Good news for fans of 650B, which has a special place among randonneurs and city riders. Over the last several years, many folks have converted vintage road bikes to 650B to add the utility of fatter tires and fenders. The Col de la Vies are a great, cheap tire at about 37mm, and the Hetres have been lauded as the ultimate 650B performance mixed terrain tire. The problem is that its hard to fit Hetres under fenders on most existing 650B bikes. So, Kirk Pacenti and Grand Bois are working on a performance 650B x 38mm tire, which is a nice sweet spot:
From Kirk Pacenti:
“Following the success of my 650b MTB tires many of you have contacted me
asking whether or not I would consider making a 650b tire for the road.
Initially I was not inclined to make a road tire, but now feel the demand
would justify my efforts.
In response to this demand, I have designed the “dream tire” many of you
have been asking for. The Pari-MotoT tire will be a high performance,
650x38b tire with a light, supple casing and fine file tread pattern. This
tire is sure to be lighter, faster and smoother riding than any other
650x38b tire currently available. If I were to start production on the mould
tooling today, the tires should land in the US sometime in late November.
And with the support of all the 650b list members the Pari-MotoT can become
a reality very quickly.
However, I feel I should be explicit in what I mean by ‘support’ so that we
are all on the same page. If I am to produce this tire, I must pre-sell a
minimum of 200 pairs of tires by August 15th, 2009 to cover the tooling
costs. If you believe that this tire should be produced, if you are willing
to place an order in advance, and if you can wait six months for delivery,
we’ll all be rolling around on new tires before the year is out.
The tires will initially be sold in pairs only for $118.00 per pair and be
shipped USPS Priority Flat Rate service for an additional $12.00 anywhere in
the continental US. Foreign orders will incur some additional shipping
charges that can be billed for at the time of shipment. Please fill out the
attached order form and mail it along with your check. If you prefer to pay
by credit card or live outside the continental US, please email me for
details. If you have any further questions about the tire, please do not
hesitate to ask.”
The order form can be downloaded here.
And this from Jan Heine:
“Grand Bois also has been working on a 650B x 38 mm tire. The first
iteration was the Hetre, which turned out a bit bigger than intended.
In retrospect, that is a good thing, because the added width really
does make a difference on broken pavement and gravel roads. But the
down side is that these tires are just too big for many bikes.
With the experience gained from the Hetres, I am confident that Grand
Bois will be able to get the size right on the second try. The casing
will be the tried-and-true Grand Bois casing also used on the Hetres.
The 650B x 38 mm tires should be available early next year, both
directly from Vintage Bicycle Press and through better bicycle shops,
just like all other Grand Bois products.
It’ll be great to have more choices in 650B tires. I still am hoping
some day for a true hand-made 650B tire, like the Challenge
Parigi-Roubaix, but perhaps with an even lighter casing. (650B riders
understand that you don’t need a 125 psi pressure rating, but a supple
casing, to get a fast tire.) In fact, 38 mm probably would be a
perfect size for such a tire, which most riders wouldn’t use for
serious dirt roads, but only on pavement, rough and smooth.”