another of the 7 day 7 wonder series – Ingleheart Bikes


The beautifully-colored layers of rock of the Painted Hills are mirrored in this adventure-ready bike, designed by Igleheart Custom Frames and Forks.

You could find, own and ride this bike! Find out more at http://traveloregon.com/7bikes7wonders

Dream Bike: 650b tour custom MAP project


Not much to say other than wow …

Screenshot 2015-06-26 15.45.21

THE S&P RANDONNEUR PROJECT BIKE:

A joint effort between Brent Steelman and Mitch Pryor, the S&P Randonneur Project is a fully-featured, light-weight, event-ready randonneuse that is equally at home on remote gravel roads or your local chip-seal. Built by a factory of two between Redwood City and Chico, California with the finest raw materials available today. Available in 7 stock sizes.

Low-trail front end geometry and custom-fitted racks, optimized for front loading and intuitive handling provide a solid foundation. Provisions for generator wire routing, and ideal clearances for 650B x 42mm tires and fenders ensure supreme comfort over mixed terrain. Optional detachable low-rider racks for light touring. Extreme versatility in a bicycle that sacrifices literally nothing.

Standard features include: 

  • Proven randonneuring geometry optimized for front loading, intuitive handling, and long-distance performance without sacrificing comfort.
  • Brazed 1″ threaded fork utilizing Kaisei Imperial fork blades and Grand Bois fork crown, with low-rider bosses and generator wire path.
  • Headtube tube ring reinforcements for frame longevity.
  • Path in frame for wired tail light.
  • Internal top tube cable routing.
  • Braze-ons for Compass centerpull brakes.
  • Brazed on chain stay slap guard protector.
  • 27.2mm seatpost with brazed on stainless steel collar.
  • 130mm rear end spacing.
  • Optional braze-on for seat tube mounted tail light and frame pump.
  • Top quality wet paint finish in a wide array of colors.

29er’s no longer going to be made – The Web Monkey Speaks: Please Don’t Kill The 29er


i love my Lynskey 29er – it is the most versatile and fastest hard tail I have owned ….

this from DIRT

I’ll just cut to the chase here: If you are a product manager in the bike industry, I’m begging you, don’t kill off the 29ers in your line-up.

I understand that 26 is dead. I know that you could make the greatest mountain bike in the world and not sell a single one of them if they were equipped with “old” 26er wheels because 650b/”27.5” is now Jesus Chris’s Official wheelset of choice. I get that. I’m not really happy about it, but I’m a realist and I understand that the battle for the hearts of the masses has been won. 650b has effectively kicked sand in the face of 26 and strolled off with his girlfriend.

Fine.

But let’s not also kill off 29ers. Not yet. Please.

UNLIKELY CHAMPION
I’d never have predicted that I’d one day defend the 29-inch wheel size. For years, I was not a fan. Or, to be more accurate, I hated the things. I’d ridden 29ers since 1999 and had never been impressed by their sluggardly handling. Most of them simultaneously annoyed and bored the hell out of me—riding one was the cycling equivalent of being trapped in a supermarket and being forced to listen to James Taylor butcher Marvin Gaye’s How Sweet It is for an eternity.

Wagon wheelers rolled over rocks with greater ease, sure, but for many years, they seemed to suck the soul out of riding. and while there are plenty of other reasons to ride a bike, I’ve never really given a damn about anything other than fun. Riding for fitness? If I wanted to be healthy I’d just stop eating bacon and drinking beer.

So 29ers and I were not a match made in heaven. But about five years ago the bike industry got serious about the wheel size and a much larger group of engineers and designers began fiddling with the larger wheels; in doing so, they wound up creating legitimately fun 29ers—bikes that not only monster-trucked over obstructions, but which also possessed some of the liveliness of the 26-inch wheel. The Santa Cruz Tallboy is the model that immediately comes to mind as the first 29er that rocked my world, but there have since been plenty of others and that’s because the market matured.

It takes years of product development for any technology to come into its own. Those first suspension forks sucked by today’s standards. Early disc brakes were nothing shy of scary. But after enough years of trial and error, you wind up with products that truly deliver on their potential. Cue the image of monkeys cranking out copies of Romeo and Juliet—it’s just a matter of numbers and time.

