Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Montréal (Québec)
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The 26" bike (-X) offer slightly stonger wheels, but its main advantages are:
- wider tires fit on it;
- it's easier to design a small frame on 26" wheels.
From my readings, the geometry of the 26" and 700c bikes is similar. And there are a few narrow tires available in 26" -- which should be good for touring or commuting.
Conversely, the BLT is said to fit 700x47 tires, but that's before fenders. If you believe in fenders as I do, it means you could fit 700x35 or 700x37 without any problems. 700x37 makes for a very comfortable ride, even when loaded, and it also means you will be able to find knobbies if you ride in muddy terrain -- not thick mud, however.
In short, for your intended uses, I would suggest to go with the 26" if you are on the small size, or with the 700 if you are taller, with the cutoff point being more or less around 5' 4". But in spite of that, it's usually easier to find mid-width 700c tires (700x32 or 700x37) than it is to find the equivalent width in 26" (26" x 1 1/4 to 1 3/8")
BTW, my tourer has 700x32 front (real width 29 mm) and 700x37 rear (rear width 36 mm) and I find it comfortable for our city's potholes and for touring. It originally had 700x32 front and rear, but I found the ride too harsh. Howver, I weight 165 lb, tow a trailercycle and usually tour with the kitchen sink. BTW, I do the occasional rail trail and a few gravel roads also.