I found an old Raleigh bike on big trash day in my town a few months ago. As usual I ditched the old rusted wheels on the spot, to make it easier to stash in my car, and I knew that I would inevitably end up buying a new wheelset for it after restoration. It is a smaller frame, and it had moustacchech style handle bars. I stripped the frame and primed and painted it, added on all new components, but when it came time to put the new wheels on, the front fork would not accommodate a 700c wheel. I had an old 26x1 3/8 wheel and tried that, but it was just a hair too big with a 26x1 1/2 tire. I'm not quite sure what to do, my LBS told me i needed to use a standard 26" mtn bike wheel with a small tire (which I am doubtful if it will work). I have no idea what the model number on the bike is, for some reason I never photographed the frame before I stripped it.
Any ideas? Has anyone run into this problem with smaller Raleigh frames? what wheel size should I be looking for? and where could i find it?
I'll try and take some photos tonight to illustrate what I am talking about.
With Raleighs, I've mostly encountered 27 X 1 1/4 on the sportier full-size bikes (what we'd call racers back then), and 26 X 1 3/8 on roadsters, the type with flat handlebars and three-speed hubs. Raleigh did make the Arena in the seventies, which seems to have been aimed at the teenage market. It was a racer, but I'm fairly sure the wheels were 26 X 1 1/4. I don't think these tyres are widely available now, but I'm also fairly certain that MTB tyres wouldn't do the job. We'll know more when we see a picture.