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26 inch wheels... where to find?

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26 inch wheels... where to find?

Old 07-12-21, 03:51 PM
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26 inch wheels... where to find?

Not sure this is specifically a C&V issue, but it's an older bike so ...

The question: Where can I find 26" wheels? I didn't think it would be an issue, but either they're very scarce now or I'm just missing it.

The backstory (not necessarily pertinent): I recently picked up a late 80s era Peugeot US Express which the previous owner did a lot of work on. Basically turned it into what I think of as a kind of touring bike. It was marketed originally as an "ATB". The first weekend I had it I put it on the C&O towpath (flat gravel trail in MD) for a total of about 75 miles. While there were some mildly rocky sections, it was basically a gentle weekend excursion. In cleaning it up the following week, before I had ridden it again, I noticed that one of the spokes had broken at the hub and another spoke was completely loose, but not broken. Both on the rear wheel. I hadn't noticed anything on either of the two rides I did on it and didn't see anything that indicated a problem when I picked it up. When I took it to my local bike shop the mechanic told me it would be a fairly easy fix, but cautioned me that it's something I may want to keep an eye on. That is, it could be indicative of a wheel that will keep giving me this problem and may necessitate a complete replacement. I got the bike back after a few days, it looks good but I won't get a chance to really test it for another week or so. In the meantime, I thought I'd check what I could find online because this particular shop doesn't carry anything in that size. I was a little surprised that I had any issues at all to be honest. I know it's not really a standard size any more, but thought it was pervasive enough that I should be able to find *something* with a little searching. I'm sure I could find something eventually, but before I spun my wheels too much I thought I'd try my luck here.

Additional notes/questions (might be pertinent):
  • I've got no idea how old the wheel is, but it's not original to the bike. Part of the upgrades to the bike was to put a 9 speed cassette with a tiagra rear derailleur.
  • The bike shop I went to for this service really only deals in new bikes, which is why they don't have anything in the way of 26" wheels I guess. There's a few in the area that deal in the second hand market, so I'm pretty sure they'd be able to help me out better in this regard. But I'd still like to have a look around online if nothing else to educate myself. I'd probably want to buy something used anyways, but could see springing for a new wheel if I found a good deal.
  • There seems to be a lot of clearance for a bigger wheel in the rear, but less additional clearance in the front. With that in mind it *could* possible fit a 27.5" wheelset, which seems to be much easier to find online. Before I spend a lot of time determining if it is even possible, are there any pitfalls I should know about ahead of time that might make such an endeavor not worth the hassle?
  • Other than feeling for loose spokes after a ride, is there anything in particular that I should be looking out for as early warning I may be heading towards another broken spoke soon?
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Old 07-12-21, 03:55 PM
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Id stick with 26 inch wheel as that will give you better clearance for tires. Theyre available.

these are strong wheels for example


https://www.velomine.com/index.php?m...oducts_id=6145
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Old 07-12-21, 04:16 PM
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Your best bet is to look for complete mtbs and harvest the wheels you need. Unfortunately that'll leave you with a bike with no wheelset...

THE CYCLE CONTINUES
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Old 07-12-21, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Id stick with 26 inch wheel as that will give you better clearance for tires. Theyre available.

these are strong wheels for example


https://www.velomine.com/index.php?m...oducts_id=6145
It said product not found. Likely another victim of the pandemic everything shortage.
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Old 07-12-21, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
It said product not found. Likely another victim of the pandemic everything shortage.
https://www.velomine.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=122_363&products_id=5663

https://www.velomine.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=122_363&products_id=5960


these are available
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Old 07-12-21, 04:53 PM
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If the rim isn't worn or cracked and the hub still turns smoothly, the wheel could be rebuilt with new spokes. With good stress-relieving, it ought to have a long life ahead of it.
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Old 07-12-21, 06:38 PM
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I would think that new 26" wheels and components will be available for a long time to come. And you can always find plenty of used ones. 26" wheels are the standard size in most of the world, especially for daily work bikes which comprise most of the market in many countries. For example, probably 90% of bikes in Mexico use 26". I suspect the switch from 26" to 27"-700C on MTB's was mostly a ploy to get recreational riders to buy new equipment.
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Old 07-12-21, 06:59 PM
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I think there was someone else recently asking about 26" to 27.5".

https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-m...eel-sizes.html

In that case the OP has disc brakes which makes the change more manageable.

