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I found a wheel and frame set I really want to put on my bicycle, is it possible to change my vintage Chicago Schwinn Traveler to the 700c wheel? Currently it has 27x1 1/4 wheels which you cannot find any cool things for :((((

any help would be welcome. Please I am fairly new at this so please do not think I am a complete idiot.

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Just move the brake pads 6.5mm (you can eyeball it too)  towards the hub so that they align with the rim and you should be fine.

Switching for 27" to 700cc is no big deal as they are very close to the same size. Like MagMileMarauder said you'll just have to adjust the brakes some, but there should be enough adjustment in almost any brake system. Just move the pads so that they land squarely on the rim when the brakes are applied.

The bigger challenge in putting a new wheel on a vintage bike is the hub size, as modern hubs are wider than most vintage hubs. Measure your drop out spacing before you by the wheel. If it's within a few mm, you shouldn't have a problem just stretching a steel frame, but if it's a huge difference, you might need to shop around for a hub that fits.

Tire size info here: 

"In practice, most tires (and inner tubes) sold today carry apart from the modern ISO 5775-1 designation also some historic size markings, for which no officially maintained definition currently exists, but which are still widely used:

  • an old French tire designation that was based on the approximate outer diameter of the inflated tire in millimeters: 700×35 C.
  • an old British inch-based designation: 597 mm (26 × 1¼), 590 mm (26 × 1⅜, which is the most common), 630 mm (27 × 1¼), and 635 mm (28 × 1½)"

So, the 27" x 1.25" is about a half-inch different diameter than a 700c.

The best thing to do (in my opinion) is to get a set of long reach brakes and they will fit perfect. I have done this on a few Schwinn's and it works great. Tektro makes a good affordable duel pivot long reach brake.

Brake reach is the only major issue.  

The  pads are  going to need to move down in the brake arms about 4 more mm.     With most older bikes with single-piviot calipers or center-pulls there is almost always a bit of room.    If you want to put on modern dual-pivot brake calipers that will be a problem as most of them like the Shimano (Sora/Tiagra/105/Ultegra/Dura) have about 49mm total which isn't going to cut it.  Tektro makes a longer-reach dual-pivot that will reach further and Shimano has a longer set too that doesn't fall in their named set hierarchy, the R-450.  These brakes were made with such wheel-conversions in mind.

The only problem with these long-reach brakes is that  the longer  reach gets the less-effective and the heavier the brakes will be.  Reach causes flex and flex hurts braking to a certain extent -unless the manufacturer wants to add a bunch more weight to the calipers to stiffen them up again.   This is why racy-light bikes have a very short reach built-in, and almost zero fender clearance.  But more reach on an older bike being converted to 700 is not really a big deal though, as even the less-effective long-reach modern dual-pivots are better than the old-style calipers and an upgrade will usually yield much better stopping on an old bike than what the rider is used to before the wheel conversion.   And who really cares about a few dozen grams in the long run anyhow?  If one is really a weight weenie then just spend the cash and buy a new CF frame, right?

Another added benefit of the wheel conversion is more room for fenders and larger tires.  28mm and fenders are not a problem.  Even 32's are possible in some frames sometimes -depending usually on the width of the chainstays at the brake bridge and that depends on how the chainstays were attached to the top of the seat tube.  Some of the "fastback" style lugs didn't leave a lot of room.

Dropout spacing is not really a big deal, IMHO.  in older frames the steel bends/flexes pretty easily (unless you have a really old alloy frame that is <130mm.  Bending alloy or CF is a no-no)  If you are going from 126mm to 130mm a lot of folks get away with just letting the frame spring out that 2mm on each side.   But permanently "cold setting" (bending) them isn't very hard either, and many decent mechanics can do this for you.   If you are going from an even older format that is less than 126mm then cold-setting is necessary as it isn't a good idea to try and just flex out the dropouts any more than that. 

So, I found these rims, which I really like they will match my bicycle.

I just need to know will it work with my 10 speed? I also want to find a solid black wheel for it, and need spokes. Any ideas?

oh I did go into a bike shop, and they were rediculous, no help at all, would not explain anything.

which bike shop? some are better than others, my friend! I recommend smart bike parts or boulevard on the north side, irvs on the south side.

I live outside the city, in the burbs. It is a hassle to get into the city for this.

Those are 32-spoke rims.  It is extremely unlikely that your current hubs are 32-spoke on "an old 10-speed."  It is most likely that they are 36-spoke wheels. 

Not only that but your current spokes will not be the right length for those rims.  You will need shorter spokes for a 700 rim and even shorter-yet spokes for a deep-v design like that.   Spoke calculations get a bit complex but you will need to order spokes that are pretty close to exactly the right size.  On a geared bike most probably you will end up with 3 different spoke sizes because of hub offset.   Most online spoke places will require you to order quite a few spokes (a box) of each length which is much more than you will ever need to build your wheel.   Local bike shops will sell you spokes of any size but you are going to pay around $1/each or more for spokes plus the nipples.  That adds up to a bunch of money for 72 spokes or even 64 of them.  

