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700c on the Great Divide Trail

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700c on the Great Divide Trail

Old 03-20-08, 11:43 PM
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spons23
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700c on the Great Divide Trail

Hello,

I am doing the Northern portion of the Great Divide Trail (Montana-Jackson Hole, WY). I was all set to buy the 56cm LHT with the 700c wheels (I am 5' 10'') until this forum gave me pause. I still think it may be the right choice for me because when not on tour I like to feel quick when I am commuting and most riding I do is on pavement. If I was buying a bike for this ride only then 26in may be the best, but I am trying to think about my long term relationship with this stead. My Specialized Hard Rock collects dust because I hate the way it feels unless I am doing single track. I have never ridden on 26in. wheels that I didn't feel sluggish to me.

That said, before I embark on this trail I wanted to make sure I am not in uncharted territory. Anybody on this forum know about any experiences from tourers who did the ride with 700c wheels? Any thoughts or suggestions about the great divide trail. Currently I think I will purchase the 700c and place 42mm tires on it however I now I am very nervous and unsure.

Thanks,

Luke
Ocean Beach, CA
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Old 03-20-08, 11:54 PM
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if you ride 700c wheels they might collapse like dying stars. you'll be pulled through a wormhole... or something.
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Old 03-20-08, 11:59 PM
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Being pulled through a wormhole could be a good thing. (I wonder if I will still be able to post to bikeforum?)
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Old 03-21-08, 10:10 AM
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What are you exactly nervous about? Finding a replacement if you break a rim?
I biked from Alaska to Panama on 700C and didn't have any problems, granted finding a 700 rim with disc mounts in Nicaragua wasn't easy, but I did it
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Old 03-21-08, 10:22 AM
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I guess what I am worried about is that this trip is 90% unpaved roads. It is kind of difficult to tell exactly how rugged the route is from photos. What I have seen from photos is that everyone appears to be on Mountain bikes with 26in. tires. The handling is a just a small concern in choosing 700c over 26in tires.
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Old 03-21-08, 10:29 AM
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Go with the 56cm Surly if it fits. You can put 29x1.95" off road tires and still have decent clearance. I would even take it on some of the mountain bike trails I ride my MTB with.
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Old 03-21-08, 11:04 AM
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Luke,
Look at all of the 29er (same as 700c) mtbs out there and that should increase your confidence in bigger hoops. There are plenty of 700c rims and tires that would work for you. Here is one rim: http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...5&category=147

FYI, smaller diameter rims don't mean you will go slower so that would not be a reason to steer away from 26" wheels. A lot of triathletes race on 650(c I believe) rims. For many years my only bike was a mountain bike. It had Mavic 517s and Continental Grand Prix 1" tires and it moved pretty good.

Don't take this wrong, but your arguments for and against sound more like a personal bias. If you like the LHT, you should get it.
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Old 03-21-08, 12:05 PM
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No offense taken. It is total personal bias. I know they are some frames (Surly Karate Monkey) that support both 700c and 29in wheels. Maybe I should ride one of those and see how it feels with each set of wheels. I definetly do not enjoy breaking spokes on tour so I would like to avoid that.

Are there other frames that support both wheel sizes?
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Old 03-21-08, 12:11 PM
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700C is a 29" wheel. Same wheel. The Karate Monkey is going to have geometry towards offroad riding. But should ride fine on the road too.

If you are looking for a bike you can ride more aggressively offroad after the tour, get something like a Karate Monkey, just keep in mind the chainstays on the KM are 1.1" shorter.

The fork on the KM is going to be stronger for offroad riding as well compared to a LHT, but if fireroad riding is as offroad as the bike will go, then the LHT can be used no problem.
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Old 03-21-08, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by spons23 View Post
both 700c and 29in wheels...
Are there other frames that support both wheel sizes?
They are essentialy the same size. A wheel labeled 29" is more likely to be over built for road purposes, and may include thicker gauge spokes and a wider rim
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Old 03-21-08, 01:33 PM
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So will a Long Haul Trucker take a 29in. wheel? I thought there were other differences.
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Old 03-21-08, 02:00 PM
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You seem to be focusing on wheel size by itself at the exclusion of all the other factors that make a bike suitable for different types of touring and road surfaces. It's 95% tire width, pressure, and type that determines rolling resistance, not wheel diameter.

Whether you go 700c or 26", I'd first decide whether a mountain bike or a road bike is more suitable for the tour (or perhaps some hybrid like a CX bike). A minor decision after this would be whether to go 29-er in a mountain bike or 26"-er in a road bike, both of which are possible and both of which have minor tradeoffs compared to the type of bike you start with.

Personally, for a divide tour that is 90% unpaved, there would be no way I'd take something road-bike based like a LHT. I'd recommend a hardtail x-country mountain bike with a quality short-travel front suspension fork with lockout.

- Mark

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Old 03-21-08, 02:06 PM
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700c rims work with 28er and 29er tires. You need to know what width and height tire will fit in your frame. Also the width of the rim section will determine the final shape of the tire a bit.

I used 700x47 Schwalbe Marathon XR tires on the Divide Ride with no problems except in the few sandy sections where a wider tire would provide more float. Do use as wide a tire as will fit your frame- More air volume helps handle the washboard roads and other rough patches.
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Old 03-21-08, 02:35 PM
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Arctos,
That is so good to hear that you did the ride on the 700's. The bike I am probably ordering (Surly Long Hall Trucker 56cm) can only support 42mm tires with fenders (45mm without fenders) but I think I am ready to tak ethe chance with the smaller hoops.

What bike did you do the ride on?

luke
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Old 03-21-08, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by spons23 View Post
Arctos,
That is so good to hear that you did the ride on the 700's. The bike I am probably ordering (Surly Long Hall Trucker 56cm) can only support 42mm tires with fenders (45mm without fenders) but I think I am ready to tak ethe chance with the smaller hoops.

What bike did you do the ride on?

luke
A Bruce Gordon RockNRoad.
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Old 03-21-08, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by spons23 View Post
So will a Long Haul Trucker take a 29in. wheel? I thought there were other differences.
The only difference is the hub width. For mountain bikes they use a 135mm wide rear hub and road bikes use a 120 - 130mm wide hub depending on the age and type of bike. The 29inch mountain bike wheels are just 700c rims laced to mountain bike hubs which are somewhat stronger and designed for off road use. Most of the racers on the Great Divide are using 29 inch (700c) wheeled mountain bikes. I would definately go for the 700c 56cm frame option if it were me unless it just is uncomfortably large. Just get some 38-45mm hybrid tires for the bike. The widest you can fit, and a triple crank and wide range cassette and you should be set for the Great Divide. Most of the route is on improved dirt roads and being able to run a wide tire at lower pressures will be very valuable.
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Old 03-21-08, 06:18 PM
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LHT takes 135mm hubs.
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Old 03-21-08, 09:21 PM
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The LHT has a low BB...That means somewhat low clearance. Don't know if this would make a difference but just raising the point.
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