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  1. #1
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    700c vs 26 inch for commuting.

    Which is better in terms of speed on flat and climb on slope?

    I seen a lot of 700c offer on commuter's bicycle. Only a few 26 inch wheels is offer on commuters. The reason they give is 700c roll faster.

    Is that really the true? I rode a hybrid ,something like a MTB hardtail frame but running on 700c tire. Personally, I find no different when comes to speed on flat in terms of 700c vs 26 inch. But when comes to climbing upslope. It seems 700c is more responsive and climb faster.

    I am not sure. Maybe my 26inch MTB hardtail is much heavier than my 700c hybrid which is the reason for slowing down my climb.
    Last edited by shimano4; 10-20-2009 at 08:12 AM.

  2. #2
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    Yes a 700c wheel will....

    roll faster for a give gear combination than a 26" wheel. Try it some time. Pick matching gear combinations on both bikes, do keep in mind though that usually a bike with 700c wheels will be running larger chain rings than a 26" mtb so it may be tough to get and exact gear tooth match, and you'll need a computer on each bike that has a top speed feature. From there ride both bikes on a flat till you spin out, i.e. can't spin any faster. The 700c bike will record the faster top speed, It's simple physics. The 700c wheel is larger in circumfrance so for each rotation it travels a greater distance. So and identical pedaling cadance and identical gear combination will produce a higher speed with the larger wheel. If you aren't faster on the flats with your 700c bike, there are likely other factors causing the difference. As an example, an MTB usually seats the rider in a more agressive riding position, a Hybrid usually seats the rider more upright. Could be a wind resistance difference.

    As for the climbing difference, again it's the wheel size. Weight could be a factor if your MTB is significantly heavier than your Hybrid. But for the most part, again, the 700c wheel moves farther per revolution than the 26" wheel. And here rolling resistance could also be a factor. 700c wheels usually have significantly narrower fast rolling tires on them. Even if you are using a 1.5 slick on the MTB, they well could roll slower than the hybrid tire so require more omph to push em up the climb.

    Anyway, there are way to many variables invovled to give you a pat answer. All I know is from a practical real world perspective, is on my 26" commuter with 1.5 road specific tires I can cruise at about 15 mph comforatably on the flats. For the same effort on my friends cross bike with 700x32c road tires I can comfortably cruise at about 20 mph on the flats. So yeah, a bike with 700c wheels "should" be faster than a bike with 26" wheels.

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  3. #3
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    A 700C wheel may have slightly less rolling resistance than a 559C wheel (26 inch). For a given tire size, but not so much that anyone would notice. Given the same hub set-up bearings etc.

    The fact is that a 700C wheel has more circumfernce than a 559C wheel, with the same gear and rpm you will go faster....if and only if you got the motor to turn it over.

    However I ride a 46 tooth front sprocket,

    So if I put on a 559x59 (2.3 inch knobby) flat out top gear flat no wind I can hit 47.5 kph.
    Motor is at its limit standing.

    If I put on a 559x38 (1.25 inch slick) flat out top gear flat no wind I can hit 49 kph.
    Spun out on the pedals standing (higher gear I go faster)

    So if I put on a 48 tooth front with the slick I go faster, unfortunately that is the max size for an MTB crank set...

    So really it is all about gearing not whether one rolls faster than the other.

  4. #4
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    You will probably find a much larger selection of narrow tires (under 1.5") for the 700c wheels than you will for 26" wheels.

    As for climbing, weight is a much bigger factor than tires.

    You could solve all of your problems by replacing your 26" mountain bike with a 29er (all problems can be solved by a 29er). You can run narrow 700c tires when commuting and big fatties when off road.

  5. #5
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    The slight difference in rolling resistance, is more due to the differences in tire width, tread and pressure than the diameter. With a 1.25" smooth high pressure tire, a 26" wheel will have rolling resistance very comparable to that of a 700x32c (1-1/4") smooth tire.

    Neither wheel size is inherently superior, but there are differences to consider.

    I commuted for years on my road bike, but this spring decided to use my unused non-suspension mtn bike. It's set up with 26x 1.5" HP smooth tires and all-rounder bars.

    I can't believe I waited so long. It's much more forgiving of crappy pavement, sewer grates, and other road hazards of city riding. Riding home in twilight (and dark) I'm more free of worry about unseen road hazards, and on one concrete stretch I no longer have to plan around the joints in the slabs when making lane changes.

