650b/27.5″er: Revisted – Testing Announcement: with c_g and Guitar Ted

As we have reported in the past, the 650B/27.5″er wheel size has been tried with some very limited success in the industry, created a very passionate rider base, and seemed to be stuck in neutral as far as developments for the past few years. We’ve been keeping our ear to the ground here at Twenty Nine Inches and have been saying for the past six months that 650B/ 27.5″ers are coming for 2013. We know Rock Shox, Fox,(revealed today), several wheel/rim manufacturers, and tire companies are all busy behind the scenes creating product for a big introduction of this wheel size for next year.

We've taken a look at 650B before...

In response to this, we are going to be covering the news concerning this “middle ground” of mountain bike wheel sizes starting with our Sea Otter coverage where we suspect the first sights of 2013 650B/27.5″er product will surface. We also are announcing planned testing of this wheel size and c-g will be leading in that as we go forward. Europe stands to be a hotbed for 650B/27.5″ers, according to our sources. As for U.S. based companies, we will be finding out more as things develop and responding accordingly.

Keep On Riding!
Guitar Ted

Following is the European perspective from our own c_g who has already been digging into this newest of developments in the European mountain biking scene.

The new „Middle Class“ is one of the prime topics here in Europe – first there had been 26-inch bikes well established and seemingly unquestioned over decades, then 29″ers came along, finally getting the attention here in Europe they rightfully deserved and just now there is already much clamor about the new middle grounds – namely 27.5“ also called 650b.
If you believe the industry rumors (many of them confirmed by now) and pay any attention to the sidelines in conversations, then the new format is a lot more than just a rumor and far beyond prototyping stage.

They are coming!“ is the message we receive from several sides.

Nino Schurter has already won a World Cup XC event on a 650B bike.

Just recently Nino Schurter took the victory in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on board a prototype 27.5“ bike by SCOTT, which could be a fabulous beginning … or maybe not?!

•But what are the real benefits fort he rider?
•What are the advantages/disadvanteages?
•Who is it best suited for?
•More than Hype and marketing?
•What chances do we see and why NOW?

These and other questions are being discussed here at TNI Europe and while we call our site „twentynieninches“, we wouldn´t be where we are if we wouldn’t be generally open for new things and useful innovation. Why then shouldn’t we be peeking over the brim or shall I say over the Big Wheeled horizon?

We are going to look at the new format from different angles, be it from a 26-inch or a 29″er enthusiast perspective. We will try out the concept on rigid bikes, on long travel full suspension bikes. We will hear and report voices from customers, shop owners and industry representatives. While we have an opinion on the concept we will not voice them until we have a firm riding background on them from different rides – so don´t expect any quick conclusions from our side – this series will accompany us for a good part of 2012.

It remains to be exciting – while 29″ers are just being established (yet still far from having arrived at the basis of casual riders), we see how a new wheel and bike format is being introduced. We shall see how the „new fish in the pond“ does and will report back on what we think and hear.

Stay tuned,