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Old Bike Conversion 26" wheel question

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Old Bike Conversion 26" wheel question

Old 08-05-11, 10:53 AM
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doughavlin
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Old Bike Conversion 26" wheel question

I picked up a free old "Free Spirit" 10 speed and I want to make it into a fixed gear. The wheels that I've got are 26" and they're VERY heavy. I want to pick up a new set of wheels but I haven't been able to find any.

Is my best option to pick up a set of 650c track wheels? Or do I have any other options? I'd appreciate any advice, I'm roadie looking to expand my horizons.

Thanks,

Doug
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Old 08-05-11, 11:22 AM
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sillygolem
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Are you sure they're 26"? Stock on Free Spirit 10 speeds should be 27" wheels. 700c is an easy swap, and you should be able to adjust the brakes and pads down to the rim.

If they are 26", know that a rim that uses fractional-size tires (i.e. 26 x 1 3/8) is a different size than 26" wheels that use decimal sizes. You should be able to go this route, but if you want a front brake (you do) you'll need to get a modern, longer-reach brake with some adjustability. The current brakes probably won't adjust down enough.
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Old 08-05-11, 11:29 AM
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I put 700c wheels on my conversion that originally had 26" wheels, you might be fine if you want to do that just borrow a friends to see if it fits first
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Old 08-05-11, 11:33 AM
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doughavlin
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The tires that are currently on the wheels are 26 x 1 3/8. Well, I hope that they used to be 27" wheels, because that would be loads easier.

But, when I was looking around at old Free Spirits, I found this one that seemed to match pretty closely to what I have and it says it had 26" wheels.
https://oldtenspeedgallery.com/owner-...s-free-spirit/
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Old 08-05-11, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by doughavlin View Post
The tires that are currently on the wheels are 26 x 1 3/8.
It looks like those wheels are either 590mm or 597mm. There aren't really any modern standards right near that: 26" is 559mm, 650c is 571mm, 700c is 622mm, 27" is 630mm. How much room do you have to raise or lower the brake pads? How much tire clearance does the frame have?
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Old 08-06-11, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by doughavlin View Post
The tires that are currently on the wheels are 26 x 1 3/8. Well, I hope that they used to be 27" wheels, because that would be loads easier.

But, when I was looking around at old Free Spirits, I found this one that seemed to match pretty closely to what I have and it says it had 26" wheels.
https://oldtenspeedgallery.com/owner-...s-free-spirit/
That's weird. I have an older version of the same bike with 27" wheels, and from what I've gleaned from looking at catalogs they only sold one frame size.

If you have some space between the tire and the fork crown, you should be able to install 700c without any problems: The brakes can be adjust upwards to reach the rim. If you don't, you can go for some decimal 26" wheels and adjust the brakes downward, or swap them out for something with a longer reach. Then you're looking at decreasing the rim diameter by maybe a centimeter or so.
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Old 08-06-11, 06:11 PM
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Reality check: this old Free Spirit is a heavy, low end bike. Your money is far better spent on a cheap bikesdirect bike, or a better old bike.

I'd just suicide the original hub before spending any money on something like that.
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