650C vs. 700C wheels - Need advice

Discussion in 'Women's Cycling' started by trekker1500, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. trekker1500

    trekker1500 New Member

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    Hello All,

    This is my first visit to this message board. I have been riding seriously for about 15 years. I've got a 12-year old Trek 1400 with 700C wheels. It's maybe time for a new bike. I'm looking at a Trek 1500 WSD. It has 650C wheels, and I'm wondering what experience people have had with them. I've stayed away from women's frames in the past because of this. I always assumed the smaller wheels would put me at a disadvantage.

    I don't ride with groups much. But I do like to occasionally. I live in a VERY hilly area and have to do some climbing. I think the smaller wheels may be to my advantage there. But do they make keeping up with the pack difficult?

    I'm 5'3" with long legs and short torso. My 1400 is 51cm and the 1500 WSD I'm considering is also 51cm. Both have 170 cranks.

    Thanks for any advice.
    Shannon (kpaxian@earthlink.net)
     
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  2. keydates

    keydates New Member

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    Used to have a link or two about that...due to some "technical difficulties" I no longer have it.

    All I can remember is that 650s might be a little rougher, and since they are smaller, there is a small chance that you are slower than other people on 700s...
     
  3. epheme

    epheme New Member

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    i am 5'4 and have no problem with 700C wheels. if you can try both, do it. I don't much care for compact frames so WSD doesn't appeal to me. disadvantages really stem from compatibility-650C tires, wheels, tubes are less common. I would really urge you to stick with 700's if you can!

    AMY
     
  4. caligurl

    caligurl New Member

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    i'm 5'2" and ride a bike with 700c wheels. i wanted to have something that was more "normal" and it has already paid off after 2 1/2 months... i got to get new tires and hubby took my "old" ones for his bike! we couldn't have done that if i had gone with the 650's!
     
  5. anneslam

    anneslam New Member

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    I have raced on 650's and 700's, even switching during the season from one to the other. I am 5'2 and for me there is no choice....its 650's all the way! There is no problem staying with the pack as that is all about drafting and this improves drastically since you are generally lower to the ground (read: more aerodynamic). The 650's climb like a demon. There is no comparison there! The only disadvantage may be in a criterium with fast corners if you are planning on racing, since I have found that 650 wheels accelerate way faster but also deccelerate faster too (when you stop pedalling like through a corner).
    Since more and more WSD bikes are being offered with 650's and many tri-athletes ride 650 wheels too there is enough tires, tubes and wheels out there, you just may have to search a little harder.
    The biggest advantage is that the frame is not overcome by wheels. When you get to frame sizes 50cm and less it makes a tremendous differnece in how a bike handles to go to 650cc. You, at a 51cm frame are borderline. You could go any way.
    If you want a bike for climbing go with 650's though!
     
  6. trekker1500

    trekker1500 New Member

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    I put aside my reservations regarding 650 wheels, and got the Trek 1500 WSD 51cm two weeks ago. WOW! I couldn't be happier. You are correct, the acceleration is markedly better than with my 51cm/700C bike. I can take off like a bandit. I also agree that they make hill climbing a joy rather than agony (well, the triple chainring helps too!). I always liked climbing, but now I have confidence that I'm not going to crawl and fall.

    I'm having a blast in the curves too. The shorter wheel base is made for whipping around corners.

    So far, I can't tell that I'm slower while cruising. Maybe I'm pushing one gear higher to maintain the same speed? I went from a 7sp to a 9sp so it's not easy to compare. Slightly different tooth count in the front also.

    I definitely do NOT regret getting this bike. It feels right.
    And "thank you Trek" for making the 04 1500 WSD in REAL COLORS (dark blue and metallic silver).... not purple, periwinkle, or pink like some of the other companies do. At least this machine LOOKS fast! Now if my legs can just give the bike the speed it craves.

    Thanks for your input. So far, I have found everything you've said to be a reflection of my experience.

    Shannon
     
  7. trekker1500

    trekker1500 New Member

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    Oh - and I am having no difficulty finding tubes and tires. All the local bike shops carry top-of-the-line 650 stuff (Continental, etc). It's certainly not an issue.
     
