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90's MTB to Touring Bike Conversion: 700c wheels on a 26'' frame?

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90's MTB to Touring Bike Conversion: 700c wheels on a 26'' frame?

Old 07-17-14, 02:53 PM
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rekt
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90's MTB to Touring Bike Conversion: 700c wheels on a 26'' frame?

Does anyone know if I can use 700c wheels on this old mountain bike frame? Unfortunately, I don't have any spare 700c wheels to test fit and there are no LBS near me. I'm hoping to convert it into a touring bike. It currently has 26x1.75 tires. I'm not sure if it has enough tire clearance for 700c wheels.

Front wheel and fork clearance = 40mm


Rear wheel and rear brake bridge clearance = 40mm


Rear wheel and frame/seat tube clearance = 65mm

Last edited by rekt; 07-17-14 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 07-17-14, 03:02 PM
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corwin1968
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There's a decent selection of fairly high quality 26" touring tires. I'd recommend getting a set of those and go tour.

Schwalbe would be my first recommendation. They are IT as far as touring tires go.

Even if 700c wheels/tires will fit your frame, your brakes will no longer line-up. They are spaced for 26" wheels and won't work with 700c wheels.

Check out these 26" touring rigs:

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Old 07-17-14, 03:14 PM
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rekt
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Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
Even if 700c wheels/tires will fit your frame, your brakes will no longer line-up. They are spaced for 26" wheels and won't work with 700c wheels.
I'm planning to use disc brakes so it's not going to be an issue. Also, my current 26 wheels are not made for touring. I thought it would be better to buy 700c since I'm replacing the wheels anyway. Thanks for your input.

EDIT: Those are some nice looking bikes

Last edited by rekt; 07-17-14 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 07-17-14, 06:07 PM
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A 700c rim is 31.5mm bigger in radius than a 26" rim. So, if you're using disc brakes, you can probably fit a 700c wheel on there, as long as your tire isn't significantly bigger and you don't want to run fenders. Rim brakes usually don't allow enough pad adjustment to work with the bigger wheel.

But I would just run 26". Why not?
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Old 07-17-14, 06:15 PM
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26" wheels are nicer anyway. Lighter weight, stronger and tires are more available in remote locations.
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Old 07-17-14, 06:15 PM
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I would go with a good set of 26" wheels. There are good tires available for them. I am currently on the Erie Canal bike ride with my 26" wheeled bike with Continue Sport Contact 26x1.5" and they are doing very well on the pavement as well as the fine gravel on the tow path.

I used Velocity Aeroheat rims on White Industry hubs to get 40 hole wheels. If you are lighter than this Clyde, 36 spokes should be fine.
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Old 07-17-14, 08:21 PM
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corwin1968
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Does your bike have the mounts for disc brakes? The photos clearly show canti-lever style brakes and I can't imagine a 90's bike having both.
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Old 07-18-14, 06:08 AM
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I should add that 700c wheels will really throw off the geometry of the bike as well. A 26" wheel is 559mm, a 700c wheel is 622mm. Provided you're running a tire of roughly the same size on both (it looks like you likely would be as it appears you have touring tires anyway), you're raising the bottom bracket height by ~30mm, or over an inch, which is huge in terms of frame geometry, and not desirable in a touring bike. You may also run into toe overlap issues with the larger front wheel, depending on your frame size. Stick with 26. It's what the bike was designed around.
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Old 07-18-14, 07:16 AM
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No real reason to go 700c in this case, even if it were possible, which it looks like it isn't. You'll end up with a goofy bike geometry, with your toes touching the tires when you turn.

Also, even if you are running discs, 26" wheels mean you can use calipers if you have a bad break on tour and want to save a quick buck by pulling brakes out of a dumpster behind a bike shop or something. There are a lot more rim brakes than disc.

The 26er is a safer bet.
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Old 07-18-14, 07:22 AM
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This is one of the few times that I've seen complete agreement on a question. +10 on staying with 26 inch wheels for touring. There are lots of good wheels out there the OP can buy for his bike and there is a lot to be said for a 26 x 1.5 (or wider) tire for touring.

This is my 26 inch wheel tourer:

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Old 07-18-14, 08:25 AM
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Another vote for 26 inch wheels.

This trip I used Schwalbe Marathon (with green guard) 26X1.5 tires.



This trip I used Schwalbe Marathon Dureme 26X2.0 front and Extreme 26X2.0 rear tires, both of these tires are now discontinued. I believe that the Mondial replaced those tires.



This bike is not an old mountain bike conversion, it was designed as a 26 inch wheel touring bike. Not all touring bikes are 700c.
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Old 07-18-14, 08:53 AM
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I've done what you suggest
700c on 26" frame fork
It was pointless and I ended up using extremely long reach caliper brakes-from those 20" bikes
I undid it in short order.
Just get taller 26" tires-narrow profile but tall-must be some out there.
Yeah no advantage-I did it because I like those 700c 40mm Michelin tires-forget the name-World sport sprint-something like that??

