7-20-07 // Just What We Need, 27.5″ Wheels…

It’s pretty much accepted now, at least in US mountain biking circles, that 29˝ wheels are here to stay. Some of you are bound to moan in sarcastic defiance—just what we need, another tire size right? Well guess what folks there’s another other tire size for mountain bikers to consider. Kirk Pacenti, of Pacenti Cycles (www.bikelugs.com) and a former designer for Bontrager, Schwinn, Rivendell, Merlin and Lightspeed, is riding the 27.5˝ bandwagon. That’s right 27.5˝—just about smack dab in the middle of 26˝ and 29˝—why not split the difference right? Well, maybe…

Kirk says the tire was designed for use with ISO 584 rims, also known as “650b”. This rim size has been in existence for nearly a century and is very popular around the world. Though it has only recently gained acceptance here in the US, there is historical precedence for this rim size in the early days of MTB development from around 1978-1980.

Mr. Pacenti went on to say he’s working with 7-10 bike manufacturers who plan to show 27.5˝-wheeled bikes at Interbike in the Fall. Moreover, Panaracer is on board to produce mountain bike tires in this size.

Remember when everyone had 1˝ headsets and then Fisher came out with the 1.25˝ Evolution headset? What are we all riding now? That’s right, we split the difference and accepted 1.125˝ Am I suggesting that we go 27.5˝? Heck no. But history does have a way of repeating itself…

Here’s some more info on 27.5˝ if you are interested…

http://cyclingplus.co.uk/newsdetails.asp?id=688

http://www.frameforum.net/forum2/index.php?showtopic=3034

http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech/2007/shows/nahmbs07/?id=results/nahmbs074

I don’t pretend to be an expert on 650B wheels, they are new to many of us, but apparently these guys know a lot about them as well—Rivendell Cycles

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