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Most Common Wheel Size Globally?

Old 02-02-21, 07:37 AM
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I am hard pressed to find 26" mtb bike tires here in Cambodia. 27" is easy,
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Old 02-02-21, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
I am hard pressed to find 26" mtb bike tires here in Cambodia. 27" is easy,
Some countries/regions still have their idiosyncratic wheel preferences. For the most part, 26” (559mm) is still the wheel size of choice for touring in remote places around the world. 27” (630mm) may be abundant in Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia, but rarer than hens’ teeth anywhere else these days.

I think the pendulum is quickly shifting to 29ers (622mm wheel size or AKA 700c). As I mentioned in my previous post, it is now safe to tour in any developed nation with that size wheel. I would venture to say that by 2030-2035, it will no longer be a problem virtually anywhere in the world.

Then around 2040 when 26” wheels (559mm) are a long distant memory, the bike industry will start to rave about the great benefits of 26” wheels (559mm) - maybe with some little twist in new tech to them - and they will become popular again. LOL!!

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Old 02-02-21, 05:25 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
I am hard pressed to find 26" mtb bike tires here in Cambodia. 27" is easy,
I recall hearing several years ago that in areas that used to be French colonies that 650b (584) was more common than 26 (559) inch. Thus, I am not surprised that 26 is hard to find.

I am surprised that 27 inch is easy to find.
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Old 02-02-21, 07:53 PM
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The reason for 27" wheels is the amount used Japanese bikes shipped by the container here from recyclers in Japan. There are also a lot of 26 x 1 3/8 or 650c
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Old 02-03-21, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
The reason for 27" wheels is the amount used Japanese bikes shipped by the container here from recyclers in Japan. There are also a lot of 26 x 1 3/8 or 650c
I do not think that 26 X 1 3/8 is 650C, I generally find data from Sheldon to be spot on.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

26 X 1 3/8 was a very common tire size where I grew up in Minneapolis, MN in the 60s and 70s, there were a lot of British 3 speed bikes sold in that area with that tire size.

I have a vintage 3 speed in storage that I did not want to throw away, last used in the 1990s. But at that time (pre-internet) I was unable to find the obscure tire size for it for sale anywhere. But now that 650b is a thing again, one of these days I might buy a pair of tires and fix it up.
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Old 02-03-21, 07:02 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
I am hard pressed to find 26" mtb bike tires here in Cambodia. 27" is easy,
I don't believe you. Where are you looking? Or are you talking about places that sell tires but not bikes.

An unrelated issue. I have learnt there are shops here which sell to bike shops. Maybe you could call them bike parts distributors. They are even cheaper than bike shops. I know of two. They only have common parts. Bike shops get in less common parts from PP.
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Old 02-03-21, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I do not think that 26 X 1 3/8 is 650C, I generally find data from Sheldon to be spot on.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

26 X 1 3/8 was a very common tire size where I grew up in Minneapolis, MN in the 60s and 70s, there were a lot of British 3 speed bikes sold in that area with that tire size.

I have a vintage 3 speed in storage that I did not want to throw away, last used in the 1990s. But at that time (pre-internet) I was unable to find the obscure tire size for it for sale anywhere. But now that 650b is a thing again, one of these days I might buy a pair of tires and fix it up.
26 x 1 3/8 is not 650b but 650c
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Old 02-03-21, 08:08 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
I am hard pressed to find 26" mtb bike tires here in Cambodia. 27" is easy,
okay, it's been a few years since i've been to cambodia, but 5 years ago
there were giant brand bike shops, possibly one or two other brands,
both in phnom penh and siem reap.

you also have that yuuuuge bike market near the capitol guest house
at the orssey (?) market in pp, with gosh, hundreds of bike stalls, many
with mtb tires....even folding tires.

small towns and villages? maybe not.

Last edited by saddlesores; 02-03-21 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 02-03-21, 08:21 AM
  #34  
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The key point of my comment was:

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I do not think that 26 X 1 3/8 is 650C, I generally find data from Sheldon to be spot on.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
....
The rest of my comment was elaborating on experience.

