Touring: 26 or 700C?

by m0rjc   August 4, 2013  

Some touring bikes are now marketed as more "go anywhere" bikes. They have mountain bike wheels rather than 700C roady wheels.

The answer for us may be given by the fact that we have entirely 700C bikes already. Ancient Family Wisdom has been that 700C is better on tarmac and possible unpaved Sustrans tracks. 26 is slower, but stronger.

What is the real difference between the two? Also what effect on the ride of the bike and geometry? Lower I guess. Shorter?

I currently have no plans to go to the sorts of places where 700C spares would not be available.

Thanks

- Richard

4 user comments

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700c aka 29" do roll better than 26". Pop some nice fat Conti Gatorskins on and any Sustrans path is easy. If you need grip, some cyclocross tyres will do the trick. Or go the whole hog and get some tubeless, like the new Hutchinson Secteur 28 - if you can find them. If I was off touring they would be my choice. The last thing you want to do with a loaded touring bike is be changing flats.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [507 posts]
4th August 2013 - 14:53

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If you've read the 26" v 29er arguments on MTB forums you'll know that there's no one 'better' wheel or even a straightforwared answer. Some love how the big wheels roll, others prefer the feel of the small ones.

It is easier to make a 26" wheeled bike fit shorter people better. They can get low if racing and for touring the weight on a loaded bike is lower and therefore more manageable.

OTOH I can't see why a taller rider would want a 26" wheeled bike if 700c fits them better, but if the individual prefers it...

Stick with what you're happy with, regardless of what the tape measure says (or some self-appointed internet expert).

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1979 posts]
4th August 2013 - 15:02

4 Likes

Performance differences between 26" and 700C wheels are negligible and have more to do with the individual setups, availability of suitable tyres and bikes/frames rather than with the wheel diameter itself. It's mainly the tyres and body position, not wheels that make the bike go fast or slow.

Is 19-20mph av. on a 26" drop bar bike with MTB tyres fast enough? Cool
http://bartthebikeman.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/schwalbe-racing-ralph-sha...

700C isn't better or worse. It's just one of the options Wink

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [181 posts]
4th August 2013 - 21:02

3 Likes

Thanks. When the time comes I'll see what comes out, both based on sizing and other features. I've noted that one or two manufacturers change wheel size as the frame size increases. I'd be on a 700C in their ranges.

Edit: Seems with some manufacturers I can save cost, maybe come into cycle scheme range, by cannibalising my old bike. That would push to reusing the 700C wheels, at least temporarily.

posted by m0rjc [35 posts]
5th August 2013 - 9:53

4 Likes