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  1. #1
    Member AlbaSurf's Avatar
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    bike fits 27" rims - can I modify it to fit 700c rims?

    Hello there! I am fairly new to bicycle repair/maintenance, but I've read quite a bit so I hope to use the correct terminology. So here's some background info to my question.

    I just bought a 1987 Fuji Sagres for $80, (I'm not bike-savvy enough to know whether that was a good deal or not, but I wanted a fast bike for triathlons and it was within my price range). In fact, I just put my first 22 miles on her yesterday. I am convinced that she sat in a garage for the last 22 years because every single component on her is standard/factory (not sure how you say in "bike-speak" that nothing's been replaced) and pretty much spotless. Only thing I did was replace the tires and tubes. And in doing that, I came upon this possibility. My bike has rims that are 27" x 1 1/8" and I just purchased new tires that are 27" x 1 1/8". But when searching online for new tires I found that most of the variety and deals were limited primarily to the 700c tires. Now, I know that's because 27" rims are somewhat outdated. So, I guess what I am wondering is, is there a way to modify my bike slightly so that I can use 700c rims and thus have an easier time finding replacement tires? I plan on owning this bike forever, so I feel like even if it was a little bit of work, it'd be worth it.

    Also, I am president of a bike co-op and we have so many extra 700c tires it's ridiculous. So, you can imagine my frustration when my tire popped my tube 3 miles out and I couldn't even use any of the tires we had in the shop!

    I have tried reading up on this, to determine if it is a possibility. I have read on Sheldon Brown's website about something called "cold-setting". Couldn't understand all of it and I am not even sure if it can be done to my bike, or if it is even necessary. I think 700c and 27-inch rims are close to the same size. Could I just adjust the brakes so they lined up correctly?

    Here is some information you may need to know about the bike to determine if changing the rim size is a possibility:

    Frame: FUJI Quad-butted VALite "Si 45" tubing (whatever that means)
    Fork: FUJI HI-Ten tubing

    Actually, I don't know what might be pertinent. Here is a link to the exact specs - http://classicfuji.com/Sagres_1987_Page.htm

    And here is a picture of my gorgeous bike, 'cause I know you want to see her.



    So, what do you think? Can it be done?
    And, if so, how?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    It looks like it's in great shape! I'd probably install new cabes and housing (brake) just for safe measure. You'd be amazed at how much better your shifting and braking will be with new teflon cabl housing compared to the old stuff.

    It will probably take 700c rims, you just need to be able to extend your brake pads another 4 mm to reach them....easy to measure or eyeball. It looks like you *might have that with those brakes (hard to tell from here).

    If not, I'd personally install the 700's anyway and just find another set of brakes (at your co-op) that will work....probably tons of old road brakes there.
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  3. #3
    another retro grouch Mr IGH's Avatar
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    Looks like you have plenty of room on the calipers, I'd swap it over for the better tire selection.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
    Looks like you have plenty of room on the calipers, I'd swap it over for the better tire selection.
    Looks that way to me too.

    If it was my bike I'd borrow a pair of 700c wheels from somebody, test fit them, and see how the brakes aligned before spending any money.

  5. #5
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    To me, it looks as if you probably have 4mm of extra room under the rear brake, but it's not clear that you do under the front brake.

    I have a number of road bikes, three of which have 27" rims, and three of which have 700c rims. (The "modern" bikes are the ones that I ride much more often, except for my commuter which has 27" rims).
    I find that it's easy enough to get cheap 27" tires and much cheaper to get extra 27" wheels compared to 700c wheels (which also may be the case around your bike co-op).
    I think one of the biggest reasons to switch rim sizes is if you want a freehub rear hub (instead of a freewheel). That said, I've built two rear wheels with 27" rims and 7-speed freehubs.

