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Trek 620 on 700x48 Tires??? A $10 New School Frame Shows The Way

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Trek 620 on 700x48 Tires??? A $10 New School Frame Shows The Way

Old 04-09-21, 12:11 PM
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RiddleOfSteel
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Trek 620 on 700x48 Tires??? A $10 New School Frame Shows The Way

I had a few titles for this thread, but didn't want to go all click bait-y, so here is what we have.

I bought a $10 frameset from Bike Works' twice-monthly "As Is Sale" and through a lot of research and happenstance, found it is a 2008 Nashbar "Double Butted Aluminum Touring Frame." Creative naming is off the charts here.. Anyway, the frame is a essentially a 48cm (19") as it matches both vintage Trek 720s and the modern Trek 520 in that size (19"/48cm) geometrically, including the modern Stack and Reach metrics. Anyway, it has a gorgeous green metallic color and comes with a unicrown chromoly fork. V-brake setup, long 45.5cm CS, a high BB, slack angles (71.5/71.0), longer trail (65mm), 135mm rear spacing, and a TON of tire clearance. The frame would make use of my vintage Deore DX/Matrix Titan Tours that I had shown some love. The mint brake tracks on these dark anodized rims is pretty epic and rare, and I knew they would go perfectly with tan wall tires and the dark green frame. So this bike would be a fun not-in-my-size project, and it certainly took some effort to find parts and get them cleaned up. But that's not why we're here!

Back to the acreage of space between 32mm Paselas and any frame tubes. I had also picked up some essentially new 48mm Soma Supple Vitesse EX's on a lark. They were well below retail and I knew I could sell them easily for that purchase price if they didn't work out. So I had an idea: Why not put the 48s on the Titan Tours and see how all of this modern "huge tires are a gift from the heavens" dogma from St. Heine & the Rando Boyz.



Well, the darn 48s--measuring 46.3mm wide on the Titans--fit the Nashbar frame! The chain stay bridge was the tightest portion (less than a millimeter), but at 40 PSI, we were good. So the table was set. I had already test ridden the Nashbar, looking like a circus bear on a kids bike, with the Paselas and knew how it rode, which was/is considerably better than my "nice" vintage bikes...



The 48s absolutely dwarf the 32mm Paselas, so much so it's comical. But matched up to the larger diameter aluminum tubing, it looks plenty fine. So, the ride? THE RIDE!! The street my apartment is on has a number of simply crappy sections, that horrible state between immensely chewed up asphalt and straight up potholes. Coagulated rocks. Need a massage or to feel like a can of Baer getting mixed up at the Home Depot? This road is your ticket. Shod with the Paselas, the Nashbar had proven remarkably adept at dealing with that surface, particularly at 15-20 mph. The Titan Tours are ~530g a pop and give appropriately firm feedback of any road, and certainly of the crummy stuff. The wire bead Paselas were a great pairing in spite of their garden variety commuter bike status, so my world is already being flipped. But the 48s were incredible! It took only a few minutes to just start aiming for the bad stuff at any speed and having the bike, and me, laughing it off. Hysterical!



FINALLY, a large diameter road tire that delivers, for my 195 lb self, on its promise of truly soaking up road junk without weighing a million grams. These 48s are 395g each, which is impressively light.

So what to do next? [schemes....] Well, I had mounted these on skinny 19mm external width Mavic Open 4 CD's and they inflated just fine, and I knew my 1985 Trek 620 had 44-45mm internal width accommodations between the fork blades and the chain stays, so....why not take the fenders off and mount them???

Are you kidding me?!? It even looks decently at home--skinny steel tubes, tall frame, and big tires. Wow.


I still need to do some dish work on these Open 4 CD wheels--there's 2mm of space on the other side. At 40 PSI and on narrow rims, the tires measure 44.5mm wide or so.


