SRAM and RockShox Embrace 650B

New wheel and suspension offerings mean 650B is ready for prime time.

By Kevin Rouse
Photos: Adrian Marcoux

Turns out it’s really happening. Riders will soon have a third wheel size to contend with. Sure, 650B has been on the fringe for years, but now, with major component and frame manufacturers coming aboard, it appears 650B is finally ready for the spotlight.

We took some time to sit down with SRAM at the Sea Otter Classic to chat a little 650B with several product managers at their campsite at the venue (It turns out the SRAM boys aren’t afraid to get dirty) and take a spin on a few of their new mid-sized offerings.

Attention campers! Counselor Bastien has an announcement.

Fully adopting the new wheel size, 2013 will see SRAM’s lineup grow to include both dedicated 650B wheel and suspension options. SRAM’s wheel product manager and resident Frenchie Bastien Donze explains it this way: “As a component manufacturer, we’re all about choice.” Going further, Donze said that from SRAM’s point of view one wheel size isn’t necessarily inherently better than another—that’s for people to decide what’s best for themselves on their own—but SRAM simply wants to be able to offer them the ability to make that choice.

Bike ‘shr’editor-in-chief Joe Parkin gets a taste of 650B.

While one ride is definitely nowhere near enough to allow for a well-reasoned judgement, it was a welcome opportunity to get some ride time on the new hoop diameter.

On the wheel side of the 650B equation, SRAM chose the Rise 40 as their introductory platform. Featuring the same durable all-steel hub internals and straight-pull, stainless steel double-butted spokes as the wheel’s other size options, they are priced the same as the 29er set at $550.

Party socks always make for a good ride.

On the suspension side of things RockShox has released a new Revelation 650B model, featuring the company’s new SoloAir spring system. Aiming to drastically simplify setup, the new system allows riders to fill both positive and negative chambers with just one valve. This is accomplished via a dimple machinined into the inside of the upper tube that allows for air to swap from the positive to negative chambers, equalizing as the fork cycles through its travel.

Also making its debut, is RockShox’s new Pushloc remote. Mimicking the current Xloc remote, the Pushloc features push/push actuation but features a shorter cable pull for easier operation.

The 650B Revelation will see dealer floors in early June. The SoloAir damper will also find its way into the SID and Reba lineups as well, hitting shops May 13th.