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  1. #1
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    26" road wheels on 80's women's Cannondale

    Hello. A co-worker dropped off her 1983 Cannondale touring bike and requesting an overhaul. Its a long wheelbase touring bike with 3 water bottle mounts, a triple crankset and a 7 speed indexing rear freewheel drivetrain. The wheels on it are 26 x 1 3/8" ukai rims with some older 126 mm SunTour "sealed bearing" freewheel hubs with 36 gavanized straight gauge spokes laced 3 cross. The wheels are true and spin well, though the spokes are ugly and corroded looking. The wheels are quite heavy.
    Here's my question. Would it be possible to retire the wheels and locate a set of 650c road wheels to use instead? Are these close enough in diameter? I would need a 126mm rear hub thats one constraint though. It would be cool to put a nice 650c wheelset on here with a 7speed cassette and some nice Conti GP tires. I have a hard time getting excited about a bike rehab if the end result is going to be a clunker, know what I mean ?
    Thanks for any insights.

  2. #2
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Well... the bead seat diameter of a 650C wheel is 571 mm, while it's 559 mm on modern 26" mountain bike wheels. There's a ridiculous array of tire sizes that are called 26" but are actually all different, see http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html. You should probably measure the rim size carefully to make sure!!!!

    A touring bike should certainly have the 6 mm clearance necessary to accomodate a wheel + tire that's roughly 12 mm larger in diameter. The other problem is brakes: do the brakes have enough adjustability to contact a rim that's 6 mm further up? Many V-brakes would have sufficient adjustability, and some cantis.

    If the brakes can reach, then you should have no problem replacing the wheels with 650c road wheels. You can turn a modern 130 mm cassette hub into a 126 mm hub by replacing the freehub body with an old 7-speed freehub body, and respacing the axle. However, if it is a steel frame bike, you can SAFELY spread the dropouts PERMANENTLY to 130 mm (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html). If it is an aluminum bike, you can simply squeeze the dropouts open a little bit extra and fit a 130 mm wheel in nicely. I've been running a 130 mm hub in an aluminum bike with 126 mm spacing for over a year, and with no ill effects whatsoever.
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  3. #3
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    FWIW, the Suntour sealed hubs you describe that are on the bike are EXCELLENT hubs for touring applications. I wouldn't get rid of the hubs, even if you switch the rims out-

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    650c rims will limit you to a very skimpy 28mm. MTB tyres start at about 1" which is plenty fast enough for any touring bike and they permit you to fit a sensible 1.5" for loaded touring.

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    650c rims will limit you to a very skimpy 28mm. MTB tyres start at about 1" which is plenty fast enough for any touring bike and they permit you to fit a sensible 1.5" for loaded touring.
    Ooh, that's a good point. No wide tires for 650C I think that's because it's a newly popular size, mostly a fad for triathletes.

    It's true that a very wide range of tire sizes are available for MTB rims (559 mm BSD). Although finding narrow rims is a bit difficult.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    I think the ERTO is 590 on those old type 26" American rims.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    Update: I just returned from a couple of bikeshops and I have learned that these 26 x 1-3/8" rims are NOT the same diameter as regular mountain bike rims. They're actually slightly larger in diameter, larger than 650c wheels as well. We played around with a 700c wheel and it looks like it might almost fit if I use a skinny enough tire. My goal for my friends bike it to get some decent tires on it that can handle high pressure. The 26 x 1-3/8" tires for these are going to be low pressure 65psi variety because, as one bike shop person pointed out, these are not "hooked" rims. I know the hubs are nice, but I really am not very fond of these WHEELS. I'm going to trial some 700c or even tubular wheels and I'll give an update soon.

  8. #8
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Those are brit bike wheels!

  9. #9
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Question: Is there a good reason to mess with wheel sizes?
    Answer: Nope. Why not find some nice 559mm rims and use those, if you absolutely positively must replace the rims? There are plenty of light, higher-performance MTB-sized rims out there. What do you have against 26"? It's a perfectly respectable wheel size, and there's no good reason to mess with geometry and the brakes in order to change it. Same size, new rims, nice spokes. But let's not do something silly. Trying 700C wheels would DEFINITELY be silly. Don't mess around with it!

  10. #10
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    559mm rims are going to be too small. Like I said, these rims are bigger in diameter than the standard mtb 26" size. The person that said "I think the ERTO is 590 on those old type 26" American rims" is correct. I just checked the sheldon brown website and there are a few tire options in the Schwalbe Marathons or Continental Top Touring models but they're going to be about $32 each. I may just go with one of those if the 700c doesn't fit.

