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  1. #1
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    Anyone regret going the 650B route?

    Sure there's lot of praise for the wider tire ride at lower pressures, and the seemingly perfect in between size of the 650B. Of course finding one to test-ride is another story. I'm tempted to build a VO Polyvalent but I'm wondering if others have done the same only to retreat back to their 28mm tires or similar? Was it not what everyone said it would be?

    Besides a conversion, which can obviously be tricky with brakes, and Kogswell out of business, my 650 "test" frame options seem limited.

  2. #2
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    no

  3. #3
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    http://www.rawlandcycles.com/store/i...intItemID=3953
    http://www.renehersebicycles.com/Randonneur%20bikes.htm

    I don't think a conversion is all the complicated. Just find brakes with long enough reach - they're out there. Search the web and find what frames people have successfully used.

    That being said, I don't find the ride of my 650B Kogswell radically different from my 700x32c Trek TX500. It's a bit more cushy and the Hetres tires do feel a bit quicker than the 32c Paselas. Also, the 42mm Hetres are a little more forgiving on rough pavement and gravel. It's more of a luxury to me than a necessity. I could live without the 650b. But I don't regret building it up and I enjoy riding it. It's my 'A' ride now.
    Last edited by JunkYardBike; 09-29-11 at 04:54 AM.

  4. #4
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    I gotta say no, also. I find the ride on my Bleriot to be really comfortable, if a tad bit slower. I commute and tour so speed is not of the essence. I'm running 40-something Col Di Vies. If there is a regret, it's that the Bleriot is too nice for what I use it for.

    There are always drum and disc brakes, too. I run drums on the above.
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  5. #5
    old and fixed... clubman's Avatar
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    I did some heavy touring with a C-dale T1000 that came stock with (700c) 38 mm Conti Top Touring tires and Ritchey Rock rims pumped to 85 psi. I didn't like them with a full load and "retreated" to 28 mm. This isn't specific to 650Bs, just wide tires.

    Otherwise I'd love to try 650B's on an English Sports bike if they'd fit.

  6. #6
    zungguzungguguzungguzeng Catnap's Avatar
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    i have a Surly Long Haul Trucker that has 26" wheels on it, and I recently went from 1.5" tires to 2" ones. Surprisingly, it felt "faster" with the wider tires! Not sure if this translates to 650B but it went a long way towards validating Jan Heine's claims about wide tires being faster, in my mind at least.
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  7. #7
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catnap View Post
    i have a Surly Long Haul Trucker that has 26" wheels on it, and I recently went from 1.5" tires to 2" ones. Surprisingly, it felt "faster" with the wider tires! Not sure if this translates to 650B but it went a long way towards validating Jan Heine's claims about wide tires being faster, in my mind at least.

    There are fast wide tires, and there are slow wide tires. There are fast narrow tires, and there are slow narrow tires. Generally, the higher the thread count and the more expensive the tire, the faster it will feel.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    I'm strongly considering doing this for my VeloSoleX, because I just plain do not have room for fenders with 700Cx28s. I *had* had a set of Airweights on it, but I put on a V-O front rack and now there's about 2mm of room between the daruma nut and the tire. I suppose that what's stopping me is the very few tires available, though the ones that are seem to be very good indeed. I dunno.

    So does old French frame+Nuovo Tip0 Hubs+Cr-18s+Grand Bois+Airweights=Hotness?
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  9. #9
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blight View Post
    ... but I put on a V-O front rack and now there's about 2mm of room between the daruma nut and the tire.
    I feel like I've already explained it to you, but you can get more clearance there with the "nut" from a seatpost binder or recessed brake. If that doesn't sound familiar and you'd like to know more send me an email.

    And, yes, your math looks correct to me.
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    I know someone that did a 650b conversion. the bb drop that resulted was too low.

    I prefer, for various reasons, a fat tire 700c in the 32-38mm range. The difference between this and a 650b bicycle is subtle, imho. An easier conversion is 27" to 700c, but if your measurements are in the acceptable range for a 700c to 650b conversion (and your brakes will work or if you dont mind taking the frame/fork to a framebuilder for modification), go for it.

    I dont think "regret" is common if things are done right...I think "underwhelmed" would be more common particularly in the face of so many reports of 650b being the greatest thing ever...like riding on magical marshmellows. I think wide tires and low psi are great, but they're not that great. Keep expectations healthy and on this side of reality, and you'll be very pleased.

