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Why is it so hard to find commuting bikes with 26" wheels?

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Why is it so hard to find commuting bikes with 26" wheels?

Old 05-14-08, 04:59 PM
  #26  
caloso
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Fixed gear hipster.
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Old 05-14-08, 05:13 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
Yeah, I'd like to make it to work on time, but it's not like I'm in a race. I mean, I don't think that most people buying commuting bike are evaluating two different size bikes going, "hey which one is faster?" That just doesn't seem like that would be realistic.
Well, that's what I did, but I guess that's just anecdotal evidence. It also probably has something to do with why I didn't choose any of the bikes marketed as commuters.
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Old 05-14-08, 05:13 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by ShadowGray View Post
For the same rotational input and width, the larger wheels are faster, because bigger radius = greater tangential speed.
Only if you neglect tire diameter, tire thickness, tire pressure, contact patch friction, air resistance...

Under real world conditions, there is no way to reliably demonstrate that one size of wheel is faster than another. Too many meaningful variables, no good way to control for all of them. So, there are speed records held by bikes with all sorts of wheels, from very small to very large. Also, there are bikes available with all sorts of wheels.

Since I'm female and have short legs even for a woman, I have a preference for 26" or smaller wheels. Smaller wheels means it is easier to get good geometry for someone with my build. My dad is 6' with very long legs for his height, and he quite reasonably prefers bikes with larger wheels. Both of us *can* ride bikes built to suit the other's preference. In fact his 27" wheel road bike is a fairly small frame, so it fits me. And my mountain bike would probably fit him.
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Old 05-14-08, 05:28 PM
  #29  
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Still not sure why I don't see more of these..

https://www.rei.com/product/760871
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Old 05-14-08, 05:30 PM
  #30  
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I ride 650B's on one bike, and 700x37 on the other.

The 700x37 Continental Top Touring tires I have on my commuter/touring bike are amazing. I run them at a range of pressures from 40psi up to 75psi. At low pressure they are comfortable on rough fire roads and trails. At high pressure they roll nice and fast on the road, but are still very comfortable. I'd say the wheels and tires are every bit as durable as the 26" wheels I used to ride on my commuter that was converted from a mountain bike... only these 700x37s have less rolling resistance than a typical 26" mountain slick.

My wife's bike has 650B wheels with Panaracer Col de la Vie 36mm (or are they 38?) tires. These things are comfy! They can be ridden between 25 and 50 psi. I've been riding her bike a bit lately for a change (good thing we are the same size!), and 650b are just fantastic. If you're torn between 26" and 700c tires, 650B might feel like the best of both worlds.
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Old 05-14-08, 05:39 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
That's weird. I haven't seen hardly any 26" wheel commuters in the bike shops. Most of the bike shops have 700c commuters. What brands have a 26" wheel purpose-built commuter?

Trek has 700c commuters
Specialized 700c commuters.
Swobo 700c commuters
Electra 700c commuters
where are the 26" commuters?

Oh and really wide 26" tires are good. I tried some Schwalbe fat apples in a 26x2.3" and they are sooooo comfy. Floating over any rough pavement is a breeze.
Well they do have 1 or 2 models.

Specialized:
Globe city: 26"
Globe centrum: 26"

Trek has the SU series.
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Old 05-14-08, 07:11 PM
  #32  
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How about the Novara Safari. I'm loving mine. Might look sluggish, but ask a few roadies I smoked the other day how quick it can be(panniers and all).
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Old 05-14-08, 07:26 PM
  #33  
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Um, KHS has a 26" commuter, the Urban X. Comes with kickstand, chainguard, rear rack, and fenders (though I would change out those fenders).
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Old 05-14-08, 08:19 PM
  #34  
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What about the Scott SUB 10? S'posed to come equipped either way, & has disc brakes....

I'd ride one if they made a big enough frame for me.
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Old 05-14-08, 08:41 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by squeakywheel View Post
Edit: 1980's steel rigid fork mountain bikes make good commuters. Find a nice used Specialized Hardrock or Rockhopper.
+1. I've been using an early 90s Kona Fire Mountain (steel, hardtail) now for years.
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Old 05-14-08, 08:44 PM
  #36  
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My commuter is an older mountain bike. One of these days I'll finish removing the more aggressive parts of it. I bet the 700C wheels are quite a bit lighter, even the cheap ones. That's an advantage, especially when you're carrying it upstairs.