    Quote Originally Posted by A.Winthrop View Post
    Oh, BTW, I'm still using mid-'80s brake cables (and RD cable housing) on all my mid-'80s bikes. It sometimes takes awhile to get lubricant through the housing for smooth braking (and shifting) but I've found that ultimately they work fine.
    the OP should take this comment in context, since it comes from a guy who still uses a mid-'80s DOS-based text-entry program

  6. #6
    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
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    Not sure why you want to switch. You've already put new tires and tubes on it so you should be good for a while. 27" tires are still available - the selection is meager but you can still get them.

    The lowest of the low end late 80's Japanese road bikes still used 27". I have a 1988 Bridgestone RB-4 which has 27". It was spec'd at 23 pounds, and yours is 26 pounds - it's a department-store quality bike.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    The 27x1-1/4" tyres you find at K-mart will last about 10,000 miles. Lots of rubber on those things.

  8. #8
    Member AlbaSurf's Avatar
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    thanks for the responses!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post

    It will probably take 700c rims, you just need to be able to extend your brake pads another 4 mm to reach them....easy to measure or eyeball. It looks like you *might have that with those brakes (hard to tell from here).
    Here are a couple pictures. So basically all I would need to do is just drop these (where the arrows are pointing) down 4mm?

    Rear:


    Front:



    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Looks that way to me too.

    If it was my bike I'd borrow a pair of 700c wheels from somebody, test fit them, and see how the brakes aligned before spending any money.
    Definitely something I'm going to do. I am not planning on buying new rims until next year. I'll wait at least until these new tires wear out. But I was very curious, and in the process of learning about bikes didn't want to wait a whole year to find out if it was possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery View Post
    I think one of the biggest reasons to switch rim sizes is if you want a freehub rear hub (instead of a freewheel). That said, I've built two rear wheels with 27" rims and 7-speed freehubs.
    I apologize for my ignorance, but what's the difference between freehub and freewheel? It may sound self-explanatory but I don't understand what that means, even though I've gone and looked up what the "hub" is.

    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    Not sure why you want to switch. You've already put new tires and tubes on it so you should be good for a while. 27" tires are still available - the selection is meager but you can still get them.
    Oh yeah, I won't switch for a good long while, but eventually the meagerness will be an issue. I couldn't ride for a whole sunny week and a half cause I had to wait for my tires to get in. (I didn't realize I just had to adjust the brakes to be able to fit a new wheel on there.)
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  9. #9
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    I wouldn't recomend the cheapie Walmart or other big box store 27 inch tires. Sure they are thick and wear like iron but they'll make it feel like you're dragging an anchor behind you. However Continetal and a few of the other makers still have some good performing (low rolling resistance) options in their lineups. Included are some 1 inch wide offerings.

    However you're right about there being a much better list of options if you can switch to 700c. But from what I can see your rear caliper MIGHT reach, but I doubt it. And the front looks like it's pretty well at the limit for reach already. More importantly though even if they do reach the extra distance will alter the leverage ratios to where you require a much firmer pull on the lever to achieve the same stopping rate. And knowing how poor most single pivot calipers are already I'm sure you'll agree this isn't going to help at all.

    EDIT- I just saw you're new post with the closeups of the brake calipers. It sure looks like the pads will reach but do consider the increase in brake lever pull needed to achieve the same stopping power. And, if like I did, you find that these single pivot calipers are a bit weak in performance now you'll hate them when you mount some 700c wheels due to the longer reach.

    All is not lost though. Tektro makes two models of long reach calipers that use the dual pivot design. They are the models 536 adn 556. I've been using a set of each on two older frames that were originally set up for 27 inch that I altered to 700c. I rode them both with single pivot long reach calipers and always wanted a more sensitive braking but had to live with it. The Tektros completely transformed the braking on both bikes from a three finger white knuckle experience to a one or two finger moderate pull. I can't say enough good things about them. For your needs I'd suggest the 536. Depending on the reach of the frame and the rims used you may need to file out just a hair of metal at the very end of the pad mount slot. I know I did on the front but not on the rear. Alternately I found that on the 556 with the longer range of reach the pads mounted up near the tops of the slots with no filing needed.