    Personally (and perhaps this is controversial in the C&V forum), but I think if the major tire manufacturers put a little research and development into 650b tires...or have the tech/research/knowledge of compounds trickle over from their high-end 700c offerings...then things can get awesome. The current state of available 650b tires is still on the basic, low-end (i.e. Panaracer built tires). People love Panaracer tires just fine, but their tires simply are not on par with the offerings of Schwalbe, Continental, Michelin, and Vittoria.
    Last edited by bionnaki; 09-29-11 at 02:34 PM.

  11. #11
    likes to ride an old bike
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    From the tires I've inspected, I don't feel like Panaracer isn't lagging behind other tire manufacturers in tech level at all. On the contrary, they seem to be better at making non-handmade tires than anyone else.

    The corners the MFR has to cut to make price point seem to be the biggest defining characteristics of every tire except the very top-end. Once you're there, it's the tradeoffs between fast and tough, sticky and long-wearing.

  12. #12
    Senior Member bobbycorno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bionnaki View Post
    I know someone that did a 650b conversion. the bb drop that resulted was too low.

    I prefer, for various reasons, a fat tire 700c in the 32-38mm range. The difference between this and a 650b bicycle is subtle, imho. An easier conversion is 27" to 700c, but if your measurements are in the acceptable range for a 700c to 650b conversion (and your brakes will work or if you dont mind taking the frame/fork to a framebuilder for modification), go for it.

    I dont think "regret" is common if things are done right...I think "underwhelmed" would be more common particularly in the face of so many reports of 650b being the greatest thing ever...like riding on magical marshmellows. I think wide tires and low psi are great, but they're not that great. Keep expectations healthy and on this side of reality, and you'll be very pleased.

    Personally (and perhaps this is controversial in the C&V forum), but I think if the major tire manufacturers put a little research and development into 650b tires...or have the tech/research/knowledge of compounds trickle over from their high-end 700c offerings...then things can get awesome. The current state of available 650b tires is still on the basic, low-end (i.e. Panaracer built tires). People love Panaracer tires just fine, but their tires simply are not on par with the offerings of Schwalbe, Continental, Michelin, and Vittoria.
    Yeah, I'd LOVE to have Michelin Pros in 650x38c, but doubt that I'll see 'em in this lifetime.

    I've tried both 650x38b and 700x35c, and (at least in part due to differences in the respective bikes) came down on the side of 650b. IME, there's a not so subtle difference in feel between the two. Ride quality and cornering are pretty much indistinguishable, but the 650b's seem to "spin up" faster, even with essentially the same wheel/tire weight. My theory is that it has to do with how far the weight is from the wheel center: the smaller the distance, the easier it is to accelerate (and decelerate). Anyway, I like the 650b's well enough that I'm selling the 700c bike, and the 650b bike is my every-day ride.

    (And I spose I should say, the comparision was between Panaracer Paselas in 700x35c and 650x38c Soma B-Sides, which are essentially a 650b, folding bead Pasela. So pretty much identical tires, other than diameter.)

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  13. #13
    Senior Member mudboy's Avatar
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    650b. I just wish there were more rim options, especially at the lower end.
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  14. #14
    No Money and No Sense sillygolem's Avatar
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    Why 650b over 26"? Is this more of a fit issue for a 700c bike?
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  15. #15
    Piney the Elder -holiday76's Avatar
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    i'm converting all of my bikes to 650b or selling the ones that can't be converted.
    Mmm, bikes.

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  16. #16
    Senior Member southpawboston's Avatar
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    My only regret in going down the 650B route is that I hadn't bothered to have my fork re-raked when I did a full-blown conversion. But this has everything to do with the bike's geometry and nothing to do with 650B wheels versus 700C/27". Converting transformed the bike in a very good way, but it could have been even more of a gem had I gone the extra mile.

    Quote Originally Posted by sillygolem View Post
    Why 650b over 26"? Is this more of a fit issue for a 700c bike?
    Yes. 650B allows you to convert a 700C road bike while keeping the original geometry the same (except for a slight drop in height). 26" is too far of a leap for a frame designed for 700C wheels.

