I had an epiphany the other day.
With a disc brake bike, I’m freed from the tyranny of the rim position! With rim brakes, you’re kind of stuck with the rim needing to be a certain diameter in order to line-up with the brakes. If you have a “road bike” or a “cyclocross bike” with rim brakes, then you really need to have a 700c wheel. BUT, if you have disc brakes, it doesn’t matter what diameter your wheels are! Everything that matters is at the hub! So, fresh from this little discovery, I realized that I had a set of pretty darn nice 26″ x 2.1 off-road tires in the garage. Inspiration (plus a trip to Jenson for some cheap 26er wheels and brake rotors)! Well, I built-up those wheels and put them on the bike. I don’t have any pictures because it’s cold and miserable to hold a camera, but I’ll post some. They fit. In the front, the tire clears the fork legs by about 3/16″ on each side, and in the rear, there’s a little more clearance (except for the fender mounting brackets).
With a 34 tooth chainring and an 11-34 cassette, and some meaty 2.1″ mtb tires, I suddenly have a decent single-track rig or a sweet-ass gravel grinder bike.
With the 48 tooth chainring and the same cassette, and my 700×35 road tires, I have a top-notch commuter and tourer.
What an incredibly versatile machine I have!