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Will road plus fade?

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Old 05-16-18, 09:28 AM
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JonathanGennick 
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Will road plus fade?

Spoonrobot made an interesting point in another thread:

Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Just as recently as 2015/2016 model year bikes were not able to take 700x45/40 tires. ... However, now that tire clearance has caught up to market/user demands, there's less reason to go 650b. It's still a good option but for a lot of users it makes more sense to stay at 700c and just use bigger tires since the frame and fork will now accept them.
Will the demand for and need for 650b road plus fade away in a few years as more bikes support wide tires in the 700c size? I rather like 650b and my road-plus tires, and am just curious what others think about the future of the whole concept. Here to stay? Or is it a flash in the pan?
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Old 05-16-18, 09:39 AM
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There are fewer frames that truly accept 700x45 tires than one would think. I've been compiling a list and it is very short if I sort it by that particular criteria, unless one goes custom or boutique. (Note: the All-City Cosmic Stallion does not have clearance for 700x45; that's an error on their website).

Plus, toe overlap with 700x45 tires is more of an issue than 650x47 or 48 - given how easy it is to swap with disc brake bike, and how common 650b is becoming in smaller size frames, I don't think it will disappear anytime soon.
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Old 05-16-18, 10:52 AM
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Yeah, it's still pretty rare for road-ish bikes to support really big 700c tires. Lots of bikes max out at 700x42, which in fairness is as big as you need to go for most gravel riding. To get more clearance, you often have to go with bikes that verge into oldschool hardtail MTB type geometries, albeit with 700c/29er wheels. I've got clearance for 2.1 29er or 700x55s tires on my Raleigh Stuntman. The Stuntman is pretty extreme bike with a 80mm BB drop, 50mm of fork offset and long chainstays. These measurements were the realm of custom weirdo-bikes only a few years ago. The even more MTB-like Salsa Cutthroat and Fargo can clear similar tires. Willier made that wacky but kind of cool drop bar, stainless bike that came with 29x3 mountain bike tires a couple of years ago. IMO, a drop bar build on a hardtail 29er+ like the Surly Krampus might make a great option for truly knarly gravel/singletrack riding.

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Old 05-16-18, 11:45 AM
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Its too early to tell about wide 650b tires. The 650b standard has been around forever, and likely will be around for a long time for touring and mountain bike (27.5"). But for the mid range (40-50mm), who knows?

In the last couple of years there has been a sharp drop off in availability of 26" tires. The ones left seem to be for cruisers and casual riding. Many of the quality 26" tires don't exist any more (and my local stores quit carrying them about a year ago)...
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Old 05-16-18, 12:34 PM
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Not sure why 650b would be a go-to for touring. 700c and 26"mtb sizes are extremely common around the world from what ive seen and read.

as for a reduction in 26" tires...there are still plenty of quality mtb and quality smooth models to choose from. At least there are plenty for what i am looking to do.
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Old 05-16-18, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Will the demand for and need for 650b road plus fade away in a few years as more bikes support wide tires in the 700c size? I rather like 650b and my road-plus tires, and am just curious what others think about the future of the whole concept. Here to stay? Or is it a flash in the pan?
im sure it will continue to be(since it currently is) a niche market.
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Old 05-16-18, 01:56 PM
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I bought a 650b bike this year and really love it, it's amazingly comfy for my older injured body and also much faster than I expected it would be. My averages on the same routes as my road bike are only about 1mph off road bike pace. My 650b's are slicks.
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Old 05-16-18, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
as for a reduction in 26" tires...there are still plenty of quality mtb and quality smooth models to choose from. At least there are plenty for what i am looking to do.
I don/t foresee the 26" tire size going away any time soon.

The Kid's bike market is still one of the largest bike markets in the USA, even if not the most expensive bikes, and 26" just makes sense for young teenagers.

And, where there is a market for cheap bikes, there is also a market for a few high-end bikes.

As far as wide 650b, it is hard to say, but it isn't a bad size, if it had a bit wider support. However, its biggest selling point is tire size compatibility with 700c road. However, I don't see a lot of people swapping between 650b and 700c road on the same bike.

I think we'll see some bumping back and forth between wide and narrow road tires. Eventually the roadies will probably choose either 25mm or 28mm. I don't think they'll go wider. And, while there are always people who wish to push the limits, there really is no need for a road bike to support 45mm tires.


The one caveat are the "Clydes". They are a segment of the population that shouldn't be ignored, and may benefit from road bikes that look like cross bikes.
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Old 05-16-18, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I think we'll see some bumping back and forth between wide and narrow road tires. Eventually the roadies will probably choose either 25mm or 28mm. I don't think they'll go wider.

Roads are getting crappier in the states by the day, and Trek already sells some very high end road bikes with 32mm tires.
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Old 05-17-18, 11:42 AM
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I was in the 650b camp until I test rode a Niner RLT steel bike. I like to ride faster with less work, so I lean more towards the 700c. Local guy has Midnight Special on Byways, and is turning in some really fast averages. dudes a beast though.

Drop that average ride speed down to 15-16 mph (for me) and yeah Road Plus sounds super fun. Where I stand.... the put off isn't in the tire size, the put off is in the availability of higher end frames with a higher BB more suited for road plus riding. I don't want a 4130 frame. Or a 26 lb bike for road plus riding. Neither do I want to buy a $5,000 frame set.

the road plus has been a will it fit my bike approach, Hopefully we will start seeing more 650b specifically designed bikes, like the Midnight Special, hitting the market soon!
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Old 05-17-18, 12:00 PM
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At 56, 700x45-55 is getting really wagon-wheel-ish, and also hard to fit in frames appropriate for my height.
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Old 05-17-18, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
The one caveat are the "Clydes". They are a segment of the population that shouldn't be ignored, and may benefit from road bikes that look like cross bikes.
This. I am a Clyde at around 350lbs. Bought a 650b wheelset that was 36h and cost me roughly $140. Running 47-50mm tires, these wheels survived things that similar 700c wheels would have failed at (i.e: falling forward on the front wheel after a failed manual attempt). The smaller diameter wheel is stiffer while the larger volume tire allows for lower pressures to absorb rough roads better, so that's a huge plus for me.
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Old 05-17-18, 03:21 PM
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Not sure why 650b would be a go-to for touring.
Me either, but its been that way in Europe for longer than any of us have been alive. Many standards have died, but not that one.
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Old 05-25-18, 05:50 AM
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I think 650b road tires were and will be here for years, even IMHE I think we have more options now than seven years ago I did my last 650b conversion. For example:
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/tyres-26-275-584-650b/
Dont forget Im talking from Europe.
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Old 05-27-18, 07:11 AM
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If you want to keep a road-ish geometry 650B is a better option. With big 700c tyres you run into toe overlap issues, and if you don't want super long chainstays you usually have to do something like a chainstay yoke, dropped asymmetric chainstay, or use a wider BB. And of course some of us want to run fenders, that makes everything even trickier.

So unless gravel and adventure bikes turn into MTBs in terms of geometry, 650B is gonna be here for a while IMO.

Personally I can't wait for more 27.5 drop bar frames with 2.2-2.3" tyre clearance to come out.

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