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

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

    While a classic old-school race bike with 28 or 30-mm tires is a pretty damn capable all-road machine, I'm finding that a 700 x 35 mm slick is really my weapon of choice. On the cross bike. Capable of ludicrous speed on unpaved roads, welcome cush on what usually passes for pavement in these parts, yet not completely out of its element on rooty trails or smooth pavement.

    Talking with other riders and some builders, they're settling on 650b x 38 mm as their go-to size.

    If we can somehow narrow this down to "average" size bikes, would you go 650b or 700c?
    Tee Aitch

    Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring. -- Desmond Tutu

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

    IME it depends a bit on the size of bike you ride, and how the geo is configured – bb drop, steerer angle and trail, front-center. In my case, I can ride 58-60 cm ST with 57-59 cm TT, depending on the setback, etc. For this size bike, and definitely for a smaller frame, running a fatter tire without to overlap (especially if using fenders) is a bit more easily accomplished if the wheels are 650b. Also easier to run reasonable length chain stays, fit a fatter tire, AND use a narrow Q-factor crank (I like 145 mm or narrower). I do like to run fenders, especially if riding dirt, just due to local conditions. It so happens that a 33-42 mm wide tire also helps smooth out the potholes & bumps on the dirt roads, as well as most asphalt roads around here. I've also found them to be fairly fast. If not running fenders, then 700c x 32 mm tires do great. Fatter than that on 700c and I find the handling (of my bike) to get a bit more ponderous, even though the bike can handle 700x38 without fenders.

    EDIT: to add, the HT angle should in principle reflect the size of bumps the bike will encounter, modified somewhat by the fatness of the tire. To get road bike-like handling on the road, folks are used to a steeper HT and small amount of flop; to maintain the same HT on dirt without undue damage to the headset / fork / frame, a fatter tire helps. Experienced frame builders can chime in with their own considerations, so I'm just providing my own mix of understanding and experience, which is not hard to supersede. ;-)
     

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Pastashop View Post
    IME it depends a bit on the size of bike you ride, and how the geo is configured – bb drop, steerer angle and trail, front-center. In my case, I can ride 58-60 cm ST with 57-59 cm TT, depending on the setback, etc. For this size bike, and definitely for a smaller frame, running a fatter tire without to overlap (especially if using fenders) is a bit more easily accomplished if the wheels are 650b. Also easier to run reasonable length chain stays, fit a fatter tire, AND use a narrow Q-factor crank (I like 145 mm or narrower). I do like to run fenders, especially if riding dirt, just due to local conditions. It so happens that a 33-42 mm wide tire also helps smooth out the potholes & bumps on the dirt roads, as well as most asphalt roads around here. I've also found them to be fairly fast. If not running fenders, then 700c x 32 mm tires do great. Fatter than that on 700c and I find the handling (of my bike) to get a bit more ponderous, even though the bike can handle 700x38 without fenders.

    EDIT: to add, the HT angle should in principle reflect the size of bumps the bike will encounter, modified somewhat by the fatness of the tire. To get road bike-like handling on the road, folks are used to a steeper HT and small amount of flop; to maintain the same HT on dirt without undue damage to the headset / fork / frame, a fatter tire helps. Experienced frame builders can chime in with their own considerations, so I'm just providing my own mix of understanding and experience, which is not hard to supersede. ;-)
    Thanks for this. There's a bunch of us with under-used CX bike that are staring a Road Plus bikes and wondering the payoff on bad pavement and the need for bigger than 35C. The Riv bike guys were fans of 33c Jack Brown 's long before the WTB Horizons were on the scene so I had to wonder...
     

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

    I'm a 650B x 42 fan. But 559 x 52 is really growing me... 700c x 38 is a distant third...
    Guy Washburn

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    “Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America, in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth.”
    -- Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman

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

    There does seem to be that dividing line between what a wide-tire 700c bike does well and what a 650b bike does well. I picked 650b for my next bike, because I wanted the bike to be different enough from my 700c bike with 28/30mm tires that I wouldn't hem & haw too much deciding which bike to take before I went riding. But I will be interested to see how changeable the 650b bike becomes when switching tire widths, treads and pressures, i.e. what "kind" of bike is it with 35mm tires versus 45mm, slicks versus knobbies, etc.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: 650b vs 700c for one bike to rule all roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by guido View Post
    I'm a 650B x 42 fan. But 559 x 52 is really growing me... 700c x 38 is a distant third...
    This is a tire joke, right?
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: 650b vs 700c for one bike to rule all roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    This is a tire joke, right?
    Not at all. 26" or 559 with Compass RatTrapPass tires (real width 52mm) are sublime...

