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Thread: 700c, When??

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    700c, When??

    When did 700C size wheels start to appear on bicycles?
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    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    700C tubulars date back at least to the early '60s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    700C tubulars date back at least to the early '60s.
    Really? I thought tubulars were always that size. The again, what do I know? It'll be interesting to hear what others say.

    As for the OP, I'm pretty sure 700C has been around in France since the dinosaurs roamed the earth but if you mean when did they start appearing commonly under that designation on clincher rims on bikes in the United States, I think sometime in the early - mid eighties.

    My '72 Bottecchia originally came with sew-ups but the original owner swapped them out for steel clincher rims from Dolomiti at some point (the tires were actually labeled 28x1 1/8 IIRC) but those were 700C. They at least looked very 70-ish so they were probably available then through the aftermarket. BTW, that tripped me up when I bought it - the owners wife was handling the sale and knew very little about the bike. I could see the "Dolomiti" labes on the rims in the picture, a common Italian brand, and the dry rot 28x1 1/8 Clement tires so I assumed they were original and the rims would have been alloy but they weren't. I swapped those steel rims for a nice set of alloy Rigida clinchers like the original owner should have done in the first place.
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    I seem to remember having 27x1" clinchers for training instead of tubulars in '74-'75. That was a real benefit for a high school student on a very limited budget. But I know I had narrow 700c clinchers by the late '70s. We knew there were wider 700c clinchers out there, but nobody used them in the U.S. because they were pretty much unsupported.

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    the first maybe 3-4 years of the fuji track came with 27" tubulars

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    Quote Originally Posted by arborohs View Post
    the first maybe 3-4 years of the fuji track came with 27" tubulars
    I'd defer to Sheldon on this issue:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

    Full-sized tubulars fit rims of the same diameter as 622 mm (700c) clinchers. This size is sometimes referred to as "28 inch" or "700". It is also, confusingly, sometimes referred to as "27 inch." The "27 inch" designation is inaccurate and obsolete, but you'll sometimes run into it in older printed material.
    In clincher tires, there is a real difference between "700c" and "27 inch" sizes, but for tubulars this is a false distinction. Whenever you see mention of "27 inch tubulars" the writer is actually referring to standard full-sized tubulars, as used on most racing bikes.
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    Fortunately, no one ever came up with true 27" / 630mm tubulars, just as no one ever challenged the metric system for electrical units.

    In the U.S., 27" clinchers were ubiquitous through most of the 1970s, but 700C made steady inroads and eventually too over completely by the mid-1980s.
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    Any real reason why, other than a carry over from racing?

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    You could buy 700c wheeled bikes in france back in the forties at least. They are the same size as tubular wheels, so youdon't need to adjust your brakes.

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    Brakes used to clamp onto the seatstays and forkblades so you could adjust them up and down to fit different size rims. What you couldn't do is change the amount of clearance the frame had. So a frame built for 700 outer diameter size tire/wheel combinations could use a 700a, 700b, 700c by moving the brakes.

    Originally 650b and 650c had the same outer diameter with 650c using a smaller diameter rim but fatter tire. Now the 650c rim size has been adopted by triathletes using super skinny tires. 650b still sports manly size tires.

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    Bicycle tire and rim sizing historically has been a confusing subject as each country had it's own standards. Even some manufacturers such as Schwinn had some oddball sizes.

    I have worked on a friend's 1985 Raleigh Technium and it still came with 27" wheels, 630mm, so 27" wheels were still being put on some new bikes that late. I have also seen recommendations that for international trekking 27" tires are much easier to find in many remote areas than 700C. This might be a reason to fit them on even a new bike, depending on intended use.
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    http://www.classicfuji.com/1978_16_S...ions1_Page.htm knew I should have posted this page. I love sheldon as much as the next guy. Is anyone saying that fuji doesn't know what a tubular is?

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    My Raleigh Super Grand Prix had 700 Clenchers, and I believe it was either a late 78 or a 79 model. I was pretty surprised to say the least. It was the lowest end 70's bike I had ever seen with 700 rims. They were quite similar in appearance to the 27 inch Weinmann, although I don't remember if they were Weinmann or Araya's. Logic says Weinmann.,,,,BD
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    I have also seen recommendations that for international trekking 27" tires are much easier to find in many remote areas than 700C. This might be a reason to fit them on even a new bike, depending on intended use.
    this is true, and additionally you can go into any Walmart and get a 27" tire. The same can not be said for 700's. Too bad I don't run 27s on any of my touring bikes though
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    I was running 700c wheels as far back as 1974-6 on a a couple of bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arborohs View Post
    http://www.classicfuji.com/1978_16_S...ions1_Page.htm knew I should have posted this page. I love sheldon as much as the next guy. Is anyone saying that fuji doesn't know what a tubular is?
    I know Sheldon has been wrong on occasion but in this case I'd have to go with him unless somebody can show me an actual 630mm (27") sized tubular tire or rim. I've never seen one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I was running 700c wheels as far back as 1974-6 on a a couple of bikes.

