Bike Forums

Bike Forums (http://www.bikeforums.net/forum.php)
-   Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling (http://www.bikeforums.net/long-distance-competition-ultracycling-randonneuring-endurance-cycling/)
-   -   Do 26" wheel randonneur bikes exist? (http://www.bikeforums.net/long-distance-competition-ultracycling-randonneuring-endurance-cycling/826697-do-26-wheel-randonneur-bikes-exist.html)

Chris Pringle 06-20-12 10:57 AM

Do 26" wheel randonneur bikes exist?
 
Unless you go custom or with a Surly LHT, are there any other "off-the-rack" options on good randonneur bikes that use 26" wheels? A friend is looking for something around 54 cm size. He would like to avoid going custom as this will be his first road-style bike. He wants something comfortable - hopefully on the lighter side of the spectrum - for long distance riding, not for racing or loaded touring. Availability of 26" wheel components (rims, spokes, tires, etc.) is much greater here in Mexico compared to 700c, let alone 650b.

Thanks for any suggestions!

StephenH 06-20-12 11:55 AM

I put about 7,000 miles on my cruiser bike before I got my Raleigh Sojourn. The cruiser used 26x2.125" tires that I could get by mail order for about $8 each plus shipping. However, I probably had about 8 times as many flats per mile with those tires as I've had on the Sojourn. The lesson learned from that is that using higher-quality tires really does pay off. With that in mind, I'd probably try to avoid the 26" option, as the rims and tires you'd want to use with that option would also be ones that were not readily available either.

Chris Pringle 06-20-12 12:36 PM

^^^. Agree with the cheap tire comment, but what do you mean by the lack of rim/tires? He's not looking for the lightest skinny bead tires/rims. Will 26" rim with a faster (nicer quality) Schwalbe, Continental or Panaracer tire not work (e.g., 26" x 1.50 to 1.85) for randonneuring? I think this combo may even add a little in the comfort department.

ThermionicScott 06-20-12 01:16 PM

At least in the States, there are a lot of 1980's MTBs that make great touring bikes. 26" tires, braze-ons for racks and fenders, triple cranksets... only caveats are that they tend to be heavier than road bikes of the same size, and you'll need to do the conversion to drop-bars.

no1mad 06-20-12 01:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ThermionicScott (Post 14382755)
At least in the States, there are a lot of 1980's MTBs that make great touring bikes. 26" tires, braze-ons for racks and fenders, triple cranksets... only caveats are that they tend to be heavier than road bikes of the same size, and you'll need to do the conversion to drop-bars.

Why even convert to drop bars? That's why trekking bars like the one from Nashbar are made for. Allows you to use cheaper mtb controls and have plenty of hand position options. Or does a rando rig have to have drops? If it does, I'm out before even getting in...

ThermionicScott 06-20-12 02:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by no1mad (Post 14382872)
Why even convert to drop bars? That's why trekking bars like the one from Nashbar are made for. Allows you to use cheaper mtb controls and have plenty of hand position options. Or does a rando rig have to have drops? If it does, I'm out before even getting in...

That's true -- they're not required for randonneuing. Anything that's comfortable and lets you get aero-er/duck wind should work. :thumb:

Commodus 06-20-12 02:36 PM

650b and 26" are pretty close. Maybe with the right brake setup you could convert a 650b bike.

Although maybe it's worth reconsidering the parts availability issue. Lots of guys around here run 650b bikes and I've never seen a tire in a store anywhere. They all just order them online.

Chris Pringle 06-20-12 06:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Commodus (Post 14383116)
Although maybe it's worth reconsidering the parts availability issue. Lots of guys around here run 650b bikes and I've never seen a tire in a store anywhere. They all just order them online.

True... with a lot of cash anything is possible! The reality is that it's a lot easier and cheaper to get stuff delivered from the U.S. into Canada than it is to Mexico. Also, most major Canadian cities are not too far from the U.S. All you gotta do is take a weekend trip into the U.S. to get those "hard-to-get" items. It's not so easy for us down here. :(

Chris Pringle 06-20-12 07:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by no1mad (Post 14382872)
Why even convert to drop bars? That's why trekking bars like the one from Nashbar are made for. Allows you to use cheaper mtb controls and have plenty of hand position options. Or does a rando rig have to have drops? If it does, I'm out before even getting in...

This guy is looking for a "road-style" bike, so drop bars would be nice.

In regard to trekking (butterfly) bars, I built a bike for my partner thinking it would give him a few useful hand/body positions. The problem is that he never gets into the aero position now (not even on open roads) because there are no brake levers there. He's afraid it will take him too long to reach the brake levers in case of an emergency. I've tried and tried to convince him to no avail! Totally defeats the purpose of having these bars.

no1mad 06-20-12 07:59 PM

As you've discovered, finding a road bike that runs on 26" wheels is daunting task. How about something like this instead?

