Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Road Touring on 26" Wheels...

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Road Touring on 26" Wheels...

Old 09-25-16, 08:05 AM
  #1  
steve-in-kville 
UltraGardener
Thread Starter
 
steve-in-kville's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Lebanon Co., Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,591
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 294 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Road Touring on 26" Wheels...

Good morning, folks. As some have followed some of my other threads elsewhere on the forums, I am looking to upgrade from my Windsor Tourist sometime in the next 3 months. This project has been on the radar for quite some time. The Tourist has served me well, but I really need (want!) disc brakes, as I pull a BOB for heavy commuting duties.

I am a shorter rider, 5' 2". I am taking a hard look at wheelsizes smaller than the standard 700c. I've considered the 650b size and I took notice that the Surly LHT is available in 26". I would love to hear opinions on the pro's and con's of this size for road travel. Do you feel its slower? Is the bike harder to handle?

Thanks.
__________________
Windsor Tourist * BOB Trailer
steve-in-kville is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 08:20 AM
  #2  
prairiepedaler
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Jolly 'ol Winnipeg
Posts: 629

Bikes: BRC Explorer 43lb'er, Raleigh Elkhorn, Cannondale SM600, LeeWorld Mountain Sport Frame, Maruishi MT18 Frame

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
26" wheelsize is far more common worldwide than 700c. I too was looking at an LHT with 26" wheels for that reason. Although, I take a 64cm frame and 26" wheels seem disproportionately out of place to the eye, who cares really when performance and ease of spares is what matters. The smaller wheelsize is going to be the stronger too. What I'm doing right now (besides typing) is turning an old steel, long wheelbase hardtail Raleigh mountain bike into a quasi touring / packmule hauler. It's a practical and economical way (I believe) of achieving most of what an expensive dedicating touring bike can do, minus the expense.
prairiepedaler is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 08:23 AM
  #3  
saddlesores
Senior Member
 
saddlesores's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bangkok...and....Hainan
Posts: 2,993

Bikes: inferior steel....and....noodly aluminium

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 698 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
go with whatever bike size fits you.
bigger wheels are not necessarily faster, it's the weight of the
bike and the tires that makes the difference.
(i read an article in bicycling magazine in the 80's i think
that proved 24" wheels were the "fastest" for road bikes...
something about optimal reduced rotational mass maybe.)

Fact or Fiction? Big Wheels = Fast Wheels?

i've pulled a bob many miles with both 700 and 26. as far as my
untrained memory recalls, no real speed difference that could
not be traced back to how much gear in the trailer, and what
type tires.

get the 26 with some 1.5 slicks.
saddlesores is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 08:44 AM
  #4  
antokelly
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,269
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 150 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
good tyres is the trick look at compass tyres expensive but from what i've read they roll like a pro tubular tyre (tire) .check out there website some great info on it.
antokelly is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 08:45 AM
  #5  
steve-in-kville 
UltraGardener
Thread Starter
 
steve-in-kville's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Lebanon Co., Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,591
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 294 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the replies.

Now to make things complicated: If I go to a 26" wheelsize, should I order a frame that is a bit bigger? I've been riding a 43cm Tourist for the past 6+ years. If the wheels are smaller, my standover would be shorter.
__________________
Windsor Tourist * BOB Trailer
steve-in-kville is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 09:00 AM
  #6  
antokelly
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,269
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 150 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
Thanks for the replies.

Now to make things complicated: If I go to a 26" wheelsize, should I order a frame that is a bit bigger? I've been riding a 43cm Tourist for the past 6+ years. If the wheels are smaller, my standover would be shorter.
NO wheels have nothing to do with size.
antokelly is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 09:02 AM
  #7  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,928

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6833 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 215 Times in 179 Posts
No, "size" is a measured distance For Seat tube length Axis to top
Wheel radius may drop but the BB to ground distance
remains the same. Not lower .. Only drops in cases where the 27" wheel frame simply has someone put in 26" wheels

[& measured diameter of a 23 tire 700c and a 2" tire 26" is not that different,( measure for yourself to confirm) ]



just to mention... Even smaller wheel and an advantage is the 406 .. 20 " Touring travel bikes
made in Eugene OR Bike friday that 20 & the 26" are very common tire sizes.. + 20 even stronger than 26

BF has a further advantage , for the traveling cyclist, They made them to pack into A suitcase, so the Airline travel fee for Bikes is Cut.





