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  1. #1
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    wheel build - 700c or 27"?

    I am planning a long tour with an improvised route for which I would like to build a new set of wheels to ride out on. I had originally planned on building some 27" wheels because they would be the original size for my frame and would like to do a vintage style build. I also like the idea of having larger wheels even if it's less than a cm in diameter. Though I guess what has me on the fence is not being able to find a decent 27" tire in who-knows-where when I need to replace one or both. I have checked and my brakes do have enough reach to accommodate 700s and a guy at a LBS said seemed to think it's a no-brainer. I've ridden mostly 700c but still restoring this bike with a stout set of alloy 27s seems right on. Any thoughts would help . . does this seem worthwhile or would it be foolish to hit the road with these and invest in a dying standard?

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    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Built up a set of Velocity Aerohead 27" rims to replace the stock Wolbers on my Miyata. No way in hell I'd do it again. I'm convinced there is absolutely no reason to not go 700c. Quality tire selection for 27" is abysmal these days -- I'm going to start stockpiling the Panaracer Paselas soon.
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

  3. #3
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    If you go 27 inch are you going to have to respace the frame or do you plan to build with a freewheel style hub? I was facing the same dilemma as you and ended up going with a CR-18 in 27 inch, but I needed a new rear wheel and not a new front, really liked my gear ratios, and decided that the cheapest solution was one new wheel rather than, two wheels, two tires, and a new cassette. If I was just planning a new wheel set and money wasn't a big issue, then I would definitely go 700c. Having said that. No complaints on the first 100 miles of my 36h CR-18.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I wouldn't build up 27 inch wheels unless it was to restore a classic/vintage bike to original. Is restoring to original important to you? If not don't do it.

    Joedabs comment about spacing confuses me. The spacing issue is something to consider, but has nothing to do with whether you go 700 or 27", or do I misunderstand what he is saying?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I wouldn't build up 27 inch wheels unless it was to restore a classic/vintage bike to original. Is restoring to original important to you? If not don't do it.

    Joedabs comment about spacing confuses me. The spacing issue is something to consider, but has nothing to do with whether you go 700 or 27", or do I misunderstand what he is saying?
    Do you mean my comment? I was referring to rear dropout spacing. Most bikes with 27 inch wheels also have 26 mm rear dropouts or less. Since this is presumably a touring build and since 30 mm axles are stronger than 26 mm axles, and freehub bodies are generally considered superior to free wheels, and since all or most freehub body style hubs are spaced 30 mm or greater, then to me that is something to consider as well.

  6. #6
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    i've been able to stockpile suitable 27's. mostly from ebay.

    although i wouldn't expect to find anything acceptable while on tour. if i really wanted to do this and tour, i would have a tire or two in prepaid package at home that would only need be taken to the nearest UPS location by a friend and over-nighted to me. maybe add some duct tape to my repair kit too. and avoid this problem altogether.

    i've toured a lot of miles and never needed to replace a tire that hadn't just plain worn out, or that i could "fix" on the road with something or other.

  7. #7
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Tire limitations with 27" wheels could be a serious issue. I personally don't know why you would even consider this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzgeek79 View Post
    Do you mean my comment? I was referring to rear dropout spacing. Most bikes with 27 inch wheels also have 26 mm rear dropouts or less. Since this is presumably a touring build and since 30 mm axles are stronger than 26 mm axles, and freehub bodies are generally considered superior to free wheels, and since all or most freehub body style hubs are spaced 30 mm or greater, then to me that is something to consider as well.
    Your ideas are right but your figures are wrong.

    Try 120, 126, 130 mm for rear spacing. The rear axle is usually 10x1.0mm, and are a bit longer than the rear spacing.

    Finding a hub to fit an old bike is at least as much an issue as finding a rim. Usually the practical solution is a modern 130mm hub jammed into the 126mm spaced frame. 120 forced to 130 is a bit too much.

    There's no good reason to stick with 27" rims/tires due to much greater availability/choice/lower cost of 700c variety.
    Last edited by seeker333; 03-04-13 at 09:55 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
    Tire limitations with 27" wheels could be a serious issue. I personally don't know why you would even consider this.
    This. Why buy trouble by going with an obsolete wheel size? I wouldn't even consider 27" wheels if 700c was an option...

