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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-29-09, 11:19 PM   #1
w00die
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84' Trek 620 - 27" wheel question

Hello bikeforum.net friends!

I have been absent for a while dealing with graduation, moving, enrollment(here I come Bachelors ), surgery to remove a recurrent cyst from my perineum and helping care for a loved one with cancer. I missed you all, even if you didn't notice my absence.

Anywho...

I am mostly healed up and getting back on the road. While I was unable to ride I have been dreaming big dreams of a nice steel frame touring bike for me. After several failed attempts to buy something off ebay (grrrrr) I had some luck. Saturday I came across a Trek 620 for sale. I went and looked at it and its in very nice shape so I bought it. I will post pictures tomorrow. It was listed as a 85' but some investigation today after I got it home tells me its an 84' which i am fine with. Happy with the purchase. I have come across something though that I need some help and advice on.

It has 27" wheels and canti brakes, I am 295 lbs and will be dropping weight once back riding. I want to replace the wheels. The question is, if I have to stay with 27" wheels due to break clearance issues preventing a 700 conversion then, what is the strongest 27" rims I can get? Also any recommendations on who I should have build them?

I will have tons more questions but for now I want to start with this. Thanks for any help.

Last edited by w00die; 08-31-09 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 08-30-09, 10:02 AM   #2
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My experience is with a Schwinn Le Tour Luxe from about the same time as your Trek. I did the conversion and it was completely straight forward. I had trouble finding and getting cantis that would hit the rim correctly. It also made the steering very twitchy with narrower tires. That was mostly resolved with 35mm tires which was a little wider than I ultimately wanted. In the end I personally would like to go back to 27" tires on the bike. The main thing holding me back is spending the money to build the wheels that I would want for a $10 thrift store bike. I should also mention that I cold set the frame so that I could get 135mm hub in the back.
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Old 08-30-09, 09:54 PM   #3
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I have an '84 620. It's pretty much retired now, but I rode it a whole lot for 17 years and now it has a place of honor over the workbench. I loved that bike; riding it saw me thru a whole lot of growing up. I put 700's on it a few years in and had no problems using either the original DiaCompe cantis that it came with or the Mini-V's that came a little later. Have a look at how the cantis are sitting on the 27" rims now. If they're not near the bottom of their adjustment range then you shouldn't have any trouble making the switch to 700's. Or you could find somebody you know with a set of 700 wheels, and pop them onto your bike for a minute just to see how they'll fit.
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Old 08-30-09, 10:50 PM   #4
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I am currently fixing up an 85 Trek 620 I just picked up. I put on a pair of 700 wheels with almost no issue. The brakes needed a small adjustment, of course, but it went as smooth as I could hope for.

I think commuter wheels would be best with as many spokes as possible. A slightly wider rim would work best I think.

Interestingly enough, the bike I got was spaced for 130 mm in the rear dropouts. I don't know if this is stock or someone cold set the frame, but it works very well.
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Old 08-31-09, 12:47 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I will likely ride these for a bit until I am ready o upgrade the drive train then I will update the wheels to 700. I will likely go for something like the Mavic A719 its a touring rim.

Here are the pics I promised. The first one is when i first got the bike and the last one is after removing the light and solar computer plus I changed the bar tape.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Trek620a.jpg (101.5 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg Trek620b.jpg (99.7 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Trek620c.JPG (77.7 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg Trek620d.jpg (98.0 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg Trek620g.JPG (66.4 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Trek620k.jpg (102.0 KB, 37 views)

Last edited by w00die; 08-31-09 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 08-31-09, 01:06 AM   #6
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What are the wheels on the bike now ?

If the 27 inch wheels were of decent quality, and Trek used very nice wheels oin the 620's, and were built 36/3 as was typical of that era (and for that model) they might hold up better then you think.

I would get a good wheel builder to check them over for you.

The Mavic A719 is one of, if not my favourite rim for touring, commuting, and for anyone who wants a simply bombproof wheel and you can of course get them in a 40 spoke (tandem) version although most folks don't need a wheel this strong.
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Old 08-31-09, 01:32 AM   #7
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The wheels on there are stock I believe.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Trek620i.JPG (94.1 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg Trek620h.jpg (100.8 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg Trek620j.JPG (70.2 KB, 18 views)
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Old 08-31-09, 08:23 AM   #8
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I noticed you were gone. It's good to have you back in the stable with the other Clydes.
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Old 08-31-09, 11:14 AM   #9
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I noticed you were gone. It's good to have you back in the stable with the other Clydes.
Thanks friend. Doing my first post surgery ride today, we'll see how that goes.

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Old 08-31-09, 01:43 PM   #10
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Welcome back! And you even bring us lovely new/old bike pr0n. Sweet looking ride and I love the color. Enjoy!
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Old 08-31-09, 02:03 PM   #11
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wOOdie - The front wheel is nice but that rear is a Maillard Helicomatic... this in itself is a good reason to get a nice set of 700c wheels built as the Helicomatic is notorious for spoke breakage on the drive side when subjected to typical touring loads.

The design was brilliant in that it allowed for easy cassette removal with pocket sized Helicomatic tool but flawed because the offset of the hub causes drive side spoke breakage ,the bearing support is also weaker on the drive side and causes premature wear, and replacement parts are not readily available.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/velos.html#helicomatic
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Old 08-31-09, 02:07 PM   #12
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Nice bike, but uhhhhh you might be in the wrong place. This is "dot net" not "dot com"!
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Old 08-31-09, 02:47 PM   #13
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Nice bike, but uhhhhh you might be in the wrong place. This is "dot net" not "dot com"!
OOps, correction made.


