32x650b touring tires, anyone?

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby tbessie » 17 Mar 2018, 9:48pm

Hey all...

So I'm having my dream touring bike built; I decided to go for 650b wheels, as 1) this is for an S&S coupled bike, so it'll be slightly easier to fit in the case without as much playing with the parts, and 2) it seems like 26" will be slowly dying while 650b will be slowly taking its place.

I'm not sure how true any of the above is, but after lots of discussing of this with people, this was the route I took.

In any case, the frame is being built right now (by Steve Potts, made of titanium), and the wheels will be built by a good local builder (the guy who builds the wheels for Rivendell).

So it was time to look for tires. I was just going to get some of the good ol' Schwalbe Marathons that I've used in the past on my 700c bike... until I found, they don't make them in that size. Anything they do for touring in 650b is wider than that.

So I've been looking around, and 32x650b is almost nonexistent... almost nobody makes such a tire. The few I've found seem to be marketed to mountain-bike-oriented people for that cohort's city bikes... slick tread, "fast" etc... not so much for touring.

Has anyone got some ideas about what I might try? All I've found after searching the major sites have been these two:

https://www.schwalbetires.com/node/282

https://www.continental-tires.com/bicyc ... tact-speed

Those might do ok, but they're not as tough as the touring tires I'm used to.

Anyone have any suggestions (besides telling me I made a mistake getting a 650b bike? ;-) ).

- Tim

Bonefishblues
Posts: 6864
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby Bonefishblues » 17 Mar 2018, 9:57pm

No, I'm afraid not, but what an interesting builder. I thought I knew all of the Repack guys, but clearly not. :D

tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby tbessie » 17 Mar 2018, 10:05pm

Bonefishblues wrote:No, I'm afraid not, but what an interesting builder. I thought I knew all of the Repack guys, but clearly not. :D


Yeah - I got a bike from Bruce Gordon (who was tangential to those guys), which I'm going to steal some parts from for this bike. It's a great touring bike, but not so much for traveling (not coupled, and very heavy steel). Gary Fisher lives around here and I've run into him several times at local events (one night at a party I said hello to him, and he said "HEEEEEY!" and drunkenly punched me hard enough in the shoulder that it hurt for 2 days... so my claim to fame is "Gary Fisher hurt me" ;-) ); and I met Joe Breeze at the Mountain Bike Museum. I'm collecting them all! ;-)

Steve Potts is a really nice fellow, the real-deal as far as honest, old-fashioned craftsmanship is concerned. I'm looking forward to the bike, despite the tire issue.

- Tim

le.voyageur
Posts: 63
Joined: 10 Jan 2017, 8:30am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby le.voyageur » 17 Mar 2018, 11:36pm


Brucey
Posts: 35932
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby Brucey » 17 Mar 2018, 11:58pm

well strictly speaking 650B is a 26" size; the French pinched the 26 x 1-1/2" size that Dunlop made (at least 110 years ago), called it 650B and made it their darling for touring bikes. Back in Blighty it became a size that was nigh-on the sole province of Post-Office bikes and the like.... :roll: BITD I ended up using 26x1-1/2" michelin zig-zags on my 650B French tandem because they were the only tyres I could get in the 584mm size.....

Right now 650B tyres are more popular than they were but only time will tell if this is just a flash in the pan or not; as recently as three years ago there were still more 650A (26 x 1-3/8", 590mm rim) size tyres in Schwalbe's catalogue than 650B ones....

Anyway if you buy a bike with 650B rims you should expect to use 650B tyres on them; by definition these are normally 38-584 or slightly larger, and different width tyres to fit that rim are 'variants' that will be first against the wall should the rim size ebb in popularity. If you choose puncture proof tyres they will be taller than that because of the thicker tread.

