Gravel road to Plagne, Switzerland.
Gravel road to Plagne, Switzerland.

Back On 700C Wheels

In May of this year, I swapped my 700C Nox Composites wheels for 47° Nord hand-built 650B wheels. While I prefer the smaller wheels in combination with wider tires, I put the 700C wheels back on the bike for the fall and winter months. I did so for no practical reason other than that the 650B wheels needed new tires and the fact that I have the 700C wheels hanging in the basement with a few pairs of 700C tires sitting in my bike parts storage cabinet. In particular, I had a set of WTB Nano Race tires, which according to WTB aren’t tubeless compatible. For that reason, I tried to sell them, but I never found any taker. One evening, I got the tires out and tried them tubeless. Despite the manufacturer’s note, they were easy to mount tubeless. Easier, in fact, than some tubeless tires I’ve dealt with. For the next couple of months, I’ll therefore be on those Nanos. I have a pair of 42mm wide Teravail Washburn tires that may be mounted next.

The first ride back on 700C was interesting. Everything felt sluggish about them. Out of the saddle, it felt like fighting the wheels. On rough road surfaces, the narrower tires with 0.5 bar more pressure than what I run the 650Bs, felt considerably harder. Downhills and flat stretches of road were fine. It took a few more rides to adjust to the larger wheels, and climbing no longer feels as strange. The WTB Nano tires stayed airtight. They roll surprisingly well on pavement and are an absolute blast on gravel. Now that I have them on the Nordest Albarda, I’ve been including more gravel into my rides. Autumn, in my opinion, is far nicer for gravel riding as gravel roads don’t have that looseness and dust that they suffer from during the summer months. The extra moisture in the air makes gravel roads much faster, and the lower temperatures probably too.

A quick update on the Stooge MK5 project: While I had no difficulties finding all the components needed for the bike, Andy couldn’t get the framesets on the first boat leaving Asia. Getting goods on cargo ships these days isn’t easy and has become increasingly expensive. I work for a machine tool company that gets its machines from Japan. To ship one of our "bread and butter" machines to Europe can easily cost up to 150’000.00 Euros or more. We used to pay about 30’000 Euros pre-pandemic. Whether it’s bike frames, machines, or diapers, moving goods across the globe has become extremely expensive. It may ultimately be a good thing as we have to rethink the working of our economies in the face of climate change. But in the short term, it poses all sorts of problems. But back to the MK5. The framesets arrived at Stooge HQ in the UK and should be mailed to all those who pre-ordered very soon.