WOMP WOMP. We ran out of luck in the rear with these.....non-dimpled....chainstays. Hmmmm


Brake bridge and fork clearance are understandably tight. The arc of the brake pads of the cantis comes within a whisker of the very bulged, large diameter tire. Not a fan of that, so it's more food for thought...
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Old 04-09-21, 12:35 PM
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As my high school drafting teacher used to say, 'looks good from far, but it's far from good'

I would call those tires a 'non fit' on the trek, even though it looks cool with them. Spokes wheels flex side to side as you ride and this will obviously cause the tire to rub significantly on the frame and fork. MIght be rideable in the short term, but I would not want to risk such tight clearance far from home - after the tires wear off the paint from the fork and seatstays, then the steel is going to start wearing the tire down to the casing.
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Old 04-09-21, 12:42 PM
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Some Takeaways...

1) As mentioned above, this cheap, forgotten, big-tubed Nashbar frame with stiffer and heavier rims and regular tires, bought for $10, just showed up my very-much-not-$10 Trek 620 and the even pricier 510, much to my consternation. And...relief? Preconceived notions being shattered and paradigms tectonically-shifted in Bikelandia (not to mention this last year in general). Good times! Big frames can be whippy. That's fun. They can also be "quivery" in that bumps at nearly any speed send them wobbly. Somehow bumps aren't absorbed so much as they are sent up the assembly, to the rider. :/ The Nashbar's frame was strong (but not heavy), and even with a beefy unicrown fork, it's rigidity let the wheels and tires do the work. The (not-harsh) frame was not a contributing factor in the "suspension" equation. I have "nice" wheels and "nice" tires and a "nice" frame, and I've ridden those sections on my 620 a bunch of times, and have found the Bigger Tire Theory to fall flat.

2) I rode my 510, all dolled up with MA2/7400 wheels, 33mm Somas, and 9-speed friction shifting, for ~35 miles to a friend's house last night. All bikes are sublime on smooth pavement, and my 510--12mm shorter in wheelbase than my 620--felt wonderful. On the Burke Gilman Trail? Garbage. Granted, that trail sucks with the amount of root bumps in a lot of places, but if you want to become disillusioned with the romanticism of past technology and comfort/setup standards, ride that trail. Or any Seattle road. Saddle comfort is key, as is hand position/orientation, no matter how lovely the vintage setup looks!

3) Back when I had my '83 Expedition (moment of silence for brillian-but-to-small-frames...), I tried 38mm Soma Supple Vitesse EXs and they felt like heavier 33s that didn't really deliver on the Big Tire Theory peddled (pedaled? heh!) by its evangelists. It's one of the reasons I've stayed away from anything as large or larger. The Emperor had no clothes, or maybe had only boxers on. So I stick in my Very Honest world of 23-25mm tires and race bikes, with a touring bike to get maybe some extra cushion and crappy-road durability (aka not Vittoria Corsas). Fenders, too. The Medici quells, it doesn't quiver. It's stiff, but damps the bumps as well as a proper race frame can, which is still pretty good. The Treks vibrate a bunch, and the vibration takes longer to dissipate. I miss my old Cannondale ST's.

4) So now that 48s have me "seeing the light," and having them nearly fit my 620 (truly impressive, this bike/frame), what do I do? I know that through changing wheels and tires, one can get a frame's ride and handling "on the same wavelength" and thus make a sublime riding frame. This happened with my Davidson Impulse. Lots of searching, but once I got "the" wheels and tires under it, it was dynamite. I know my 620 has this capability, and would like to see that through. My friend @ctak says to just get 42mm Somas and thank him later. I totally get that! But at the same time, I just have this thought that 42s would be too close to the 38s and be a disappointment. Plus I don't want to buy more tires. I might as well be Les Schwab Tire Centers right now... So the choices:

a) Dimple the chain stays (strength compromise?) ever so slightly, test ride the bike, and determine from there? This is the cheapest option
b) Keep this 620 frame as is, find a visually-rough one, modify that one, and move forward?
c) Go custom? Pretty much all big-tire 700C touring bikes are disc only, and I am for proper comfort, which includes that sweet flex of a non-disc fork.
d) Find a unicorn touring bike with mad tire clearance and no disc brakes?

