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700c to 26" wheel swap?

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Old 01-08-19, 09:05 AM
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clengman
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700c to 26" wheel swap?

I've had my old beater winter bike out for a couple months now and I'm coming to the conclusion that 1) It needs a little spruce up, I have a lot of wear on a lot of components or 2) It's time to shop for a new bike.

If I buy new, I'm very interested in an "all-road" type bike like a Fuji Jari or Jamis Renegade. Budget is definitely under a grand. It's got to have drop bars. I'd be using it for year-round commuting (fenders are a must), solo touring with a full set of racks and panniers, and family bike camping trips probably towing a trailer.

One thing I've been liking about my old beater lately is the soft ride of the 26x1.9" tires, as I've been having some lower back problems lately. (this is a 20-year-old city/hybrid bike). I believe that it's possible to put 650b wheels and fatter tires on both the bikes I mentioned above. That would be fine, but the issue I have is that I'd like to use studded tires for winter commuting and the choices are pretty limited for 650b studded tires. I've only been able to find Nokian A10 and Schwalbe Ice Spikers in that size. The former doesn't look aggressive enough and the latter is overkill for my typical commute. I'd really like to be able to continue using the 45nrth gravdals I got this year. They seem to be a great middle ground.

My understanding is that the issue with going from 700c to 26 would be geometry-related, but I don't really know what the practical problems might be. Crank/BB clearance? Steering? Stability? Has anyone tried 26er wheels and tires on a bike like this? Any advice or suggestions?
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Old 01-08-19, 09:29 AM
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Doctor Morbius
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I'd double check the rear axle spacing before proceeding. 700C wheels often have a 130mm axle, whereas 26" wheels have 135mm spacing.
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Old 01-08-19, 09:31 AM
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Your problem is already solved by Surly. I think they still make the Long Haul Truck with 26" tire stock.
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Old 01-08-19, 09:33 AM
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The only issues I can see are;
1) you need discs
2) pedal clearance on cornering

Naturally your frame/fork will need to accommodate the girth of the chosen tyre.

Be aware you can find bigger tyres for your 622, such as road 28x2in, but again, frame clearance is your restraint.

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Old 01-08-19, 09:39 AM
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Make sure your brakes will actually reach the smaller radius rim.
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Old 01-08-19, 09:43 AM
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Your 20y/o beater bike probably has quick releases and rim brakes? The new bikes are likely disc and possibly using through axles? I'm not sure the wheelset will carry over from the old bike.

Both of the new bikes you mention should clear 40mm tires and there are good studded options in that tire range. I wouldn't write off the ride comfort available in a fat 700c tire before you take a test ride.
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Old 01-08-19, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius View Post
I'd double check the rear axle spacing before proceeding. 700C wheels often have a 130mm axle, whereas 26" wheels have 135mm spacing.
Thanks. That's not something I had considered.
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Old 01-08-19, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Your problem is already solved by Surly. I think they still make the Long Haul Truck with 26" tire stock.
When I looked at their website earlier today, it looked like they put 26" on their smaller frame sizes and 700c on the larger ones. But by google search I see that 58cm (my size), 26" surly framesets are available from some vendors. It's a little pricy but may be a possibility.
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Old 01-08-19, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Make sure your brakes will actually reach the smaller radius rim.
I'm looking at disc brake bikes for just this reason.
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Old 01-08-19, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
Your 20y/o beater bike probably has quick releases and rim brakes? The new bikes are likely disc and possibly using through axles? I'm not sure the wheelset will carry over from the old bike.

Both of the new bikes you mention should clear 40mm tires and there are good studded options in that tire range. I wouldn't write off the ride comfort available in a fat 700c tire before you take a test ride.
I would be buying new wheels. The wheels on my old bike need to be rebuilt or replaced at this point anyway. I think if I buy a new bike I'll be looking at disc brake bikes.

700c x 40mm might be good, too. My other bike is 27x1 1/4. It's not horrible, but certainly not as cushy as 26x1.9 with 55'ish psi.

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Old 01-08-19, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post
When I looked at their website earlier today, it looked like they put 26" on their smaller frame sizes and 700c on the larger ones. But by google search I see that 58cm (my size), 26" surly framesets are available from some vendors. It's a little pricy but may be a possibility.
I read they are heavy too. And handle like a truck. But who cares if it is so comfortable.
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Old 01-08-19, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I read they are heavy too. And handle like a truck. But who cares if it is so comfortable.
Comfort will be the name of game for this bike. I don't need to go anywhere too fast. I'm happy rolling along at 15-17mph.
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Old 01-08-19, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post
I'm looking at disc brake bikes for just this reason.
Is the frame designed to use disk brakes? Disk brake mounts put a lot of stress on the frame and fork, and if the tubing is not sturdy enough to accommodate that stress, the frame can be damaged.

When I converted my wife's bike from 700C to 650B, I found some long reach, dual pivot calipers from Tektro that work well.

