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650 vs. 700 for smal womens frame???(11 posts)

650 vs. 700 for smal womens frame???riney
Apr 15, 2002 12:37 PM
My wife is ready for a new bike wether she knows it or not. Our wedding is coming up and as a gift I figure platinum and diamonds are cool but why not get her something that really lasts...Titanium.

She has been riding a Cannondale R600 46cm with 650c wheels and I want to up grade her to a Merlin Cyrene, Litespeed Ghisalo, etc... While I understand the design concept behind putting smaller wheels on smaller frames I am wondering if it offers any real performance/comfort advantage over 700s.

I would also like to standardize our equipment at home. On more than one occasion we have accidentaly grabbed one anothers tubes to refill our blow out bags. Buying tires at quantity discounts would also be easier.

Any input or experience would be great.
re: 650 vs. 700 for smal womens frame???heloise
Apr 15, 2002 12:59 PM
How well does the 46cm w/ 650s fit her? You rarely see 'stock' bikes under 47/48 cm with 700c wheels. A bike that is too big won't really be an upgrade.

This is second hand experience, but i'll share the story. A friend of mine who is barely 5' insisted that she wanted 700c and she had a frame(43/45 cm?) custom built. As a beginner rider she was happy and comfortable. As she started racing(especially crits) and descending more quickly she noticed quirky handling problems.

She is now on a 650c bike and raves about it!

If you want to have her story first-person you could e-mail me and i'll put you and your wife in touch.

p.s. if you want to minimize tire costs a Ti tandem would make a LOVEly wedding gift!
re: 650 vs. 700 for smal womens frame???CAAD5 Kid
Apr 15, 2002 1:50 PM
By having a 650 wheel on a small frames whether mens or womens offers two advantages. 1. it allows the designers to make sure the bike will ride the way they want being able to alter seat/chain stay lengths on small frames....if you have a small frame with 700cc wheels you eventually reach a point where you can't move it anymore. 2. and sometimes as importantly...a 650 wheel is easier to spin up for smaller riders...though it won't roll as fast a 700. You mentioned standardization of tubes......well.....sorry that ain't gonna happen but you can still buy both in bulk (you're going to use them sooner or later)
re: toe overlapcyclopathic
Apr 15, 2002 2:38 PM
being 5'5" I can tell that even in 50-53cm range many frames are designed with annoying toe overlap and screwed up geometry with very steep seatangle shallow headagle.

Terry of Terry bikes who knows alot about vertically challenged people had designed bikes with 650c front wheel. It works but it is an ugly answer to old problem. It is a nightmare you have to carry double everything (650&700 tubes) even on short ride.

If your petite wife to be rides 46cm there's no way "normal" bike can be designed around 700c at that size. Go for 650 if you want her to like your present.

the downside is that 650c tires are hard to find, you'd have to buy everything double blah-blah-blah. Forget about it if you wanna good bike for your 4'10" wife.


PS with respect to handling 650c wheels are lighter and stiffer means harsher ride, better acceleration slitely higher rolling resistance and less aerodrag. sounds like a winner
so are 650c rims stronger than 700sriney
Apr 15, 2002 4:44 PM
The wheel set she has now consists of 105 hubs w/CXP21 36H X3...can you run a lower spoke count and get the same reliability. BTW she is 5'1" and (dont tell her I told you) 115lbs.
re: spoke countcyclopathic
Apr 15, 2002 4:57 PM
it is down to # of spoke per x inches so 28 spoke 650c are equiv to 32 on 700c, 36 x3 should be bulletproof.


PS keep in mind though her weight has nowhere to go but up ;)
Wish I'd bought my 5'1" wife a 650-wheeled frameretro
Apr 15, 2002 4:12 PM
Depends partly on her size, naturally. Way back in the old Bridgestone days, I bought my wife her first decent road bike. She had her heart set on pink, and the only one I could find had 700c wheels. The frame fit her, theoretically, but it sort of sat down between those big hulking wheels. She never really felt secure on it, though she's a good athlete with experience on skis and horses (not an inherent balance thing, I mean). Partly as a result, I think, she's a few-times-a-year cyclist to this day--I got into it and she didn't, and we've never really gotten back together, bikewise.
There are some logistical reasons for sticking with 700, but if I had it to do over, I'd go with the small wheels.
Miss M has both 26" and 700C wheel road bikes.MB1
Apr 15, 2002 4:37 PM
She got a 47cm Merlin with 700C wheelswhen we were just getting to know each other. Those small frame 700C wheel bikes don't ride the same as larger bikes. Odd head angles, really short stems, no head tube so the headsets are hard to adjust and wear quicker.

After we got married I talked her into a Rivendell. Steel frame with 26" wheels. She is so much more secure on it.

Overall I'd say any of those small frame bikes are so light that the weight differences are minor. The 700C Merlin rolls a little better on the flats but up and down hills the Rivendell is vastly superior. Plus she can really stand over it and gets nothing but raves from fellow cyclists about the bike.

BTW the Rivendell will accept 650C wheels.
hey MB1cyclopathic
Apr 15, 2002 4:59 PM
how was your Sat ride? it was too hot isn't it?
We had a good time and did a good time.MB1
Apr 16, 2002 6:00 AM
We were an hour faster than last year. That suprised us since we weren't trying. Our plan was to ride 140 so we just putzed along. You never know...
re: I saw your subaru on 66cyclopathic
Apr 16, 2002 11:08 AM
then when Gordon and Lynn caught me by Flint I called him Mark ;) they beat me by 7min. Was nice day too bad I've overdressed and cramped up after Madison. that little "climb" and the rollers are very enjoyable when you have cramps.