MORGAN HILL, Calif. (BRAIN) — After a few years sitting on the sidelines as more bike brands delved into the “tweener” wheel size, Specialized has gone public that it is entering the 27.5-inch/650b market with at least two 2015 models revealed this week—with promises of more to come. The company also stated that 26-inch wheels will have a much smaller role in its mountain line going forward.
“They won’t go away altogether, but expect to see more 650b bikes and equipment,” Specialized said in a one-sheet product introduction announcement sent to BRAIN on Friday, a little more than a month after the company revealed its first 650b tire.
At the same time, “[w]e are not slowing down one pedal stroke on 29-inch innovation, as we believe in 29ers,” Specialized said of its hot-selling line of wagon-wheelers.
The Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon EVO 650b boasts a carbon front triangle and M5 aluminum rear and has 150 millimeters of front and rear travel via a RockShock Pike RC Solo Air fork and Fox Float CTD Factory shock with Boost Valve, an XO1 1-by-11 drivetrain and Shimano XT brakes.
The lower-spec’d Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 650b gets an all-alloy frame hung with a custom RockShox Revelation RC3 fork, custom Fox Float CTD Evolution shock, SRAM X7/X9 drivetrain and Shimano Deore brakes. Both models will roll on wheels from Specialized house brand Roval.
The carbon model will retail for $6,500; the alloy-framed version will go for $3,400.
While Specialized may be late to the tweener party, it wasted no time diving into the wheel size’s nomenclature debate: “We call them 650b because that is what they are. The name 27.5-inch is misleading, as they are not in the middle of 29-inch and 26-inch,” the company said.
Bikes are available but company spokeswoman Emily Watts said its first shipment will be limited. Consumers will need to contact their local Specialized retailer to place their order.