lot shorter. But the whining on internet forums has grown leaps and bounds in the past 20 years.
  • + 2
 2nd to last picture.... Where is that guy going?
  • + 5
 riding on water another benefit of the 27.5 LOL
  • + 3
 thats a pose, clearly not riding just for balance... he's demonstrating how to take a shit onto 27.5's
  • + 0
 Enough of the wheel size debate. Pick a bike. Ride it. Thanks for the article, it's obvious that a lot of effort was put in.
  • + 2
 Does it really matter all that much just g Pick up a bike and have fun!
  • + 2
 Pinkbike needs a "Beating a dead horse" emoticon .
  • + 3
 What a load of crap!
  • + 1
 Cool article. an another note... Hey Carter are those BLK MRKT Roams ever going to be available?
  • + 2
 Just another fad, trying to create a marketing campaign...
  • + 1
 GLAD to see some frame manufactures are making frames that take all wheel sizes, makes sense?
  • + 0
 would love to put in a long winded response to this article (very well written btw) but I'm too busy riding my bike.
  • + 1
 That first photo...is it real or photoshop?
  • + 1
 Real- my man Shane Edel is a great photographer
  • + 1
 Can you please tell me where is that place?
  • + 2
 Niagara Falls
  • - 3
 lmao... all the "26 for lifers". i used to be one, til i ACTUALLY rode one. try before you hate. don't be mad at advancement in technology, and the fact that ur "stuck" with a 26". they're still cool, my dh bike is still 26". but for trail riding 275 is the way to go. let the negs begin... haters hate.... whatever works for you is cool, as long as ur riding and having fun, thats all that matters. not the size of ur wheels. and if ur soooo anti 650b, why do all the "26 for lifers" read these articles. no one is forcing a wheel size on you, and no one is forcing you to read the 650b articles...but you can't help but clicking and reading, then typing how much you hate it. that amazes me. its a waste of ur time, but you can't resist reading the articles...
  • + 5
 You just don't get it do you fredro. Articles keep trying to sell 27.5 way too hard. It comes across like desperation. If it was some brilliant achievement the industry wpould just sit there all smug and let it sell itself. If this is consumer demand driven then why sell it so hard??_
  • - 1
 i see ur point, but the industry MUST sell in order to exist. thats fact. the companies' marketing team MUST advertise and "push" their product, its their job, again fact. but as consumers, WE can partake, or not partake. we can entertain the idea or ignore it. my point is that the "26 for lifers" continue to read the 275 articles and continue whining about them. instead they should just ignore them, not read them, and go ride their bikes. at the end of the day, the choice is urs. who REALLY cares in the end? if you don't like big wheels...then don't read the articles about them. its pretty simple. just boycott.
  • + 4
 We whine because we care. I think too many people misunderstand this argument. I agree bigger wheels are faster. I don't need articles to tell me this. I don't hate choice or 275. I might even one day buy a 275 setup. But fun is my objective so at the moment I want to stick to 26 and have the choice and not to have patronising articles that are written as if people don't understand what 275 could give them. Yeah the inddustry needs to sell to survive-but did they run out of good ideas or something that made them resort to this? People can clearly see through all the backtracking which has been done in marketing speak since the general rejection of 29 by non xc riders.
  • + 0
 I agree that 26 should remain an option. My DH bike is 26. I hate the fact that the industry forces you to switch, and makes older stuff obsolete too quick. Now some frames ONLY support a 1x system. Again forcing our hand to purchase a new set up. It's crazy! I'm just stating to the dudes that are hating on 275 to be more open minded. Most of them haven't even tried one out and speak against them so vehemently, and have this obsession with "26 or nothing" and everything else is wrong and stupid! We should have the choice of wheel size, and the option to run a front der. if we want. I'm pro choice! Lol.
  • + 1
 Word
  • + 0
 I wish SC would just come out with the 27.5 V10c already. I will sell my 2013 V10c to one of you 26" trolls. Wink
  • + 1
 27.5" UP FRONT
26" OUT BACK
ID BUY THAT
FTW
  • - 3
 What a load of crap that was. Stuff most of us thought about in the first 5 minutes of the wheel size debate.

How will 650b effect me? All my bikes are 29" so not in the slightest. Thanks.
  • + 0
 Do you agree with the comments in the article regarding 29ers? I remember trying a 29er trail bike early on, and was disappointed. The fun factor was diminished too much. But recently I rode a newer 29er that felt much better. I notice the newer one I rode had a much shorter chainstay length. So are the 'modern' 29ers better (as pointed out in the article)?
  • + 0
 Bradwin2 re: fun 29ers, have a look at this if you haven't seen it... www.pinkbike.com/news/on-one-codeine-video-2014.html
Help me decide, are we just seeing an awesome rider who could smash an old shopper down a trail, or does this bike look like serious fun?
  • + 0
 Great video! Probably a little of both (to answer your question). And to answer the question I posed ...... it appears that modern 29ers are getting more fun (and I notice the on-one has a shorter chainstay than most of the first generation 29ers).
  • + 0
 F the wheel size debate… What trail is that guy riding??!!
  • + 0
 Secret tracks in Niagara Falls
  • - 1
 I am totally stoked for my 27.5 carbon LB wheels to come in!!!
  • + 1
 hope they are not light bicycle rims...
  • + 1
 Yep, them. With some profile elite hubs...oooh yeah(-:
  • + 1
 My friend cracked his in a weak. He is still riding them and they are holding up.
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