I sent this older post (from bikelist.org ) of last yr
(the author is the generous Douglas Brooks, an admirer of 650b)
to Grant Peterson of Rivendell to get his thoughts on
the issue of a 650b resurgence and if he feels more choice in
this tire size will becoming available
so it won't be such a 'touchy' niche market.

So first is the post I sent to Grant, to set the stage:


Subject: [BOB] 650B without Folly (Nov/04)

For those who have not ridden a 650B, I can tell you that my experience suggests a world of difference between a 584mm and a 559mm (26"). With 650B you get a lot more "roll", much more momentum, the bike just doesn't die when you stop pedalling. It feels _much_ more like a 622/700c bike. This may be an impression but it has been long been my experience. I own four 650Bs. If Grant specs the Saluki with 650B you can be sure of three things: there will be tons of tires, rims, and a singlehanded rivival in the U.S. Grant would not spec a bike that he could not reasonably maintain. In fact, the fate of the Saluki's wheel size really depends on a steady source of rims and tires and a boatload to begin with. Rim widths, if you listen to the wise Mike Barry discuss this you learn a lot about how bike tire widths are really very much a product of countries and specific areas of Europe. In other words, rim widths speak in languages and dialects and reflect local preferences. As you get near the borders you see the influences of the other folks' ideas. Anyway, the point is that 650B was likely first developed for the bad roads, big nasty cobbles, and dirt paths of France whereas the skinnier tired bikes, like what came out of Britain, reflected their needs. We shall see if this revival happens, but it would surely not be folly. At this point I can promise you that Rivendell will not source in small, small batches and make this hard on people. Grant will have enough and be able to get more. If it works and he gets what he needs (likely from Rigida and Michelin through some French source) then in ten years we will be saying things about these bikes the way we talk about the X0-1: groundbreaking, eccentric for its day, and now a sort of standard bearer for an idea that was too long in the making in America. Frankly, I hate 26" wheels except on mountain bikes and even there, well, I'm happier on a 650B. Grant will do what is smart but to dismiss it out of hand is, I think, rash. Offering a wheel between mtn bikes and roadies would be a very good thing. If Rivendell does this I can almost guarantee that other builders and bike companies will follow.

Count on it.
Douglas Brooks Bristol, NY P.S.
I confess, I'm a homer for this..Confreire #933... Singer, Herse, and two Mariposa 650Bs "

Grant Peterson's response:
It’s generous of the writer to give us credit, but sales make it happen.
Sales are good, and I predict more tires will follow.
No promises, but I’d bet on it.
Thanks for passing this on.

(A short while later Grant sent me this additional email)
"We are, actually and in fact and right now, working on a 650x40-41 dirtish tire.
“Working on” means we’re talking to two makers—Schwalbe and Panasonic.
We already get tires from Panasonic (a new one will be here in two months—
the Nifty Swifty 650B x 33.5 or so). But we’re after a fatter one, too—and that
will round out the offerings. Schwalbe is on the fence. "

Grant
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So folks maybe the 650b will be undergoing a real and lasting 'rebirth'…I did read from another poster
that Sheldon Brown wrote an article on the rebirth of the 650b in a very recent issue of Adventure
Cycling Magazine….and yet another poster mentioned that Rolly Pollys are coming out in 650b, too.

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Cheers
Joe
Vancouver BC
Host City, 2010 Winter Olympics