  8. anneslam

    anneslam New Member

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    I am glad you have found the same thing as me!
    Its been very difficult to convince the women racers who are short to go to 650's. Mostly this is because when a team is sponsored by a bike company you have no choice but to ride what they give you and that is always 700cc. I have been racing for 12 years full time and its only been 1 season I have been able to race on 650's. When I could, like if I was not representing my trade team, I would switch back to my 650 bike. For me all my good results always came on the small wheels. There is a BIG difference there and I wish that more women would give them a try.
    As for the gearing if you look at a gear chart all your gears will be lower gear inches in the same gear. This is a great advantage for women who are usually running the same gears as the pros!! How ridiculous is it that I run the same gears on my bike (53x39) as Lance Armstrong???? :confused: Yah Right! But the bike industry is only recently listening to the needs of women. I would love a 52X36 combo. And this is possible with a 110 bolt configuration....look for shimano finally coming out with this for 2005 as the compact rings (50x34) are gaining huge popularity within the industry.
    Enjoy your new bike and the lower gears will also feel better on those steep butt-kicking hills. I even put a 38 inner ring on my shimano equiped 650 bike and with a 38x25 its a low enough gear for most climbs.
     
  9. trekker1500

    trekker1500 New Member

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    I've got 52/42/30 front, 12 - 25 9speed rear. So I can conquer the ridge-and-valley terrain where I live. My gear ratio wouldn't be suitable if I were racing, but I'm only racing against myself these days. And, I always win :)

    My last bike had a 52/40 front. I immediately put a granny gear on the rear (28). That helped, but I'm not capable of climbing serious slopes with that. While I might be able to reach the summit, it's simply dangerous to try. I have to stand and can barely maintain enough speed to keep upright. Clipped into my LOOK pedals.... if I encountered traffic, I couldn't get unclipped without crashing (I'm sometimes on one-lane roads here). The new bike has enough "cushion" that I can maintain reasonable speed and even stay in the saddle (but that ain't as much fun as standing).

    Women have lower-body strength comparable to men's. We can develop our leg muscles to a point very similar to that of males. But the guys I know can't get up these hills without a gear ratio like the one I have either! They all use a triple in the front.

    I guess none of them are Lance either.

    Anyway, I will keep my 25 rear ring, my 30 front ring, and my 650 wheels. 'Cause wow they are fun in the hills and everywhere else I've ridden. Haven't used the 52 x 12 combo yet. Guess I better go DOWN some slopes if I'm gonna push that gear.

    Shannon
     
  10. photojtn

    photojtn New Member

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    Hi All, thought i'ed chime in here to say My wife just got her new bike, replacing the 700c with the 650 wheels (Trek 1500 wsd 47cm) and she loves it (she's only 4' 11") No more overlap problems. On our first ride I had to really work to keep up with her, she noticed right away that the bike is faster, handles much better, and climbs better than ever. Also the road vibs are all but gone, thanks to the carbon forks. Just wish Contenental would make a top touring 2000 in the 650 size, No problem finding tyres and tubes here.
     
  11. new2bikes

    new2bikes Banned

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    :) I am so glad to have found positive comments on 650 wheels. I'm a 5'0" female with a 28" inseam, a shorter upper torso, and smallish hands. I've heard negative comments about the 650s and was hesitant to buy a bike that came with them. I tried out the Giant OCR composite which has 700 wheels, but the top tube length and "fat" handlebars are still an issue. The TREK 5000 (I want carbon) in a 47cm seems to be my best bet. There are other women's bikes w/700 wheels, but no one seems to stock them. And who wants to order a bike without test riding it first?! Any other comments on this or other women-bike related issues would be appreciated. Thank you.
     
  12. Rhi

    Rhi New Member

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    I'd agree re the compatability thing. I ride a TREK 2000 WSD, which is a lovely bike, apart from the fact it has 650's. Its difficult to get a good range of tyres and tubes, and you don't get special offers on them very often!
     
  13. Fitmiss

    Fitmiss New Member

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    The Specialized Dolce bikes have a 700c wheel. I have not yet found a shop that stocks the Comp but they seem to stock the Elite which is 1 model under the Comp. The main difference is 105 vs Ultegra components. I guess the Comp would be closer to the TREK 5000. If you are looking at the TREK 5000, you might also want to look at the new Pilot and Madone series.

     
  14. kaian

    kaian New Member

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    I'm looking at replacing my current bike ('04 Specialized Allez Triple) with a Trek 1000 WSD. Yeah, not high end (I'm more of a MTB'er and road riding is just for fun and fitness), but I'm still having issues because I am pretty small. 5'0" with a 27 or so inch inseam and short arms. The shop that sold me my Allez didn't size me at all and when I bought the bike, I didn't know as much as I know now. Lately I have felt very uncomfortable on the bike (after having it for 7 months) and did some research. I am WAY too stretched out on it and my seat isn't in the proper position (I moved it forward to compensate for the lack of reach).

