British brand Parcours have released a brand new 650B wheel set to take your gravel riding to the next level.
First off, the difference between a 700C and 650B wheel is size. A 650B measures around 27.5 inches where a 700C is closer to that of a 29inch wheel. 650B wheelsets have been around for a long time but now with a rise in gravel bikes and gravel riding, they too are making a revival.
Because of the smaller wheels, it makes your bikes wheelbase shorter making for sharper handling and, even, quicker acceleration. No doubt that when riding gravel or off-road a bike which handles better makes for a more confident rider, tree roots, rocks, mud and loose terrain all mean that you have to be able to have a bike which is manoeuvrable.
Speaking to Dov Tate, Parcous founder, about why Parcours felt the need to develop and produce their second wheelset aimed at Gravel riding, the 650B (35mm) Alta, the answer was simple “Riders are taking gravel riding a lot more seriously, it’s becoming more and more popular and with superstars such as Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Great Britains Tom Pidcock, it’s only likely to get more popular.”
The Parcours Alta 650B are not just wheels for the trails, though, these are designed to be able to get you about on the roads, in-between, too. “That was the approach with this wheel, we wanted to create something which would get you to the bumpy bridal paths, complete your gravel ride and then home again via the roads.” Said Dov Tate.
This is made possible by running 650B wheels, tyres can be wider and bigger meaning less pressure in the tyre. Less pressure in the tyre means the rim no longer needs to be a traditional hooked rim to hold the bead of the tyre in place, instead the Parcours 650B wheels are hookless, making a stronger wheel. Tate says “Running a 650B in a hookless configuration makes more sense, hookless rims a limited to 72.5psi by UCI regulations, less pressure means a bigger contact patch with the ground and more grip. The payoff is a much, much stronger wheel – there’s no need to be folding metal to create the ‘hook’, which creates an instant weak point in the wheel.”
So it seems then that the hookless 650B wheelset, like the Alta, should be the way to go when considering a new wheelset for gravel riding. With a combined weight of 1,360g (605g front and 755g rear) the Alta wheelset, complete with disc brakes, could be the next set of wheels you purchase.