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I have a bicycle from the 1980s. Steel front fork. I am replacing the 27 1/4 wheels with 700cc. The new front wheel hub is 96mm wide between outer face of the bearing housings. The front fork has an ID of 93mm.

I can accommodate the new 96mm wheel by stretching out the 93mm front forks but the wheel will not rotate due as the forks are pressed onto the bearing housing on each side.

The new wheel comes with 6mm nut spacers to prevent this. Does anyone have experience with bringing the front forks apart to a similar width? 108mm by adding 15mm to accommodate this wheel and 6mm spacers in my particular case. Is this too much for the front fork?

Are there alternative options? Do wheel hubs come narrower in 700cc?

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    Those spacers and the nuts tuhat hold them in place are an essential part on the hub and the standard width is 100mm locknut to locknut.
    – ojs
    Apr 10, 2023 at 7:41
  • presumably rim brakes? do they line up correctly?
    – njzk2
    May 4, 2023 at 21:34

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Assuming the old bike uses a normal steerer diameter, buy a new fork.

An alloy or steel 700c fork can be had for less than a hub (as cheap as $40USD new, cheaper used). Even if you could find a hub cheap you'd still have to rebuild the wheel. Most people don't have a truing stand and dishing tool at home so paying for a build is more cost. You'd likely need new spokes as well.

The brakes should line up more easily with a proper fork as well.

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    This is the right approach, but if you did build a wheel, you don't need a truing stand, and you definitely don't need a dishing tool for a front wheel with rim brakes (I measure against the frame/fork for both truing and dishing)
    – Chris H
    May 5, 2023 at 5:40

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