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Old 06-23-10, 12:10 PM   #1
mike13876
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wheelset sizing

I recently started a project converting a vintage road bike into a single speed commuter; mountain bike doesn’t cut it anymore when dogging traffic. I am somewhat familiar with mountain bikes however I am new to the road/single speed world. I need a new wheel set, preferably with a flip-flop hub, but am confused on the sizing. The original wheelset has a diameter of 24 inches. What sizes are compatible and any suggestions on where to find an average set? (other than local bike shop, which was way overpriced)

thanks

mike
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Old 06-23-10, 12:36 PM   #2
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Can you give a little more info on the frame you're using. You call it a vintage road bike, but how old is it, and what make?

Road bikes are generally made for either 27" wheels (older frames) or 700c wheels. Yours is likely one or the other. The size actually refers to the tire that will fit, not the actual diameter of the wheel. You can get tires for either, although 700c are far more common. 27" and 700c wheels (not tires!) are sometimes interchangable, depending on whether the brakes can adjust to hit the rims properly.

Is there any printing on the wheels you have? If so, what does it say.

This website will help you measure the wheel properly. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rim-sizing.html. This is also helpful: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

If you happen to have a 29'er MTB frame and wheels, those wheels have the same diameter as a 700c wheel, and both are a little smaller in diameter than a 27".

Last edited by Camilo; 06-23-10 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 06-23-10, 12:48 PM   #3
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I'd go with 700c wheels. Mavic Open Sport or A319 rim, DT 2.0 mm Champion with brass nipple. The Michelin City is a little heavy due to steel bead and puncture protection, but isn't too bad in the handling department. 32c is ideal, but you may need to drop to 28c tire if you have a compact frame that will not clear a 32c tire.

Check out Bicycle Wheel Warehouse.
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Old 06-23-10, 01:35 PM   #4
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I agree with Camilo tell us more about the bike you want to covery toa SS/FG. if it was an older say mid to late '70 early '80s lowend "10spd" with 24" wheels it may not be worth the expense to upgrade the wheels.

also since you are already asking about buying wheels I assume you have little experence in not only reapir but bying parts?

some here will not agree with me but perhaps you should try buying a complete bike. http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/dawes/sst.htm

Bikes Direct has some good quality lowcost options

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Old 06-23-10, 01:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by furballi View Post
I'd go with 700c wheels. Mavic Open Sport or A319 rim, DT 2.0 mm Champion with brass nipple. The Michelin City is a little heavy due to steel bead and puncture protection, but isn't too bad in the handling department. 32c is ideal, .
No opinion on the wheelset recommendation, but I want to endorse the tire recommendation.

I have been riding a set of Michelin City for about 3-400 miles, size 32mm on my commuter (Just an FYI: "c" refers to the type of wheel, not the wheel diameter or tire width. mm is the tire width designator, so the tire would be 700c X 32mm. A "c" wheel is different than the same diameter wheel in an "a" or "b" - both of which are very uncommon or obsolete).

But back to the tires I'm very happy with them. They roll nice, quick and smooth. I bomb a very rough gravel road with sharp shist shards every morning and have run over a bunch of miscellaneous roadside glass and other $hit, and it hasn't flatted and I don't see even minor cuts yet. This wide tire easily fits on my narrow rimmed Mavic Aksium wheels, so a "normal" width road wheel set will work fine.

If OP decides he needs a 27" wheel rather than 700c, the same thing will work - but it will be called a 1 1/4" tire rather than 32 mm, but it will also fit on a classic, fairly narrow road wheel if that's what he wants to go with.

Another nit - it's not the compact frame that determines how wide the tire can be. Compact frame generally refers to the sloping top tube. It's chain stay length (clearance to seat tube) and fork and brake space. You can have those features on a traditional or compact/sloping tt type frame. For example, my commuter is a very "compact" (i.e. sloping top tube) fame and it easily takes the 32mm tire, as well as a fender because it has long chain stays and V brakes. My road bike with traditional, non-compact frame can't take anything larger than 25 because of short chain stays and narrow brakes.
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Old 06-23-10, 05:40 PM   #6
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did everyone miss the part where the OP said the original wheels on his project bike are 24" this might make it a very lowend bike not worth the expense of oll this work
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Old 06-23-10, 06:57 PM   #7
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To respond to the age of the bike, it is from the early 80's according to the original owner. After more research and measurements I have determined that the original wheel set size is 630mm, which also fits the time period.

So a 700c wheel set will fit, but there is potential for brake alignment issues (I will deal with that later), is this correct? Should I be concerned with hub width?

I did consider buying a complete bike from bikes direct, but so far I have no money invested and figured I would learn something by building my own.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:23 PM   #8
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In general, you can lower the brake pads on a 27" equipped bike sufficiently to work with 700c rim. A good rule of thumb is 5 mm drop of the brake pads to clear the 700c tire.
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Old 06-28-10, 03:03 PM   #9
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did everyone miss the part where the OP said the original wheels on his project bike are 24" this might make it a very lowend bike not worth the expense of oll this work
Actually, I caught that and it is why I pointed him to a website on wheel size. A measurement of 24" doesn't really tell us what the wheel/tire size is because, as you probably know, the 27" or 700c doesn't refer to the diameter of the wheel, but the diameter of the tire that goes on it. The actual rim diameter for both is smaller as is the bead diameter. I just wanted him to reference the actual rim measurements (and where and how to take them) and compare that to the nomenclature commonly used.
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Old 06-28-10, 03:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mike13876 View Post
To respond to the age of the bike, it is from the early 80's according to the original owner. After more research and measurements I have determined that the original wheel set size is 630mm, which also fits the time period.

So a 700c wheel set will fit, but there is potential for brake alignment issues (I will deal with that later), is this correct? Should I be concerned with hub width?
630 mm is the outside diameter for 700c rims so that's what you have.

For hubs measure the over locknut dimension for the rear hub. If you don't have a caliper you might be able to wiggle a C-clamp through the spokes to get an accurate enough measurement. "Early 80's" says 126 mm to me. It will simplify your life if you can find a rear wheel that matches.

You don't have to worry about the front hub over locknut dimension. It's going to be 100 mm.

Last edited by Retro Grouch; 06-28-10 at 03:25 PM.
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