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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
While lurking around the site, I've seen so much arguing over wheel size. While, for me, the jump to 29" was wonderful, I am open to the idea that different people like different sizes and different geometries and trail types can influence your decision and preferences. There's room for all of it in our sport and those who want to argue are doing nobody any favors. I am convinced there is no wheel size that works for everyone in all conditions.

With that said, I've seen people say that the 650b is stupid because they could just as easily run a fat 26" tire and it would be almost the same. Well, here are some pictures that show the differences.

Here are the 26 x 2.35" Schwalbe Hans Dampf on Stan's Crest, 27.5 x 2.1" Pacenti Neo-moto on Stan's Flow, and 29 x 2.25" Schwalbe Rocket Ron on Bontrager Mustang.


Up against a concrete wall





So, then I started thinking that I should compare the 26 x 2.3" to the old 26 x 2.1" Panaracer Fire

Wow, that is quite a difference.


more to come.....
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
All 4. I can only assume that a 27.5 x 2.3" Neo-moto would be in between the pictured 27.5" and 29".








I hope this helps, rather than hurts, the discussion about wheel sizes.

Regards,
Doug
 

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Very nice. Theres a few things that stand out. First is that the 29 is A LOT bigger than the 26. Second a 650b is not really 27.5, or at least it is not halfway between 26 and 29. Third is that you would need one massive 26" tire to have the same diameter as a 650b, maybe like a 2.7 or something.

What would be nice though would be if all 3 tires were the same like a 2.1 Nevegal.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What would be nice though would be if all 3 tires were the same like a 2.1 Nevegal.
I think the 650b is pretty close to half way between 26" and 29" when you aren't comparing the 26 x 2.3" tire in there.

Keep in mind, that 29" tire is a 2.25" compared to a 2.1" 650b. I mean, just look at the huge difference between 2.1" and 2.35" on the 26" wheel!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You need to put a 2.35 neo or 2.2 WTB Wolverine in the mix...

That Hans Dampf looks good, and has gotten rave reviews.
I had intended to order the bigger Neo-moto for the 650b, but apparently I ordered the 2.1". The 650b and the Hans Dampf are both for my wife's bike. I've dropped ~4lbs off her bike while going to an X-fusion fork with 650b (Neo-moto/Flow) front and Crest/Hans Dampf rear. She hasn't ridden the new rear wheel, but she loved the upgraded front end. :thumbsup:
 

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YOur wife provided good assistance by holding all those wheels for the photographs. Great visuals for folks to see. Thanks for the thread!
 

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Very nice. Theres a few things that stand out. First is that the 29 is A LOT bigger than the 26. Second a 650b is not really 27.5, or at least it is not halfway between 26 and 29. Third is that you would need one massive 26" tire to have the same diameter as a 650b, maybe like a 2.7 or something.

What would be nice though would be if all 3 tires were the same like a 2.1 Nevegal.
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidandmelinda/6140686532/" title="IMG_4977sm by Melinda and David, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm7.static.flickr.com/6169/6140686532_d0db85e498_b.jpg" width="1024" height="683" alt="IMG_4977sm"></a>

this is a 26er rim (large marge from surly) and a surly larry 26x3.8 it is a little shorter by about 3/8" or less than the rear Intense System 4 2.1 29er tire.
 

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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidandmelinda/6140686532/" title="IMG_4977sm by Melinda and David, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm7.static.flickr.com/6169/6140686532_d0db85e498_b.jpg" width="1024" height="683" alt="IMG_4977sm"></a>

this is a 26er rim (large marge from surly) and a surly larry 26x3.8 it is a little shorter by about 3/8" or less than the rear Intense System 4 2.1 29er tire.
Your bike makes me think a Fat Front Salsa Ala Carte with a 650b in back would be pretty damned fun.
 

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<this is a 26er rim (large marge from surly) and a surly larry 26x3.8 it is a little shorter by about 3/8" or less than the rear Intense System 4 2.1 29er tire.
How much does that front tire weigh? It is massive.
 

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With that said, I've seen people say that the 650b is stupid because they could just as easily run a fat 26" tire and it would be almost the same.
That logic always bugs me. By that logic, people who want 29ers should all just buy 26er Pugsleys and run four-inch wide tires.

Not everyone wants to run a fatter tire. And I I do want to run a fatter tire, maybe I'd prefer a fatter 650b tire.
 

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"26" inch wheels with 2.1 tires are typically 26.5 inches, sometimes slightly less.

The Neo-moto 2.1 and 2.3 are in fact 702mm in diameter, a half-hair over 27.5". They both use the same casing and the wheel diameter is the same using either tire. Only the knob width is the difference in the Neo-moto 2.1 and 2.3 (please correct if I'm way off, I don't have a 2.1 to measure). Compared to most 26x2.3 tire casings and height above the rim, the 2.3 Neo-moto has an small casing, and short height, only 2.0 in diameter (see attached Neo-moto 2.3 spec drawing), but it in fact 2.3 inches wide every time I've measured one on Velocity Blunt rims (28mm outer width).

The pictures do clearly show the huge difference between 29" vs. both 27.5 and so called "26" inch wheels and tires.

Riding the same bike on the same trails, it is amazing to feel how well the 27.5" wheels roll rocks and track in corners better than an equivalent 26" wheel and tire. The difference is most noticeable going back to the 26" wheels on the same bike, and feeling how slow and harsh and looser in cornering traction 26" rides in a very close "apples-to-apples" comparison with 650b.
 

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Good post, pics really do show where things stand, an honest and reasonable outlook from the OP.

There really are some silly comments on some of the post here.

I have mostly been looking at the 69r stuff.

