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View Full Version : 26x1.5-inch versus 700x32 cm wheels


Cruizer
03-23-2008, 01:46 PM
What are the pros and cons of each?

Correction: That should be 700cm X 32mm. [Thanks Tait.]

bonny790
03-23-2008, 05:14 PM
A lot of it depends on what you're after, and a lot of the differences are more distinct on paper than on the road, IMHO.

Instead of me giving the pro/con list (I'm sure someone else will be more than happy), I'll give my reasoning for going with 26"

I was in the market for a new bike recently and chose a Surly Long Haul Trucker as my new beloved steed. Sizes 54cm and smaller have 26" wheels and sizes 56cm and larger have 700c's. I test rode a 54 and a 56 and found I could go with either. My main use for the bike is all of the above. That is to say that It'll be my only source of transport and used for daily commuting, grocery getter, cargo hauling, etc. I went with 54cm because, all else being equal, 26" wheels are more durable. There is also less chance of toe overlap, which is Surly's main reason for using 26" on the smaller size frames. They are also the same size as my trailer wheels (fewer spares to carry). 26" tires are typically lower pressure, therefor a bit more cush.

I bought it at Revolver, but I'm still awaiting delivery. Apparently, my size is the last to be available! Maybe not literally, but sure seems like it.

That's my line of reasoning for me, YMMV

Toby

Schrauf
03-23-2008, 07:01 PM
If your gearing is not quite as low or high as you would prefer, one thing to consider is the 26" wheels will be slightly lower "geared" than the 700c wheels, given the same drivetrain. But if you are buying a bike in the future, that may be a nonissue because you can adjust the drivetrain as necessary.

Larger wheels ride over bumps better, but the difference is neglibile.

Toby - your trailer has 26" wheels? I have never seen that before. Did you make it yourself?

bonny790
03-23-2008, 07:28 PM
Schrauf, yup, old trundle mattress frame, couple junker mountain bikes and some other odd bits. Only thing I had to buy were the tubes, although the tires are also in pretty poor shape so they'll get replaced soon. I have the fixins to make a few more, some day ;-)

Toby

Tait
03-23-2008, 08:37 PM
I have 26s, but I think the difference between those and 700s of equal width is pretty small. It's a little more noticeable if you're comparing 26s and 29s (popular with some in the mountain biking crowd). I found this link from Gear-To-Go Tandems (http://www.gtgtandems.com/tech/700-26.html) to be instructive.

I assume 700cmx32mm is the dimension, as 700x32cm makes no sense.

Jeff Wills
03-24-2008, 05:28 AM
I have 26s, but I think the difference between those and 700s of equal width is pretty small. It's a little more noticeable if you're comparing 26s and 29s (popular with some in the mountain biking crowd). I found this link from Gear-To-Go Tandems (http://www.gtgtandems.com/tech/700-26.html) to be instructive.

I assume 700cmx32mm is the dimension, as 700x32cm makes no sense.

Not to be finicky or anything, but it's "700C" (note the capital). It's a common mistake. The "real" rim diameter is 622mm, which you can find printed on the side of the tire, along with the approximate width. It'll say "32-622", where the 26 x 1.5" will probably say "38-559".

The late, great Sheldon Brown has a superb article about this, along with more information than you want to know about bicycle tires:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
specifically
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html#french

The whole enchilada:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html

I'd agree that the differences between the tires are largely theoretical.

Jeff

Tait
03-25-2008, 01:06 AM
Correction: That should be 700cm X 32mm. [Thanks Tait.]

Actually it shouldn't be... I wasn't thinking at 100%. It's actually 700mm x 32mm. (A 700cm diameter, or 276in, tire is a wee bit big.) As pointed out in Jeff's article, the C is actually tire width, and completely unrelated to the units of the 700 (which refer to the diameter of the tire including rubber, not the rim diameter, if you're curious). I was aware of the outside diameter thing... I just didn't realize C was width. Thanks, Jeff, for the info.

tonyt
03-25-2008, 12:20 PM
Obviously I think Jeff meant circumference.

Big C, little c, whatever. Even Sheldon used a little c now and again.

And by the way, 700c and 29ers are the same size. It's just different ways to refer to a 622 which is the industrial number used. You'll be able to find 622 embossed on any 700c or 29er tire.

It used to be that 26" was a stronger wheel, and it still is at a theoretical level. (smaller rim=less flex and shorter spokes) But rim technology has advanced leaps and bounds in the last 10 years to the point that 26" has lost its hold on that particular advantage over 700c.

26" also no longer has a tire choice advantage. 29ers ended that.

There is another more obscure advantage that 26" still has over 700c. If you are going to tour in Asia or thereabouts, you will have a hard time finding anything 700c if you need replacement parts. This is not my first-hand knowledge by the way, but that of a former coworker who would go on yearly treks over yonder. He had a bunch of 700c bikes, but took the 26" on those tours.

700c wheels are faster and smoother. Unless you are just intent on repurposing an old MTB, there really is no reason to go 26" for a commuter.

(Unless of course you're a smaller person. Then of course 26" or 650c, or even 650b might be the better option just for size purposes.)