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Show Us Your 650B Conversions

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Show Us Your 650B Conversions

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Old 05-26-07, 11:14 PM
  #1  
smurfy
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Show Us Your 650B Conversions

Any 650B enthusiasts out there?

With the cult popularity of the Rivendell Saluki/Glorius and the old French 650B wheel size promoted by Grant Peterson there has been a tiny movement to covert some older road bikes to this wheel size. The obvious advantages are the fitting of a fatter tire for a more comfortable ride and a more useful bike for commuting and touring (and arguably better looks). More info and pics of some cool conversions available here at http://www.freewebs.com/650b.

650B rocks! However I have doubts that this thread will be very popular.

Here are my pics of my '88 Schwinn Le Tour 650B that is also a three-speed conversion:
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Old 05-27-07, 05:51 AM
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nlerner
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Very nice! I converted a Raleigh Competition GS though it's currently back to original spec and the parts will go on a new 650B frameset once I get around to buying it (a Kogswell P/R). I really like the ride with these wheels--quick and comfortable.

Neal
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Old 05-27-07, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Very nice! I converted a Raleigh Competition GS though it's currently back to original spec and the parts will go on a new 650B frameset once I get around to buying it (a Kogswell P/R). I really like the ride with these wheels--quick and comfortable.

Neal

Could you tell me where I can get fenders like the one pictured on your bike? I have tried searching but must be looking in the wrong places.

Thanks
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Old 05-27-07, 08:18 AM
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I have a plan to do a 650b conversion... I just need to find the right frame. Also I would love to find a set of vintage rims (or wheels) for the project. The vintage stuff is just so hard to get in the states. Velo orange sells a new set of rims for around $150... perfect for a daily rider and to see what frames might work for a conversion.

Brakes are another issue... I want to use centerpulls and I think MAFAC will work, but that depends on the frame also.

The OP's conversion looks great... it seems the bike was made for it!
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Old 05-27-07, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Freud
Could you tell me where I can get fenders like the one pictured on your bike? I have tried searching but must be looking in the wrong places.

Thanks
Those are Bluemels no-weight alloy mudguards that were originally on a 1949 Raleigh Clubman. I think you need a time machine to find them though I have seen Hilary Stone sell a pair on eBay in the last year or so.

Neal
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Old 05-27-07, 09:03 AM
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Noah Scape
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I found this Nishiki Prestige on the curb last spring. I had a set of 650B wheels that were from an 80s Schwinn MTB. I set it up for my 10 year old daughter.

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Old 05-27-07, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Noah Scape
I found this Nishiki Prestige on the curb last spring. I had a set of 650B wheels that were from an 80s Schwinn MTB. I set it up for my 10 year old daughter.
Nice fenders (yeah, I'm bumping this up. Preaching the 650B gospel, can't help myself!).

Speaking of fenders, if you haven't noticed, 650B seems to be meant for them.

They just go together, like a beautiful woman and a little black dress! (sigh)
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Old 05-27-07, 03:39 PM
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Smurfy, I like it! Great idea and wonderful creativity. It's sort of a more modern version of the '60s Schwinn Traveler. Modern timeless with a twist. Just one question: Did this version of Le Tour have 700c wheels originally? Brake reach seemed to be no problem.
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Old 05-27-07, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
Smurfy, I like it! Great idea and wonderful creativity. It's sort of a more modern version of the '60s Schwinn Traveler. Modern timeless with a twist. Just one question: Did this version of Le Tour have 700c wheels originally? Brake reach seemed to be no problem.
Thanks, pastorbob!

Yes I think it did originally have 700c wheels although I got this as a frame/fork only in a trade. The brakes are not original. They are the old Aultenburger dual-pivot calipers.

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Old 05-28-07, 02:54 AM
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So, why 650B instead of the slightly more common 650A, otherwise known as 26x1 3/8? There is only a few mm difference and in the pictures, they look the same.
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Old 05-28-07, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Pompiere
So, why 650B instead of the slightly more common 650A, otherwise known as 26x1 3/8? There is only a few mm difference and in the pictures, they look the same.
That's a good question and I'll try to answer that although I'm no expert on the subject.

650B was the tire of choice for the fine and expensive hand-built French "constructeur" (spelling) touring cycles of the '40s and '50s such as the Alex Singer and Rene Herse. This was the golden age of European touring and raundoneuring. Also this was the days of the so-called post-war technical trials which the constructeurs built and showed off thier finest bicycles, racks, lights, etc. This was at the time when gasoline in Europe was scarce and before the automobile became popular among the masses. Today millions of utility bikes in Europe and Japan still use 650B but that size has never been popular in North America so it is new to many of us Americans. 650B tires traditionally have been fatter for a smoother ride over rough post-war European roads.

650A (26 x 1 3/8) is I believe a British invention and mainly used of course on the millions of English 3-speeds and in North America on cheap 10-speeds of the '70's and other assorted kids bikes. Usually the only tires available were cheap black and gumwall tires in 1 3/8 or 1 3/4 (?) found in K-mart or whatever.

Within the past couple of years quality rims and tires have now become available for both 650B and 650A. Millions of 3-speed bikes are still in service and some people have been wanting to update and upgrade these bikes for sentimental value, to make them more ridable, etc. Utility and practical commuting bikes are becoming more popular now so I hope both wheel sizes take off. 650A is cool, too.

