32x650b touring tires, anyone?

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

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby tbessie » 18 Mar 2018, 7:30pm

cycle tramp wrote:
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!


Yeah, given the number of rims and tires currently available, it might have been smarter to go with 559 if I wanted a smaller wheel for packing purposes. The reason I went to 584 was based on articles and forum discussions I'd read, and advice from local bike shops. In the end, it was a toss-up and a hope. We'll see if it ends up paying off. :-/

I'll certainly post a photo of the new bike when it's ready!

This is part of a project of mine to get rid of the 1 road riding and 2 touring bikes I own, and replace them with "dream bikes" of the same type (well, only 1 touring bike). I've gotten rid of the road bike and one of the touring bikes, and will sell what's left of the other touring bike once the new touring bike is done.

Here's the "dream road bike" I got - first, the builder's own pix (my last name's "Bessie", thus the "Bessiematic" on the top tube):

https://www.flickr.com/photos/fireflybi ... 7860400401

... and mine of the finished bike:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/F3rVS7lwp9qE6V7u2

- Tim

PhilD28
Posts: 92
Joined: 26 Sep 2016, 8:31am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby PhilD28 » 19 Mar 2018, 8:24am

You seem to be of the opinion that a 32mm section tyre will be faster than a 38mm or 42. This has been de bunked many times in the last 5 years. If you read some of the Bicycle Quarterly articles on testing different section tyres you might change your mind. Even road racers use 25mm or 28 mm section tyres-instead of 23 these days.
My own experiments over many years have led me to wider tyres. The minimum I use for touring is 38 mm and often 42mm. As long as the tyres are high quality with really supple sidewalls they are invariably at least as fast and certainly more comfortable than 32mm when used on smaller wheels such as 559 or 650B.

I came through the club racing scene in the 60’s and 70’s and there’s no doubt we all believed that narrower sections with higher pressures was the only way to go, so I had a deep seated bias until about 25/30 years ago when I started doing my own experiments. I started building touring bikes based on mtb 559 wheels and 1. 1/2” section tyres after some discussions with Tony Oliver, the great bike builder from Anglesey. It was a revelation in terms of comfort, no loss of speed/distance travelled per day and general feeling of less fatigue when getting off the bike. I never went back.

In terms of loaded touring, my mileage must be well over a hundred thousand miles on bikes like this with wider tyres on 559 wheels. I would never consider using anything narrower than 38mm now. But high quality supple sidewall tyres are a must and worth whatever you need to pay to get them, also make sure not to over inflate them.

Btw, I wonder how many of the people you spoke to in bike shops have toured hundreds of thousands of miles on various tyre widths, loaded and unloaded using tyres between 32 - 42 mm. I’m very happy for people with real experience of real world touring on bikes like this to take a different view, but far too often people provide “opinion” without knowledge or experience.

Brucey
Posts: 35843
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby Brucey » 19 Mar 2018, 9:09am

it is worth mentioning that things are very different depending on what you are doing with your bike. In a nutshell

a) for an unladen bike doing ~20mph;

- wheel aerodynamics is significant
- the wheels (in fact the whole bike) are more like unsprung weight than sprung weight when high pressure tyres are used

b) for a laden bike doing ~15mph;

- wheel aerodynamics is less significant
- the wheels (in fact the whole bike) are more like sprung weight rather than unsprung weight, with the tyre being the spring.

in other words the tyres are going to be worked very hard on a bumpy road whenever a load is being carried, so under these circumstances it is usually better to have supple, wider tyres. I have toured (on very good roads) with 28mm tyres and a load on and it was fine. But it was not so good every time a bad stretch of road was encountered.

For many of us there is a compromise to be made; our 'touring bikes' are used with a load sometimes and without a load the rest of the time. In the latter case it might be closer to condition a) than b), thus the use of 32mm tyres makes sense (people are not daft; the 27 x 1-1/4" size was rightly perceived as a good compromise for light touring bikes for many years). Maybe fitting 38s makes more sense when there is a load on; there is nothing to stop the OP from swapping tyres as necessary. That being the case, use of (say) 32mm GB tyres unladen and something else (in 38mm) when laden will be a good arrangement...?

