Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Myth Busted "There are very few options for 27 inch tires"

On one of the bike mailing lists I frequent a gentleman was building up a old school mixte for his lady friend and wanted suggestions for 27 inch tires, in response several well meaning folks mentioned that there were "very few options" for 27 inch tires.  On other bike forums I have seen this expressed by members urging people working on old 10 speeds to convert them to 700c wheel-sets "so you have tire options".  Now I do not dispute that 700c tires have a tremendous variety of widths and options BUT as one who has spent way too much time searching online for tire deals I can tell you  the 27 inch tire cupboard is far from bare.

Sizes

You basically have 4 widths to choose from for 27inch tires from a 25c narrow width to 37c fat width -see options below


27  inch size  ISO 700c equivalent
27 x 1 630x25 25c
27 x 1 1/8 630x28 28c
27 x 1 1/4 630x32 32c
27 x 1 3/8 630x37 37c

Brands

There are a bunch of companies making 27 inch tires including;  Avenir, Bell, Cheng Shin, Continential, Kenda, Michelin, Panaracer, Schwable, and Vittoria to name the big ones.  Just do a search on Amazon and you will see for yourself.

Price Range

You can spend $8 a tire for some Cheng Shin gumwalls or $36 a tire for Continental gatorskins and every where in between.

Options

You want a traditional gumwall, my favorite, you have choices in every size.  I personally like the Kenda K35 which is a great looking tire, sturdy and a very good bang for the buck.
You want a lighter tan than the gumwall but not quite a whitewall then go with a skinwall like the Kenda K36
You want to "pimp your ride" with cool white walls - no worries check out the Schwalbe HS159
Like a more modern stealthy all black look - your covered with something like the Vittoria Zaffiiro


You like color matching the side walls or treads to your bike?  your covered- check the selection from Junky Rusty Bikes
You want something knobby for cyclocross of just winter commuting check out the Kenda K161 I put on the Tiger rebuild


Conclusion

So if you want; skinny or fat, colored or black, hip or retro, road or cross, you have choices with 27 inch tires.  Don't get me wrong 700c is a great size with tons of options just don't convert your old school 10 speed to a modern wheel size out of the misguided notion that there aren't many options for the old school 27 inch tires.  That's just a myth..  As Always....

Ride.Smile.Repeat.

65 comments:

  1. I converted Little Miss Dangerous to 700c more out of consideration for the drive train than for tire selection, and I left the front tire at 27" for a year or so after converting the rear. Truth be told I miss the 27 inch front, it looked cool and I will always be convinced that a 36 spoke low-flange 27" tire is smoother than any other.

    For some reason the Panaracer tread in 700c does not match the same tire in 27". That little detail is why I put a 700c on the front during her transformation from Me Little Darlin' white bike to the Black Shadow...

    But one day I will buy a nice 27" front wheel with 36 14g stainless spokes and mount the fattest 27" tire I can find and convert her back to her old hybrid ways.

    Ryan: what do you think the future holds for the availability of the 27? I think the reason there is such a good choice right now has something to do with the fixie thing and should that fad(?) fade, what then? (Although if all those hipsters start selling their bikes for pennies on the dollar we will have a heyday converting them back to their original glory, won't we?)

    Are their any after market 27 inch wheels you have used?

    tj





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    1. Hey TPC, I think in the immediate future that there will be plenty of tires, tubes, chains and even rear derailleurs for old ten speeds. First of all, like old school air cooled VWs there are so damn many of them made that there should see a demand/Market for things like 27" tires. Jim Thill an LBS owner in Minneapolis (www.hiawathacyclery.com) posted once that in 2008 with the economic downturn and spike in gas prices alot of OTS came out their hiding places and the demand for 27" tires skyrocketed and as a result almost all the tire manufactures now have at least one 27" offering.

