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  1. #1
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    26" MTB wheels vs. 700 or 27" road wheels

    Hi, this is a definite newbie question, but I need help!
    I'm about to get a slightly used Montague MX folding mountain bike at a good price.
    It comes with 26 x 1.95 tires on 26" MTB wheels.
    But what I really want is a "hybrid" style road bike, with 700 or 27" road wheels for fast travel on paved roads. The problem is, Full-Size folding bike options are limited, most are MTB style designs.
    So, can I replace those 26" MTB wheels entirely, or is the best I can do to replace the tires with something like 26 x 1.5 or 26 x 1.3, narrower and slicker tires?

    Thank you!

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    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    replace the knobbies with a 26" slick. Your only option.

  3. #3
    Bicyclerider4life
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deanster04 View Post
    replace the knobbies with a 26" slick. Your only option.
    Not necessarily, I tried a set of 700 C's on my 1988 Fuji Mt. Fuji mountain bike, and they had plenty of frame clearance, and the V-Brakes could be adjusted for the correct reach.

    If you have a 700 C wheel and tire, see if it will clear the chain stay and seat stay bridges and if your brakes can reach the rims. You may have to have a semi custom rear laced up though with a mountain bike hub, since road bikes use a narrower rear hub.
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    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    I would not consider a hybrid to be a fast bike. A rigid framed mountain bike with slicks would probably be faster than a hybrid. And a road bike would be even faster. So go with N+1 (keep an eye open for another good bike cheap, and snap it up).

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    no, of course it won't be totally fast -- but it folds!
    hardly anyone makes full size folding bikes for cheap...i've looked at the Dahons and the Montagues and the Montagues seem easier to deal with...this bike will be for travel, either in the car or for bus/train/plane journeys...

    in practice, will a slick 26" tire, something like this: http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=1121, would this be any different then a 27" or 700c road/touring wheel?

    right now i'm riding a Jamis Coda (yes, hybrid!) with 700c wheels, just did 200 miles on it from Glens Falls, NY, to Montreal, Canada, and a junker old Peugeot with 27" wheels for NYC riding...but I was barely able to get on the Amtrak train in Montreal to come back to NY even taking the wheels off...and so would like to get a folding bike that approximates this kind of ride...

  6. #6
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanschin View Post
    in practice, will a slick 26" tire, something like this: http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=1121, would this be any different then a 27" or 700c road/touring wheel?
    That's a nice, fast rolling tire, I've used them. Put that on, and if you're still not fast enough, blame the engine.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    I've never seen any brakes with enough adjustment to go from 26 inch MTB rims to 700c. There may be some that will but they are very rare.

    So really without a lot of fuss with adapters or other options for your brakes you're stuck with the wheel sizes that the bike came with. So just get a 26 inch road slick tire and call it done.

    Doing it this way is not in any respect a noticable disadvantage. The 26 inch road slicks that you can get are amazing tires. And given that you're putting them onto a folder that is likely quite heavy and likely flexes more than most bikes and probably has some fitment compromises I would say that putting 700c rims and tires onto it would be like putting Formula 1 tires onto a minivan. You're just NOT going to feel any advantage over 26 inch road slicks on such a bike. And even if there was a minute advantage it would be more than compensated for by all the fuss and cost needed to adapt the brakes to work with the new wheel size.

    So road slicks for your 26'ers it is IMO.......
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    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    26 for the road

    There is nothing wrong with 26 inch wheels on the road, a great many triathlon bikes come with 650c wheels that are just a hair larger (Ok, 1 cm) than 26 inch wheels, and they go plenty fast. It's all about the right tires for the job, and if your Montague is going to be a city bike, get it city tires. Something slick, and skinny, but not too skinny. 1.25 to 1.5 is about right.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicyclridr4life View Post
    Not necessarily, I tried a set of 700 C's on my 1988 Fuji Mt. Fuji mountain bike, and they had plenty of frame clearance, and the V-Brakes could be adjusted for the correct reach.

