11/19/2008

What the heck is 650B anyhow?


You’ve probably heard the buzz about 650B wheels. It may have left you wondering, “What the heck is a 650B wheel?”. In a nutshell, it’s a wheel size that measure 27.5”, so it sits exactly smack-dab in between a 26” wheel and a 29” wheel.

You may have heard a thing or two about 29” wheels…how effectively they climb, how stable they descend, how nicely they corner, how effectively they keep their momentum, and how well they roll over obstacles in the trail. You may have also heard a few things about 29ers that isn’t quite so positive…they feel like “big” bikes, they accelerate slower than 26” wheels, they are harder to corner in really tight switchbacks, and that they are hard to fit smaller people onto. Both sides of the coin are true…29” wheels are super fun to ride, but they do have their drawbacks, too.

650B wheels are a “compromise” of sorts. You get many of the same benefits that 29” wheels have to offer in terms of more traction for climbing, descending, and cornering. Since the overall wheel diameter is bigger, you also get the benefit of improved obstacle rollover. However, given the fact that a 650B wheel diameter is smaller than a 29” wheel, they accelerate better and they corner with more precision. Since 29” wheels require a frame with geometry to accommodate the larger wheel size, the result can be a bike that is harder to fit smaller people or a bike that just feels “big”. In fact, one of the best benefits of 650B wheels is they can utilize 26” wheel frame geometry with very few or zero tweaks to the frame itself.

650B really is the best of both worlds. Don’t misunderstand, we think 29ers are cool and they ride awesome, but we know that aren’t for everyone. If you are someone who falls into that category for one reason or another, then a 650B bike might just be the ticket for you.


So are 650B-equipped bikes going to make 26” wheel and 29” wheel bikes obsolete? Not if we can help it. We don’t see one of these wheel sizes as the “be-all-to-end-all”. Nor do we see any one of these wheel sizes as being far superior to the others. We see 650B as being another choice for people to ride, enjoy, and have fun on.
Want to learn more about 650B? You can read my 650B vs 26" wheel side-by-side ride test here.

The Haro Beasley 650B hardtail

1 comment:

Arleigh said...

Welcome to another blog!