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Old 09-08-17, 09:35 PM   #26
chrisx
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Thanks for the detailed reply. I saw a few bike shops in Tuxtla Gutiérrez with signs for major bike brands in the windows, but I didn't actually go into any of these, so I can't say for sure what they might have in stock.

Old Town Outfitters had limited selection but they do have 29" tires. There's also a mountain bike specific shop in Antigua called (I think) Blue Monkey Cycles. They had a good selection of 29" tires. Guatemala City had a few shops that I passed while walking around the city that had all manner of high end bike gear including tires in any size you could want.

Carrying on from there I saw the same level of availability in San Salvador and Tegucigalpa. Nicaragua and Costa Rica have even more high end bike stores, probably due to a better economy and a larger middle class.

In short, for Central America at least I can't see any inconvenience in riding 29er tires.
In Tuxtla I went in a couple of bike shops, the only shops I could find. They had only 26. I looked for bike shops while there. San Cristobal and Palenque have 26 inch mt bikes, as do Comitan and Tapachula. I have not been to Guadalajara in a few years, they had 29ers back then. Old Town Outfitters had 1 29er tire last I checked. If memory serves they had a coupleof 700s wide enough for a touring bike.

In Tuxtla I went in a couple of bike shops, the only shops I could find. They had only 26. I looked for bike shops while there. San Cristobal and Palenque have 26 inch mt bikes, as do Comitan and Tapachula. I have not been to Guadalajara in a few years, they had 29ers back then. Old Town Outfitters had 1 29er tire last I checked. If memory serves they had a couple of 700s wide enough for a touring bike. The most expensive bike shop in Guatemala city, that I saw, had only 26. I asked about rotors, 6 bolt only. A bus to the capital of El Salvador cost only $1 from most anywhere in the country. I saw only 26 inch mt bikes in Nicaragua and Honduras.

2 weeks ago I needed a tube all of a sudden. 2 days before the eclips. I asked 5 cyclists for a tube. No one had 26 inch tires any more. Oregon. I had to hitch hike to town. 1st car took me in to a bike shop, and back. Not like that in Central America. In Trebol guatemala I asked for a 29er tire, at 5 places within 3 blocks of each other. One guy told me about Old Town Outfitters, 4 guys said 29er? This is why I bought a 26 inch mt bike. I do not want to take a bus ride to the Capital. What if I wanted a 700 x 40 in Flores? 12 to 14 hours on a bus to Antiguga? What about Rio Azul Guatemala. Without a tire, I would walk a few days to the bus stop. Or, Get a tired old 26 tire from a worker at the ruins.

By the way 26 inch tires and Eagle Claw canti pads were cheap in Guatemala. The Disc pads and the 29er tire where quite a bit more than you would pay at an expensive California lbs.

I enjoyed my time in Puerto Cabezas Nicaragua. It was a long bus ride on a dust road to get there. I got of the bus a couple of times and spent the night in small villages with no bike shops. Managua would be perhaps 30 hours straight through. Matagalpa Nicaragua is a nice place, the cyclists there all have 26 inch mt bikes.

I bought my newest bike after looking around some places I want to cycle through. It is a breakaway 26er. My Fargo has been collecting dust since I got the 26er.

On a side note: Nicaragua has less crime than California.


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Old 09-09-17, 07:44 AM   #27
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Bike speed is super important to me because I am not a punctual person, I am flat out every morning to make work. With that in mind, the slight speed increase of 700c is significant to me. ...

... Can I find solutions if I break spokes, run out of tires/tubes on the road side outside of US/Europe whilst riding a 700c bike? ...
I do not have the experience to comment on availability of tires, tubes, etc. outside of advanced economies, but as noted by others above there is no real advantage to 700c for speed. Some rando riders that would like smaller wheels to fit their smaller body size ride 650b even though there are 700c bikes that they could ride.

