7

I have a Bianchi eros with 650c wheels. My back wheel was driven into and is now buckled and I am finding it very difficult to replace it without spending hundreds of pounds.

Is there another wheel size that I can use instead of the 650c that will fit on this frame? Or is there a manufacturer that I have overlooked that still makes 650c wheels for an affordable price.

  • Take your pick: sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html – Daniel R Hicks Aug 29 '15 at 18:37
  • You're probably going to have to go to 650c. 650b might work (though unlikely) if you can get the brakes to work (13 mm bigger), and 700c is even less likely to work (51 mm bigger). – Batman Aug 29 '15 at 20:31
  • @Batman - Uh, Opie already has 650c wheels, and that is (reportedly) the problem. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 29 '15 at 23:14
  • 650c has a 571 mm Bead Seat Diameter. There are some old 26" wheel sizes that match that, but no modern tires are particularly close. In the US your best bet would probably be a Schwinn dealer as they once sold some odd sizes that would match BSD. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 29 '15 at 23:22
  • @DanielRHicks - yeah, I realize that. My point was that you're probably going to have to stick with 650c. – Batman Aug 30 '15 at 2:32
5

The answer is yes, but it might not be cost effective for your situation. I will answer this question from the perspective of someone who already owns a 650c frame but wants to purchase a new wheel-set.

The BSD of a modern 26" mountain bike wheel is 559mm, which is only slightly less than a 650c at 571mm. Sheldon Brown provides a big table. If your brakes can accommodate an additional drop of 6mm (calculated by (571mm - 559mm) / 2) then you can use a 26" wheelset in your 650c frame.

This has been documented by restoringvintagebicycles.com; they have also successfully run 650b wheels in a 700c frame.

So why might you want to do this?

  • Wider selection of rims
  • Wider selection of tyres
  • Wider availability of parts for long tours in remote places
  • Increased tyre clearance allowing for larger volume tyres
  • Reduced toe overlap
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3

The short answer is no.

As Daniel says in comments, 650c has a 571mm bead seat diameter (which is basically the rim diameter). Modern 26" wheels are 559mm BSD, so it's a chance you could find a suitable wheel in that size and replace your rear brake cailper with long reach ones. That would, however, cost £50 on top of the new wheel and leave you with a bike that's quite odd to ride.

Looking at online shops in Europe £150-£200 does seem like a reasonable price for a new-build wheel. I've used Starbike before, and they stock one 650c rim for €42, a cheap hub for €40 plus spokes and another €55 to build the wheel... you're looking at £150 at least.

eBay has a couple of 650c wheels for around £100, which is likely to be year cheapest option for a new wheel.

The actual cheap option is a second hand wheel, or a second hand bike. It's probably cheaper to buy a second hand bike, and this time get one with 700c wheels. The small frame bikes might look nicer with smaller wheels, but as you've found it is not worth the hassle when anything happens to the small wheels. I've seen skinny tyre touring bikes with 559 wheels, but I don't recall seeing a road bike or hybrid built like that. They might exist, I just haven't seen them.

I've helped smaller riders a number of times over the years and in my experience there are really only three wheel sizes that work: 406 (20"), 559 (26") and 622 (27"). Anything else will make tyres somewhat harder to find (you will end up buying online because your LBS won't stock more than one tyre in your size, and it will never be the tyre you want), and wheels with be a giant PITA to find. 406 wheel adult bikes might look a bit odd but you can get tyres and wheels for them easily.

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  • 1
    584 is also common. – Vladimir F May 6 at 9:01
  • @VladimirF how likely is it that a 584mm wheel will fit into a frame built for 571? The usual solutions is to run narrow tyres, but since the bike in question is a road bike it's likely that it is designed around those already. – Móż May 17 at 3:27

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