Which Bike to Ride?

Which Bike to Ride?

Most of the time, I ride two bicycles: My 1973 Alex Singer Randonneur for spirited rides with friends, and my Urban Bike for rides that involve carrying loads that do not fit in a handlebar bag. (Due to lack of time, my Alex Singer Camping bike does not see much use these days.)
Last year, Bicycle Quarterly tested a number of great bikes. I enjoyed some of those bikes so much that I rode them much further than the customary 300-400 km that constitute a normal Bicycle Quarterly test. Out of curiosity, I tallied up the kilometers I rode last year on various bicycle types:

  • Alex Singer randonneur and similar 700C bikes: 5061 km (40%)
  • 650B randonneur test bikes: 4485 km (35%)
  • Urban Bike: 2003 km (16%)
  • Other test bikes: 1071 km (9%)

The truly surprising part is that 650B randonneur bikes accounted for 35% of my annual distance, even though I don’t have a 650B randonneur bike! This means that when I had a 650B test bike in my basement, I rode it almost exclusively. As my friend Ryan joked: “I see you are riding the 650B test bike again. I guess you need to check out one more detail of it!” (In fact, I asked the builders’ permission to “extend” the tests.)
It’s not so much the wheel size as the tire width that made these bikes so appealing. The 42 mm-wide 650B tires not only smooth out the rough pavement of Seattle’s streets, but they also allowed me to explore gravel roads in the mountains that would not have been much fun on narrower tires.
It also is interesting that 16% of my riding distance involved hauling loads. If I did not have my Urban Bike, I probably would have driven a car for a good portion of that distance. That would have been a lot of time spent in a car and not on a bike, plus a lot of gasoline burnt.
Most of all, I have concluded that I really need a 650B randonneur bike of my own! (The 1948 René Herse in the drawing above would suit me fine, if we can update it with modern lights.)
Which bike did you ride most last year?

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Comments (38)

  • mimitabby

    I am assuming you really want to know which bikes I ride.
    In November of 2009, my steel Davidson was crushed in a bike box in an airplane. So as the new year began, I found myself without a bike. My good bike was being repaired in the shop (which takes forever) so I pulled out an old Raleigh 10 speed mixte that I had and took it to Bikeworks and had them fix it. It needed racks, new wheels and tires, new brakes, good pedals and new handle grips (the 30 year old Brooks saddle stayed). And I was off! I had a bike again and I finally had a functional 10 speed bike. It was fun to ride the unwieldy beast, but when my Davidson came back, I got right back on it. I also have a Dahon folding bike (with 20″ wheels), which went with me on my trip to Maine last summer. It is not very fast, but very stable and so easy to pack up and throw into a suitcase that it will be my ride of choice when I travel.
    But most of all I ride my beautiful Davidson steel bike.

    March 21, 2011 at 9:15 am
  • Ben

    I mostly rode my touring bike with 1.75″ 559mm Paselas. With just a small front rack and wide range double cranks it is a nice replacement for a “real” road bike and much more versatile. Due to the lack of Hetres or such in that size, I’m still waiting for Peter W.’s tire shaving article – there are 559mm knobbies available which could be really nice with a little less rubber.
    I guess you won’t be happy putting a Brooks or similar saddle on the Herse’s 74° seat tube. Maybe it would work in combination with time trial aero bars 😉 .

    March 21, 2011 at 9:40 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      I guess you won’t be happy putting a Brooks or similar saddle on the Herse’s 74° seat tube.

      I raced for a decade on a bike with 74° seat tube angle and a Brooks saddle. I guess I am not very sensitive to seat tube angle.
      That said, Daniel Rebour’s measurements aren’t very reliable (nor are they internally consistent). The 1948 bike does not have 45 mm trail – 30 mm is more common among the Herse 650B bikes from that era. I would not be surprised if the Herse really had a seat angle closer to 72.5° or 73°. That appears to have been pretty standard for larger Herse bikes from the era – see the geometry article in Bicycle Quarterly Vol. 5, No. 3.

      March 21, 2011 at 9:57 am
  • Steve Park

    You do need a 650b randonneur of your own. Or maybe you don’t if you have a steady supply of the very best of what’s available today on loan.
    I split last year with the first six months on my Rivendell Rambouillet and the last 6 months on my new Boulder Brevet 700c. The Boulder won in the end, and the Rambouillet found a new home. I hope to add a 650b all-rounder to the mix in the near future.
    Keep us updated on your new 650b.