Spokes, carry a couple spare ones in each size you need. If overly concerned about that, maybe two more drive side rear spokes. If you need more than that, it is time to get a new wheel. I store mine in the seatpost, I use a wine cork to hold them in there. The wine cork started to dry out, so I wrapped a bit of electrical tape around it to make it fit tighter. The plastic corks might not dry out like mine did. Gives you a reason to go out and buy a wine cork, consumption of bottle contents would be optional.

I have two 26 inch touring bikes and one 700c touring bike and used to own another 700c touring bike. I find no difference in speed. I expect to be using the 700c bike more for lighter weight touring because the frame of the particular model I have is lighter than the weight of the 26 inch wheel bike frames. This does not imply that 700c is generically lighter, it is not. But my 700c frame is Titanium and my 26 inch wheel bikes are more robust (not lightweight) steel frames.

Historically if you wanted a narrow tire that is 37mm or narrower, then 700c was the best choice, narrow 26 inch tires were hard to find in stores and they still are. And if you were going to use 40mm or wider tires, then 26 was usually a better choice but now you can find wider 700c tires provided that your frame will handle those wider tires.

I like 26 inch more than 700c for one simple reason. I do not have toe overlap on my 26 inch bikes, but I do on several of my 700c bikes. This is not an issue riding an unladen bike, but riding a touring bike with a load of camping gear and several days of food and more than an average load of water on the bike can make toe overlap a bigger issue when first starting out from a stop or when climbing slow steep hills.

You will find some speed demons and former racers on this board that want to go far and fast each day with minimal weight on the bike. They often use tires almost on par with racing bikes. But you will find a lot of us that are using four panniers are not speed demons, we are more interested in enjoying the time on and off the bike.
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Old 09-09-17, 08:49 AM   #28
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Well, I'm going to stand by my experience that says you'll have little to no problem finding a 29er or wide 700c tire in Mexico and Central America, although you may need to bus to a bigger city to find it. Probably depends on the cycling scene in the area though. A smaller town in a popular area for cycling (like Monteverde in Costa Rica) might have suitable shops.

I carry a folding spare in the bottom of one pannier. It takes up very little space and I'll be able to slap that one on in the event of catastrophic tire failure. Then I can continue on my way and look for a suitable tire as I go.
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Old 09-09-17, 09:04 AM   #29
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Well, I'm going to stand by my experience that says you'll have little to no problem finding a 29er or wide 700c tire in Mexico and Central America, although you may need to bus to a bigger city to find it. Probably depends on the cycling scene in the area though. A smaller town in a popular area for cycling (like Monteverde in Costa Rica) might have suitable shops.

I carry a folding spare in the bottom of one pannier. It takes up very little space and I'll be able to slap that one on in the event of catastrophic tire failure. Then I can continue on my way and look for a suitable tire as I go.



I still figure no matter 26 or 700 or whatever, carrying a folding spare on a given type of trip in areas like you have been in is always a good idea. I carried a 26 spare, sure I could buy a 26 tire somewhere, but figured the chances of being able to find a good quality tire would be smaller, so what the heck, I just carried a spare and just lived with it.

as you say, carry a spare for the unlikely bad tire damage or whatever.

* of course though, depends on the length of your trip AND also doesnt take into account finding spokes/rims or whatever, but I certainly acknowledge that 26ers just arent sold anymore, so bike stores will have 29 and whatever --but again, dpends on where you are....

in the end, make sure your wheelset is good and solid to begin with, and carry spares.

oh, and there is still the angle that a 26 wheel is slightly stronger than 700 cuz of the shorter spokes, but again, quality and build come into play of course.
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Old 09-09-17, 12:30 PM   #30
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Yeah, unless you're using a bikepacking set up there's no reason not to throw a spare into the bottom of one of your bags. If you're only planning to use it in emergencies you can make it a narrower, lighter weight tire than you might normally use if you're really concerned about weight and space taken up in the bags.
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Old 09-09-17, 03:23 PM   #31
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[/U]

