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Ideal Wheel Size ; 26 , 650b , or 700c ?

Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

Ideal Wheel Size ; 26 , 650b , or 700c ?

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Old 01-06-18, 03:52 PM
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pakeboi
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Ideal Wheel Size ; 26 , 650b , or 700c ?

Aloha ,
Are one of these wheel sizes better suited for an all-rounder on pavement when hauling groceries ?
Currently on a 700c with front wald basket , rear rack , and sometimes panniers .
Any advantage to 26 or 650b when hauling groceries ?
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Old 01-06-18, 04:33 PM
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dabac
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26”/559 mm still has a tire selection advantage over 650B WRT utility riding.
If specific handling characteristics aren’t a high priority I’d pick 26” or 700C before 650B.
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Old 01-06-18, 05:51 PM
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I think there are a lot of choices. And, it depends on a person's riding. Perhaps also a person's size. Distance?

Most of my riding is on skinny tire 700c wheels. It tows just fine, and can carry as much as I'm comfortable putting on the bike. The distance for my shopping trips add up.

I do have a fatter rear tire on my cargo bike, but generally only use that bike for heavy towing, and thus would have been fine with just about any rear wheel.

I think Yuba may put 24" wheels on the rear of some of their cargo bikes to lower the center of gravity. And, some front loaders use 20" wheels.
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Old 01-06-18, 06:11 PM
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now 26" wheel bikes selling for $200+ will cost $15 more, here . you probably wont get taxed if you are building it up from parts..
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Old 01-06-18, 06:25 PM
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I haven't noticed any difference in the quality of my groceries whether they were carried on my 20" folder or on my 700c road bike.
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Old 01-06-18, 08:23 PM
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No matter the rim size, all three of those generally come out to around 25-27" total diameter when the tire is factored in. So there's a lot less at stake here than you might think. 650B is probably the most expensive route for your grocery-getter.
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Old 01-07-18, 08:12 PM
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It really depends on what you mean by hauling groceries. I have 2 fixed bikes for grocery. One just has rear panniers and is meant as a short/small run getter. If need, I can use my Chrome Backpack for the extras. For big runs, I have a full pannier(ed) front basket(ed) bike that can take a grocery trailer. In both instances, they are 26"er's. Mind, with the former, it really doesn't matter much what ti(y)re size you use. Light loads or small runs don't put much extra weight on the bike to matter much. For me, with all the weight and pulling of all the grocery on a big run, I prefer 26"er's. Allows me to run more comfortable with less chance for puncture and the extra width of the ti(y)re helps overall with the pull of the load. Specifically for me though, I also get grocery by bike year round and it snows here. So for me, knobby 26 is always the answer.
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Old 01-08-18, 01:40 PM
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The main issue I've encountered with 700c is finding the right compromise between frame and tire size.

For my errand bike I want heavy duty, puncture resistant tires. That effectively makes the frame higher. So I'd need a smaller frame, if it's a bike with a horizontal top tube, or a compact frame bike with sloping top tube.

My main errand bike's compact frame is technically slightly small for me, but with the 700x40 Michelin Protek Cross Max (which actually run closer to 700x45), the effective riding height is just about right.

I occasionally use my older hybrid for errands. With the horizontal top tube and 700x42 tires, the effective frame height is slightly tall for me. It was originally designed for 700x32 or x35 tires. So it's a chore to hoist a leg over the bike with the taller tires, when the bike is loaded with groceries.

If I had to rely on my horizontal top tube hybrid as my main errand bike I'd probably switch to 700x32 or x35 Michelin Protek or Schwalbe Marathon tires. You wouldn't think that 1/4" to 1/2" height matters, but it does when the rear rack is loaded down, especially when stuff is stacked above saddle height.

If I intended to buy a bike specifically for errands and hauling up to 50 lbs loaded directly on the bike in baskets or panniers, I'd go for a compact frame with sloping top tube and 26" wheels. That way I could step across the top tube when the rear rack is loaded higher than saddle height.

And there's a good selection of affordable heavy duty 26" tires, ranging from the Maxxis Hookworms to the Michelin Proteks I like.
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Old 01-09-18, 11:56 AM
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It is easier to get frames for fat(ter) tires in 26". And fatter means more weight capacity. An old(er) steel mountain bike fits the requirement perfectly. And they usually have v brakes, which fit fatter tires easier than long reach caliper brakes.
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Old 01-09-18, 12:16 PM
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the Xtracycle long-tail has begun offering a 20" rear wheel , for the lower load center of gravity the wheel is stronger, and
the same drivetrain parts are lower geared, turning a smaller wheel ..

Then using a 26" front wheel for familiar handling, you can add front Pannier racks too..



...
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Old 01-15-18, 10:13 PM
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26 is still king in my opinion for hauling groceries. MTB tires have always been cheaper than road bike tires up until a few years ago. They also last longer and take abuse better.
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Old 01-15-18, 10:15 PM
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hmm. I didnīt know this. So by extension the smaller 26 mtb wheel is slightly stronger than 700c wheel?

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
the Xtracycle long-tail has begun offering a 20" rear wheel , for the lower load center of gravity the wheel is stronger, and
the same drivetrain parts are lower geared, turning a smaller wheel ..

Then using a 26" front wheel for familiar handling, you can add front Pannier racks too..



...
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Old 01-16-18, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Obeast View Post
hmm. I didnīt know this. So by extension the smaller 26 mtb wheel is slightly stronger than 700c wheel?
Not if it's built poorly!
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Old 01-16-18, 01:38 PM
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Generically Bracing asymmetry of rear wheels with cassette drivers is unbalanced by necessity. DS spokes tighter..

until the frame rear dropout, is wider.. tandems do that. adding left end width lets hub shell be centered under the rim....

a single cog freewheel hub wide spaced large flange, or IGH , has better symmetry more equal spoke balance..
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Old 01-17-18, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I haven't noticed any difference in the quality of my groceries whether they were carried on my 20" folder or on my 700c road bike.
This ^^^

I use whatever bike I have handy for grocery getting. I have bikes with wheels from 16" to 28"... The three most common are my Raleigh Twenty, Raleigh Sports or my Redline R530. Wheels are 406 , 590 and 700c.

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Old 05-07-18, 04:06 AM
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I think that I'll go to 650B. Sounds like a good tradeoff. That beeing said, I find that the tyre options are more limited.
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Old 05-07-18, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I haven't noticed any difference in the quality of my groceries whether they were carried on my 20" folder or on my 700c road bike.
The groceries I pick up on my racing bike are always fresher than those I get on other bikes.

Do you mind if the bread is smashed into the backpack?
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Old 05-16-18, 01:18 AM
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With current 1x11 wide range transmissions, the derailleur arm can go very low. Is it an issue with 26" or 650B ?
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Old 05-16-18, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Tokumeino View Post
With current 1x11 wide range transmissions, the derailleur arm can go very low. Is it an issue with 26" or 650B ?
No.
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