Sunday, September 8, 2013

650B revisted

I went to a trail work today at Alum P1. We did a lot of cleanup on the beginner's trail for next week's race. This week's work day was sponsored by local bike shop roll:, so they had some demos on hand of some of their new models. Since lunch wasn't ready, I was the first to hop on an Anthem 27.5 3 (MSRP $2250) for a quick demo after work was done:

They had just built up the bike on Friday night, so I was the first to really ride it. It was a size Large, too small for me, but the biggest they had in the demo fleet.

I only rode for a mile or two, so take this with a grain of salt:

+ I was very impressed by the Maestro suspension: it let me slam through the roots easily, while not feeling draggy when standing and powering up hills.

+ the 650b (or 27.5") wheels felt pretty good. Full sus 29ers that I've ridden have tended to handle too slowly--packing both suspension and big wheels stretches the wheelbase out too far for me. The Anthem was also very capable through the roots. Due to the suspension or the wheels? Hard to tell for sure.

- but the improvement from my 26" FSR was pretty minimal, the kind of thing that makes you wonder if it's just a placebo effect (compared to a 29er, which has a sharp and noticeable difference).

If I were shopping for a new full sus frame, I would give a 650B wheeled bike strong consideration. For a hardtail, I'll stick with a 29er.

Speaking of hardtail 29ers, after the Anthem, I took a lap on my Blackbuck. I don't know if I was too tired from trail work, or spoiled from the Anthem and my recent ride to Mohican on the FSR, but it was a miserable lap. I dropped below the minimum speed for a single speeder, below which everything becomes harder. Even with a sus fork on the front, the Blackbuck really pitched and tossed me around.

All in all, I came away pretty happy with my FSR today.


  1. Glad to read your thoughts on the Anthem 27.5. I found your blog through MTBR, good stuff.

    I agree with you that the difference seems to be pretty negligible for wheel size, though I went the opposite direction. My daily ride is a 2012 Anthem 29 x1 and I went and demoed the 27.5 at Interbike this year.

    I thought that it had a hard time accelerating to the same speeds as the 29 and I didn't really feel the nimble-ness that everyone talked about so highly. Frankly, I would choose my 29 over a 27.5 anyday.

    I will say though that I rode both the Anthem 27.5 level 3 and level 0, there was a huge difference between those. The 0 seemed to respond a lot better in the berms and corners than the 3 did. But it also cost $8,000... yikes.

    Keep up the great reviews and blogging!

    1. Shawn, thanks for your kind words.

      $8000 for a production bike... I agree, yikes!


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