Joanne dropped her Santa Cruz Bronson 650B bike of with me so I could install a Rock Shox Reverb seatpost for her. I took the opportunity to compare her wheels to the 26er wheels on my Nomad.
- Hers = Maxis High Roller II tires 650B x 2.3″ on WTB STi23 rims
- Mine = Continental Trail King tires 26 x 2.4″ on Velocity P35 rims
The difference is ~10mm without measuring it too accurately. Based on my experience with different tire and wheel sizes that’s a small, but noticeable difference.
The 2.4″ Trail Kings are huge for their size and more like a 2.5″ tire.
I also tried running her wheel in my Fox Float 36 and it worked with minimal clearance. However, the rear of my Nomad is totally maxed out with the big 26er tire in it so there is no point experimenting with 650B back there as I would have to run a silly narrow tire to get it to work.
What does this all mean?
- my existing Nomad’s fat 26er rubber is getting close to a “normal” 650B wheel/tire
- there is some benefit to moving to 650B in a slightly larger wheel plus lighter tire vs. the fat 26er rubber
- I can run a “normal” 650B wheel/tire in the front of my Nomad’s Fox Float 36 [perhaps needing a kiss with a dremel tool to get some extra clearance]
- I can’t run a 650B wheel/tire in the rear at a useful size
- If I run a fat Continental Trail King 2.4″ 650B tire I’d probably gain 1″+ in wheel height, but at a weight penalty
- I could run my existing 26er wheels/tires in a 650B frame with a BB drop of ~5mm if I didn’t want to spend $$ on new wheels right off the bat
I’m glad to get a chance to do a direct comparison of these wheels. The fact my Nomad’s wheels are so close in size to a stock Bronson is great. Although the Trail King tires in 2.4″ are heavy it’s a cheap and easy way to get a lot of the 650B benefit without buy a new bike or new wheels.