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Old 01-08-19, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Is the frame designed to use disk brakes? Disk brake mounts put a lot of stress on the frame and fork, and if the tubing is not sturdy enough to accommodate that stress, the frame can be damaged.
Yes. Both bikes I mentioned at the top of the thread come with disc brakes.
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Old 01-08-19, 10:28 AM
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The geometry is not really going to change. The axle centers are in the same places relative to the tire footprint. As long as the wheel tire combo fits, I don't know why not ...
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Old 01-08-19, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post
I would be buying new wheels. The wheels on my old bike need to be rebuilt or replaced at this point anyway. I think if I buy a new bike I'll be looking at disc brake bikes.

700c x 40mm might be good, too. My other bike is 27x1 1/4. It's not horrible, but certainly not as cushy as 26x1.9 with 55'ish psi.
Buying new wheels just to use the 26x1.9" studded tires seems false economy to me. I keep hearing how 26" tire selection is diminishing, while 650B tire selection is increasing.


Originally Posted by BrocLuno View Post
The geometry is not really going to change. The axle centers are in the same places relative to the tire footprint. As long as the wheel tire combo fits, I don't know why not ...
Not quite. The axle centers will be closer to the tire footprint. That will affect trail and BB/crank clearance (both will decrease). Going from 700Cx40 to 26x1.9 will bring the axles 23mm closer to the ground. Even 650Bx47 is 10mm larger radius than 26x1.9. That doesn't mean it won't work, but it's worth adding up the BB height and putting numbers into a trail calculator to see where everything will end up and deciding if it would be OK.
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Old 01-08-19, 12:07 PM
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I did the opposite on a drop bar conversion. Trail and such we’re not noticible. Your brakes are going to need to have a reach somewhere 95-105 mm. I would check that carefully if keeping the rim brakes. If moving on to disk on the same frame - can the forks and stays handle the added stress?
I have considered moving to a 650b on that bike, using two sets of tires for a dual purpose commuter and cross/gravel bike.
Oddly, despite some back issues I barely noticed the difference from 1.5” (35) smooth tread to 28mm width tires.
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Old 01-08-19, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
Buying new wheels just to use the 26x1.9" studded tires seems false economy to me. I keep hearing how 26" tire selection is diminishing, while 650B tire selection is increasing.
It's really not as much a matter of economy as it is of choice. If I get a new bike with 700c or 650b I will sell my gravdals on craigslist and recover at least some of my original cost for them. If there were better choices for 650b studded tires I wouldn't have a problem going that route. 26" tire selection may be diminishing, but they're certainly not going away anytime soon. I still have a decent selection of 27" tires for my Schwinn and they've been obsolete for ??? years?




Not quite. The axle centers will be closer to the tire footprint. That will affect trail and BB/crank clearance (both will decrease). Going from 700Cx40 to 26x1.9 will bring the axles 23mm closer to the ground. Even 650Bx47 is 10mm larger radius than 26x1.9. That doesn't mean it won't work, but it's worth adding up the BB height and putting numbers into a trail calculator to see where everything will end up and deciding if it would be OK.
Good point. It's worth looking into.
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Old 01-08-19, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by FlMTNdude View Post
I did the opposite on a drop bar conversion. Trail and such we’re not noticible. Your brakes are going to need to have a reach somewhere 95-105 mm. I would check that carefully if keeping the rim brakes. If moving on to disk on the same frame - can the forks and stays handle the added stress?


Both the new bikes I'm looking at right now (as well as a few on Bikes Direct) come with disc brakes standard. My current bike has cantilever brakes and 26" tires.

I have considered moving to a 650b on that bike, using two sets of tires for a dual purpose commuter and cross/gravel bike.
Oddly, despite some back issues I barely noticed the difference from 1.5” (35) smooth tread to 28mm width tires.
I definitely notice the difference between the 27 x 1 1/4 (32mm) tires on my schwinn and the 26 x 1.9" tires on my hybrid bike.
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Old 01-08-19, 05:50 PM
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I've done a 700C to 26" on my wife's Redline Conquest Sport and she was very happy with it. Her bike is very small (44CM size) and the smaller wheels got her standover where she wanted it and look more proportionate to her bike. I used MTB wheels and mechanical disk brakes. Redline used a 132.5 compromise rear triangle so MTB hubs were fine and I run 1.25" cyclocross tires so there is plenty of clearance.
Obviously your mileage may vary and it's worth looking for a 26" specific frame like the aforementioned Surly or a Rivendell. Alternatively consider something that can run 29" MTB wheels and tires since you can get 1.9-2.0" sizes and studs
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Old 01-08-19, 06:04 PM
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I did that conversion once (700c to 26 inch). Brake reach is one obvious problem. The spacing for the rear triangle can be dealt with (the frame can be spread if it's steel). One potential problem is that the crank may strike the ground when turning. Yeah I know you probably shouldn't pedal through a turn but if you do, that can be a real problem.
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Old 01-08-19, 08:54 PM
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Yeah, but it give you an excuse to run 165's and oval chainrings
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Old 01-09-19, 04:46 AM
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The 130/135 argument is dashed imo, since I put a 165 in my 135.

For a start it's not a steel frame, it's 7005 alloy, so nowhere near as malible. And for seconds it's a mult-link suspension set-up and I had to stretch both the chainstay fork and seatstay fork individually.

The natural spring of any metal frame will have no problems with either a 130 or 135 if its designed to run either one.
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