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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 12-01-04, 05:08 PM   #1
d2create
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700c vs. 26" for Commuting?

I know that tire width can make a big difference on how hard/easy it is to pedal on pavement.
But what about size of the rim? Is a 700c easier/faster to pedal than a 26" wheel?
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Old 12-01-04, 05:47 PM   #2
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My own opinion is that it doesn't have as much to do with size as much as it has to do with the weight of the wheel/tire/tube combo. A 700x23 or 25 is going to be significantly lighter than a 26x2.125. I went from 26x1.5, standard tubes (LOTS of flats ) to 26x2.125 (still lots of flats, but better ride) to my current 26x2.125 with slime and puncture resistant tubes. I don't get any flats anymore. BUT, its a VERY slow tire/wheel/tube combo. For commuting its great though, I can still do a leisurely 12-14 mph and be assured that no matter what I'm not going to get a flat, short of something slashing my tire. If I were worried about going faster, I'd get a road bike with slim tires and probably do 18-19mph instead of 12-14. If I want to work out though, I can get my fat tire ride up to 16mph consistently, it just takes alot of effort to accelerate those heavy tires and tubes.

PS- I am seriously considering going to 26x1.25 on my fat tire commuter bike, so that I can fit fenders with plenty of room to spare. Even with puncture resistant tubes (or slime, not both tho) it'll be a fair bit lighter than what I've got, and the bike will go faster.

Last edited by rykoala; 12-01-04 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 12-01-04, 06:51 PM   #3
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Larger wheels have lower rolling resistance since surface irregularities become smaller relative to their size. Smaller wheels are more manuverable. Leastwise, that's how I understand the situation.

I suspect the diff between 700c and 26" isn't that significant when talking the same width tire.

Last edited by bostontrevor; 12-02-04 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 12-01-04, 09:15 PM   #4
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I ride both 700c and 26" while commuting (different bikes!) and feel that either are just about as fast, maybe 10 percent faster on the 700c wheels. HOWEVER, for cushion, bombing around city debris crap on the roadway, and tire stick, fat (2.1+) semislick 26" tires (slimed and mr tuffied) is the best way to go. A long commute on smooth roads in the country or rural areas, probably 700c is a good choice, or distances over 10-15 mi each way.
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Old 12-01-04, 10:59 PM   #5
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I've tried both, and the 700 suits me more. I'm sure it's not much more than personal preference, but I do like the easier rolling of the 700 (albeit with narrow tires. Fatter ones may not be so appealing). My cronies use a lot of 26, but I do seem to pedal easier and stay out front a lot. Personally, I haven't had any more flats on the 700's than I ever had on the 26's.
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Old 12-01-04, 11:46 PM   #6
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I use 700c with 38mm width smooth center tires. The combination of width, 80 psi, and wheel height (just about 27" in total diameter) makes for a smoooooth and fast ride. Bumps get soaked up by the wide tire or rolled over by the taller wheel.
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Old 12-01-04, 11:57 PM   #7
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I found on stop and go traffic, where you stop every other block, that a 26" is easier to get off the line without downshifting than a 700c.

I'm tempted to get a second wheelset for my mountain bike and throw 1" skinnies on to see how well it works out. Even if it doesnt work out, having a spare set of wheels is a good thing
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Old 12-02-04, 12:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catatonic
I'm tempted to get a second wheelset for my mountain bike and throw 1" skinnies on to see how well it works out. Even if it doesnt work out, having a spare set of wheels is a good thing
I'd suggest the Specialized Nimbus EX even though it's a 26 x1.5
http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Tire/product_23329.shtml
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Old 12-02-04, 01:09 AM   #9
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I might, but my experiment was to get as close to roadbike narrowness as possible...see how well a wheel with the diameter being the biggest difference works as a stop-n-go commuter.

Part of that is my roadbike is great, but I found that it's so hard to get rolling from a stop. I also think that could be part of my knee pain issues I've had since I took up road cycling, so I'm looking into it....part of it could be i'm just a weakling too, but I dunno.
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Old 12-02-04, 03:26 AM   #10
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I own 4 bikes and the one i take is mostly determined by distance to be traveled and how much time i have. Most short trips are on 26" fat knobbies and will be more common with winter. 700x28 is my distance tire on my fixed.

I actually prefer 26" but for being bomb proof not for speed.
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Old 12-02-04, 10:42 AM   #11
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You can't compare a 700cx23 to a 26"x2.1, they have completely different uses. If you look at what experienced riders tend to use for urban commuting, in 700c that is 28-32mm and in 26" it is 1.25-1.75 width.
There is very little difference in practice between a 700x28 and a 26" x 1.5. Both are fast enough and rugged enough for the job and take roughly the same tyre pressure.
The main issue in wheel efficiency is tyre design (slick/semi/knobbly) and pressure. Diameter is more theoretical than practical.
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Old 12-02-04, 10:53 AM   #12
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Size matters
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