      For 27" wheelsets I have been fortunate to be able to reuse existing wheelsets or get them used from Bikeworks, however, there are number of them on Amazon and you can also get them from www.bikeman4u.com who have their own built with quality parts. I would look for Aluminum rims, stainless spokes and a decent hub, something like this -http://www.amazon.com/Wheel-Master-Weinmann-LP18-Set/dp/B0040DRGB4/ref=pd_sbs_sg_8. Cheers brother

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  2. I hear ya. This is the same thing that happens when someone finds an old British three speed that takes 26" x 1 3/8" aka 650A aka ISO 590 tires and asks about tire selection on an internet forum/mailing list. People will say there is "no tire selection", despite the fact that all the tire makers you listed above make one or two or sometimes three tires in that size. Nope, the doubters will quickly convince anyone listening to convert it to 650B because of "better tire selection". But better here doesn't necessarily mean "a bigger selection", just that the tires made in the 650B size are usually higher-quality (and higher-priced) tires. There are no $10 CST or Kendas in the 650B size, as far as I know, but 650A can be found in the Wal-Targs of the world.

    That being said, I can see two perfectly good reasons for 27" to 700C conversion. The first would be for fenders, as the smaller diameter of the 700C tire can make fender installation on older road bikes a lot easier. The other is you can get 700C tires wider than 37mm wide, thanks to mountain bikes and the desire for fatter tires in general. Of course, that probably won't help with old road bikes, as there won't be enough clearance to go much fatter than 37mm.

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    1. Hey Adventure thanks for stopping by, I agree with your reasons for going to 700c, I have been able to get fenders with standard 27 x 1 1/4 tires on a number of old 10 speeds but I agree the more room you have to work the better! I think the limiting factor for most old 10 speeds is the width of the rear chain stays, I just measured an early 70s Raleigh Record I am working on and it comes in just shy of 40mm according to my calipers. If your going for fatties a 650b might be a better option than 700c for an old 10 speed. Personally I have come to like fat tires but I think I could live with 630x37c on an old 10 speed (minus fenders).

      Cheers

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  3. Hey Ryan,
    Well done :) You have included all my favorites Kenda, Panaracer Michelin, Continential and then some. Just remember to match those ISO numbers as well. I remember learning that one the hard way.
    Cheers

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    1. Continental Tyre is the leading German tyre manufacturer. For my oppinion, Continental always deliver a perfect all-around performance and an ultimate driving comfort. Their new products UltraContact UC6 and ComfortContact CC6 have been designed based on an in-depth understanding of the needs and driving habits of car drivers. Read more at: http://kidbuxblog.com/continentals-improved-rubbers/

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  4. Hey Hugh thanks for stopping by and I agree checking ISO is key especially when you are dealing with funky sizes like English 3 speeds or Schwinn specific tires etc I once bought some 3 speed specific tires thinking I was buying MTB tires because the description said 26 inch....

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  5. lol.... been there and done that :)

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  6. Who needs selection?
    27" rims: Sun CR-18
    27" tires: Panaracer Pasela

    Case closed. Love life.

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    1. can a 27 inch rim accept a 700x23 - 28C tire

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    3. Hi Lonnie, Thanks for stopping by and for asking the question. To eyeball a 27 inch rim next to a 700c rim it might seem they are pretty close in size but there is a difference. If you use the ISO Bead Seat Diameter measurements you will see that a 27 inch rim has a ISO of 630mm while the more common 700c wheel has an ISO of 622mm. The late great Sheldon Brown explains it better than I can here http://sheldonbrown.com/rim-sizing.html also because I happened to have a 700c tire and a 27 inch rim lying around I compared them and although it looks at first blush like it might work once you start trying to seat the tire you realize it is smaller than the rim and will not work. If you are looking for a "skinny tire" for 27 inch wheels I would suggest a 27X1 (630x25) which are readily available.

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  7. Ryan, I found this blog via this post. I was looking for 27" tires and this post came up in the results. I'm so glad I found your blog! I look forward to every post, I love seeing your rebuilds come together and the before and after. Working on bikes is so satisfying, it's so entertaining to read. Keep posting!!

    To add to the discussion on tires, I swapped out my Schwalbe Marathons for some newly released Conti Gatorskins. Wow, what great tires. I was really disappointed with the marathons, they couldn't hold a candle to a set of 700c marathons on a previous bike. I bought them for the name but they were completely different tires and kept blowing off the rims.