    If you have a 700 C wheel and tire, see if it will clear the chain stay and seat stay bridges and if your brakes can reach the rims. You may have to have a semi custom rear laced up though with a mountain bike hub, since road bikes use a narrower rear hub.
    You must have the worlds longest v-brakes. A 26" wheel is 559 mm in diameter while a 700C is 622. The difference is 63mm or around 2.5". Most v-brakes I've seen have less than an inch of adjustment. Something seems wrong here.
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  10. #10
    Science Fanboy KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    The speed difference between 26" and 700c is largely theoretical even on an out-and-out road racing bike, for a folder I fail to see how it would matter at all, except that you'll save money buying mountain tires.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    You must have the worlds longest v-brakes. A 26" wheel is 559 mm in diameter while a 700C is 622. The difference is 63mm or around 2.5". Most v-brakes I've seen have less than an inch of adjustment. Something seems wrong here.
    yup, your math.

    2.5 '' is the difference in the diameter, and what really matters is the difference in radius, a bit less than 1 1/4 inches.

    Doable with some V brakes, but definately not most.

  12. #12
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Good idea

    We all seem to be missing the OP's question.

    It may be possible to run 700c wheels in your frame, but it's not a good idea. It will cost you more and cause all sorts of potential issues with brake reach and frame clearance if you do.

    Just buy 26 inch slicks.

  13. #13
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    thanks to all for the good information. apologies for being ignorant of all the different terms out there...it's very confusing! i will just get the thin slicks for the 26" and start riding...at $30 each, $60 total is a far cheaper and easier investment than new rims. What I wonder is why so much of what's on the market are mountain bikes, when the percentage of people actually going on unpaved roads must be small compared to paved...is this like the SUV craze, where only a small number of SUV owners ever actually need the 4-wheel drive capabilities? At least MTBs aren't gas guzzlers!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    I would not consider a hybrid to be a fast bike. A rigid framed mountain bike with slicks would probably be faster than a hybrid. And a road bike would be even faster. So go with N+1 (keep an eye open for another good bike cheap, and snap it up).
    There is no basis for this belief. A 700C wheel hybrid bike with good hubs and 28mm wide tires will have the same rolling resistance as a touring bike with similar hubs and the same 28mm wide tires.

    A mountain bike with the same hubs and 26*1-1.125 (or something tires) will probably be nearly as fast, but not quite, as the hybrid, all other things being equal. The difference, though, is probably imperceptable

    A lot of people ahve this impression that hybrids are slow because we see the completely upright 35 lb models with 1" travel coil spring front suspension, and a handlebar fitted with an AM/FM radio and bar-ends pointed straight tot he heavens... and with 700 X 43 heavy treaded tires. Set up properly they are fast, efficient, lightweight bikes. Just because something is neither a full-on trailbike nor a road racer does not mean it is inferior... FREE YOUR MIND!!!!!!!!!

  15. #15
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    Just because something is neither a full-on trailbike nor a road racer does not mean it is inferior... FREE YOUR MIND!!!!!!!!!
    I think what you just described is a touring bike
    Last edited by fuzz2050; 11-11-08 at 11:46 AM. Reason: messy formating

  16. #16
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanschin View Post
    thanks to all for the good information. apologies for being ignorant of all the different terms out there...it's very confusing! i will just get the thin slicks for the 26" and start riding...at $30 each, $60 total is a far cheaper and easier investment than new rims. What I wonder is why so much of what's on the market are mountain bikes, when the percentage of people actually going on unpaved roads must be small compared to paved...is this like the SUV craze, where only a small number of SUV owners ever actually need the 4-wheel drive capabilities? At least MTBs aren't gas guzzlers!
    Yep, it's the SUV type of lemming behaviour applied to bicycles. For the Great Unwashed Masses (GUM) there's a very strong impression that any bike with "those curly handlebars" (yes someone said those exact words to me one time) is a racing bike and the members of the GUM just want to be comfy and upright when they ride. So they see mountain bikes with upright handlebars and knobby tires that must be good for the rain and casual packed gravel trails because they are so fat and they just get them.

    In your case there may have been a choice other than this at work though. A folder wants to be compact and going with 26 inch MTB wheels is a lot more compact than using 700c's.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  17. #17
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    NAshbar sells cyclocross 700c forks with canti/V-brake bosses but the web-page doesnt give a height

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    I think what you just described is a touring bike
    Sort of, but not really..
    The traditional defining factors of a 'touring' bike, in my opinion, is drop handlebars, and the ability to accomodate wider tires than most 'road' or 'racing' bikes.