Must think more......
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Old 04-09-21, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
As my high school drafting teacher used to say, 'looks good from far, but it's far from good'

I would call those tires a 'non fit' on the trek, even though it looks cool with them. Spokes wheels flex side to side as you ride and this will obviously cause the tire to rub significantly on the frame and fork. MIght be rideable in the short term, but I would not want to risk such tight clearance far from home - after the tires wear off the paint from the fork and seatstays, then the steel is going to start wearing the tire down to the casing.
Like automotive test mules, test rigs, or anything not fully developed, this is where I'm at with the 620 and the big 48s. Obviously the rear tire is a no-go, so I'm stopped in my tracks. I made a second post, which ended up being below yours. I explain things more there, or at least get to the question of "Where do we go from here?"

So with an incredibly tight clearance in the front, and ostensibly in the rear if chain stays are dimpled to free the rear tire, the test riding would take place in a quarter mile or so radius around my home. Very controlled environment. Just proof-of-concept and data collection level stuff here. My questions could very well answer themselves, but for the time being, there's no way I'm going any further than a ten block radius on this setup, listening for rubbing and any other bad noises. I don't even have brakes hooked up to this, having removed them to focus on ease of mounting the tires and checking fitment.

In the meantime, and because of course I did, I mocked up an OS-tubed CAD model (rough draft), based heavily on my 620, just to see how things would look. Big tires match better to larger diameter tubing in general due to proportion, so it's also an aesthetic study for me. I like the results a lot so far.


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Old 04-09-21, 01:19 PM
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In my search for a lugged, steel, diamond frame with traditional geometry and drop bars that can take me anywhere at any time (meaning large tires required) I've boiled it down to:

1. If I want to use a vintage frame, convert to 650b, dimple the stays, do whatever else needs to be done.
2. Finally drop the cash for either a frame from one of the many companies making 650b ready lugged steel frames (or 700c bikes with large clearance like Rivendell does) or one of the amazing independent frame builders doing it.

In your case if you don't want to do all the conversion work to the frame I'd just go as large as I could and roll happily until I decided my riding habits have really changed enough to require larger tires, then make the decision to convert this frame/find another vintage frame to convert/buy a modern classic frame made for it.

At the moment I'm slowly increasing the tire size on my Voyageur. When the day comes that I can't go on the rides I want anymore because of it I'll probably be saving for a bicycle from Brian Chapman or similar. If that ends up being out of my range when the time comes I'll spring for the newest Singular Peregrine most likely.

Probably none of that really helps, but those are my musings on the subject, being in a similar boat as you in regards to desired tire sizes, bicycle aesthetics, fenders/no fenders etc. etc.

Last edited by polymorphself; 04-09-21 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 04-09-21, 01:25 PM
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I'm with you on why you really want fat tires but I think 650b is likely the way to go especially with that '79 Trek 510. It's a fine 650b candidate. I'm running 700 x 35c tires with room to spare on my '79 Trek 510. Alternatively do a drop bar MTB or find a vintage bike designed for fat tires like one of the B'stone XO series.
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Old 04-09-21, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
4) So now that 48s have me "seeing the light," and having them nearly fit my 620 (truly impressive, this bike/frame), what do I do? I know that through changing wheels and tires, one can get a frame's ride and handling "on the same wavelength" and thus make a sublime riding frame. This happened with my Davidson Impulse. Lots of searching, but once I got "the" wheels and tires under it, it was dynamite. I know my 620 has this capability, and would like to see that through. My friend @ctak says to just get 42mm Somas and thank him later. I totally get that! But at the same time, I just have this thought that 42s would be too close to the 38s and be a disappointment.
Well, I'm not much of a Soma rubber fan but maybe a ~42mm tire with thicker casing might be worth testing prior to dimple / re-invention time if you can stomach the extra grams. I have 1500mi and zero flats on my 35mm Schwalbllwobbly G Ones, which devour BG tree root crapola for breakfast at 55psi.

seven twenty
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Old 04-09-21, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
In my search for a lugged, steel, diamond frame with traditional geometry and drop bars that can take me anywhere at any time (meaning large tires required) I've boiled it down to:

1. If I want to use a vintage frame, convert to 650b, dimple the stays, do whatever else needs to be done.
2. Finally drop the cash for either a frame from one of the many companies making 650b ready lugged steel frames (or 700c bikes with large clearance like Rivendell does) or one of the amazing independent frame builders doing it.

