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Thread: 700C vs 26

  1. #1
    crash survivor tate65's Avatar
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    700C vs 26

    I know I've seen post on it earlier, but couldn't find it.

    Whats your take, I'm debating between 3 bikes 2 with 700C, one with 26. I've ridden all 3, and didn't see much difference, except distance behind the seat and the center of the rear rack, which is 2 inches shorter on the 26. I know it is mostly geometry that explains it, but what other differences are there.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I don't think there's much of a difference.

    26" tires & wheels are easier to find in remote areas. (Of course, the equipment you'll get in the middle of nowhere may not be tour-worthy...). However, iirc there is a wider variety of 700c tires.

    I wouldn't consider tire size to be a deciding factor, unless you have a bunch of bikes already & want to swap parts around.

  3. #3
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    If you want to tour outside of North America or Europe get 26" wheels. If you are touring offroad on bad dirt roads get 26" wheels. If you are touring on good roads in North America/Europe get the bike that fits you best regardless of wheel size.
    safe riding - Vik
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  4. #4
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Whenever this wheel size debate is raised I think that it is a miracle that I have survived self contained international and Divide Ride rough stuff touring using Schwalbe Marathon XR 700x47mm tires. Baja washboard, Andean dirt and pumice, Canadian roots and rocks, Divide Ride gravel fire roads and local shale and granite trials have not managed to destroy them.

    I have found that using high quality equipment [particularly tires] combined with a conservative riding style off road and low equipment loads prevents most touring equipment problems.

  5. #5
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arctos View Post
    Whenever this wheel size debate is raised I think that it is a miracle that I have survived self contained international and Divide Ride rough stuff touring using Schwalbe Marathon XR 700x47mm tires. Baja washboard, Andean dirt and pumice, Canadian roots and rocks, Divide Ride gravel fire roads and local shale and granite trials have not managed to destroy them.

    I have found that using high quality equipment [particularly tires] combined with a conservative riding style off road and low equipment loads prevents most touring equipment problems.
    I've had my 700c LHT in Baja as well and had no issues. My friend was riding a 26" wheeled touring bike. Had we both destroyed a wheel she would have been rolling again after the next small town. I'd have been on a bus for 2 days each way back to San Diego to get a replacement and then back to complete my tour. I wasn't going to buy a new bike for month long tour and just accepted the risks.

    700c wheels don't spontaneously explode when you leave Canada/US for Mexico or Central America, but if you need a replacement wheel/tire you simply won't find one for a 700c touring bike - heck you may have trouble finding 700c spares in some parts of Canada/US. However, 26" wheels and tires are common in much of the world so if you are buying a new bike and planning to tour in these places it makes sense to get 26" wheels. Can you tour on 700c wheels sure...you can also tour on 650B, 406 or any other bicycle wheel size as long as you are okay with having to struggle when spares are needed.
    safe riding - Vik
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  6. #6
    Senior Member oldride's Avatar
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    Other than availabilty issues, as others have mentioned, I don't think it makes much difference. I have a touring bike with 700x32 and a utility bike with 26x1.5 and I can't feel a difference in riding either. If the wheels are the same quality, size doesn't matter.

  7. #7
    crash survivor tate65's Avatar
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    Thanks, I was thinking along the 26 lines as well, But see most "touring" bikes wiht 700C. I have 2 MTBs that are 26, 1 SS ridged 29er, and my current touring comuter bike is 700C. I never thought about outside the US being an issue. I hope to one day head out but for now the US and is it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jitterymonkey's Avatar
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    Don't think this is 2 far off the original topic.

    What about a set up that let's you switch from 700c to 26" in a pinch?
    I'm building 650Ber and was thinking about using Paul's Moto BMX's
    http://www.paulcomp.com/motobmx.html
    Anybody doing this? Problem/limitations I'm not seeing?

    JM

  9. #9
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jitterymonkey View Post
    Don't think this is 2 far off the original topic.

    What about a set up that let's you switch from 700c to 26" in a pinch?
    I'm building 650Ber and was thinking about using Paul's Moto BMX's
    http://www.paulcomp.com/motobmx.html
    Anybody doing this? Problem/limitations I'm not seeing?

    JM
    JM<

    The BB height on most touring bikes is quite low for stability so if you try and go from 700c to 26" you'll run into pedal strike issues even if the brakes work. Going from 26" to 700c you may run into frame/fork clearance issues if you are running reasonable sized tires on the 700c rim.

    I'm also a big fan of riding a bike with the wheel size that the designer/manufacturer had in mind when he built the bike, but that's just me...
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  10. #10
    Senior Member Fueled by Boh's Avatar
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    i've thought about converting my 26" lht into 650b for when i'm riding unloaded. if i thought my brakes had enough adjustment in them to reach both 26" and 650b rims, i'd do it in a heart beat.
    Not going to bother with Antarctica

  11. #11
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fueled by Boh View Post
    i've thought about converting my 26" lht into 650b for when i'm riding unloaded. if i thought my brakes had enough adjustment in them to reach both 26" and 650b rims, i'd do it in a heart beat.
    I'm not 100% about this, but I think I've seen a LHT 650B conversion. Are you a member of the Surly LHT google group? If so you might want to ask on there if anyone has done the mod.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  12. #12
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    I don't think there's much in it. Perhaps it is easier to get any old 26" tyre rather than a 700, but then again if you're not going to a really exotic or remote place, I'm not sure it's a real factor. Perhaps 26" wheels are theoretically stronger, but I think component quality and build quality far outweigh this generalization -suffice to say, given good quality wheels in both sizes, both should be strong enough.

    The only thing I believe is a factor is whether or not your size impacts the design of the frame and hence the wheel size chosen and the comfort and fit of the frame. Personally, I hate toe overlap and since I'm not very tall, with some of the 700c frame designs I'd get toe overlap -most especially once fenders are fitted. Some people don't seem to mind toe overlap -I'd much rather have a frame design without it.

  13. #13
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    On a smaller frame 26" really makes sense. Gives you space to add a fender or ride knobbies if you have to.

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