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzgeek79 View Post
    Do you mean my comment? I was referring to rear dropout spacing. Most bikes with 27 inch wheels also have 26 mm rear dropouts or less. Since this is presumably a touring build and since 30 mm axles are stronger than 26 mm axles, and freehub bodies are generally considered superior to free wheels, and since all or most freehub body style hubs are spaced 30 mm or greater, then to me that is something to consider as well.
    Yes sorry for the confusion... I must not have read very carefully, because I got the impression that you were implying the the choice between 27" and 700 rims was in some way dependent on the issue of dropout spacing. On rereading I see you didn't say that.

    I assume you are referring to 126mm and 130mm dropout spacing when you say 26mm and 30mm axles, right?

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    that's right, I already cold set my frame out to 130mm for an 8-speed freehub/cassette arrangement (the axle is stronger with more space between the hub bearings and the cluster seems easier to replace when worn). Velocity still makes some nice 27" Synergy rims and was looking at those. I saw the CR-18, but looks like they only come polished which reminds me too much of a steel rim. Nevertheless, I think it seems moot considering accessibility to decent tires, and I am not doing a strictly classic build but more of a fusion of old and new.

    on a related note, does a 32-spoke front wheel seem doable if I don't plan on carrying any weight in the front anyway? I found a 32 front hub that would work nicely. Has anyone toured on 32-spoke wheels even in the rear when not traveling super heavy?

  12. #12
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joedab View Post
    on a related note, does a 32-spoke front wheel seem doable if I don't plan on carrying any weight in the front anyway? I found a 32 front hub that would work nicely. Has anyone toured on 32-spoke wheels even in the rear when not traveling super heavy?
    I will have a load on the front and built a 32 spoke front wheel (26"). There are a lot of threads you can find on this, and it's very debatable. I haven't done a long tour on mine yet, but from what I've read I expect no problems. If you're heavy set, I would go with more spokes.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Yes sorry for the confusion... I must not have read very carefully, because I got the impression that you were implying the the choice between 27" and 700 rims was in some way dependent on the issue of dropout spacing. On rereading I see you didn't say that.

    I assume you are referring to 126mm and 130mm dropout spacing when you say 26mm and 30mm axles, right?
    Yeah thanks I did mean 126 and 130mm

  14. #14
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    I am old enough to remember when 27” tires were big, and 700c was the orphan. Now it is reversed. With the current tire availability situation these days, if you have room with the brakes to satisfactorily reach the rims and bottom bracket clearance isn’t an issue, then by all means go with 700c. When fully loaded I tend not to get very good mileage with rear tires and have had to replace tires on the road. 27” would be tough.

    I have also been migrating away from freewheel hubs over the last few years. With Sachs stopping production of theirs, I have been going to freehubs, in 135mm rear width. I am pretty happy with the spread of the individual gears and the spread of high and low gears with the compact cranksets and clusters available these days. I am a happy camper.

  15. #15
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    This. Why buy trouble by going with an obsolete wheel size? I wouldn't even consider 27" wheels if 700c was an option...
    I am mildly amused by the fact that I build my touring bike to use 27" tires because of tire availability in the early '80s. Now the situation is switched and the conversion to 700c was a no-brainer. You really can't tell, and it certainly was possible to buy touring 700c tires back then, just not easy or common. I have a pile of 27" wheels that I would like to get rid of.

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    Joedab; If your bike can support 700C's then by almost all measures that is the right choice today and going forward (unless it is a high value C&V item). You can easily find MTB (aka loaded touring wheels by another name) on amazon, ebay and most decent LBSs for really cheap. Be sure to check that you haven't clicked on a 26" one, and also your OLN distance. But your frame can usually accept an additional 5mm in axle just by pushing out a bit with the thumbs when inserting the rear wheel. Plenty of nice 130mm and 135mm wheels in 700C ready for the plucking. If you have to stay with 27" you will likely always be a break away from having to dig deep for parts and/or pay a higher price than for a 700C.

    BTW, if so inclined, Peter White Cycles has some new production 27" rims -- listed primarily under the tandem wheels section.
    /k

  17. #17
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I am mildly amused by the fact that I build my touring bike to use 27" tires because of tire availability in the early '80s. Now the situation is switched and the conversion to 700c was a no-brainer. You really can't tell, and it certainly was possible to buy touring 700c tires back then, just not easy or common. I have a pile of 27" wheels that I would like to get rid of.
    Hey at least you didn't do it in 2010 like some people. Still kicking myself.
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

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