    So, Conti Gatorskins are a great choice. A little spendy but smooth and fit right the first time. Love 'em, would recommend them to anyone.

    Ryan, keep writing. I love it!

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    1. Thanks Mr Dan it kind of surprises me that this particular post is so popular but I am glad people are finding it helpful especially if it saves them from an unnecessary wheel/Tire/Brake swap. Thanks for the info on Schwalbes interesting that the same tire is so different on different sized rims. I have always had good experience with Conti's too so I would echo your recommendation. Thanks again for your support and kind comments.

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  8. Nice post regarding tyres. we also providing tyres changer service in Australia. for more inof please do visit us Tyre Changer Australia. and Manual Tyre Changer, Tyre Changer. Thanks for sharing this nice and useful information among people.

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  9. I am refurbishing a circa 1984 Raleigh Kelloggs Tour Reynolds 501. To its original spec. Would the tyre sizes at that time be 27 x 1 1/8 inch or 700 x 25?
    The tubes that were removed were indicated as 27 x 1. 1/8 and the tyres as 700 x 25c!!!

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    1. Hi Roy, thanks for stopping by, wheel size really depends on the bike, most bikes that were made for the US Market had 27 inch wheels and the upper end of the European market , and some US, tended to be 700c. I have never run across a Raleigh Kelloggs Tour but from my internet search they seem specific to the UK market so its a fairly good bet that the 700c wheels are original. I would expect as a "team issue" race bike it probably came with 700x20c or 700x23c from the factory. The US Market 1984 Raleigh competition came with Vredestein 700x20c racing tire. Don't be thrown by the tubes they are pretty interchangeable between the sizes its the tire/rim that you want to look at. I would suggest tracking down a 1984 UK specific Raleigh catalog to get the specifications. Have fun with your rebuild.

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    2. Thanks for the info. Have found out the tyres are 700 x 23 -25, two tyres and tubes now on order. Next it's finding the decals.

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    3. Your welcome Roy glad you got the tires, not sure if you have checked out Velocals but they have an extensive collection of decals http://www.velocals.com/servlet/the-Raleigh-1970-to-1990/Categories

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  10. Very nice blog.
    I like your posts these are very informative.
    Thanks! for sharing good information.
    Kanata Tires

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    1. You are most welcome Harry I am glad you found the post useful.

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  11. Hey, Ryan: thanks for this posting this super helpful piece on tires. I just bought my first vintage road bike (80s miyata 310) and I could resist taking it out for a few spins since the weather's been so nice (after a safety check at my local shop, of course).

    Of course I got a flat today and I was going to be headed to the shop tomorrow with a very vague sense of what I would need. Now at least I have some sense of my needs going in! Thanks again. Very much looking forward to continue reading your blog!

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    1. Christine glad the article was helpful, congrats on your vintage ride. I have a post on the first major rebuild I did -also a Miyata here : http://ryansrebuilds.blogspot.com/2013/01/1979-miyata-912-may-2011-one-that.html I am sure your LBS can help you out with the flat and get you back on the road. If you are looking for how to videos I suggest checking out the BikemanforU channel.

      Happy Summer riding -Ryan

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  13. Thank you very much for this. "The Google" got me here. I've had it in mind for some time to try to find fatter tires for my old Schwinn Voyageur touring bike. Plenty of clearance for them.

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    1. Your welcome Lee, glad to help have fun with that fat ride.

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  14. Nice to find your blog! I recently dusted off my circa 80s Dawes and have put 600 miles on it so far this year. Today a mile from home, a spot on the side of my rear tire (27x1-1/8) ripped and gave way. Although bulging, everything is holding together and I made it home fine. Now I just have to decide between a vintage looking Panaracer and all black Vittoria, found at biketiresdirect.com.

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    1. Terry thanks for stopping by, always good to hear an old 10 speed is getting used again. I am biased but I do love the classic look of the Panaracers, I just put a new set of them on my Motobecane Grand Touring this Summer.

