Author Topic: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers  (Read 30751 times)

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Offline parro

TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« on: April 14, 2010, 07:35:22 pm »
We are planning a cross country tour (among other tours) and are in the process of deciding on a touring bike to meet our needs.  There seems to be much debate about 700c vs 26 inch tires for touring in and out of the country.  The other thing we are considering is having the S&S Couplers installed.  If you have experience (good or bad)/information regarding either of these, I would appreciate hearing from you.  I have done a fair amount of research but personal experience is valuable.  Thanks.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2010, 07:56:10 pm »
Tires: that's a religious argument for touring in the US.  I think it's a matter of how tall you are, how much you are carrying, and what else you wish to do with the bike.  I recently installed 700c on my do-everything bike (it came with 26") and it is an ecstatic thing. 

S&S: if you want to get them installed on an existing frame, the places I have seen will only install them on steel or titanium bikes.  Comotion is of the opinion that S&S should be installed at design time and advises against retrofits.  Given the legendary handling of Comotion frames, I am inclined to believe them.  Anecdata: I have talked with many people about their S&S couplers because I planning a purchase of a new tandem with S&S.  Everyone has expressed only joy with the system.  I have yet to hear one negative thing.  Again, very second-hand information, so take it with a grain of salt.
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Offline brad

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2010, 08:03:53 pm »
700 vs 26 is indeed a near-religious debate and like you-know-whats I have my opinion too. Personally I think that as long as you are staying in Europe and North America you are fine with 700s. Anywhere else I would go with Shrader valves and 26.
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. ~James Michener

Offline vanvalks

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2010, 10:59:26 pm »
I have S&S couplers on a tandem.  As long as you don't lose the special spanner for tightening/loosening them, you will have absolutely no problems with them.  On a long tour or somewhere out of the ordinary, I'd take an extra spanner.  Check the couplers each morning before you take off, and they will be completely trouble free.

Bob

Offline Tourista829

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2010, 02:20:50 am »
I like 700c in the US and Europe and 26" in SA & SE Asia there are advantages to both.  Here is the question. Fully loaded, how much more effort does it take to pedal a 26 inch wheel than a 700c wheel? How much speed do you lose? 2 or 3 mph over 3500 miles adds up.

Offline BrianW

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2010, 09:28:52 am »
I have S&S couplers on three bikes: a Co-Mo single, a Santana tandem, and a Santana triple. Absolutely love them, and they make remote touring much more convenient. Not just the ability to fly more cheaply, but being able to fit in a smaller car, etc.

Regarding retrofits, I highly recommend Stephen Bilenky (http://www.bilenky.com/Home.html) in Philadelphia. I haven't used him for a retrofit on my personal bikes (they are all from the factory), but have used him for other frame work over the years (he just added a kickstand plate to my triple for example). He's probably the leading S&S retrofitter i the USA and does great work. I was just at his shop a few weeks ago and saw several frames in the midst of being "hacked," including a Titanium frame. All looked really well done.

One data point re: 26" wheels: they are much easier to fit into the 26x26 stock S&S case compared to 700c wheels.

Offline rvklassen

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2010, 09:53:42 am »
26" tires are easier to find in larger sizes (widths) - in NA and EU.  On a single this probably doesn't matter.   I'm coming at it from a tandem point of view.  One thing to watch with 700c is clearance for fenders.   Take a look at Bilenky's site - some beautiful touring singles there.  And S&S is always an option there, as with Co-Motion.

If you're looking at a new bike, I can't see why you would retrofit S&S. 

The S&S website also shows a list of folks who do S&S - there may be others beyond Co-Motion and Bilenky that do touring singles.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2010, 01:47:56 pm »
I like 700c in the US and Europe and 26" in SA & SE Asia there are advantages to both.  Here is the question. Fully loaded, how much more effort does it take to pedal a 26 inch wheel than a 700c wheel? How much speed do you lose? 2 or 3 mph over 3500 miles adds up.

With comparable tires, there should be no speed difference between either size.  With the same tire, the 26" wheel will accelerate a little faster (spin up faster).

I will concede that the 26" wheel is a little more universally supported.  If you ignore the availability of replacement tires, then I think it comes down to what kind of ground you need to cover.  I am currently reading a blog about a couple doing a world tour.  Currently they are in Mongolia, and conditions are so rough in Mongolia that if it were me, I would want to be riding a 26" wheel set.  They are riding a 700Cs and actually blew out a Schwalbe XR tire.  At the time, they thought they were stuck until they could ship in a new tire, but the local bike store (more of a market stall that a store) actually carried a 700C compatible tire.  Apparently Chinese 28" rickshaw tires fit a 700C rim.  I have no idea why you could buy Chinese 28" rickshaw tires.

