This Space for Rent

Taking 650b to extremes

Every bike a gravel bike

Tubeless is a pretty normal 650b'ism, but fast narrow tires are not the norm for 650b machines in North America. The 650b Schwalbe One is a rare beast indeed; it’s not in Schwalbe NA’s catalog, and I ended up having to mail-order them from Germany (pretty much as I have to do with Confreries, but those come from France instead.) Canyon sells some 650b road bikes and fits them with these tires, so I strongly suspect that the tires will be produced about as long as the bicycles are made (and I will cry bitter tears when they go out of production; They don’t have the exact same “come to Jesus” feel that the Resist Nomad has, but they aren’t actively unpleasant on poor pavement and they disappear out from under the bicycle when the pavement gets good. They’re not nearly as wide as the Confrerie, so they don’t have the same sort of float on gravel that the Confrerie does, but they’re actually faster, at least in the 5-20 mile ride to and from downtown.)

On the SL23 rims I’ve got the tires are exactly as wide as the rims, so they remain ridable even when the pressure gets to an unpleasantly low 40psi (much like the Nomad 28s, except that the Ones get “plush” when the air pressure gets that low, but the Nomad just starts to ride like a normal bicycle tire instead of like being wafted around in the arms of the Almighty) which is sad because the SL23 is already out of production and the only Pacenti rims available for 650b are various disc-only MTB rims and historical reenactment silver ones.)

The saga of 650b in North America is fairly annoying; it’s now an MTB thing, so there are approximately 75,000 disc-specific rims out there, plus a handful of super-heavy touring rims (a 550gm rim should not be annoying, but the ZTR 355 & SL23 have completely spoiled me for rim weight) and 2-3 historical reenactment silver rims, all of which cost approximately as much as a house in the suburbs. You can occasionally get a Zac19 rim for cheap (and they are fairly light compared to the touring rims) but they aren’t set up for tubeless tires (I have run tubeless Confreries on the Sun CR18, which has basically the same interior shape, but it’s an annoying pain to get the tires to seat because you have to shovel a lot of air in really fast to push the beads across the smooth interior to the rim walls) but they aren’t an SL23. And I’ve got one machine with disc brakes, which is fine, but they’re harder to make forks for because the caliper leg needs to be reinforced so that braking forces won’t jack-knife them.

But I’ve got another pair of SL23s, a set of ZTR355s (laced into wheels with, alas, a 7-speed Shimano 600 freehub on one; I might be able to pop that hub and put a 8-speed freehub in its place, but if I can’t I’ll have to disassemble the wheel and rebuild it with one of my repaired White tracker hubs) and a fistful of Zac19s for the mountainhack, so my 650b judgement day is a little bit down the road.


Ryde Edge 22 is 380 grammes in 650b; they’re available from ThorUSA. Might be worth a look?

I’ve got a set of Ryde Andras in an attempt to get a wheelset that won’t go out of true increasingly often; impressed so far, but not many kms at all so far. Reported as not at all fun to lace.

Graydon Thu May 11 19:24:43 2017

Is the Edge usable with rim brakes? Ryde says XC/marathon, but doesn’t say anything about brake compatibility, and the cross section looks pretty delicate for something intended with rim brakes.

David Parsons Thu May 11 19:57:03 2017

It certainly doesn’t have the usual Ryde grippy strip. Mea culpa; was looking at the weight. (and supposing that the disc designs all say “disc” in the name, which appears to have been completely unwarranted.)

All the “CSS” – some sort of carbide in the rim for nigh-infinite wear and good braking in the wet – rims are heavy duty, and none of them are 584 sizes. Your best bet for 584 looks like AS26s at 570 grams and Andra 20s at 670 grams, neither of which qualify as light.

So not helpful after all; sorry!

Graydon Thu May 11 21:53:51 2017