That would be me.
I thought we (I) talked about this. 650b has spiked my curiosity. As much as 29'ers in 2005? More.
As much as 29'ers in 2006? No.
My first ride on a 29er was not good. The bike was cream of the (current) crop at the time. I just didn't like it. It wasn't until I rode a Karate Monkey in 2006 AND when the Rampage (the first worthy big meat IMHO) came out that I was willing to plunk down my own money. So I'm not at that stage... yet.
I realize conspiracy theorists would like to think that I already have some behind the curtains deal with an unnamed bike manufacturer (who builds in ti obviously) that wants to push the 650b format... and use me as a tool to promote said wheel size. Silliness.
I have a mental list of frame builders. My current actions are only serving to postpone eventually having a ti frame next year. I have to try 650b's in a fair manner before deciding if the smaller wheels have any merit in terms of what I do.
So this experiment, I had parameters.
*Spend little to no money
*Do it as soon as possible without violating the first parameter
*The building of the test rig should require a minimal amount of tear down/cannibalization of my other bikes for parts
*Remove as many variables as possible. Riding someone's currently built 650b bike with a too big/small frame, silly tires, toobz, long stems, shitty brakes, lumpy saddle, rubber grips... anything that might bias my opinion.
The result (pending):
From the Carver site:
"Want to try 650B? No problem! The 420 can handle 650B wheels with a nominal .75" drop in bottom bracket height."
Still think it's stupid?
Working the numbers in a totally theoretical (still) sense, I'll have the following:
11.93" high bottom bracket
70° (and some small change) head tube angle
422mm chainstay length (with my current mountain friendly gear and semi-worn-out chain)
These are all workable parameters. I'll put on a Niner crabon frok, so many headset spacers that I might need to cover my stem with a shroud so as not to offend mine own eyes, Industry Nine Trail wheels (just like I'm used to on the Meat Carver), familiar meats...
This is where I ran into a problem. The wheels are demos from Industry Nine, shod with demo meats; Ardent 2.25's. I like more rubber/volume when rolling rigid. Like a true American, I had to throw money at the problem. A 2.4 Ardent should be on its way from California today (if it didn't go out yesterday).
I'm only working on this project in the mornings before work. Long story. Bits and pieces at a time, hopefully done in time for Sunday.
Yeah, a big first test of the 650b wheels. Haul an 18 pack of PBR's out to the Back Yard Experience and ride around in the name of making great bike race (for others).
So there's that.