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Finding a wheelset for an old frame with uncommon dropout spacing

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Finding a wheelset for an old frame with uncommon dropout spacing

Old 07-27-18, 08:18 AM
  #1  
jambon
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Finding a wheelset for an old frame with uncommon dropout spacing



Hi all ,

Looking for some advice here as i have reached the limit of my knowledge with this issue . I have been given a very old bike . Its a raleigh steel frame . The frame is in great condition but the 27 x 1 1/4 inch wheelset has had it , the chrome has come off and they have been badly dented . They are also awful rims for braking.

I am considering finding a new or second hand wheelset to put on the bike but I am wondering how difficult a search that will be .

The spacing between the dropouts is 94mm on the front and 120 on the rear . The spacing of the hubs on the current wheels is 92mm front and 118mm on the rear.

From what I have been told I can use 700c or 27 x 1 1/4 inch wheels with this frame but I may have issues with brake caliper arm length if I go 700c .

Is it possible that I could make a more modern wheelset fit in this frame by playing around with different size spacers and redishing a wheel if needs be ?

This project doesn't make a whole lot of economic sense but I think this bike looks great and will be roadworthy with new wheels.

Thanks ,

J
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Old 07-27-18, 09:26 AM
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Fronts are usually 100mm OLD and rears for derailleur bikes normally begin at 120mm and go wider. I expect you would work 100F/120R wheelset into that bike with very little trouble, and you could easily cold set wider if required. However, unless you get a good deal on used parts the purchase price of new wheels and tires might exceed the value (absolute and in sentimental to you) of the bike.

Last edited by thumpism; 07-27-18 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 07-27-18, 09:37 AM
  #3  
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On the front, it is pretty easy to stretch it to 100mm for a standard wheel, and stretching the rear to 126mm should not be too big a deal.

These would work for you: https://www.amazon.com/Wheel-Master-Weinmann-LP18-Set/dp/B0040DRGB4/ref=sr_1_8?s=outdoor-recreation&ie=UTF8&qid=1532705361&sr=1-8&keywords=27%22+wheels

If you want to play with getting the 126 to 120; you can get: https://www.amazon.com/Wheels-Manufa.../dp/B003Z80M5C and probably get a 126 very close to 120 without redishing.

Or; if the hubs are in good shape, just get a set of rims and appropriate spokes and roll your own. There several 630 (27") rims available: Wiemann LP18, Sun CR18, Velocity Dyad (my fav) and others.

Or you could go to 622 (700c) rims, with Tektro R559 nutted caliper brakes.

Another choice is to cold set the frame to 130 or 135 to use modern hubs. On my World Tourist and SR Sierra Sport, I went to 135 because MTB hubs are a lot less expensive than the equivalent 130 road hubs.

I would also replace the cottered cranks with cotterless alloy and a cartridge BB like a Shimano UN55.

Last edited by nfmisso; 07-27-18 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 07-27-18, 09:54 AM
  #4  
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Before trying to buy new wheels I think you may want to try and get the rear cogs off. If you need to buy new wheels and a new freewheel you probably would like to know your total cost before you buy wheels and figure out later you need a freewheel.
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Old 07-27-18, 10:06 AM
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philbob57
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It looks like you've got more than 4 mm of adjustment available in your brakes, so switching to 700C should work fine.
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Old 07-27-18, 10:12 AM
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27" wheels were around long enough that they still pop up on CL regularly (or at least around my parts they do), so you may want to try scouring around for a few more weeks. If you have a bike co-op in town you could try there as well.

It it were me though, I would re-space the rear for 128mm and be done with it. With 128 you could fit 126 or 130 easily, and in fact some vintage bikes came spaced like this when the 130mm spec was new. This way you could search for vintage 126mm hubs/wheels or more modern 130mm hubs/wheels.

Why would you want to find a vintage 126mm wheel if you're going through all this trouble? Your rear wheel most likely is a freewheel which is incompatible with the freehub system found on most modern wheels. Most road hubs using freewheels were 126mm, vintage MTB hubs that used freewheels were 130mm so the 128mm gives you lots of options. Going to a freehub system would snowball into a lot of other changes on the bike.

