Nashbar Bee’s Knees 650B Single Speed Hardtail Preview and Photos


After recently riding and testing 5 of the hottest 650b/27.5 All Mountain bikes on the market today, I recently received the polar opposite end of the spectrum. The Nashbar Bee’s Knees is a single speed hardtail that sells for $500. That’s right, a complete bike for 5 Benjamins. To be perfectly honest, there is nothing in common between the $5000, full suspension, all purpose rigs we tested in the 650b Round Up and the this bike save wheel size. Does that mean a bike that costs 1/10th of the others will only deliver 1/10th of the fun? We aim to find out.

The bike hasn’t touched dirt yet, but we wanted to post some photos and initial thoughts on the bike. Lovers of fine bikes we are, bike snobs we are not. But we can’t help but say that the single biggest strength of this bike (low cost) is directly proportional to its single biggest weakness (weight). On the official Mtbr shop scale, the Bee’s Knees weighs in at 26.49 lbs (without pedals). For a single speed hardtail with no suspension fork, that’s heavy.

What is also heavy is the stock gearing. The 38 tooth ring and the 16 tooth cog are more oriented towards commuting than ascending mountains. We will be switching these out ASAP. We will also be swapping out the stock 620mm wide handlebars for something a bit longer with more leverage for tackling those stand up and grind single speed climbs.

Of course, at this price the frame is chromoly, thus the weight. The paint and welds are surprisingly clean. The dark green with white (only color option) has a nice clear coat on it. The pure white on the down tube seems ripe for stickers, so go crazy. The rear brake is located inboard (between the seat stay and the chain stay) which is a nice touch. The frame uses horizontal slotted dropouts and also features a standard 1-1/8 headtube and a square taper bottom bracket, so your options are limited on certain upgrades. Tire clearance is not an issue on this bike.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

Standout components are the Kenda Nevegal 650b tires, the FSA Hammer headset and the Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes. (Yes, at this price, the BB5s are a standout component.)

As far as durability, ride quality and fun factor – stay tuned for our extended review.

If single speeding is not your game, the Nashbar Bee’s Knees is also available in an alloy framed 2×10 configuration with front shock as well.

For more info:

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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  • Loll says:

    No one said it yet, but I am going to say it. 499 for a single speed 650b is a bit on the expensive side. Wasn’t Nashbar selling a 29er single speed in house brand bike for 399 a while back? That is a much more reasonable price considering all the upgrade that mtbr mentioned it will need.

  • MissedThePoint says:

    I hope Bee’s knees are alright after R&Ding this bike, whoever he his.

    • MissedThePoint says:

      Lame joke, I know. I’m pretty well aware that this is designed as an inexpensive around town beater bike, kids bike, college commuter, etc. that’s not afraid to take detours through the trails or shortcuts. I bet it will inspire the rider to get a *real mtn bike*, the moment they try *real trails* and find out how fun they can be. Kind of like how most of us started on department store bikes, with the main difference being how this one comes with real parts.

  • BryanSingleSpeed says:

    I’d rather go with the Monocog 29er in this price range. At least they have the gearing right. Do they really expect a newbie (you’re probably a newbie to SS’ing if you are buying a $500 rig) to climb anything other than a mole hill with at 38×16?

  • NorCalRider says:

    I noticed this bike on Nashbar a while back and when they have a sale or free shipping it became very attractive, as I have been curious about 650b. Then I rode an Intense 275 Carbine. That is what it is all about!!!

  • goodtimes says:

    I bought this bike a few months back after giving up my suspension bike for a single speed. It is a bit heavy, but extremely fun and I am becoming a better more efficient rider because of the single speed. I agree the gear ratio is a catch all. I would recommend this bike to anybody who want to break into the single speed MTB world.

  • fewg8 says:

    been riding this since summer. love it! why? ADAPTABILITY + FUN FACTOR
    I had some parts lying around which helped.
    1st thing – switched to 29er front wheel.
    2nd – 33×20 gears for shortest chainstay length of 17in
    3rd – wider bar and cushier seat
    all I had to buy was a chainring and bar
    Next – trying 29er rear wheel with 700×45 FireCross tire

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