    And yes, these new calipers will work with the old levers so you can keep the flying cable vintage look while running with the newer 700c wheels and tires.
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  10. #10
    headtube. zzyzx_xyzzy's Avatar
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    I think your calipers will reach, but if your rear caliper doesn't reach there is enough meat in them that you can just take a file and extend the slot a little more.

    Freewheel vs. freehub, see here: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/free-k7.html

    I like Panaracer Pasela tires for general riding. They're cheap enough, feel nice to ride on, and come in 27" too.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbaSurf View Post
    Here are a couple pictures. So basically all I would need to do is just drop these (where the arrows are pointing) down 4mm?

    Rear:


    Front:





    Definitely something I'm going to do. I am not planning on buying new rims until next year. I'll wait at least until these new tires wear out. But I was very curious, and in the process of learning about bikes didn't want to wait a whole year to find out if it was possible.



    I apologize for my ignorance, but what's the difference between freehub and freewheel? It may sound self-explanatory but I don't understand what that means, even though I've gone and looked up what the "hub" is.



    Oh yeah, I won't switch for a good long while, but eventually the meagerness will be an issue. I couldn't ride for a whole sunny week and a half cause I had to wait for my tires to get in. (I didn't realize I just had to adjust the brakes to be able to fit a new wheel on there.)

    Sheldon does a great job explaining the differences between a freehub and a freewheel:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/free-k7.html

  12. #12
    Member AlbaSurf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post

    EDIT- I just saw you're new post with the closeups of the brake calipers. It sure looks like the pads will reach but do consider the increase in brake lever pull needed to achieve the same stopping power. And, if like I did, you find that these single pivot calipers are a bit weak in performance now you'll hate them when you mount some 700c wheels due to the longer reach.

    All is not lost though. Tektro makes two models of long reach calipers that use the dual pivot design. They are the models 536 adn 556. I've been using a set of each on two older frames that were originally set up for 27 inch that I altered to 700c. I rode them both with single pivot long reach calipers and always wanted a more sensitive braking but had to live with it. The Tektros completely transformed the braking on both bikes from a three finger white knuckle experience to a one or two finger moderate pull. I can't say enough good things about them. For your needs I'd suggest the 536. Depending on the reach of the frame and the rims used you may need to file out just a hair of metal at the very end of the pad mount slot. I know I did on the front but not on the rear. Alternately I found that on the 556 with the longer range of reach the pads mounted up near the tops of the slots with no filing needed.

    And yes, these new calipers will work with the old levers so you can keep the flying cable vintage look while running with the newer 700c wheels and tires.
    Thanks you for this wonderful explanation! I am going to try it out hopefully this upcoming weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.
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  13. #13
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    using tektro 2 finger mountain bike levers with tektro 556 calipers. works great!!

  14. #14
    punk kid.
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    it will for sure work. I wouldnt worry about stopping power or whatever. itll work. my brothers 70's centurion takes a 700c without even moving the brake pads!! just to describe, heres what 4mm looks like : __ wow, not as far as you thought huh? the the threaded section of your brake pad is probably 5mm in diameter.... id say change the pads before you flip out and buy a whole new brake setup. spend the money on cable and housing. new rims + new pads should = some good braking even with a centerpull.
    if you have access to any major distributors, j&b has a good price on an ultegra hub/mavic openpro rim set. good strong all around wheels.

  15. #15
    another retro grouch Mr IGH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rs1101 View Post
    ...I wouldnt worry about stopping power or whatever. itll work....
    I agree. 4mm is less than 10% change in mechanical leverage, it will be difficult to notice any difference in feel. New double pivot brakes are better but the old school single pivot sidepulls worked well for a century
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    Member AlbaSurf's Avatar
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    Would someone mind posting a picture of these double pivot brakes? I have looked them up but I am seeing a lot of variation and I still don't get what sets them apart or makes them unique from the brakes I have.
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    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    I also agree that the difference in braking power lost by moving your pads down 4mm will be minimal.
    So, if you switch to 700c wheels (I'm on record above as advising against it) use your present brakes for the moment and see how they do.
    If you feel you're limited on stopping power, then switch to dual-pivot brakes.