Hope that helps. I wish a real expert like Jan Heine of Vintage Bicycle Quarterly can chime in here.
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Old 05-28-07, 08:29 AM
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I agree that tire availability in the US is a key difference between 650A and 650B. It seems that in Japan, the major manufacturers are offering plenty of 650A goodness, they're very hard to find here. There's not exactly a bonanza of 650B offerings, but you have some choice as to width (from 32mm to 50mm), casing, tread, psi.

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Old 05-28-07, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Pompiere
So, why 650B instead of the slightly more common 650A, otherwise known as 26x1 3/8?
The same reason that Schwinn decided to use 597 (S-6) instead of 590 (650A).

tires = money

It's S-6 all over again.

For the record, Kogswell is pro 650A.
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Old 05-28-07, 08:38 PM
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That Schwinn literally looks like it rolled off the assembly line that way! Very nice conversion. Not my personal choice of bars, but it's a beautiful bike!! Nicely done!,,,,BD
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Old 05-28-07, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
Smurfy, I like it! Great idea and wonderful creativity. It's sort of a more modern version of the '60s Schwinn Traveler. Modern timeless with a twist. Just one question: Did this version of Le Tour have 700c wheels originally? Brake reach seemed to be no problem.
I bought a frame and fork 86 or 87 Le Tour that had the brakes still on it. I tried slipping a 700 wheel into the front forks, and the Sante brakes wouldn't reach, not even at the bottom of the slot. A 27" wheel lined right up, however. Oddly enough I put the same brakes on my Prelude, and it fit a 700 wheel with hardly any adjustment. I guess the 700/27 switch happened while the same decals were being used? Either that, or Schwinn made different sized frames/forks for the separate models?,,,,BD
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Old 05-28-07, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikedued
That Schwinn literally looks like it rolled off the assembly line that way! Very nice conversion. Not my personal choice of bars, but it's a beautiful bike!! Nicely done!,,,,BD
Thanks! Admittedly the handlebars are from a cannibalized Adams Trail-A-Bike and are a little cramped. I was just anxious to get the bike together and they were available. I am going to buy a more suitable handlebar for it eventually, something wider and maybe a slightly higher reach.

I should add that I painted the fenders, stem and brake lever bodies at work with a spray gun (I'm an industrial spray painter by trade) and I mixed the color to match the frame using a couple of different blues. It's not a perfect match but close enough! Fenders are off a junk '67 C-Itoh (I think) women's frame 3-speed.

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Old 08-21-07, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by smurfy View Post
Any 650B enthusiasts out there?

With the cult popularity of the Rivendell Saluki/Glorius and the old French 650B wheel size promoted by Grant Peterson there has been a tiny movement to covert some older road bikes to this wheel size. The obvious advantages are the fitting of a fatter tire for a more comfortable ride and a more useful bike for commuting and touring (and arguably better looks). More info and pics of some cool conversions available here at http://www.freewebs.com/650b.

650B rocks! However I have doubts that this thread will be very popular.

Here are my pics of my '88 Schwinn Le Tour 650B that is also a three-speed conversion:
My 650B conversion of a Peugeot PX 10! I posted a thread about this on this forum! For what's worth, the bike rides like a dream.
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Old 08-21-07, 09:58 PM
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So what exactly is 650B size. Is it like the old 1 3/8's size? Somewhere between 26" MTB and 27".,,,,,BD
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Old 08-21-07, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikedued View Post
So what exactly is 650B size. Is it like the old 1 3/8's size? Somewhere between 26" MTB and 27".,,,,,BD
Its an old French size between a 700C road bike size and a 559mm 26" mountain bike size. The common vernacular would be 26 1/2. The metric designation is 584mm.
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Old 08-22-07, 02:04 AM
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Would there be any noticeable difference in the way that 650a vs. 650b rides?
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Old 08-22-07, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by le brad View Post
Would there be any noticeable difference in the way that 650a vs. 650b rides?
650A - the old 590mm size used on old Raleigh 3 speeds? I would think the ride quality wouldn't be noticeably different from a 650B but in practice the selection of rims and tires for the former size is pretty scanty these days.
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Old 09-09-07, 06:49 PM
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650A - the old 590mm size used on old Raleigh 3 speeds?
yes this begs the questions....

I'm hot to try one of these conversions... as soon as I determine if the frame (old Dawes Galaxy) is suitable, or I find another possibility.
The 650B is by reports, 588, right?
Well, wouldn't that 590 be about useable? Or does that number represent something else?
Would a 650B tire fit over a 590 rim?
(there seem to be a few 590's in the volunteer shop I work in... tho they may be old clunker steel ones?)
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Old 09-09-07, 07:10 PM
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650B is 584 ERD rather than 590/650A. Most 590 tires are built to pretty tight tolerance and will be too big for 650B rims. But for that matter the range of tire choices in 650B right now is much better than 650A unless you live in Japan.

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Old 09-09-07, 08:11 PM
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I have not tried this myself, but I did change my Nishiki from 27" wheels to 700c which allowed for fenders and 32mm tires. Well worth it!
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Old 09-09-07, 08:29 PM
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ah there is a good bit of diff between 584 and 590... my mistake.

now the trick is to find a decent frame/bike to work a conversion with.
My quandry?

To decide what the purpose the bike will hold... an internal geared (3 speed?) for commuting year round, or a real mule (derailleured) for hauling... so many choices.
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