If you want to buy 32mm tyres easily, maybe a different rim size would have been a better idea; 700C (622mm rim) would have been a good choice, however nothing is certain.... I am told that once upon a time (in the 1950s) the most popular tyre size in English lightweight bikes was 26 x 1-1/4" (32-597). Bikes commonly were still being sold with those size rims and tyres on about 30 years ago, and it was one of the original Dunlop sizes (like 26 x 1-1/2"). However now you will struggle to find any tyres or rims in that size. In the meantime the 27" size (630mm rim) has basically come and gone too.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby tbessie » 18 Mar 2018, 12:53am

le.voyageur wrote:not sure about tough but
GRAND BOIS CYPRES 32MM 650B

https://www.pelagobicycles.com/grand-bo ... s-650.html
Also
https://www.rivbike.com/collections/tir ... 9081161741


I noticed those, but wasn't sure about how good they were. I'll check 'em out again. :-)

- Tim

tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby tbessie » 18 Mar 2018, 12:58am

Brucey wrote:... lots of stuff snipp'ed ...
If you want to buy 32mm tyres easily, maybe a different rim size would have been a better idea; 700C (622mm rim) would have been a good choice, however nothing is certain.... I am told that once upon a time (in the 1950s) the most popular tyre size in English lightweight bikes was 26 x 1-1/4" (32-597). Bikes commonly were still being sold with those size rims and tyres on about 30 years ago, and it was one of the original Dunlop sizes (like 26 x 1-1/2"). However now you will struggle to find any tyres or rims in that size. In the meantime the 27" size (630mm rim) has basically come and gone too.


Thanks for all the info! Very interesting!

Can tires with other ETRTO sizes also fit 650b rims? Or only ones that are so designated?

As for getting a more common rim for 32mm tires - well, as I mentioned, I chose this size for several specific reasons, so that's a non-starter. I'm stuck with this. If, in several years or more, I find that 650b rims and tires are disappearing, either I'll stock up on a bunch of tires, or have to get another bike made; I hope it doesn't happen.

Before I made this choice, I talked with a lot of bike shop owners and bike builders, and they said it would be better to get a 650b bike than a 26" bike, as they thought 26" was going to die out. But who knows if that'll happen. In any case, if I didn't care about smaller wheels in order to fit more easily into the S&S case, I would have gone with a 700c bike, since that's by far the most common.

So... oh well.

Meanwhile, I found a few 38mm tires out there that will work; Schwalbe still doesn't have much in that size for 650b, mostly 44mm and bigger.

I'm thinking I'll likely end up getting the Panaracer RibBMo in 38mm.

https://www.panaracer.com/lineup/urban_touring.html

As for my 32mm-34mm fenders, I hope that more tires become available so I can use 'em; otherwise, I'll have to get bigger fenders.

- Tim

Brucey
Posts: 35932
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby Brucey » 18 Mar 2018, 7:47am

only tyres that are listed as xx-584 (in ISO size designation) will fit 650B rims. 584mm is the bead seat diameter of the rim.

When you say ' 26" wheels ' you presumably mean -559mm size; this is commonly meant but is potentially a very misleading way of referring to a wheel. 559mm is just one of five or six rims that are designed to yield wheels that are 26" rolling diameter, including 584mm, i.e. 650B is a 26" size. Others include rims that are 571mm, 590mm, 597mm. Each of these rims is intended to take a different section tyre and yield a wheel that is 26" in overall (rolling) diameter. A machine fitted with any of these would correctly be described as 'a bike with 26" wheels'. Tyres obviously do not interchange between these rims.

Remember that (although there are some tourists using them) the current fad for 650B rims (as evidenced by the fact that most of the rims you can buy are lightweight 32h ones meant for disc brakes) is mainly being driven by the MTB market, with folks (inevitably) finding that they want some kind of road tyre to fit an MTB with ' 27.5" wheels ' (another daft way of referring to 26 x 1-1/2" rims.... :roll: ). Most riders of MTBs are not going to be looking for a road tyre as narrow as 32mm so the tyre you seek will probably remain a somewhat niche item. 38mm tyres will likely always be the easiest width to find in 584, because that is what the standard width is for that rim size.

If you don't like the tyres that fit 584 rims you could get a set of wheels with a different rim type in your frame. If the stays and forks are wide enough you could get 559mm rims and use a tyre of about 50mm section (which will be about 25-3/4" overall diameter). If you put 622mm (700C) rims in that frame a skinny (say 25-622) tyre will give a wheel that is about 26-1/2" rolling diameter and that may fit too.

BTW the closest standard size tyre/wheel (with some availability rather than none) to fit under your mudguards is 26x1-3/8" (35-590) . This was a standard size fitted to millions of roadsters made by Raleigh etc and not that many years ago it was one of the few tyre sizes that could be found World-wide. However that tyre/rim size is another size that is slowly dying; it is still fitted to a few new bikes but not many. I don't think anyone makes decent double-walled rims (I have only seen single walled, 36 drilling in recent years) and choice of tyres is limited. However you can buy Schwalbe marathons in that size, so if that is the sort of tyre that you want to use, it isn't such a bad choice. [It is also a common wheelchair rim size, so is unlikely to go extinct completely.]

