About four years ago a friend of mine and an old employee at our shop, John Blackwell, took me to my very first mountain bike race near Auberry, CA, The Big Sandy. I had only ridden mountain bikes maybe two or three times before this and didn't really know too much about what to expect. But he let me borrow his rigid single speed Retrotec, and I rode it to the end 23 miles away over more than 4,400ft of climbing. It was an amazing ride and I knew almost immediately that I wanted one just like it.
Fast forward to February of last year, right before I came aboard as a Box Dog worker, I decided the time was right to drop the hammer and purchase a Retrotec of my own. With a little deliberation, I settled on 650b wheels. This was a bit of a leap of faith on my part as I wasn't sure about this "new" wheel size. That was before Nino Schurter went on to win the UCI MTB XC World Championships on a prototype Scott 650b. At that point I felt it was only a matter of time before more manufacturers jumped on the band wagon start offering more 650b wheels/tires/frames and all my concerns started to lift. I think I made a pretty good decision.
It seems really cliche for me to even say this, but 650b or 27.5" however you want to call it, seems like the perfect wheel size. I can't say enough about it that hasn't already been said before, but in my opinion, 29" is too big to be any fun on technical, winding, singletrack trails and 26" lacks a little speed and ability to get over larger obstacles. Same as with the Randonneuring bikes of the same size, the wheels really shine when the roads get less than smooth. All accounts you've heard claiming it is a 'tween size are exactly true.
Also let's not forget the amazing work Curtis Inglis did on the frame. It is smooth as silk and absorbs all the rough hits with aplomb but yet climbs just like I wanted. I wanted something to look like an updated klunker, or a performance cruiser and went with the "Triple" frame offered by Curtis, essentially something that would stand out, which is what all of his bikes end up doing because of his craftsmanship. He also talked me into a pressfit bottom bracket which, with it's oversized shell, fits with the older klunker look, akin to the old American bb shells, and offers an update that, in my opinion, is really cool.
Anyways, I would list all the components from top to bottom, but I already feel like I'm bragging so just take a look at the photos...