|Last March I thought 650B tires were the bomb on this ride.|
I do know that I vacillate back and forth between thinking these wheels are great, and then back to not even caring if I ever rode another 650B wheel again in my life. Generally speaking, for my tastes, diameter is "king" and unless a smaller wheel is exceptional at something, I don't get too excited. That said, there have been more than a few times I thought the wheel size was rad.
I think there are a few things I need to see out of a 650B wheel before I get too excited. First of all, don't even come around here with a 650B wheel with a tire narrower than the Road Plus standard, which is 47mm. In fact, I am beginning to feel that is too small. Poofy tires, if they must exist, must be exactly that- big, voluminous, and worth their weight. Using a 42mm tire in a 650B format seems......backward, especially when most gravel bikes worth their salt can fit a 43mm tire with ease in a 700c diameter. Remember- diameter is king, and if you are going to go smaller, then you need to make up for that smaller diameter with air volume. Otherwise, why bother?
For example, when Surly came out with the Extraterrestrial tire in 26" diameter, they did not offer it in a 26" X 2.1....noooo. They went right out to 2.5" and good for them. If you ever ride one, you'll get it. They are awesome at about 20psi tubeless. Almost makes me want to run 26"ers again it does!
Smaller diameter, but super volume and super smooth ride. Make it worthwhile if you drop down a size in diameter and go wide, or go home. I'm not at all interested in 650B X (anything less than) 47mm. Nope. Give me a big, voluminous 650B, and maybe I'll fall in love with that. So then, why not just go wide and keep it 700c? Yes indeed- why not?
|700 X 50? Why yes. Don't mind if I do.|
So, 650B to the rescue. I guess. There you can get that wider tire stuffed into a frame and still get away with a road based, wide range drive train. You lose that diameter component, but the choices are greater when looking at gearing and all. I'll be checking out some more tire choices and running 650B sizes in the future, and I'll probably still be going back and forth about it.