So there are a few choices. I expect you will find a -584 tyre that will suit you alright, but if you don't there may be another way with that frameset, (provided it doesn't have cantilever brake bosses, which would make changing rim size problematic).

BTW I have a folding bike that uses 559 wheels (no choice, cantilever brakes fitted) and it has ~32mm tyres on it. The rolling diameter of the wheels is ~24-1/2" or so, so the bike packs down small. I expect to be able to buy good tyres in that (niche) size for at least five or ten years to come, maybe longer. As it happens the frame will accept tyres up to 50mm quite happily so I am unlikely to get stuck even if (as pessimists would have it) in time, tyres for the 559mm rim become less plentiful; I will always be able to buy something.....

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

le.voyageur
Posts: 63
Joined: 10 Jan 2017, 8:30am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby le.voyageur » 18 Mar 2018, 9:01am

Schwalbe also do at least one tyre that comes up at 35mm as it's 1.35"

cycle tramp
Posts: 557
Joined: 5 Aug 2009, 7:22pm

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby cycle tramp » 18 Mar 2018, 5:24pm

tbessie wrote:Hey all...

So I'm having my dream touring bike built; I decided to go for 650b wheels, as 1) this is for an S&S coupled bike, so it'll be slightly easier to fit in the case without as much playing with the parts, and 2) it seems like 26" will be slowly dying while 650b will be slowly taking its place.

- Tim


I remember my father being told that the new 700c wheel size would replace the old 27 x 1 1/8 and generally it did... however you can still get 27 × 1 1/8 tyres even now... i suspect the 559 wheel size might be with us slightly longer than then the bike journalists suspect.

Don't forget to show photographs of your bicycle!

cycle tramp
Posts: 557
Joined: 5 Aug 2009, 7:22pm

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby cycle tramp » 18 Mar 2018, 5:30pm

Brucey wrote:BTW I have a folding bike that uses 559 wheels (no choice, cantilever brakes fitted)

cheers


Actually.... i'm expecting a thread from your good self any moment now about how you're going to convert this bike to drim brakes... : - )

tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby tbessie » 18 Mar 2018, 6:54pm

Brucey wrote:only tyres that are listed as xx-584 (in ISO size designation) will fit 650B rims. 584mm is the bead seat diameter of the rim.


Yeah, I read several articles on the subject after your earlier post, and got schooled. Thanks for all the continuing education. :-)

... So there are a few choices. I expect you will find a -584 tyre that will suit you alright, but if you don't there may be another way with that frameset, (provided it doesn't have cantilever brake bosses, which would make changing rim size problematic).

BTW I have a folding bike that uses 559 wheels (no choice, cantilever brakes fitted) and it has ~32mm tyres on it. The rolling diameter of the wheels is ~24-1/2" or so, so the bike packs down small. I expect to be able to buy good tyres in that (niche) size for at least five or ten years to come, maybe longer. As it happens the frame will accept tyres up to 50mm quite happily so I am unlikely to get stuck even if (as pessimists would have it) in time, tyres for the 559mm rim become less plentiful; I will always be able to buy something.....


Well, given this is a custom frame, I got to choose what sized tired I wanted it to allow, what size mudguards, etc. I had told the builder that the largest tire I likely would use would be 38mm, so supposedly that's what he's building. The last communication we had, he had cut the tubes and was going to start welding soon. I emailed him my issues with tire sizes, and asked his advice. I prefer 32mm because the kind of touring I do, I prefer low rolling resistance to cushyness, even if rolling resistance probably isn't that important with a fully loaded bike.

In any case, I doubt I'll be able to swap out wheels. And I put in an order last week for some rather nice 650b wheels (Velocity Atlas rims, Phil Wood hubs), which will end up costing around $1250... so I'm rather invested in the whole 650b thing. I don't think I'll have any problems outfitting it for this year's tour, and for several years to come; however, many years down the road, I'm not sure sure. I do like the ability to saunter into a bike shop anywhere in the western world and get tires, rims, etc. (tho', of course, for that I should have gotten a bike built around a 700c rim).