./.

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-25-16 at 09:11 AM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 09:09 AM
  #8  
steve-in-kville 
UltraGardener
Thread Starter
 
steve-in-kville's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Lebanon Co., Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,591
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 294 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
No, "size us a measured distance For Seat tube length Axis to top
Wheel radius may drop but the BB to ground distance
remains the same. Not lower .. Only drops in cases where the 27" wheel frame simply has someone put in 26" wheels

Ah, makes sense. Thanks.
__________________
Windsor Tourist * BOB Trailer
steve-in-kville is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 09:42 AM
  #9  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 5,493
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 767 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 22 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
Thanks for the replies.

Now to make things complicated: If I go to a 26" wheelsize, should I order a frame that is a bit bigger? I've been riding a 43cm Tourist for the past 6+ years. If the wheels are smaller, my standover would be shorter.
Just for reference: our 4'11" daughter rides a 42 cm Long Haul Trucker, and our 5'5" daughter rides a 50 cm LHT. Both bike sizes only come with 26" wheels. I'd suggest trying to test ride the 46 cm bike.

Riding on 26" wheels has not slowed either of them down. As the other folks have said, speed has more to do with wheel weight and tires. Both of the 26" bikes are set up with a tough, relatively lightweight wheelset, and medium weight 32 mm (1.25") tires. My observation is that there is no disadvantage with 26" wheels. It is a little harder to find good narrow size road tires for 26" wheels, but that should not be a deal breaker.

The top tubes on Surly touring bikes tends to be a little on the long side relative to some other brands.

Last edited by Doug64; 09-25-16 at 09:53 AM.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 09:46 AM
  #10  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 15,132

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 107 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3611 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 58 Posts
This is a bit of a no brainer choice. In a small frame, there is a lot to be said for 26 inch wheels. If the top tube length doesn't work right for you on the surly, the soma saga is also designed for 26 inch wheels in smaller sizes.
bikemig is online now  
Old 09-25-16, 10:13 AM
  #11  
steve-in-kville 
UltraGardener
Thread Starter
 
steve-in-kville's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Lebanon Co., Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,591
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 294 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Just for reference: our 4'11" daughter rides a 42 cm Long Haul Trucker, and our 5'5" daughter rides a 50 cm LHT. Both bike sizes only come with 26" wheels. I'd suggest trying to test ride the 46 cm bike.
Thanks for the reference. I really do not have the option of test riding. There are no stocking dealers within driving distance. My LBS can get me any Surly I want, though.
__________________
Windsor Tourist * BOB Trailer
steve-in-kville is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 11:34 AM
  #12  
HTupolev
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Seattle
Posts: 2,744
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1188 Post(s)
Liked 27 Times in 19 Posts
Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
Do you feel its slower?
Not particularly. The main issue people run into with 26ers on pavement is that the choices for fast road tires are very limited. If you were planning on getting a thick touring tire anyway, this isn't a problem. And if you were planning on getting a supple high-performance tire... well, there's Compass. My bike with 26x2.3" Compass tires seems perform about the same as my Emonda ALR 5, at least cruising on level ground (it's a much heavier bike on the whole).

Is the bike harder to handle?
A bike that's been designed for 26" wheels should handle fine with 26" wheels.

Actually, since 26ers are usually built up with massively wider tires, if anything they can corner significantly better. Bigger contact patch gives more confident, consistent grip.
HTupolev is online now  
Old 09-25-16, 12:41 PM
  #13  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,796

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1236 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
...
Now to make things complicated: If I go to a 26" wheelsize, should I order a frame that is a bit bigger? I've been riding a 43cm Tourist for the past 6+ years. If the wheels are smaller, my standover would be shorter.
The bottom bracket height off of the ground on both a 26 inch wheel bike and a 700c bike would be about the same. Thus, standover height would be about the same for both frame sizes.

Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
... My observation is that there is no disadvantage with 26" wheels. It is a little harder to find good narrow size road tires for 26" wheels, but that should not be a deal breaker.....
Agree.

Wide variety of tires at 40mm and wider are available for 26 inch tires. For touring, that is just fine. But if you want a skinny tire bike with that wheel diameter, tire selection is limited.

I have toured on 700c and on 26 inch. I got rid of my 700c frame which had a bad shimmy. Now for touring have two 26 inch touring bikes, one Rohloff and one derailleur gearing. Quite happy with that wheel size and expect to use both of those two bikes in the future for touring. I have no plans to buy another 700c touring bike.