Building a wheel yourself is pretty much outside your scope I am assuming or you wouldn't be asking these sorts of questions.   The labor to do it gets pretty expensive as you have found out by asking around at bike shops. 

Your best bet is to buy a complete wheelset. Machine-built mass-produced wheelsets are much cheaper than even the parts to build a wheel yourself if you knew how to do it since they have economies of scale.   For the front wheel you are going to probably want a standard 100mm axle wheel (dropout spacing.)  For the Rear you are probably going to want either a 126mm or a 120mm axle (dropout spacing) wheel  (you need to measure how far the dropouts are apart on your bike) with a "Freewheel hub."

Be very careful that you get the right sized and right type of hub or else you will be sending it back.  There are a lot of pitfalls here.  It's best you get someone who knows the ropes to check out your bike and help you pick out the right parts.  

The product description from the posted link states: non-machined sidewall.  You can run these with rim brakes but they won't be purdy for long.  The brake pads'll do some machining on their own.  Machined rims are designed for rim brakes, which is how your sweet SchwInn is currently set up.

↑↑And every bit of what James said.↑↑


To go back to the original post perhaps the question is not whether it CAN be done -but whether it SHOULD be done. 

It certainly CAN be done but depending on the bike, it's value both intrinsic and sentimental, and the purposes the original owner is intending, the question of whether it should be done is much more complex.

The Schwinn Traveller was a low-mid level bike in the Schwinn lineup.   It originally had a lower-end heavy 1020 Hi-ten frame but later was updated to a nicer TruTemper Chromolly steel frame in the 80's that dropped about 4 lbs off it if.   A much better frame, but still not anything super-special or light unless one is really into vintage Schwinns and their historical/collectable status.  Its not any better than most other bike-boom mid-range bikes  you can pick up for peanuts on CL , or even many newer 700c used bikes you can find for less than the cost of this new wheelset the OP is contemplating.

So back to "should" you do a wheel conversion on a frame that isn't anything special:  The cost is going to be a bit prohibitive for something that isn't going to be that great after it is done compared to many other newer used bikes on the market today.   If the bike needs ANY other work, like new cables, a brake upgrade, bearing work, bar tape, or antying else the cost is going to really go up along with the wheelswap.  

Even a cheap wheelset is going to set you back well over a hundred and fifty-ish if you can find one that fits this bike with the right hubs.  I'm not saying it isn't impossible to get a good deal on used hubs but think about the labor that you may not be qualified to do  yourself.  You are going to need to have a freewheel remover to move the freewheel over, and the knowledge of how to get the brakes to work with the new wheel, and that sort of thing.    Not to mention the cost of new tires and tubes on top of it all.

For the right mid/high-end frame it is worth it.  I've done it myself  and plan on doing it again soon to a special (to me) Raleigh Competition frame I recently picked up made out of 531 Reynolds steel.  But by the time I'm done with the project I could have just went out and bought a really nice $600-700 used bike off of Craigslist for the same money and saved myself all the "headaches.'   But because I know what I'm doing what I'm going to end up with (hopefully) is a pretty nice custom bike that may rival something coming out of Rivendell or the like.  Something I can't easily buy at any price without paying the mark-up for a Grant Peterson special.  Those tend to be a bit rarer and more expensive on the used market.

My final advice: (something I should have started with at the start) is to just get  yourself a premium pair of 27" tires like the excellent Conti Gatorskins and just keep riding the 27" wheels as long as they are alloy rims -if they are steel then I'd say upgrade to a used 27 wheelset with alloy rims for lightness AND good braking in dry or wet. I have a nice vintage 27" wheelset in my stash that I could sell you for about $50 all trued up and properly tensioned and with the bearings serviced.    Or you could find such a thing elsewhere on CL perhaps if you look around.

The real reason many people want to switch to 700c is for tire availability.  But there are good tires still available for 27" tires and the gatorskins are one of them. Spend your money there -drop $120 on a really nice set of tires and just ride that bike as long as it has alloy rims.  If you have steel rims and you REALLY like the bike then spend another $50 or so to upgrade to alloy 27's.  It's really the path of least resistance.

I don't feel that the Traveler you have is worth the expense of upgrading to 700c.  It's an OK bike but for the kind of money this is going to cost you could trade up something better instead -better even after the conversion is considered on the Schwinn.  But maybe I'm just prejudiced against Schwinns.  I grew up in WI and we looked down on all Schwinns except the higher-end Paramounts.   This may be coloring my opinion  here but there are very few older 27" bikes that are worth converting to 700c rather than just letting them be as long as they are running still. 




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