State Bicycle Co. Guides: Help Me Choose - 700c or 650b All-Road Wheels?

Balancing traction, speed and comfort requires choosing the right wheel and tires (as well as tire pressure).  The State Bicycle Co. All-Road/ Gravel lines are the most versatile, all-purpose models we have ever offered. The 6061 and 4130 All-Road models are available with your choice of 700c or 650b wheels (remember you can always get BOTH for $389.99 and make your bike 2-in-1).  It’s no wonder they have been dubbed “sport-utility bicycles”! This article is meant to help you decide which is right for you 700c or 650b.

1) Terrain and Ride Quality:

  • 700c: Offers a smoother and faster ride on paved roads and well-maintained surfaces. Ideal for urban commuting, long-distance touring, and road cycling. The narrower tires reduce rolling resistance, providing better efficiency on smooth terrains. Great for "riding to the trails".
  • 650b: Provides better traction and stability on rough, unpaved terrains like gravel roads, dirt trails, and single tracks. The wider tires absorb more shocks and bumps, offering a more comfortable and controlled ride over rough surfaces.

2) Versatility:

  • 700c: Highly versatile for both on-road and light off-road use. Suitable for riders who frequently switch between city commuting and weekend leisure rides on various surfaces. Also preferred for LONG rides (30+ miles).
  • 650b: Designed more specifically for off-road adventures, making it an excellent choice for those who prioritize exploring trails, gravel paths, and backcountry routes.

3) Speed and Efficiency:

  • 700c: With narrower tires and larger diameter, this wheelset is more aerodynamic, promoting higher speeds on smooth roads. It is preferred by road cyclists and urban commuters who prioritize speed and efficiency.
  • 650b: While not as fast as 700c on smooth surfaces, the extra width provides improved traction and stability on loose or uneven terrain, making it more efficient in off-road situations.

4) Tire Selection:

  • 700c: There are a vast array of tire choices for road, touring, and hybrid purposes in the 700c size available on the market. Riders can choose from a wide range of tread patterns and compounds to suit their specific needs and preferences. Specifically the State Bicycle Co. All-Road bicycles all come equipped with tubeless capable 38mm Vittoria Terreno Zero tires featuring a slick center treadline.
  • 650b: While not as diverse as 700c options, there's still a decent selection of off-road tires available. The wider width allows riders to choose between different tread patterns suitable for gravel, mud, or mixed conditions. If you order your 6061 All-Road with 650b wheels, the bike will be equipped with 47mm Vittoria Terreno Dry tires. If you order a 4130 All-Road with 650b wheels, the bike will be equipped with more aggressive 2.1" Vittoria Barzo tires.

5) Frame Compatibility:

  • 700c: All of the State Bicycle Co. disc frames are compatible with 700c wheels. Being that the diameter of the rim is larger, MOST, frames will have a maximum clearance of 45mm tires with this wheel choice.
  • 650b: Generally found on adventure and gravel bikes, and some mountain bikes. Those who prefer this wheel size will have access to frames designed to maximize its benefits and be able to take full advantage of tire clearances up to 2.3". If you ever dreamed of putting Mountain Bike tires on a drop-bar bike. This is the choice for you.

Still Can't Decide....why not both?

For the ultimate versatility, you can travel to the gravel grinder event with BOTH sets of wheels and decide when you get there whether 700c or 650b tires are the best combination, based on the route conditions and weather!

State Bicycle Co. offers a "bundle" wheel to your bike 2-in-1 by adding a second wheel set! Get a 2nd set of fully-loaded wheels including wheels, rotors, cassettes, tires and tubes. Commute to work with the 700c wheelset Monday-Friday, and rip the trails on your 650b wheels on the weekends for only $389.99 (retail value $499.94)