In your case, you have rim brakes. You may be able to find some long reach V-brakes. Otherwise your posts will be in the wrong spot. Adapter?



Personally I'd just ride your bike as-is. Learn a little about truing a wheel (which can be done on the bike). You should be able to ride a 36 spoke or 32 spoke wheel with one less spoke and some quick adjustments.



I just did a search on E-Bay for: 26" double wall wheels new

It came up with a bunch of them. I don't know one from the other.

You'll have to dig through the options you want. Rim brake is best, but it may not matter as long as you have a flatish brake surface. Quick Release or Bolt On? 130 or 135mm between dropouts? Freewheel? Upgrade to cassette? 7-speed?
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Old 07-12-21, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Id stick with 26 inch wheel as that will give you better clearance for tires. Theyre available.

these are strong wheels for example


https://www.velomine.com/index.php?m...oducts_id=6145
The links don't seem to work for me either. Thanks for the tip though. I can certainly take a look at the site and see what I see.

Originally Posted by Clang View Post
Your best bet is to look for complete mtbs and harvest the wheels you need. Unfortunately that'll leave you with a bike with no wheelset...

THE CYCLE CONTINUES
Thought about this. The places that deal in the second hand market in the DC area should just be able to find something for me, but if I saw something on facebook or craigslist I'd not be above snapping it up.

Originally Posted by kroozer View Post
I would think that new 26" wheels and components will be available for a long time to come. And you can always find plenty of used ones. 26" wheels are the standard size in most of the world, especially for daily work bikes which comprise most of the market in many countries. For example, probably 90% of bikes in Mexico use 26". I suspect the switch from 26" to 27"-700C on MTB's was mostly a ploy to get recreational riders to buy new equipment.
I've often wondered about stuff like that. One the one hand, it seems that there really are some benefits to the variety of sizes, but I'm not convinced that on the whole it's worth the loss of universality that we used to have. That said, I feel like the level of coordination it would take to get everyone to buy in might not actually be possible. Remember that CD-R CD+R stuff?

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I think there was someone else recently asking about 26" to 27.5".

https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-m...eel-sizes.html

In that case the OP has disc brakes which makes the change more manageable.

In your case, you have rim brakes. You may be able to find some long reach V-brakes. Otherwise your posts will be in the wrong spot. Adapter?



Personally I'd just ride your bike as-is. Learn a little about truing a wheel (which can be done on the bike). You should be able to ride a 36 spoke or 32 spoke wheel with one less spoke and some quick adjustments.



I just did a search on E-Bay for: 26" double wall wheels new

It came up with a bunch of them. I don't know one from the other.

You'll have to dig through the options you want. Rim brake is best, but it may not matter as long as you have a flatish brake surface. Quick Release or Bolt On? 130 or 135mm between dropouts? Freewheel? Upgrade to cassette? 7-speed?
Can't believe I forgot to mention this...Obviously rim brakes because it's such an old frame, but the brakes are center pull cantilever, so I guess the brake arms would have to be replaced... and i'm only assuming that such things exist. In any case, I'm actually digging the 26" wheel for the type of use I'm imagining. Maybe as an alternate commuter and easy trail stuff.
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Old 07-12-21, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by gurana View Post
The links don't seem to work for me either. Thanks for the tip though. I can certainly take a look at the site and see what I see.





Can't believe I forgot to mention this...Obviously rim brakes because it's such an old frame, but the brakes are center pull cantilever, so I guess the brake arms would have to be replaced... and i'm only assuming that such things exist. In any case, I'm actually digging the 26" wheel for the type of use I'm imagining. Maybe as an alternate commuter and easy trail stuff.
cantilevers are available. The links in post 5 work.
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Old 07-12-21, 09:06 PM
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The wheels that you have are probably good and serviceable. Don't let the bike shop worry you into buying something you don't need. Ride it and see how it goes. It sounds like it has a good hub, if the rim is straight you are in good shape. Even if it goes out of trues sometime later, have it trued and keep going. If the rim eventually fails, then look for a new wheel (save the hubs, they sound good).

By the way, the best part of the pertinent information is that you rode it 75 miles right off the bat. Keep enjoying it and don't worry.

I do have one issue and that is I'd like to see a picture of your Peugeot. Please get a picture and post it.
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Old 07-13-21, 03:26 AM
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Thanks; the links didn't work, but I went to their shop and fount plenty.
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Old 07-13-21, 09:19 AM
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To cut to the chase…

New higher end 26” rim brake wheels are no longer made. NOS, or excellent, used higher end wheels go for a fortune on eBay. Cheap 26” wheels are still relatively easy to find, but may not be worth it.