In your case if you don't want to do all the conversion work to the frame I'd just go as large as I could and roll happily until I decided my riding habits have really changed enough to require larger tires, then make the decision to convert this frame/find another vintage frame to convert/buy a modern classic frame made for it.

At the moment I'm slowly increasing the tire size on my Voyageur. When the day comes that I can't go on the rides I want anymore because of it I'll probably be saving for a bicycle from Brian Chapman or similar. If that ends up being out of my range when the time comes I'll spring for the newest Singular Peregrine most likely.

Probably none of that really helps, but those are my musings on the subject, being in a similar boat as you in regards to desired tire sizes, bicycle aesthetics, fenders/no fenders etc. etc.
It continually amazes me at how large of a diameter a tire (width particularly) one can fit going from 700C to 650B. The chainstays are still as narrow as they are for a 700x32 tire, but then it's like 650x45 or something crazy, and the bike isn't even a full tourer. 650B would really help the 510 as it has that classic Trek slammed brake bridge (30-32mm tires max in back) coupled with All The Room in front. Ugh.

Two things I'm resistant to on the 650B frame front: The trendiness of it in certain circles (ahhhhhh shoot, Riddle, ya gotta do people like that? And you're not part of some trend yourself? ), and the worship of the god of Low Trail. This is in addition to the more boutique (but lessening by the day) attractive 650B wheels and number of tire options. 650B conversion or accommodating 700C frame: two ways to spend money and hope you like the result. Hahaha.

Since, it seems half the time, the 620/510 offer no appreciable extra comfort over roots and junk, over my Medici on 25mm tires, I'm happy to ride the Medici until I figure out the other two. Maybe, for the sake of research!, I snag some 42s and see how that goes. More thinking to do. Thank you for your thoughts.
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Old 04-09-21, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I'm with you on why you really want fat tires but I think 650b is likely the way to go especially with that '79 Trek 510. It's a fine 650b candidate. I'm running 700 x 35c tires with room to spare on my '79 Trek 510. Alternatively do a drop bar MTB or find a vintage bike designed for fat tires like one of the B'stone XO series.
I agree that a proper 650B setup would help me take advantage of the svelte 510's frame weight (remember, we're talking 25.5" / 65cm here) and flex. I'd have to put up with crummy braking, which I'm disinclined to do (and have been for a long while). Lucky that you can get 35mm tires on your 710! I'm 32mm max, or 30mm with the Tektro dual pivot calipers on there now.

As far as MTBs, that would be a decent idea if some critical things were met, chief among them being 1) they made it in a tall enough size 2) they didn't look absolutely hideous in their largest sizes 3) they didn't weigh a million pounds. I stick to touring bikes as they look great in all sizes, especially in the very tall sizes that I ride, and they normally don't weigh a ton. I'm going to have to peruse @JaccoW 's 66cm Miyata threads again to see how large a tire he has fit or could fit. I really may have to get one of those things over here...

There is also the (fun) consideration, with regard to 650Bs, that big tires on a big 700C wheel mean one can really roll over things a la "29er" MTB's. I dig that, and a super tall touring frame with large rubber just has this boss look to it. I dig that. Big likes big. I'm way too tall for exotic sports cars, but I fit in a big Lexus or '60s Cadillac just fine, and really really dig on the big land yachts. Stately, confident, powerful. I can rock that.
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Old 04-09-21, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
Maybe, for the sake of research!, I snag some 42s and see how that goes. More thinking to do.
I think that's probably what I'd try first! Because why not?

