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  1. #1
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    26" or 700x Wheels

    Once again, i'm sure there's alot of personal preference. But if you were considering / have done a world tour. What wheel size would you opt for? and why!

    i am assuming that you would be using both front and back panniers for such and adventure

    Personally, i am heading towards the 700x (Mavic T520 rim , XT hub, stainless steel spokes) option with a larger (38) tyre.
    However, tyre replacement in some countries seems to be a problem.

    thanks once again for all the advice that has been given regarding my other Q's.

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    As a 700c user, I would probably opt for 26" for a full expedition touring bike. You can get quite fast tyres if you want, but the std touring ones have a bit more air than 700c. Mainly its the better availability of tyres and inner tubes.
    In the old days, there was an option for a 26" touring tyre, 650B (not C). This is more or less the same as a slick 26"x1.5, and was the choice for long distance comfort on rougher roads.

  3. #3
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Smaller wheels built to the same standard should be slightly stronger, 26" wheels and tubes have greater world availability. 26" generally provide a greater air pocket for comfort.

    I don't see any advantages to 700c for touring having said that if you're travelling where there's no problem getting replacement 700c wheels/tubes/tyres it probably doesn't matter.
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

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    I have to disagree just a little here. It used to be that 26" was probably a better bet based on comfort and availability, but on the comfort front, 700c tires and the bikes that have clearance for them have come a long way. I don't think that the 700c tires I'm talking about are as readily available as 26" tires, but they have a LOT more volume, and hence are more able to provide absorbtion of road buzz and small jolts. I ride a 29"er MTB, and when I rode the trails with my 26"er I used to have to run a minimum pressure of around 45 psi to avoid pinch flats, now I can run 30 psi with no problems because of the protection the greater volume affords. Good old pneumatic suspension...
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  5. #5
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    I like the old 27" wheels that are on my bridgestone. They give a fast comfortable ride. Araya rims 27x1-1/4 with conti 27x1-1/8 sport 1000 tires on sansin 36 hole hubs.
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    Speaking of tires.....

    What would be a good all around 26" tire for mostly paved but occasional hard packed dirt road use? I will be pulling a BOB on this setup. Thanks..
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  7. #7
    Infamous Dumpster Diver Buddha Knuckle's Avatar
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    I ride a 26" tourer and a 700c fixed.

    My observation is that both 700c and 26" wheels have enough tire selection to let you achieve a personally pleasing balance of ride compliance and low rolling resistance. So the comfort issue is a non-issue.

    26" wheels have a significantly higher strength to weight ratio than 700c wheels (especially if you factor in the tire weight). The weight advantage may not make a difference on tours (as it primarily affects acceleration), but the strength advantage sure does.

    26" wheels have a smaller circumference than 700c's (no duh), and as a result shift your gear range down by around 5-10%. In other words, if you are pedalling a 44-12, your top speed will be lower on a 26" than on a 700c tourer. I run a drivetrain with a 48-12 top ratio on my 26" bike, and I can pedal down a long steep hill at around 35-38mph...and that's fast enough for me on a loaded bike, thank ye.

    And lastly, if you plan on wandering the earth by bicycle without a sag wagon, 26" wheels certainly give you an edge in parts availability and serviceability.

    I agree with Richard D, 700c's have no advantage over 26"ers. Yet 6 million screaming 700c fans can't be wrong, can they?

    BK

    p.s. Fixer, any 1.5" tire with inverted tread gets my vote for what you describe. If you can find such a tire with a Kevlar bead, more power.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    What would be a good all around 26" tire for mostly paved but occasional hard packed dirt road use? I will be pulling a BOB on this setup. Thanks..
    If you are only doing sealed roads, Conti Top Touring 2000 (47 x 559), I did XC USA in 2001 followed by LEJOG(UK) and only had 4 flats in 12000 km.
    If you are doing some off road use Conti Town & Country 26 in x 1.9 I have used these extensivly in OZ and NZ and have never had any problems with these using both racks and panniers and a BOB.

