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Stick with 27" or go to 700c?

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Stick with 27" or go to 700c?

Old 07-24-16, 09:43 AM
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Andiroo99
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Stick with 27" or go to 700c?

Hi All

I am rebuilding a 1948 British lightweight road frame. I am building it up as a reliable weekend rider with a view to it looking vintage but I am definitely not stuck on every part being of exact vintage. The frame came with a pair of 1960s 27" wheels which I presume are the original size for a frame of that age. I am prone to thinking that I should stick with the 27" size albeit there is clearly a lot less options around. I would like it set up as a fast around town ride so will need to find some decent puncture resistant tires as well (any suggestions welcome??). More generally what do you think about the idea of sticking with the 27" size. Will I likely regret this?

I am still working on what I will do with the drive train and am vacillating between a single speed set up and or perhaps a simple 5 speed either via hub gear or a simple derailleur.



Thanks



Andy
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Old 07-24-16, 10:04 AM
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A lot more tire choices with 700c.
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Old 07-24-16, 10:06 AM
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When contemplating the wheel build for my 1946 Hobbs of Barbican, I faced the same conundrum - build up what was presumably the original size or go with 700c. For what it's worth, I opted for 700c because it gave me more rim options to select from. (I used CR-18's, by the way.)
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Old 07-24-16, 10:16 AM
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Stick with 27" and get Panaracer Paselas.
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Old 07-24-16, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
Stick with 27" and get Panaracer Paselas.
+1 Pasela TG have flat protection. Hard to get better value for the money. Also for some reason 27" tires are generally a few bucks less than 700c equivalents.
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Old 07-24-16, 11:00 AM
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Panaracer can't seem to make up their mind when it comes to naming their puncture-resistant Pasela model. It's been TourGuard, TG, PT, ProTex(?), and now ProTite.

Whatever the name, it's a decent puncture-resistant tire, it's relatively inexpensive, and it's available in 27" sizes.

If it were my bike, I'd stick with the 27" wheels and pick up some gumwall Paselas.
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Old 07-24-16, 11:32 AM
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I think the two things to keep in mind when deciding to switch is

1. If your bike will readily accept the smaller tire. Having a bike with cantilever brakes can make adjustment difficult. Some of those bikes were truly designed with only 27" wheels in mind.

2. What type of wheels you have. I've been fortunate enough to walk in to some seriously quality 27" wheels. To get modern-y 700c wheels of that quality would cost a fortune.
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Old 07-24-16, 03:31 PM
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I rode 27" on one bike for over 30 years. When I found a such-a-deal on the right set of 700c wheels, it opened up a new world of tires and changed the nature of the bike.
Have to agree the Paselas are currently the single best choice in 27" but they run best at high pressure and all you gain is bad handling by lowering the pressure. They're 66 tpi, which is kind of burlap casings.
Better tires (only in 700c) are 100-320 tpi (linen). They spread the heat and the shock better through the tire carcass, and roll efficiently over a wider pressure range.

you're going to need to lower your brake pads by about half-a-centimeter to fit 700c - just check to make sure you can do it.
(they also make some offset pad holders, but I wouldn't recommend it, because lengthening your calipers is making them squishier.

Last edited by bulldog1935; 07-24-16 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 07-24-16, 03:50 PM
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Golden boy has a great point. If the original wheels are in good shape and decent quality, why not ride them till they give out?

That is my plan, as i have a set of Super Champion Rims on classic Phil Wood hubs (36 hole low flange front and rare 48 hole hi-low rear hub). They were probably built for a tandem, but fit my Miyata perfectly and are bombproof. However, If/when they ever give out, i will get a 700c set built, as i would really like to try the 38mm Compass tires.

As far as tires go for 27" wheels, there is a few choices (nothing high end), with 1 3/8" being the widest ive found. Swift Tire has 2 called The Sand Canyon. They run between 30mm-32mm, depending on rim width.

The skinwall tire is 66tpi

The all black tire is 120tpi.


I have put at least 700km on the skinwall tires, mostly on paved roads but also lots of gravel and they have preformed admirably. No flats either. I have not tried the all black tires so I can't compare the two different tpi.

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Old 07-24-16, 04:19 PM
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My vote is if not going fixed, leave original.
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Old 07-24-16, 06:45 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. We did some measurements today in terms of brake calipers if we went for the 700C option. It seems like they brake reach is already long with the 27" option and even more so with the 700s. I am therefore going to stick with the 27s. I also checked out what new rim options there were out there and it seems like Sun still make some albeit not sure what quality is like.

I have narrowed down the gearing option either to a Sturmey Archer 3 gear hub from early 50s or a 5 gear set up as only mount for one lever on frame. I will look into the Paselas as they sound ideal although they all look a bit wide. My current go to on my daily ride is a Continental Gatorskin 700c x 25mm which I wish I could find in a 27".

I will keep looking around for other hub options.

Thanks again for the awesome advice.

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Old 07-24-16, 07:33 PM
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One thing to keep in mind is that older wheels may not have a hooked rim, if so folding tires are likely to blow right off at high pressure.
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Old 07-25-16, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Craigorock View Post

That is my plan, as i have a set of Super Champion Rims on classic Phil Wood hubs (36 hole low flange front and rare 48 hole hi-low rear hub). They were probably built for a tandem, but fit my Miyata perfectly and are bombproof. However, If/when they ever give out, i will get a 700c set built, as i would really like to try the 38mm Compass tires.
Ha!!

My wheels are Super Champion Phil Wood 40 spoke front and rear!
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Old 07-25-16, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Andiroo99 View Post
Thanks for all the advice. We did some measurements today in terms of brake calipers if we went for the 700C option. It seems like they brake reach is already long with the 27" option and even more so with the 700s. I am therefore going to stick with the 27s. I also checked out what new rim options there were out there and it seems like Sun still make some albeit not sure what quality is like.

I have narrowed down the gearing option either to a Sturmey Archer 3 gear hub from early 50s or a 5 gear set up as only mount for one lever on frame. I will look into the Paselas as they sound ideal although they all look a bit wide. My current go to on my daily ride is a Continental Gatorskin 700c x 25mm which I wish I could find in a 27".

I will keep looking around for other hub options.

Thanks again for the awesome advice.
If you're looking for that narrow of tires- look for 27 x 1" They're around.

IMO- not that I know much of anything about such things, but older (40s and 50s bikes) are best served with wider tires than 1".
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Old 07-25-16, 08:58 AM
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27 x 1-1/4" was pretty much the standard clincher for 50 years. And for good reason, still today 32mm tires are best tradeoff between speed and comfort.
If you're body is on the light side, smaller tires are good.
If you want to be fast you can mix sizes between front and rear - I have run 1-1/8" in the rear and 1" in the front, and it worked well (this was on Rigida 1320, narrow rims).
Tire Sizing Systems
Sheldon's article includes recommended rim width (inside) v. tire width chart (mm).
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Old 07-25-16, 03:11 PM
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I find the paselas a little too 'grippy'. But they do look great on the vintages. I'd go 700c, for all above stated reasons.
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