oh, and there is still the angle that a 26 wheel is slightly stronger than 700 cuz of the shorter spokes, but again, quality and build come into play of course.
There's also the small difference of spoke angle helping with the strength also. The lower weight for a given strength/build quality is also an attraction for some, as is the lower gearing available without needing to go to larger cassette at the back. It all adds up, which is why I've stayed with 26".
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Old 09-09-17, 04:01 PM   #32
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Hi, O.P here, just popping in to say I'm reading the replies with tremendous interest. Amazed how many responses I've gotten and how instructive they've been. So, thanks to all who have tried to help me out. Had a bike fit today, have now tried both the disc trucker 54cm and the marrakesh 54 and 55. In touch with both shop owners, should have a decision very shortly and will be sure to update. I'm indecisive as all heck.
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Old 09-09-17, 06:57 PM   #33
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There's also the small difference of spoke angle helping with the strength also. The lower weight for a given strength/build quality is also an attraction for some, as is the lower gearing available without needing to go to larger cassette at the back. It all adds up, which is why I've stayed with 26".
Excellent points. I admit I don't have the wheel building knowledge to understand the spoke stuff, but always heard of 26 being slightly stronger. I like the slightly lower weight thing, and I really really like the lower gear inch thing.
My troll with front and rear rack, fenders, three bottle cages, a mountain bike triple, SPD pedals, dropbars, gevenalle shifters
and a Brooks weighs about 30lbs, not shabby at all.
The 32 spoke wheelset survived Central America with a good 50lb+. load, without any spoke breakages, including whacking a pothole in Guatemala that slightly dented my rear rim. 2inch tires at reasonable pressures, 45psi, helped cushion this bang and made life easier on the wheelset overall.
With 2 inch tires, a 22t granny and 34 rear, it gives 16.7 gear inches, which I was damn happy to have a lot of times.

Again, great points.

Mr op, both bikes are great bikes, good luck with your decision, if you make it.

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Old 09-09-17, 08:26 PM   #34
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26 in in all villages.
700 x 23 is in all cities where they have bicycle races.

27.5 is winning the mt bike wheel size change. Slowly 29 and 26 are going out. Slowly 27.5 is winning, expanding, all over the Americas.

At this time, 26 inch mt bikes are in all villages.

Above someone mentioned, a bus ride to the capital if you need a part. He failed to mention that it is 12 to 24 hours on a bus to get to the capital, where they sell 700 x 23 only. 700 x 40 is non existant, they do not have 700 touring tires.

If I go to Guatemala this winter, I will take my 1995 Mongoose Alta. It has canti brakes.

If I buy a new bike, it will have 27.5 mt bike wheels. Are 700 x 40 wheels about the same height as 27.5 x 2.3? Hmm, put the solid fork on for road rides, change to suspension for trails?
I just wanted to follow up on this point because it got me thinking. From a future proofing perspective, is it conceivable that, longer term, I could run 27.5 wheels within a 26'' disc trucker frame without massively affecting the wheelbase and tire clearance? They do say fatties fit fine... Because that solution would be very attractive, particularly if - as you say - 27.5 is winning the wheel wars.
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Old 09-09-17, 08:28 PM   #35
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Edi66815, you have a pile of verbiage going. Consider getting the bike that works and not a wheel size
Often times I've been called verbose, but verbiage is a new one! I like it! Reminds me of logorrhea. Yes, I'm probably over thinking it but, as I see it, availability of wheel size is potentially intrinsic to 'the bike that works'.
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Old 09-09-17, 08:39 PM   #36
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Maybe I have too much time as well because I've also been pondering this question. IMO there are two questions:

1) Selection/Current Tire Availability Throughout the World
I think you have more/better choices with 700c tire size but, at this time, you have more availability throughout the world with 26" tires. So, if I was going on a world tour starting next week then I'd go with 26".
2) Future Trends
This is tougher. My sense is that 26" wheels are dying out (like the 27" tire size for my Schwinn bicycle in the 1970s). 700C has been around for many years and shows no sign of dying. If you look at availability over time then I'd argue for 700C. Of course these trends are slow and it will take quite a while for this shift to roll out to remote regions but if I were buying a bicycle that I wanted to ride the next 20 years then I'd go with 700C.
I don't think the choice is obvious. I'm considering starting a world tour next summer and I can't decide which size wheels to get. Yes, maybe I'm over analyzing this but I think these discussions are fun and none of this is really serious. We're not exactly solving the Syria crisis on this forum.