  9. #9
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    If you are talking of a world tour, then 26" has an advantage. You also can run multiple-personalities, using narrow high pressure slicks or wide MTB tires according to topography. Beware however:

    - Narrow, touring-sized 26" tires are not easily available. Si make sure there is enough clearance for 2" wide tires. Besides, when you cross countries with non-existent roads, you will prefer wide tires anyway.

    - 26" -- AKA ISO 590 -- is not available everywhere. Besides, in some countries, they use other flavours of 26".
    Michel Gagnon
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  10. #10
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    Could anyone recomend a good 26" rim for touring?? (that wont cost the earth)

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    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    What would be a good all around 26" tire for mostly paved but occasional hard packed dirt road use? I will be pulling a BOB on this setup. Thanks..
    Schwalbe Marathon (standard has kevlar band, plus is heavy with extra rubber for puncture protection, XR has a Kevlar bead - see www.schwalbe.com). I'm running the Marathon Plus's and they're greaton road and I've had no problems on hardpack or semi-packed gravel.
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  12. #12
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aokgk
    Could anyone recomend a good 26" rim for touring?? (that wont cost the earth)
    I haven't used them but many people swear by Mavic T series.
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  13. #13
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    26"

    I've had terific results using a knobie with a moderate tread for my rear tire with a slick up front. The wider rear tire lends stability and balance when under load. Although I thought about purchasing a touring/road bike,I'm really pleased with the MTB touring configuration,since so many roads are in poor condition,plus I can go offroad with a MTB and roll out under the stars. I'm also sold on nylon slicks (1.5) and have passed the 1000 mile mark without any problems or blowouts.

    I'm running Bontrager Mustang's on one MTB (bulletproof) and some Velocity Triple Vs (26" rims w/36 spokes) on the other. So far so good on the Vs,but it's too early to tell if they'll hold up under load.

    Regards.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha Knuckle
    My observation is that both 700c and 26" wheels have enough tire selection to let you achieve a personally pleasing balance of ride compliance and low rolling resistance. So the comfort issue is a non-issue.
    Comfort is directly related to the volume of air contained in the tire. To get a similar volume of air my Schwalbe Big Apple (700c x 2.00) holds, your 26" tire is gonna have to be like 3.75" wide...I guess comfort IS an issue. I know that there are only a few bikes on the market now that will handle this kind of rubber, but this is a viable option.
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    But is comfort related to the volume of air of the thickness of air? Discuss...

  16. #16
    Senior Member JustsayMo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aokgk
    Could anyone recomend a good 26" rim for touring?? (that wont cost the earth)
    I put Bontrager Clydes on my 26" wheeled touring tandem. Here they are ~20% less than the price of Mavics and tandem rated. So far, excellent. They build very well and appear to be well made. I don't have as many miles on them as I do Mavics but I'm pleased with the quality. After a few hundred kilometers I put them back on the truing stand and they were still perfect.

    Most of my bikes sport Mavics a I like them a lot. I have had good luck with Bontragers in the past durability wise but they didn't build as nicely. This most recent set impressed me. If they have the durability of the previous set I will be buying more of them in the future.