I still have this notion that there are more road tires to choose from in the 700C size at US bike stores.  Of course you can mail order Schwalbe's to fit almost any rim out there, including 27" rims.

I know of one person with S&S couplers.  Yes his couplers came loose on a day ride, and yes he failed to check them before he rode.  He decided that coupler were a pain.  We have pretty much decided that if we can't drive the bikes there, we don't need to tour there.  He did get a Bike Friday to take on business trips as it can be set up and torn down much easier than his S&S equipped Co-Motion Americano.

I remember visiting the S&S homepage in the last year.  They make couplers that can be designed into any frame type, including carbon fiber.  I think the only one you could retrofit was a steel frame since coupler is silver soldered on.  I am pretty sure you cannot silver solder to aluminum, and I will confess that I have no idea what you can do with titanium.  The S&S people were pretty adamant that you can retrofit any steel bike, and that the coupler will be stronger than the original tubing. 

Danno

Offline rvklassen

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2010, 01:59:45 pm »
I like 700c in the US and Europe and 26" in SA & SE Asia there are advantages to both.  Here is the question. Fully loaded, how much more effort does it take to pedal a 26 inch wheel than a 700c wheel? How much speed do you lose? 2 or 3 mph over 3500 miles adds up.
I still have this notion that there are more road tires to choose from in the 700C size at US bike stores.  Of course you can mail order Schwalbe's to fit almost any rim out there, including 27" rims.
I'm pretty sure that's the case.  If you're talking loaded touring on so-so roads, then what you want is at the wide end of what's generally available in 700c, but at the narrow end of what's generally available in 26.  On roads typical of the US, you're probably going to be fine with what's fairly widely available in 700c
I know of one person with S&S couplers.  Yes his couplers came loose on a day ride, and yes he failed to check them before he rode.  He decided that coupler were a pain.  
We have couplers on our tandem.  Yes you're supposed to check them frequently, but no, we don't check them daily.  If properly tightened, they don't just come loose.   

Offline aggie

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2010, 05:21:35 pm »
I have couplers on my bike and love them.  I only check them about once a week but once they are tightened the first time I've never had to re-tighten them.  The only down side is riding in the rain.  If you plan to ride in the rain you either need fenders or you have to take them apart to drain the water from the downtube.  I rode in the rain once without fenders and found about 4 ounces of water in the downtube.

Offline whittierider

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2010, 05:48:59 pm »

Quote
The only down side is riding in the rain.  If you plan to ride in the rain you either need fenders or you have to take them apart to drain the water from the downtube.  I rode in the rain once without fenders and found about 4 ounces of water in the downtube.

A couple of solutions I read about when I was on the T@H tandem forum was putting a super-thick grease on the joint before screwing the collar over it, and the the other one was to put, well, ahem, roll a condom over the whole joint after tightening the collar.  Both worked well.

Offline BrianW

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2010, 10:54:22 am »
I've never had water in my tubes from the S&S couplers, and with a tandem and a triple both with couplers, I have a lot of tubes!

Offline waynemyer

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Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2010, 11:09:49 am »
I rode in the rain once without fenders and found about 4 ounces of water in the downtube.
I think I figured out your problem!  ;D

The last time I rode in the rain without fenders, I was brushing grit out of my mouth for the rest of the day.  It took three washings to get the grit out of my clothing and two showers to get it out of my hair.  Road grit, in the rain, without fenders... it's like particulate osmosis.  That stuff just gets everywhere!
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Offline rvklassen

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2010, 12:46:32 pm »
I have couplers on my bike and love them.  I only check them about once a week but once they are tightened the first time I've never had to re-tighten them.  The only down side is riding in the rain.  If you plan to ride in the rain you either need fenders or you have to take them apart to drain the water from the downtube.  I rode in the rain once without fenders and found about 4 ounces of water in the downtube.
I'm really confused.  How do couplers increase the likelihood of getting water in the down tube?


Offline whittierider

Re: TIRES - 700c vs 26 inch for long tours AND S&S Couplers
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2010, 03:18:07 pm »

Quote
I'm really confused.  How do couplers increase the likelihood of getting water in the down tube?

By themselves, they don't make a perfect seal; so if the front tire is throwing up a constant roostertail of water at the down tube, a little bit can get in, unless you take one of the measures mentioned above.