It should be warned though that although re-spacing has been done by many, many, many pro and amateur bike hacks alike, there is the danger of causing damage to the frame, particularly by the rear brake bridge.
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Old 07-27-18, 11:41 AM
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If you have a bike co-op nearby, bring your bike. See if there are some wheels somewhere they've got that you can swap in and make work. An old steel Raleigh should be pretty fixable. I've seen complete bikes w/27" wheels on craigslist for peanuts, maybe buying one is cheaper than buying parts for yours. Don't put $300 in parts into a $60 bike.
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Old 07-27-18, 12:05 PM
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IIRC, old Raleighs used a 92mm front hub, I would imagine other bikes did the same. You might be able to find a good used wheel that fits on eBay.

Depending on the condition of the hubs, you can buy a 27" rim and lace it up to your hub. Worst case is a new hub and rim and have it built if you can't find a vintage wheel.

I'm not to keen on spreading the fork dropouts to fit a modern 100mm front hub. Have a shop do it, or replace the fork with a newer one.

John
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Old 07-27-18, 02:29 PM
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...the older, narrower Raleigh hubs were in many ways inferior to what you can get in 100mm (even used in 100mm). Especially troublesome was the necessity of adjusting the cones and bearing play with the wheel installed in the fork ends, because many of them lacked a lock nut on one side. It's not a big deal to spread a fork like that to 100mm and realign the fork ends, but it's best done using a fork jig and the proper alignment tools to bend the fork ends back to parallel with each other. The rear is relatively easy to spread, and you can use the old string method and a vernier caliper to make certain you stay centered as you spread each side.

I've done this for a number of people here at our bike co-op, where we had the proper tools. Look for some really old fart who still works on bikes somewhere near you and see what turns up.
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Old 07-27-18, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...the older, narrower Raleigh hubs were in many ways inferior to what you can get in 100mm (even used in 100mm). Especially troublesome was the necessity of adjusting the cones and bearing play with the wheel installed in the fork ends, because many of them lacked a lock nut on one side. It's not a big deal to spread a fork like that to 100mm and realign the fork ends, but it's best done using a fork jig and the proper alignment tools to bend the fork ends back to parallel with each other. The rear is relatively easy to spread, and you can use the old string method and a vernier caliper to make certain you stay centered as you spread each side.

I've done this for a number of people here at our bike co-op, where we had the proper tools. Look for some really old fart who still works on bikes somewhere near you and see what turns up.
Good to know, although I doubt I'll be in a position to try it out. I do know that spreading rear dropouts required squaring up the dropouts, so I imagine that will be needed. Somehow using that big crescent wrench on fork dropouts and the riding downhill is not appealing to me. Proper tools would seem to be a good idea.

John
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Old 07-28-18, 12:28 AM
  #11  
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Another option tor the rear - keep it spaced 120 and get a fix gear or single speed hub. 120 is the track standard so any track hub will work just fine and there are a lot of "flip-flop" hubs that are threaded for a fix gear cog on one side and a freewheel on the other. THis bike has horizontal dropouts so adjusting the chain slack would be very easy.

I'll warn you in advance. If you go this route there is the real danger that you might find it so much fun that you cannot stop. I set my beater up fix gear 40 years ago, crashed my first ride when I forgot and tried to coast. Came home completely addicted and have had a fix gear in my stable ever since. (I've known for 30 years if I had to whittle my fleet to one bike, it would be the fix gear.)

Ben
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Old 07-28-18, 06:01 AM
  #12  
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I would advise against cold-setting to 130 and especially to 135 in the rear. It seems like an awful big bend to go that far. Just my $.02.
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Old 07-29-18, 11:39 PM
  #13  
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I've coldset bunches of nice chromoly frames from 120mm to 130, a lower end frame with thicker, less brittle tubing is almost certainly no problem, unless the brazing/welding is terrible.

You should align the dropouts if you cold set the frame, and you critically must align the derailleur hanger .
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