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  15. Just ordered them! Thanks for the recommendation.

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  18. Forgive my propensity to density - am I reading this right? I can fit 700 x 32s to my 27 1 1/4 wheelset? I'm seeing new life for an 80s steel framed affair (perhaps as a single-speed hack bike) lying in my mother's cupboard...

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    1. Hey Gareth thanks for stopping by and I am going to steal "propensity to density" I can see where this might be confusion but to answer your question -No you can't put a 700c tire on a 27" wheel or visa versa. It all comes down to the BSD measurement - per Sheldon Brown "The Bead Seat Diameter (B.S.D.) is the crucial dimension that determines whether a particular tire can fit onto a particular rim. It specifically refers to the "shelf"-like area inside the rim where the tire's bead sits. " In the case of a 27 inch tire/rim the BSD is 630, in the case of a 700c tire/rim the BSD is 622. So you can't mix and match but as the I said in the article you have a lot of options if you want to use 27 inch wheel and tire combo.

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  26. This is really informative. I want to know the prices to buy kenda tyres online for all four tyres of my Hyunda Santro car.

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    1. Sorry if the blog wasn't clear but the blog and post are about bicycles and bicycle tires. I have no info on car tires- sorry.

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  27. Hi, You explained the topic very well. The contents has provided meaningful information thanks for sharing info. I want to buy tubeless road wheels for my bike. Have you any idea about its cost???

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    1. Hi William glad you liked the article -thank you. I am not too familiar with Tubelesss stuff but I if I were to look into it I would A) look at Stans no tubes - allows you to go tubeless with conventional clincher wheels as I understand it, B) Google Tubless Road wheels and C) search on Bicycling.com for tubeless road wheels. Good luck.

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    2. er, RoadieRyan, I believe this comment is spam, along with a few other ones above that you responded to. (Anything that has a link to a shopping site or somesuch in the body of the comment is pretty much spam.)

      So congratulations! Your post has enough "hits" that it's become a spam target! ;-)

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    3. Thanks urbanadventureleague you are probably right. Anything relating to car tires I usually nuke but if has something to do with bikes I like to respond. I chuckle at the thought of being "big" enough to attract spammers LOL. Your site has been updated since I last visited- kudos on the new look and why I am not surprised that Lael crushed the Tour Divide record. I envy your proximity to Velo Cult if I lived in PDX I am not sure I would ever leave that place.

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  29. The reasons I like 27 inch wheels and tires. One word circumference the larger 27 inch wheels are larger than the 700c. The larger the wheel and tire the less resistance to rolling. It is as simple as that. What about 29 inch or the 27.5 we keep hearing about you ask ? I'm all for bigger wheels for the same reasons stated above, the larger the circumference the less rolling resistance !

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  31. Great article. Thanks for info. I have also been led to think that 27's choices are limited. Now I can google specific tires and find what I need! Yes, cassette vs free wheel is a consideration when considering touring with a load, but for daily rider or no load riding, the freewheel is great.

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    1. Lunastar thanks for dropping by glad you this article was useful for you. I agree for most purposes a FW works just fine

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  36. Great exchange. Thanks for this forum. I own a Schwinn LeTour III. It takes a 27 x 1 1/4 tire. These tires are readily available and there are several options. I recently purchased a Schwinn Prelude that takes a 27 x 1 tire. Although I can get that tire, the options are limited. And finding a high pressure tire is difficult. Just a few super record tires left and their pricey.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Earl. I might suggest a Panaracer Pasela for your Prelude they make a 27x1 and I have always found them to be a great product and not too expensive for the quality. https://www.biketiresdirect.com/product/panaracer-pasela-road-tire-27-inch

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  44. you must also look at brake alignment when going from 27" to 700c! way back in 1990 i acquired a swinn world traveler, great bike! i thought i would throw a pair of 700c rims i had on it and be off to the races! nope! would not work! tried many things to make it work! nothing! so i ended up relacing the 27 rims to some really nice Kingsbury cartridge hubs! i am still riding that bike today! keep in mind, your hardware choices!

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