Also, most of the 26" hard forks are probably made with suspension adjustment now.
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Old 05-14-08, 09:22 PM
  #37  
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Surley Long Haul Trucker has 26" wheels in sizes up to 56 or so.

However, I don't agree with your premise that 26" wheels are better for commuting. It depends on your road conditions. My commute is on well-paved roads with few potholes or rough surfaces, and I am very comfortable riding a road frame with 700x23-28 wheels/tires. My route is also very hilly. For me, the speed and relative lightness of a 700c bike greatly outweigh any perceived differences in comfort. I've ridden my mountain bike to work a few times, and the ride is much nicer (and faster) on my road bikes.
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Old 05-14-08, 09:29 PM
  #38  
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I've been using my 2003 Giant Rainier and my 2005 Raleigh M50-DX for three years now. I do have a 2005 Fuji Sagres (700c), and while it is also much lighter than the other two bikes, the difference in speed and going up hills is absolutely tangible.

The Raleigh has these wheels and Michelin TransWorld City 1.5" tires and it is almost as fast as my Fuji road bike. The wheels were purchased off of eBay and were merely novelty when I ordered them. Turns out they're built really well and roll like butter.

I still prefer my 26" bikes
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Old 05-14-08, 10:04 PM
  #39  
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I have a mid-eighties Japanese sport touring bike, which has a lightweight steel frame, 26" wheels, and gearing that is midway between mountain bike and road. I'm really happy with it - the fact it cost $5 at a church bazaar is a bonus (We won't talk about the $200 worth of new parts.... heh.) Eyelets everywhere, and triple ring that saved my sorry ass in a hilly ride into a headwinds today...
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Old 05-14-08, 10:11 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by ShadowGray View Post
lol, well you did say that all else is practically equal, with the same bike and width.

Of course different gearings would affect speed, but then again what's stopping you from putting the same gear on the 700c?
Because the result is a higher gear. If I have a 48x16 gear on my hypothetical bike with 26x1.25" tires, the result is 73.4 gear inches. The same gear on my hypothetical bike with 700x32c tires is 81 gear inches - more than 10% higher. That higher gear might result in higher speeds. Maybe. But if the gear is uncomfortably high, speed might suffer, particularly if there are lots of hills on the route. If you want to go faster with that 81 inch gear, you have to work harder. Besides, what's stopping you from gearing up on the 26" wheel bike? "Tangential speed" is pretty meaningless when there are gears to even things out. It's pretty silly to say that 700C wheels are faster "all things being equal," because there is no reason to imagine that we would ever keep things equal!

In any case, even if larger wheels did grant greater speed through size alone, I don't see how a greater capacity for speed makes for a better commuting bike. My commuting bike is my slow bike. Why do I want go fast on it? I can cruise along at 14 or 15 mph, and that works for me.

bellweatherman - I don't think you should be dissuaded from a bicycle with 26" wheels, which do make a lot of sense for commuting. There are lots of wide tires available and a great selection of tough rims. 26" wheels are great! Any speed difference due to wheel size is purely imaginary. 700C wheels are NOT faster than 26" wheels. However, most26" wheel bikes are slower than most 700C wheel bikes. 700C wheels are often found on road bikes, which are designed for speed. 26" wheels are generally on mountain bikes, commuters and hybrids, which are not so speedy. There are definitely fast 26" bikes out there and slow 700C bikes out there. An example of the former would be a road racing bicycle designed for a very short person. An example of the latter would be 700C hybrids like Trek's 7.X series. My parents have a couple of these. They have 700C wheels all right, and they are slooooow. My slow 26" commuter is faster! Just get whatever is going to best suit your needs. Don't worry about the characteristics assigned to wheels of most sizes. Most of them are pretty much imaginary.
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Old 05-15-08, 02:33 AM
  #41  
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My bike, the Swobo Dixon, with 26":

https://swobo.com/catalog/product_inf...?cPath=201_204

I wish it were made here instead of Taiwan, but besides that, it's the cat's ass.
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Old 05-15-08, 07:32 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post

I guess I like the fact that you guys say that 700c wheels are alot faster than the 26" smooth MTB tires. And seems like some of you guys think that 700c tires are just as comfortable. Ugh. Was I wrong initially to want a 26" wheeled bike?
my two cents: 700Cs have a nicer ride in general. If my commute was all open road, I'd go with that.