    March 21, 2011 at 9:41 am
  • doug in seattle

    I commute to work every day on my 1983 Schwinn Voyageur. It’s set up with a big front rack and a French style Nitto Promenade handlebar. That’s about fifty miles a week on that bike, year-round, plus all the riding I do around town on errands, so I think I probably rode that one the most. I probably did about 2000 miles of long rides and bike bike camping throughout the year, all on my low-end Jamis Aurora camping bike. I don’t record any of my mileage or keep a computer on any of my bikes, so I no exact data.
    This year I am planning to build up my version of an “all-rounder,” a mid-80s Japanese steel road bike with 37mm tires and fenders. I plan to use it for long day rides and lightweight summer overnighters.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:07 am
  • Brian Ogilvie

    I logged nowhere near as much distance as you in 2010: only 2774 miles (4464 km–not counting indoor miles in the winter). The breakdown was as follows: 1623 miles (58.5%) on a Surly Long Haul Trucker, which is my regular longer-distance bike at present; 594 miles (21.4%) on a Bike Friday New World Tourist, my only bike in July and August while I was in England for work and Ireland for a short tour; 521 miles (18.8%) on a Breezer Uptown 8, my regular commuter bike for my 6-mile round trip plus occasional errands; and 36 miles (1.3%) on Vélib’ bike share bikes in Paris. This year we’ve had a longer winter in New England than last year, so my Trucker is still in the basement on rollers; my outdoor riding has been on an old hybrid fitted out with studded snow tires and, more recently, on the New World Tourist. From this June through August 2012 the NWT will be my main bike; once I’m back in the US in September 2012 I may well get a 650B randonneur.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:17 am
  • Augusto Pereira

    Most of my riding was probably on a gaspipe fixed gear I have. I really love going on long distance rides on it, not having to worry much about mechanical failures and the sorts.
    Jan, perhaps you could give us some details about your urban bike? The tubing you used, some of the components, etc.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:51 am
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      The urban bike uses a “production” Grand Bois randonneur frame made by Toei, with a custom porteur rack. The geometry has a bit more trail than I’d like for a randonneur bike, making it perfect for heavier loads. The tubing is Kaisei 9-6-9, but it feels stiffer than a Columbus SL bike. I suspect that the unbutted ends are longer (most Japanese are smaller than I). Components are what I had lying around or needed to test: SKF bottom bracket, Grand Bois rear hub, SON front wheel that we used on the tandem in PBP 2003, TA cranks with 42-28 chainrings. I used my light switch in the steerer tube arrangement (which you now can get on Rene Herse bikes, too). We had to braze a tube into the steerer for that, and I used an old Alex Singer stem.
      The full details and a test (by Mark Vande Kamp) were published in Bicycle Quarterly Vol. 7, No. 1 (the “Japan Special”).

      March 24, 2011 at 7:29 am
  • Don Koch

    After reading what you have had to say about 650B wheels and Hetre tires over a couple of years, I finally shifted from curiosity to action and in October 2010 got a Boulder Bicycle with 650B wheels. I haven’t ridden either of the other two bicycles I own since I got it. I have found everything you have said about the wheel size and handling of this type of bicycle to be pretty accurate for me as well. What else is there to say? Thanks for helping me to make an informed decision.

    March 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm
  • MSRW

    Jan, I think you have it nailed: two bikes–of the right sort–can pretty much cover all needs.
    Like you, I have a fast, all-conditions bike for aggressive group riding and long distance; and I have a heavier-duty utility bike for commuting and running errands.
    The fast bike is a Ti Van Nicholas Amazon with Black Sheep Ti fork, Son 20R etc.
    The utility bike is a Ti Van Nicholas Pioneer with Rohloff, Gates Carbon Drive, Son 20R, etc.
    The problem with having more than two bikes is that maintenance and storage issues are extended, while miles/bike are reduced. For me, it’s simply more agreeable to have fewer, but more versatile bikes than to have a whole fleet of bikes.

    March 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm
  • John Speare

    For both frequency and miles, I rode the Lyon “superlight” bike from the BQ double-blind test the most last year. More here.

