"In between" Mountain Bike Wheel Size proves popular at Sea Otter
(April 22, 2012) Monterey, Cali. - As the industry continues to evolve, the 29er market is thriving, but on the horizon for many manufacturers is rather unchartered territory. The “in-between” 650b wheel size evolved as the popular topic at this years Sea Otter Classic with a good number of manufacturers introducing 650 products. As an industry driven trend, it will be interesting to see if consumers embrace the wheel size and its off road advantages. Heres what we saw:
SRAM RISE 40 650B
Designed around the current 26" RISE 40, Sram introduces a 650b version. Staying ahead of the market curve Sram hopes to help push the 650b trend with the introduction of a wheel set.
• 650b (584 ETRO) rim diameter
• 19mm wide rim bed (internal)
• 24 bladed spokes, 2-cross (front and rear)
• Uses the same hubs as standard RISE 40 wheels
• Axle compatibility front: QR or 15mm thru-axle, rear: QR or 12x142mm
• MSRP $550 USD (same price as the 29'' RISE 40)
• Availability: July, 2012
Enve Composites 650b Carbon XC and AM Rim
in 28 and 32 hole options in both XC and AM models. Claimed weights are 360g (XC) and 410g (AM), which is about halfway between the 26″ and
29er weights. Available on their own or laced to DT Swiss or Chris King hubs with pricing is the same as their
29er rims, which start at
$2,500 for a wheelset with DT 240s and $899 per rim.
Schwalbe Nobby Nic 650b
Aimed at the trail segment of the 650b movment, the Nobby Nic is a versatile yet aggressive tire that offers loads of grip on almost any type of soil. Tubeless Ready with a Pacestar knob compound we assume will retail for around $90 but looks to live up to all Schwalbe quality standards.
Maxxis Crossmark 650b
Not officially released we found this tire mounted up to the demo 650 Enve Wheels.
Rock Shox Revelation
Featuring the company’s new SoloAir damper which will simplify suspension setup by allowing riders to fill both positive and negative chambers with a single schrader valve on the top left of the fork. Internally, a dimple is machined in the inside of the upper tube which allows air to transfer between the upper positive chamber and lower negative chamber, this allows the fork to equalize the pressure as the fork moves through its travel. New Solo Air technology will replace all current Solo Air and Dual Air systems in the future. The 650b Revelation will be available in early June.
Magura TS8 650B
Designed around 32mm stanchion platform, the TS8 will be available in 120 and 150mm options. The new M15, 15mm axle assembly. features a removeable T25 wrench which is used to remove the axle from the other side. It will be available in straight and tapered steerer options. Similar 26 and 29" forks will also be making a debuted this season from Magura.
- TS8 R 120 QR15 – 120mm travel, XC/AM/marathon, DLO2 damping, 15mm axle, tapered steerer, 1,630g (claimed weight is for 26in version)
- TS8 R 150 – 150mm, AM, Albert Select+, 15mm axle, tapered steerer, 1,675g (26in version)
- TS8 R 150 LS – 150mm, AM, Albert Select+, 15mm axle, tapered steerer, 1,825g (26in version)
Fox 34 650b
Pairing larger diameter stanchions with 650b capability, Fox continues to keep up well with the market trends. After the introduction of their 34 29" fork, it was only a matter of time that other options of the versatile trail oriented fork were available. A new damper system will also improve the overall versatility of the 2013 fork line from Fox. CTD (Climb, Trail, Descend) delivers a much simplier system for users. Flipping a swith located on the top of the fork allows riders to adjust the pre adjusted between pre-set compression levels that are optimized for either climbing, flat trail, or descending. On Factory models there will be some adjustablity within the settings allowing for more personal rider tunability. CTD will be standard in all Fox forks starting in late May.
Intense seems to be embracing the 650b trend with a good amount of support with two prototype full suspension bikes showcased at Sea Otter. A Carbon Carbine 27.5 & Aluminum Tracer 27.5 both producing 5.5 to 6″ of adjustable travel. On the Carbine, a replaceable dropout system allows Intense to create a special set of 27.5 specific dropouts which simply lengthen the chainstay out to 17″ and drop the BB to create a proper geometry and wheel spacing for the the 27.5 wheel. Big meaty 27.5 X 2.35 Kenda Nevegals are easily mounted up with ample clearance, while a 26" 150mm Fox fork results in a 67.5 headangle and 13.3″ bb height.
The Tracer is a specific 650b frame, paired with a 150mm RockShox Revelation produces a 67 head angle and 13.3" bb height. With a stout aluminum frame, the Tracer produces a capable trail bike that looks worthy of technical trail abuse. We look forward to see the evolution from Intense in the 650b market.
Intense plans to continue to test the 650b market and will adapt accordingly if the market suits.