    There are other differences, mostly because they're geared differently, but overall I'm not suffering from any measurable difference in efficiency. There are other fringe benefits, like plenty of fender clearance (if I decide to add them), a somewhat more overbuilt machine all around, and a very slightly plusher ride.

    If you're considering a new commuter bike and opt for 700c, make sure it has good clearance so you can add wider tires and/or fenders later on. Most modern road bikes won't give you those options.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY
    The slight difference in rolling resistance, is more due to the differences in tire width, tread and pressure than the diameter. With a 1.25" smooth high pressure tire, a 26" wheel will have rolling resistance very comparable to that of a 700x32c (1-1/4") smooth tire.

    Neither wheel size is inherently superior, but there are differences to consider.

    I commuted for years on my road bike, but this spring decided to use my unused non-suspension mtn bike. It's set up with 26x 1.5" HP smooth tires and all-rounder bars.

    I can't believe I waited so long. It's much more forgiving of crappy pavement, sewer grates, and other road hazards of city riding. Riding home in twilight (and dark) I'm more free of worry about unseen road hazards, and on one concrete stretch I no longer have to plan around the joints in the slabs when making lane changes.

    There are other differences, mostly because they're geared differently, but overall I'm not suffering from any measurable difference in efficiency. There are other fringe benefits, like plenty of fender clearance (if I decide to add them), a somewhat more overbuilt machine all around, and a very slightly plusher ride.

    If you're considering a new commuter bike and opt for 700c, make sure it has good clearance so you can add wider tires and/or fenders later on. Most modern road bikes won't give you those options.
    Actually, I am considering my next commuter using 26 inch wheels on MTB hardtail frame with rigid fork.

    I used to commute on 700c with 23c tire but virtually no different(average speed,top speed) from a 38c tire which I am currently running on.

    Agree on the part, 26 inch has more option for wider tyres like 1.5 ,1.95 or 1.95 which will give u more comfortable ride over debris or obstacles.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    A 700C wheel may have slightly less rolling resistance than a 559C wheel (26 inch). For a given tire size, but not so much that anyone would notice. Given the same hub set-up bearings etc.

    The fact is that a 700C wheel has more circumfernce than a 559C wheel, with the same gear and rpm you will go faster....if and only if you got the motor to turn it over.

    However I ride a 46 tooth front sprocket,

    So if I put on a 559x59 (2.3 inch knobby) flat out top gear flat no wind I can hit 47.5 kph.
    Motor is at its limit standing.

    If I put on a 559x38 (1.25 inch slick) flat out top gear flat no wind I can hit 49 kph.
    Spun out on the pedals standing (higher gear I go faster)

    So if I put on a 48 tooth front with the slick I go faster, unfortunately that is the max size for an MTB crank set...

    So really it is all about gearing not whether one rolls faster than the other.
    In terms of gearing , both hybrid and mtb are running on same gearing 48/38/28 x 11/34.
    I even have cyclometer install on both bikes to gauge the top speed and average speed.

    In fact, my MTB accelerate faster(better average speed) but it all due to installing a top end wheelset.

    But even without the top end MTB wheelset, using entry lvl wheelset. I find virtually no different except climbing(my new commuting route does not consist of many climb). But of cos, there may be many factor like tires and weight.

    But somehow or rather, I am not convince to go 700c for my next commuter in terms of average and top speed on flat.

  8. #8
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    the 700c

    [has a longer and narrower contact patch with the ground. Also 700c tires allow you to run 100+ psi also improving rolling resistance.

  9. #9
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    PSI is a big factor. When I ride the mtb to work I crank up the PSI to 80 or so...makes a difference for sure.

    My unscientific experience is this:
    I built my commuter bike with 26" wheels originally, running 1.5 slicks on it (It's a cyclocross bike, but I didn't have 700c wheels when I built it).