    March 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm
  • Tom Durkin

    Brevets: 82 Trek 610, 531, Grand Bois 700*32 tires, custom Corey Thompson low trail fork, Berthoud bag with custom rack and decalleur 5,100 km brevets, 1,000 training
    Fast Groups: Eddy Merckx 7-11 Corsa Extra, SLX, Vittoria CG 700*24 2000 km
    Commuter/Rain: 84 Trek 500 “Tri-Series”, 531, you gotta love the old marketing stickers, 700*28, 3000 km
    Fixed: 79 Trek 710, 531, Campy 1010 dropouts for conversion, 62 inch gear, 700*28, 500 km

    March 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm
  • Joshua Bryant

    I rode my custom (made by me) 650x36b randonneuse exclusively. Sadly and accident in July prevented me from reaching many of my goals, but I’m back on a new 650x42b that I love. It’s basically an updated version of my last bike with the addition of lowriders for camping occasionally or the need to bike to a far off brevet.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:01 pm
  • Rob Markwardt

    The heretic replies…a high trail, rear-loaded, heavy tired, Rivendell Bleriot…love it!

    March 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm
  • David Loyd

    Last year I joined an interesting event here in the SF Bay Area, the Adventure Corps Rough Riders’ Rally, which had the premise of riding road bikes on Mt. Tam trails, so I stripped down my 700c Ebisu all-rounder and put some Challenge Grifo cyclocross tires on it and a Jitensha flat bar, and I found that I really liked riding it on both road and trail, despite its rather tall gearing (34×26 lowest). As noted in the frame comparisons, the Ebisu has a stiff frame made from oversize tubing, so I was amazed at how quickly I could go up fire roads or trails standing up rather than seated and spinning. Well, after that event, I just kept riding the bike set up like that, and I really like it. It has become my favorite bike!

    March 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm
  • Paulie

    My most often used is my 650b J.P. Weigle Randonneur. It’s a magical design with a mix of Mafac, T/A, SKF, Mavic, Huret, 42mm wide Hetre tires, and lightweight tubing. If there’s a different kind of perfect out there, I don’t want to know about it. I’d lend it to you for testing, but those are days of my life without it that I’d never get back.

    March 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm
    • Robert

      Have looked at the Weigle bikes as works of art. Good to read an actual rider’s view. One question: how do you like the Huret shifting? They awfully delicate to me. Do they respond under hard conditions or do you have to baby them?

      March 26, 2011 at 6:46 am
      • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

        My Alex Singer has Huret Jubilee derailleurs. I have found them to be quite durable in all kinds of situations. I like to think that I am not ham-fisted, but I don’t “baby” my bikes. The rear derailleur developed a lot of play after about 200,000 km (120,000 miles – estimated, put on the bike by its previous owner), so I installed another used one, and it’s been fine for the last 4 years. The front derailleur cage is getting pretty thin from all those shifts, but so far is working just fine, even though the shift from the 32 to the 48 chainring isn’t the easiest one.

        March 26, 2011 at 7:20 am
  • Kent Peterson

    My two most-ridden bikes for 2011 are outliers on the wheel-size spectrum. From January thru June I rode almost exclusively on my Redline Monocog Flight 29er which is wonderful in the rough stuff and surprisingly well-mannered on the road. In July I converted that bike to an Octocog and I continue to use it for wilderness and some urban adventures but more often in the later half of the year I found myself running errands and doing fun city rides on my 16″-wheeled 3 speed Dahon Curve. The low inertia of small wheels make the Dahon quite fun for stop&go city riding.

    March 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm
  • Leaf Slayer

    I anticipate that this year most of my riding will be on my new randonneur bike built by Joshua Bryant which should be on the road in about 2 weeks. Yeah!
    For years I got by on 2 bikes, a road bike and a mountain bike but currently I’m at 5 bikes. Seems a bit excessive but they all get ridden a fair amount, especially my Cross Check (single speed commuter) and my Rivendell Hilsen (brevets, road rambles, camping trips, and touring). Besides Joshua’s bike I’m getting ready to add a Surly LHT to the mix which is being built up out of spare parts. the CC will most likely be sold leaving me at 4 bikes. That still seems a bit much. We’ll see what happens.