-Scott
Thank you for so concisely outlining my quandary. Much more coherent than my original post! And kinda reassured I'm not the only one brooding on this. Agreed that it's ultimately fun, researching bikes and spec sheets is just amusing to me. Working yourself into a frenzy over an expensive bike purchase so you can ultimately kick back and allow yourself two months to cycle 3000 miles for kicks and giggles definitely goes down as a first world problem. That said, I don't wanna leave myself stranded and alone in Mexico. So, the pondering is sorta warranted.

Just to elaborate a bit on my trip. I'm thinking of cycling from Nebraska to Houston, flying to Cancun, which is very cheap, then cycling through Mayan Mexico and some really interesting culinary regions up to Mexico City. Then, flying to Dublin, then cycling to Belfast, where I'm from. If anyone cares about all that. Feel free to tell me it's a dumb plan. Most everyone else does!

I envisage leaving in about 5-6 weeks - so, as one poster stated, I do indeed need to get myself off the computer and make a decision!
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Old 09-09-17, 08:42 PM   #37
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[/U]

I still figure no matter 26 or 700 or whatever, carrying a folding spare on a given type of trip in areas like you have been in is always a good idea. I carried a 26 spare, sure I could buy a 26 tire somewhere, but figured the chances of being able to find a good quality tire would be smaller, so what the heck, I just carried a spare and just lived with it.

as you say, carry a spare for the unlikely bad tire damage or whatever.

* of course though, depends on the length of your trip AND also doesnt take into account finding spokes/rims or whatever, but I certainly acknowledge that 26ers just arent sold anymore, so bike stores will have 29 and whatever --but again, dpends on where you are....

in the end, make sure your wheelset is good and solid to begin with, and carry spares.

oh, and there is still the angle that a 26 wheel is slightly stronger than 700 cuz of the shorter spokes, but again, quality and build come into play of course.
I'll be using the stock wheelbase on either frame. I don't have the time nor the money to make any changes. So, that's one reason I'm only looking at 36 spoke wheels. Both Salsa and Surly seem to have decent wheel sets, though surly's seems stronger.

Replacement spokes and folding tires are an absolute essential imo, whichever wheel size I go with. That's one area I feel there can be no real compromise.
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Old 09-09-17, 08:47 PM   #38
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Wheel size blah blah and hurricanes aside, you might also want to learn some basic Spanish, that will really come in handy and affect your trip way more than 26 vs 700.

Buenos suertes con todo, no es loco.
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Old 09-09-17, 08:57 PM   #39
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I'll be using the stock wheelbase on either frame. I don't have the time nor the money to make any changes. So, that's one reason I'm only looking at 36 spoke wheels. Both Salsa and Surly seem to have decent wheel sets, though surly's seems stronger.

Replacement spokes and folding tires are an absolute essential imo, whichever wheel size I go with. That's one area I feel there can be no real compromise.
What is important is to ride whatever one you get as much as you can, even with panniers on, and have a good mechanic check the SPOKE tensions before you go.
Also as I mentioned, not having overly hard tire pressures allows for more suspension effect which is easier on the wheels.

There is something called a fibre fix , or thereabouts, a small kevlar string and tightener thing to replace a broken spoke, a good thing to have also, very small and light.

Good luck with your project.
But do be aware of hurricane possible damage on the Cancun side from a new one that may hit that area. Just keep up on the whole situation anyway.

