Scott’s 2014 Spark: 29er vs 650b

With the 2014 Scott Spark recently launched in both wheel sizes, what an opportunity to answer the burning question: which wheelsize is better? We got the answer… kind of.
- By Neil Gardiner

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Even the greatest opponents of the 29er format will agree that the mountain-bike world has been forced to have another look at the outdated 26” wheel. Those who’ve refused to ride a big-wheeler are looking to the 650b (or 27.5”) option, and it’s predicted that in two years’ time, over half the world’s off-roaders will have these in-betweener wheels. Which option is better? Well, the debate continues; but we were lucky enough to be in Switzerland to test both sizes, on exactly the same model: 2014’s Scott Spark range shows off both 29” and 27.5” versions – the perfect opportunity for a back-to-back test.

| Comparing The Tech | The Ride | The Verdict |

8 Responses to Scott’s 2014 Spark: 29er vs 650b

  1. Mig October 17, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Good article and I’m keen on the Spark 700 range.
    When are these hitting SA shores? I heard Scott have changed their distribution model for SA and some stores will no longer be stocking the Scott brand in 2014.

  2. Ross November 5, 2013 at 2:44 am #

    Great article and very clear comparison between the 29r and 650b.

    I’m also 182cm tall and as you described i’ve always felt like im on top of 26r. I’ve just ordered the 2014 Spark 900 RC and swapping the XX drive train to XX1. Its going to take 3 weeks to import from Belgium as there are no XL frames being supplied to Australia. It will be worth the weight tho.

    Ross

  3. Brian February 14, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    How about fun factor? I think this is the main reason people will choose the 650 over the 29. The shorter chain stays, smaller wheel size and slacker ha should make it a much more playful bike. On paper it’s almost perfect for people like me who looking for a flick able easy to manual trail bike that’s also light and fast enough for xc racing.

    Did it fit this description? Were you flicking, bunny hopping and manualling trails making your 29er friends jealous? Were the 433mm chain stays short enough to put it in this category?

    If they were 420-425 this bike would be perfect IMO. (see the new rockymountain thunderbolt or SC 5010 for comparable steeds)

  4. Brian February 14, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    I think it was a great review and comparison but would appreciate a little more insight.

    How about fun factor? Were you flicking, bunny hopping and manualling trails making your 29er friends jealous? Were the 433mm chain stays short enough to put it in this category? Did you try both geo settings, was there a noticeable difference?

    I think this is the main reason people will choose the 650 over the 29. The shorter chain stays, smaller wheel size and slacker ha should make it a much more playful bike. On paper it’s almost perfect for people like me who looking for a flick able easy to manual trail bike that’s also light and fast enough for xc racing.

    Did it fit this description?

    If they were 420-425 this bike would be perfect IMO. (see the new rockymountain thunderbolt or SC 5010 for comparable steeds)

  5. aaron March 23, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

    This review, while nice to see the comparison, fails to discuss a few of the very key aspects of the two bikes. The longer travel of the 650b and how they handle in the steeper/high BB setting (when the chip is flipped). CLearly this review is when its in the low setting. I for one cant stand the low setting. (I have a 2013 900RC with DT Swiss shock and rockshox XX fork). Feels like a sag wagon to me when in low but I prefer a XC race geo. I would like to have seen how they each rode in the high setting as well.

    I love the bike but am wondering about the 650b.

    Disappointed by this review

  6. Bob June 2, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

    I think that the 26″ is the best, out of all bikes

  7. Stein Tyldum June 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Ross, why are you using a XL frame? I’m 180cm high and the perfect frame for me are Medium. For you a frame size L should be more than big enough….

  8. Glen Curri November 27, 2014 at 8:08 am #

    Hi, what size frames did you ride? I am also 182 cm and am tossing up between the Large and Medium 900 option?

    thanks

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