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  1. #1
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    Tires sizes English vs metric

    I found 2 brand new 26" tires for $5 at a thrift shop yesterday. Couldn't pass em up. They are 26 X 1 3/8. I've read Sheldon's article stating that english and metric are NOT interchangable. But will they still fit on a 26" rim that currently has a metric sized tire on it?
    In this age of mindless consumerism, of atomized populations living in boxes, working in boxes, and traveling in boxes, almost always alone, with only the electronic voices of their new feudal lords to guide them through life, the bicycle becomes an instrument of gentle revolution. --Richard Risemberg

  2. #2
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulpes
    I found 2 brand new 26" tires for $5 at a thrift shop yesterday. Couldn't pass em up. They are 26 X 1 3/8. I've read Sheldon's article stating that english and metric are NOT interchangable. But will they still fit on a 26" rim that currently has a metric sized tire on it?
    You need to look closely on the tires and find the ISO number (this is the bead seat diameter) for your tires. There's no interchangeability, they're made for a specific size rim in terms of bead seat diameter. And to make matters more confusing, there are at least two DIFFERENT 26" x 1 3/8" tire sizes (different ISO). Here's Sheldon's chart on tire sizing:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

  3. #3
    tcs
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    There are a number of "26 inch" tires sizes. ISO559 (mountain bike), ISO571 (narrow, time trial; wide, old Schwinn middleweight), ISO584 (obscure French size), ISO587 (really, really obscure Japanese size), ISO590 (English racer/3-speed: this is the size you bought at the thrift shop), and ISO597 (obscure British/Schwinn size). None of these tire sizes are interchangeable. Your ISO590 tire, also called 26x1 3/8, also called 650A, will only fit on a rim designed for that size.

    HTH,
    TCS
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

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    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs
    There are a number of "26 inch" tires sizes. ISO559 (mountain bike), ISO571 (narrow, time trial; wide, old Schwinn middleweight), ISO584 (obscure French size), ISO587 (really, really obscure Japanese size), ISO590 (English racer/3-speed: this is the size you bought at the thrift shop), and ISO597 (obscure British/Schwinn size). None of these tire sizes are interchangeable. Your ISO590 tire, also called 26x1 3/8, also called 650A, will only fit on a rim designed for that size.

    HTH,
    TCS
    I agree it's likely the OP bought ISO 590 tires, but I've got ISO 597 tires (Schwinn S-6) that also say 26 x 1 3/8 on them. They're not really "obscure," there were millions of Schwinns made with them, and they're still available. That's why the OP can pretty much ignore the 26 x 1 3/8 markings and just look for the ISO size on the tire-

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs
    There are a number of "26 inch" tires sizes. ISO559 (mountain bike), ISO571 (narrow, time trial; wide, old Schwinn middleweight), ISO584 (obscure French size), ISO587 (really, really obscure Japanese size), ISO590 (English racer/3-speed: this is the size you bought at the thrift shop), and ISO597 (obscure British/Schwinn size). None of these tire sizes are interchangeable. Your ISO590 tire, also called 26x1 3/8, also called 650A, will only fit on a rim designed for that size.

    HTH,
    TCS
    Yep they're 590's. How'd you guess? I guess they will go in the yard sale. Maybe I can get $10 for them and double my investment.
    In this age of mindless consumerism, of atomized populations living in boxes, working in boxes, and traveling in boxes, almost always alone, with only the electronic voices of their new feudal lords to guide them through life, the bicycle becomes an instrument of gentle revolution. --Richard Risemberg

  6. #6
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Yeah. Sell them as special rare tires on eBay or craigslist.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  7. #7
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulpes
    Yep they're 590's. How'd you guess? I guess they will go in the yard sale. Maybe I can get $10 for them and double my investment.
    If they're in good shape and they're gumwall and the brand name is "Raleigh", PM me! Kenda's I can get all day every day but not Raleighs.
    Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator

  8. #8
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulpes
    I found 2 brand new 26" tires for $5 at a thrift shop yesterday. Couldn't pass em up. They are 26 X 1 3/8. I've read Sheldon's article stating that english and metric are NOT interchangable.
    That's not correct, and I don't believe I ever said that. Almost all tires are marked in BOTH "English" and metric systems.

    What I did say, which you may have misread, is that, for the inch based systems, DECIMAL and FRACTIONAL sizes are never interchangeable, even for the same nominal diameter.

    Quote Originally Posted by vulpes
    But will they still fit on a 26" rim that currently has a metric sized tire on it?
    Depends on the metric size you're speaking of. Your tires are 590 mm in metric (or maybe 597 mm.)

    Most common "26 inch" wheels on newer bikes are the DECIMAL 26" size, or 559 mm in metric.

    See also: http://sheldonbrown.com/26

    and: http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing

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