    I finally got some 700c (actually 29er, becuase I'm running discs) wheels, and I went with 700x35 slicks (schwalbe kojacks). This was on the exact same bike, same gearing, same everything except wheels...and my commute time dropped by about 3 minutes. My commute is about 6 miles with a few rolling hills. I found the 700c wheel size to be a lot faster. Basically, you're going a little farther with each pedal stroke...so if your cadence is remaining close to the same, you are going to be faster on a bigger wheel.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    is about 6 miles with a few rolling hills. I found the 700c wheel size to be a lot faster. Basically, you're going a little farther with each pedal stroke...so if your cadence is remaining close to the same, you are going to be faster on a bigger wheel.
    This is true, but since you have a larger wheel it requires more energy input from you to push that larger wheel at the same cadence. Maybe after the switch you were used to doing a certain part of your ride in a certain gear with the smaller wheels so you used that same gear on that part of your ride when you went to the bigger tire because you usually use that gear. Well you had to work harder to do that and thus obviously had faster times. What I'm getting at is you could have gone up a gear with the 26" wheels and had a similar effective gear ratio as you did with the larger wheels (and worked harder).

    So my guess is you just compensated with more effort to be able to bike in the same gear you did previously. It's not that this is bad just that you "could" have got that faster time with the other wheels if you used consistent effort for your ride rather than consistent cadence for a given gear.

    I come from modifying cars so I have an example that relates. If you put a taller wheel/tire combo on your car, your car will have a faster top speed in each gear. At a given rpm and and gear the car will be going faster than before. Does this mean you just magically made your car faster? No. How can you tell? You know when you go to fill up the gas tank and got worse gas mileage. This happens because your car had to work harder than it did with the other wheels. You effectively raised you overall gearing (you shifted to a higher gear) and the car had to work harder to go....just like if you shift up a gear on your bike...you have to put in more effort to pedal.

    Another important note is weight. The above example is often even worse because when you get bigger wheels they are also heavier. I'm not as familiar with bike wheels but it seems like the difference is minor.

    So my point is that 700c wheels just change your effective gearing. Any increase or decrease in speed that people realize is based on a number of factors including how much effort they put into it, which wheel/tire combo is heavier, and which has larger rolling resistance. My guess is that the increase in speed after switching to a 700c wheel is due mainly to a skinnier tire with higher tire pressure and thus less rolling resistance.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    In terms of gearing , both hybrid and mtb are running on same gearing 48/38/28 x 11/34.
    I even have cyclometer install on both bikes to gauge the top speed and average speed.

    In fact, my MTB accelerate faster(better average speed) but it all due to installing a top end wheelset.

    But even without the top end MTB wheelset, using entry lvl wheelset. I find virtually no different except climbing(my new commuting route does not consist of many climb). But of cos, there may be many factor like tires and weight.

    But somehow or rather, I am not convince to go 700c for my next commuter in terms of average and top speed on flat.
    Nor would I be dedicated to 700C wheels, just get the gearing correct, and it appears you have...ie 48 tooth big ring.

  12. #12
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    I'm just going to discuss personal experience here; the difference between 700x1.5 and 26x1.5 is hardly anything. They both lose momentum faster than a skinny tire, which you'll notice over a longer ride or if you climb any hills. The plus is that you can be more rowdy- jump stairs, roll off pavement, etc.

    I know people are talking about which one is harder to push, but I think it is a fairly mute point- I set my bikes up with 70ish gear inches and have done 700c, 26 and 650b with ~40mm tires. Tire makes more difference than anything- I think Schwalbes roll smoother than their competition.

    700x23 accelerates faster and keeps the speed up with less effort. Another important component is frame geometry. Hybrid v. mountain geo? Dunno, but I know I get more out of the commute on a road frame.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtskibum16
    This is true, but since you have a larger wheel it requires more energy input from you to push that larger wheel at the same cadence. Maybe after the switch you were used to doing a certain part of your ride in a certain gear with the smaller wheels so you used that same gear on that part of your ride when you went to the bigger tire because you usually use that gear. Well you had to work harder to do that and thus obviously had faster times. What I'm getting at is you could have gone up a gear with the 26" wheels and had a similar effective gear ratio as you did with the larger wheels (and worked harder).

    So my guess is you just compensated with more effort to be able to bike in the same gear you did previously. It's not that this is bad just that you "could" have got that faster time with the other wheels if you used consistent effort for your ride rather than consistent cadence for a given gear.

    I come from modifying cars so I have an example that relates. If you put a taller wheel/tire combo on your car, your car will have a faster top speed in each gear. At a given rpm and and gear the car will be going faster than before. Does this mean you just magically made your car faster? No. How can you tell? You know when you go to fill up the gas tank and got worse gas mileage. This happens because your car had to work harder than it did with the other wheels. You effectively raised you overall gearing (you shifted to a higher gear) and the car had to work harder to go....just like if you shift up a gear on your bike...you have to put in more effort to pedal.