    March 23, 2011 at 7:22 am
  • William M. deRosset

    Most-used bike (about 70%): René Herse 700C randonneur.
    Second most-used bike (around 29%): Boulder Bicycle Allroad 650B.
    These bikes are almost interchangeable. They both have full fenders, integrated lighting, and a handlebar bag/decaleur, and the fit is identical. They’re both comfortable and fast. The wheels determine the difference in use.
    The Boulder Bike is more comfortable. It is faster off-pavement, is the fastest-descending bike I’ve ever ridden on any surface, and is my first choice for mixed-road adventure, commuting, and tootling around with friends. Combined with the excellent Hetres, it is an utterly reliable and fast machine. The RH accelerates a bit better, weighs a few pounds less (almost all in the wheels), and I’m a touch faster up the hills on it. It comes out for all-paved-road rides, most brevets, and rides with pacelines.
    Calfee Dragonfly (1%): I only occasionally rode this machine since I got the RH in 2009. It was a truly transcendent racing bike, and it was my main sporting bike for years, but a high-performance integrated bike fits my mix of uses better. I sold it in October.
    I rebuilt my Alex Singer cyclotouring bike last summer (it desperately needed an overhaul), then immediately damaged it in an offroad crash. It’ll be back on the road later this spring.
    William M. deRosset
    Fort Collins, CO

    March 23, 2011 at 8:54 am
  • Roy Yates

    Last year, my goal was to ride at least 1000 miles on 7 different bikes. Perhaps this was to convince my wife I should keep them all. Admittedly it was a stupid but fun objective.
    Serotta CTi, mostly for brevets: 1600 miles,
    Serotta CSi cross bike: 1001 miles,
    Trek 5200: 1105 miles,
    Bridgestone RB-1 fixed gear conversion: 1071 miles,
    Colnago Dream: 1070 miles
    Rivendell All-Rounder (559 wheels): 1002 miles
    Simoncini (mid 80’s steel): 1013 miles
    Each bike has its charms, even the aluminum Dream. The CSi cross bike with 28mm tires and fenders will be the brevet bike this year, unless I switch to a steel 650B conversion I just assembled from spare parts.

    March 23, 2011 at 9:29 am
  • vik

    I don’t keep track of my mileage on my bikes so I can’t say with any accuracy how many miles each bike got, but the top three bikes I rode were:
    – Surly Long Haul Trucker [700c x 35mm]
    – Bike Friday New World Tourist [20″ x 40mm]
    – Surly Big Dummy [26″ x 50mm]
    My Bike Friday Tikit [16″ x 40mm] usually gets the most trips per year, but they are generally very short.
    I just got a Boulder Bicycle All Road 650B rando rig which is likely to get most of my mileage this year.

    March 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm
  • KWW

    Surly Crosscheck with S-A rotary 3 speed hub and 50-622 Schwalbes. Mostly for commuting but trying out radonneuring with it – already did a 100km populaire with it late last year.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:03 pm
  • Chris Heg

    Titanium Davidson, 25 mm tires – 80% (5000 mi) mostly brevets and permanents with some commuting.
    Steel 1981 Shogun touring bike, 32 mm tires – 10% mostly commuting with a couple of brevets
    Steel 1991 Burley Duet Tandem 28 mm tires – 10% weekend recreation rides
    All are 700c bikes.
    I have switched the Davidson to 28mm tires for this season for a little less tire pressure and a little more cush.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm
  • Barry Porter

    Jan – I have 4 bikes but only ride two since I purchased my Boulder Bicycle with 650B wheels and 42mm tires. The wide tires help make this bicycle a dream to ride. And, Mike Kone spent a lot of time making sure that the bicycle was properly sized for me.
    This is my exclusive ride for the past two years when I am on a single bike. Last year I hit a patch of black ice and laid the bike down, sliding around twenty feet. The handle bars twisted a bit, but there was no damage to the bicycle. And, I did not need to make any adjustments.
    I remeber reading an article by Fred Delong in the 70’s touting the 650B wheels. I’m sorry that bicycles equipped with 650B wheels were not readily available back then.
    I enjoy the bike more each time I ride it. It is a remarkable ride.
    The other bike I ride is a Co-Motion tandem. After my positive experience with the Boulder Bicycle I am contemplated converting that to 650B wheels, if it is possible.
    Thanks for publishing Bicycle Quarterly. It is a great tribute to the sport.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm
  • Lovely Bicycle!

    Wait, you don’t have a 650B randonneuring bike of your own? Surely this situation needs to be resolved immediately – if only for the ultimate test of seeing to which of the ones you like you would actually commit to by making it your own.
    In terms of miles, I rode my 650B Rivendell Sam Hillborne the most. However, in terms of frequency, I rode the most on my 3-speed transportation bikes, of which there have been several last year.

    March 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      Wait, you don’t have a 650B randonneuring bike of your own?