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Old 09-09-17, 09:15 PM   #40
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Hi, O.P here, just popping in to say I'm reading the replies with tremendous interest. Amazed how many responses I've gotten and how instructive they've been. So, thanks to all who have tried to help me out. Had a bike fit today, have now tried both the disc trucker 54cm and the marrakesh 54 and 55. In touch with both shop owners, should have a decision very shortly and will be sure to update. I'm indecisive as all heck.
As I mentioned above, toe overlap is an issue to me. You are looking at much smaller frames than me, thus toe overlap could be worse on those small frames.

Some people are bothered by toe overlap more than others. Not sure where you are on that topic, but it is a topic that I think you do not want to forget about.
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Old 09-09-17, 09:19 PM   #41
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I agree, I like that on my troll, even with fenders set up far from 2inch tires, I still don't have toe over lap.
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Old 09-09-17, 10:50 PM   #42
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I just wanted to follow up on this point because it got me thinking. From a future proofing perspective, is it conceivable that, longer term, I could run 27.5 wheels within a 26'' disc trucker frame without massively affecting the wheelbase and tire clearance? They do say fatties fit fine... Because that solution would be very attractive, particularly if - as you say - 27.5 is winning the wheel wars.
I want to be clear.
27.5 x 2.1 mt bike tires are winning the wheel size race. I could not say who is winning the skinny tire size.

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Old 09-09-17, 11:01 PM   #43
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Thank you for so concisely outlining my quandary. Much more coherent than my original post! And kinda reassured I'm not the only one brooding on this. Agreed that it's ultimately fun, researching bikes and spec sheets is just amusing to me. Working yourself into a frenzy over an expensive bike purchase so you can ultimately kick back and allow yourself two months to cycle 3000 miles for kicks and giggles definitely goes down as a first world problem. That said, I don't wanna leave myself stranded and alone in Mexico. So, the pondering is sorta warranted.

Just to elaborate a bit on my trip. I'm thinking of cycling from Nebraska to Houston, flying to Cancun, which is very cheap, then cycling through Mayan Mexico and some really interesting culinary regions up to Mexico City. Then, flying to Dublin, then cycling to Belfast, where I'm from. If anyone cares about all that. Feel free to tell me it's a dumb plan. Most everyone else does!

I envisage leaving in about 5-6 weeks - so, as one poster stated, I do indeed need to get myself off the computer and make a decision!
National Hurricane Center
When is hurricane season in cancun? I would want some wide tires for the sandy roads of Mexico.
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Old 09-10-17, 04:31 PM   #44
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Often times I've been called verbose, but verbiage is a new one! I like it! Reminds me of logorrhea. Yes, I'm probably over thinking it but, as I see it, availability of wheel size is potentially intrinsic to 'the bike that works'.
I hope you weren't offended by my response. My point is that while wheels are a part they aren't the whole bike and the whole bike is what you're riding. If you're touring with 25lbs you aren't going to be fast no matter the wheel size. It's touring. If you're carrying more than 25lbs and you aren't light you will really appreciate being able to ride on 2" tires on bad roads. there are a lot of good tires in the 1.6-1.75 range for smooth roads that will not impact touring speeds. If you intend on having fenders it really is nice to not have toe overlap with a heavily loaded bike starting off from curbs or up hill.
Sure an unloaded drop bar road bike with 700x28 mm tires is fast but if you put 30lbs of racks,fenders and gear on it it's no longer fast. On the other hand I wouldn't race with 26"X 1.5" wheels but when I could race I could ride a 26" X 1.5" wheeled bike faster than I ever would on a tour.
I ride a 56 cm road bike, had a 700c LHT and now have a 56cm 26" wheel LHT which is surprisingly nimble compared to the 700c version. I'm a heavy old fart now but 30yrs ago when I was faster had a custom 26" wheel sport tourer made up and I was surprised how light 26" tires in the 1.5" size could be spun up in a sprint. Anyway this is a roundabout way of saying a heavy truck like 26" wheel LHT with touring gear stripped off can be as fast as you are for commuting but will give a very robust wheel/tire option for bad roads.
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Old 09-10-17, 05:33 PM   #45
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A couple of posters have already suggested that touring tire size is over thought/overwrought. Possibly. Food for thought:

It's only been in the last few years that single tube tires became something you couldn't mail/internet order and get in a week or so.

