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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After going round and round in my mind this past year I decided to take the 650b plunge. I sold my 29er frame and fork and decided to give this a go. I didn't really care for the 29er. The only time I truly liked riding it was climbing. I'm sure that maybe on some more open stuff I would have lied it more but the trails I ride around here just aren't well suited for that wheel size. I know people ride 29ers here and love them and I know that people say they can ride just as technical, tight and twisty trails on a 29er as they can a 26er. Well I can too but its not nearly as fun or easy. I think the 650b is going to give me the best of both worlds.
This is what I've got for the project so far. Still waiting on my frame. Other than that I just a couple parts and she's a go. Unfortunately I won't be riding it for quite some time as our winters here suck.

X Fusion Velvet fork
Stan's rims w/ Hope Pro II hubs
XTR group
I was going to go with more of a budget build on this bike but I got a good deal on the XTR stuff so I jumped on it. Plus the stuff just works awesome. Have the same parts on my IF and I love it all.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was going to let it be a surprise but I'll let the cat out of the bag. Mickey is building me a 650b Darkside. I was originally going to go with a Horror Taxi but ended up going to the Darkside. I haven't ridden an aluminum hardtail in a long time but I think I'll like it. My thought/hope is that this is going to be a pretty much kick ass trail bike and fast as hell.

For tires I'm going to go with 2.3 Neo Motos. Being that there aren't too many offerings I'll probably grab a set of Quasi, Nevegals, and RR over the year to try them all out. If its anything like riding any of my other bikes I'll probably end up running something like a Neo up front and a Quasi in the back, especially as the summer goes on a the trails become consistently dry.
 

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NedwannaB
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shanem said:
I was going to let it be a surprise but I'll let the cat out of the bag. Mickey is building me a 650b Darkside. I was originally going to go with a Horror Taxi but ended up going to the Darkside. I haven't ridden an aluminum hardtail in a long time but I think I'll like it. My thought/hope is that this is going to be a pretty much kick ass trail bike and fast as hell.

For tires I'm going to go with 2.3 Neo Motos. Being that there aren't too many offerings I'll probably grab a set of Quasi, Nevegals, and RR over the year to try them all out. If its anything like riding any of my other bikes I'll probably end up running something like a Neo up front and a Quasi in the back, especially as the summer goes on a the trails become consistently dry.
Have a 16" Kinesium alum and 17" 853 steel ht's. Haven't figured which one will get the 650 set up yet. Probably leave the 17" with the 26's, as I'm really sized to a 16 and the taller tires won't raise the standover as much on that frame. Have to see if the quasi will fit back there. Sure like the ride of the steel though.
 

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shanem said:
I was going to let it be a surprise but I'll let the cat out of the bag. Mickey is building me a 650b Darkside. I was originally going to go with a Horror Taxi but ended up going to the Darkside. I haven't ridden an aluminum hardtail in a long time but I think I'll like it. My thought/hope is that this is going to be a pretty much kick ass trail bike and fast as hell.

For tires I'm going to go with 2.3 Neo Motos. Being that there aren't too many offerings I'll probably grab a set of Quasi, Nevegals, and RR over the year to try them all out. If its anything like riding any of my other bikes I'll probably end up running something like a Neo up front and a Quasi in the back, especially as the summer goes on a the trails become consistently dry.
Cool on the Spooky - when is the Estimated Delivery Date for the Darkside?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Should be soon I'm hoping. In the meantime I did discover that the Stans wheel w/ the Neo Moto mounted fits in my IF Deluxe. Going to have the check to see if it fits my Sycip too.
 

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Good luck with the build Shanem! For what it's worth, I'm running the same fork and wheels on my B-side 1x9. The fork is great! I think you'll like it. I've got Kenda Nevegals on the rims, converted to tubeless. I've had Stan's rims on my Moto-Lite for years now, and have been very happy with them. Light, well built. Don't forget to post pics when she's done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Project Complete!!

Well I got my frame early this week. Needless to say it is a badass looking frame. I got it built up and got a chance to get out on it today. Only did a short 5 mile loop because 1.) I'm ain't feelin' my best and b.) Its hot as balls out. A stubborn stiff link in my chain didn't help much. I tried to work it out on the trail but its was a pretty stiff. Anyway. Onto the ride report. In a word....awesome. In more than a word. I really like this wheel size. I really is the best of both the 26 and 29 inch worlds. Doesn't have quite the climbing traction and what I'll call rolling over stuff ability of a 29er but I felt it handles much better. A tuoch slower from a dead start than 26" wheels but not as slow to get going as a 29er. In the tight twisty stuff its great. That was my real problem with a 29er. I felt more like I was driving the bike instead of riding it. I know there are thousands of examples of some dude riding a 29er in technical terrain and smokin it but I don't really care about what other people can and are doing. I care about my experience sand my abilities. I was kind of nervous about riding and aluminum frame as I haven't ridden an aluminum hard tail since I had my Trek 7000 back in '94. I remember it being a very stiff riding frame. I've been on nothing but nice steel frames since then and a full suspension ride or two. I didn't get any sort of stiff or jarring feeling when riding this frame. Its very springy and responsive. It doesn't have the "feel" of a steel frame but it has a feel that I like. A lot. The Neo Motos are nice tires too. They roll much better than I thought they would. I know they're not a super chunky tread but they're more than the Wolverines I've been running and they still roll quite fast on hard pack. Is their tread identical to the Panaracer Rampage?

The only negative things I can say are purely from a parts selection stand point. The X Fusion Velvet is a great feeling fork at a great price point but it does feel pretty high even set at 100mm. I don't know if they have a taller A-C measurement than other brands but I felt like I wanted a little more weight on the front end, especially on climbs. I might look into a Fox fork after a little research. I'm also not crazy about the top out clunk of the Velvet. Its more annoying than anything else but it's a constant annoyance. My only other gripe is the wheels. I'll probably switch to Shimano hubs at some point but that's really only because I prefer centerlock rotors. I'm completely sold on XTR brakes and I feel like they are much simpler setup w/ the centerlock rototrs.

That's about it. I'm sold on this wheel size.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Without opening up the fork and seeing what spacer is in there I can't be positive but what I did was...........put a zip tie and the bottom of the stanchion (right at the wiper), let all the air out of the fork and compressed it all the way. The zip tie moved about 4 inches. To me that is four inches of available travel. However, with all the air out the fork does not compress all the way to the crown. Compressed all the way there is still about and inch maybe less of stanchion showing.
 
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