And yeah, trendy perhaps, BUT it's really just a resurgence of what seemed to be common sense and practically of the French mid century. I think recently people have just rediscovered the usefulness of those bikes and that we don't need to have multiple bikes in our stable for various uses if we would prefer something closer to a do everything bike. To me it seems to actually be a subset within the C&V world, but still a part of our larger interest. Many of the consumers, constructeurs and companies taking part in the randonneur/650b/bikepacking/whatever resurgence all seem to be firmly rooted in the history and aesthetics of traditionally constructed, now vintage, bicycles. As people seem to be gravitating away from cities again, it makes sense to me that a do it all bike to go on these excursions/moves with them makes sense!

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Old 04-09-21, 02:52 PM
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You might want to look for a 1970s 25 inch Motobecane Grand Record. They came stock with 27 inch wheels, center pull brakes, and lots of clearance. They can take a really fat tire if running 700c.

Have you checked out this thread?

700 x 38c tires on a vintage bike?

Look at post 33. inkandsilver mounted 42c tires on a very tall Moto GR.

Of the various vintage bikes that have passed through my shop, the 70s Moto GR I own impressed me both with how well it rides and with how much clearance it has.
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Old 04-09-21, 02:54 PM
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Life, The Universe....Everything!

Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
... Maybe, for the sake of research!, I snag some 42s and see how that goes....
As someone who recently snagged an '84 Trek 620, I eagerly await the results of your research.

After reading your posting, I went and measured my Lotus Odyssey, and it can accommodate 42s, but not 48s. I know you were interested in the Miyata, but I haven't got one of those, yet.

With the exception of the recent 620 and an 80's Super Sport (which I had to buy as it was silly inexpensive, my size, and now I have a Super Sport from the 60's, 70's and 80's???), I have limited my focus on bicycles from The Long Ago, when Big Tires rolled the Earth. I'll have to have a look see whether my 71ish Gitane TdF can host 48s..?

I am disinclined towards 650B, for similar reasons.

If 42mm clinchers don't spark joy, perhaps 42mm tubulars would?

Thank you for sharing your experience and deep thought!

Is 42 the answer is the ultimate question.

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Old 04-09-21, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
Two things I'm resistant to on the 650B frame front: The trendiness of it in certain circles (ahhhhhh shoot, Riddle, ya gotta do people like that? And you're not part of some trend yourself? )
And yes, let's be honest, you are. You're trying to achieve the same kind of bicycle, you're just doing it the hard way The other trendies just bought their Peregrines, Crosschecks, Romanceur or Atlantis, attached their rando bags and hit the trails Or they sent their frames to Gugie and had him do the same for them haha.

I definitely empathize with this journey and my comments and thoughts are just as much a reflection of my current thinking with what I want my bike experience to look and feel like. Over the years I've come to learn that aside from an appreciation of the history, it's not just the idea of a bike being vintage that attracts me. I'm attracted to vintage bicycles because I'm attracted to the lugged steel, the beautiful details, the simplicity and traditional geometry. At the same time I've also come to appreciate the idea of the bicycle that is versatile, practical and useful. I want it to carry things for me, be kinda fast on the road, be able to go off road, be able to be comfortable on long slow trips, and I want it to look like the beautiful vintages bikes that I've ridden and appreciated. To me this means converting older frames (lots of work and adds a lot of cost to what was an otherwise cheap way to have a beautiful and good riding bike) OR go with one of the above mentioned modern solutions that have the same construction method, quality and look but the added versatility.

This doesn't mean I don't want a few beautiful oldies sitting around for various kinds of rides. I certainly do and will. But if I wanted *one* bike, it would be as described above.

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Old 04-09-21, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
You might want to look for a 1970s 25 inch Motobecane Grand Record. They came stock with 27 inch wheels, center pull brakes, and lots of clearance. They can take a really fat tire if running 700c.

