THE END OF THE ROAD FOR 650B

Bicycling (South Africa) - - STORIES -

When Gary Fisher launched the first mass-pro­duc­tion 29er in the early 2000s, few if any would have put money on the claim that 29ers would one day roll out of a World Cup Down­hill start gate – and go on to win.

The Santa Cruz Syn­di­cate rid­ers ( led by SA’s Greg Min­naar) al­most broke the in­ter­net on 30 April this year, when the team un­veiled Santa Cruz’s V10 29er at the weather­af­fected Lourdes round of the 2017 Downåhill World Cup.

Santa Cruz an­nounced re­cently that the V10 29er that the Syn­di­cate are rac­ing this sea­son will be avail­able to buy in 2018. Trek has also sig­nalled that their Ses­sion 29 car­bon frame­set will be avail­able on order in South Africa.

With 29er DH bikes knock­ing a flurry of nails into 650b’s cof­fin, both Gi­ant and Scott have added nails of their own: Gi­ant’s iconic An­them 29er is back, and Nino Schurter is de­stroy­ing the com­pe­ti­tion on his Spark 29er. Only a few months ago, both brands were still singing the praises of 650b, claim­ing 26” to be the ul­ti­mate wheel size.

So 29” – once re­garded as a slow and cum­ber­some ‘ wagon wheel’ – is prov­ing to be the fastest wheel-size in all com­pet­i­tive moun­tain bike dis­ci­plines. In­evitably, we’re forced to ask: has the 650b been rel­e­gated to the an­nals of his­tory?

Bi­cy­cling’s an­swer is a re­sound­ing ‘Yes’ – it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore the 26” goes the way of the dodo.

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