And that’s right where we stand with 29ers. This segment of the mountain biking universe is just growing out of its overweight, acne-riddled, 8-sided-dice-rolling ugly adolescence and is coming into its own. Frame geometry is largely dialed now. Single-ring drivetrains are enabling manufacturers to shorten chainstays and accommodate big tires. You may not have liked the 29ers of the past. I understand why—I didn’t either—but have you ridden the Yeti SB95 or the Santa Cruz Tallboy or the Specialized Enduro 29er? These are just a few of the big-wheel bikes that blow conventional wisdom about 29ers right out of the water.

In short, we are on the verge of bringing 29ers into their own and, yet, I’ve heard product managers asking themselves whether they should cut 29ers out of their lines altogether and simply replace them with 650b.

Seriously? Now? We’re going to toss the 29er onto the funeral pyre right when its come into its own?

There are a few companies (Giant comes to mind) who have struggled to make their suspension designs really mesh with the largest wheels. I understand why those companies are embracing 650b, but those companies are vastly outnumbered by the ones who are considering shelving 29 because it’s suddenly no longer hip.

This bums me out to no end. I understand the logic. This is business after all. Those companies keep the lights on by selling bikes—not unicorns, rainbows or beer-soaked high fives. If no one wants to buy your 29ers, you’d be a fool to keep cranking out the big wheelers while ignoring 650b. And, yes, I like a lot of the new 650b bikes. Giant Trance Advanced SX? Brilliant. Kona Process? Fantastic. GT Force? Damned good.

So, fine, make some 650b bikes. They’re, to paraphrase Mugatu, so hot right now. But when it comes to 29ers, take a stand. Be bold. You don’t have to stock one in every model and size, but let’s not give up on the breed altogether. Twenty-niners aren’t for everybody and every style of trail, but in some applications, they have no equal. And, dammit, after all these years, we’ve finally gotten a good crop of the damn things. It’d be a shame to see them packed off to the glue factory simply because something slightly cooler just happened to show up.

Dream bikes: Thompsons ti beastie in 650b


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Thomson, by Lynskey
Long known for its limited but well-executed range, US-based component brand Thomson has been on an expansion kick lately. Having already grown the label to include a dropper post, as well as titanium and carbon fibre handlebars, Core Bike sees a titanium 650b hardtail added to the mix.

Built in the US by Lynskey, this is the first of a planned 3-model Thomson bike range. The Elite 27.5 is out now, with the Elite 29[er] due around Eurobike and Elite Gravel road bike launching in 2015 alongside the company’s Pave road-oriented dropper/suspension post.

Thomson Elite
The Elite 27.5 is only available as a complete bike, spec’d with a Thomson handlebar, stem, top cap and spacers, seat collar and internally-routed Dropper post. Adding to the US build theme are an MRP suspension fork, Cane Creek headset, and Oury grips. A full XTR kit and DT-Swiss Spline wheels round out the £TBC/$6,800 package. Four sizes are offered and with a 3.9lb frame the complete bike should weigh in around 23.5lb.

bikethomson.com

i-ride.co.uk

Interesting article about 650b, 26 and 29ers by Chipps at Singletrack


They’re all at it…

So, after spending a few days in among the latest new products, with glimpses of next year’s stuff at the Sea Otter, it is quite obvious that there’s something going on with this 27.5in thing.

So much so, that I can make a prediction: The 26in wheeled bikes on sale now are as good as they’re ever going to get.

Every bike manufacturer currently offering 26in wheeled bikes is actively redesigning their entire range for 27.5in wheels. Companies that mainly do 29in wheels are still looking at 27.5in wheels for their enduro and trail bike models, and even their full World Cup DH bikes. Companies that only do 29in wheels, like Niner, are looking on with interest and puzzlement. The 26in wheel, I’m afraid, is suddenly, inexplicably, going to disappear virtually overnight on production bikes of any quality. This is not conjecture. This is going to happen.

Every wheel company I visited at the Sea Otter, had a 27.5in wheel. Every tyre company. Every fork company. They were all ready for the revolution. “But what about all those great, existing 26in wheel bikes?” you ask. Well, they’re carrying on just fine. Take Turner for example. He just showed his new 29in carbon bike, the Czar. He also had his staple bikes like the 5Spot (26in) and the Sultan (29in) and the Burner (27.5in). Will there be a 26in carbon 5Spot. “Never” apparently. Even if he’d been considering it, to come out with a new 26in model at a time when everyone is promoting 27.5in (and clearing out their 26in models) would be suicide.

