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27 inch wheels - how come?

Old 10-04-20, 02:06 PM
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Bicicletta89
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27 inch wheels - how come?

Cyclists who’ve kept your c&o rides with 27inch wheels (either original steel or aluminum) how come you’ve chosen to go that route rather than swap in 700c?
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Old 10-04-20, 02:14 PM
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They work just fine and there are plenty of tire options - there is a whole thread on them - so I will turn the question around why switch? The only reason I really see is to get a bigger tire and even then you may have issues with brake fit so for me its what are you really gaining after spending $$$ on new wheels and possibly brakes ?
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Old 10-04-20, 02:23 PM
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They just ride so well
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Old 10-04-20, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bicicletta89 View Post
Cyclists who’ve kept your c&o rides with 27inch wheels (either original steel or aluminum) how come you’ve chosen to go that route rather than swap in 700c?
I have several older bikes that require brakes with long reaches, 700C rims are slightly smaller in diameter than 27" so the brakes will not reach them. Not only that, rims don't go bad unless abused so I don't see the point of changing them unless there were absolutely no tires available to fit. As long as there are 27" tires, I will keep my 27" rims.
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Old 10-04-20, 02:35 PM
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Why? Um, wheels aren't free.
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Old 10-04-20, 03:12 PM
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Doesn't really matter much either way. I've done the 27 to 700 swap, and motivation was broader tire options. Brake reach can get iffy, but not always.

I built my '73 Super Course into a 3 speed using the original Weinmann 27" wheels - laced an AW to the rear rim. The bike had very, very low mileage on it. Rims in great shape - might as well use them. No real downside as I can get nice tires in 27, and as a 3 speed there's no intention on it being a go fast machine.

My smile is just as wide whether on 27" or 700.
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Old 10-04-20, 03:42 PM
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I ride large bikes and their proportions just look that little bit better with the the larger wheels.
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Old 10-04-20, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Why? Um, wheels aren't free.
Lol that is indeed the truth! Had to replace my rear steel wheel with polished aluminum. Figured I’d stay at 27 so I wouldn’t need to buy two wheels at once - front wheel was mismatched and figured this way I could buy one fancy VO wheel for the rear and save up to get a matching front wheel later. Figured I’d just as soon not deal with the whole conversion issue.

Also, something about keeping the bike at its original specs and geometry appealed to me. Don’t know how much that matters or if it’s more just my goofy sense of sentimentality for the bike as a piece of history. Ride feel, stand over height, and aesthetics/proportions, etc. all felt great as-is and I wouldn’t have to deal with any unforeseen conversion complications.

Now that I’m looking into different tire options I’m thinking 700c might’ve been nice but buying another rear wheel just to have 700c feels like a waste. I think I’ll just switch to Pasela skinwall tires and be done with it.
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Old 10-04-20, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Why? Um, wheels aren't free.
That's a good point for sure, but not always true.
Free wheels are not that uncommon, and they are always 27”.
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Old 10-04-20, 04:40 PM
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I am waiting until they come back in style. After the marketing hype machine gets through with them they will be called “30er” and they will be hot
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Old 10-04-20, 04:58 PM
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The options in 27” tires are far fewer than in 700c, and none is as good. For a bike that’s going to do more than be a weekend cafe rider or go to the occasional vintage bike show, 27” wheels just don’t cut it for me.
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Old 10-04-20, 05:00 PM
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Because they're there.
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Old 10-04-20, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
I am waiting until they come back in style. After the marketing hype machine gets through with them they will be called “30er” and they will be hot
I've been wondering about this too...Saw some old posts on Velo Orange's site from a while back by folks unhappy that they weren't selling 27" wheels. Now they're selling the new swanky 27" weels that I got for my rear wheel replacement.

Here in bike-happy Washington, D.C., a massive percentage of the bikes on the road are vintage, and most of those are being used by young people about my age (I'm 31) who seem to be taking very good care of them.

I also wonder if the massive demand for bikes during the pandemic has likely forced a lot of previously idle vintage bikes back into circulation, a good opportunity for even more people to rediscover them
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Old 10-04-20, 05:28 PM
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I've switched one bike FROM 700c TO 27" to work with a set of brakes I really wanted on a build.

I've switched one bike from 27 to 700c- and I really like it. I'm in the process of doing that with another bike- in both cases, it's for the wider/more plush tires.

In reality- the choice for 27" tires is really small, and the choice for plush tires is really, really small. If there is any choice at all... I haven't used the light casing Swift/Sand Canyon tire- if they even exist anymore...
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Old 10-04-20, 05:32 PM
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Some bikes, like the Schwinn Varsity and Continental, have particularly high bottom brackets, which is compounded by slack frame geometry that reduces the frame's forward reach by several centimeters. The rider thus my prefer the reach of a larger frame size, but then have problems with the standover height. This unusual instance begs for the use of small-diameter wheels (to the extent that 4mm matters).

