Go big or go home, they say. And what better way to go big than to pair Whisky Parts‘ No 7 fork with Rolf Prima‘s Ralos CXC wheels? The carbon fork/rim combo–and Onza Canis tires–are currently under test on the rocky Front Range (Colorado) trails and dirt roads.
You’ve read GRAVELBIKE’s series of articles on 650B conversions, and now you’re thinking about converting one of your own bikes. While the process is relatively simple, every bike (and setup) is a little different, and there’s always the possibility of a gotcha lurking in the shadows. After spending countless hours testing various wheels, tires, and other components, we’ve compiled a list of tricks, tips, and lessons learned that’ll make your 650B conversion that much easier.
Mind The Gap
Tire casings relax and typically plump up a few millimeters after being inflated for 24-48 hours. Check your tires’ clearance a day or two after the initial installation to confirm that there is still adequate clearance at the frame, fork, or fenders. When in doubt, opt for a narrower tire, especially if you’ll be riding in muddy or snowy conditions.
Keep It Simple
If you plan on swapping wheels for different terrain or conditions, try to use the same components on both wheels. Having to adjust brake calipers or rear derailleurs every time you change wheels can be time consuming and frustrating. Sure, practice can make the task easier, but when both wheelsets have the same hubs, cassettes, and rotors, you can spend more time riding.
Know Thy Limits
Fat tires and low gears can take you to some exciting new places. If you haven’t ridden a particular bike off-road prior to the 650B conversion, take it easy until you’re comfortable with the new wheels’ affect on handling and braking (both on- and off-pavement). This is especially important if the different wheels affect bottom bracket height or steering geometry.
Looking for even more info on 650B wheels and tires? Check out the 650B Google Group, or the 27.5 – 650B forum on MTBR.com
microSHIFT R10 derailleur paired with 12-30 Shimano cassette.
While you may not be familiar with the microSHIFT brand, you’ve probably seen private-label versions of their derailleurs and shifters offered by various companies and online retailers. In addition to those private-label components, the Taiwan-based microSHIFT also sells Shimano-compatible components under their own name. GRAVELBIKE is currently testing the company’s 10-speed road and MTB shifters and derailleurs.