Always controversial, the subject of wheel size and what is best. My blog was picked up on MTBR and I made the mistake of commenting on it...should have just stood back and watched.
Some interesting comments from Walt at Waltworks on what is possible with 29" wheels and longer travel. I have seen his, what looks like Ventana based rear FS, steel frames before. Very creative. And Devin Lenz has had the PBJ out there too. So in this case the small guy works around the issues of stuffing it all in there. I know the Lenz stuff works very well , I have no idea how the WW stuff is in FS but Walt is a pretty smart guy, so I imagine it is good too.
But. That is a long ways from being a viable solution to the bigger bike makers woes, that of getting 29ers to make sense and behave in bigger travel designs. His point that if a small guy can do it, then the big guys should be able to as well may be true. I am sure that they have smart guys too and engineering resources that a garage guy can only dream of. But the idea of bigger travel 29ers may not scale up well when it needs to work across a broad range of suspension designs and drivetrain components. It may well be that, at the end of the day, when the prototypes are built, ridden, broken, tweaked and re ridden, that they may not be all that good, especially when you have to face the wrath of the bean counters who forecast sales numbers. The thing is...is it WORTH IT?
Maybe not for any real numbers of bikes, but maybe for a small builder like Lenzsport. Meanwhile, Walt had some thoughts on big travel 29ers.
So the thing about 650B and whether it is the solution to getting the biggest wheel reasonable underneath you on a real AM/DH bike may well be the real deal, even if it is not the biggest wheel we ride. We shall see.