Written by Wally Wallace Saturday, 22 September 2007 01:00
Before we begin we must acknowledge that none of this would be possible without a nice set of 650B tires and rims. Credit for this development goes to Kirk Pacenti, without whose efforts to bring a new 650B mtb tire into production we would not be writing this article. Kirk was also instrumental in the creation of the new Velocity Blunt disc-specific rim. Davis Carver and the crew here at Bikeman have been working closely with Kirk, who provided the pre-production and early production tires used in the development and testing of the Carver Killer B, a 650B specific titanium mountain bike. (An article introducing the Killer B will be published tomorrow).
Kirk Pacenti's new tire, the Neo-Moto, is the most exciting piece of the puzzle. Knowing that he could only afford to produce one tread pattern in this run of tires, Kirk chose a pattern that resembles the Panaracer Rampage. So it is of no surprise that the tire is made in Japan with the help of Panaracer. If you could only pick one tread to produce this would be Bikeman's choice as well. A great all around tire choice, especially in the 2.3 size. The tire features a kevlar bead and professional graphics on the sidewall. Bikeman was also glad Kirk stuck to the 650B x 2.3 designation. (instead of the popular 27.5 designation) Bikeman has a few tires instock now with more coming soon. Pricing and weights will be up soon.
Velocity has been behind the 650B revolution since the beginning with the Synergy rims that you have seen used in Previous 650B builds on our site. For the mountain bike application Velocity has introduced the 650B Blunt rim. The rim is disc brake specific and is available in Black, Silver, and White. The rims are hand rolled in Australia and while they don't have eyelets they built up very well. We have heard that eyelets may be used on future rims. Built around a Shimano Deore XT hubset with double butted spokes and brass nipples, the rims felt stiff and stable on the trail. Time will tell on the durability but the initial test went well.
If you have read this far you may be asking why bother with another wheel size.... The 650B mountain wheel affords the smaller rider the opportunity to "RIDE" a bike with larger wheels. I say "RIDE" because when I have tried to mount a 29'er I felt like I was sitting on top of the bike and I couldn't maneuver the bike in tight situations. I am 5'8" and I like the ride of a smaller bike that I can throw around a bit and the 29" wheels would never feel this way for me. That said I believe that anyone over 6'2" or so should be on a 29'er. It makes sense as they will be able to handle the bigger wheels and ride a more natural frame size than they could on a 26 or 650B bike.
The 650B wheel is perfect for the smaller rider looking for big wheel performance while keeping many of the ride characteristics of their 26" mountain bike. I am ready to order my Carver Killer B now! A complete test report on the Carver Killer B and the Pacenti Neo-Moto tires will follow in October.
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