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Thread: 650b conversion ideas

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    Default 650b conversion ideas

    To the collective hive...I’m looking to pursue a 650b project using an old frame...project bike, pandemic past time, staying out of my wife’s way, etc. There are some websites out there pertaining to the subject matter and many references to using old Raleigh frames for some reason. Are there any real world experiences from this group that you’d like to share? Here’s an example below of a DIY website. Thanks

    https://www.bikeman.com/bikeman-blog...sion-guidlines
    Last edited by rwsaunders; 02-24-2021 at 09:53 AM.
    rw saunders
    hey, how lucky can one man get.

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    Default Re: 650b conversion ideas

    That's a pretty comprehensive site, has been used by many folks to select and set up their 650B conversions.
    You might also want to check out the 650B thread on BF C&V, it's been around for years and has a lot of good ideas for frames to use.
    Virtually any well made frame that has a lot of 27"/700C clearance will work with 650B wheels. Canrtilver brakes can poresent a problem, but there are folks out there who will move the posts to accommodate the smaller rim size.

    Here are two of mine. An 87 Schwinn Voyageur basket case that was completely revitalized by Gugie in Oregon. Rode this with 44's at Eroica in 2017:
    Voy 650 right side small.jpg

    That one got sold when I decided that one 650B bike in the stable was sufficient. This is a custom Pelizzoli made for me in 2016 that takes both 700C and 650B wheels, set up with 38's:

    Pel on bridge 2020 smaller.jpg

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    Default Re: 650b conversion ideas

    I've had plenty of bikes that were 80% functional, and in the end, dealing with that 20% of under-performance wore me out on the bike. Having something on the bike that didn't quite work well or required a few extra steps to make it do what it was supposed to just added up.

    I wouldn't want to get locked into a set of parameters based on obsolete standards. Rear spacing, brake type, headset standard, tire clearance, etc. If newer modern parts worked better, I would want a frame that would allow me to use them. And if a conversion part was required, it should equal or exceed the performance of what would be available if conversion was not needed. So I would be very selective about the frame I would use. And in the end, I probably would end up with a purpose built modern frame.

    I have great love for old steel bikes. I just no longer have the patience to deal with an old frame on a limited budget. But if JP Weigle offered me a Raleigh conversion, I'd try really hard to come up with an unlimited budget!

    Anyway, your bikes always look very well knitted together, so I figure whatever you do, it will be fit right and orderly.

    I have this link from Rivendell - not sure if it is helpful or a rant or a helpful rant. Equal possibilities there: https://www.rivbike.com/pages/converting-700c-to-650b
    Last edited by j44ke; 02-24-2021 at 11:59 AM.
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    Default Re: 650b conversion ideas

    The stuff I see come out of Brian Chapman's workshop is amazing.



    I think in the end if you can find a high quality frame built for 650b, that's going to be the ticket. New, used, whatever. Like when you got the Weigle road bike.
    Last edited by j44ke; 02-24-2021 at 07:49 PM.
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    Default Re: 650b conversion ideas

    I obtained a Trek Pilot 2.1 frame that I built up as 650B. It took a while to get it together - I bought some closeout Velocity Synergy rims, squirreled them away, and eventually bought a 5800 105 group, some Tektro R559s, a bunch of closeout 38c Soma B-Lines, and the requisite stem, bars, etc. Finally put it all together in the spring of 2018 and haven't ridden my actual road bike more than a couple of times since.

    It's a very satisfactory bike. I live on a dirt road, and have enormous choice of routes that are mostly dirt or a mixture of dirt and pavement. I would say this bike can do about 75% of what a fully rigid, rim brake mountain bike can do, but at the same time it's only a very little slower than my road bike on pavement. Being a modern bike with modern parts, it's a couple of pounds lighter than my road bike, too. Admittedly, that's a Masi 3V with 8-speed Campy, so not exactly a greyhound, but neither am I.

    I would certainly repeat the experiment. I wanted to try the 650B format, and this was an inexpensive way to do it. I wish I could get 42C tires on the bike - like Greg Herbold supposedly said about the Ringle Bubba Hub, "If bigger is better, wouldn't even bigger be even better?" Also I do notice the extra lowness in the bottom bracket - the smaller wheels mean less trail, and so the steering isn't to my taste - it's a little bit swivelly. Pedal strikes I don't notice that much.

    If I was buying another bike, knowing what I know now, I would probably bite the bullet and buy something designed around 42C tires, just because I think the handling would be a little better resolved. But I love the bike and see no reason to replace it.

    Don't buy Velocity Synergy rims. They are ridiculously crack-prone.

    If you need a pair of nutted Tektro R559's, I've got some new in the box that I would love to rehome.

    I agree with Jorn that you don't want to mess around with obsolete standards, particularly rear hub spacing.

    Let us know your process.

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    Default Re: 650b conversion ideas

    I should add: I'm strongly considering rebuilding the wheels with tubeless-compatible rims. You might want to do that the first time around.

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    Default Re: 650b conversion ideas

    There are so many 650B compatible bikes/frames in the market right now at any kind of price range. I would say converting a 700c bike to 650B only make sense if you already own the frame and most of the parts needed to do the conversion.
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: 650b conversion ideas

    This works for me.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jay Dwight

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    Default Re: 650b conversion ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by ides1056 View Post
    This works for me.
    Full size:

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    Default Re: 650b conversion ideas

    I am and will always be a sucker for a shiny 3-arm Campy steel cotterless crank.

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    Default Re: 650b conversion ideas

    My rig is homely but I tell you it works.


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    Default Re: 650b conversion ideas

    I’ve done this with several bikes - can’t seem to post photos well due to file size limitations from the phone - but they were all enjoyable projects and provide really nice mechanical puzzles to solve. Dimensions, lever ratios, handling, accessories, etc.

    Trek 400/400T allows 650/35 mm tires and worked nicely IME. It has a slightly higher bb to start with. A Mino Denti allowed 650/33, and the rider has enjoyed it and been posting PRs on dirt rides — prob more a better fit issue. I even got 650/33 tires into an Ibis Spanky (with a donor fork), and I’ll be attempting the next level soon — dimpling the chainstays and a lower trail fork with front rack and low riders. I also have a fantastic dedicated 650b bike, which serves as a good reference.

    Oh, you may want to get from Herse or make yourself a stick with a disc on the end to gauge how big a tire will fit in a given frame. It can also be used to gauge brake reach. If you’re a mechanically inclined tinkering type, I wholeheartedly endorse this kind of project.

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