For tires, I have toured on mostly pavement with Schwalbe Marathon (with Greengard) in 40mm tire width. On mixed gravel and pavement have used 50mm Schwalbe Dureme tires (discontinued model) and on both 50mm and 57mm wide Schwalbe Extreme tires (also now discontinued).

I bought a Vittoria Randonee Pro tire to carry as a spare, but have not used it. But others on this forum spoke highly of that tire.

As noted by Doug64, factor in top tube length if you get a LHT. You might need a pretty short stem with a LHT.
Tourist in MSN is online now  
Old 09-25-16, 12:49 PM
  #14  
kingston 
Jedi Master
 
kingston's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Lake Forest, IL
Posts: 2,639

Bikes: http://stinkston.blogspot.com/p/my-bikes.html

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1079 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 15 Posts
You're all over the place @steve-in-kville. I thought you wanted a rando bike?
kingston is online now  
Old 09-25-16, 01:48 PM
  #15  
steve-in-kville 
UltraGardener
Thread Starter
 
steve-in-kville's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Lebanon Co., Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,591
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 294 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by kingston View Post
You're all over the place @steve-in-kville. I thought you wanted a rando bike?
I want everything!!

Seriously... I'm weighing all my options. Trying to find something that will check all the boxes. It's a wheel size issue, pure an simple. If I could find a rando bike that can pull the trailer, I'd be set. But that's easier said than done.

Yeah, your right. I've down so many rabbit holes the last week over this. I'm about burned out thinking it over.

Time to go ride my bike!
__________________
Windsor Tourist * BOB Trailer
steve-in-kville is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 02:46 PM
  #16  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,661
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1320 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 45 Times in 29 Posts
I took my World Troller all over Switzerland last summer, and never felt like the wheel size was holding me back. Mountains were holding me back, for sure. BTW, I'm 6'0". In some things, size matters, but this is not one of them.

alan s is online now  
Old 09-25-16, 02:47 PM
  #17  
bradtx
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Pearland, Texas
Posts: 7,580

Bikes: Cannondale, Trek, Raleigh, Santana

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 304 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Steve, For a small framed bike the 26", or 650B wheel size makes a lot of sense. Tires are nowhere as hard as 27" to source.

Brad
bradtx is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 04:53 PM
  #18  
Chris Pringle
Senior Member
 
Chris Pringle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: The Pearl of the Pacific, Mexico
Posts: 1,267

Bikes: '12 Rodriguez UTB Custom, '83 Miyata 610, '83 Nishiki Century Mixte (Work of Art), '06 Specialized Epic Marathon MTB

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
Seriously... I'm weighing all my options. Trying to find something that will check all the boxes. It's a wheel size issue, pure an simple. If I could find a rando bike that can pull the trailer, I'd be set. But that's easier said than done.
Unless you go custom with a Rodriguez UTB or Co-Motion Pangea (both built with 26" wheels) where you can specify most or all of your requirements, the Surly LHT/Disc Trucker is a great option for touring and even randonneuring. Besides getting the engine in tip top shape, careful tire selection for randonneuring will make the most significant impact on speed. For touring where speed is less of a concern, choose a sturdy (given the extra load) puncture-resistant tire like the very popular Schwalbe Marathon Plus.
Chris Pringle is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 05:10 PM
  #19  
Chris Pringle
Senior Member
 
Chris Pringle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: The Pearl of the Pacific, Mexico
Posts: 1,267

Bikes: '12 Rodriguez UTB Custom, '83 Miyata 610, '83 Nishiki Century Mixte (Work of Art), '06 Specialized Epic Marathon MTB

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I just happened to click on the Touring marketplace and found this CoMotion 26" wheel bike that happens to be in your size and not too far from your neck of the woods. It is a great deal with S&S couplers.

http://www.bikeforums.net/touring-bi...illy-area.html
Chris Pringle is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 06:58 PM
  #20  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,796

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1236 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
I just happened to click on the Touring marketplace and found this CoMotion 26" wheel bike that happens to be in your size and not too far from your neck of the woods. It is a great deal with S&S couplers.

http://www.bikeforums.net/touring-bi...illy-area.html
The frame size is too small for me. I am bummed.
Tourist in MSN is online now  
Old 09-25-16, 08:12 PM
  #21  
DropBarFan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,858

Bikes: 2013 Surly Disc Trucker, 2004 Novara Randonee , old fixie , etc

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 532 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 16 Times in 12 Posts
I'd definitely recommend 559 wheels for a smaller frame; you can buy tires (I read) as narrow as 25 mm/1" if you have the need for speed. 559 might look more proportional there also. 559 gives one the option to have S&S couplers; 622 mm/700C wheels don't fit into the case easily. BTW while I haven't tried hydraulic disc brakes, you might consider them since Pennsylvania has hills & rain.

