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Decision time
#1
Hello everyone,

I'm trying to decide between overhauling my early 80s Bianchi Randonneur and buying a new road bike (or, heaven help me, both). The Bianchi is great to ride, but it's a couple of inches too tall for me (I can't stand flat-footed over the top tube and in the past, a few fast stops have been, well, painful).

So my question is this: is it a simple matter of putting smaller wheels on it (I'm almost positive that it has 27 inch wheels), or would putting smaller wheels on necessitate changes in the drivetrain? It sounds like a simple matter to me, but since the knee bone is connected to the ankle bone, I thought I'd check with the experts here for opinions.

Thanks,
Patty
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#2
Can say this Patty, it might be hard to find wheels compatible from a 27" downard. I'm not familiar with the 27"ers yet but hopefully soon will be acquainted with them. Sure one of the others may be able to help ya out.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#3
Two reasons to not do this:
1) Brakes might not be adjustable that far, they might not reach the rims
2) The whole geometry of the bike will be changed. The handling will be different, though it is hard to say whether it will be for better or for worse.

Also it might prove difficult to find wheels with axles that will fit the width of the frame. It can be respaced, though (assuming it is steel) or the hub can be changed. If you know somebody who can lend you a pair of wheels to just try out: do so. If it works: get new wheels. If it doesn't: I have to admit shopping for a new bike is just great! Wink Bear in mind that the handling properties of newer road bikes are completely different. They are much more responsive and give a somewhat harsher ride (I am always a bit surprised myself when changing from my old "winter" road bike to the new one).

At the moment old road bikes fetch quite good prices (in my opinion "astronomical" prices), especially if they are in good conditions. This could be to your advantage if you can bear the thought of parting with your old friend. Mabe you could also swap bikes with somebody who has too small a bike.
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#4
Well said Joe, lol was a little tired lastnight.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#5
Yeah, I think the Randonneur usually came with cantilever brakes which makes it even harder to change wheel sizes. Not impossible, but trickier.

It might make sense to try to sell it if it's in decent condition and use that towards something new. Joe_W is right about the ride on new "racing" bikes. But there are more bikes available set up with a "touring" geometry like the Randonneur has. You might look into those a bit or one of the growing group of all around urban/commuter bikes out there.

Or adjust to putting one foot down when you stop...
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#6
Wanted to apologize as I thought you said 29" lol. Still feel the same though as Dave said see if you can trade or sell.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#7
Thanks, everyone. You've confirmed what I suspected.

To fill in: my old bike has a steel frame, and I have verified that it has 27 inch wheels with cantilever brakes. It's actually in excellent condition, since it's been sheltered in storage for many years. I was at a good LBS this afternoon, and asked the question, and got the same answer you gave me about the brakes.

So I'm shopping for a new road bike of the so called "plush" category, with some speed and a slightly more relaxed riding position. I'll think about whether to fix up my old bike as an alternative ride or maybe sell it to someone who can appreciate it. I test rode a couple of bikes today, and things have definitely changed since I last rode a good road bike. Wow.

Thanks for your help!
Patty
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#8
Good luck with your new bike! I bought a road bike (Cyclomanix R2.2, small German company) last year since I use it for triathlon and I wanted to have the road position for racing (only bike = no sense in buying a TT bike). For commuting I'd probably rather get a cyclocross e.g. by Stevens or Ridley or whoever: Wider tyres are more comfy + studded tyres are only available 35mm and up (winter riding, yeah!) or get a decent commuter (fender eyelets) with a road-like geometry... (you see I am thinking about getting another one, alas: no funds + no room to store another bike)

Have fun with testing and comparing! If you buy at a local shop the bike might be more expensive than buying online, but most shops will give you good deals on stuff like shoes, lights, pumps... they can also swap the saddle if it doesn't fit. I tried three different saddles when I bought my bike and changed the stem after half a year for a (.5 cm) longer version (again: no cost). A good shop will also fit the bike to you and your needs.

See you on the road! (well, it _might_ happen, only about 8000km distance...)
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