650b Ventana stylie

the Ventana El Bastardo

here’s a few pics of Sherwood Gibson’s spin of a 650b wheeled full suspension bike. We’ve had this beautiful bike built up for a couple of weeks now and it’s honestly been heading out the door almost everyday for demo rides. Same response each and every time. Big grins coming in the front door followed by a Holy $hit that felt goooooood !! And since i’ve now ridden the bike a half dozen times on a variety of singletrack i can also comment on the behaviors of the 65o Ventana .
on my first ride out on a very rocky Blodgett Canyon trail which climbs slightly uphill along a streamside gradient i noticed that the gearing of the 650 wheels was fine and i could push that middlering much more often as opposed to dropping into my inner ring on a 29″ dually. It should be even more noticeable once the real climbing of summer approaches. I also noticed that when in technical terrain that required quick bursts of speed to get past or up and over a certain obstacle the 650 wheels accelerated very good. It also wheelied well when trying to get the wheel up and over a rock, waterbar, etc. I pretty much credited this to the chainstay length (17.5″), which is a half inch longer than the 26″ wheeled equivalent ElCiclon (17″) and much shorter than the 29″ wheeled El Rey (18.3″).
Climbing, the bike really handled much more like the ElCiclon, which could have also come from the shorter stays and possibly the combination of gear ratios being closer to the 26″ bike. I honestly didn’t seem to notice any benefits of the 650 wheels, but it did perform well and the wheel size certainly didn’t hinder any climbing abilities.
Decending at medium to high speeds was the true surprise of this bike in my opinion. This bike carved tight turns so well, and once it got really rocky with speed was the first time i really FELT the benefits from the larger wheel. I could pretty much pick the straight line through a section and the bike really kept it’s momentum very well through the chunk.
all in all….another well designed bike from those folks at Ventana and to make bike purchasing even more confusing another wheel size that works very well too. I suppose the only hangup for a consumer at this point would be the lack of tire, rim and true 650b suspension fork options. Only time well tell if the bicycle industry gets behind the idea. For 5″ + full suspension bikes i think the idea really makes sense as it doesn’t disrupt frame geometry’s or put constraints into frame design. We also reap the benefits of a larger wheel size that does indeed roll over obstacles easier.
the 2.3″ Pacenti Neo-Moto

if i really had my wishes granted i’d take one of each….26″, 650b, and a 29er ! A cup of tea for just about everyone.
come on in and demo the El Bastardo to see if it is your favorite flavor.