StephenH 06-20-12 08:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Pringle (Post 14382550)
^^^. Agree with the cheap tire comment, but what do you mean by the lack of rim/tires? He's not looking for the lightest skinny bead tires/rims. Will 26" rim with a faster (nicer quality) Schwalbe, Continental or Panaracer tire not work (e.g., 26" x 1.50 to 1.85) for randonneuring? I think this combo may even add a little in the comfort department.

My assumption is that if 700-size tires aren't readily available, then probably high-quality 26" skinny tires aren't going to be readily available, either. Maybe I'm wrong, I haven't been there to check the stock.

Steamer 06-20-12 08:18 PM

I question the popularity of high performing 559 road-ish rims and tires anywhere in the world.

Regardless, in 559, I like Velocity Aeroheat rims (it's the 26" version of the 700C Dyad) with Schwalbe Kojak 1.35 tires. This makes for a not-heavy, very durable, quite comfy, and reasonably fast rolling setup.

I realize that cheap 559 rims and tires might be all over the place down there, but you can find nice 559 rims and tires like the ones I just mentioned in Mexico?

Chris Pringle 06-20-12 09:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steamer (Post 14384495)
I realize that cheap 559 rims and tires might be all over the place down there, but you can find nice 559 rims and tires like the ones I just mentioned in Mexico?

Mavic from France has a good network of distribution all over Latin America. You can get an XM719 rim in Mexico, for example. Velocity, OTOH, doesn't sell anywhere in Latin America. Also, you can get Schwalbe tires and some other French brands that are good enough. Listen... the issue with 700c is not that it's impossible to find, it's just a chore. We have two bikes with 700c down here so I speak from personal experience. About a year ago I asked the LBS to rebuild a set of 700c wheels with double butted spokes. It took him two weeks to find the darn spokes. He had double butted spokes for 26" tires readily available. Something similar happened while visiting another town while on vacation (San Miguel de Allende) that has a huge expat community... no 700c spokes anywhere. Now I try to stock up on 700c spokes whenever I go back to the U.S. but switching to double-butted spokes has helped a lot. So for quick temporary fixes, 26" replacement parts (even good ones) are readily available. For 700c, unless you stock up on your own parts, you might have to park your bike easily for a couple of weeks until you find replacement parts. That's the difference!

Yes, it is definitely a daunting task to find a rando bike with 26" wheels! I contacted the guys at R+E Cycles and they said they can build their Rainier Limited model (any size) with 26" wheels. So, if my friend doesn't want to go custom, I'm going to recommend going with a 700c bike (like the Salsa Casseroll) and be prepared to stock up on good quality spokes and a replacement tire. That should keep him running for a while.

Thank you everyone for all the suggestions!

jcmkk3 06-20-12 10:15 PM

Handsome Cycles XOXO

Steamer 06-21-12 06:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Commodus (Post 14383116)
650b and 26" are pretty close. Maybe with the right brake setup you could convert a 650b bike.

I like this idea. It would require being able to move the brake pad down 12.5mm from the position it would normally be in for the ISO 584 (aka 650B) wheels. That's not out of the realm of possibility using the brakes that are normally intended, but it may not work either, so it's definitely something to get confirmed before anything is purchase. You could always go with a very long reach sidepull brake to make it work (they are available up to around 73mm of reach), but you may not prefer having the brakes that are made with those really long reaches. But then again, there's nothing wrong with something like a Tektro brake - beggars (in relative terms) can't be choosers. :)

IbisTouche 06-22-12 04:47 AM

Much slower than a real rando bike, but a mtb/touring bike combo than has been used on brevets and PBP: Thorn Raven Tour.

hybridbkrdr 06-22-12 09:45 AM

How does the frame geometry of a randonneur compare to a touring bike or a hybrid?

Chris Pringle 06-23-12 08:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr (Post 14390905)
How does the frame geometry of a randonneur compare to a touring bike or a hybrid?

My personal take...

Touring Bike Vs. the "classic" Randonneur: They are VERY similar. The major differences are that randonneur framesets are built with lighter tubing and shorter chainstays. This makes randonneur bikes a little more responsive. Lately there has been a big come-back in using low trail forks so the bike can carry a front load only on randonnées. Some builders think this improves the handling as the overall weight on the bike becomes more balanced... not all the weight (rider plus cargo) is in the back of the bike. Just as a touring bike, a randonneur frameset is also built to be able to fit fatter (up to 42c) tires with fenders. All these things improve comfort and safety on long rides.

Hybrid, OTOH, is such a broad category. Some modern hybrid frames are built around 26" wheels, others around 700c, some have close to a MTB geometry with suspension fork, others follow a road geometry and use carbon fork. I'm sure one could find a hybrid frameset that would work well for long distance riding (randonneuring), but one would have to spend a considerable amount of time looking for one. A lot of people here suggest finding bikes from the 80s (26" rigid MTBs) that could go through a full conversion and become capable randonneurs. This sounds like a really good, viable option if you live in the U.S. Down here, however, the buy/sale of used bikes (i.e., craigslist!) is not good at all. You'll run into a lot of crappy stuff. Mexicans keep good bikes forever - rarely sold! In the case of my friend, he doesn't want to go through all that. He just wants to buy a brand new bike in the U.S., bring it down and go ride.

fw5zTPmU2K8X 08-01-12 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by no1mad (Post 14384409)
As you've discovered, finding a road bike that runs on 26" wheels is daunting task. How about something like this instead?