Have you checked out this thread?

700 x 38c tires on a vintage bike?

Look at post 33. inkandsilver mounted 42c tires on a very tall Moto GR.

Of the various vintage bikes that have passed through my shop, the 70s Moto GR I own impressed me both with how well it rides and with how much clearance it has.
Thanks for the thread link. Very cool. 42s will fit the 620 without problem as the 48s barely fit/don't fit. The goal remains to employ the 48s in some fashion---pointy (squishy?) end of the spear and all that.
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Old 04-09-21, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
And yes, let's be honest, you are. You're trying to achieve the same kind of bicycle, you're just doing it the hard way The other trendies just bought their Peregrines, Crosschecks, Romanceur or Atlantis, attached their rando bags and hit the trails Or they sent their frames to Gugie and had him do the same for them haha.

I definitely empathize with this journey and my comments and thoughts are just as much a reflection of my current thinking with what I want my bike experience to look and feel like. Over the years I've come to learn that aside from an appreciation of the history, it's not just the idea of a bike being vintage that attracts me. I'm attracted to vintage bicycles because I'm attracted to the lugged steel, the beautiful details, the simplicity and traditional geometry. At the same time I've also come to appreciate the idea of the bicycle that is versatile, practical and useful. I want it to carry things for me, be kinda fast on the road, be able to go off road, be able to be comfortable on long slow trips, and I want it to look like the beautiful vintages bikes that I've ridden and appreciated. To me this means converting older frames (lots of work and adds a lot of cost to what was an otherwise cheap way to have a beautiful and good riding bike) OR go with one of the above mentioned modern solutions that have the same construction method, quality and look but the added versatility.

This doesn't mean I don't want a few beautiful oldies sitting around for various kinds of rides. I certainly do and will. But if I wanted *one* bike, it would be as described above.
Like I said, I had bought these 48s on a lark. Hearing friends and reading plenty of linked-to JH articles, thoughts, and research, I thought, "Well why not?" Why not see if I like the look? Or the ride? Or the handling? Entertaining the idea via a build or riding research, without pre-believing that it is worth the trouble. The Nashbar had 65mm of trail with the 32s, and 71/72mm of trail with the 48s, and I definitely felt that extra bit in low speed maneuvering. Wheel flop for sure. 65mm? Just fine in the same situations. Sure, other bar and stem setups can greatly affect it, but it was good to feel a difference. So that's what I'd target for a max trail figure. Anywhere from 56-65. With the 48s, the Trek gets to 56-57mm, per my CAD figuring. The pervasiveness of low trail just kills me, as I think there is a reason 50s+ trail figures exist. That and I like some more directional stability. Lol, still a roadie. That and I'm not doing front loads. I am fairly bike rack averse, so not a true "tourer" though the geometry works well for me.

I'm with you on the appreciation and journey of vintage. Can't get over the lugs! Got into them because they were cheap and decent looking; stayed for the lugs, low price (especially in upgrading), and ride quality. The community is also pretty cool, too. I'll still have the Medici or a race bike, for all those fun reasons. But the 48s thing has me really thinking. @ctak is basically questioning my sanity or if I have been replaced by another person!

Re: Trendies "I'm going to build a bike a lot like you guys, but it won't be exactly the same, because I have my own ideas of what is ideal and best, and so, in my comes-by-it-honestly individualism [in design, thought, and aesthetic], I will do it differently, and still spend a good bit of money! But not as much as you. [Right? I hope]" Hard way indeed, but one that works for me on all the levels, and maybe keeps a vintage bike rolling and showing the modern kids what the luminaries of the past can still offer.
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Old 04-09-21, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by machinist42 View Post
As someone who recently snagged an '84 Trek 620, I eagerly await the results of your research.

After reading your posting, I went and measured my Lotus Odyssey, and it can accommodate 42s, but not 48s. I know you were interested in the Miyata, but I haven't got one of those, yet.