To that you responded:

Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
26 x 1 3/8 is not 650b but 650c
Since you felt that the data Sheldon posted was in error, this is another source.
https://www.biketiresdirect.com/tire-size-chart-article

It lists 26 X 1 3/8 as 590mm, which it also lists as 650a. And it lists 650c as 571mm
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Old 02-03-21, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I have a vintage 3 speed in storage that I did not want to throw away, last used in the 1990s. But at that time (pre-internet) I was unable to find the obscure tire size for it for sale anywhere. But now that 650b is a thing again, one of these days I might buy a pair of tires and fix it up.
Interesting bike. Three-speeds are sort of a British (&Japanese) thing and 650B is more of a French (&Swedish) thing.

The common 3-speed tire is 26 x 1 3/8 a.k.a. ISO 37x590mm a.k.a. EA3 a.k.a. 26" Three-Speed a.k.a. 650A. Tires & tubes in this size are available down at my local Walmart. Specialized and Trek (Bontrager) list tires in this size. Schwalbe makes numerous models. Panaracer offers some beautiful 26 x 1 3/8s manufactured in Japan. Last year via the internet I bought two German-made Continental tires in 26 x 1 3/8. There are a bunch of obscure off-brands available, too.
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Old 02-03-21, 12:34 PM
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With an eye towards the special needs of touring cyclists, a quick note on the commonality of tire 'sizes': Down at my local big box stores, one can readily buy 700C (ISO622mm) tires - in a width suitable for common hybrid bikes. These 700C tires will not fit on your Pinarello Dogma F12 nor will they shod your 29er+ mountain bike, both of which also use '700C tires'. My LBS inventories 27.5" (650B) tires for mountain bikes that would not be suitable for randonneuses, even though all use ISO584mm tires.

I would never argue that the old days and the old ways were better, but if you have a bike that uses 27" (ISO630mm) tires, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a 27" tire that was NOT suitable for your rims & clearances. Same with 26 x 1 3/8 (ISO590mm).
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Old 02-03-21, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Interesting bike. Three-speeds are sort of a British (&Japanese) thing and 650B is more of a French (&Swedish) thing.

The common 3-speed tire is 26 x 1 3/8 a.k.a. ISO 37x590mm a.k.a. EA3 a.k.a. 26" Three-Speed a.k.a. 650A. Tires & tubes in this size are available down at my local Walmart. Specialized and Trek (Bontrager) list tires in this size. Schwalbe makes numerous models. Panaracer offers some beautiful 26 x 1 3/8s manufactured in Japan. Last year via the internet I bought two German-made Continental tires in 26 x 1 3/8. There are a bunch of obscure off-brands available, too.
I worked in a bike shop in the 70s before going to college, worked on a lot of Raleigh 3 speeds at that time, know them well.

In college one of my professors bought a new bike, he wanted $35 for his old one that he bought in Europe, drum brake in front with name I had never heard of before, Sturmey Archer drum brake in rear. It was such an odd bike that I decided to buy it for the novelty. Tire was labeled 1 X 1 1/2 X 1 3/8. Drum brake in back squealed terribly and was not very good, pulling the hub apart I found that my old professor had over-oiled the gears, lots of oil in the drum brake. Eventually got some new brake pads for it, that took several years but Sturmey Archer parts were not that hard to find. A bike shop sold me a 590mm tire and I could not fit it on the rim, it was too big, after blowing out about three tubes, put the bike in storage.

It was years later (internet era) that I learned about 650b, I had no idea that I had a 650b bike. Measured bead diameter, and I had about 1 mm off of 584mm, so the wheel was probably a bit out of true or some round off error from my measurements. It is in my list of bikes (to the left), the Perfekt. Heavy small diameter tubing, steel with welded frame, one piece steel crank, a utility bike at best. My professor bought it in Scandinavia when he was working on one of his degrees. Aluminum fenders to match the frame, with a small "hood ornament" on the front fender. Quill stem and steel handlebar are one piece welded together as a single unit.