Just got back from a 11.5 mile ride. I am amazed at how quickly my fitness level dropped in 3.5 weeks. Day before my surgery I did 28.4 miles avg of 17mph today I did 11.5 and avg 14.2 mph. O well, blame it on the wind. I also took the Trek 620 for a little spin, wow what a difference from my Sequoia Elite. Non-indexed stem shift and a 6 speed freewheel vs 9 speed sti sure shows how far bike technology has come. I felt like I was back in high school again riding the Trek.

I guess I will install this new Ultegra SL group on the Sequoia and move the Tiagra over to the Trek and update the wheels while I am at it. I will make sure to clean, wrap and box all the original equipment off the Trek so I can always return her to stock. I'm sure I will catch some grief from the traditionalists for the upgrade, but I figure as long as I don't mess with the frame too much I can always return her to stock when I am ready to part ways with her.

Thanks for the comments and help.
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Old 08-31-09, 05:07 PM   #14
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Are you sure it's a 6-speed rear end, not a 5-speed? I had an '85 Trek 720 and it had a 5-speed. I upgraded the rear wheel in 2007 because the freewheel was making noise and I couldn't get parts. Had a 7-speed cassette put on some new 27" 36-spoke wheels - built by my LBS. They had to spread the rear fork because the 7-speed wouldn't fit in the factory spacing. They also couldn't find a axle that short. They did offer to make one, but I was set on the 7-speed. I really loved that bike. It was stolen last October.

The 27" tires are harder to come by than 700c, but Performanc still has them. If you change to 700c you may have to have the rear fork spread.

Good luck!
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Old 08-31-09, 07:17 PM   #15
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Yes it is a 6-speed freewheel. I even researched it by looking at the original brochures at http://www.vintage-trek.com/TrekBrochures.htm

Oddly enough it shows the 84' 620 and 720 had 6-speed freewheels and for some reason in 85' they came equipped with 5-speed freewheels. Although it seems backwards from everything I can see they went back to 5-speed freewheels in 85'.

Thanks for your inquiry, it lead to me learning something odd about Trek. Also, yes I am aware that if I go to 700's I will need to cold set my frame to 130. I read up on that also.

Have a great one.
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Old 08-31-09, 07:24 PM   #16
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surgery to remove a recurrent cyst from my perineum

I can't get past that part.
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Old 08-31-09, 10:06 PM   #17
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Steel frame? Gina's goat an 84 Bianchi. A buddy of mine said steel would spread enough to slip the 7 speed in no problem. Others had said we needed coldset. I guess not cause it works perfectly,

Those old steel bikes are nice. Gina says it's as smooth as her carbon fiber roadie, Just a bit heavier on a 40+ mile ride.

84 Bianchi

from DT shifters 6 speed freewheel to a 7 speed, no mods. Added RSX 7 speed brifters, only 7 speed around at the time.
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Old 08-31-09, 10:09 PM   #18
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surgery to remove a recurrent cyst from my perineum

I can't get past that part.
Yup they cut a piece of meat about the size of my thumb out of me. Quite unpleasant, especially 4 days later when the Dermabond they used to close it up let loose and they told me they weren't going to close it back up. But 4 weeks later and the wound is almost closed up. The healing capability of the human body never ceases to amaze me. Worst part of the ordeal was when I was laying on the surgery table and the nurse pops over into view and shows me the chunk they cut out of me while asking, "You want to see it?" Um, shouldn't you wait for the answer!!!!!!!

Long story short, I now will not ride unless I have proper cycling shorts. The cyst developed from riding in gym shorts and underwear instead of proper gear, even though I promptly showered after each ride. Lesson learned.

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Old 09-09-09, 10:23 AM   #19
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I've been rubbing myself raw even with good shorts. Just another reason for me to look for a recumbent.
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Old 09-09-09, 10:29 AM   #20
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I am riding the same bike. My Helicomatic rear hub went out almost a year ago - had it replaced. Yes, it is a 6-speed hub.
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Old 09-09-09, 02:37 PM   #21
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Velocity makes a very nice 27" wheelset, and you can get them made with DT-Swiss spokes and a Shimano hub from various online retailers. To be honest with you, I got a NOS 27" low-end Weinmann wheelset, and it's held up perfectly... a lot better than my old steel wheels. Pairs nicely with the Conti Gatorskins.

It's probably cheaper to convert to 700c, but if you like the look and feel of the bigger wheels, there's no other reason to switch. There are still a lot of tire options, too.
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Old 09-09-09, 04:06 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by w00die View Post
Yes it is a 6-speed freewheel. I even researched it by looking at the original brochures at http://www.vintage-trek.com/TrekBrochures.htm

Oddly enough it shows the 84' 620 and 720 had 6-speed freewheels and for some reason in 85' they came equipped with 5-speed freewheels. Although it seems backwards from everything I can see they went back to 5-speed freewheels in 85'.

Thanks for your inquiry, it lead to me learning something odd about Trek. Also, yes I am aware that if I go to 700's I will need to cold set my frame to 130. I read up on that also.

Have a great one.
The bolded part is not correct. There are plenty of sources of 700c wheels with 126mm spacing that use a freewheel and can run a 6 or 7 speed cluster. The only limiting factor between using a 700c or 27" wheels will be the reach of your brake arms and the pad position.
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Old 09-09-09, 06:10 PM   #23
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w00die, have you measured your rear dropout spacing? I've found a couple other sources that claim the 85's were spaced for 130 as was mine.
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Old 10-22-09, 04:24 PM   #24
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I had that cyst. ick. it sucked.
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