With the exception of the recent 620 and an 80's Super Sport (which I had to buy as it was silly inexpensive, my size, and now I have a Super Sport from the 60's, 70's and 80's???), I have limited my focus on bicycles from The Long Ago, when Big Tires rolled the Earth. I'll have to have a look see whether my 71ish Gitane TdF can host 48s..?

I am disinclined towards 650B, for similar reasons.

If 42mm clinchers don't spark joy, perhaps 42mm tubulars would?

Thank you for sharing your experience and deep thought!

Is 42 the answer is the ultimate question.
"I try not to die" is still one of my favorite quotes. So apt, at all times!

It seems like a lot of vintage bikes, even "touring" ones of the '70s and early '80s, didn't have a lot of tire width accommodation, my '74 P15 Paramount included. But then...some did. So it's really a case by case sort of thing. I had a 1982 Miyata 1000 that wasn't too keen on anything above 35mm IIRC, but that was several years ago, and I was looking at 32s + fenders as a priority. Maybe it was fine for 38s or 42s even.

42s could be the answer. It's that number! Perhaps it could be that "critical mass" point where any size smaller just doesn't work (for me), but at a certain large enough size, it just works. For me, that point is somewhere above 38mm and below 48mm. And now that I have a taste for the biggest road size and the lowest (for my weight) pressure, I want to stay there. Anything less is a reduction in 'purity', and I've certainly experienced a lack of such with 33s and 38s. At least in Previous Riddle experience.

I will have to see... I have the 620 propped up against the couch, six feet to my left. Lots of time to admire, stare, and contemplate. Still looks cool. Crazy!
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Old 04-09-21, 04:10 PM
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Interesting project. I keep thinking of trying a 650B conversion but haven't gotten around to it. Seems like it would be more cost effective to convert an old school rigid MTB frame to a sorta-gravel-ish drop bar bike.

My only concern with squeezing fatties into bikes built for skinny tires is the handling -- besides the risk of tire rub on the frames. Tire rub on chainstays of steel frames is no big deal -- it's just like riding with dragging brakes. But I have a couple of pre-owned carbon fiber road frames on which previous owners apparently tried to squeeze in 700x28 or wider tires without regard to alignment, dishing or ... pretty much any tech considerations at all. I'm not sure how they managed to ride the bike with the rear tire rubbing so obviously against the chain stays. Fortunately they only rubbed the paint, no apparently structural damage. But you'd think they'd have noticed the sensation of riding with dragging tires in pursuit of a "nicer" ride.

I *can* squeeze Continental SpeedRides into my Univega Via Carisma, but only because the nominally 700x42 tires actually measure closer to 700x38. Anything wider hinders the swing of the front derailleur.

The problem is all my good double wall wheels are 622x14 or so, intended for racy bikes and skinny tires. Sure, I can fit the fatter tires on the skinny wheels. But the handling is sketchy at speed on curves, especially on rippled and rough pavement. Too much tire overhanging those skinny rims.

I need to get some 622x19 or wider rims and try again. Meanwhile I'm maxed out at 700x32 Conti Contact Speed tires on the Univega, which ride about like lead filled garden hose. Durable, puncture resistant, decent grip, but harsh at full pressure and sluggish at reduced pressure. Not fun.
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Old 04-09-21, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Interesting project. I keep thinking of trying a 650B conversion but haven't gotten around to it. Seems like it would be more cost effective to convert an old school rigid MTB frame to a sorta-gravel-ish drop bar bike.

My only concern with squeezing fatties into bikes built for skinny tires is the handling -- besides the risk of tire rub on the frames. Tire rub on chainstays of steel frames is no big deal -- it's just like riding with dragging brakes. But I have a couple of pre-owned carbon fiber road frames on which previous owners apparently tried to squeeze in 700x28 or wider tires without regard to alignment, dishing or ... pretty much any tech considerations at all. I'm not sure how they managed to ride the bike with the rear tire rubbing so obviously against the chain stays. Fortunately they only rubbed the paint, no apparently structural damage. But you'd think they'd have noticed the sensation of riding with dragging tires in pursuit of a "nicer" ride.

