Is 650b the new black?

Word on the street – or rather the interwebz – is that both Fox and Rockshox are readying new forks designed specifically for 650b wheels and the number of tire options is quickly growing.

Bicycling Magazine is reporting that the 2013 RockShox fork (which they could not confirm or deny) would be built in the 130-150mm range, while the Fox would be 140-160mm.

It takes a large investment up front to create new fork components for bikes that may or may not catch on, so there are likely some large bike manufacturers funding the project. Rumors are swirling, but your guess is as good as mine. Only Jamis and Haro have show consistent interest in the wheel size.

Consensus among the staff here at Dirt Rag is 650b might be the perfect fit for all-mountain bikes as the travel increases into the 140mm+ range. Only recently have 29ers been venturing into this territory, but no design has been ideal. Could all-mountain be the perfect fit, leaving 26-inch for downhill and 29-inch for cross-country?

Time will tell. We’ll likely know a lot more after Sea Otter this year.

What do you think? Is 650b worth another look? Have you ridden one before? Share your thoughts in the comments.

In the meantime, check out some of our past coverage of 650b products:

Interbike demo ride – Jamis Dragon 650b hardtail

Review – Pacenti 650b

Review – White Brothers Fluid 130 650b fork

Project bike – ‘Beckler’, the Santa Cruz Heckler 650b conversion (pictured above)

Review – Engin Cycles custom 650b

Review – Haro Beasley 650b

Update: We regret we left KHS off the list of brands showing a real commitment to the 650b size, with five models, both hardtail and full-suspension, designed specifically around the middle sized wheels. They tell us they are even planning on expanding the line for 2013.


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