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26" or 700C

Old 03-24-14, 10:42 AM
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26" or 700C

Trying to decide between a 26" and 700C as several touring bikes come in both like the Long Haul Trucker.

Would love to hear opinions on your preference for a touring bike.
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Old 03-24-14, 11:14 AM
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where are you planning to tour? unpaved/3rd world , go with 26"

Paved, & riding where 700c-37 tires are common . go the other way .
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Old 03-24-14, 11:17 AM
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It would be nice to A/B test all the permutations. Instead of basing your decision on wheel size work back from your intended use. Your choice might not have anything to do with wheel size. Another thing is that handling may be very different between two wheel sizes of the same model, I found that to be the case with a 56cm 700c LHT and a 56cm 26"LHT.
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Old 03-24-14, 11:33 AM
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I built 2 LHT's last Fall for my wife and myself. I decided on 26" wheels for a few reasons. Next time we go overseas 26" is more readily available. I also find ,after riding them quite abit, it is a very comfortable ride. I am also running 2" tires.
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Old 03-24-14, 11:35 AM
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i ride a lot and tour some and have 26, 650c, 700c, and 27" wheels. all other things being equal, IME, the bigger the better.

and believe it or not, when after a series of poor choices and bad luck, i ended up with no tube or tire in a little dump of a town far from anywhere, with a "hardware store" that looked more like my late great uncle's garage, i found only shrader valved tubes, and one ancient 27" tire.

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Old 03-24-14, 08:18 PM
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I had a 700c touring bike with 700x38 tires and later I built a Surly 26" Disc Trucker which I run 26x2.0 tires on. The Surly is by far the more comfortable of the two setups and I feel like I don't ever have to worry about whether the bike can handle anything the roads throw at me. I live in Chicago and there are some roads here that rival the Third World in terms of there being more pothole than road surface. My trucker rides on Sun Ringle Rhyno-Lite 32 hole disc rims that are double-wall and triple-box. I've even taken the Surly off-road on some gnarly singletrack - something I'd never have contemplated with my 700x38 bike.
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Old 03-24-14, 08:24 PM
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The arguments go back and forth on this one. If you want to go overseas, 26 inch makes sense. Otherwise both work. I've toured extensively on 700c but I'd like my next touring bike to have 26 inch wheels simply for comfort. You don't tend to go too fast when touring and a tire that you can run at lower pressure is a little more comfy which after a long day in the saddle is a good thing.
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Old 03-24-14, 09:14 PM
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I have a surly DT with 26" and I wouldn't have it any other way. Real steel because you can generally repair it anywhere and 26" because you can generally find tubes in other countries that are not the U.S. Plus I have generally found that 26" tires are a bit more comfortable, however that is a variety of factors that is not just diameter. However something a little wider is good for handling.
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Old 03-24-14, 09:25 PM
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For a short person with long legs (standard female physique), 26" makes more sense. This allows for less toe overlap with the same tube angles.

For a taller person with shorter legs (standard male build), 700C is much better, IMO, but 26" works fine. The reason I prefer a larger diameter wheel is that it rolls over road and trail imperfections better. See the trend towards 29er (700C) for mountain bikes, which is driven by this improved handling of the bumps along the way. In years past, the selection of off-road tires and even wide on-road tires was quite limited. However, with the trend towards wider road tires and the advent of the 29er, plus renewed interest in cyclocross, there are plenty of quality tires to choose from when touring on 700C.
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Old 03-25-14, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
where are you planning to tour? unpaved/3rd world , go with 26"
^^ this
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Old 03-25-14, 11:46 AM
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It may all be in my mind but I feel like I go faster with 700c wheels and I like the looks of the more traditional taller touring frame.
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Old 03-25-14, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
For a short person with long legs (standard female physique), 26" makes more sense. This allows for less toe overlap with the same tube angles. .
This is one of the reasons I switched from the 700c LHT to the 26" LHT version, the main one being the handling was preferable/ more precise, but the second one was the toe overlap with fenders was irritating for all the stop/start commuting and right angle turns onto ramps and sidewalks I was doing.
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Old 03-25-14, 03:21 PM
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26in, are easier to origami into airplane legal cases.

and what everyone else said.

5ft nothing on a good hair day. 26in
Going to Central of South America 26in
700c vs 26in tire choice. Not as big a deal as it used to be.

