650B, 27.5 INCHES

If you haven’t heard there is a new wheel size coming out of the woodwork and no, it’s not the 29er. This new wheel size splits the difference between the 26″ and the 29er wheels with a 27.5 inch wheel. Seriously.

Also known as the 650b, the proponents say the advantages of this wheel size is that it removes some of the 29er disadvantages (toe overlap problems & geometry issues on FS 29ers) for shorter riders while also keeping advantages of the 29er (rollover ability, longer contact patch, momentum) but in a smaller way.

Currently there are only a few players on board such as White Brothers which is making a 650b specific fork and Haro coming out with a bike, maybe at Interbike. But it is slowly gaining momentum. Tim Grahl has speculated that fear and jealousy is going to cause the 650b to grow while Graham from Go Clipless is hoping the 650b is killed before it starts. haha.

Me? I’m still on the fence especially since I’ve never been on one. I do agree that this new tire size is going to cause a lot of confusion for customers. If you think about it you currently have three same wheel size bikes, the 26″, 29er and 650b. Now add in three mixed wheel size bikes, the 69er/96er (29 front + 26 rear), a 650b front + 26 inch rear and a 29er front + 650b rear. That’s 6 totally different bikes with different geometry issues right there. If you’re not lost, I am.

Now I’m not one for posting speculations as to if this new tire size will have the legs to grow in popularity to the level of the 29er, let alone the 26 inch mountain bike. But who knows? It could gain that sort of widespread acceptance and maybe the 26″ wheel will go away entirely, although I highly doubt that. In the meantime, though we�ll will be watching this trend closely.

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