Very weird bike, which is why I never discarded it even after I could no longer ride it.
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Old 02-03-21, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post


Very weird bike, which is why I never discarded it even after I could no longer ride it.
Sounds kinda cool. You should do a tour on it. Just because.
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Old 02-03-21, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
okay, it's been a few years since i've been to cambodia, but 5 years ago
there were giant brand bike shops, possibly one or two other brands,
both in phnom penh and siem reap.

you also have that yuuuuge bike market near the capitol guest house
at the orssey (?) market in pp, with gosh, hundreds of bike stalls, many
with mtb tires....even folding tires.

small towns and villages? maybe not.
Location: Kampong Cham

All of the bike shops sell mountain bikes. There are hundreds of people who go out exercising regularly on mountain bikes. Some have 26," some have 27.5," and some have 29", but 26" is the most common.

Another unrelated issue for those in Cambodia. When a foreigner looks at bikes in Phnom Penh, they ask stupidly high prices, and you are supposed to negotiate down to a good price. I just walk away. In the small towns, they ask the same price as when selling to the locals. You may get $5 or $10 off, but you basically get the right price to begin with.

Last edited by alo; 02-03-21 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 02-03-21, 06:05 PM
  #40  
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old 60s 70s Schwinns used 26X1 3/8...597mm ISO...........Raleigh used....26X1 3/8......590mm. ISO.....both are found in USA ....and are NOT interchangeable....Ive bought the wrong ones more than once........the Chinese Flying Pigeon bike is the most popular mechanized vehicle on the planet........currently 500 million ON THE ROAD........this bike uses ISO 635mm.....28X1 1/2......this tire size is used all over China India Burma...SE.Asia...Africa....old rod brake English bikes and on Dutch bikes..........REPORT : from a friend in Mexico.....NO 700c tires in in all of Mexico amigo
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Old 02-03-21, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by homelessjoe View Post
REPORT : from a friend in Mexico.....NO 700c tires in in all of Mexico amigo
That’s NOT true at all, señor! Your friend doesn’t know what he’s talking about. 700c for road and 29er tires can be sourced in Mexico very easily. Virtually all bike shops carry them. Worst case, you just order them on MercadoLibre.com (Mexican eBay) and you get them delivered two days later at your doorstep anywhere in the country.

By the way, here is a search result for 29er tires for MTB on MercadoLibre

And here is the search for 700c “hybrid” tires more suitable for touring bikes. By the way, Schwalbe also has distribution in Mexico.
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Old 02-04-21, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
Worst case, you just order them on MercadoLibre.com (Mexican eBay) and you get them delivered two days later at your doorstep anywhere in the country.
Cool, excellent, great information, but let's pause to note that we're posting on the Touring subforum, and for a cycletourist on a long journey, this crosses the river from 'common' to 'available'. I can get 17" (yes, seventeen inch) tires for my Moulton bike delivered to my door in a day or two as well, but no one would call them common.

I've opined before that if I were bumping down the road on a duct-taped tire knowing I'd have to spend a couple of days in a grim little hamlet in flyover country if I couldn't find a tire in the general mercantile, I'd want to be on 20"ers (ISO406mm). I'd think this would be the case in any country where children rode bicycles or where delivery/cargo bikes were in use.
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Old 02-04-21, 08:11 AM
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I wonder if the guy from ten years ago ever found his tires?

I haven't been touring overseas now for a few years, but I suspect the supply chain thing is the same everywhere in non 1st world countries, and even more of a reason to carry a spare tire.
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Old 02-04-21, 09:47 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Cool, excellent, great information, but let's pause to note that we're posting on the Touring subforum, and for a cycletourist on a long journey, this crosses the river from 'common' to 'available'. I can get 17" (yes, seventeen inch) tires for my Moulton bike delivered to my door in a day or two as well, but no one would call them common.

