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Upgrade steel rims to alloy?

Old 10-07-22, 11:43 AM
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Doc_Wui
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Upgrade steel rims to alloy?

Riding this old Raleigh Mixte for old times sake. A similar model with drop bars was one of our first bikes 46 years ago, I recall that the steel frame always soaked up bumps and this one still does, Changed the bars/quill, all cables/sheathing, new tires, and.KoolStop pads/shoes.

The rims are rusty, between the spokes, and I had planned to polish them this winter. If I change them to alloy (I can spoke wheels) , or buy new wheels, will I notice the weight savings? It's not a light bike, but it is lighter than my newer models, and easier to pedal even at my low speeds..

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Old 10-07-22, 12:06 PM
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Probably the best upgrade to a bike like this.
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Old 10-07-22, 12:38 PM
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Nice Mixte @Doc_Wui . I agree with @dedhed that this is the best improvement you can make. You may know this technique already, get a pair of aluminum rims and the tape the new rim to the old rim while keeping the valve hole lined up and transfer the spokes to the new rim. The bike should be noticeably lighter. One thing is that you probably have 27" rims. You could get 27" rims, but the market has moved to 700C rims which are about 4mm smaller. That is assuming that you have the same diameter of the circle that the nipples will be. You may have to make some measurements to get the this to work with the original spokes. Or just get 27" rims and skip the measuring and looking up the ERD Effective Rim Diameter. \
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Old 10-07-22, 12:57 PM
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Upgrading to alloy rims is a huge improvement and it isn't only about weight. In wet conditions alloy rims will still provide decent braking. Steel rims, on the other hand, pretty much provide zero braking in the wet. Even on a dry day, if you should ride through a deepish puddle, don't plan on stopping fast anytime soon

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Old 10-07-22, 01:11 PM
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Just going to back up that any weight savings with the wheels I would buy for the bike would have minimal effect that would probably be not noticed. The ride itself would be significantly improved with a decent, not expensive, wheelset. The braking would feel like you could actually stop the bike quickly for the first time. The bike is well worth the investment.
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Old 10-07-22, 02:38 PM
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Decent 27" wheels are not hard to find, nor are they very expensive. In fact, most of them come with 126mm freewheel hubs, so it's a straight swap for your vintage "ten-speed "

Here's a nice set from Velomine, with double -wall Weinmann rims and QR hubs, for not much more than you'd pay for the parts to re-string your old wheels
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Old 10-07-22, 05:51 PM
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Biggest advantage is wet-weather braking, which is nearly non-existent. The lower weight is a small bonus.
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Old 10-07-22, 06:58 PM
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Do it. In the early eighties I had a Schwinn Varsity I had ridden for years. I rebuilt the wheels with aluminum rims. Best way to keep up with the fancy bikes in school.
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Old 10-07-22, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Here's a nice set from Velomine, with double -wall Weinmann rims and QR hubs, for not much more than you'd pay for the parts to re-string your old wheels
This is the kind of bike you get wheels from the local coop or buying a donor bike and using the wheels and whatever else from it that would be an upgrade
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Old 10-08-22, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
This is the kind of bike you get wheels from the local coop or buying a donor bike and using the wheels and whatever else from it that would be an upgrade
Agreed, but co-ops are scarce in a lot of places, and "good" 27" bikes are harder and harder to find on the used market. Whatever you find may not be any different/ better than what's on there now.
Those VM's are probably some of the nicest 27x1-1/4s you can find, and it's a sub-$150 wheelset. You can get under $100 for bolt-ons, with a little looking.

In the end, it's up to the OP to figure out the time, effort, and dollars it's worth investing into this particular bike.
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Old 10-08-22, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
"good" 27" bikes are harder and harder to find on the used market.
​​​​​​https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bop...533093599.html

​​​​​​https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bop...540024770.html
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Old 10-08-22, 08:26 AM
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Any bike that came with chromed steel wheels was probably entry level at the time it was made. I agree with the many suggestions you try to find a set of 27" used wheels. That way the reach on the brakes will match up with the rim. It doesn't look like finding a set locally would be much of a problem.
Here is one from Arlington Heights for $15 https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/b...542549818.html It's worth calling the owner. That's a lot closer than Milwaukee.
I would disassemble the axle set and clean and re-grease the bearings.
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Old 10-08-22, 09:43 AM
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Ill be that guy..

I would put zero dollars in 27 wheels and tires, longer reach brakes just dont cost enough to make me buy in into a dead wheel size. 32/36 spoke 700c wheels can be found dirt cheap and the tires and tubes are far more plentiful. A drop to 700c will also allow bigger tires which is plus for most of us.

Before I bought anything Id make sure the seat post came out and the bottom bracket and headset wasnt turning to dust.
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Old 10-08-22, 11:10 AM
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Yes, it's a far better idea to swap out the wheels, brakes, (and don't forget the cassette) so that you can run your Paselas in 622x38 instead of 630x32. Makes far more economic sense.

Seriously, the kinds of use that these 40-y/o, 2x5 27" bikes typically see, doesn't really call for high -performance, specialist rubber.
There's probably more choices for 27" tires than there were back when these bikes were new; you just can't go into any one shop and expect to find them all on hand.
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Old 10-08-22, 12:30 PM
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What kind of riding do you plan on doing with the bike?
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Old 10-08-22, 04:24 PM
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Tubes for 700X32 work just fine on 27" wheels.
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Old 10-08-22, 07:42 PM
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Heres a thought. Change to longer reach brakes and switch to 700c wheels. I did this with an old Trek. May be a little more room for wider plusher tires.
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Old 10-09-22, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Doc_Wui View Post
The rims are rusty... If I change them to alloy will I notice the weight savings?

They don't look like steel rims.

Clean up that seatpost and use plenty of grease between it and the seat tube before it's too late.
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Old 10-10-22, 11:29 PM
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They rust like steel though. I will put some anti-seize on that post. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 10-13-22, 05:44 AM
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I have that very same bike/year. When found, it wasn't in rideable shape, so I was doing an entire swap out of parts anyway. Long reach brakes, and put an extra set of 700c wheels on it. Standard 130 width behind, it seems to fit fine. Bike lost a bit of weight, and despite it's humble origins, is a nice, springy ride.
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