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Poor man’s 650B

February 10, 2010

There are a surprising number of wheel and tire sizes available for bicycles.  Some old standbys have recently become popular in new applications (e.g. 29ers), while others just refuse to die.

Unfortunately, the nomenclature across the spectrum of wheel sizes is very confusing, and furrowed brows are a common element in new tire selection when the old tire is not present.  For example, there are no less than four incompatible tire sizes that have 26 embossed on them.  Some clarity can be found here.

The 650B is a size has recently returned to vogue because many consider it to be the best of both worlds: big enough to roll smoothly, yet small enough to be strong and maneuverable.  650B tires and rims are still uncommon and expensive, but parts for it’s cousin, the 650A, are still readily available.

When my buddy George brought in this sad old Trek 610 from the trash I originally thought she was a lost cause.  But then the rusty old wheels in my mind started turning, and it dawned on me that George needed a town bike more than another road bike.  It was then that I decided to make this bike my personal experiment in converting a beat up old road bike into a practical porteur: The Poor Man’s 650b.

Converting a frame built for one wheel size into a bike with a drastically different wheel size is not without its complications, but it can be done.  Fairly detailed conversion analysis can be found here.

Pictures will be posted as the bike progresses.

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