Thursday, September 20

Virality and 650b(s)

Two things eating at me regarding Interbike 2012.

First, there's this...

 photo cred: Mike Stanley

and this:

I'm sorry.  The Honey Badger is over.  Both Kenda Tires and SPOT Bikes have a 2013 product bearing the unfortunate moniker, and it just bothers me to no end.  Look for something called "Gangnam Style" to start showing up on the shelves in 2014.

Here's my other beef; 650b or as "the industry" wants to call it, 27.5.

Or as Tom Ritchey called it in 1977, 650b

photo cred: Mike Kuhn

I have two theories as to why 650b/27.5 has gone big time this year.

The Theory of Evolution.

If this holds true, call Kirk Pacenti the Darwin of wheel sizes.   We all know that 26" and 29" wheels are borrowed technology.  A big thanks to beach cruisers and road bikes for supplying us with the rims and whatnot, but the true wheel size for proper mountain biking sits directly in between your two offerings.  It required an evolution of the mountain biker to wheedle through the options. Crawling from the muck and mire of primordial ooze on the flappy fin-feet of 26" wheels.  Learning to walk upright on two oddly shaped limbs and shave off the unwanted body hair of 29" wheels.  We are now at the zenith of our existence with the perfect wheel size to traipse across the terrain, homo fully erectus.

 The Conspiracy Theory

Let's just say that there's a group of men (presumably white) that control the entire "industry," much like our beloved country.  These men represent bike companies, the liberal industry media, and the component manufacturers.  Of course they meet at a circular, futuristic table and are called to order by a guy who looks somewhat like Emperor Palpatine.


After looking over a few years of declining sales figures and ad revenue, they realize they need to come up with something new.

Something new to sell and something new to write about in magazines.

"Bigger wheels!" shouts someone.

"We just did that," decries Emperor Palpatine, "but what if..."

All the big companies that were slow to react to the 29'er movement were judged harshly (by me, probably others as well).  Perhaps they learned from that lesson.  Regardless of who starts a new trend, it may be better to be seen at the forefront, as an innovator, not a follower looking to cash in.  650b bikes will selll, especially if "the industry" embraces the size as a whole and tells us it's the new black.

Some folks swore that 29" bikes were just something new to push down our throats.  I'm a firm believer in the 29" wheel, so that's a big pill for me to swallow.   Like a good Republican, I hold firm to my faith, regardless of new information or what some call "facts."  I would like to try a 650b, in the same way that I would like to try mushrooms or cross dressing.  I don't want to blow my own money, and I'd prefer there were no witnesses.

So, is it evolution or a conspiracy?

Time will tell.


Anonymous said...


dicky said...

Virality. The true English language is dead.

Peter Keiller said...

Firstly. Gangnam style. Win.

Next. Why did you fall for the trap of traps and discuss wheel size, even if you were discussing a refusal to discuss it.

C) Kill all the white men. Fat Mike.

dicky said...

I refuse to discuss any prior or future refusals.

Anonymous said...

So you're not an industry insider duchebag enough to get the email from Elle at

The answer lies somewhere in between. We're just waiting for Ritchey to claim credit for the internet too.

dicky said...

I did not get the email.

Elle stopped by my house with a limo.

TheMutt said...

Finally. Someone steps up and cries out against the whole "Honey Badger phenom."

It's over, Johnny (or who the hell ever decided that it should start in the first place.)

Anonymous said...

"I would like to try mushrooms or cross dressing. I don't want to blow my own money, and I'd prefer there were no witnesses."

Sounds like a true democrat.

John Parker said...

don't hate on Tom too much great(back then) frames and tires...his products well those often are just re works of off the shelf items.

and as far as why we settled on 26 vs. 650b if you believe everything you read on the web it's supposedly because the Soviets bought the world’s supply (mostly from Nokian) of tires for their military bikes so the “only” choice was 26’s

That said I looking foward to setting up my sser with them

I an the Owl said...

I love my 650b SS over all other bikes including 29er. I just wish there were more options for wheel choices with a single cog.

Anonymous said...

Dude, lighten up!
Gangnam Style = winning!
and what's a honey badger?...

Carl said...

Honey Badger is a Foreign Wolverine wanna-be. Wolverine's kick bear ass!

Unknown said...

The only cycleblogs I read are you, BikeSnobNYC. You are both purists which makes you interesting, plus you're good writers. But I have no interest in a rigid single speed, might as well ride a unicycle. My 650b converted Scalpel is a fun bike, 2X10 and about a 13" bb height come in handy in the Rockies.

Anyway yeah there's a 650b/27.5" conspiracy and it is mostly white guys, is that bad?

Ben Welnak said...

because you're watching the wrong video. this will make you feel better...