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Old 10-12-13, 10:35 AM   #1
jwlunt
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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.

Photos attached.

Regards,

Jonathan

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Airnimal 1.jpg (103.4 KB, 81 views)
File Type: jpg Airnimal 2.jpg (103.1 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg Airnimal 3.jpg (101.8 KB, 52 views)

Last edited by jwlunt; 10-14-13 at 06:39 AM. Reason: Corrected tyre size - 559 rather than 622
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Old 10-12-13, 10:47 AM   #2
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Interesting mod! Totally agree on the limited selection of tires for the Airnimal - one of the reasons I nixed owning a Chameleon, but it was a nice ride nonetheless.

Curious - how does the mod affect folding & packing?
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Old 10-12-13, 12:34 PM   #3
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As you probably know, folding the Airnimal is not as nice as the Swift (best fold I've seen for speed) or Brompton (smallest!). You have to take off the front wheel and this is no different with mine - wheel comes off and is carried separately just the same. I've not packed it into a suitcase, but if I needed to it would just need a bit more space for the wheels - I've gone from 520 to 559mm. A small different for packing, but blimey what a difference on the road!

Jonathan

Last edited by jwlunt; 10-14-13 at 06:41 AM. Reason: Corrected tyre size - should be 559!
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Old 10-12-13, 02:03 PM   #4
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but blimey what a difference on the road!
Do tell more :-)
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Old 10-12-13, 03:22 PM   #5
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Riding experience is mostly about perception unless you Strava yourself everywhere. More of that in a minute, but my perception of the ride is vasty improved. Part of this is the larger wheels which are far better on London's roads - pot holes, traffic calming bumps, etc, are all far nicer to roll over and navigate. Then there's the tyres - I know Duranos are supposed to be fast, but they are damn uncomfortable due to being very narrow. The 25 or 28 Continentals are lovely to ride on in comparison. So actually I do Strava myself quite a lot of the time and when I took the bike out for the first time I clocked 22 'cups' on my standard Clapham to Docklands route with 15 PBs... on a route I have recorded many times previously. I have no doubt that the larger wheels are a huge improvement to the speed and quality of the Airnimal ride and I'm wondering why they are not standard given the fairly modest inconvenience of having a slightly larger wheel to pack if you ever break it down fully.
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Old 10-13-13, 06:21 AM   #6
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Really really nice bit of hot-rodding! [applauds]
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Old 10-13-13, 09:09 AM   #7
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Interesting mod as has been said. I have a new Joey Explore drop which comes with 507's and this does allow a better choice of tyres. When fitted with Big Apple 2" tyres the ride is extremely smooth and comfortable and I doubt if it could be improved by 26" wheels.
However I have 520's on my Chameleon and I ran them for a while on "Terry" tyres 24"x 11/4 which were fine but now I believe the supply has dried up due to postage charges.
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Old 10-14-13, 06:47 AM   #8
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I've see others with 509 big apple 2" tyre - these are nearly the same circumference as the 559x25s and a very tight fit on a Joey. How fast are they?
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Old 10-17-13, 01:22 PM   #9
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Part of this is the larger wheels which are far better on London's roads - pot holes, traffic calming bumps, etc, are all far nicer to roll over and navigate.
There are the Kojak Tires, 24"x1,5".

In general smaller wheels can carry wider tires then and can provide better comfort. There should be some optimum. I think for streets this is 24" with Kojak tires
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Old 10-18-13, 12:42 AM   #10
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There are the Kojak Tires, 24"x1,5".

In general smaller wheels can carry wider tires then and can provide better comfort. There should be some optimum. I think for streets this is 24" with Kojak tires
Yes, I see there are 24" Kojaks but only in 509 size. My old wheels were the larger 520s and choice is much narrower for those.
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Old 10-18-13, 06:10 AM   #11
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Yes, I see there are 24" Kojaks but only in 509 size. My old wheels were the larger 520s and choice is much narrower for those.
This really is the only reason I recommend against weird wheel sizes. Finding good tires can just be a pain.
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