    Another important note is weight. The above example is often even worse because when you get bigger wheels they are also heavier. I'm not as familiar with bike wheels but it seems like the difference is minor.

    So my point is that 700c wheels just change your effective gearing. Any increase or decrease in speed that people realize is based on a number of factors including how much effort they put into it, which wheel/tire combo is heavier, and which has larger rolling resistance. My guess is that the increase in speed after switching to a 700c wheel is due mainly to a skinnier tire with higher tire pressure and thus less rolling resistance.

    I totally agree. I should have bolded and capitilized 'if your cadence is remaining close to the same'. This is a big factor and I'm sure I was running in the same gears partly out of habit.
    Plus, when I'm not riding, I'm working on my Jeep, and you're totally right with that analogy too

    There is a sweet spot though, where you're not overworking yourself pushing huge wheels/tires, but are able to go faster because of a combo of the larger wheel size, lower rolling resistance, etc with a perceived effort that is about the same. I think this balance usually happens closer to the 29" range than the 26" range, when you're talking about pavement and non-technical riding. You are going further with each pedal stroke.
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    I can't believe what I'm reading. In my experience, there is no comparison! 700c wheels are better for commuting in most every regard. The narrow width and high psi of the treadless tires along with the increase in wheel diameter results in greater overall efficiency. Getting the bike up to speed will require more energy, but maintaining a faster pace will require less energy than using 26" wheels. I suppose that if your commute is mostly stop go traffic it might make sense, otherwise you're wasting your energy. By the way, the analogy of the car getting worse gas miliage is flawed as it does not take into consideration the speedometer's inability to adjust for the increase in wheel size, and the fact that most driving is stop and go. If you increase the tire diameter of an auto, recalibrate the speedometer and then drive nothing but highways you would see an increase in mpg over a smaller tire driven under the same conditions.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sizzler
    If you increase the tire diameter of an auto, recalibrate the speedometer and then drive nothing but highways you would see an increase in mpg over a smaller tire driven under the same conditions.
    Not true. The engine is working harder to turn over the heavier/bigger tires. Increasing tire size never results in a mpg gain, even with a recalibrated speedometer. The 4x4 community would collectively laugh at the notion that you could get better mpg with bigger tires. I'm on my 3rd Jeep build, all 3 with recalibrated speedos as the tire size increased, and it just ain't the case.
    The thing about bikes is that an increae in wheel/tire diameter does NOT mean an increase in rolling weight. Usually it's actually a lighter combo than mtb tires/wheels. When this is the case, there's no question that a bigger diameter is an advantage...with the weight savings, the same effort propels you further down the road with each pedal stroke. You have to remember that it's not just dead weight though, it's rolling weight. The further from the center of the wheel the tire is, the lighter it has to be to have the same negative effect as a heavier tire closer to the center of the rolling mass. There is a point where the effort either increases to a point where it negates the effects of the weight savings, or the weight does not decrease enough to equalize the effort. If you could have a 35" diameter wheel/tire combo that weighed what a light road bike combo weighed, you could haul bananas, but you are increasing rolling weight when you put the heavy tire that far away from the center of the wheel...there is a point in there where it stops being an advantage.

    I agree with you to a point. There is a reason road bikes don't have 26" wheels. A bigger wheel is more effecient on a bike (to a point), or you'd still see TdF riders on 26" and 27" wheels. It probably has more to do with rolling weight than the 29er fat tire fans would like to admit.
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    The 4x4 community would laugh at me? No offense, but I learned this from building my 4x4's and I believe that it is you who are mistaken. Of course you would loose power and mpg with a huge buckshot that is twice as wide as a normal truck tire and has a very agressive tread pattern, but if you replaced them with some cookie cutters with some highway tread you would undoubtedly see an increase in mpg even over stock.
    Last edited by Sizzler; 10-20-2009 at 03:57 PM.

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    In the bigger picture, either one can be pretty fast. I've descended a 1.5-mile straight-shot descent on my old rigid mountain bike at >57mph (about 100kph), with Panaracer Pasela 26 x 1.25" tires (about 29mm wide). My 700C road-commuter doesn't go any faster down that hill.