Another consideration is the leverage of the braking system. A 4mm smaller-radius rim will reduce the leverage on a bike with caliper brakes, but will increase the leverage on a bike with cantilever brakes. This difference is noticeable, as the 4mm is around 10% of the arm length in many cases (the vertical distance from the pivot to the rim).

A 27" wheeled bike may look different and have a lower bb (and thus balance differently on a kickstand) with smaller-diameter wheels unless the tires are made plumper to restore the OD of the 700c tire.
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Old 10-04-20, 05:34 PM
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I’ve got an MTB, and a ‘modern’ 700-wheeled ‘fast’ bike, so 27x1-1/4” (32mm) suits the bill for townie / path-bike use just fine.
My ‘76 Bridgestone had nice, straight aluminum Araya rims and high flange hubs that just needed fresh grease, so I’m fine running on 27’s.
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Old 10-04-20, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Some bikes, like the Schwinn Varsity and Continental, have particularly high bottom brackets, which is compounded by slack frame geometry that reduces the frame's forward reach by several centimeters. The rider thus my prefer the reach of a larger frame size, but then have problems with the standover height. This unusual instance begs for the use of small-diameter wheels (to the extent that 4mm matters).

Another consideration is the leverage of the braking system. A 4mm smaller-radius rim will reduce the leverage on a bike with caliper brakes, but will increase the leverage on a bike with cantilever brakes. This difference is noticeable, as the 4mm is around 10% of the arm length in many cases (the vertical distance from the pivot to the rim).

A 27" wheeled bike may look different and have a lower bb (and thus balance differently on a kickstand) with smaller-diameter wheels unless the tires are made plumper to restore the OD of the 700c tire.
Good point. I have 27x1 1/4 Specialized All Condition tires now and I'm thinking of downsizing to 1" or 1 1/8" so by that logic, all the more reason for me to stay at 27.
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Old 10-04-20, 06:05 PM
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If the 27" wheels are good I keep them, if they aren't and I don't have any good 27's then I go 700 but so far I've had plenty of good 27's when I needed them.
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Old 10-04-20, 06:12 PM
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I have a perfectly good set of 27" wheels that are original to my Schwinn Voyageur. However, I also had a set of perfectly good 120mm rear spaced 700c wheels that would allow me to use wider tires on the Voyageur. Since I had the 27" wheels already, I figured what the heck and put the 27" wheels on my 68 Super Course which is set up to be an upright ride.They work just fine.
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Old 10-04-20, 06:32 PM
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27 inch wheels, how come?
How come you don't love me like you used to do?
How come?
27 inch wheels, how come?
How come I replaced you before I learned to love you?
Did I ever love you?
Why'd I ever leave you?
How come?
How come?
How come?
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Old 10-04-20, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
27 inch wheels, how come?
How come you don't love me like you used to do?
How come?
27 inch wheels, how come?
How come I replaced you before I learned to love you?
Did I ever love you?
Why'd I ever leave you?
How come?
How come?
How come?
It is as if someone asked Leonard Cohen about wheel sizing.
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Old 10-04-20, 09:33 PM
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spliff sizing more like
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Old 10-04-20, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
I've switched one bike FROM 700c TO 27" to work with a set of brakes I really wanted on a build.

I've switched one bike from 27 to 700c- and I really like it. I'm in the process of doing that with another bike- in both cases, it's for the wider/more plush tires.

In reality- the choice for 27" tires is really small, and the choice for plush tires is really, really small. If there is any choice at all... I haven't used the light casing Swift/Sand Canyon tire- if they even exist anymore...
sand canyons are awesome and yes they still have them, out of stock like pretty much all bike parts these days
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Old 10-04-20, 09:40 PM
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If you have a frame that nearly fits you, 27" or 700c can make a difference
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Old 10-04-20, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Bicicletta89 View Post
I've been wondering about this too...Saw some old posts on Velo Orange's site from a while back by folks unhappy that they weren't selling 27" wheels. Now they're selling the new swanky 27" weels that I got for my rear wheel replacement.

Here in bike-happy Washington, D.C., a massive percentage of the bikes on the road are vintage, and most of those are being used by young people about my age (I'm 31) who seem to be taking very good care of them.

I also wonder if the massive demand for bikes during the pandemic has likely forced a lot of previously idle vintage bikes back into circulation, a good opportunity for even more people to rediscover them
Back in 2008 when gas hit $5 a gallon in much of the country old bikes came out of attics, basements, garages sheds etc. because people didn't want to spend $50 or more filling the tank if they could pedal. As a result bike shops could not keep 27" tires in stock and after that pretty much every bike tire maker, noticing the huge spike in 27 tire sales, started making them. I prefer Panaracers as my 27" tire of choice I am sure the Pandemic is doing the same thing the gas spike of 2008 did - getting folks on bikes.
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