    What sets dual-pivot brakes apart is simply that they have greater mechanical advantage compared to single-pivot brakes. This has the downside of meaning that pads on dual-pivot brakes start closer to the rim already (when you're not braking) so there's less room to play if you bust a spoke and want to ride home.
    Seeing a picture of the brake won't give you more of an idea of what's going on here.

    But if you want to look, here is Nashbar's house-branded Tektro long-reach brake:
    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...1_10000_201527
    There are also even longer-reach versions of the Tektro brakes (originally-commissions by Rivendell)
    http://www.rivbike.com/products/list/brakes

  18. #18
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    Another vote for Nashbar here. They are re-branded Tektro brakes, and I know people that swear by them. Nshbar also has an excellent return policy, if they don't work out or you don't like them too. Here are some pics with links:

    These extra-long reach ones are $24.99



    Regular-reach in black are $34.99


    Having said that, I think that your old brakes should work fine with new rims, and I would not replace them. I WOULD switch-out the rear wheels for 700c, though.

    Another thing to make sure of is the frame spacing in the rear where the wheel drops-out. Lots of Japanese bikes in this era were built for rear hub axles that were 126mm - 129mm wide. Modern hubs are 135mm, and won't work correctly without stretching-out/bending/cold-setting that rear end first. This is fairly easy to do, but I think better done by a professional that has done a few before (directions on how to do it from Sheldon Brown)
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    Sheldon Brown explains freewheel/freehub difference http://www.sheldonbrown.com/free-k7.html The freehub is much less prone to axle breakage if you are heavy. I would level the saddle and tip up the bars so the ends point towards the rear hub. Downtube shifters are easy to use when riding in the drops as you dont need to move your body when shifting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinyon View Post
    Another thing to make sure of is the frame spacing in the rear where the wheel drops-out. Lots of Japanese bikes in this era were built for rear hub axles that were 126mm - 129mm wide. Modern hubs are 135mm....
    Modern road hubs are 130. Mountain and some cyclocross hubs are 135.

    If your bike has indexed shifting, it won't work unless you get a 7 speed cassette and a spacer.

    There's lots of great 27" tires available and they are not so ephemeral that you need to worry about having a constant supply within arms' reach. The Nashbar primas are pretty quick. So are panaracer paselas. Performance forte's are more like the tanklike walmart tires.

  21. #21
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    OK, since so many are jumping all over my suggestion for dual pivot brakes here goes....

    Granted I don't know what the original Diacompes felt like with 27's but if you're all saying that the change was minimal then I shudder at the lack of braking power they had when new with the original 27's, let alone with even a slight increase in reach to accomadate the 700c's. If ANY of you think that these were adequite then I have to politely suggest that you've were brainwashed. The old single pivot calipers SUCK, pure and simple. And particularly in the wet. And since I was commuting on them and there's no lack of "wet" around these parts I was ecstatic with the new dual pivot performance.

    Again, I state that by far the best upgrade I did to my two bikes that originally had single pivot older calipers was to change over to the Tektro dual pivot models. I did not get a chance to ride either with the OEM 27's so I guess I assumed that the poor brake performance was due to the reach difference.

    Anyway, back to our original topic.....

    As Pinyon suggests some creative tweaking of the frame will be needed to adapt this bike to newer hubs. www.sheldonbrown.com (may his soul ride on forever over through the finest of country and smoothest of roads) has an article somewhere about how to cold set these old venerable frames to fit the new hubs. Or if you shop around long enough there's still some nice 7 speed cassette adn freehub stuff to be had. If you find them and lace them up to some new rims you won't need to do anything to your frame.

