On May 12, 1:33 am, Jim Thill - Hiawatha Cyclery <thill....@gmail.com
> The discussion about the new Pacenti 650B tires momentarily ventured
> into commentary on "the future of 650B". I thought this was worth a
> discussion of its own.
It can be interesting to try to predict the future.
> Two or three years ago we had 650B bikes at Hiawatha Cyclery from at
> least three manufacturers: Rivendell, Kogswell, and Rawland. Now
> Rivendell does 650B only on smaller sizes of certain models,
Not true: Betty Foys’ and Yves Gomez’ are 650b specific. Also, (and I
know Jim didn't say this) just because Rivendell tends to size the
wheel to the size of the frame on other models doesn't mean Rivendell
is losing interest in any particular wheel size.
> seems to be on an indefinite hiatus,
That has little to do with 650b. As I understand it, Longleaf Cycles
plans to pickup that torch.
> and Rawland's new models have
> been displayed at various venues with 622 and 559 wheels (with disc
> brakes, 650B will still be an option).
As far as I know and as advertised on their website, Rawland's frames
are 650b specific. Showing the frame's versatility with 622 and 559mm
wheelsets at venues may be just that.
> To the extent that 650B has gone mainstream, it is by and large in the
> 27.5" wheel size for mountain bikes. It seems like new disc-specific
> rim and fat-knobby tire options are proliferating, but the 650B rim
> and tire options for road bikes have not expanded much, if at all,
> since I first read about 650B in the Rivendell Reader.
Huh?! That must have been a very, very recent issue. 650b road
options have blossomed since the Riv Reader first mentioned 650b.
> There are some
> small importers/manufacturers like Jan Heine with the Gran Bois and
> now Pacenti with his Pari-Moto, but they have yet to get their tires
> into the QBP catalog or on any Treks. I was pleasantly surprised to
> see another of my mainstream distributors pick up some 650B stuff, but
> again, it was mostly of the MTB variety.
Do small market products have to go mainstream or corporate in order
> I'm not sure Rivendell and a few custom framebuilders can sell enough
> 650B bikes to support much expansion, or even maintain current levels
> of the 650B rim/tire selection and availability. Unless the 650B size
> gets picked up by Trek or some other major player, I think its future
> will be at best as a niche item with limited selection and spotty
It appears that some folks feel that for a product to continue to be
produced, that it must have exponential sales numbers from year to
year. While my economics classes are far, far behind me; I just don’t
see that as a necessity.
> I'd encourage 650B bike owners and aficionados to
> stockpile an extra set of rims and a couple sets of favorite tires,
> just in case.
That is a nice suggestion, but it also sparks unwarranted fear.