You first job is to measure the dropout width. It is probably 130mm or 135mm. Before you do anything, you need to know that number. Pretty easy to do. Take out the rear wheel and measure it. 130mm = 5-1/8”, 135mm = 5-5/16”. If you can’t do that you have nothing as no one can tell you, and the previous owner may have cold set it to 135mm for a better chainline.

The wheelset I would look for is a Sun Rhyno Lite with Deore T610 hubs. The hubs are decent, and easy to service. You, or an LBS, need to re-pack with grease and adjust. Even though they are new a lot of new Shimano hubs are not adjusted properly. If you don’t do that you’ll be posting again in a few years. Usually they are 135mm OLD, but it is possible to take them to 130mm/132mm and that should work.

Velomine used to have this wheelset, I bought one as a backup to one of our bikes or for our son. It is not light, but it seems pretty bullet proof. You can also find them on eBay, usually sold by Velomine, or other mass producers.

They are getting a bit tougher to get since decent non-disc mtb hubs are no longer being made.

Good luck.

John

Last edited by 70sSanO; 07-13-21 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 07-13-21, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
. . .

I do have one issue and that is I'd like to see a picture of your Peugeot. Please get a picture and post it.
Don't have to ask me twice









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Old 07-13-21, 11:36 AM
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Looks like a fun-loving bike! If it were mine, I'd be willing to build it new wheels in a heartbeat.
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Old 07-13-21, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by onyerleft View Post
I volunteer at a bike kitchen. We have so many 26" wheels we (almost) can't give them away. I say "almost" because transients will always take them.
While I'm not sure what a bike kitchen is... I think it's probably similar to the places in my area I was thinking about. Certainly seems like the vast majority is 26" and if that's the case I'm sure I must be able to find *something* if it ends up being needed.
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Old 07-13-21, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Looks like a fun-loving bike! If it were mine, I'd be willing to build it new wheels in a heartbeat.
Yeah man... Having only a road bike for the last few years I've been wanting something I could more comfortably take on some of the rails-to-trails type paths in my area. This has kind of surpassed my expectations in a very short time. What are the odds that someone would make basically the bike I was considering? Finding an old cheap MTB (adverts I've been able to find on this model call it an ATB, which I guess would've been more accurate) adding some drops and more road oriented gearing. What's more, I almost buckled and bought a gravel bike for the purpose, but I don't think that would have made me as happy as this has. There's something to be said about riding a bike that I would have thought was cool when I was a kid in the 80s.
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Old 07-13-21, 03:17 PM
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You should probably just get the existing wheel re-tensioned by a mechanic who knows something about wheelbuilding (which, by the sound of it, is not a description of your mechanic). They're disappointingly rare, these days, but they're around.

Alternately, why not get the wheels you want built for you, or try your hand at building them yourself? Sun Rims CR-18s are widely available in 559 and bombproof; get the hubs you like, get some good spokes, and let Sheldon Brown be your guide (but then get it tensioned by somebody who knows what they're doing).
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Old 07-13-21, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
To cut to the chase

New higher end 26 rim brake wheels are no longer made. NOS, or excellent, used higher end wheels go for a fortune on eBay. Cheap 26 wheels are still relatively easy to find, but may not be worth it.

You first job is to measure the dropout width. It is probably 130mm or 135mm. Before you do anything, you need to know that number. Pretty easy to do. Take out the rear wheel and measure it. 130mm = 5-1/8, 135mm = 5-5/16. If you cant do that you have nothing as no one can tell you, and the previous owner may have cold set it to 135mm for a better chainline.

The wheelset I would look for is a Sun Rhyno Lite with Deore T610 hubs. The hubs are decent, and easy to service. You, or an LBS, need to re-pack with grease and adjust. Even though they are new a lot of new Shimano hubs are not adjusted properly. If you dont do that youll be posting again in a few years. Usually they are 135mm OLD, but it is possible to take them to 130mm/132mm and that should work.

Velomine used to have this wheelset, I bought one as a backup to one of our bikes or for our son. It is not light, but it seems pretty bullet proof. You can also find them on eBay, usually sold by Velomine, or other mass producers.

They are getting a bit tougher to get since decent non-disc mtb hubs are no longer being made.

Good luck.