    I usually time the ascent of that hill too, since I only ride it on training rides. The times are usually quite close regardless of the bike. It just *might* have something to do with the engine, I dunno


  18. #18
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    I prefer 26" for the larger selection of wide tires available. I'm just commuting to work, I'm not trying to win a race so comfort and traction are more important. I can deal with the greater rolling resistance and weight (it's actually a good fitness tool IMHO). I wouldn't consider my riding style "urban assault" but I do need to roll some pretty rough sections of pavement, downed tree limbs/debris, etc....
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon
    In the bigger picture, either one can be pretty fast. I've descended a 1.5-mile straight-shot descent on my old rigid mountain bike at >57mph (about 100kph), with Panaracer Pasela 26 x 1.25" tires (about 29mm wide). My 700C road-commuter doesn't go any faster down that hill.
    That's because the limiting factor at that speed going downhill is your wind resistance, not rolling resistance.

    Now if you got to the bottom of the hill and just coasted, you would roll just slightly further on the 700c wheels due to the greater momemt of inertia they have (assuming equal rolling resistance from the tires.)

    But the real bottom line is this: Welcome to the dark side... 29ers rock! I have two sets of wheels for my 29er, one with fat knobbies, one with 700c x 35 street slicks. Best of both worlds, awesome mountain bike and great commuter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GpzGuy
    But the real bottom line is this: Welcome to the dark side... 29ers rock! I have two sets of wheels for my 29er, one with fat knobbies, one with 700c x 35 street slicks. Best of both worlds, awesome mountain bike and great commuter.
    Ooops, you misread. I have a 26er and swap tires as needed... the 29-millimeter Panaracer Pasela TourGuard folding tires with ultralight Conti 26x1 tubes are the rocket tires. Low mass, low air drag. They're not big enough for bombing unseen potholes, so I do have to watch for hazards, especially when hauling groceries or other dead weight. Nearly time to put the studded tires on, though... we'll probably have frost in the mornings by early November.

    On the main subject, I have to admit that the 700C road commuter is faster over a 20-mile highway route. For a direct stop-&-go city commute, I dunno.

  21. #21
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    For whatever sized tires you have you can adjust your gearing so that its`s the same as whatever other bike. Even little folders can be set up with 9-26 cassette and/or 56t chainring. WIth the gearing to match the tire size, it`s the same crank RPM for any given speed.

    There are countless threads on the touring forums I hang out at discussing wheel size. What it usually comes down to is that a physicist can prove a microscopic advantage to this or that, but everybodys results vary according to condition and perception and there aren`t any clear winners. If you can ride 2.06 mph faster with your 23mm tires over the smooth parts of the road, but you have to slow down to 4.81 mph under your 26 x 1.5 tire speed for the bumpy parts, you get to the bar in the same amount of time no matter which bike you`re on.

    What did make a noticeable difference in my speed, as well as my comfort, was discovering drop bars.

    My old method of selecting bikes by wheelsize was very simple- I kept with 26 inchers because that was what I already had and there`s dang near a warehouse worth of extra tires and wheels at home- skinny ones and fat ones and in between ones. Since road bikes don`t often turn up with 26" wheels (they easilly could, though), I had to throw a wrench in the works in order to get a bike for my roadie fix. Bummer. If I ever build myself a frame, the first one is going to be a sport geometry roadbike designed around 26 x 1.25 Paselas.
    Recalculating....

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    For whatever sized tires you have you can adjust your gearing so that its`s the same as whatever other bike. Even little folders can be set up with 9-26 cassette and/or 56t chainring. WIth the gearing to match the tire size, it`s the same crank RPM for any given speed.

    There are countless threads on the touring forums I hang out at discussing wheel size. What it usually comes down to is that a physicist can prove a microscopic advantage to this or that, but everybodys results vary according to condition and perception and there aren`t any clear winners. If you can ride 2.06 mph faster with your 23mm tires over the smooth parts of the road, but you have to slow down to 4.81 mph under your 26 x 1.5 tire speed for the bumpy parts, you get to the bar in the same amount of time no matter which bike you`re on.

    What did make a noticeable difference in my speed, as well as my comfort, was discovering drop bars.