Comments like the front wheel writing checks the back wheel can't cash, clearly the person has never ridden a 69r. I went from 26 to 69 to 29 and then back to 26 (loaner bike), now I am back on the 69r (rigid) and have cleaned more steep drops on the 69r then any bike I have ever ridden. Granted some of that is likely do to my riding more steep trails in the last 2 years. But none the less I have yet to get stalled in a drop do to the smaller rear wheel.

On the FS side, say some one wants to put a short travel 29 fork on a long travel bike like the Heckler. Some one will always say it's going to be off balance. Duh, it's a 69r it's an off balance beast from the start but that's what makes it work. The fact that the bike will have two different travel lengths seems moot. Have these guys ever ridden a hard tail, must be a real off balanced bike those hard tails. FS bike with more travel in the front then in the rear not as common as they used to be perhaps, but then there are forks like the Talas that give the option of decreasing front travel. The loaner bike had that set up some times I felt it rode better with the front end lower even if it had less travel then the rear. I never noticed it being off balance.

Clearly it is human nature to knock that which you don't understand.

The OP's pics really help to see where things stand in the line up of what is currently on the market.

Thanks for sharing.
 

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I was thinking, what would be really cool to see would be 3 of the same tire on 3 of the same wheel. Like a 2.1 Nevegal on a Stans Crest wheel in all 3 sizes. Then you could also weigh all three wheel and tire combos and get comparative weights. But I guess no one is going to have all that, but I can always hope.
 

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Good post, pics really do show where things stand, an honest and reasonable outlook from the OP.

There really are some silly comments on some of the post here.

I have mostly been looking at the 69r stuff.

Comments like the front wheel writing checks the back wheel can't cash, clearly the person has never ridden a 69r. I went from 26 to 69 to 29 and then back to 26 (loaner bike), now I am back on the 69r (rigid) and have cleaned more steep drops on the 69r then any bike I have ever ridden. Granted some of that is likely do to my riding more steep trails in the last 2 years. But none the less I have yet to get stalled in a drop do to the smaller rear wheel.

On the FS side, say some one wants to put a short travel 29 fork on a long travel bike like the Heckler. Some one will always say it's going to be off balance. Duh, it's a 69r it's an off balance beast from the start but that's what makes it work. The fact that the bike will have two different travel lengths seems moot. Have these guys ever ridden a hard tail, must be a real off balanced bike those hard tails. FS bike with more travel in the front then in the rear not as common as they used to be perhaps, but then there are forks like the Talas that give the option of decreasing front travel. The loaner bike had that set up some times I felt it rode better with the front end lower even if it had less travel then the rear. I never noticed it being off balance.

Clearly it is human nature to knock that which you don't understand.

The OP's pics really help to see where things stand in the line up of what is currently on the market.

Thanks for sharing.
You make some valid points, my new Rocky Mountain Element 29er is a great example of what you are talking about. The Element 930 and 970 both have 95mm of travel front and back. The 950 has 95mm out back and a travel adjustable fork from 95-120mm. When I set the travel at 120 it in no way feels unbalanced, it feels quite awesome actually, yet the bike geometry is designed around 95mm.
 

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Great pics. You see that 650B is more like a big 26" than a small 29".

I was one of the first batch of riders to put a rigid 29" front in my 26" hardtail. Just to experience what a 29" wheel really meant as a difference. There were two or three 29" tires on the market at the time.
I had extensive prior 63mm front travel hardtail and rigid experience with that bike (VooDoo Bokor).

With the large front wheel mounted in the shortest fork I could get (410mm Dimension Disk), I was able to keep my bike's fit geometry as it was.

The difference with 29" was night and day. A little bump in the road my hands failed to notice, became a harsh kick up the budt. It became really hard to wash out the front of the bike, which was standard reality of all my riding experience til that day.

Yes, with the 650B in the middle, 29" seems big. It's a friggin' 10% though. would you even notice in your male member would grow that much overnight? Although a larger wheel can enhance riding quality tremendously, really it's not much. Within a riding riding group, rider height will vary more than that between shortest and tallest, unless you're friggin' quatriplets. If anything, bike wheels should be proportionate to a rider or tuned our of phase with the mean bump/hump size and shape on a particular trail. In my experience, for XC type of riding, in practice the largest that fits your bike without significantly affecting the way you sit on the bike or it fysically fits on a trail, is best. Don't give me no rotating weigt nonsense please. 10% more wheel is 10% more weight THERE. Which was maybe 25% of the bike itself, which was maybe 15% of YOU. And you're hauling it all around the trail. You're revving it all up. Even if XC riding was a drag race, the biggest fitting wheels would be best, thanks to the way rolling resistance has an inverted relationship with size, and RR being a significant factor in a bike at any speed.

People zooming in to bike wheel size, mentally consider 26" as the baseline, like "1", and 29" as the top line, "10". That's a humongous difference alright. Until you take your nose off the rubber and step back a bit. 26" was never determined to be big nor small. 29" just stands a slight bit taller. Not much of a range when you hang out with adult riders between 5' and 6'8". Yes, a 33% range. Where the short lady already prefers the 29"er. Go figure. Be sure to check your male member or boop size tomorrow morning. You just might not notice the adjustment from 26" to 650B unless you were told about it beforehand. Oops I just did, but congratulations anyway.
 

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The Hans Dampf is a taller, higher volume than the Neo, so it is a bit deceptive.
A comparison between 2.25 Racing Ralphs, which I believe is available in all 3 diameters is a much more controlled comparison.
I am hoping the rumors that there are 650b Hans Dampfs in the pipeline is true.


RE: the differences when riding...
I just went back to the 650b bike after 3 months on 26" wheels.
I question anyone who says the difference is not significant. Now that I have a suitable wheelset for aggressive riding, it is even more pronounced.
 
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