The 650B Mixte Parisian


At a cafe, a mixte is a ham and cheese sandwich. On the road, shod with 650B wheels, it makes for an particularly effective city bicycle, the perfect place from which to enjoy the unfolding metropolis, and of course, to get where you need to go.

650B makes a lot of sense for city riding and commuting: the smaller wheel diameter makes for a stronger wheel, the fatter tires float over imperfect road surfaces, the space to take fenders for all-weather riding, and the threat of toe-strike on the front wheel is significantly reduced. In France, where 650B originated and was widely used on inexpensive city bikes, you see them everywhere on bikes from the 60s & 70s – still doing their work many years later.

Traffic in Paris has its own flow, and there are lots of starts and stops as scooters maneuver and pedestrians j-walk. The mixte is ridden by men and women, and makes sense in this respect. Outfitted with porteur bars, a rear rack, and integrated lighting, and after a month of seeing these bikes do their work throughout the city, they clearly are the most Parisian of the Paris bicycles. Not all of these are mixtes, but the show some of the everyday uses for the 650B city bike:







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3 comments

  1. david

    The bike in the last photo looks like it has a proto-Hunq diagonal tube (or two) on it due to the fence!

  2. Somervillebikes

    Those are such graceful bikes, and in their native habitat look completely at home and at ease.

    I agree about 650b being an ideal city wheel size, which is why I built up my wife’s new Sona mixte as a 650b.

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