Sunday, November 6, 2016
Using Aluminum 590mm (English 26 x 1 3/8) Rims on a Schwinn
I recently built a Schwinn New World bicycle for my wife. The bicycle at hand was a 1947 Schwinn New World that came as part of a "his and hers" New World set. I've been riding the men's bicycle for several years and the time came to build the women's bike for my wife.
Being less wedded to historical accuracy than me, she opted to have aluminum rims. Schwinn's stock size in that era was 597 mm (Schwinn 26 x 1 3/8, or 26 x 1 1/4 in England). This proprietary size widely has heavy, steel rims of either a Westrick (S5) or an Endrick (S6) pattern. The question then was, "how do I get aluminum rims on a Schwinn New World?".
I thought of what one would do with an English three speed: buy Sun CR-18 aluminum rims. Perhaps this could work...
I bought the rims and laced them to the hubs. Conveniently, the rims had roughly the same effective rim diameter as the Schwinn S5 Westrick (owning to the Westrick having a "bump" in the center that shortens the spokes a bit. The stock 11 1/4 inch spokes in front and 10 3/4 spokes in back worked fine: 36, cross 3 pattern.
The somewhat smaller diameter led to a slightly longer brake reach needed. I addressed that with a set of Weinmann #810 brakes from the 1960s, off a Schwinn Traveler. These long-reach brakes worked fine.
The result is this: you can use Sun CR-18 rims on a Schwinn lightweight, provided you have the longer-reach brakes like the Weinmann 810 calipers. This opens up a variety of new and improved tires over the stock Schwinn size. I opted for "all around" type Kenda tires on my wife's bike.
These wheels are quite light for this bike. In fact, the front wheel in full weighed less than the stock S5 rim weighed alone. Braking is also improved.