You can still order S-6 and S-7 tires without issue. Fine quality 27 x 1 1/4 are no problem.

I was assured on Bike Forums that E.A.3 tires are impossible to acquire these days. I came up with a list of some 30 different brands/models that are actually available.

Folks have happily toured out of the way places - even around the world - on 17 x 1 1/4 and 16 x 1 3/8 tires.

In many 'villages' in the USA, one is more likely to find 27 1 1/4 than 700C down at the hardware/autoparts/dry goods/convenience store. (It's a better return on investment to inventory the one width of 27" road tire than the ~17 widths x multiple tread patterns of 700C a customer might want.)

In almost all of America, the most commonly available bicycle tire is ISO406mm.
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Old 09-10-17, 11:09 PM   #46
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Demming New mexico Feb 2008. Called around town, no 700, no 38, no 23, nada. Called Silver City. They had a single 700 x 37. Close enough. March 2008, Lake Isabella, Ca. Need another one for the front. No no and no. They tried to send me to Bakersfield on the bus. If I ride the bus, I did not cross the country on my power. Try Western Auto. Clerk laughs at the idea of a 700 bike tire. Computer says they have one. $9.00 for a 700 x 40 chinese nylon tire. He blew a heavy cloud of dust off the tire and passed to to me.

Anything changed in the last 10 years?

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Old 09-11-17, 09:16 PM   #47
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In DC area there are lots of working-class bike commuters, 80% still ride 559mm/26" wheel MTB's, I assume Schraeder valve tubes. Seems like it would be a long time before 559mm/26" tire size becomes hard to find in various countries.
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Old 09-13-17, 12:26 AM   #48
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I've learned finding a tire can be a difficult thing. 8 years ago my wife and I did a trip through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. We landed in Ho Chi Minh City, unpacked the plane traveled bikes and threw them together the next day. Then on day 2 started riding. about 100 kms out of Ho Chi Minh had a flat. No big deal right, except the flat was caused by my brake pad rubbing on the sidewall and wore it all thin till it finally broke through and popped the tube. Thought crap and pulled out my spare 26" folding tire, problem solved right. Except not because it was a 27.5" hybrid tire that I had purchased by mistake somehow. Well I put a big patch on the inside of the tire itself and threw in a new tube. From there we limped the last 20kms or so to a fairly large city. So it was a pretty big city and a full day and 9 bike shops later we found a single 26" tire that the bike shop owner was shocked he had. I wish i could tell you if there were lots of 700 tires but as our search was a little dire the only thing I was focusing on was if each bike shop had a 26" tire. All this said I would never do any kind of trip of length without a spare folding tire (triple checking it is the right size,ha). In my mind a spare folding tire is small, light and a must!

FYI cycling out of Ho Chi Minh was easily the most insane biking I have ever done. Largest vehicle has right way for everything, not a single traffic light just traffic circles at all intersections and scooters jam packed in every open road space and sidewalk as far as your eye could see!
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Old 09-13-17, 08:40 AM   #49
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I have done one bike tour without a spare tire, that was the Pacific Coast. That was the only tour I ever did where I installed new tires on the bike before starting out. I did not bring one because I was confident in my tires AND I assumed that route had so much bike touring on it that finding a 700c touring tire in the 32 to 37mm width range would be easy. Had no flats and never needed one.

All other bike tours, I carried a spare tire. Never needed it but I do not regret it either. Most of those trips were on 26 inch wheels and I suspected that if I needed a replacement, the only tires I would find in stores would be mountain bike tires and not tires I would want for riding on the road.