  17. #17
    I'm doing it wrong. RJM's Avatar
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    Can't say I have regretted going with 650b wheels, I am a shorter than average dude at 5'5" and the smaller wheels seem to work better with my dimensions for the most part. I have a Sam Hillborne in 650b and love it, way nice riding with my super duper expensive wheelset with Pari-Motos on it, much better on the road than the Fatty Rumpkins that I had used. I had Riv build me a set of wheels with their Phil "Rivy" 7 speed freewheel hubs laced to Velocity Dyad Rims and the choice was a good one. I have to stick with the freewheel thing though, but I thought it was totally worth it, and it is. Using those wheels with the Pari-Motos feels better than riding 700x25's on my other bikes, cushier, more responsive and faster if you can believe it. I feel better about some of the really bad roads that I ride through all the time with the wider tires and tough rims.

    I don't know if I have a frame currently that would work well converted to 650b, I don't see any reason to go to a smaller diameter wheel if I can't get a tire at least 38mm wide in there, and my current bikes really don't work for that, the few that I could use are too narrow at the chainstay. Maybe in the future I should look for one, it would be a fun project and I have a spare set of wheels.

    i'm converting all of my bikes to 650b or selling the ones that can't be converted.
    Awesome!
    Last edited by RJM; 09-29-11 at 08:18 PM.

  18. #18
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sillygolem View Post
    Why 650b over 26"? Is this more of a fit issue for a 700c bike?
    650b is 26" but remember there are many different 26" specs. 650b is just one of them. See http://sheldonbrown.com/26.html for complete information.

    650c is uncommon and seems to be racing oriented. I've only seen very narrow tires in that size. 650a is the same as wheels that came on English 3-speeds and many other bikes. Rim and tire selection isn't very good. 650b has some excellent rims and tires available. Unfortunately for me, they're all pretty expensive, so I won't be doing 650b conversions any time soon.

    JunkYardBike, it's not that conversion is complicated, it's that it's expensive. And wait a sec. It can be complicated. Sometimes brakes actually are hard to fit, depending on the situation. And you better make a prediction about BB height or you get a pretty lousy bike. The 70's Raleighs have some low BB's.


    Quote Originally Posted by -holiday76
    i'm converting all of my bikes to 650b or selling the ones that can't be converted.
    Pay attention to this silly man. He never says anything he means.

    Clubman, it's possible you overinflated those tires, which would explain your dissatisfaction. Or maybe they were just crappy tires. I don't know about those.

    Quote Originally Posted by bionnaki
    I think "underwhelmed" would be more common particularly in the face of so many reports of 650b being the greatest thing ever...like riding on magical marshmellows. I think wide tires and low psi are great, but they're not that great. Keep expectations healthy and on this side of reality, and you'll be very pleased.
    Maybe, but when I took a very short test ride on Zaphod Beeblebrox's 650b bike, I was totally amazed. He has the Hetres on it.

    Personally (and perhaps this is controversial in the C&V forum), but I think if the major tire manufacturers put a little research and development into 650b tires...or have the tech/research/knowledge of compounds trickle over from their high-end 700c offerings...then things can get awesome. The current state of available 650b tires is still on the basic, low-end (i.e. Panaracer built tires). People love Panaracer tires just fine, but their tires simply are not on par with the offerings of Schwalbe, Continental, Michelin, and Vittoria.
    To each his own. Panaracer are my favorite tires, and they've been among my favorites for about 30 years. Every brand makes some excellent tires, but the amazing thing with Panaracers is that even their low end tires are pretty darned nice. I recently rode an old Schwinn with original Schwinn-branded tires made by Panaracer. Very impressive.

    Also, many years ago, I had some Panaracer tubular tires. At the time, I think they were the only tubulars made with nylon casings rather than cotton or silk. The ride was excellent, the price was super-excellent, and so was the durability. I think a lot of Panaracer tires don't get respect because their prices are too low.
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  19. #19
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    650c is uncommon and seems to be racing oriented. I've only seen very narrow tires in that size.
    Actually, there are two different and non-interchangeable 650C (bead seat diameter 571mm) tire sizes: the time trial/small frame road bike 650C tires, that are, oh, round about 1" wide, and the original semi-balloon 650C size which we call in America 26x 1 3/4.

