Friend of Jimmy K
Join Date: Apr 2002
Bikes: A lot: Raliegh road bike, 3 fixed gears, 2 single speeds, 3 Cannondales, a couple of Schwinns
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If all you are looking for is a fixed gear for the winter without spending a lot, why not lock tight a freewheel? Then you aren't out a lot of cash. The wheels on ebay are okay. I personally have built my wheels after a couple bad experiences with store bought wheels. I have just discovered even those high end wheel sets have problems.
What I have ridden in the winter are 32 hole Mavic MA3s 3x laced to Surly hubs. They are solid and the rims have handled the extremes here in MN. In the winter I throw my Nokians on a set and a cross tyre on another and just ride two fixed gears all winter. It has been working for me for 4 seasons going into a 4th.
As for 26's, I'm not sure they'll work on a 700 bike. One of the inspirations for learning to build wheels was Ice Cat rims. It's a double wide 26 inch rim, made for riding in the snow. I never built the wheel, but that's why I started building wheels, to learn how so I could build up a set of those.