Airnimal Joey, 26" Wheels
I've been riding my Joey daily in London for the past 3-4 years, covering a total of about 15,000 miles in that time. I've had 520 wheels and struggled with getting decent tyres - Schwalbe Duranos have been my standard, but on a 520 they are very narrow, quite puncture prone and only last about 2,000 miles. I've always been very envious of folks riding on 26" or 700 wheels because of the wide tyre choice, particularly Gatorskins. So, I've been eyeing up my Joey frame for a whole and concluded that with a very small amount of modification I could fit 26" wheels... and I've finally finished the conversion process, along with a fork swap. The difference in riding performance is simply amazing - it's faster, rides the bumps more smoothly and has a heap more grip than previously. The new 26" wheels are heavier than the old 520s, but the carbon fork replacing the steel original more than makes up for this. I love it and thought other Airnimal owners might like to see what is possible with their Joeys. Upgrades from standard:
- 105 groupset
- Mavic XC 717 26" rims with Shimano XT hubs
- Avid BB7 road brakes
- Kinesis fork + standard FSA headset
The only modification work was a small amount of filing of the lower cross member to give clearance for the larger wheels. Using 559x28 tyres I needed to file off a dip of about 2mm. If I had 559x25 tyres I don't think any filing would have been needed at all. The cross brace has a square section and I'm pretty sure that it is a small solid block so there won't be any loss of strength. It's already done about 500 miles in this config without issue so I'm confident that it will last.
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