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Old 10-19-05, 02:32 PM   #1
cs1
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650B any real advantage

What's old now seems to new again at least on the wheel scene. Does anyone have any first hand experience with 650B not C wheels? Sheldon Brown and Grant Peterson speak of them like they're the second coming. They do look good but the supply is limited and the tires and tubes are on the expensive side. Any opinions.

Tim
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Old 10-19-05, 02:41 PM   #2
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Well, if 622 is too big and 26" is too small...
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Old 10-19-05, 02:48 PM   #3
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From what I understand, you can put 650b wheels on an old 700c bike and get some long-reach (or standard-reach, depending on how old you are) brake calipers, and now you've got room for fatter tires and fenders.

If you didn't want fatter tires or fenders, I don't see what the advantage would be.
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Old 10-19-05, 03:10 PM   #4
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One reason is that in the smaller frame sizes it allows for a more properly preportioned frame, advoiding an overly long top tube. In some of the Tri style bikes it allows a much tighter rear triangle. In terms of performance, 650's are going to be lighter than the equiv. components at 700c, simply due to size and amount of material. Enough to matter??? That's for other minds and legs than mine to decide. One down that I've heard is that 650s tend to be more rigid, don't ride quite as smooth as an equiv 700 wheel.

I think that as more and more bikes start sporting 650s the general situation regarding price and availabilty will improve.

Steve W.
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Old 10-19-05, 03:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mentor58
One down that I've heard is that 650s tend to be more rigid, don't ride quite as smooth as an equiv 700 wheel.
That's 650C, which is a skinny racing-only wheel these days... 650Bs are renowned for their cushy ride, and 650Bs generally only come in pretty fat widths, and support a high air volume at relatively low pressure (~40 - 50 psi). I have the impression that one of the reasons some folks like them so much is that the available 650B tires are just very well designed for a comfortable ride. Because of course you'd imagine that you should be able to get some fat 26" wheels at low pressure and have an equivalent thing. Some 650B aficianados say yes, some say no.
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Old 10-20-05, 02:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schang
That's 650C, which is a skinny racing-only wheel these days... 650Bs are renowned for their cushy ride, and 650Bs generally only come in pretty fat widths, and support a high air volume at relatively low pressure (~40 - 50 psi). I have the impression that one of the reasons some folks like them so much is that the available 650B tires are just very well designed for a comfortable ride. Because of course you'd imagine that you should be able to get some fat 26" wheels at low pressure and have an equivalent thing. Some 650B aficianados say yes, some say no.
I was curious about the fat tire and fender deal. I am just finishing a road only bike with no fender/rack eyes and minimal clearance for fatty tires. So my trusty old RSE-11 which has cantis, gobs of clearance and eylets galore can finally shed it's skinny 700x23C wheels.

Tim
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Old 10-20-05, 11:46 AM   #7
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With respect to fendering a 700C bike that wouldn't otherwise be fenderable, this 650B conversion page is really informative about what's entailed in going from 700C to 650B in terms of brake reach and all other frame considerations:

http://www.freewebs.com/650b/conversions.htm
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Old 10-21-05, 05:06 AM   #8
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What is the advantage of 650b over an MTB wheel with 1.5 slicks (apart from not being able to purchase a lightweight general purpose roadbike for MTB wheels)?
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Old 10-22-05, 12:20 PM   #9
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What is the advantage of 650b over an MTB wheel with 1.5 slicks (apart from not being able to purchase a lightweight general purpose roadbike for MTB wheels)?
Thing is you can, I mounted up CR18 559 wheels on a Paramount OS 26 built for 650C wheels.
The unicrown fork is too tight to allow 1.5 tires but 1.25s fit great and short reach Ultegra dual pivot brakes are long enough to reach the rims. A winter project is to build a new fork using a semi sloping crown so I can run bigger tires and/or fenders. The rear has room for 1.5+ rubber already.
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Old 10-22-05, 05:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schang
With respect to fendering a 700C bike that wouldn't otherwise be fenderable, this 650B conversion page is really informative about what's entailed in going from 700C to 650B in terms of brake reach and all other frame considerations:

http://www.freewebs.com/650b/conversions.htm
Schang, I've checked that site out a lot. It is a wealth of information. The pictures of the 650B equipped bikes are great.
Tim
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Old 10-25-05, 06:57 PM   #11
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I can offer some first-hand experience. I bought a set of 650B wheels to try out, converting an early 80's Mercian. The Mercian was built for 27" wheels, and had plenty of clearance at that. I had to get some extra long center-pulls, the Shimano long-reach sidepulls were too short.

