Model year 2013 (which of course involves bikes that will be on sale later this year) is shaping up to be the Year of Testing the Waters of 650B if recent product announcements are anything to go by.
German giant Focus is the latest company to get aboard the fast-rolling bandwagon of the tyre size that’s a bit bigger than 26-inch but not so big that building small frames and suspension bikes around it gets difficult.
It’s a bit of a toe-dipping exercise from Focus though, with just one 650B model in the 2013 range. The Raven 650B 1.0 cross-country/marathon hardtail has a full carbon fibre frame that Focus say has been modified to take the larger wheels and still leave mud clearance. Some manufacturers are finding they can just squeeze 650Bs into their existing frames with little or no modification.
Focus itself seems to be a bit undecided about the 650B format. The press info for the Raven 650B 1.0 says: “Mediocre or golden mean?”
But it goes on rather more donfidently to claim: “The Raven 650B is able to impress on both technical and fast racing courses whilst also offering safety and smooth running together with a high degree of agility.”
The Focus Raven 650B 1.0 will come with a RockShox Revelation 100mm fork, Shimano Deore XT components and Schwalbe Racing Ralph 57mm tyres on Concept EX wheels. It will be available in January 2013 priced £2,399.
Focus launched the 29er versions of the Raven last year, but has lacked big-wheeled full sussers – till now. There will be four models of aluminium-framed Super Bud dual suspension 29er in the 2013 Focus range with 100mm of travel.
Focus is billing the top-line Super Bud 29R 1.0 as “a comfortable choice for marathon racing” with its Fox suspension and Crankbrothers Kronolog dropper post. Other spec higghlights include Shimano Deore XT components; DT Swiss X 1600 wheels with 15mm through-axle and
Continental X-King RS 55mm tyres.
Available at the end of October 2012, the Super Bud 29R 1.0 will retail for £2,799.
Another direction of bike development for 2013 is 29ers that will take fatter and fatter tyres. Surly has scooped the pool with the Krampus and three-inch tyre compatability, but the Focus Big Bud combines 120mm of suspension travel with whopping Continental X-King RS 60mm tyres.
Focus says the three Big Bud bikes are for “Marathon Plus” riding. The press info says: “The hydroformed aluminium frame together with the 120 mm suspension travel at the back and front won’t let you down when ascending and descending. In fact, with Big Bud, pretty much anything is possible – a marathon or a trip across the Alps – it’s the perfect all-rounder!”
Spec highlights of the top model Big Bud 1.0 include a Fox 32 Float CTD Evolution 120 mm fork with 15QR through axle, Fox Float CTD Evolution shock, Shimano Deore XT gears and brakes and Mavic Crossride wheels.
The Focus Big Bud 1.0 will be available in early October priced £2,399.