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Old 02-14-09, 10:28 AM   #1
erbfarm
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27" wheels to 26" wheels?

I've got my eye on ann early 80's touring bike which has 27" wheels. I much prefer to do loaded touring on 26" wheels. The frame on this bike is just my size, has canti brakes and lots of braze ons so I'd like to use it. what would be involved in putting 26" wheels on a frame built for 27" wheels? I can have a frame builder move the canti bosses so they will function w/ the 26" wheels but what else would I need to do and would the handling/steering of the bike be way off with the smaller wheels? thanks
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Old 02-14-09, 10:47 AM   #2
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There would be all sorts of issues, aside from the considerable expense of the framebuilder and the new paint job. Namely the bike would sit a good bit closer to the ground, greatly increasing the chance of a pedal strike. Trail would also be affected, but I can't remember exactly how, nor do I really understand what impact that has on handling.

If your not 3rd world touring, a 700c tire will work fine, and if you are going on an epic expedition tour across china, I think you deserve a bike that fits all your qualifications without major modification.
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Old 02-14-09, 11:01 AM   #3
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Sounds like a bit of a pain, especially if you could change to 700c without moving the canti studs, but here are a couple of things that will change with smaller wheels:

- The bottom bracket will be lower, so there will be a greater chance of pedal strike. On a touring frame the BB is already low. But, the center of gravity will be lower, too, which is a good thing I think.
- The steering trail will be proportionally smaller, making the steering twitchier. It will be proportional to the wheel size, so given the same diameter tires on both and a 45 mm rake fork, a 5.5 cm trail (which adds to 10 cm trail without the rake on the fork) will change to 4.5 cm trail. The handling will be noticeably faster. A bigger front tire will help this. Whether it's a problem or not I can't say. Maybe one of the framebuilders here can ring in?

If I were you, I'd just look for an older lugged steel MTB frame with the right fit. Probably be cheaper than moving the canti posts.
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Old 02-14-09, 11:06 AM   #4
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If I were you, I'd just look for an older lugged steel MTB frame with the right fit. Probably be cheaper than moving the canti posts.
+1

In my experience, good quality used touring bikes are a lot harder to come by than good quality used mountain bikes. It does not need to be lugged, though. I am sure that if you could find an early nineties Rockhopper or Trek 900 series (these were lugged until the mid nineties - my favourite bike in the world, pretty much), or maybe a Rocky Mountain, or Kona, or... almost anything really. Just make sure it has all the braxe-ons for racks and fenders and water bottles and such, and that it fits. There are also budget frames available to convert existing mountain bikes to make them more appropriate for touring.

Good luck!
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Old 02-14-09, 11:52 AM   #5
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Why not a 650B conversion like your Sequoia? There's no effect on handling and no danger of pedal strike because you use a wider tire with nearly the same diameter as a 27''.
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Old 02-14-09, 12:07 PM   #6
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+1

In my experience, good quality used touring bikes are a lot harder to come by than good quality used mountain bikes. It does not need to be lugged, though. I am sure that if you could find an early nineties Rockhopper or Trek 900 series (these were lugged until the mid nineties - my favourite bike in the world, pretty much), or maybe a Rocky Mountain, or Kona, or... almost anything really. Just make sure it has all the braxe-ons for racks and fenders and water bottles and such, and that it fits. There are also budget frames available to convert existing mountain bikes to make them more appropriate for touring.

Good luck!
Oops, I forgot I wasn't in the Classic & Vintage forum. I like lugged steel, but you're right, any of the older unsuspended MTB frames would make a good tourer.
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Old 02-14-09, 03:18 PM   #7
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Why not a 650B conversion like your Sequoia? There's no effect on handling and no danger of pedal strike because you use a wider tire with nearly the same diameter as a 27''.
I'd be a bit paranoid about using a 650b for touring. The real advantage of 26 is the rims and tires are universal availability. In almost any country that has bikes, they have 26 inch rims. 700c is less common outside America, but in the country, they are all over the place. 650b, on the other hand...I've actually heard it's common outside of the country, but I have seen no real evidence.

If your on a real hardcore expedition tour, 26 inch rims are the way to go.
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Old 02-14-09, 04:40 PM   #8
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There are a bunch of "26"" rims and they are not interchangable. Thje MTB standard ISO 559 is common but not universal.

Actually 700c rims are nearly universal in Europe and parts of Asia and only in the past few years have become common in America.

I agree with your take on 650B. It is a specialist's size these days.
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Old 02-14-09, 11:31 PM   #9
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650B is available in Europe. You can either go with 38 for urban touring or if you want a really tough bomb-resistant off road tire, a "demi-balloon" 42 is the way to go if you want to go all kinds of places.
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Old 02-16-09, 09:12 AM   #10
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Has anybody ever tried putting 26" wheels on a frame built for 27" wheels?
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Old 02-16-09, 09:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by erbfarm View Post
Has anybody ever tried putting 26" wheels on a frame built for 27" wheels?
This question got me wondering. If someone had put a set of 26" wheels on a bike built for 27" wheels would that said person be someone that you would want to take advise from?

Speculation is the best advise your going to get and its good speculation.

My advise is to fit 700c wheels to the bike or look for a better option. If you don't like my advise then I won't take it personally. Take any advise you like.

EDIT: for the record a 26" wheel has a BSD (bead seat diameter) of 559mm and 27" has a BSD of 630mm.

Thats a difference of 71mm (nearly 3") or a difference of 35mm (nearly 1 1/2") to the radius. Thats a HUGE difference.

Anthony

Last edited by AnthonyG; 02-16-09 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 02-16-09, 09:34 AM   #12
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Has anybody ever tried putting 26" wheels on a frame built for 27" wheels?
Why don't you find a set of 26" wheels and test fit them? Not only will you discover the answers to a lot of your questions, but you'll also get a feel for whose advice is worth listening to.
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