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Old 06-05-08, 04:38 PM   #1
newbiedog
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Wheel sizing?

I am considering purchasing a Surly Long Haul Trucker frame to build that uses 700 wheels. could I fit 27" wheels for a while, as I have some usable ones, until I can afford some nice 700's?
It would mean, i would guess , about a .25 inch difference and I did not know if the brakes would line up properly or if there would be any other issues. any ideas would be helpful, thanks in advance!
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Old 06-05-08, 04:52 PM   #2
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So what's the alternative?

Surely you're not considering having a frame custom built that takes 27" wheels. Buy the LHT and, when it comes in, trial fit the wheels to see if the brakes will line up.
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Old 06-05-08, 06:31 PM   #3
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Cantilever brakes are pretty flexible, I bet you could make it work. It would not be ideal though, you may not be able to get the pads to hit the wheel square. Braking will not be real good when the pads are new, but I think they would wear in.
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Old 06-05-08, 08:24 PM   #4
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I would not get such a fine bike and fit it with junk wheels. Another alternative is to find a cheap donor bike with 700 wheels, and borrow them for a while. I have picked up multiple bikes with 700 wheels in the $20 or less range. Hit the thrift store and garage sale circuit.
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Old 06-05-08, 08:31 PM   #5
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Having the wrong size wheels on a bike is a serious pet peeve of mine.
If a bike is designed for 700c wheels, put 700c wheels on it. If a bike is designed for 27" wheels, put 27" wheels on it. They are not the same size. The brakes will not work well - if at all.
If you can afford a Surly frame, you can afford some proper-sized wheels.
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Old 06-05-08, 09:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Torchy McFlux View Post
Having the wrong size wheels on a bike is a serious pet peeve of mine.
If a bike is designed for 700c wheels, put 700c wheels on it. If a bike is designed for 27" wheels, put 27" wheels on it. They are not the same size. The brakes will not work well - if at all.
If you can afford a Surly frame, you can afford some proper-sized wheels.
Please explain. I have a couple of bikes that were designed for 27" wheels that I run 700c. My brakes seem to stop me pretty well. The calipers had plenty of reach. On my '85 Trek, I eventually switched to aero levers and dual pivot brakes, but the older Dia Compe calipers with the non aero levers worked just as well with 700c as they did with the 27".
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Old 06-05-08, 09:29 PM   #7
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I'll concede that putting 27" wheels on a bike designed for 700s may not be so bad since the brake pads will be at the top of the slots in the calipers thus increasing the amount of leverage. But putting 700s on a bike designed for 27s does the opposite thus decreasing leverage.
Also the idea just bugs the hell out of me. Frames are designed around a specific wheel size. People usually aren't flippant about a centimeter here or there in frame geometry, so why are some people that way when it comes to wheel size? Maybe it's just the perfectionist in me, but it drives me nuts.
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Old 06-05-08, 09:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Torchy McFlux View Post
I'll concede that putting 27" wheels on a bike designed for 700s may not be so bad since the brake pads will be at the top of the slots in the calipers thus increasing the amount of leverage. But putting 700s on a bike designed for 27s does the opposite thus decreasing leverage.
Also the idea just bugs the hell out of me. Frames are designed around a specific wheel size. People usually aren't flippant about a centimeter here or there in frame geometry, so why are some people that way when it comes to wheel size? Maybe it's just the perfectionist in me, but it drives me nuts.
It's actually the other way around with cantilevers. Leverage is distance from pivot to cable divided by distance from pivot to pad. The closer you get the pads to the pivot, the more the cable-pull force is multiplied.

To the OP, where are you getting these 27" wheels? Any shop can order a 700c wheelset with basic Suzue hubs and Araya rims for $35 and sell it to you for $70.
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Old 06-05-08, 09:52 PM   #9
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I see your point about the leverage, but for me I can't really tell a difference in performance. There are a couple of reasons why I do it. First, tire selection. There are just a lot more choices in 700c than 27" now. Second, I have very short legs and generally ride 49 cm bikes with a 53 cm top tube. The 4mm difference in height can sometimes mean being able to straddle the top tube comfortably or not. Third, a bigger selection of wheels I can buy. I like to take older 6 speeds and make them 9 speeds. This sometimes means just buying the frame. I can find some very nice built 700c 9 speed wheels, in order to get 27" wheels, I would need to buy the components separately, making the price much more expensive. At least, I haven't seen any 27" 9 speed cassette wheels, only 27" freewheel wheels.
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Old 06-09-08, 04:38 AM   #10
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wheel fitting

Thanks for all the replies. I like the idea of buying the inexpensive 700 wheels. being a newb, I don't have a good sense of quality vs. price. I don't want to blow money, even $70, on junk. Like most folks, i would guess, if I buy a nice frame I would like to build it with top quality stuff. some wheels I have seen are more than the frame. while there is a bike shop in a nearby town, I have looked at the tire selection at the local general merchandise stores and they don't carry 700 tires or tubes by the way. They do still carry the 27" tubes.

If you were building a Surly LHT, what would be a good wheel for it?
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