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GELL71
Posts: 3
Joined: 19 Mar 2018, 11:02am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby GELL71 » 19 Mar 2018, 12:01pm

I have a set of Donnelly MXP (650x33) on my cannondale slate. They're folding and tubeless. A bit heavy going for a touring bike, but they're lightweight and supple, so might not be too heavy on the resistance. They also appear to be pretty bullet proof. I've done a few flinty, rocky rides, with virtually no signs of damage.
I know canyon use 650b for their smaller frame size road bikes, it might be worth checking out what tyres they fit as standard.

rgds
Guy

PhilD28
Posts: 92
Joined: 26 Sep 2016, 8:31am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby PhilD28 » 19 Mar 2018, 12:23pm

Brucey wrote:it is worth mentioning that things are very different depending on what you are doing with your bike. In a nutshell

a) for an unladen bike doing ~20mph;

- wheel aerodynamics is significant
- the wheels (in fact the whole bike) are more like unsprung weight than sprung weight when high pressure tyres are used

b) for a laden bike doing ~15mph;

- wheel aerodynamics is less significant
- the wheels (in fact the whole bike) are more like sprung weight rather than unsprung weight, with the tyre being the spring.

in other words the tyres are going to be worked very hard on a bumpy road whenever a load is being carried, so under these circumstances it is usually better to have supple, wider tyres. I have toured (on very good roads) with 28mm tyres and a load on and it was fine. But it was not so good every time a bad stretch of road was encountered.

For many of us there is a compromise to be made; our 'touring bikes' are used with a load sometimes and without a load the rest of the time. In the latter case it might be closer to condition a) than b), thus the use of 32mm tyres makes sense (people are not daft; the 27 x 1-1/4" size was rightly perceived as a good compromise for light touring bikes for many years). Maybe fitting 38s makes more sense when there is a load on; there is nothing to stop the OP from swapping tyres as necessary. That being the case, use of (say) 32mm GB tyres unladen and something else (in 38mm) when laden will be a good arrangement...?

cheers


I agree entirely when talking about 700c, I toured extensively on 27 x 1.1/4" and later on 700 x 32mm, both loaded and unloaded before I went over to 559's and they were fine. However, once you reduce wheel diameter and as a consequence air pocket volume by going to 559 or 650B that extra 6mm width becomes very important. I experimented for a while with 650B using various tyres and without doubt either loaded or unloaded I preferred the 38's over 32's, there was a big difference in comfort and no discernable difference in speed. When loaded with camping gear 38's are the absolute minimum I would consider and 42's are better.
I still have a few 32mm 559 Panaracer Pasela's in the shed if anyone wants them (a failed experiment), way way too harsh and uncomfortable for long distance touring compared to 38's and certainly no quicker.

Bruce, if you want a brand new pair of 32 x 559 let me know, I'll never use them.

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

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby tbessie » 19 Mar 2018, 5:55pm

PhilD28 wrote:You seem to be of the opinion that a 32mm section tyre will be faster than a 38mm or 42. This has been de bunked many times in the last 5 years. If you read some of the Bicycle Quarterly articles on testing different section tyres you might change your mind. Even road racers use 25mm or 28 mm section tyres-instead of 23 these days.


For me it's not just an opinion; when I first got my older touring bikes, they both came with something between 38mm and 44mm tires. I rode them for awhile, both loaded and unloaded, and then switched to 32mm on both. In my subjective experience, it felt faster and more responsive and less draggy when using the 32mm.

I've definitely read about tire width mattering less, and even went with 25mm tires for my new road bike based on that. But I get a feeling there's a "sweet spot/region" where tire size matters less, but at some point (and with some load sizes), the "contact patch" grows enough to produce more drag. Again, that's been my subjective experience with wider tires on a touring bike.

YMMV (and it apparently has). I haven't done as much mileage as you, at least on tours; maybe 5000 miles. I don't know how much the bike-shop owners I spoke with have done; the two I know best have done quite a bit of touring, though we didn't discuss tire width much, more about the viability of 650b wheels in the future. None of them told me I should be using any given width tire, tho'.

- Tim
Last edited by tbessie on 19 Mar 2018, 6:07pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brucey
Posts: 35843
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby Brucey » 19 Mar 2018, 6:03pm

PhilD28 wrote: .... However, once you reduce wheel diameter and as a consequence air pocket volume by going to 559 or 650B that extra 6mm width becomes very important....


the air volume in the tyre is almost certainly not the reason for any change you might feel; the air pressure is not changed significantly in any of these tyres as the tyre defects over bumps. The real reason is more likely to be simply that the fork blades etc are shorter and therefore stiffer. A small difference in length makes a huge difference and many 26"-wheeled frames (for laden touring) are built from (stiffer) MTB tubesets too. As an example if the forks are made 20% longer, but remain the same gauge, they will deflect (in a cantilever bend) over 70% more.