26" are better imo for stop and go and weaving through tight traffic. People say they are stronger; I say they're lower to the ground and shorter in bike length, all other things being relative (my mtb has a long wheelbase).

in other words, horses for courses.....sometimes 700Cs are best, sometimes 26"s are.
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Old 05-15-08, 07:34 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by squeakywheel View Post
Edit: 1980's steel rigid fork mountain bikes make good commuters. Find a nice used Specialized Hardrock or Rockhopper.
+1. My commuting/utility ride is an '05 Kona Smoke (before they went to "29s"), which is essentially a 1980s steel rigid fork mountain bike with modern components. In fact, I bought it because it reminded me of my 1990-or-so Fire Mountain which was my commute/ute for years in Montreal. Came with 1.25" City Slickers, but I may throw on something narrower at some point.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:14 AM
  #44  
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also - mtbs are big theft magnets - whether high-tech $$$$$ blingy recent models (stolen for perosnal use or resale) or low tech steel models with racks (stolen for restaurant deliveries).

One thing that will deter thieves, imo, is modding your mtb with a drop bar, or at least 1" slicks. The delivery boys want your mtbs for the flat bar/bar ends (to hang bags of food, or baskets from) and fat knobbies (for stability with heavy loads).

The narrow tires disguise your mtb - and they help you go faster!!
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Old 05-15-08, 09:27 AM
  #45  
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On the 700c v. 26" thing -- which is "faster" -- some of the comments above pretty much cover it. The answer, of course, is that it all depends. Take a look at Andy Blance's extended discussion of this on the Thorn Cycles website: seems to me a fair, balanced, and well-reasoned take on the issues. As implied above, a --inch gear is a --inch gear; it doesn't matter what combination of wheel diameter, chainring and cog you use to get there.
To the OP: there's lots of 26" bikes around now, not just mtb's (though an easy conversion to commuter), intended for use as commuter/on-road. Marin does three; Scott's SUBs; Trek's SUs (or whatever they're called this year); Giant has always done the Sedonas, and has added some new ones this year. Admittedly much more selection in Europe, but more and more available in NA as well.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:47 AM
  #46  
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26 inch wheel with a fairly common 2.125 is about the same circumference as a 700C X 25.

*shrugs* Same effective size if you ask me. I just get to soak up holes and can fearlessly smash into curbs with a 26 inch wheel. (I pay for that comfort in sidewall deflection when cornering and in weight, but hey I'm not RACING on my commute, so what difference does it really make?)

I don't think it is hard to find a commuter with 26s. Both of my commuters are 26ers.
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Old 05-15-08, 10:28 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Leiniesred View Post
26 inch wheel with a fairly common 2.125 is about the same circumference as a 700C X 25.

*shrugs* Same effective size if you ask me. I just get to soak up holes and can fearlessly smash into curbs with a 26 inch wheel. (I pay for that comfort in sidewall deflection when cornering and in weight, but hey I'm not RACING on my commute, so what difference does it really make?)

I don't think it is hard to find a commuter with 26s. Both of my commuters are 26ers.
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700c wheels are better 'cause there's more room for spoke cards. 27" better still. Everyone knows that.
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Old 05-15-08, 10:48 AM
  #48  
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I personally like the 700c over the 26" for my commute. to me it was like night and day... maybe others feel the same?
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Old 05-15-08, 11:04 AM
  #49  
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As Leiniesred pointed out, if you put a fat enough tire on a 26, it'll be as tall as a skinny 700 tire. I noticed this one day when I leaned my race bike (700x23) against my beater (26x2.5). Those fat 26's sure do soak up the bumps and if you pump them up, they'll roll pretty well, but don't expect to accelerate or climb well.
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Old 05-15-08, 11:30 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Mike H View Post
How about the Novara Safari. I'm loving mine. Might look sluggish, but ask a few roadies I smoked the other day how quick it can be(panniers and all).
+ eleventy billion. Mine's my favorite bike. Commuting,grocery hauling,bad weather,polo;it's been put through hell and been stone axe reliable.

When I was using it to play polo,I was running 1.9" T&C's,and it was plenty maneuverable. Another advantage to 26" wheels is tire selection. Sure,you can get fat tires for 700cc wheels,but how many shops keep them in stock? I can walk into any of my local shops and pick up a set of skinny slicks or fat treaded/knobbies right off the rack. You want some 40+mm 700's,or even in some cases regular cross tires,and you're stuck surfing the internets and waiting on UPS.
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