    Nice thing about bikes using disc brakes and good clearances is one can experiment and find out what works best for you...
    Guy Washburn

    Photography > www.guywashburn.com

    “Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America, in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth.”
    -- Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman

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

    Quote Originally Posted by guido View Post
    Not at all. 26" or 559 with Compass RatTrapPass tires (real width 52mm) are sublime...

    Nice thing about bikes using disc brakes and good clearances is one can experiment and find out what works best for you...
    Ach, sorry - misread that as 552 x 59. Wondered what size 552 would be. And yes I do need new reading glasses.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: 650b vs 700c for one bike to rule all roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by guido View Post
    Not at all. 26" or 559 with Compass RatTrapPass tires (real width 52mm) are sublime...

    Nice thing about bikes using disc brakes and good clearances is one can experiment and find out what works best for you...
    Interesting, I have been thinking 650X48 for my next gravel grindrr - but the RTP tires look pretty great. Any downsides of the Rat Traps versus a 650X48 that you see?

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

    What's your inseam?


    - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
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    Default Re: 650b vs 700c for one bike to rule all roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by dogrange View Post
    Interesting, I have been thinking 650X48 for my next gravel grindrr - but the RTP tires look pretty great. Any downsides of the Rat Traps versus a 650X48 that you see?
    I tried the 650B x 48 and was a bit surprised to find them a lot slower handling on my Elephant NFE, compared to 42s. But I didn't keep with the experiment long as I shifted from 10 speed to 11 speed and haven't yet rebuilt my 650b wheels... The 559/26" RTP keeps the quicker handling I love of the BSP with the better flotation of the higher volume tire... On pavement they can be tricky to get the right amount of air, but on dirt/gravel they are the berries, and way less fussy to get the pressure right... Once you do get the pressure right for pavement though they descend like they are on rails...

    HTH
    Guy Washburn

    Photography > www.guywashburn.com

    “Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America, in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth.”
    -- Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman

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

    Quote Originally Posted by steve garro View Post
    What's your inseam?


    - Garro.
    34 inches.
    Guy Washburn

    Photography > www.guywashburn.com

    “Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America, in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth.”
    -- Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman

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

    21369590_2069022213115284_935925495582571512_n.jpg


    Quote Originally Posted by guido View Post
    34 inches.
    700c



    - Garro.
    Last edited by steve garro; 02-19-2018 at 04:53 PM.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
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    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
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    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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

    True dat Mr. Garro.
     

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

    Quote Originally Posted by steve garro View Post
    Nope. For the roads I ride 700c just doesn't cut it for ALL roads.

    Lovely looking bike by the way...
    Guy Washburn

    Photography > www.guywashburn.com

    “Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America, in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth.”
    -- Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman

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

    Should they really be called "roads" ?
    --
    T h o m a s

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

    IMG_3198.jpg



    Quote Originally Posted by guido View Post
    Nope. For the roads I ride 700c just doesn't cut it for ALL roads.

    Lovely looking bike by the way...
    Well.........they make 700c up to 3.0" and bigger, yeah?


    How Gnar-gnar we talking?

    - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
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    Default Re: 650b vs 700c for one bike to rule all roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by sk_tle View Post
    Should they really be called "roads" ?
    I think this is why the “one bike to rule all roads” is tricky. Around where I live, there is a decent number of unpaved roads, but they don’t have a ton of elevation gain, and for the most part, aren’t too sketchy. A road bike with 25s is do-able, but 27-28s are better (for me). 32-33s are better still, but overkill if the majority of the ride is on paved roads.

    Where TAitch lives (D2D2 country), there is a ton of unpaved roads, with lots of elevation gain, and many of them are sketchy. Again, for me, wider tires make those roads more enjoyable. I prefer 650B x 42 over 700C x 38. I know Justin rides his 650B x 42 Seven as his one bike to rule all roads, but on paved roads I prefer a regular old road bike. I suppose I could own one bike and swap wheels, but I prefer different bikes that are optimized for different wheel/tire sizes.

    But to answer your question, yes, these are roads.
     

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

    I built a dedicated 650b x 38 and another 700c x 38. I decided since I'm mostly on the road I prefer the dynamics and feel of bigger wheels. I felt they kept speed better and just overall preferred it. D2R2 type terrain was a breeze and felt I could have gone narrower than the 700c x 38 I used. Mind you the more off road and gnarly the bigger tire and smaller wheel like the 650b x 48 would be good. Just isn't in my local geography or actually even my preferences... I just like mostly road or not too rough stuff! so the 700c x 38 are more than sufficient.

    I'd take a close look at how you ride, where you ride and don't optimize for the rare occasion that might never happen... design for the most frequent use case.
    Tim To | Granville Bicycles | flickr | instagram | Smoked Out

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

    If you ride Pari-Motos on the road and you don't look down you could think you are on 700x23s, except for the woosh-woosh :D
     

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