      I guess this shows that BQ’s testers don’t prefer the bikes they usually ride… but that there is an optimal bicycle for the riding we enjoy.

      March 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm
  • Alex

    Lovely Bicycle! beat me to it: I must say, when I first read this post, that I was flabbergasted to learn that you don’t actually own a 584* – rimmed bike! A heretic, preaching to the choir 😉
    Without wishing to go off-topic, I would love to see real technical tests of all three rim sizes that would be an option for most: 559, 584 and 622. That means side to side tire and tube tests for puncture, wear and rolling resistance. The mountain bike folks test 559 tires (nobbies, and on dirt usually), the roadie and touring mags test 622 tires, and there are few tests of 584 tires on a technical par with the Finnish and German institutions who seem to enjoy this sort of testing (rigs and labs and what have you).
    I read often that the 584 rim with wide tires, usually over 40mm, is a wonderful thing; know that this means ONE tire in particular (Grand Bois Hetre); and am reluctant to base a bicycle on one tire make/model, no matter how great it is (tho’ I admit I can’t wait to do just that!) . There are bound to be fast comfortable 559 tires out there . . .
    *(I prefer the ISO sizing system)

    March 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      I have a few 584 mm (650B) bikes, but not a randonneur bike set up for the riding I like to do. My Urban Bike is great for its purpose, but too stiff for me to ride efficiently over long distances. It needs more power than I can give for 10+ hours. So I ride my Alex Singer for those events, with 32 – 622 mm (700C x 32 mm) tires.
      We did a test of handling of the three wheel sizes. We’ve tested tires on real roads, which is more realistic than the bench tests, which don’t measure suspension losses. We are working on more tests to see how much better larger wheels roll over bumps. Puncture resistance is very hard to test under real-road conditions, because flats are so random. You’d have to run your tires over huge distances and average the flats.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:13 pm
  • Markus C.

    Since I hurt my back in a car accident in February 2010 I rode my cyclocross/touring bike the most. I liked the fact that I could run the 35mm tires at pressures as low as 3 bars and it felt really good also on gravel roads. I also put on a leather saddle to make it more comfortable and I enjoyed it so much that I rode it almost exclusively. I also rode a road bike with an aluminium frame and 23mm tires but not that much, same thing for my singlespeed mountain bike conversion. This year I swapped the frame on the road bike with a new one that can accept bigger and cushier tires.
    I have to mention that I started reading Bicycle Quarterly when I was recovering from the accident so it made me want to experiment with wider tires that absorb shocks better and now I don’t think I’ll ever go back to skinnies that must be run at at least 7 bars!

    March 25, 2011 at 4:24 am
  • Kent Strumpell

    My ’78 Raleigh Pro converted to 650Bs (32mm GB Cypress) is far and away my most used and most enjoyable bike. Fenders, generator lights, a sizable handlebar bag and saddle bag allow me to do most of my errands and shopping with it as well. For multi-modal trips I use my Brompton M6LX. For sketchy security situations its the old Schwinn 27×1.25. My previous favorite, a Bike Friday w/Rohloff hub, is gathering dust since I acquired the 650B and awaits refitting for loaded touring.

    March 26, 2011 at 12:52 am
  • Robert

    I don’t track miles either, but distribute my rides among my several bikes this way:
    1974 Kessels Main D’Or, set up as ultra-light TT bike with period correct Campy: 15%
    1977 Kessels Merckx, stage racer, period correct Campy: 15%
    1974 Follis 472, period correct Simplex/Stronglight drive train and other minty French parts: 20%
    1984 Univega Gran Turismo, set up as randonneur, with Challenge Parigi-Roubaix 28c tires, Simplex derailleurs, mudguards, and racks: 25%
    2008 Cervelo Soloist Team, full-on road race bike and also part time triathlon bike: 25%
    For weekly fast-pace line rides, I’ve used every bike but the Univega. Already the roadies think I’m nuts when I show up on 70s steel, and they would never speak to me if I brought a bike with fenders and a TA front bag hanging from a decaleur (a what?). The Cervelo is a great bike for rides up to 2 hours, but my 50 year old spine complains after that. It’s great in a sprint and is utterly responsive in any road situation. I’ve not made the plunge to 650b, but am toying with the idea. I’d like to try a conversion from a 700c bike before putting down good money for a setup I might not like. I have a few gravel roads here but my Univega with (for me) fat clinchers handles them fine. By the way, I’m now down to 70lbs per sq. in. on those tires, and they are amazing. I love the ride of vintage steel with high quality tubulars. Nothing makes me smile more than my Follis, with the ultra-reliable and quick shifting Simplex SLJ (gold) derailleurs, the Mafac 2000 (gold) brakes, and hand-made Maillard 700/Arc en Ceil tubular wheels.