    Aaron
    I would expect that any Italian bike fitted with clincher rims likely had 700C size wheels fitted. I believe that I read somewhere that Michelin introduced the first narrow high pressure 700C clincher tires to the market sometime in the 70s.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    I would expect that any Italian bike fitted with clincher rims likely had 700C size wheels fitted. I believe that I read somewhere that Michelin introduced the first narrow high pressure 700C clincher tires to the market sometime in the 70s.
    Mine were French bikes for the most part. Interestingly enough my Motobecane came with 27" from the same era. The first bike I had with 700c on it was a Lucien Michard, I have not seen one since then. It was a low end touring bike.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    I would expect that any Italian bike fitted with clincher rims likely had 700C size wheels fitted. I believe that I read somewhere that Michelin introduced the first narrow high pressure 700C clincher tires to the market sometime in the 70s.
    My '74 Bottecchia still had Fiamme yellow label 27" clinchers. Oddly, I remember that I broke a rim hiting a curb or something and had it replaced within the first couple of years and they used a Super Champion (pre-Wolber) Gentleman rim. It was still 27" obviously to match the other rim but it was a narrow (13mm inside-20mm outside IIRC) rim with hooked beads unlike the Fiamme which had been a wider straight side rim. I still have the Super Champion hanging in the garage. Not sure exactly what year that was.

    My '81 Motobecane Jubilee Sport and my old '85 Peugeot PKN10? still had 27" rims. So does my '88 Panasonic but since it's a touring model that might not mean anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    I believe that I read somewhere that Michelin introduced the first narrow high pressure 700C clincher tires to the market sometime in the 70s.
    Michelin Elans:



    First tire designed for hooked bead rims.

    -Kurt

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    Late 1970s sounds right for 700C clinchers. In 1974 I built up training wheels for my new bicycle. The only rims available with the same diameter as tubulars were the European 28" rims, which used the 28 x 1-5/8 x 1-1/4 tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kommisar89 View Post
    Really? I thought tubulars were always that size. The again, what do I know? It'll be interesting to hear what others say.

    As for the OP, I'm pretty sure 700C has been around in France since the dinosaurs roamed the earth but if you mean when did they start appearing commonly under that designation on clincher rims on bikes in the United States, I think sometime in the early - mid eighties.

    My '72 Bottecchia originally came with sew-ups but the original owner swapped them out for steel clincher rims from Dolomiti at some point (the tires were actually labeled 28x1 1/8 IIRC) but those were 700C. They at least looked very 70-ish so they were probably available then through the aftermarket. BTW, that tripped me up when I bought it - the owners wife was handling the sale and knew very little about the bike. I could see the "Dolomiti" labes on the rims in the picture, a common Italian brand, and the dry rot 28x1 1/8 Clement tires so I assumed they were original and the rims would have been alloy but they weren't. I swapped those steel rims for a nice set of alloy Rigida clinchers like the original owner should have done in the first place.
    I didn't mean to say "not before teh early '60s," I thought I was saying "at least as early as teh early '60s." I did not rule out dinosaurs riding on 700C tubulars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by awc380 View Post
    Any real reason why, other than a carry over from racing?
    Racing and training were probably drivers in the popularity of 700C clinchers. I recall in the '70s, many people buying sew-up bikes were advised to also get a set of clincher wheels "for the street." Now we all know it's easier to cross-fit wheels if the rims all have their brake tracks in the same place.

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    While in the in Germany in the late 60's I had Gitane build me a bike and I had the choice of 27" or 700 clinchers or tublars. I sold that that bike two years ago with both sets of wheels 27" and 700 tublars. That is what got me interested in vintage bikes. A guy came to buy some electronic equipment from me and saw the bike in my shop's rafters.
    Ed

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fast4u View Post
    Late 1970s sounds right for 700C clinchers. In 1974 I built up training wheels for my new bicycle. The only rims available with the same diameter as tubulars were the European 28" rims, which used the 28 x 1-5/8 x 1-1/4 tires.
    I believe that is the northern European designation for 700C. 700C is just the French name for that size.
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