As far as bike fit etc. goes, my experience with these wheels is that they are about the same size (Mitsuboshi tires on Velocity rims) as 27" wheels. They fit fine on my older bikes that might have taken a 27" wheel (but came with 700c), but don't fit on my bikes with tighter 700c clearance, despite what I've read elsewhere. Who knows, with smaller tires (Michelin Megamiums?) the clearance might work out. As the overall wheel size is unchanged, the bb height remains the same, maybe very slightly lower, but I never measured it.

The really great thing about these is the ride quality. Our roads are not so great, holes/cracks abound. These really smooth out the road. At first they felt a little odd, but now I've probably put 800-1000 miles or so on them, and I really enjoy them.

To my thinking, these have very much the road feeling you got from the old 26" Raleighs or Schwinns, which was very comfortable although the bikes were too heavy for my taste. Put these on light rims on a light bike, and you can have a lot of fun. If your idea of a fun day is to go riding for the enjoyment of being outdoors and seeing the sights at your own pace, I think these wheels make for good companions. You can go down dirt roads and across fields and not worry about getting traction.

In my opinion, most casual cyclists who enjoy an occasional ride and own only one bike would find biking a lot more fun with a bike built around this tire size. So there you go...an opinion from an actual user. Hope you found it interesting.
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Old 10-25-05, 09:31 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 39cross
I can offer some first-hand experience. I bought a set of 650B wheels to try out, converting an early 80's Mercian. The Mercian was built for 27" wheels, and had plenty of clearance at that. I had to get some extra long center-pulls, the Shimano long-reach sidepulls were too short.

As far as bike fit etc. goes, my experience with these wheels is that they are about the same size (Mitsuboshi tires on Velocity rims) as 27" wheels. They fit fine on my older bikes that might have taken a 27" wheel (but came with 700c), but don't fit on my bikes with tighter 700c clearance, despite what I've read elsewhere. Who knows, with smaller tires (Michelin Megamiums?) the clearance might work out. As the overall wheel size is unchanged, the bb height remains the same, maybe very slightly lower, but I never measured it.

The really great thing about these is the ride quality. Our roads are not so great, holes/cracks abound. These really smooth out the road. At first they felt a little odd, but now I've probably put 800-1000 miles or so on them, and I really enjoy them.

To my thinking, these have very much the road feeling you got from the old 26" Raleighs or Schwinns, which was very comfortable although the bikes were too heavy for my taste. Put these on light rims on a light bike, and you can have a lot of fun. If your idea of a fun day is to go riding for the enjoyment of being outdoors and seeing the sights at your own pace, I think these wheels make for good companions. You can go down dirt roads and across fields and not worry about getting traction.

In my opinion, most casual cyclists who enjoy an occasional ride and own only one bike would find biking a lot more fun with a bike built around this tire size. So there you go...an opinion from an actual user. Hope you found it interesting.

I can understand going to 650Bs on a conversion of an older bike to get fatter tires, but what's the point in going to a new bike built around the size instead of fat 700c or 26"?
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Old 10-26-05, 02:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by halfspeed
I can understand going to 650Bs on a conversion of an older bike to get fatter tires, but what's the point in going to a new bike built around the size instead of fat 700c or 26"?
Fat tired 650B's are the same diameter as a 700x23C bike, which has hard skinny tires. Also, the 650B with it's super fat tires is lighter than a 700C, AKA 29'er, with it's super fat tires. So, to answer weight is the major factor. Check out the above mentioned link to the 650B site, a very good read.

Tim
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Old 10-26-05, 04:33 PM   #14
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Fat tired 650B's are the same diameter as a 700x23C bike, which has hard skinny tires.
Tim
Ooops, thanks for not calling me an idiot, Tim. I don't know what I was thinking, he is of course correct. When I got home I had to take a second look, and boy did I feel dumb when I realized the error of my statement. I had been swapping around some 27" wheels on 700c bikes, for some reason I had that mixed up in my brain with my 650b's. That's what I get for reading and responding when I should be asleep. The 650b wheels fit just fine on bikes built for 700c.

Why use this size on a new bike? For an elegant answer you can do some searches on 650b, there is some highly elegaic prose out there. From my perspective as guy who likes to ride, not an expert, I would say it represents a nice compromise size; as an in-between size, it combines some of the virtues of the 26" and 700c sizes. Is it vastly better/different than a slick 26" or a fat 700c? I don't know, my wife's bike has 700x40-odd somethings, and it's fun to ride too. If you can try it out sometime you should, then you can decide for yourself.
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