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  1. #1
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    What is the Practical Difference Between 24 Inch Tires and 26 Inch Tires?

    I bought an old 80's free spirit 10 speed with 24 inch tires.

    From what I understand, most road bikes of that era had 26 inch tires.

    What practical differences will this new tire size present to me? Does it affect my riding experience in any other way than being lower to the ground?

    Also, do you think it was a good deal? Do you know anything about this kind of bike? Did I make a good deal?
    Visit www.SportsOnlyAuction.com for your airsofting and sporting needs! :)

  2. #2
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    In the early 80s there were quite a few 27" tired road bikes and 700c became more and more common on road bikes as the decade wore on. 26" wheels were common on 3-speeds and MTBs only, but those were actually two different 26" wheel standards.

    24" wheeled road bikes were generally made for older kids and often called Junior road bikes.

    Free Spirit bikes were sold in Sears stores. It's a good deal if you got it for $25 or so. If you're 5' or less then it could serve you better than a 700c road bike.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  3. #3
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    Oh shoot! I forgot to show a link to the bike!

    Here is the bike in question:

    http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/bik/2726631981.html
    Visit www.SportsOnlyAuction.com for your airsofting and sporting needs! :)

  4. #4
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    If that's an actual Brooks B73, then that alone is worth darn near $100. They go for $130-180 new.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  5. #5
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    Are you sure it has 24" tyres? They look like 26 from the pic. 24 is a useful size, esp for small people. Wheel size has a marginal difference on efficiency for Just Riding Along.
    If the bike was designed for this size, then the bottom bracket height will have been set at a suitable height for pedal clearance. You will sit at the same height as other bikes.

  6. #6
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Those do look like 26" wheels. A bike with a 31" standover and 24" wheels would have a much longer headtube.

    Check the markings on the tires.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  7. #7
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Guy probably took a tape measure to the wheel...like you might a car.

    Those wheels may measure 24 inches, but they aren't 24 inch wheels. :-)

  8. #8
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    Call the poster and have him read EVERYTHING molded into the tire side walls to you. That should give a definitive answer as to what the wheel/tire sizes really are.

  9. #9
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    Alright! I'll do that before I pick it up.

    Thanks so much for your assistance.

    It seems to make sense, seeing as his ad posted that the WHEELS were 24 inches, not the tires.
    Visit www.SportsOnlyAuction.com for your airsofting and sporting needs! :)

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I bought an old 80's free spirit 10 speed with 24 inch tires.
    then get more 24 inch tires, you want a bike with different size wheels ,
    buy the bike with the wheel size you want in the first place .

    picture looks like someone put a bunch of extra money out, on a fixer upper.
    then the person might have grown too tall.

    NB free spirit were boat-anchors, durable because of using lots of lower cost steel.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-08-11 at 12:53 PM.

  11. #11
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddashoff699 View Post
    It seems to make sense, seeing as his ad posted that the WHEELS were 24 inches, not the tires.
    Bicycle tire sizing is confusing and basically impossible to decipher until you learn what the numbers mean. There are at least 5 (?) different "26 inch" tire sizes. Seller probably just guessed at the wheel/tire size. Further reading: http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

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