I have a simple philosophy on what type of spare tire to bring. If I think I can replace my spare relatively easy within a few hundred miles, I bring my lightest weight spare that I have, planning to ride on it for no more than a few hundred miles. But, if I do not expect an easy replacement or am in thorn country where I might get lots of thorns stuck in the tire, then I carry a tire that I would want to use for the rest of the trip. Thus, on some trips I carried a really cheap thin light tire that was narrower than I was riding on but on the other hand when I went to Iceland where at times I was over 100 km from any kind of retail store of any kind I carried a Marathon Extreme 57mm wide tire because that is what I would want to finish the trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigFinner View Post
I've learned finding a tire can be a difficult thing. 8 years ago my wife and I did a trip through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. We landed in Ho Chi Minh City, unpacked the plane traveled bikes and threw them together the next day. Then on day 2 started riding. about 100 kms out of Ho Chi Minh had a flat. No big deal right, except the flat was caused by my brake pad rubbing on the sidewall and wore it all thin till it finally broke through and popped the tube. Thought crap and pulled out my spare 26" folding tire, problem solved right. Except not because it was a 27.5" hybrid tire that I had purchased by mistake somehow. Well I put a big patch on the inside of the tire itself and threw in a new tube. From there we limped the last 20kms or so to a fairly large city. So it was a pretty big city and a full day and 9 bike shops later we found a single 26" tire that the bike shop owner was shocked he had. I wish i could tell you if there were lots of 700 tires but as our search was a little dire the only thing I was focusing on was if each bike shop had a 26" tire. All this said I would never do any kind of trip of length without a spare folding tire (triple checking it is the right size,ha). In my mind a spare folding tire is small, light and a must!
...
I do not have any experience looking for a tire in a foreign country, but I recall reading several times that in countries that were previously French colonies, 650b tires are more common than most other countries. If that was accurate, I suspect the bike shops you went to had a selection of 650b (584 ERD) tires and no 26 inch (559 ERD) tires.

I have some old 650b tires labeled 26 X 1 1/2, so you have to be careful when buying 26 inch tires. And the old 26 inch British three speed bikes were yet a different 26 inch size.
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Old 09-15-17, 08:17 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigFinner View Post
I've learned finding a tire can be a difficult thing. 8 years ago my wife and I did a trip through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. We landed in Ho Chi Minh City, unpacked the plane traveled bikes and threw them together the next day. Then on day 2 started riding. about 100 kms out of Ho Chi Minh had a flat. No big deal right, except the flat was caused by my brake pad rubbing on the sidewall and wore it all thin till it finally broke through and popped the tube. Thought crap and pulled out my spare 26" folding tire, problem solved right. Except not because it was a 27.5" hybrid tire that I had purchased by mistake somehow. Well I put a big patch on the inside of the tire itself and threw in a new tube. From there we limped the last 20kms or so to a fairly large city. So it was a pretty big city and a full day and 9 bike shops later we found a single 26" tire that the bike shop owner was shocked he had. I wish i could tell you if there were lots of 700 tires but as our search was a little dire the only thing I was focusing on was if each bike shop had a 26" tire. All this said I would never do any kind of trip of length without a spare folding tire (triple checking it is the right size,ha). In my mind a spare folding tire is small, light and a must!

FYI cycling out of Ho Chi Minh was easily the most insane biking I have ever done. Largest vehicle has right way for everything, not a single traffic light just traffic circles at all intersections and scooters jam packed in every open road space and sidewalk as far as your eye could see!
I started my Vietnam trip from Hanoi and left when it was still dark (heading south). Managed to get out of town before any rush. Vietnam is definitely chaotic in terms of traffic patterns, as I found, possibly the craziest place I've been so far. It seemed to get worse the further south I went.

Most of the bikes I saw in Vietnam had 27" tires, I would have been struggling to find 26", although I saw one or two bikes in this size. Vietnam is a slight anomaly in the tire size universe.

My schwalbe marathon front tire had a large penetration on Day 4 which somewhat compromised the integrity of the tire. I reduced pressure to 50 psi and did another 3000 odd kilometers with no further issues.

Last edited by tspoon; 09-15-17 at 08:21 PM.
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