I *can* squeeze Continental SpeedRides into my Univega Via Carisma, but only because the nominally 700x42 tires actually measure closer to 700x38. Anything wider hinders the swing of the front derailleur.

The problem is all my good double wall wheels are 622x14 or so, intended for racy bikes and skinny tires. Sure, I can fit the fatter tires on the skinny wheels. But the handling is sketchy at speed on curves, especially on rippled and rough pavement. Too much tire overhanging those skinny rims.

I need to get some 622x19 or wider rims and try again. Meanwhile I'm maxed out at 700x32 Conti Contact Speed tires on the Univega, which ride about like lead filled garden hose. Durable, puncture resistant, decent grip, but harsh at full pressure and sluggish at reduced pressure. Not fun.
Nothing like super heavy, invincible tires to feel like walking around with 20 lb ankle weights. I can abide them, and I am spoiled with Racy McRaceFace 200-230g 23-25mm tires as far as rotational mass/weight/whatever goes. For the larger tires, anywhere around 300g or the low 300s is a good number. At nearly 400g, I have no problem with the 48s as they are massive and felt fine when rolling along. Thankfully, the long chainstays of the 620 allow full FD movement into the small ring, with plenty of room to spare. Chain line even works. Now, all of that with an appropriate fender is likely a different story.

I don't how people, on very nice and expensive bikes, don't notice that sort of thing. Tire drag can easily be felt, and it's really annoying! But then again, I do see people take off from a light or stop sign in the 50-11 combo, apparently without blowing out their knees, so what do I know?
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Old 04-09-21, 05:02 PM
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700 x 38c gives your a circumference of 2192 mm

650b x 50c gives you a circumference 2149 mm

https://www.bikecalc.com/wheel_size_math

For what it's worth, Heine likes 650b better when running fat tires:
https://www.renehersecycles.com/how-...should-i-ride/

I don't know if there's a vintage bike out there that can give anything much wider than a 38c. But you can get to your desired width running 650b. But you already know that.
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Old 04-09-21, 05:52 PM
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We are going for max circumferenceage and girthage. Maximum bossage. Anything less is failure of the partially-semi-highest magnitude AND order. Large 650x50s are still closer to 2" inches(!) less in diameter. Not enough. It may proportionally work for smaller frames, but we're talking rolling scaffolding here. Iowa Class.

48s...


...and I'm gonna keep it there!
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Old 04-09-21, 06:20 PM
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Is there any information about how different circumference wheels match up by width? For instance, does a 700cx38 = a 650bx42 in terms of flotation, etc.
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Old 04-09-21, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by beicster View Post
Is there any information about how different circumference wheels match up by width? For instance, does a 700cx38 = a 650bx42 in terms of flotation, etc.
The link bikemig gave above can make the circumference calculations that you might be looking for. I'm not 100% sure if that addresses "flotation".
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Old 04-09-21, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
We are going for max circumferenceage and girthage. Maximum bossage. Anything less is failure of the partially-semi-highest magnitude AND order. Large 650x50s are still closer to 2" inches(!) less in diameter. Not enough. It may proportionally work for smaller frames, but we're talking rolling scaffolding here. Iowa Class.
Some kidding aside...
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Old 04-09-21, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mhespenheide View Post
The link bikemig gave above can make the circumference calculations that you might be looking for. I'm not 100% sure if that addresses "flotation".
I suppose there's always math that can be done to figure out volume of air per setup. There are probably some formulas. I don't know them. I only have a butt dyno for such analysis.
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Old 04-09-21, 09:14 PM
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I like fat tire bikes, not necessarily 29rs but fat tires.

I like 700c x 40mm and larger.

My single speed is the only bike that has smaller tires at 37mm


This TIG welded steel Maxwell seems a bit similar to your Nashbar but it can take these 700c x 50mm Big Apples. It goes just about anywhere except mud.
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