22"/550A/37-490 Wheels? Is there anywhere to get these?
I've got a Peugeot folder from the early 80's, and it's a great bike for grocery shopping, if heavy and silly. Unfortunately, the front wheel has some damage and needs to be replaced. Looking around on the internet, it seems like nobody still makes wheels for these. Kenda makes tires and tubes, and I've heard Michelin does, but I can't find any of theirs.
A 20" wheel would be a little too short. A 24" wheel won't really fit on the bike. I've read something about putting some kind of spacers on to lengthen the fork, allowing for a 24" wheel, but I have no clue about this. Another issue is that the rear wheel has a drum brake on it, but luckily the rear wheel is fine - for now.
My advice is to take the damaged wheel to your LBS. They may be able to fix it. The problem of course is its an oddball folder size and 406 is readily available since its the size also used for BMX bikes.
They are hard to get - I recently did a trike with 500a which was also hard to get parts for so I relate.
I think the best thing that can be done if you can't source a rim is to get an ISO 451 rim. This is often called a 20" rim - just to confuse you, but it's quite a bit bigger than most so-called 20" wheels used on BMXs (ISO 406) This wheel would be a little bit smaller than your 550A (there's a defecit of 39mm which would lose you 19.5mm of height at the front - but that's not a bad problem if you find a bigish tyre for it.
The only thing really problematic with this is will your brake caliper arms long enough to be able to allow fitment of your brake shoes a little lower (also 19.5mm or half of the size deficit). If not - you may need to find some long-reach brakes as well, or fit a drop bolt.
Hope you do find the rims you want (so odd to be able to find tyres but no hardware!), but if not I think this might be a reasonable compromise.
451 rims are still a bit of a problem to find here in the UK unless you want chromed steel ones (try SJS cycles) but they are pretty easy in N. America as they're used a lot on Bike Friday road bikes and recumbents.
Thanks a lot, guys. Sounds like my first step is to try and get the front wheel repaired. If I can find a place to do it (and there should be one, I'm in the SF Bay Area, CA) any idea how much it might cost me? The damage doesn't *look* severe.