  11. #11
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby
    Question: Is there a good reason to mess with wheel sizes?
    Answer: Nope. Why not find some nice 559mm rims and use those, if you absolutely positively must replace the rims? There are plenty of light, higher-performance MTB-sized rims out there. What do you have against 26"? It's a perfectly respectable wheel size, and there's no good reason to mess with geometry and the brakes in order to change it. Same size, new rims, nice spokes. But let's not do something silly. Trying 700C wheels would DEFINITELY be silly. Don't mess around with it!
    Well, as masi61 just posted... the wheels are not 559 mm (modern 26 MTB size). What *is* the actual bead seat site of the wheels? According to Sheldon Brown, tires marked "26 x 1-3/8" are likely to be either 597 mm *or* 590 mm bead seat diameter. Wow, that's confusing!

    Quote Originally Posted by masi61
    Update: I just returned from a couple of bikeshops and I have learned that these 26 x 1-3/8" rims are NOT the same diameter as regular mountain bike rims. They're actually slightly larger in diameter, larger than 650c wheels as well. We played around with a 700c wheel and it looks like it might almost fit if I use a skinny enough tire. My goal for my friends bike it to get some decent tires on it that can handle high pressure. The 26 x 1-3/8" tires for these are going to be low pressure 65psi variety because, as one bike shop person pointed out, these are not "hooked" rims. I know the hubs are nice, but I really am not very fond of these WHEELS. I'm going to trial some 700c or even tubular wheels and I'll give an update soon.
    So, you have a bit of a quandary here, because the wheels have a bead seat diameter of around 590 or 597 mm... a completely obsolete size. I can't believe that Cannondale actually spec'ed wheels in that size, how weird is that...

    The problem is there's no modern size that's close to the size of the current wheels. If you can fit 700Cs, that's good, but will you be able to install a brake that will make contact with the rim??
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  12. #12
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    Moxyfyre said: " The problem is there's no modern size that's close to the size of the current wheels. If you can fit 700Cs, that's good, but will you be able to install a brake that will make contact with the rim??"


    Update: 1st some good news: I just tried a set of 700c rims with 126mm Specialized hubs and matrix ISO C rims and they fit!
    2nd some bad news: The Gran Compe GC 400 side pull calipers that came with the bike are going to be too "long reach". If I go with the 700c wheels I'll need to start surfing ebay for some reasonably priced short reach side pulls.
    3rd more bad news: Strangely, the rear wheel brake arch is configured for a "bolt on" type brake caliper while the front fork is pre-drilled with the recess for the more modern recess mount caliper.

  13. #13
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    The bike sounds like it was cobbled at some point.

  14. #14
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masi61
    Update: 1st some good news: I just tried a set of 700c rims with 126mm Specialized hubs and matrix ISO C rims and they fit!
    2nd some bad news: The Gran Compe GC 400 side pull calipers that came with the bike are going to be too "long reach". If I go with the 700c wheels I'll need to start surfing ebay for some reasonably priced short reach side pulls.
    3rd more bad news: Strangely, the rear wheel brake arch is configured for a "bolt on" type brake caliper while the front fork is pre-drilled with the recess for the more modern recess mount caliper.
    Well I'm glad the 700C's fit Wow, that is one weirdly-built bike. I have some short-reach sidepull DiaCompe Edge brakes that I had for a while on my Trek 1100, they're yours cheap.

    Maybe the fork is not original? But you know, Cannondale is just about the only company that would spec such a cracked out bike, with odd-sized wheels where a normal size would fit, and mismatched brake recesses. Their mountain bikes have weird forks and hubs, they use weird size headsets and stems, and some of their early 90s touring bikes had these crazy-ass grip shifts that fit onto drop bars. Weirdos
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  15. #15
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Whoops, my apologies - I misread the OP. Yes, the rims are likely to be either 590 or 597mm. They are more likely to be the former, and I would recommend switching to these even if they aren't, since the tire and rim situation in the latter size is pretty dire. I think you'll be best off by sticking to this size. Good rims and tires are certainly available in 590mm, like the Sun CR-18 (rim) and the Continental Top Touring and Schwalbe Marathon (tires), for example. You won't have to adjust or replace the brakes if you stick to this size, and the geometry of the bike will be best preserved, assuming that it was equipped with 590mm rims as stock equipment.

  16. #16
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    Is this a 650B ETRO 584 wheel?
    They sit between MTB and 700c wheels in size.
    650B used to be totally obscelete French utility/touring size but are making a small comback so modern tyres are available from Rivendell and other such sources.

  17. #17
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    Is this a 650B ETRO 584 wheel?
    They sit between MTB and 700c wheels in size.
    650B used to be totally obscelete French utility/touring size but are making a small comback so modern tyres are available from Rivendell and other such sources.
    I don't think so. I think they are the 26 x 1-3/8".
    I think the ones I need are shown in this link: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/tires/590.html.

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