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Should you run 700c or 650b wheels for gravel riding?

  • What’s the right wheel size choice for mixed-surface riding? That’s a question more cyclists venturing into the burgeoning world of gravel are asking themselves.To get more news about Road Cicycle Wheels, you can visit official website.

    The two main options are 700c which is standard for road and cyclocross bikes or 650b, known in the mountain bike world as 27.5″. Both wheel sizes come with pros and cons making them suitable for different riding purposes and conditions but in certain respects, the two wheel sizes can be relatively interchangeable. Bikes equipped with both 650b or 700c wheels are well suited for various off-road riding conditions. This guide is here to help you choose which one is right for you.

    The diameter of the wheel and your tire choice will influence how a bike feels and handles. While a 28 to 30 mm tire mounted on a 700c wheel has approximately the same outside diameter as a 42 to 47 mm tire mounted on a 650b wheel, when you begin to play around with various tires the difference can be more dramatic. For example, a 40 mm gravel tire on a 700c increases the diameter of the wheel compared to the above example resulting in more trail. More trail results in a ride that feels more stable with slower and calmer handling. Less trail results in more responsive handling which can also feel a little more nervous but lends itself well to technical riding. Another area of the bike what will be influenced by different wheel diameters is how much bottom bracket clearance the bike has. Switching to smaller diameter wheels could result in less clearance at the BB which could be a good thing if you are looking for increased stability because a lower center of mass but could also make clearing certain obstacles a little trickier. Though not immediately evident, the diameter of your wheels will have a small effect on your gearing. If you have wheels of a smaller diameter, you will need higher gearing to achieve the same speed compared to a bike with wheels with a bigger diameter. Smaller wheels, need to rotate more times to cover the same distance. On a hard climb your easiest gears will feel even easier with wheels of a smaller diameter.

    With that said, 650b and 700c wheels for gravel riding are often set-up with tires that make them very similar diameters so a change from one to the other wouldn’t drastically change the gearing on your bike. The rule to have gearing ratios stay the same when changing wheel diameter is higher gearing is needed on smaller wheels while lower gearing is needed to accommodate larger wheels. One of the major advantages of wider tires is being able to run lower tire pressures for better comfort and traction. The wider the tire, generally the lower pressure you can run it at without risking bottoming out the rim or flatting. On 700c wheels, finding frames that can accommodate super wide tires is not always possible. With a smaller 650b wheel, it’s possible to run wider tires when frame clearance allows for it. On 700c wheels, maximum tire clearance on frames usually hovers around 40 mm while frames that can take 650b wheels can then accommodate 2.1″ (53mm) or even 2.2″ (56 mm) tires.