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1983 Trek 720 Cantilevers and 700c

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1983 Trek 720 Cantilevers and 700c

Old 11-10-18, 07:18 AM
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specialmonkey
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1983 Trek 720 Cantilevers and 700c

I saw this on ebay, the seller says this bike works better with 700c wheels and the orginal cantilevers than it does with the 27" wheels it came with.

I'm wondering could this be true?

I wrote to the user:

I have the same bike and am curious about what you said re: 700c wheels. You mentioned they work better with the stock brakes, which are DIA-COMPE GC960s, than the original Rigida 27" (with Maillard and rear Helicomatic hubs). That is surprising, I've heard it's a pain to find compatible brakes to work with 700c, and didn't know the old DIA-COMPEs would work (how are they better with 700c?). How do the DIA-COMPEs perform, they are pretty early cantilevers.

and his response:

Since 700c touring bikes were rare in 1983 I don't know why TREK did what they did. The bosses on the bike allow the brake pads to hit the rim at 90º rather than at an up angle. I was pleasantly surprised since I intended to tour these days on 700c.



From listing:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1983-TREK-7...4EZK:rk:3:pf:0


1983 TREK 720 Touring 24 in.
Bike is shown with 700c touring wheels. They are extra. The original wheels included are in the pics.

Bike is original except for Tiagra triple front deraileur, new Panaracer 27x1 3/8 tires and all the pieces of the overhaul.(Cables, Chainwheels, etc. Original chainwheels are available.)
Avocet Touring II saddle not the Sella Anatomica shown in some pics.
The original pedals are included. I've shown the bike with tan Cinelli tape which is gorgeous, but I did not know that GrabOn was still in business and the tape used on the tour has been replaced with GrabOn grips.
The rear rack is original Blackburn custom that came with the bike.
Original saddle is back on the bike.
Not included are the cages, new pedals, pump.

I have a 32in inseam and the bike fits fine. Taller than current fitting trends.

This was THE bike for the then Bikecentenial trail in 1983-85. It is still a terrific bike for touring.
I toured on an '84 model. This is a bike I originally sold and it probably had no more than 1000 miles on it when I recovered it. It has been re-done all the way down to the pedal bearings. It is not perfect. You can see some scratches in the pics. The front derailleur clamp had been broken and left a small ding in the seat tube. It is covered with the replacement Tiagra triple. I have a replacement used piece I will include. The original has been repaired but needs filing and fitting if you want to use it. The bike came with wide 27x1/4 rims and tires on Maillard Speidel 700 Helicomatic 6 speed hubs. I built a second set of 27x1 on the same hubs which are included. (these have not been overhauled)

700c wheels actually fit the brakes better than the 27”

Available with the bike at extra cost:
Each or as a pair 700c set up for tubeless:
Tiagra 9 spd 36h rear Sun CR18 rim
SON28 front dynamo 36h CR18 rim.
https://sun-ringle.com/product/cr18/?cat_id=35

-Busch+Müller TL Toplight View Plus taillight

If you're going to tour, you need this rig with the lights.

The bike did a 770 mile loaded camping tour through the mountains from Lexington, KY to the coast of NC and performed FLAWLESSLY!

Link to brochure and specs:
1983 Trek Bicycle Brochure Part 2

Seller will pack. Buyer arranges shipping.


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Old 11-10-18, 07:39 AM
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If you don't believe him, you could ask for photos. But I don't see any reason to doubt him.

i have heard this is tricky, but my 720 has caliper brakes so I haven't had the problem. At one point I switched the 27" wheel on my tandem for a 700c, and adjusting the brake --some Shimano cantilever from 1984-- was no big deal. So with the right brake, it's definitely possible.

As for the bike at hand, the rear has horizontal dropouts, so getting the right fit there may be a matter of moving the wheel forward or backward.

As for the front, I suppose it's possible a previous owner reraked the fork to bring the rim up a little. It wouldn't take much, and the effect on handling would be minimal, probably for the better.
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Old 11-10-18, 07:42 AM
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I've run my '83 with 700c and 27 inch wheels, with cantis. Both fit, and the brakes function fine. Do either size wheels function better/more efficiently with the cantis? No idea. I certainly never noticed.
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Old 11-10-18, 01:06 PM
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After reading this tread, I decided to try some 700C wheels on my recent refurb of my '83 720 for fun. I still have the original black Rigidi 700C wheelset from my '86 Trek 400 sitting in the garage. Like others have said, it works, not better/no worse. Made some brake pad and RD adjustments, and it was good to go! The smallest cog on the freewheel is pretty close to the frame, but no chain rubbing issues.

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Old 11-10-18, 01:51 PM
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That's a weird and confusing ad- no pix of the bike as it is for sale. 2 with the bike in it, a bunch of pix of the non-overhauled wheels. With a BIN of 1200.

That's not taking into account the confusing ad copy.

I don't think I would take a whole lot of what he had to say at face value.


If you're interested more in whether 700c wheels would work on your bike- I would say yes- But then again, I would want to swap out the DC960s anyway- they're really basic brakes with limited adjustment and generally not as good as many of the cantilever brakes of the next 10 years or so.
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Old 11-27-18, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post

If you're interested more in whether 700c wheels would work on your bike- I would say yes- But then again, I would want to swap out the DC960s anyway- they're really basic brakes with limited adjustment and generally not as good as many of the cantilever brakes of the next 10 years or so.
Thanks, I was only interested in the 700c aspect and not in purchasing the bike. What replacement cantilevers would you recommend for this Trek, this era is known to have narrow bosses which limit the choices.
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Old 11-27-18, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by specialmonkey View Post
Thanks, I was only interested in the 700c aspect and not in purchasing the bike. What replacement cantilevers would you recommend for this Trek, this era is known to have narrow bosses which limit the choices.
I have used Shimano MC-70 (the brakes that came with the “deer head” XT group), MT-62 Deore II, and XC Pro. I have gotten the XC Pro to work on my Voyageur SP which is spaced at 50 mm in the front.

I didn’t end up using them, but Vince from Ben’s Cycle adjusted the Dia Compe 981s on my ‘86 Voyageur and said they’ll work. But I ended up keeping 27s on there.
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