The Vee Rubber 700A tires I ordered from Velogear in Melbourne, Australia arrived today. I was amazed at just how big they are – the official rim diameter for these tires is 642mm, as compared with 700C tires with a 622mm rim diameter. They are also known as 28 X 1 3/8, not to be confused with 28 X 1 1/2, which have a 635mm rim diameter. Their treads look beefy and well-suited for riding on gravel and rough roads. And the tires appear well made, with no visible blemishes or anomalies. Vee Rubber is based in Thailand, and I have tried out one other set of their tires, with no disappointments.
I was riding my Vespa today, so strapped the tires to the back of the scooter to bring them to my shop. Even rolled up, the tires extended beyond the luggage rack.
A 650c tire fits completely inside these 700A’s with room to spare, and 44mm 650B tires look puny in comparison.
I also purchased a couple of tubes. Even with shipping to the U.S., the total cost for tires and tubes was under $100, thanks to the current favorable exchange rate and the low cost of the tires themselves. As far as I know, 700A tires cannot be purchased anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. However, there are some French shops that carry them, in addition to several in Australia.
These tires are going to replace the corroded Dunlops on the 1920’s Griffon that I am (slowly) restoring. With the arrival of the new tires, I am now more motivated to continue working on the Westwood style rims, which, although lovely, have enough rust to keep me busy for days.
I suspect that once I get the bike mechanically sound, I’ll take it out for a spin before I complete all the reviving and cleaning of the painted and metal surfaces. I am curious to experience what it will be like to ride on these big new tires, combined with the laid back angles of the bike itself, while steering it with its 76 cm wide bars, which are about twice as wide as the bars on most of my personal bikes.
Should be fun!