If I'm going on a road tour without an airplane involved I pull out the 25in alu 700c touring bike vs the SnS steel erto 559 bike.
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Old 03-25-14, 03:38 PM
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Or pick Door No. 3 ..., 406 20" Bike Friday Travel Bikes .. knock down to a Suitcase filling fit.
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Old 03-25-14, 03:45 PM
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Helps me a lot. Seems like 26" is a safe bet. I was concerned there would be really strong opinions on the two but it seems like there is not a massive difference in ride quality. It's more about availability with a few saying ride is different.

I'm in the LHT 26" vs. 700 decision.

Doing mostly road with some gravel.
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Old 03-25-14, 07:35 PM
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I have experience with both 26" and 700c touring bikes. On average I tend to believe it is easier to find very good 700c tires that will roll a little better than 26". IME there are a lot more of what I call tractor tires in 26" than 700c. That said, I have tried to time rides on a little 11.6 mi. time trial course timing different bikes and with suitable tires there isn't much more than statistical variation. Bottom line is, pick the one you want for whatever your reasons are, just find suitable tires. Tires I have found suitable include Conti Sport Contact in 26" and 700c and Vittoria Randonneur Hyper in 700c. You may have found others.
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Old 03-25-14, 09:04 PM
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I can go to just about any WalMart on the US and find a 26" tire. It might not be the optimal 26 x X" you want, but it'll get you somewhere that does. 650b, 700c or 27", not so much. If you are one of the latter, you had better be carrying either an emergency tire 'boot' or a spare tire. Tubes are not as picky....
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Old 03-25-14, 11:44 PM
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My safari has 26 inch wheels, and big 1.9 tires on it. I like it. I don't see much advantage or disadvantage with a 700c wheel other than what people have mentioned as far as tire availability.
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Old 03-26-14, 01:14 AM
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There is less rubber in a 559 (26") than a 622 (700C) for a similar width tyre due to the smaller diameter so you have less rotating weight to push.

Mike
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Old 03-26-14, 02:29 AM
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Ride is better for sure on the 700C. Which is why so many MTB guys are using 700c. As far as tires are concerned, I would carry a folding, in case you run into trouble. I don't know where you would need to live to have easy access to touring tires in any size. So for me it isn't a big issue since I am not going to find it for either. If you find 700s it is either racing or comfort. And if you find 26" it will be a knobby. I would be most influenced towards the 26 if I was really heavy, touring abroad, or small in stature.
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Old 03-26-14, 08:33 AM
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Have you searched the archives? There is a mountain of useful information.
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Old 03-26-14, 02:43 PM
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One big factor: what size bike? 54cm and smaller LHT frames come only in 26".

I guess I'm saying don't decide on 700c if you ride a 50cm frame. 26" makes for much better geometry in that size.

You can usually find big touring bikes with 26" wheels, but the 700c wheels just don't fit small frames well, especially with clearance for fattish tires and fenders.
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Old 03-26-14, 03:04 PM
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I dislike toe overlap and am migrating towards 26" touring builds. I fit somewhere between 54 and 57 road size, depending on geometry preference, and find I get toe overlap on most of them (and ALL of them when adding fenders). Did I say I dislike toe overlap?
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Old 03-26-14, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dbg
I dislike toe overlap and am migrating towards 26" touring builds. I fit somewhere between 54 and 57 road size, depending on geometry preference, and find I get toe overlap on most of them (and ALL of them when adding fenders). Did I say I dislike toe overlap?
Same here, for road riding when I was young light and fast it didn't matter. The smidge of toe overlap with 25mm tires was irrelevant when riding 15-35mph because you'd never hit the tire at those speeds and angle of steerer. But at 5mph speeds with 35mm+ tires and fenders and full load starting off at a stoplight with an incline it's inevitable the wheel would swing around until getting up to speed which means with fenders you'd jam right against the fender struts. For straight line touring it might be tolerable but commuting I found it unnecessary and irritating. Going from a 700c to 26" LHT @56cm solved that. The 700c bike I have with no fender toe overlap problem is a wonderfully long and comfy Felt Cafe 8. Interestingly the Felt had similar chainstay and wheelbase measurements as a custom bike Roger Durham of Bullseye fame had built up as his road bike. Back in the 70's.. 44" wheelbase, 19" chainstays. No one is SoCal needs fenders but he said he liked the ride.
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Old 03-27-14, 06:38 AM
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And I've converted two of my light-touring road bikes to 650B (and maybe a third will switch). Room for comfy tires, maybe fenders, and no overlap.
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