    My old method of selecting bikes by wheelsize was very simple- I kept with 26 inchers because that was what I already had and there`s dang near a warehouse worth of extra tires and wheels at home- skinny ones and fat ones and in between ones. Since road bikes don`t often turn up with 26" wheels (they easilly could, though), I had to throw a wrench in the works in order to get a bike for my roadie fix. Bummer. If I ever build myself a frame, the first one is going to be a sport geometry roadbike designed around 26 x 1.25 Paselas.
    Actually what I lament is lack of respectable brand focusing on their commuter bic using 26 inch wheel. Their reason? 700c roller faster and better for commuting. But from my personal experience, the different is virtually not there.

    I would want to have a 26 inch dedicated commuter. I wanted a strong wheel which can handle pounding. So far, there is only one candidate which is the KHS Urban X. Complete with fender, rack ,rigid fork and slick tire. Kona smoke is also a candidate but in terms of accessories, Urban X wins hand down.

    For household brand like Jamis, Back Diamond, Giant,Trek, GT, Raleigh. I can hardly find something similiar to Urban X. In their mind, 700c is the choice for commuting which I totally not agree.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    What did make a noticeable difference in my speed, as well as my comfort, was discovering drop bars.

    My old method of selecting bikes by wheelsize was very simple- I kept with 26 inchers because that was what I already had and there`s dang near a warehouse worth of extra tires and wheels at home- skinny ones and fat ones and in between ones. Since road bikes don`t often turn up with 26" wheels (they easilly could, though), I had to throw a wrench in the works in order to get a bike for my roadie fix. Bummer. If I ever build myself a frame, the first one is going to be a sport geometry roadbike designed around 26 x 1.25 Paselas.
    Oh man, the Bridgestone XO-1 is for you. Start scouring ebay!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Oh man, the Bridgestone XO-1 is for you. Start scouring ebay!
    Haha! It isn`t too far off from what I have now.


    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/bridgest...ne-1991-32.htm
    Recalculating....

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sizzler
    The 4x4 community would laugh at me? No offense, but I learned this from building my 4x4's and I believe that it is you who are mistaken. Of course you would loose power and mpg with a huge buckshot that is twice as wide as a normal truck tire and has a very agressive tread pattern, but if you replaced them with some cookie cutters with some highway tread you would undoubtedly see an increase in mpg even over stock.

    You're obviously right on the physics, but now the 4x4 community would laugh at your skinny pizza cutter tires


    You are right, but your skinny tires wouldn't just have to be as light as the stock ones, they'd have to be lighter, because they are further from the center of the rotating mass. What I'm saying is that even your skinny light tires would stop being an advantage at some point if you kept going larger, because at some point the tire weight of the tire (however light) is going to equal a heavier tire closer to the center of the rotating mass. Tires can't keep getting lighter and lighter the bigger they get. Let's not forget that I firmly believe my 700c wheels are way faster than my 26" wheels for my commute. What I'm saying is that if I was riding 39" wheels, I think I'd be wishing for my 26ers becuse it would be too hard to turn the 39ers over...too much rotational weight, no longer an advantage. I'd get worse 'gas mileage' out of my body because I'd be working so hard just to turn them over on any little incline or accelleration. Somewhere around 29" is the 'sweet spot' where a nice light tire provides a distinct advantage over a heavier tire on a slightly smaller rim. We're saying the same thing I think, I'm just trying to be a realist about when it would stop being an advantage.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    Actually what I lament is lack of respectable brand focusing on their commuter bic using 26 inch wheel. Their reason? 700c roller faster and better for commuting. But from my personal experience, the different is virtually not there.

    I would want to have a 26 inch dedicated commuter. I wanted a strong wheel which can handle pounding. So far, there is only one candidate which is the KHS Urban X. Complete with fender, rack ,rigid fork and slick tire. Kona smoke is also a candidate but in terms of accessories, Urban X wins hand down.

    For household brand like Jamis, Back Diamond, Giant,Trek, GT, Raleigh. I can hardly find something similiar to Urban X. In their mind, 700c is the choice for commuting which I totally not agree.
    That's why you build your own!!
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  27. #27
    weirdo
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    For a different view of wheel sizes,
    http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/heritage.html
    Yeah, they`re trying to sell their product, but it`s still pretty interresting. Cool pics, too.
    Recalculating....

  28. #28
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    Folks make much too big a deal of the rolling resistance and inertia of 700c vs 26' wheels. The real differences are very small in comparison to the other forces at play when riding a bicycle. It's like wondering how many pennies are in the jar when you're struggling to make the mortgage payment.

