I'm refurbishing a mid-'80s Bianchi Sport road bike. I got it on Craigslist. Front wheel is original, Araya 27x1, 32h. Rear wheel is 700c, Matrix Aurora with a mountain bike hub and a nasty bounce from a damaged rim. Obviously I want a new-old 27x1 wheel for the back. But I would also like to use a modern Shimano HG-200 7-speed cassette that I already have. Is that going to be possible? Am I going to find a vintage wheel to fit that cassette?

My mechanic suggested just fitting a new 700c rim to fix the bounce. But that feels like too much of a compromise to me. I don't like having a beautiful bike with different-sized wheels!

  • 2
    Personally I’d upgrade both to 622mm (assuming the brakes allow it) so you can use modern tyres. But I’m not a vintage guy.
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 5:36

2 Answers 2


If you want to make it 27" again (there are potential cases against this but it's not what you're asking about) but also keep it cassette, the main option is to have a wheel built. You can get new 27" Sun M13 IIs in high polish, which is a decent rim and will look the part. I'm not sure if those are NOS at this point or still being made, but they're not hard to get. Then put it on your old hub if it's still viable, or a new hub if not. Old high-end 7-speed cassette hubs in both 126mm and 130mm are also not hard to get, although none are made now, or if the frame is 130mm now or you're willing to make it that way you could just get a modern 130mm 8/9/10 or 11 speed hub and use spacers, although in this case if you're keeping the bike 7-speed it is technically better to just use a 7-speed freehub body for the better left-side spoke tension.

At one point at least one of the major North American repair wheel producers was doing a 27" Sun CR-18 on a low-end 130mm Shimano 8/9/10 hub. So for what it's worth, production wheels like that do exist. Even if you did get ahold of one of those, it's a functional but not particularly nice wheel, so it depends on what you're going for with the restoration. But if any native 130mm 27" bikes were ever mass produced, they're an exceptional rarity, and I'm fairly certain none ever were.

  • hi -Thanks for your detailed answer. I've been looking at wheels from Wheel Master (here ebay.com/itm/185122901540 and here ebay.co.uk/itm/17498345013). Would their hubs not work? And if I bought something like this sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bop/d/…, how easy would it be to replace the hub with one that fits my cassette?
    – B_M
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 5:25
  • @B_M The first link is for a freeweheel hub. That wheel is a good option if an inexpensive functional 126mm freewheel 27" wheel with vintage looks is what you want (I've used it a number of times for such bikes), but it won't take a cassette. The second link doesn't work for me. As for the craigslist wheel, yes if it were in good condtion you could drop in a new hub. I wouldn't put too much stock in how much lifespan you're going to get out of a random rim off craigslist with unknown history. To do it, you're doing a wheel build, no more or less easy than any other. Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 15:57

The advantage of 622mm rims is the much larger range of tyres available. 630mm wheels seem to have one or two available where modern road wheels have dozens if not hundreds of options.

Another thought is your rim – the 630mm rim is likely to be made of chromed steel. Aluminium rims were not at all common then, and the braking performance of small pads on steel was poor normally tending to non-existent in the wet.

If you want a period-correct bike, 630mm is your answer. If you want a bike to ride, 622 is a better answer.

The only downside is brake reach. A 622mm rim is 4mm lower, so your brake blocks have to slide down 4mm, which may be easy or may require new calipers, or a modification to the hanger bolt. New longer-reach calipers may not work as well with your existing brake levers, so there are gotchas.

Or – no one can spot the difference in size. There is no problem riding wheels of different size, other than you knowing they're different. Even your spare tube should fit both wheels well-enough.

As for the hub, it's not dependent on the rim at all. You can run a 7 speed cassette on any freehub that has matching splines. All you need to do is add enough spacers before the cassette goes on, so that the final lockring has good thread engagement onto the freehub.

I've put a 7 speed cassette onto a 10 speed freehub body as a test, and while it needed ~3 spacers, it fitted fine. As an added bonus, if the chain jumped the cassette for some reason there was less chance of the chain munching the lower spokes because of the extra space.

Your gotcha here is the OLD, or Over-Locknut Dimension. A 7 speed rear wheel was probably 126mm from side to side, and a higher-speeds wheel is probably built on a 130mm or 135mm OLD axle standard.

It is possible to "cold set" a steel framed bike and then align the dropouts to be parallel, but there's no going backward to the older 126mm standard.

Your mechanic's idea of replacing the rim on the existing 7 speed hub is workable too, but will require a complete wheel rebuild, and probably needs different spokes. The new rim MUST have the same spoke count as the hub, which is probably 32 but might be 36. Other values are possible too. And most modern rims are a bit "deeper" and look different. Finding a modern "box section" rim that isn't at the budget end of the scale may be challenging.

You could be sneaky and use a modern wheel, and then wrap the spokes to form a disk wheel and hide the modern rim, but disk wheels are uncommon on the road for a good reason – they're awful to ride in any cross wind or when a large vehicle passes. Plus it would be hard to match the Period-correct look.

  • hi -Thanks for your detailed answer. On tyres: I'm satisfied with my Panaracer tanwall (27x1, 30$ on eBay). Interesting to hear that about steel rims. I have been thinking about upgrading (rather than restoring!) the brakes. Changing the cables and pads did nothing. Would installing new Tektro dual-pivot calipers also not help? Or would that only work with new levers too?
    – B_M
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 5:31
  • I've been looking at wheels from Wheel Master (here ebay.com/itm/185122901540 and here ebay.co.uk/itm/17498345013). Would their hubs not work? And if I bought something like this sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bop/d/…, how easy would it be to replace the hub with one that fits my cassette?
    – B_M
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 5:31

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