650B for Touring Bicycles?

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hartleymartin
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650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:44 pm

I was just wondering if any tourers here use 650B wheels on their machines.

At the moment I am going through the process of converting my 1982 Raleigh Royale Tourer to 650B. It was originally designed with 28-630 in mind. I have been using 32mm tyres, and I found a serious problem in that I cannot get the back wheel in and out of the drop-outs without deflating the tyre. I had considered going to 700C, but I also found that 32mm tyres are too small for me.

So, I have placed an order for 650B wheels - Alex Rims DM18, which I am told are very similar in design to Velocity Atlas, though slightly smaller in cross-section. I also have Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, Kenda Tubes and Tektro R559 brakes on the way.

The net effect will be that I have a wheel about 1 inch smaller in overall diameter and it will lower my bottom-bracket by a half-inch - that is okay, as the BB was a little high for my liking anyway.

Is it more of a Randonneur thing to use 650B?
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby Thoglette » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:57 pm

hartleymartin wrote:Is it more of a Randonneur thing to use 650B?

I think so, as it wasn't that long ago that 650B tyres were basically unobtainable, except via mail order. So the Serious Tourers stuck to 26" tyres which were available everywhere.

Now that the Americans have rediscovered 650B you can actually buy more 650B tyres than 27 x 1 1/4. (Hence I'm interested in doing the same, next rim change)

Are you able to use your original brakes with the 23mm change from 630 to 584 rims?
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:52 am

Thoglette wrote:Are you able to use your original brakes with the 23mm change from 630 to 584 rims?


Nope. I was using some Dia-Compe 610 Centrepulls (or were they Weinmann? They're the same design, different badge and I've not bothered to check them for years.) I might have been able to use the longer 750 Centrepulls but these are apparently much worse with regards to flex.

I will be installing Tektro R559 dual-pivots. I found that the cable-stops for the centre-pulls have flex and this was creating some braking issues for me. If the frame had brazed-on brake stops for centre-pulls it would have been less of a problem.

I think the old 27" wheels will go into a Mixte frame I bought a couple of years ago, but never got around to building it up.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby Thoglette » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:12 pm

hartleymartin wrote:I will be installing Tektro R559 dual-pivot

There's some for sale here on the forums if you've not bought them already. (Trying not to buy them myself :-))
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:35 pm

Thanks, but I already ordered them. Got a set of the silver nutted variety for $60.

Whilst I want modern kit and handling on the tourer, I do want some modern conveniences and I've got some cane creek levers. I would have liked to use Velo Organ Grand Cru hubs, but I will give the standard hubs provided with the wheel set a go for now.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby Thoglette » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:26 pm

If anyone sees a good deal on suitable wheels, do post here! I

All I seem to see is out there is disc brake rims for MTBs
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:10 am

You can order 650B wheels through most bicycle shops now. I spoke with the wholesale supplier. A set of AlexRims DM18s on QR hubs is about $250.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:06 pm

If you are after 650B wheels for rim brakes, Velocopede Cycles in Parramatta currently has an extra set. I ordered a silver set of rims, but they accidentally sent a set of black ones to the shop before sending the correct all-silver ones. They have a front wheel (100mm OLD with QR skewers) and one rear wheel for a threaded freewheel (127mm OLD with QR skewers). The rims are AlexRims DM18s. I believe that they are still priced at $250.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:12 am

Ran into a snag today. Temporarily fitted the wheels (sans tyres) and found that the rear brakes don't quite reach. The front ones do reach though. Never thought that this might be a problem. The only brake option it appears that I may have would be to use a set of Odyssey 1999 brake callipers as these are the only ones with the additional reach needed. Not the end of the world, really, as rear brakes are always less effective anyway. I already have a set of these as the front brakes on my Raleigh Twenty, and they are plenty powerful on the small-wheeler. I wonder how well they will work with my big-wheeler.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:14 am

Oh, and the other snag being that the rear axle is clearly set up for 135mm spacing when I clearly ordered "to suit 127mm over-locknut dimension." A rather annoying mistake from the supplier, since it is not only a matter of replacing the axle and re-jigging the spacers, but it will probably mean re-dishing the rear wheel.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby Thoglette » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:00 am

hartleymartin wrote: but it will probably mean re-dishing the rear wheel.

Arggh! Here's hoping you manage to avoid that - usually I've had the 3mm of space required. Do you have the freewheel you're going to use ? Then you can check chain clearance around the smallest cog.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:53 pm

I went back to the shop today. They've ordered the correct length axle for me, and they will fit it some time next week when it arrives. There is plenty of clearance on the drive side, so I can probably get a smaller spacer fitted there and have a bit less faffing about with it.

I have re-dished a wheel before, but that was for a single-speed conversion (still have the wheel with the 20T freewheel on it somewhere in the garage) and whilst it wasn't perfect, there was probably not more than 1mm of "wobble" in the wheel - it was just for a simple bicycle that I would use to ride from my shared flat to my college and then up the road to the shops. I disassembled that bike after the drive crank broke and destroyed the chainring in the process. I still have all the bits and pieces somewhere.

