Saturday, October 4, 2008

650B Friday...

I rode my titanium 650B converted bike to work Friday. A couple of guys from over the hill were touring out in West Marin. I went out to check out their bikes and, surprise!, they were on 650B bikes as well. So, in the bike rack out front, I had three 650B bikes. What started the conversation was them checking out all the wares in the shop and finding a set of North Road bars, On-One Mary bars, Brooks seats...basically, a bunch of stuff that you won't find on any Pro Tour team bike, but will find on a bike of someone who likes to ride in comfort and a certain style.

One of the guys made the comment that this tiny shop out in the sticks has all this cool stuff in stock where as most shops in population centers probably never even heard of some of the items. He then challenged my stock of parts by saying, "yeah, you have all this cool stuff, but do you have any 650B tires?" Well, as a matter of fact, yes, I do. Showed him the tires and then showed him my 650B mountain bike out in the rack and checked out their 650B bikes. They were on a couple of cool Rivendell bikes. One was a Saluki, with Suntour XC Pro and a monster long 170mm Ritchey Logic fillet-brazed stem. He needed the long stem because of the back sweep on the bars.

The other was a Protovelo with 650B wheels. The Protovelo is essentially a resume from frame builder Mark Nobilette to Rivendell. If you are a frame builder, why put down on paper what your skills are? A sample frame is much more appropriate. The Protovelo is cleared over the raw frame with a simple "Protovelo" on the down tube. It is a very stealth bike and attracts no attention from the ill-informed. The owner of the Protovelo also has a Phoenix in his stable as well. Couple of nice bikes he has.

The Saluki next to my 650B mountain bike.

The Protovelo

(What's playing: Ani Difranco Smiling Underneath)


Guitar Ted said... should talk about "monster long stems". I see you have one just about as long on your rig as well!

Your customers reflect the past and the future of 650B in my mind. I am not sold so much on its merits as a fat tired alternative. For "all rounders" where the bike can go well over a variety of surfaces, then yes. Touring? Absolutely. Utility bikes? It should be there too.

blackmountaincycles said...

Ha - mine's only a 150, though.

longstem 4 sweepback said...

Olema Valley Trail rode quite nicely after the Friday night rains. The mud was too sticky at first, but after a short break to let the trail and our tent dry out, the clay trough left by the horses offered a smooth and gripy path down to Bolinas where we caught some Tom Finch Band and good times. Thank you Mike, for being so patient, curtious and for your mechanical expertise. It was a pleasure running into you, and discovering your wonderful bike shop. I still can't believe you have all the stuff I wish bike shops stocked over in East Marin, including 650b tires.