    There's also a slight improvement for 700c over 26" in the impact angle when climbing over bumps. On larger bumps it means less energy is lost because a greater percentage of the impact energy is directed upward vs backward. This becomes more meaningful if the height of the bump is beyond 10% of the radius of the wheel. A 2" bump is much more significant to a 20" wheel vs a 700c or 26" wheel.

    All other things being equal, larger wheels with narrower tires will roll slightly better, but wider tires and stouter rims are more forgiving. You decide what's better for you based on how you actually ride, and road conditions.

    My main reason for preferring 26" wheels over 700c for my commuter is based on the better selection of high pressure wider section slick tires, coupled with the clearance to use them. (and the fact that I had a nice 26" bike that I wasn't riding otherwise. Free still ranks high in my book) Too many of today's 700c bikes won't clear wide tires, and those that do often have crappy caliper brakes. Maybe the perfect mix is a 700c cyclocross or touring bike with either disc or canti brakes, if you can find nice 32-40mm tires.

    Pick the bike that's best suited for your needs with either wheel size, change to tires that make sense, and let technogeeks debate the dynes and newtons your saving or wasting.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY
    . Maybe the perfect mix is a 700c cyclocross or touring bike with either disc or canti brakes, if you can find nice 32-40mm tires.
    Quoted for truth. 'Cross bike, Discs, and 700x35's on 36 spoke 29er rims here.
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  30. #30
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    26"x1.25 fatboy slick or 26x 42mm marathon up front, 700x40mm marathon xr out back.

    both wheels give me pothole bombing abilities, rear's way taller for more distance per revolution, front handles quicker and is stupid-easy to get up and over curbs/etc.
    I call it "urban pursuit".
    oh, and I'm running a 2" zocchi fork from the early 90's on it too.

    *shrug*
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  31. #31
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    I still think y'all sound crazy! Didn't everyone ride a bmx when they were younger? They can have the same gear ratio as my commuter bike and would be able to keep up for a while, but the amount of energy needed to sustain the spin of those 20" wheels will quickly drain the rider. The same is true with a 700c vs a 26" wheel though less dramatic. I have both and to me there is just no comparison! As for the claim that a 26" can run larger slicks, my touring/commuter can fit 700x44 tires with fenders!

  32. #32
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    ^^ This brings up the gear ratio argument that was made earlier. Wheel size is just another factor in the gearing of a bike. A 20" bmx bike will accelerate like mad, but with the same gear ratio as your commuter, you'd spin out the gear on the BMX bike waaaaaaay before you would on your commuter. I'm totally with you here. Based on these variables though, you can assume that you could just change the gearing on the BMX bike and maintian the same speed as your commuter, no problem. It would just be harder to get going from a stop. We're back to the fact that it totally depends on if the motor has enough torque to turn over the higher gears at low rpms...if it's struggling to accelerate or pull a hill, the gearing advantage of the taller wheels is pointless. There's an ideal combo of gearing/wheel size for your commute at your speed at your level of fitness. A huge set of wheels and a tiny rear sprocket and a huge front sprocket would give you incredible speed, if you had the torque to keep turning those cranks over with a headwind or a hill coming at you. It's all about finding the right compromise. For me, with the gearing on my bike right now, I bet I could commute faster on a 31er than a 29er, but if I was on a 45er, I'd be walking up a few hills. I'd have to drop the gearing, which would make me slow down, which would take away the advantage of the bigger wheels.

    Maybe some foldie guys with 20" wheels could chime in on their gear ratios... I'd assume anyone running 20" wheels over any significant distance has a crazy gear ratio compared to me and my 700c wheels.
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  33. #33
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    It sounds like we're in agreement, a 700c will be more efficient at higher speeds but a 26 will be better suited for hilly or stop/go riding, so the matter has mostly to do with an individuals commute than a track where all variables have been removed except wheel size, because some people might be doing more quick climbs or stops than another. I suppose that's why in general, road bikes use 700c and mountain bikes use 26".

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    Quoted for truth. 'Cross bike, Discs, and 700x35's on 36 spoke 29er rims here.
    No way- 700c with 23mm (25mm can be acceptable) and everything fixed. Don't care about spoke count as long as they don't bend.

