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Thread: 650b vs 700c for one bike to rule all roads?

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Southern Oregon
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    Default Re: 650b vs 700c for one bike to rule all roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by thollandpe View Post
    Before I picked up the Zank, I ran rim brakes: mini-vees with road levers, and Kool Stop salmon pads. They had oodles of power and I never needed more brake. I needed rims with fewer dents, however.

    Latest tire combo is 700x38 in back, 700x35 in front. Best yet!

    OK those with two sets of wheels, have you mixed the diameters yet?
    i have never even run a tire bigger than 35, just thinking it would be nice to try.
    Matt Zilliox

  2. #62
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    Oct 2008
    Austin, Texas
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    Default Re: 650b vs 700c for one bike to rule all roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by jscottyk View Post
    The design criteria for FF509 was 700 size wheel with ~30mm tires (up to ~34mm) and 650B with ~42 (up to ~46mm), 425mm chainstays and spacing for using road cranks.

    I had used my cross bike on the road with 35 and 38mm tires. While that tire felt fine in the dirt, on the road it felt lumbering and sluggish in the handling department. I had heard good things about 650Bx42 and how the same trail could be accomplished as a 700x30.

    In the end, that’s been my experience. 700x30 and 650Bx42 feel the same WRT to handling. In 700 my wheels are pretty much always fitted with Schwalbe Pro One in 28mm; they measure 30 on the NOX Citico rims. In 650B, I change up the tires more often; different treads for different purposes. Currently, I’m rolling the latest Compass Babyshoe Pass in 42mm. I love this config.
    Almost two years on this bike, and a follow up on this topic is worthwhile.

    First, it’s worth noting I do more riding on the the “normal” tires in 700 than the “big” tires in 650B. That is primarily because I generally keep the 650B wheels loaded with some sort of knobby, and the 700 with some sort of road tire. Currently my access to paved roads is greater than my access to gravel.

    My current tires are GravelKings 700X32 TLC, and WTB Resolute 650Bx42 TCS. While I really dig the Schwalbe Pro One in 28mm it just doesn’t like to play well with the Citico rims.

    The numbers with those tire for those interested:
    700X32 on Citico rim (internal width of 23mm)
    measured width after break-in — 35.5mm
    Circumference - 215.4cm
    Diameter - 68.6cm
    resulting trail of 63mm

    650Bx42 on Citico rim (internal width of 23mm)
    measured width after break-in — 44mm
    circumference - 209.5cm
    diameter - 66.7cm
    resulting trail of 60mm

    After many many miles riding both configs and lots of tires, my impression about bike handling feeling the very very similar between the two, still rings true. I love this setup and the original design criteria still stands.

    The WTB Sendero 650Bx47 TCS make an appearance for some singletrack this winter.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Vancouver, BC
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    Default Re: 650b vs 700c for one bike to rule all roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by sk_tle View Post

    Where 650b shines is really for city /commuting/touring. I'm riding 650bx1.9ish panaracer gravel king. The overall wheel diameter is really close to my road bike with 700x28c tires so with close contact points I really feel at home on both bikes and they feel agile and snappy. However I can ride it with bags attached to the rack in full comfort. The bike handle the numerous transitions between road shared bike lanes and sidewalk shared bike lanes without being unsettled as well as the short but rough shortcut on a dirt path. Having a comparable usage with 700c diameter would have me having to find a compromise between a more truck like handling or lack of volume and comfort with load.

    So if you plan to ride with load mostly on roads (dirt or not) I say 650bx45-52mm is great. If you want to race gravel or just want to go fast I'd say 700cx38-45mm. If your primary use is rougher stuff and singletrack you should have bought an MTB.
    I'll echo this sentiment as I commute on 650x42 TLC Gravel King slicks (tubeless w/24mm rims) and really like them at 27psi for crappy pavement whilst carrying a front load. I have 700x30 on my other bike and there's no comparison for ride quality. My only debate is whether I go to the 650x48 slicks from Rene Herse or stay with the GKs. I really feel these wheels are quick and carry their momentum well, and can't see going smaller than 42c's for my riding, paved or dirt. I just don't see a downside and lots of upside.

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