    March 26, 2011 at 6:59 am
  • Mark Petry

    Some interesting bikes in the mix. Would really like to see those Kessels bikes listed by Robert. The bike I ride most is a 1971 Alex Singer with fenders, front bag, and phil wood hubs; It is sublime. Not the lightest bike I own, but it’s ideal for mixed pavement, occaisional rain, and even a trip home from the pub in the dark. I think the thing about these bikes is that they “disappear” – I don’t even think about it when I’m riding. It’s almost a part of you. It’s just the ride, the scenery, and the experience. Pretty cool.
    I’m looking forward to seeing the new Singer book.

    March 26, 2011 at 8:35 am
  • Kathryn

    I currently have two favorite bikes both of which are 650b.
    One is used for commuting and touring :
    The photo doesn’t show it, but I have recently installed the B&M Lyt which is a vast improvement. It has about 42mm trail, 531C tubing, and handles with the plucky grace of a mountain goat.
    The other is for day rides, is made of OX Platinum, and has I think 32mm trail.
    It is definitely faster than any other bike I’ve had – it has to be because age and speed don’t seem to be directly proportional. Not in this world, anyway. It allows me to keep up with the guys at the front of our middle speed group, and often (unbelievably!) to pass them. Once I get in sync it’s annoying to have to slow down. The best thing is descent. Hetres and low trail make for speed and the guys on skinny tires are left gasping.
    Yes, I’ve drunk deep of the 650b koolaid. Next I’m trying furry slippers.

    March 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm
  • Keith Snyder

    All these great bikes are out of my league, but in 2010 I did earn my first SR medal on a Trek 1000SL aluminum road bike that sports whatever distance-worthy components I can afford when the stock parts break. Unfortunately, I can’t get wider than 25mm tires on it, and I’ve done, uh, roadside removal and discard of two sets of rubbing aftermarket fenders in the middle of brevets.
    My around-NYC and less-than-50-miles bike is a heavily modified Xootr Swift with 24 speeds of SRAM Dual Drive. I love this bike. I’m planning on doing a 200K with it later this year, just to be able to say I did it, but usually it goes on grocery runs, work commutes, and playground visits.
    I’m hoping to move up from the Trek to a real 650b randonneuse in 2012, but I’m keeping the Swift.

    March 28, 2011 at 11:40 am
  • Paul Ahart

    I purchased a Rivendell Blériot frameset nearly 3 years ago, built it up into a nice commuter with Nitto flared drop bar, Technomic stem, Sugino XD600 cranks, 8spd bar-ends and Shimano LX hubs and derailleurs…oh, and a Brooks B-17 saddle, and have been loving it ever since, both for its stylish good looks and the way it rides with 650B Nifty Swifty’s. After reading your articles on frame flex and “planing” however, I must admit my bike’s a bit of a slug, as it seems a bit overbuilt for its use. That’s what you get with a “factory job.” Still, all in all, the 650Bs are wonderful on San Juan Island’s rough chip&seal roads, and it’s ridden far more than my other 2 commuters: a 1983 Ritchey mtn bike (roadified) and a Mtn Goat Route 66 with drop bars. At my bike shop, Island Bicycles, I frequently extol the virtures of this wheel size to customers complaining of poor fender clearance/limited tire space on their old road bikes. I tell them all it takes is a new set of wheels and some longer-reach brakes.
    Love your magazine. It’s the best.

    March 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm
  • Jan-Olov Jansson

    Brevets and Audax rides: Velo Orange Passhunter 2008 build by A Rogers, Grand Bois 700*32 tires, Berthoud bag with Nitto rack and VO decaleur, VO Rear Const. Rack, Honjo fenders 1900 km brevets, + training
    Commuter/Rain: Heron Touring 2000 531 OS, Grand Bois 700*32 tires, Big Berthoud bag with Nitto Mini front rack and VO decaleur, VO Rear Const. Rack, Honjo fenders, sometimes with rear panniers.
    Sometime: Atlantis 2000, rebuild from 559 to 650B

    March 29, 2011 at 6:20 am

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