I agree there are many 26" wheeled bikes that ride badly unless fat tyres are fitted, but the air volume in the tyres is not the reason.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

reohn2
Posts: 36260
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby reohn2 » 19 Mar 2018, 6:04pm

tbessie wrote:
PhilD28 wrote:You seem to be of the opinion that a 32mm section tyre will be faster than a 38mm or 42. This has been de bunked many times in the last 5 years. If you read some of the Bicycle Quarterly articles on testing different section tyres you might change your mind. Even road racers use 25mm or 28 mm section tyres-instead of 23 these days.


For me it's not just an opinion; when I first got my older touring bikes, they both came with something between 38mm and 44mm tires. I rode them for awhile, both loaded and unloaded, and then switched to 32mm on both. In my subjective experience, it felt faster and more responsive and less draggy when using the 32mm.

I've definitely read about tire width mattering less, and even went with 25mm tires for my new road bike based on that. But I get a feeling there's a "sweet spot/region" where tire size matters less, but at some point (and with some load sizes), the "contact patch" grows enough to produce more drag. Again, that's been my subjective experience with wider tires on a touring bike.

YMMV. :-)

- Tim

A lot depends on tyre quality/suppleness and tyre pressures.
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

Brucey
Posts: 35843
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby Brucey » 19 Mar 2018, 6:08pm

GELL71 wrote: ....I know canyon use 650b for their smaller frame size road bikes, it might be worth checking out what tyres they fit as standard....


I dunno about canyon, but the commonest rim size for small road bikes has for years been 650C, ie. 571mm rims, not 584. You can get (niche market) 23, 25 and 28mm tyres to fit 650C rims.

The 'correct' size (according the standard) for a 650C tyre is ~1-3/4".... :shock:

edit; I just checked and yes canyon are using 650B rims on small road bikes.

cheers
Last edited by Brucey on 19 Mar 2018, 7:20pm, edited 1 time in total.
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby tbessie » 19 Mar 2018, 6:11pm

GELL71 wrote:I have a set of Donnelly MXP (650x33) on my cannondale slate. They're folding and tubeless. A bit heavy going for a touring bike, but they're lightweight and supple, so might not be too heavy on the resistance. They also appear to be pretty bullet proof. I've done a few flinty, rocky rides, with virtually no signs of damage.
I know canyon use 650b for their smaller frame size road bikes, it might be worth checking out what tyres they fit as standard.

rgds
Guy


The rims I got take tubes (unless there's some way of running tubeless tires on rims that normally take tubes); I haven't really looked into the tubeless world, tho'.

I'm talking with the guy who's building my wheels; he works for Rivendell, and says they have a few they use on their bikes that can work (nothing like the selection on 700c, but at least it's a few extra options for me). I'd still like to be able to get my Schwalbe Marathon tires at 32-584, but if that happens, it'll be far in the future I think.

I'll check into Canyon, in any case, thanks!

- Tim

Brucey
Posts: 35843
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby Brucey » 19 Mar 2018, 6:22pm

some comments on nomenclature;

a) it is '650B' not '650b'

b) '650x33' is meaningless. '650Bx33' (or similar) has some meaning rather than none.

c) There are 650A, 650B, and 650C rims sizes and they are all different.

d) The 650A size is a French version of 26 x 1-3/8", similarly 650B = 26 x 1-1/2", and 650C = 26 x 1-3/4". The rim BSDs are 590, 584 and 571mm respectively.

e) The French standards are no longer maintained. To avoid confusion it is best to use the ISO tyre sizes, eg xx-590, xx-584, xx-571 etc.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby tbessie » 19 Mar 2018, 6:33pm

Brucey wrote:some comments on nomenclature;

a) it is '650B' not '650b'

b) '650x33' is meaningless. '650Bx33' (or similar) has some meaning rather than none.

c) There are 650A, 650B, and 650C rims sizes and they are all different.

d) The 650A size is a French version of 26 x 1-3/8", similarly 650B = 26 x 1-1/2", and 650C = 26 x 1-3/4". The rim BSDs are 590, 584 and 571mm respectively.

e) The French standards are no longer maintained. To avoid confusion it is best to use the ISO tyre sizes, eg xx-590, xx-584, xx-571 etc.

cheers


Sure sure. For all references to "650b" or "650B" or whatever you prefer, in anything I've posted here, please translate to "X-584" with the "X" being whatever tire width I'm talking about.

