In the beginning, there were 26" wheels.
Luckily bikes got better. Gears, suspension, whatnot... they became more capable. A sport was born. Then we started racing them downhill on said trails and bikes became more specialized (without the ™) to reflect the demands of the sport and to sell more bikes. It got ugly.
I was not alone. Many others came and went through the doors. Then we were all just back to riding mountain bikes. Downhilling became even more specialized (still without the ™). These bikes became totally pointless without the use shuttles or lifts and required advanced trails to be any kind of fun. So who's buying them?
So somewhere in the middle of all this, the 29'er was invented. It was ugly.
All this is going on... big bike companies are sponsoring downhill and cross country racers, but a huge percentage of riders could give two shits about all that. They don't wanna plunk down a huge wad of cash on a bike that needs outside assistance to get to the top of the mountain and aren't looking to set the World Cup XC scene ablaze. They just wanted a fucking mountain bike.
So "the industry" gave us "trail bikes" and "all mountain bikes." We just called them mountain bikes, and no amount of trying to pigeon hole it into a marketable package really mattered to us.
Somewhere in the middle of all that, someone decided to try and give us another wheel size.
So downhill bike sales... meh. 26" bikes lose ground to 29'ers as people stop buying them. Pink Bikers around the world (Canada) are very butt hurt. Fewer and fewer 26" are made.
"We need to find a way to sell more bikes," said "the industry."
Well then along comes the sport of Enduro™. All of the sudden, you don't need a lift or the endurance of an Ethiopian marathoner to race bikes, and you can do it on a bike that's actually fun to ride... anytime, anywhere.
What is Enduro™?
I didn't get a chance to watch the video. Sorry. Remember, I'm on a time crunch and have no need to check my facts here. Let me know if it was any good.
I smell opportunity. It smells a lot like burnt Velveeta Shells and Cheese.
Thusly, the 650b gets a new chance at life. Enduro™ everything is pushed down our throats. Our pro athletes start trickling into this new genre and the sponsors are getting behind it. It is the bee's knees of all their wet dreams, a way to market bikes that people actually want (or at least a great way to market more marketable bikes to the marketable masses).
I've never ridden a 650b wheeled bike. It may be "all that" and a large size bag of peanut M&M's. Dunno. I'm sorta set in my ways now, single speed hardtails, often times with a rigid crabon frok. Hard to see how a wheel with less roll-over capability would be a good thing for me. That and the fact that two of my three bikes already have sub 16.5" chainstays... about the same length as my first custom 26" single speed? I've got what I want.
26" wheels are based on what was available to these guys.
Stevil's dad on the far right, notice the black bar over his eyes and the bloody piss stained pants.
Anyways, my granddad thought black and white television beat the pants off sitting around the radio.
To steadfastly cling to something old and hold a prejudice against something new without trying it? Go back to using cantilever brakes, tubes, and quill stems.
I'm running out of time.
So, the marketing of all that is Enduro™...
Tell me your making a helmet with more protection.
Tell me that your dropper is the droppiest.
Tell me that your new frame design is awesome at shredding trail and ripping berms and pissing off land managers.
and now I'm incoherent.
So Giant sees themselves phasing out 26" wheels in the future...
and 29" wheels...
Hear that silence? That's the rest of "the industry" farting... quietly.
I had a point. I don't know what happened to it.
And I'm out of time.