    650a is the same as wheels that came on English 3-speeds and many other bikes. Rim and tire selection isn't very good.
    Here are the 650A (a.k.a. 26 x 1 3/8 a.k.a. EA3 a.k.a. ISO590) tires I found available when I looked last, around 6 months ago:

    Bell Sports Streetster (folding)
    Chengshin C638
    Continental City Ride
    Hutchinson Junior
    Innova Cloud Nine
    IRC Super Gold
    IRC Super Seed
    IRC City POPS
    Kenda gumwall
    Kenda Cross (knobby)
    Kenda K40 Street
    Michelin World Tour
    Nutrak Traditional
    Nu-teck (airless)
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    Panaracer Passhunter (light knobby)
    Panaracer ST Daily Commuting
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    Schwalbe Delta Cruiser (available in cream color)
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    Schwalbe Marathon Plus
    Schwalbe Speedway Pro (knobby)
    Specialized TriSport
    Vittoria Randonneur
    Vredestein Perfect Tour
    Vredestein Dynamic Tour
    Vredestein Classic

    I've never had a problem finding rims for ISO590mm.
    Last edited by tcs; 09-30-11 at 06:13 AM.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

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  20. #20
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    tcs, other than the Col de la Vie, is any of those tires light weight and pleasant to ride? And are these various tires actually available? Not all the sizes made are available in the US.

    And is there a good selection of rims? The Sun CR-18 is a nice rim, but is there something else that's as good or better?
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  21. #21
    As found... devinfan's Avatar
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    Not too sure about this whole conversion thing. I guess I'll have to ride one and see, but I'm really having trouble seeing how there could be that big a difference between wide 27" or 700C tires or 26" for that matter. Or maybe I'll step off the bike with crazy 650b diameter irises and say "Now I understand!" My concern is that 650b is yet another fad that will end up seeing a bunch of beautiful old road bikes turned into something they weren't meant to be. Surely that happened enough already with the fixie craze. On the upside, maybe people could take all those drewed fixie frames, add canti mounts and turn them into 650B's, or 6-fixie-B's, or...
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by devinfan View Post
    Not too sure about this whole conversion thing. I guess I'll have to ride one and see, but I'm really having trouble seeing how there could be that big a difference between wide 27" or 700C tires or 26" for that matter.
    650b makes larger tire sizes less of a problem on smaller frames. And a big 700c requires compromises on the chainstays.

    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    And is there a good selection of rims? The Sun CR-18 is a nice rim, but is there something else that's as good or better?
    there are the Velocity Dyad and Synergy
    Last edited by unterhausen; 09-30-11 at 07:22 AM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    there are the Velocity Dyad and Synergy
    Tom was speaking of ISO 590, not 584. Those rims aren't made in the 590 size, I don't think.

    Tom is correct. The CR-18 and Col de la Vie are pretty much the best you can do in 650a (ISO 590). You can do better in 650b (ISO 584)/
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  24. #24
    As found... devinfan's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=unterhausen;13299050]650b makes larger tire sizes less of a problem on smaller frames. And a big 700c requires compromises on the chainstays.

    My Atala has plenty of room for 32's. I haven't bothered trying but I'm pretty sure my Cinelli B does as well, and I don't see any compromises there. I usually ride 21's so 32 sounds pretty darn big to me, but maybe you guys are in another league.
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  25. #25
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    My only regret in going down the 650B route is that I hadn't bothered to have my fork re-raked when I did a full-blown conversion. But this has everything to do with the bike's geometry and nothing to do with 650B wheels versus 700C/27". Converting transformed the bike in a very good way, but it could have been even more of a gem had I gone the extra mile.



    Yes. 650B allows you to convert a 700C road bike while keeping the original geometry the same (except for a slight drop in height). 26" is too far of a leap for a frame designed for 700C wheels.
    What would you have done to the fork, if you'd gone the extra mile? I understand that mechanical trail is a function of wheel diameter, head tube angle, and fork offset, so changing any one of those will change mechanical trail. But changing fork offset will also change head tube angle, as well as every other related angle. Does anyone have their fork re-raked when they change their tires?

    It seems to me it must come down to a question of exactly how much is "a slight drop in height"?

    As I understand, the following tires in theory all have the same outside diameter (660 mm):

    38 x 650B (26 x 1 1/2)
    35 x 650A (26 x 1 3/8)
    19 x 700c

    Of course a fatter 700c tire will change the wheel size, and therefore BB height etc; 23 x 700c would bring the diameter up 8 mm, 32 x 700c would bring it up 26 mm, and so on. But all these changes are within the range of tire sizes commonly available for 700c rims.

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