I don't get the odd wheel sizes on my second hand bike

harry25

Retro Newbie
I have had an old bike in bits for about 20 years that I got it out of the garden shed today . I think it is a Raleigh Hercules Hustler that I bought second hand circa 1990 after my "best bike" had been stolen . However I never used it much so did not build up any detailed knowlwdge about it . Today , when I removed the old tyres , I realized that the 2 wheel sizes (front and rear) are different which does not make sense to me : the wheel sizes on the old tyres say it is 26inch by 1 1/4 and 27inch by 1 1/4 ! ( so it is well on the way to a penny farthing!) It also has Derailleur gears fitted. How do the brakes fit with odd sized wheels?. And according to the Raleigh catalogue of 1971 it should have 26 inch wheels and a Sturmey Archer gear set up. Any advice on what to do next would be appreciated.
 

harry25

Retro Newbie
Oops I think I must have got my bike wheels mixed up ! I judged them as similar from the tyres but they must have come from different bikes . I will check it again.
 

MartinYorkshire

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I have had an old bike in bits for about 20 years that I got it out of the garden shed today . I think it is a Raleigh Hercules Hustler that I bought second hand circa 1990 after my "best bike" had been stolen . However I never used it much so did not build up any detailed knowlwdge about it . Today , when I removed the old tyres , I realized that the 2 wheel sizes (front and rear) are different which does not make sense to me : the wheel sizes on the old tyres say it is 26inch by 1 1/4 and 27inch by 1 1/4 ! ( so it is well on the way to a penny farthing!) It also has Derailleur gears fitted. How do the brakes fit with odd sized wheels?. And according to the Raleigh catalogue of 1971 it should have 26 inch wheels and a Sturmey Archer gear set up. Any advice on what to do next would be appreciated.

Ironically, some modern bikes now come with almost this exact setup as an option, which is appropriately called a "mullet". You very nearly invented an MTB trend here..just pipped at the post by a few years 👍

I did have a good chuckle at your second post. Glad you got it sorted.
 

harry25

Retro Newbie
Thanks for that : it must have been the "excitement" of going back to it all after all this time and the "difficulty level" of extracting it all from the "depths" of the shed ! I am still amazed at how similar these "bike wheels"from different places (Japan and Brum) look after they are "rusted up" a bit- the 27 wheel inch was from a "Japanese" (I think) racer - a "cheapish" bike from the 1980s .There were some other clues I should have spotted though, before I figured it out :- the "Japanese" bike had a "rubber" liner to cover the spokes inside the rim and the Raleigh wheel had a "rustier looking" cloth tape liner. And the spokes on the inside of the Raleigh were less evenly cut on the rim .Yesterday I thought about "dremelling" these smooth to reduce possible punctures but I am not sure whether "grinding them down" like this would be a good thing to do . But , in the mean time I have ordered a "Pedal Pro" Bottom Bracket Lock Ring Spanner so maybe I can start "greasing up" in that area . And a friend suggested fitting 1 3/8 inch tyres on the 1.25 rims to give more of a "mountain bike" feel . I did not know that this would be a viable thing to do. And I have run out of "Neetsfoot" oil for the leather saddle ,so I will need some of that as well.
 
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MartinYorkshire

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Thanks for that : it must have been the "excitement" of going back to it all after all this time and the "difficulty level" of extracting it all from the "depths" of the shed ! I am still amazed at how similar these "bike wheels"from different places (Japan and Brum) look after they are "rusted up" a bit- the 27 wheel inch was from a "Japanese" (I think) racer - a "cheapish" bike from the 1980s .There were some other clues I should have spotted though, before I figured it out :- the "Japanese" bike had a "rubber" liner to cover the spokes inside the rim and the Raleigh wheel had a "rustier looking" cloth tape liner. And the spokes on the inside of the Raleigh were less evenly cut on the rim .Yesterday I thought about "dremelling" these smooth to reduce possible punctures but I am not sure whether "grinding them down" like this would be a good thing to do . But , in the mean time I have ordered a "Pedal Pro" Bottom Bracket Lock Ring Spanner so maybe I can start "greasing up" in that area . And a friend suggested fitting 1 3/8 inch tyres on the 1.25 rims to give more of a "mountain bike" feel . I did not know that this would be a viable thing to do. And I have run out of "Neetsfoot" oil for the leather saddle ,so I will need some of that as well.

Please, never stop posting on this forum :D

Go easy with the dremel. It seems what you're suggesting is grinding down the spoke nipples inside the rim, which is not a good idea.

Cloth tape of good quality, is sufficient. Rubber is inferior. If you're not certain of what you are doing then I would suggest, for your own safety, taking it to a local wheel builder for a check up. You absolutely do not want your spokes failing whilst riding. You could suffer serious injury, or worse.

Bottom bracket maintenance cannot be performed with a lock ring spanner on its own. There are other tools and products required and a certain level of knowledge. Again, for the £20 or so it would cost, I would highly recommend you talk to your local bike shop. If they are kind, they may even show you how to do it and the tools you will need.

Overall, if you're just starting out, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have the bike into an LBS for a full check over anyway. I don't mean halfords. If you post where you are located, I'm sure someone can point you in the right direction of where to take it.