John
That's a good point you bring up that I didn't mention about the searches I did originally. What I was able to find in the 26" world seemed like it was mostly disc specific.... there were a few that I found that looked like they were basically exactly what I was looking for (tubeless ready even!) but the pictures showed disc brake wheels that didn't line up with the features I was clicking on.

It's hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that discs are becoming so pervasive that rim brake versions of these wheels are just not made. It's possible that I might end up looking for replacement/upgrade/backup wheels regardless of the current status... just to have them. Seems a little reactionary to me, so I'll sleep on that for now. In any case, my immediate plans for the bike are to enjoy it for the summer and fall and breaking it down in the winter to tune everything up.
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Old 07-13-21, 03:29 PM
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There's also Bicycle Wheel Warehouse; they make the wheels themselves. Here are the 26".
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Old 07-13-21, 06:26 PM
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Look for a bike co-op near you, or maybe a small shop that does lots of used/recycled business, not much removed from a co-op. I have a '90s Marin MTB with old knobbies and planned to find some center-ridge tires for it. In the dumpster of the co-op I found a set of matching 26" wheels, also 7-speed cassette with skewers, with slicks. For free. You never know what's out there until you begin looking.


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Old 07-13-21, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Look for a bike co-op near you, or maybe a small shop that does lots of used/recycled business, not much removed from a co-op. I have a '90s Marin MTB with old knobbies and planned to find some center-ridge tires for it. In the dumpster of the co-op I found a set of matching 26" wheels, also 7-speed cassette with skewers, with slicks. For free. You never know what's out there until you begin looking.


That's the dream... When I pulled the trigger on the bike, my initial thought was I'd be able to find so much out there I could just buy multiple sets of wheels and swap them out for various terrain types rather than go through the pain and hassle of swapping tires out. I think what I've been describing may well have been co-ops and I'm feeling better about my odds of realizing my dream. I think I was just discouraged about not also finding what I wanted online immediately, which I guess was the kind of shocking part of the process.
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Old 07-13-21, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by brianinc-ville View Post
You should probably just get the existing wheel re-tensioned by a mechanic who knows something about wheelbuilding (which, by the sound of it, is not a description of your mechanic). They're disappointingly rare, these days, but they're around.

Alternately, why not get the wheels you want built for you, or try your hand at building them yourself? Sun Rims CR-18s are widely available in 559 and bombproof; get the hubs you like, get some good spokes, and let Sheldon Brown be your guide (but then get it tensioned by somebody who knows what they're doing).
The thing I've kind of been avoiding stating explicitly in all of this is that I have almost no knowledge of wheel building or maintenance, which is why I took it in for a spoke fix I've kind of avoided that whole area of bike maintenance pretty well for more than 30 years now, though now it seems like I might not be able to avoid it so easily any more. And now that I've gotten a few good leads from this thread, now I'm thinking I *still* may need to learn to build a wheel to get exactly what I want. E.g., I found a wheel set that was perfect and priced such that I could just pick it up and not worry about it... except it is set up for schrader valves and not presta. This bike has presta and it's literally the first time I've seen presta on something like a 26" wheel and now I feel like that's super important for some reason.
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Old 07-13-21, 08:57 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by gurana View Post
The thing I've kind of been avoiding stating explicitly in all of this is that I have almost no knowledge of wheel building or maintenance, which is why I took it in for a spoke fix I've kind of avoided that whole area of bike maintenance pretty well for more than 30 years now, though now it seems like I might not be able to avoid it so easily any more. And now that I've gotten a few good leads from this thread, now I'm thinking I *still* may need to learn to build a wheel to get exactly what I want. E.g., I found a wheel set that was perfect and priced such that I could just pick it up and not worry about it... except it is set up for schrader valves and not presta. This bike has presta and it's literally the first time I've seen presta on something like a 26" wheel and now I feel like that's super important for some reason.
You could also take your wheels to another shop to get a second opinion. If the guy just does latest and greatest, he may not want to deal with your older bike. Like a doctor, you may need to shop around a bit before you find one you like.
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Old 07-14-21, 08:14 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by gurana View Post
E.g., I found a wheel set that was perfect and priced such that I could just pick it up and not worry about it... except it is set up for schrader valves and not presta. This bike has presta and it's literally the first time I've seen presta on something like a 26" wheel and now I feel like that's super important for some reason.
You can add Schrader to Presta rim adapters that fit in the 10mm Schrader opening. I have some made by Wheels Manufacturing that work great.

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