Yeah Pointless-sure sign you like to tinker-but sometimes it is best to just let it be
Just get a 29er frame-many components from your 26" bike will transfer
For $250-$400 you can get a Reynolds 853 Jamis Dragon frame-used- about as good as it gets steel wise-if you are a steel fan
Or any number of aluminum frames
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Old 07-18-14, 08:59 AM
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nothing wrong with 26" wheels.. But,

want a 700c tourer? Go Buy one.
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Old 07-18-14, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by rekt View Post
Also, my current 26 wheels are not made for touring.
Is it your tires or actual wheels that you feel are not adequate for touring? Tires are relatively cheap and easy to change and almost any 26" wheel in decent condition can make for a fine touring wheel because of its innate strength.
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Old 07-18-14, 01:34 PM
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Maybe its your opinion that needs working on

Touring is the activity , the bike is a tool to persue that activity

what bike parts are made for is to sell and make Money , the application is up to the owner.



You realize you missed the fact that the brake pads wont hit the rims, any more, if you change wheel rim diameters

559 & 622 D or Radius = 279.5 vs 311.. thats a 31.5mm difference ..
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Old 07-18-14, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post

You realize you missed the fact that the brake pads wont hit the rims, any more..
And you missed the fact that the OP already stated he was using discs and so that wasn't going to be an issue
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Old 07-18-14, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
And you missed the fact that the OP already stated he was using discs and so that wasn't going to be an issue
And the question was asked to the OP (by #corwin1968 ), does the bike have disc mounts? BITD when disc first came out it was fairly common to see frames with both Canti mounts and disc mount, and is still on some lower end bikes till recently, but very uncommon to see forks with both, the exception being suspension forks, but rigid forks were almost never fitted with both mounts.

Would be really helpful of the OP came back with confirmation of what the frame has, or photos of the complete bike.
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Old 07-18-14, 06:25 PM
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jimc, I just assumed that the OP would know whether he had disc mounts or not if he was considering disc brakes but you're right, one never knows on here.
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Old 07-18-14, 11:45 PM
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And you missed the fact that the OP already stated he was using discs and so that wasn't going to be an issue
then why show the V brakes in such close up .. I stand by the.. want a 700c wheel tourer , buy it as such .

26" are fine .. many say better .. get tires in 3rd world shops..


.. don't go into rocket science

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-19-14 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 07-19-14, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by rekt View Post
I'm planning to use disc brakes so it's not going to be an issue. Also, my current 26 wheels are not made for touring. I thought it would be better to buy 700c since I'm replacing the wheels anyway. Thanks for your input. EDIT: Those are some nice looking bikes
Rekt; Generally best to buy wheels that match your frame. Changing wheel sizes leads to a long list of further adaptations that cost a lot, waste a lot of time, generally drive you to a bike that isn't, in the end, very good. Just another Frankenbike. Also trying to figure out why you believe that your current wheels aren't viable for touring. If they are in good shape and properly tensioned then they should do fine for most all touring needs. If you contemplate that a 700C wheelset in a frame designed for 26" wheels is going to put the tires closer to the fork and further up into the chain stays ... both which can push you to skinnier tires and no room for fenders both of which are not typically good choices for touring.

Hope that helps
/K
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Old 07-19-14, 10:33 AM
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I've done 700c wheels on a handful of 26" wheel frames. Works pretty well on many. 390-400mm axle-to-crown forks were used. Various long reach road brakes were used. My latest has a 1999 Shimano RSX100 up front and an olde DiaCompe something-or-other in back (it probably wasn't considered long reach when it came out).

I'll get more pics later. Tough work on the phone...


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Old 07-19-14, 01:16 PM
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More pics of front and rear calipers and overall pic when it was more roadified.







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Old 07-19-14, 01:24 PM
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Having posted all that, however, I'd go 26" for touring. My main reason for 700c on that bike is one mangled canti boss.

If I were gonna tour I'd get a 50/40/30 crankset on this bike. Plenty of good slick and semislick 26" tires to choose from.

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Old 01-01-21, 04:46 PM
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You should try anything once

I did this conversion with an old beater. There seem to be a lot of people assuming how this would ride, they are all correct, its very weird at first. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. Yes it was super goofy feeling but like any new geometry you get used to it. The BB clearance was sometimes frightening and sometimes very handy. I converted by drilling out the holes in the fork and the crossbar on the seat stays and used Tektro calipers. The holes are already there for mounting racks, just bore them out a bit. You can always go back to 26". I did this because it was cheaper then getting a whole new bike ( duh! rich bike people don't know about this). Its not impossible and it's a lot of fun.
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Old 01-02-21, 09:15 AM
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Seven year old thread.
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