    Speaking of tires Continental makes a 27x1 in their budget priced Ultra Sport line. I've used some of them in the 700c size and can say that they roll as well or better than a lot of the higher priced tires I've tried over the years. If you can source a pair you will not be dissapointed and I'd have no concerns that racing with them will invovle any sort of significant handicap.
    Last edited by BCRider; 11-10-09 at 07:07 PM.
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    I disagree that new brakes are in order. Maybe I am not as fast as some guys, maybe they used steel rims (which don't brake at all when wet), maybe the fact that dual pivots came with new pads and cables was responsible for the leap in braking power, maybe the levers they had were too flexy.

    The stamped dia-compes can be pretty thin. I would definitely get solid levers before new dual-pivot calipers. The OP looks like he has a solid, cast pair on there already, though.

    Regular old fashioned side pulls are strong enough to throw you over the bars. They work okay when wet, too, unless as stated before you have a steel rim.
    Last edited by garage sale GT; 11-11-09 at 08:48 AM.

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    another retro grouch Mr IGH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    ... If ANY of you think that these were adequite then I have to politely suggest that you've were brainwashed. The old single pivot calipers SUCK, pure and simple....
    I've been using them for 40 years, never had a set that I couldn't lock up with aluminum rims. Never had any issues with "feel", I will admit my old Campy side pulls work better than anything when riding in the rain. Riding in the Junior Olympic Development pack in a downpour will really teat one's braking skills, I did it with Weinman 500 sidepulls and Mafac brake levers, that should really make you shudder

    Maybe your hands are really weak?
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    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    If ANY of you think that these were adequite then I have to politely suggest that you've were brainwashed. The old single pivot calipers SUCK, pure and simple. And particularly in the wet.
    He's just a really open-for-discussion person who seems to have had very bad experience with a bike with single-pivot brakes.

    We could have a poll over whether it's more likely that his hands are weak, or I and Mr_IGH are both "brainwashed."

    Based on his description, it doesn't sound as if brake-pad quality was ruled out as a factor. Nor is there any explanation of why (beyond brake pad compound) sidepulls would "SUCK particularly in wet."

    In terms of basic mechanical design, as I mentioned above, dual-pivot brakes have slightly increased mechanical advantage over the typical single-center-pivot sidepull brakes.
    So, all else being equal, dual-pivot brakes will have slightly greater ability to lock up the wheel and/or stop quickly.

    But all other things are rarely equal in this comparison. The main reason for people who rule out single-center-pivot sidepull brakes is probably the vastly varying quality levels, both of brakearms and brake pads.
    Dual-pivot brakes are newer and slightly more complex to manufacture and assemble, and so have rarely appeared in very low-quality form. But low-end single-pivot sidepull brakes shouldn't be allowed to wreck the reputation of the technology itself.

    I've run single-pivot Shimano 105 sidepulls (from late 1980's) on multiple bikes, and currently still use them on my most frequently-ridden road bike. They work great.


    I also run less-recent (and more-akin to the classic simple Dia-Compe design) sidepulls on my Miyata, which used to be a commuter and is now a fixed-gear build (and I'm not the type to skimp on brakes because I wannabeahipster). These also work well.


    Note that I'm using recently-produced Shimano brake pads on both brakesets.


    Now, the OP seems to have low-end Dia-Compe sidepulls with thin-ish aluminum arms and washers (probably not real bushings, let along bearings) at the pivot. And old brake pads. But the first thing I'd do on these, if brake function is sub-par, is to replace the brake pads. If that doesn't take care of any problem, you can still use those brake pads later, so you haven't wasted your money.


    Then again, maybe I'm just brainwashed
    Last edited by TallRider; 11-11-09 at 12:50 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Well.... *sheepish grin*....if the truth be told I can't remember the last time I applied the brakes on a drop handlebar from the drops. I just don't bend well enough to be able to ride comfortably in the drops unless I'm fighting a serious head wind and then it's the lesser of the two evils. So my comments are based on using them with my hands on the hoods and reaching down to pull the levers back with a sideways action of my fingers. The difference in performance between these two methods is obviously huge so for me the dual pivot calipers were a big step up.

    I guess I forgot that there's no lack of folks out there that can ride the drops and still breath decently..... My bad
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

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