    Let's define our terms here, people..

    I have always used the following definitions:
    Offroad tires & Straight bars : Mountain bike (with variants and sub categories)
    straight bars & road tires : Hybrid bike (with variants and sub categories)
    drop bars & road tires : Touring (with variants and sub-categories)
    Drop bars and narrow ties : Road/racing bike

    This is the generally accepted nomenclature. The term 'hybrid bike' makes a lot of people uneasy so higher quality lightweigth hybrids are now oftencalled 'straight bar road bikes,' - these are the same as the better quality 'hybrid bikes' of ten years ago. Hybrids that have particularily wide tires and upright posisiton are called 'comfort bikes.'

    My initial point was that just because a bike generally falls into one category or another does not make it fast or slow... only the rider can make a bike go fast. But I guarantee that a strong cyclist would be faster on a, for instance, Trek 7.5 FX than she would on a cheap road bike from Wall Mart or Toys-R-Us.

  19. #19
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    no dissagreements

    I actually agree with you, my only disagreement is that is in the nature of a 'hybrid' bike. Most of the higher quality hybrid bikes I've seen are more or less flat bar touring bikes. They both take cantilever brakes (or V), they both have clearance for wide tires, and they both have a host of braze-ons. One just has drops and the other straight bars.

    Last time by touring bike was in the shop it was written up as a 'flat bar road bike' because it has moustache bars.

  20. #20
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    WHEEL SIZE DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU HAVE GEARS!

    You want to faster just shift up geez! Even then if youre fixed just get a bigger chainring,or smaller cog.

    Use 26x1.5" tires they are great.

    26 MTB wheels usually have wider hubs and smaller spokes making them stronger and more durable. Why would you want 700?

    IF the gears are too easy for your monster quads, put a 53 tooth chainring in the front.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EatMyA** View Post
    WHEEL SIZE DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU HAVE GEARS!

    You want to faster just shift up geez! Even then if youre fixed just get a bigger chainring,or smaller cog.

    Use 26x1.5" tires they are great.

    26 MTB wheels usually have wider hubs and smaller spokes making them stronger and more durable. Why would you want 700?

    IF the gears are too easy for your monster quads, put a 53 tooth chainring in the front.
    There is supposedly a small difference in rollnig resistance between wheel sizes. It is unlikely that most people could tell the difference, all other things being equal.

  22. #22
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Considering that 26 inch wheels are smaller, they would not only have less rotating mass to begin with but it would be located at a smaller radius than the 700c wheel, making it easier to accelerate.

    Of course this is simply physics and has no play in the real world.

  23. #23
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    Unless your riding requirements are so hi that you wouldn't want a folding bike anyway. just change the tyres, if you want more performance you can still look at lighter wheels, varying the tyre choice, changing the rear sprocket gearing or the chain rings.

    Look at tyres, ask to ride a few friends bikes or ride a few tyre combos at the LBS. I have used lots of tyres on my 26" wheels, the extremes being the Schwalbe 2" things I have on there at the moment and The Gatorskin 1.1" that I used to run. Tyre choice makes a huge difference to the total weight and the gearing, when I switched from the OEM 1.3 road tyre to the Gatorskins I found I had to ride at least one gear higher everywhere and not all of that was speed.

    An easy ish change is two swap out chainrings. Most MTBs will have something like 34&44 tooth chainrings at the crank. You can get some bikes with larger such as the Hybrids based on MTB components 36&48 tooth chainrings are quite common, depending on your components you may need a front deraileur change but you can often get away without. I bought a 38 middle and a 50 outer, that 50 requires a bit of fiddling with front deraileur but It's one big ring and give me a really hard top gear for the downhills. Also you need to check clearance with chainstays but every couple of extra teeth only increases the radius by 3-5 mm

    I would love a folder like the monty but would never want to put big wheels on it making it less compact.

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  24. #24
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    thanks again, riding great with slicks...may get a bigger chain-ring as suggested

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    Of course this is simply physics and has no play in the real world.
    I hope your not serious...
    I think further therefore I go farther.
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