650B x 55 Umtanum Ridge Back in StockJan Heine
The response to the new 650B x 55 mm Umtanum Ridge surprised everybody: The Endurance casing was sold out within 4 hours, and the Extralights lasted only a little less than a day. We just received another shipment, so both models are back in stock. The Standard casing will follow later this month, and the ultra-tough Endurance Plus will come in September or October.
One of the favorite parts of my job is testing prototypes. For the Umtanum Ridges, Fern built us one of their amazing custom bikes for a test in Bicycle Quarterly. Testing the bike was a lot of fun, and, almost as an aside, I got to put a lot of miles on the new tires, both on pavement and on gravel.
How do the new tires perform? Well, they have the same tread pattern as our award-winning 700C x 55 mm Fleecer Ridges – so rather than tell you what I think, I suggest you head over to Bikepacking.com and listen to their review of the Umtanum Ridges bigger brother. In fact, Bikepacking.com liked the tires and the patented noise canceling so much that they named them Gear of the Year 2020.
What’s different with the smaller 650B wheel size is mostly how your bike feels: The smaller wheels have less rotational inertia, so the bike is more nimble. I really enjoyed the Fern’s predictable handling and how easy it was to guide around twisty hairpin descents even at high speeds.
What about the black Extralights shown in the photo? Those are prototypes, made by hand from the production molds using materials that were on hand. That’s why they’ve got black casing. In the future, we may offer this version, but for now, the Umtanums have tan sidewalls – lighter for the Standard and Extralight and darker for the Endurance and Endurance Plus.
As mentioned above, the tires are back in stock – for now at least. And if you’re curious about the Fern, read the full test in the Summer 2021 Bicycle Quarterly.
Photo credit: Rugile Kaladyte (Photo 2)