I have one of these, and while they're cute and fun for around town, I would never take one on a brevet. The handling is twitchy at speed, and they're shockingly heavy for their size.

vic303 08-05-12 05:50 PM

Bacchetta Giro 26. Comfortable. Can take anything from 26/559 wheels up to 700c. You just have to match your brakes to your wheelset. If you go disc, it is simple.

StephenH 08-07-12 07:06 PM

I was just perusing through some stuff, and it occurred to me that they make some 26" wheel tandems, and CoMotion also makes single-bikes- so sure enough, here's a single with 26" wheels- not sure what the intended application is- but an idea:
http://www.co-motion.com/pdf/pangea.pdf
There may be another one out there, I quit looking when I saw this one.

Chris Pringle 04-12-13 12:55 AM

26"-wheeled rando bikes? I guess they didn't exist, but they do now!
 
Time for an update on this...

Our friend (who happens to be our insurance agent) never pursued this anymore. In December, however, my partner got interested in upgrading to a nicer bike after several years of riding a 91 Trek 700 with 700c wheels. In the last three years, the type of riding we do with our friends has gone from casual/easy rides on Sundays to 100+ Km rides that could be at times somewhat competitive. We have also seen an increase in organized long distance events ranging 125 Km to 250 Km that we want to participate in together. We still do our occasional credit card touring, for which this bike still does a good job.

After going back and forth, we settled on having a custom-made 26"-wheeled bike. Although, it is a quite unusual wheel size for a rando bike, we decided that it made sense. Some of the logic behind it:

- We enjoy traveling and would love to take travel bikes with us (I already had one.) We thought on availability of spares (e.g., spokes, tires, rims) on emergency situations while credit card touring which had been an issue with the Trek 700. In Mexico and in many other countries, 26" (ISO 559mm) wheels are ubiquitous.

- As a demountable bike (built w/ S&S couplers), packing 26" wheels without having to remove tires and tubes is a big plus.

Once we made the decision on wheel size for this build, we interviewed a total of four U.S. builders around the areas of experience, budget, features & geometry, aesthetics, lead time and easiness in working long-distance with us being in Mexico. We faced some road blocks with each of those areas. In the end, however, we decided to go with R+E Cycles (AKA Rodriguez Bikes) in Seattle. They were able to meet all of our requirement in a very well-balanced manner. I also had my touring bike built with them last year. My partner, however, wanted to do his own due diligence and absolutely make sure that we were choosing the most suitable builder for this project.

After body measurements took place, questionnaire completed and a long series of emails/phone conversations, we narrowed down every single detail on the frame and fork: geometry, materials, aesthetics, colors, etc. This process alone took about a month. After that we ordered components (which had been pretty much predetermined by me.) The building process began and just a few weeks later pics started pouring in. Here is a pic tour:

430mm chainstays: sporty enough for randonneuring and long enough for credit card touring, drive side chain stay protector a la Miyata 1000, chain hanger. Rear triangle ready for future disc upgrade if ever wanted.
http://img401.imageshack.us/img401/9315/img0952wc.jpg

Pacenti "Paris Brest" fork crown proposed by R+E for this project given our classic aesthetics requirements.
http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/2786/img0954c.jpg

Frameset fully built. All components installed to make sure everything worked before painting.
http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/1811/img0977vy.jpg

Bicycle was painted and shipped to San Diego where we flew to pick it up. Everything fit in the S&S backpack-style case: wheels (w/ tires & tubes on), front rack and stainless steel fenders.
http://img600.imageshack.us/img600/1774/sam1567s.jpg

Rear Dropout area finished. We originally wanted chrome tips at the stays and fork tips. We learned that chroming is not only very expensive now, but it's not an environmentally safe process either.
http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/163...etrorando9.jpg

A lugged frame was out of our budget. Our project manager at R+E Cycles, however, came through again. He suggested TIG welding with hand-painted faux lugs.
http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/221...etrorando6.jpg

Cockpit View from above...
http://img803.imageshack.us/img803/3662/p4100001.jpg

Cockpit View from the front...
http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/675...trorando12.jpg

Side view...
http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/1...etrorando1.jpg

Frontal-Side view fully built. Bike was christened in the name of "Blue Boy"
http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/6831/p4070011h.jpg

krobinson103 04-12-13 01:40 AM

Looks like a very capable bike. Worth the time to get it right.

Commodus 04-12-13 08:45 AM

Great looking bike! I love the gearing and the cross levers. Well thought out machine.

robertkat 04-12-13 10:49 AM

One of my mates rides a Long Haul Trucker. For his size, it's 26" wheels.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:58 PM.