Please don't forget, bikes are a mode of transport and really do need to be set up correctly to avoid hurting yourself.

Good luck.
 

velomaniac

MacRetro Rider
26 x 1&1/4" & 26 x 1&3/8" are not the same size tyres and are not interchangeable. It's difficult to get 26 x 1&1/4" tyres which are 32mm wide only. 26 x 1&3/8" tyres are as common as muck and a small block knobbly tyre version is made by Kenda Tyres but they are usually only available in 37mm wide but sometimes 42mm wide. These 26 x 1&3/8" tyres if you wished to use them would require new wheels which are also known as
37 x 650A or 37-590.
 

harry25

Retro Newbie
Thanks to Velomaniac for the info . Tyre sizes were one hurdle to get over and it was tricky to decide what to get . I will have to wait and see what the post delivers and whether I can make it all fit on the wheels. I should get 1.25 tyres with standard inner 26 inch tubes .And I have realized that my biking "Eureka" moment was highly specific to me because:-

1) Our street has no (known to me) easily visible bikers although my wife maintains that she has seen a bike actually being ridden up here
2) Tales of "biking" accidents here are legion in our street , even though biking is very popular "around and about".
3) The nearby local pedestrian pathways are very dangerous especially for children.
4) So to me it seems that if people up here , in this street , do have bikes then they must be hidden away in their SUVs and driven to the areas where they can be used safely.
5) But I am a small "old car" user and would not dream of lugging my bike around this way . And I so not use an SUV or big car for bike transport.
6) A few days ago I came up with "walker lugging" (lifting/carrying ) my bike around (the hard way) to get around these dangerous roadways . Though , of course, by the time I had thought of this , I had forgotten the details about the bikes I actually owned! My bikes have remained largely , but not completely forgotten , in the shed . This was until I started to "get out" of my car and explore the detail of where I lived by walking (very gingerly!) around the neighbourhood, just "one step" at a time.
7) "Stepping up to the plate" after my "Eureka" moment :- And , recently I have also realized that care was needed with buying stuff because the type of bike dealers who sold me my "best bike" for £15 in 1970 no longer exist . They were generally very reliable and usually wore some sort of button up light brown overall cum coat ( but without any leggings). :cool: :cool:After my biking "Eureka" bike moment occurred when I realized I could do some bike "lugging" ( just one step at a time) to get away from the dangers specific to "our street" .By doing this I found out that I could use the hidden back streets and byways that would lead me to the "golden" old railway infrastucture tarmacked pathways that go to and through all the main local scenic areas and tourist hot spots . Of course ,the Vikings used to lug their boats over the "difficult" river stretches so they could trade in places like Constantinople Well , my "bike lugging" will not have to be as hard as that but I will still have to take it at just "one step at a time" ( especially up and down those stricky "step" bits)
9) My Hercules Hustler was bought second hand around 1980 for about £20.00 and the wheels are not original . This bike did not really replace my earlier second hand "sturmey archer"3 speed "Raleigh" bike that had been stolen .But now as my interest in it has increased a quite a lot a I have figured out a use for it and so I have tried to find a "You Tube" Hercules equivalent to get the ideas needed to restore it a bit . However all the "You Tube" videos of bike workshops seem to be much too neat and tidy .The nearest "You Tube" equivalent I could find for a Hercules was a French guy who was doing up his Hercules in his grandad's workshop . And clearly he could do "clever stuff" like brazing ( I think) which is beyond what I have ever attempted .The condition of the wheels I have is OK though the rear wheel appears to be new and better . It has an alloy centre stamped "M" MAILLARD manufactured in France 38 -8 . The wheel rim has a special grooved edge and is stamped 26 by 1 1/4 O 597 10 3. So somebody at some point put some money into it.And I have some other small things to find out :- The rear wheel has grey paint under the rim tape . Is this likely to be grey cellulose primer or something special ? What paint can I use to restore it? The rim on the front has one small ding but appears to be otherwise OK. After a "think" - I decided to "copy" the cellulose trick and apply grey primer on all 4 wheels in these wheel rim inside areas.
10) The old tyres on the bike were well "documented" on the tyre sidewall as : Semperit : Made in Austria : 32-597 (26 inch by one and a quarter -this was also helpfully written on the tyre, so I know it must be true) . These Austrian tyres seem to have survived slightly better in the shed than the Japanese 27 inch ones on the other bike which split right down to the canvas . With these the splits in these Austrian tyres the splits did not go right down to the canvas ! ( but I realized ,even so , that "supergluing up" the cracks would not do, so I sent off for new tyres and tubes!). And the other thing I have noticed is that the 27 inch wheel size is not as popular as it once was (I think) . This confirms that the Hercules is the bike to spend the money on .
 
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dyna-ti

Gold Trader
MacRetro Rider
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Ironically, some modern bikes now come with almost this exact setup as an option, which is appropriately called a "mullet". You very nearly invented an MTB trend here..just pipped at the post by a few years 👍
Give it time and it will be the other way around. The larger wheel on the back, the smaller on the front. Bike industry is prone to doing anything in order to upset the status quo and find a new niche market to flog their latest tat off to.
 

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