Is it a fashion thing? Or is there a real advantage? The less hype-prone riders and journos who’ve ridden both will all agree that there’s not a great deal of appreciable difference. However, they’re bigger wheels and bigger wheels are in. Imagine trying to sell a 26in suspension bike to a customer with a 29in hardtail. They know that they like the bike wheel rolling feel, but not many people can make a long travel 29er that isn’t tandem length. So what’s the shopkeeper to do? How about trying this new inbetween size. It can still behave like a 26in bike, yet it’s an nth better at rolling over stuff.

And what about racers? We know what a fickle, results-driven lot they are. All it will take is for a single race to be won on 27.5in and there’ll be an overnight switch. Teams are already testing 27.5in wheels for World Cup downhills. By Fort William in June, most factory racers will have a 27.5in bike available to them to ride. On the XC side, where many riders are still on 29in hardtails, it’ll be less pronounced. Although Nino Schurter raced (very successfully) on a 27.5in Scott all season, everyone else seems happy on 29ers. However, smaller riders will make the switch, and anyone else lured by the thought of a lighter bike with lighter wheels. Scott reckons the system weight is only 5% more than 26in, whereas a 29er is something like 11% more. It doesn’t alter the fact that 26in wheels will always be the lightest option, but despite that, racers have gone bigger.

The 26in wheel seems set for overnight obscurity. At least, looking around the Sea Otter. I saw one single new 26in bike (a carbon Kona Operator DH bike). Obviously, the UK has always been a bit different. You can buy 26in steel hardtails with 5in forks here – something you’d struggle to find in the US. So the small wheel flame will be held aloft on our little island, especially with the smaller builders. However, the big companies are all, ALL, working on 27.5in bikes. Next year, or the year after at most, I doubt that a company like Scott, or even Santa Cruz or Turner, will have a 26in bike in their range. They’re certainly not going to be launching any new ones in future. Santa Cruz admits that it’s made the new 27.5in 6in travel Bronson purely due to customer demand. And I reckon that when the current Chameleon, or Nomad, sells out, then it’ll be replaced with a 27.5in version. I might be wrong – and I’m not privy to much that any of the bike companies are planning. But I really don’t think I am.

It doesn’t make 26in wheels less great. And you’re going to still be able to enjoy riding your bike as you’ve always done. The simple fact is that when you come to buy a new bike in a few years, it won’t have 26in wheels, that’s all.

 

 

Ritchey 650b (DirtRagMag)


By Mike Cushionbury

Tom Ritchey built his first 27.5-inch wheeled off-road frameset in 1977 (which he called a 650b) as a personal bike. It never caught on at that time but now, 36 years later, the industry and many riders have begun to create demand for the in-between wheel size. Though most brands are looking towards longer travel, a few companies with roots in cross-country racing are utilizing the wheel size for that application as well.

Built from Ritchey’s classic heat-treated, triple-butted Logic 2 steel, the P-650b has new forged, socket-style dropouts and lightweight, chainstay-mounted disc brake tabs. The rest of the bike, including its iconic red, white and blue color scheme is a throwback to the past. The 68mm bottom bracket accepts English threaded cups (no BB30 here), seatpost size is standard 27.2, and the head tube is non-tapered at 1 1/8”. Our test bike came with a rigid, Ritchey-branded full carbon fork, though the geometry is adjusted to accept a 100mm travel suspension fork.

The parts build is just as cross-country specific, with a SRAM X0 2×10 drivetrain, alloy Ritchey Vantage 2 tubeless ready rims, WCS Shield tires and a carbon seatpost and handlebar. I was impressed with the ease in which the wheels were converted to tubeless and the quality of the wheelset in general on the trail.

I’ll admit, the P-650b was a bit of shock to my overly suspended system on our rougher east coast trails. Ritchey’s steel tubing remains one of the most refined and compelling materials for cross-country riding and racing, albeit with a weight penalty compared to carbon fiber, but this is still a fully rigid race bike no matter how nice the frame feels through the rough. I would have liked the addition of a suspension fork for some added comfort but for long, west coast fire roads and smooth singletrack this build will flat out fly.

After a few weeks with the P-650b I’ve developed a bit of an attachment to its old school charm. I’ve also realized just what type of rider will more fully appreciate everything the Ritchey has to offer.

Want to read the full, long-term review? Grab a copy of Issue #171 and check it out.