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  1. #1
    Senior Member Beats Walking's Avatar
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    27" to 700c Wheel Conversion

    Hello all,

    For a project, I bought a mid-80's Schwinn LeTour 12-speed at a thrift store. The bike is quite nice except for the rear wheel. Not only is it out of round, but most of the spokes are quite corroded. (The front wheel is pristine: how odd is that?) So should I try and find a new 27" back wheel, or is it possible to easily install a set of 700c wheels? By my calculations, the only thing I would really have to do is adjust the brake pads down by 4mm. Is this correct?

    Thanks in advance!
    Pedal To The Metal! Or something like that...

  2. #2
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    You are correct about the 4mm brake pad adjustment, which will reduce your braking leverage a bit. If your brake calipers are long enough, I strongly recommend converting to 700C, which will greatly increase your mudguard clearance and your tyre size, brand, and quality options.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  3. #3
    Year-round cyclist
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    If the brakes can't be lowered, Sheldon Brown has a special drop bolt available which lowers the brakes by 4-5 mm. As far as I remember, it's not cheap ($40 + ?), but if it saves the bike...

    Anyway, unless you get a dirt-cheap deal on a 27" wheel, I urge you to get a 700c and, why not (the hub might be in bad shape too), get a wheel with a 7-speed cassette freehub: much stronger axle.

    27" and 700c are so close to eachother that you can even replace your rear wheel and keep the front wheel as is. I wouldn't recommend that for touring as you would need two sizes of spare tires, but it's a perfectly acceptable solution for commutes, rides around town, etc.

    Regards,
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  4. #4
    road siklista dexmax's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Beats Walking
    Hello all,

    For a project, I bought a mid-80's Schwinn LeTour 12-speed at a thrift store. The bike is quite nice except for the rear wheel. Not only is it out of round, but most of the spokes are quite corroded. (The front wheel is pristine: how odd is that?) So should I try and find a new 27" back wheel, or is it possible to easily install a set of 700c wheels? By my calculations, the only thing I would really have to do is adjust the brake pads down by 4mm. Is this correct?

    Thanks in advance!
    I think you should try fit a 700c wheel first before proceeding with your plan..

  5. #5
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    Be careful, if you just change the rims, it maybe a small surgery. If you, however, start changing hubs, number of cogs, etc., you may end up with a major upgrade of many of the components in hte drive train to have everything work smoothly, which could be quite costly. I got once caught in that - would never do that again. You maybe able to control that, but be careful, there are a lot of wrong advices. As far as the breaks, there are long reach calipers which will take care of that longer distance, or you can braze on cantilever bosses, but the cheapest is that Sheldon's adapter, shich frankly scares me from safety point of view. It must be done really well, or you could end up in a nasty crash...

  6. #6
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    No problem with the conversion, I did that on a Trek. But it would be cheaper to just replace one rim by getting a 27". If your dead set on going to 700c but you don't want to spend a huge amount of cash try this: Torelli Master Series rims cost about $39 each which is about $20 less per rim than Mavic. You can keep your old hubs (if their still good-if so get them lubed) for the new rims and just relace with DT Competition spokes and use brass nipples for reliabiltiy. Sun also makes a very good rim for about the same money as the Torelli; I own the Torelli's so I'm a bit bias!!!

  7. #7
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    I do it all the time, at the shop we update many old bikes, if your brakes are too short, we often use the shimano RX-100 long reach duel pivot brake, they are light effective and look great.
    Achieve your goals: Attitude is everything:

  8. #8
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Here is just another thought on the subject. Michel's idea about using a freehub wheel is a good one. I would just say go ahead and get a standard 8-9 sp freehub rather than get too concerned about finding a 7sp. The 8-9 is current day standard so easy to find in a range of prices. 7sp can be hard to find. There is only about 4mm difference in dropout width. On your old steel frame you won't even need to do anything about spreading the dropouts, but you will have to spread them a bit by hand each time you go to install the wheel after removing it. This is a very minor inconvenience. Your friction shifters and old rear derailleur might actually allow you to use 9 speeds if you want, but certainly it will reach 7. If you use 7 there is an inexpensive (couple of bucks) spacer used to take up the extra space on the freehub.

    Have we given you enough info to thoroughly confuse you.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Beats Walking's Avatar
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    Hey all,

    Thanks for all the advice! When I got back from work last night I measured the rear fork(?) of my bike. Turns out it's about 130mm wide. There's also about 10mm of space left to lower the pads on my existing brakes, (Diacompo's), so I think I'm safe using them. So from what I'm reading here, I can easily upgrade to an inexpensive 8/9 speed cassette on 700c wheels. That's cool. I don't plan on spending more than $200 updating this bike. But I do realize I'm going to need, (at the very least):

    -A 700c wheelset, tubes, and tires
    -An 8-speed cassette, (sounds like a good compromise)
    -Maybe a new rear derailelluer
    -Possibly a different chain
    -Definately new brake pads!

    But seeing how I only paid $20 for the bike, I think this will be a fun little project.

    Thanks again everyone!
    Pedal To The Metal! Or something like that...

  10. #10
    Its a Lemming thing... jester69's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Beats Walking

    But I do realize I'm going to need, (at the very least):

    -A 700c wheelset, tubes, and tires
    FYI, they have some very cheap complete wheelsets at nashbar. If you can forgo double butted spokes & the fancy stuff, below $100 is possible.

    Nashbar wheelsets sorted by price

    take care,

    Steve

  11. #11
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    You probably do not need a new derailleur.

    You do need a new chain if yours has stretched by 1/16" per 24 half-links.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  12. #12
    FOG
    FOG is offline
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    Originally posted by jester69
    FYI, they have some very cheap complete wheelsets at nashbar. If you can forgo double butted spokes & the fancy stuff, below $100 is possible.

    Nashbar wheelsets sorted by price

    take care,

    Steve
    Don't forget to check out the hot deals forum for a percent off coupon at Nashbar. I think the latest is 20%.

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