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650B Continues to Rise - Intense Tracer Preview

Ridemonkey.com

News & Reviews
Jun 26, 2009
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Intense is now the latest of many companies to announce 650B bikes, a trend which is legitimizing the wheel size in many riders minds. Have a look at this preview of the bike and weigh in with your thoughts...
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By Vernon Felton
Courtesy of Bike Magazine


Twenty-four hours ago, Intense Cycles joined the many companies (Norco, Jamis and Scott, to name just a few) that have rolled out new 650B mountain bike models.

In case you’ve been sleeping through the war of the wheels and have, consequently, missed the whole 650B brouhaha, here are the basics: 650B has been around since the cretaceous period. Neanderthal hunting parties, the story goes, later painted the wheels on the walls of their caves. Tom Ritchey built a bunch of 650B mountain bikes, shortly thereafter, but a bunch of worker elves at Nokian tires got sick with the flu in 1978, which led to a shortage in tires and, in a nutshell led to all of us riding 26er wheels.


To read the rest of Vernon's article on the new bike go here. What are your thoughts on the trend of 650B...here to stay, or passing fad?

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Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
15,829
938
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While I personally think Intense will throw their weight behind any trend and support it fully until the next trend (OMG 29ERZ, OMG CARBONZ, OMG 650BZ), I think 650b is going to be a hit. You can't deny the rolly-over-ness of 29" wheels, but it's hard to deny that few or none have succeeded in merging long travel and aggressive playfulness with big wheels. 650b allows you to keep the geometry we all know and love, and blend it with wheels that roll better.

I just built up a 650b wheelset and will get to test this theory this weekend. I've owned 29ers and 26ers, and while I think 29ers are great for HTs, they have so much trouble when it's travel time.
 

ludovic

Chimp
Aug 5, 2008
64
0
Let's not deny that there are a lot of people 5'7" and under who would have liked to be on a 29er. Personally, I have tried them extensively (single speed with and without shock, geared with and without shock, etc...), but I have found two drawbacks on 29ers that would disappear with 650B.
1. Such huge wheels carry more weight and getting a bike down to 20 pounds can get pretty expensive. Gravity is a bee etch!
2. 29er aren't very agile (compared to 26")
I personally don't think that 650B is a little bit of this and a little bit of that... I think that 29ers are just too much of a big wheel, and 26" could benefit from better rolling capabilities. The 650B is bound to be a great hit... but wait: It already has!