I'm riding 56 cm Surly Disc Trucker with 559 mm (26") wheels. I recently bought the 50 mm Supremes on recommendation from another poster: they are light for the size, roll surprisingly fast, handle confidently & are the most comfy tire I've used on a touring bike.

That Pangea has a kewl paint job but no discs anyway.
DropBarFan is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 08:26 PM
  #22  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 8,878
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1087 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 38 Times in 30 Posts
I have toured and ridden both a 700 and 26" bike for years, the 700 a drop bar bike with 28s and the 26" bike a mtn bike with 1.5 slicks. Both ride very well and in this case, the mtn bike with 1.5 slicks steers quicker than my dropbar bike, at all speeds (but that is really more to do wth the frame etc, not the wheel size)
I recently have setup another 26" bike with dropbars , a Surly Troll, with a very short stem, 60mm, with wide tires 26x50mm and with a very similar setup to my 700 dropbar bike, it rides rather the same way. The speed might be a bit lower overall but then that I feel is due to the fact that it is a bit heavier and the 50mm tires are a bit slower than the 28 slicks--but really it is not a large amount, and could be very easily changed by narrower tires. In my past experience, tire choices can change how a bike steers, but that said, I like how the Troll rides.

As mentioned, 26 will give you more room for toe overlap and fenders issues, and one of the bonuses is that a 26in wheel compared to a similarly built 700 wheel is slightly stronger due to teh shorter spokes, but given that you want to pull a trailer, its probably not an issue.
djb is offline  
Old 09-25-16, 10:36 PM
  #23  
Timequake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: PNW
Posts: 230

Bikes: 1982 Univega Gran Turismo

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 128 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
26" wheels look cooler. /thread
Timequake is offline  
Old 09-26-16, 12:05 AM
  #24  
MassiveD
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,434
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Someone mentioned that there will be no difference in stand over. There may be, it just won't be predictable on wheel size. Some 26s may assume bigger tires than you would run on the road, so you could loose there also, but not significantly.

I run Schwalbe marathon slicks in 1.5". There are plenty of choices, you don't want to go skinnier than that, even the racers are drifting back to fatter tires since it turns out they are fast. Maybe not 1.5, but for what touring involves even 42 mm may be an uptick.

Why wider tires offer less rolling resistance - Canadian Cycling Magazine

https://janheine.wordpress.com/2014/...nd-fast-tires/

https://janheine.wordpress.com/2014/...e-is-too-wide/
MassiveD is offline  
Old 09-26-16, 12:16 AM
  #25  
Philly Tandem
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: SE Penna., USA
Posts: 1,095

Bikes: Santana Cabrio triplet, Santana Fusion S&S tandem, Co-Motion Pangea S&S, Co-Motion Nor'wester S&S, Santa Cruz Tallboy, Ellsworth Enlightenment Carbon, Niner EMD9, old-school C'dale F2000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
FS: Co-Motion Pangea S&S 44cm Touring Bike Philly area

That's my bike (well, my wife's). She is 5'2" and it fits her perfectly. If you get over to the Philly area you are welcome to take it for a ride and see how it fits (even if you don't think you want to buy it). What size frames are you looking at?

I have both 26" and 700c wheels on my various touring bikes. The 700c "feels" a bit faster, but I'm perfectly happy with my 26" wheels for touring too (I also have a 26" Pangea in about a 50cm size; I'm 5'8").

My opinion is to go with the 26" wheel, whichever bike you get. You can do a 700c in a smaller frame, but there are a lot of tradeoffs (like toe overlap with front wheel, for one). There are myriad choices in 26" tires, and they are readily sourced around the world, including in the middle of nowhere in the USA (Walmarts, etc.).

Last edited by Philly Tandem; 09-26-16 at 12:20 AM.
Philly Tandem is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.