So I got what I got, I can't really make any changes in it, it's rather all set in stone by this point. I'll just use the bike for some years, and if I find it being a pain to get tires and other bits for it, some time in the future I might switch back to 700c (or something else if some other smaller wheel size becomes a bigger standard than the current 650b resurgence).

- Tim

tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby tbessie » 18 Mar 2018, 6:56pm

tbessie wrote:
Brucey wrote:only tyres that are listed as xx-584 (in ISO size designation) will fit 650B rims. 584mm is the bead seat diameter of the rim.


Yeah, I read several articles on the subject after your earlier post, and got schooled. Thanks for all the continuing education. :-)

... So there are a few choices. I expect you will find a -584 tyre that will suit you alright, but if you don't there may be another way with that frameset, (provided it doesn't have cantilever brake bosses, which would make changing rim size problematic).

BTW I have a folding bike that uses 559 wheels (no choice, cantilever brakes fitted) and it has ~32mm tyres on it. The rolling diameter of the wheels is ~24-1/2" or so, so the bike packs down small. I expect to be able to buy good tyres in that (niche) size for at least five or ten years to come, maybe longer. As it happens the frame will accept tyres up to 50mm quite happily so I am unlikely to get stuck even if (as pessimists would have it) in time, tyres for the 559mm rim become less plentiful; I will always be able to buy something.....


Well, given this is a custom frame, I got to choose what sized tired I wanted it to allow, what size mudguards, etc. I had told the builder that the largest tire I likely would use would be 38mm, so supposedly that's what he's building. The last communication we had, he had cut the tubes and was going to start welding soon. I emailed him my issues with tire sizes, and asked his advice. I prefer 32mm because the kind of touring I do, I prefer low rolling resistance to cushyness, even if rolling resistance probably isn't that important with a fully loaded bike.

In any case, I doubt I'll be able to swap out wheels. And I put in an order last week for some rather nice 650b wheels (Velocity Atlas rims, Phil Wood hubs), which will end up costing around $1250... so I'm rather invested in the whole 650b thing. I don't think I'll have any problems outfitting it for this year's tour, and for several years to come; however, many years down the road, I'm not sure sure. I do like the ability to saunter into a bike shop anywhere in the western world and get tires, rims, etc. (tho', of course, for that I should have gotten a bike built around a 700c rim).

So I got what I got, I can't really make any changes in it, it's rather all set in stone by this point. I'll just use the bike for some years, and if I find it being a pain to get tires and other bits for it, some time in the future I might switch back to 700c (or something else if some other smaller wheel size becomes a bigger standard than the current 650b resurgence).

As for brakes, it's going to have this modern take on center-pull brakes:

https://paulcomp.com/shop/components/racer/

They mount in a non-standard place, so going forward I'll always have to use these ones (or ones that mount in that place). I'm hoping that this particular brake is available until I'm done with the bike. ;-)

- Tim

tbessie
Posts: 186
Joined: 10 May 2014, 3:27am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby tbessie » 18 Mar 2018, 7:04pm

le.voyageur wrote:Schwalbe also do at least one tyre that comes up at 35mm as it's 1.35"


Yeah, not a whole lot, tho', and not touring specific. Here's what they have under 40mm:

https://www.schwalbetires.com/node/2366

https://www.schwalbetires.com/node/282

https://www.schwalbetires.com/node/3026

https://www.schwalbetires.com/node/2956

That last one's the closest to something I'd want, and it's 37mm.

- Tim

Bmblbzzz
Posts: 2883
Joined: 18 May 2012, 7:56pm
Location: From here to there.

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 18 Mar 2018, 7:24pm

Sometime back in the days when all mountain bikes had 26" wheels in the 559 sense, and when 27" in the 630 sense was no longer being fitted to new road bikes, I remember reading an opinion that it seemed a shame to lose old sizes (27"* and all the 26" versions other than 559) but in the long run this was outweighed by the advantage of standardization on two sizes bringing a full range of tyres in each. And so it was for a while, but the wonderful thing about standards is there are so many to choose from... Meanwhile, there are rumours that 27" (630) is to be repopularized as the logical step for wider tyres on touring bikes nowadays.

*Logically you could call 622 a 27" wheel, although it's probably for the best in terms of clarity that people don't.