I've opined before that if I were bumping down the road on a duct-taped tire knowing I'd have to spend a couple of days in a grim little hamlet in flyover country if I couldn't find a tire in the general mercantile, I'd want to be on 20"ers (ISO406mm). I'd think this would be the case in any country where children rode bicycles or where delivery/cargo bikes were in use.
Yes. I think this has been the point of this thread since it was started a decade ago — helping hardcore tourers decide which size wheel to have on their bikes should they go on a worldwide expedition. Such tour includes developing countries and remote places. For that purpose, 26” (ISO 559) wheel is still king. I foresee for that to remain that way for at least another decade. As mentioned before, 700c tires and replacement parts (i.e., for wider rims suitable for rougher terrain) are catching up quickly though on worldwide availability.

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Old 02-04-21, 10:12 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
that link was from 2011.


this one works: https://www.icebike.org/biking-from-...-old-children/
Thanks for the link. Holy crap.
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Old 02-04-21, 11:23 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Chinghis View Post
Thanks for the link. Holy crap.
I read their blog 10-11 years ago. They experienced 2-3 major mechanical breakdowns all due to 700c rims they could not source anywhere. Rims were splitting apart along the brake surface. They were on V-brakes. I’ve read about some of the long, steep downhills in that part of the world that can be brutal on rims using V-brakes — rims get overheated then, suddenly, you might come across a cold creek/stream. Eventually, the rims end up splitting. Disc brakes do a much better job in that respect. The rim manufacturer in the U.S. was really supportive with replacements, but there was not much they could do with the shipping ordeals and local customs agencies not wanting/delaying releasing the parts - it was really ridiculous! IIRC, on their last breakdown, one of them flew to Miami to pick up the parts they needed and then flew back to South America to finish their tour. It was a lot easier, faster and cost-effective than waiting weeks in a hotel room for replacement parts to arrive.

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Old 02-05-21, 12:36 AM
  #47  
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I still think the 559 is NOT and never was the world standard. Only popular in the knobby MTB areas, mostly America, WalMart World and Latin America?? No clue about Russia or east Europe.
28"/ 622 was/ is the vast preponderance with one speed bikes in China, India, Europe. Africa and lots of other countries. Easily a BILLION of these. The low countries around Holland have 2% defaileur bikes still. If not 28"/ 700c, then 590 I would think. I'm not sure which is the SS standard in Vietnam, they certainly are 32/ 35 mm generally in any country.
584 is the new standard for MTBs in Asia, thankfully IMO.

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Old 02-05-21, 03:41 AM
  #48  
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Chris, I followed their trip partially also, they used to come on here regularly. I once offered to send them a product I use on my sti shifters because the husband's bike was having sti problems, or maybe it was after they got sti replacements back in the states, I forget.

The rim problems came from excessive wear, grit etc that is pretty standard rim brake issue, not heat\cold .
They also had a slew of spoke breakages, and couldn't find 700 spokes.
Hindsight is easy, but 26in bikes with overly built wheels would have simplified their trip a lot.
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Old 02-05-21, 04:57 AM
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I think two issues are being discussed here.

The most common bikes in Cambodia are second hand ladies bikes from Japan. The most common is 27". The next most common is 26". These second hand bikes can be bought for around US$50. They come into the country by container loads. People who want inexpensive bikes buy these.

But there are thousands of mountain bikes. People with a bit more money, and people who cycle for exercise, normally buy mountain bikes. Decent mountain bikes cost anything from US$150 up.

I have heard, the country which manufactures the largest number of bicycles is Taiwan. Many of these are exported to countries like America, Europe, and Australia. They are also sold in Asia. The same type of bikes you are buying in America are sold in Asia, and thousands of people buy them.
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Old 02-05-21, 05:20 AM
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The other thing that's really funny is how we're discussing the Vogel family's issues in 2021 in a thread that some random dude started back in 2011, about the time said family were schlepping their keesters through three years of their lives.

the mom did a Ted talk a bunch of years ago, really about getting off your arse and doing something, with a side order of showing/ teaching your kids about the world in a non traditional way.

wonder what they are all up to now
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