Introduction by Francis Cebedo:

The 29er battle is won. It is the growth market of 2012 and it will dominate cross country riding and is a serious player in the All Mountain bike market. Its success has heightened manufacturers' awareness with new trends. No one wants to be late to the party these days. Well there is certainly a new party brewing as many tire and fork manufacturers have committed to making products for the 650b platform.

And at the opening race of the World Cup XC series, energy was injected to this movement as Nino Schurter rode his way to an XC win using a 650b bike. Since then, consumers have been asking and manufacturers have been playing with prototypes. Here is an example of one of the new creations.

Mtbr's view is 650b will be a player in three significant markets:
  • downhill bikes
  • long travel all mountain bikes
  • short riders where fit is an issue with 29er wheels
  • Europe (where there may be more resistance to 29ers)
Intense Carbine 650b Prototype

From Jeff Steber of Intense:

Here are 2 new protos with the 27.5 wheels that we are playing with. A Carbine 27.5 & Tracer 27.5 both producing 5.5 to 6" adjustable travel.

One of the coolest features of the G1 dropout system is that it is replaceable so I was able to make a special set of 27.5 drop outs that adjust the chainstay out to 17" and drop the BB so that when you set it up 27.5 you have the proper Geo & wheel spacing. With the 2.35 X 27.5 Nevegals there is ample clearance, with the 150 fork we are at 67.5 on ha and 13.3" bb height, very cool instant 27.5 Carbon trail bike .

The blue Tracer is a dedicated 27.5 I built with 150 RS 650b fork and geo hits at 67ha and 13.3 on bb. We will test the waters with these and see where this segment goes but could prove to be the tweener size perfect for some.
Interesting how the aftermarket already has forks , tires & wheels before any huge demand quite opposite the 29" craze.

Intense Tracer 650 Prototype