The old 27" wheels are going into a mixte frame that I bought for $1 a couple of years ago. I'll leave the old 6-speed freewheel on it and turn it into a simple leisure bicycle for my mother who has expressed interested in going to Olympic Park and riding around there for a bit. I've even got my sister onto a lady's retro bike and if all goes well we might be doing a family ride and picnic some time soon.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:09 pm

Of course, it is my fault for not specifying 126mm rear spacing on the order. That said, I do have the option to move to a 7-speed rear cluster if I want, but I've always found that my 6-speed 14-32 was fine (though sometimes I wished that 32 was a 34!) I run Shimano biopic rings in a 48/44/28 half-sped-plus-granny-gear configuration. It is surprisingly effective. I basically leave it in the middle 44t ring, find the gear that I like, and if I want a 9% upshift, I move to the outer ring and if I start to get tired, I can then downshift a half-step rather than going for a full shift which usually gives about a 20% change in gear.

My new 650B wheels 42-584 once set up will be about an inch smaller in diameter than the 32-630 I was running before, so I will get an overall slight gear reduction.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:51 am

650B wheels fitted front and rear. The bicycle feels more "planted" and "grippy" on the road surface. There is also a significant reaction in vibration. I don't know why I didn't do this years ago... Oh wait. Yes, I remember now. 650B was basically unavailable in Australia and everything had to be special-order from the USA or France or Japan back then, and I got the 27" wheels on gumtree for $50. (I think that is where I got them, anyway.)
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:53 am

I swear, I am slowly turning into Yehuda Moon. If only I could grow a beard...
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby Thoglette » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:33 am

hartleymartin wrote:Oh wait. Yes, I remember now.

I think this is a common thing: a decade or so ago if you wanted "wide" road tyres 32-630 (a.k.a. 27 x 1 1/4") was effectively the only choice. Especially if you wanted mudguards.

Then non-knobbly "mountain bike" tyres started appearing (ran them on my tandem) thanks (I think!) to the touring crowd. Followed by "city" and "vintage" bikes with 32 and 35-622 tyres. And then 650B exploded into the market.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:39 pm

Then the bicycle industry found a couple of new crazes to try out on the market such as the "29er" MTBs with 700C rims and now "27.5" is the new marketing term for 650B rims for MTBs.

I think the great thing about 650B is how these new wheels can be fitted to frames designed for 700C. The only major issue to examine is the availability of suitable brake callipers.

Turns out the Tektro R559 callipers are too short for my particular circumstance. I've asked my LBS to order some Tektro 810A callipers, but I suspect I may need the longer 900A for the rear. The R559s only barely reach for the front rim, and are uncomfortably close to the tyre. The rear rim is not reached at all, and I have temporarily fitted a spare Odyssey 1999 single-pivot calliper (for BMX!) to the rear.

I am still very pleased with the 650B conversion. The wider tyres give a much more comfortable ride. I suspect that part of the reason people think that wider tyres are "slower" is because you get less road vibration, which is the tactile association with speed.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:42 pm

In other news, I have just placed an order for a set of silver SKS mudguards to replace the rather Ricky old stainless steel ones that I pulled off an old 70s 10-speed.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby singlespeedscott » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:24 am

hartleymartin wrote:In other news, I have just placed an order for a set of silver SKS mudguards to replace the rather Ricky old stainless steel ones that I pulled off an old 70s 10-speed.

I run SKS mudguards on my commuter but will be replacing them with something that doesn't have the stay connection bridge running under the guard. This location acts like a dam for water under the guard and forces it to spray out the sides instead of running down to the bottom of the guard.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:12 pm

I wonder if you might be able to adapt one of those clips. You might be able to drill a hole in the mudguard and then run a small bolt through it and use a small right-angle bracket to then attach it to the brake bridge.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby singlespeedscott » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:26 am

Its the stay attachment points not the bridge mounting point
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby rifraf » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:34 am

A quick devils advocate comment.

My Ogre requires the tires to be deflated on the rear wheel for removal/installation when the mudguards are on due to the horizontal rear dropouts.

Its not a foible that bothers me much due to others that really bug me like rotating cranks whence I'm pushing it, often catching my calves unawares, due to a lack of concentration.

Whilst they arent currently installed (fenders), I'd not run smaller tires for the privilege of easier installation.

I certainly wouldn't go down a wheel size or two for that reason personally but its your bike and your rules.

You have to roll with what rocks your own boat.

Just watch out for pedal strike with that lowered bottom bracket as it can be a scary occurrence if it happens.

I imagine shorter cranks might alleviate it, but its a pricey route to take to get your preferred tire size.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:15 pm

I did a 3-hour shake-down ride a couple of days ago with the new 650B wheels. The only issue I had was that I had not properly tightened up the front brake nut, so it rattled around a little.

I suppose the serious problem I faced with the old 27" x 1-1/4" (despite being very nice double-wall eyeleted rims with Shimano 600 hubs) was the fact that I am a "Clydesdale Class rider" at 115kg. I used to get so many flats on the rear wheel.

Pedal strike isn't a serious issue - I would have to be well over at past 45 degrees with the inside pedal down in order to strike. The new wheels are about 1" smaller in diameter, giving a 1/2" lowering of the bottom-bracket. The whole bike actually feels more stable and "planted" with the new wheel set. The wheels were not that expensive either - about $250, and I managed to get the tires on sale for about $37 each.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby singlespeedscott » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:07 pm

Give me a lower bottom bracket every time. If I was racing crits I wold be concerned but for day to day riding its never been an issue even on my fixed gear which has a low bottom bracket. The other thing to is if the OP was racing he most likely wouldn't be using 650b wheels.
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Re: 650B for Touring Bicycles?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:49 pm

If I was racing, I wouldn't be riding a 1982 Raleigh Royal Tourer.
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