- Tim

PhilD28
Posts: 92
Joined: 26 Sep 2016, 8:31am

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby PhilD28 » 20 Mar 2018, 5:13am

Brucey wrote:
PhilD28 wrote: .... However, once you reduce wheel diameter and as a consequence air pocket volume by going to 559 or 650B that extra 6mm width becomes very important....


the air volume in the tyre is almost certainly not the reason for any change you might feel; the air pressure is not changed significantly in any of these tyres as the tyre defects over bumps. The real reason is more likely to be simply that the fork blades etc are shorter and therefore stiffer. A small difference in length makes a huge difference and many 26"-wheeled frames (for laden touring) are built from (stiffer) MTB tubesets too. As an example if the forks are made 20% longer, but remain the same gauge, they will deflect (in a cantilever bend) over 70% more.

I agree there are many 26" wheeled bikes that ride badly unless fat tyres are fitted, but the air volume in the tyres is not the reason.

cheers

My 26” wheeled touring bike’s don’t have mtb tubesets they are custom built touring frame sets with normal 531 curved touring forks and touring, not mtb, geometry optimised for 559 wheels made by Dave Yates and the like. Dave knows how to build a frame optimised for touring and 26” wheels taking into account the deflection changes due to shorter forks, even down to using 1” instead of 1.1/8” headset. This frame has been incredibly stable and comfortable, yet rides beautifully unloaded too.
The difference in air pocket volume between 32 and 38 mm tyres is certainly significant in any given wheel size, coupled with the fact that the smaller section needs to be run at higher pressures to avoid pinch flats when loaded riding rougher roads.
Tyre quality is still probably the single most important factor in both comfort and low rolling resistance particularly with wider tyres when used on a bike built to carry some load when touring. Even a tank like steel mtb frame from the 80’s can be transformed into a decent load carrying touring bike with the right tyres.

The thread seemed to be seeking info on tyres, getting back to that subject, after trying a lot over the years The very best I’ve personally (I only comment on tyres or anything else I’ve personally tested on tours) tried are made by Compass and plenty of choice in 650b, they specialise in designing fast reliable tyres in that size...at a price. I don’t think I have anything else the op might find useful to add to the discussion.

Brucey
Posts: 35843
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: 32x650b touring tires, anyone?

Postby Brucey » 20 Mar 2018, 9:36am

PhilD28 wrote: ....The difference in air pocket volume between 32 and 38 mm tyres is certainly significant in any given wheel size....


yes the volume is different but this (by itself) has stuff-all effect. It is an oft-repeated myth, that serves only to obfuscate what is really going on.

I will repeat what I said before; the lengths of tubes that see cantilever loadings are incredibly important. They have an influence on the stiffness that is out of all proportion with the actual length change. This means that a tubeset that works really well when built into a frame for (say) medium width 700C tyres can result in

a) a frame that is as floppy as an old sock if it is built for fat tyres or
b) a frame that is a lot stiffer when it is built to accept smaller wheels.

Even a skilled builder cannot change this; all he can do is select thicker or thinner walled tubes or change the end trims on the tubes. (NB a very similar problem exists in tapered golf club shafts BTW; even though there is about 1/3 total length to come off the shaft, -which is far more than you get with a bicycle frame tube like a fork blade- you soon run out of end trim so that you simply cannot make short shafts as flexible as longer ones; you end up needing completely different tubes. These simply are not made for bicycles, and anyway even if they were you wouldn't use them on a frame that is meant to be loaded up.)

If you want to try a simple experiment, stick some 559 wheels (with tyres the same type and width) in a frame (in the same tuebset) that normally accepts 700C wheels and go for a ride. Compare with the ride using the 700C wheels. The ride quality will be different (because of the direct effect of wheel diameter, the wheel will follow the bumps in the road differently) and there will be a small change in the spring rate of the tyre (even at the same width and pressure) but this is not related to the 'air pocket volume', it is simply related to the tyre diameter. The rest is the frame and fork stiffness. Then go for a ride with the 559 wheels in the frame they are meant to go in and compare again. I think you will notice the difference.

BTW I agree that tyre construction is important, but 'air pocket volume' differences are not, they are just a red herring in this context.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~