    I'm pretty mad at the shop that sold it to me, but there's not much else to do except find another bike and try to sell the Allez. It looks like I'll have no choice but to go with 650 wheels to be comfortable. I have some reservations, but after reading some of the posts, I feel a little better. I'm not even racing AND I'll have Sora components (which aren't all that great), so I don't know why it's even an issue for me. :p LOL. I wish I was willing to fork out the extra dough for at least Tiagra/105 components, but...I don't see the point of doing so if I am just riding for fun.
     
  15. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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  16. Fitmiss

    Fitmiss New Member

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    You can look at the Specialized Dolce line which are specifically designed for women. You can get a frame to fit you and have the 700c wheels. At a minimum, you can ride both the Dolce and the Trek 1000 and decide which one feels best. Here is a link to the Dolce group of bikes. http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkFamily.jsp?sid=05Dolce&JServSessionIdroot=k0c5i1o3jp.j27007
     
  17. mweber

    mweber New Member

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    HI there,
    After much test-riding and research regarding 700 vs 650 wheels, I bought a 51cm TREK 5000 WSD, which has 650 wheels. I also rode the 2100 in 51cm, which has 700 wheels but is only partial carbon. The 5000 is so great because the frame fits me and the wheels do too-- the bike is so responsive and easy to control vs the 700 wheels on nearly the same frame. I haven't noticed a negative difference changing from the bigger wheels on my old bike. All the differences are positive: good fit, great handling, fabulous acceleration. The smaller wheels, for me, are only a positive.
     
  18. Fitmiss

    Fitmiss New Member

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    After a lot of thought, I'm now considering the Trek 5000 as well and think that going with a carbon frame is more important than the 700c wheels. I will probably get measured this weekend.

    Questions
    -Did you swap out any components when you bought the bike?
    -How tall are you?
    -When you stand over the top tube, are you can you put both feet on the floor or are you on your tippy toes? (I'm told that is how it is with a road bike although I think I should be able to comfortably stand)
    Thank you in advance for any information or feedback you have regarding this bike.

     
  19. new2bikes

    new2bikes Banned

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    My LBS guy came back from Costa Rica and put my bike (the 5000) together this past weekend. I went yesterday so he could fine tune the fit and give me some practice using the clipless pedals. Unfortunately, I couldn't take it home because it was pouring. So I'm still waiting to get on it. This weekend had better be sunny!

    To answer your questions:
    I'm not going to swap out anything until I ride it for a couple of weeks. Then I'll have a better idea of what feels good and what doesn't. I don't know enough yet to make that kind of decision without trying it out first. I have a strong suspician that the saddle will need to go, so I'm also interested in knowing what mweber did about her saddle - or anyone else who has that same saddle.

    I'm barely 5 feet tall with a 70 cm inseam. I can stand comfortably over the top tube with about an inch of clearance and with my feet flat on the floor; although with padded shorts, I think it may be less than an inch. I cannot sit on the saddle and put my feet flat on the floor. Tippy toes there, but I don't think that's a concern because I'm used to getting off my other bike, which is way too high for me, when I come to lights. However, I didn't have clipless pedals before, so I expect to be challenged in that respect. I'm trying to decide where I should practice before I go for a real ride.

    We set the saddle and handlebars to be pretty much even in height, although my LBS guy thought I could handle the handlebars a little lower - more racy. I decided to keep it even for a few weeks to see how easy, or not, it is for my body to get used to being in road bike position.

    I hope this helps. I'd love to know what others have done as well.
     
  20. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    I'm pretty much exactly your same size 5'0" with a 28" inseam. I've just ordered an (aluminium) Fuji Provence (a shop in the area did actually have a Bordeaux, which is the same frame, one step down on the components so I did get to test ride it a little). I'm a little surprised you are going with a 47cm, that seems a little tall to me (I'm going with a 44cm), but I also have very short arms and have been having a lot of trouble with my right shoulder - way over reaching on my current bike, so the shortest top tube possible is very important to me.

    I'm also kind of happy to see all of the postitive comments about the smaller wheels. I haven't given it a second thought, as I didn't think I really had a choice, but I'm glad to see that it was probably a very good choice.

    Best of luck, I know all to well being this size can make it difficult to find exactly what you are looking for, and bike shops for the most part are pretty uninformed about women's bikes in general.
    Eden
     
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