  35. #35
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    [QUOTE=CommuterBoyMaybe some foldie guys with 20" wheels could chime in on their gear ratios... I'd assume anyone running 20" wheels over any significant distance has a crazy gear ratio compared to me and my 700c wheels.[/QUOTE]

    Since I hope to be a folder guy sometime next year, I`ve been checking into this. Ideally, you could have the same gear ratios as your 700s, but that requires somewhat crazy steps to get there. By going off the deep end, people can mount chainrings up into the 60s. More conservatively, Dahon specs some of theirs with 55-44 doubles. In the back, Shimano has a hub and cassette designed especially for taller gears to turn small wheels. Only one cassette available at this time- it`s a 9-26 nine speed. A lot of mfgs also use SRAM Dual Drives to up the top end and some custom jobs use geared BBs. Then again, not all folders provide that kind of gearing. With a lot of them (even multi geared ones), you just have to accept that you`re going to spin out around 15mph or so. BTW, one side effect of having small wheels that didn`t occur to me until I started looking was RD clearance, which indirectly affects gearing choices (long cages are generally avoided if possible).
    Recalculating....

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    In terms of gearing , both hybrid and mtb are running on same gearing 48/38/28 x 11/34.
    I even have cyclometer install on both bikes to gauge the top speed and average speed.

    In fact, my MTB accelerate faster(better average speed) but it all due to installing a top end wheelset.

    But even without the top end MTB wheelset, using entry lvl wheelset. I find virtually no different except climbing(my new commuting route does not consist of many climb). But of cos, there may be many factor like tires and weight.

    But somehow or rather, I am not convince to go 700c for my next commuter in terms of average and top speed on flat.
    Actually a MTB drivetrain seems to allow for a better acceleration. I ride with a road race team and am able to out accelerate them from a stop light and most of the time leave them in the dust and im running a 559x23c @ 120psi and my bike weight twice what their bikes weight.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    For whatever sized tires you have you can adjust your gearing so that its`s the same as whatever other bike. Even little folders can be set up with 9-26 cassette and/or 56t chainring. WIth the gearing to match the tire size, it`s the same crank RPM for any given speed.

    There are countless threads on the touring forums I hang out at discussing wheel size. What it usually comes down to is that a physicist can prove a microscopic advantage to this or that, but everybodys results vary according to condition and perception and there aren`t any clear winners. If you can ride 2.06 mph faster with your 23mm tires over the smooth parts of the road, but you have to slow down to 4.81 mph under your 26 x 1.5 tire speed for the bumpy parts, you get to the bar in the same amount of time no matter which bike you`re on.

    What did make a noticeable difference in my speed, as well as my comfort, was discovering drop bars.

    My old method of selecting bikes by wheelsize was very simple- I kept with 26 inchers because that was what I already had and there`s dang near a warehouse worth of extra tires and wheels at home- skinny ones and fat ones and in between ones. Since road bikes don`t often turn up with 26" wheels (they easilly could, though), I had to throw a wrench in the works in order to get a bike for my roadie fix. Bummer. If I ever build myself a frame, the first one is going to be a sport geometry roadbike designed around 26 x 1.25 Paselas.
    You need a Surly Long-Haul Trucker:
    http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker_complete/

    This year they offer all size frames the option of 26" wheels, it used to be just the smaller sizes.

    I'll weigh in on the original topic too:
    I find no huge difference between 26" and 700c wheels on pavement. I use 26" because the wheel is stronger, it's easier to get fatter tires, and I already had some 26" studded tires around. Also, it seems as though you can easily find dirt cheap 26" rim-brake wheels; 700c wheels seem to be 2-3 times as much.

    I call BS on anybody that says going to 700c will make them easily cruise at 20 mph while 26ers at the same effort results in 15 mph. Either the comparison is terribly flawed with too many variables changed or the tester is full of crap. Not many people "easily cruise" at 20 mph on a road bike without a downhill or tailwind. Easy cruise on a flat for most people is 17-18.5 mph. 20 mph will take some effort to maintain for any appreciable amount of time, thus a lot of roadies aspire to be sub-5 hour for a century ride.
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  38. #38
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    ....AND THERE YOU HAVE IT.....I THINK YOU PUT IT SIMPLE AND TO THE POINT SIZZLER.

    Me, I'm an idiot.....I'm converting my Monocog to my commuter with slicks and nothing more- oh and it's a 26er.....15miles each direction to work- I need to improve my engine.

    44t/15t gear ratio I'll give it a try.

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