When my buddy RL asked me if I wanted to do a review of a 650b Singlespeed rigid mountain bike I quickly jumped at the opportunity. Singlespeed bikes have always been dear to my heart, I just love their simplicity; no adjusting derailleurs, forks, or rear shocks. I have owned and ridden singlespeed bicycles with both 26 and 29 inch tires and from what I remembered, those bikes kicked my butt but were super fun to ride.
When I first saw this bike, I was expecting something “less” of a bike since it sells for $499, but I was pleased to see that it comes with Avid disc brakes and my favorite all-around tires Kenda Nevegals. I also loved the “British Racing” green paint scheme, the white part is a little odd but it maybe a canvas for some personal stickers!
The first item of business was to make the Bee’s Knees more “knee” friendly, we swapped the stock 38×16 drivetrain to a 32X18 combination. This setup is perfect for the World Famous Fullerton Loop which consists of mostly flat terrain with a few steep short uphills.
Our choice of gearing made riding this bike quite fun. I was going a at decent clip on the straights, I was spinning hard but not to the point of “spinning out”. The full rigid setup made climbing so much easier than on my full suspension 29er, I just had to make sure that I had enough momentum before I hit the climbs. Yes, the ride was a little rough on the downhills, but shifting my body towards the rear and relaxing my arms made it tolerable. As as side note, I hit 21 mph on the longest downhill where I would normally hit 24 mph on my FS.
So what are my thoughts of a 650B? I like it… a lot… Steering is quicker, climbing is easier and that famous “29er momentum” is still there. And how about the Bee’s Knees? I dig this bike, it was really fun to ride and the price is quite affordable. Stay tuned for the full review, I will be riding the Bee’s knees during my weekly night rides and hopefully take it to a trail where I can really abuse it.
For specs and price information click on this link: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_544782_-1