    Mo

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    But is comfort related to the volume of air of the thickness of air? Discuss...
    A tire can be thought of as a pneumatic spring, if you will. For this discussion, I'm going to disregard rolling resistance, as each person must come to his own compromise regarding the relationship of the two. So, we have this rubber air spring. Let's say that it is one foot high. At 70 psi it will take x amount of force in the gravity vector to deflect the spring one inch. Now let's reduce the pressure in the spring, making it more compliant. Less force in the gravity vector will now be required to deflect the spring that same one inch. In the case of our toroidally shaped spring (bicycle tire), the problem with reducing air pressure is the distance between the spring and the rim. If the spring is deflected enough that it comes into contact with the rim, flats result. With the new 29" bikes on the market (designed to use 700c rims with 2.1 or larger tires), we get more distance between the spring and the rim. My anecdotal evidence is this; I acquired a 29"er MTB this spring, and the trail I ride most frequently is quite rocky. When I rode a 26 inch bike, I pinchflatted at pressures less than the high 40's. With my 29"er, I can run low 30's psi without flatting. In MTB terms, this is a large advantage. The "pneumatic suspension" on my hardtail is more comfy, and I experience much better traction due to a flatter, larger contact patch. So, back on the road for touring, I use a Schwalbe tire with a nice inverted tread, and put around 55-60 psi in it. I find that this is a good compromise for me between rolling resistance and comfort. This pressure level still allows the tire to absord a lot of road buzz and the jolts caused by uneven or poor paving.
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  18. #18
    Infamous Dumpster Diver Buddha Knuckle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzbomb
    Comfort is directly related to the volume of air contained in the tire. To get a similar volume of air my Schwalbe Big Apple (700c x 2.00) holds, your 26" tire is gonna have to be like 3.75" wide...I guess comfort IS an issue. I know that there are only a few bikes on the market now that will handle this kind of rubber, but this is a viable option.
    Jesus, Buzzbomb, 700c by 2.00"! What are you some kind of hemorrhoid sufferer? Your Big Apples must weigh a pound and a half each. Regardless what those things weigh, it is air pressure, not volume, that is related to comfort, small jolt absorption, or what have you. I agree that you can run lower pressures in higher volume tires without risking pinch flats, but why would you tour with tires pumped up to 30psi? There is kill, my friend, and there is overkill.

    BK
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  19. #19
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    No hemorroids BK, but I come from a MTB background, and haven't done any really long distance touring yet, so that probably colors my opinions just a little. Since my first tour will probably be a section of the continental divide trail, I'm thinking I'll probably stick with the puffy shoes.
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  20. #20
    Infamous Dumpster Diver Buddha Knuckle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzbomb
    Since my first tour will probably be a section of the continental divide trail, I'm thinking I'll probably stick with the puffy shoes.
    Rock on with your bad self. I'm glad to hear everything is okay downstairs.

    Peace,
    BK
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  21. #21
    ld-cyclist prestonjb's Avatar
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    I'll probably stay with 700Cs.

    I don't think I really need such wide tires as 50mm (2.0s). I can ride 180+miles/day (300km) on 700x20s.

    I will probably use 700x25s or at least 23s for touring just because I don't want to get pinch flast caused by the extra weight of the panniers.

    As for the 700C vs 26 vs wide tires in general, I would think that the fatter tires and stiffer wheels would be better a suggestion for the load carried vs looking for comfort.

    Comfort can be sought in other ways, seatpost-shocks, better saddle, handle bar position (possibly aero-bars) and such.

    I would say that if I wanted to carry the most weight then probably 26-inch wheels with wide tires, and possibly getting a custom wheel with 40 or 48 spokes.

  22. #22
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    Thanks heaps for the tips..comments..etc..
    As it has turns out, i have decided to go with a 26" as apposed to my original decision to get 700's. I will by riding Ritchy Girder SG 28mm rims with an XT hub on the front and a Rohloff internal speed hub at the back. Tyres will be Shwalbe Marathon XR 26 x 1.9.
    Thanks once again.
    gk.

  23. #23
    ld-cyclist prestonjb's Avatar
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    Tell us how it turns out.

  24. #24
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    Will do... I'm getting my touring bike built at the moment. Will get a pic of it up on the forum when its finished.

  25. #25
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    You guys are great for confusing me. It seems everyone agree that 26" wheels are the best for touring... Yet every touring bikes I've seen for sale are on 700 wheels... why is that ? Also, are 700 tires/spokes THAT hard to find on the run ? Unless I'm lost in asia or something like that, any bike shop should have that... no ?

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