What’s 650b I hear u say? Well it’s the size in between 26″ and 29″ (27.5) but not to be mistaken for the 650C road bike size which was used for the front wheel on time trial bikes.
Russ from Wight Mountain will argue that the 650b is the size to have, he has them on an ox platinum (lightweight steel) Spooky Horrortaxi which was custom made in the USA for him.
If you are aware what Spooky’s are you’ll know how rare and what sort of history these legendary bikes have! If you don’t, stay tuned to Wight Routes as we have an article on Spooky’s full history coming soon! Anyway back to the bike, it runs 26″ front fox forks as they just fit under but can obviously be fitted to 29 forks too if you require more mud clearance! Russ tells me it climbs like a mountain goat and rips downhill, the main benefit of the 650 wheel is it rides like a 29er on the flat and climbs then descends like a 26 being able to twist it through the trees quickly! It has a nice lively/springy feel on the trails which is partly played by the steel back end flexing and part wheel flex which gives it a comfortable ride all day feel.
The upside to 650b is:
1) 26″ tubes fit.
2) downhills like a 26″
3) can use 26″ forks except rockshox as no clearance!
1) slower than 29er uphill and flat.
2) poor tyre and rim choises. 3) having to explain to everyone what it is.
“a 650b bike doesn’t feel like you’ve stolen your dads bike when you were 8 like a 29er!!” ha ha.