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Santa Cruz Blur LT – The 650B Conversion

February 20, 2014

With the increase in popularity of the 650B/27.5″ wheel size in the MTB scene, we had been toying around with the idea of doing our very own 650B conversion on a regular 26″ sized mountain bike. We are definitely aware that most 650B bikes are built specifically for the wheel size. Converting a bike would not be a straight forward process, and a bike that has been converted would not exactly feel nor ride like a 650B specific bike would. But just how different would it be?

We got the chance to find that out, thanks to one of our customers who was looking at getting a new paint job, as well as a pretty thorough parts upgrade for his 26″ Santa Cruz Blur LT. He was curious to find out how a conversion would turn out, and so were we.

So let’s get to it!

Starting off with the frame, the original paint was removed and it was given a fresh new coat in lime green. We also applied a custom set of die-cut metallic red Santa Cruz vinyl after it was brought back from the paint shop.

It was perfect match with the Fox fork that was given a candy red paint job.

The previous drivetrain was replaced with SRAM’s XO1 group set, perfect for the All-Mountain set up that this bike was intended for. Since a front derailluer would no longer be required, we removed the direct mount prior to sending it for its new paint job.

We also mounted a Carbocage Taco plate for some added protection for the chainring.

The old 26″ wheel set was replaced with Atomlab’s Suprelite SL 650B rims, laced to Atomlab Pimplite hubs with Phil Wood spokes.

This included the all new Pimplite 102 hub in the rear, that we have been blown away by so far!

As we were fitting 650B wheels onto a 26″ specific fork and frame, a little modifications/adjustments were needed to ensure that everything worked smoothly. An additional bump stop on the Fox fork was required to prevent the front wheel from hitting the top crown under full compression.

The rear shock also had to be re-worked to prevent the rear wheel from hitting the frame under full compression.

Tyre clearance was definitely a big issue as well. Thankfully, these 2.1″ Mavic tyres fitted without a problem.

After a short AM trip to Bali with his newly converted bike, the feedback we got from our customer was positive. He said that although the bottom bracket height was raised a little due to the larger wheels, he was still able to corner well with after some slight lowering of the front stack height. The Blur LT definitely accelerated a lot better from his previous 26″ set up thanks to the larger wheel size and rigid Atomlab wheels.

While we were pretty glad that the outcome was positive, we’re in no way stating that a converted bike like this one would ride as well as a 650B specific bike. In the end, it all comes down to personal choice and preference.

Photos courtesy of: Benjamin Teo/OC Visuals for AttitudeBikes

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