By Vernon Felton
Back in November, Norco’s Dustan Sept dropped on by for a ride and asked me what I thought of 650B. At the time, I simply rubbed my forehead and grumbled something about the world needing another wheel size the way a fish needs a bicycle.
Fish, apparently, are demanding bikes by the boatload.
A month later, I was knee deep in an article on wheel sizes and it was clear that 650B (or “27.5-inch”, if that’s what you want to call it) was coming on strong, ready or not.
There are a tons of reasons for the coming explosion of 650 bikes, but the one reason that strikes me as valid is that you can slap those tweener-wheels on a six-inch travel all mountain rig without grafting monstrously long chainstays onto the frame and imbuing the bike with tractor-trailer handling in the process.
When I interviewed Norco engineer, Owen Pemberton, for that article in Bike it was also clear that the Canadian brand was on the verge of unloading their own 650B all mountain bike. By Sea Otter, the cat was out of the bag, so to speak, in the form of a prototype 650B Range. Same travel, better angle of attack…theoretically, the new bike should roll up and over things more easily than the 26er Range of yore. Yes, we’ll be testing one; that however, is a few months away. For now, check out the video below for the story behind the new bike.