Do you own a 26-inch wheeled mountain bike that you ride more on the road than on the trails?  Have you ever wanted to make that slow mountain bike faster on the street?  Have you tried skinny tires, but people on their road bikes are still whizzing past you? By losing the small, sluggish 26 inch-wheels and installing a pair of light, nimble 700c wheels, you will be able to turn your mountain bike into a road-worthy machine.

It’s an easy job when you have a frame with disc brakes.  All you need to do is pull out the old wheels, slide in those thin, fast 700’s, and your ready to roll. But what if your bike doesn’t have disc brake tabs, are you out of luck? No, that’s where Mavic’s caliper adjusters come to the rescue.

When you try to install 700c wheels in a 26 inch-wheeled mountain bike frame, the brake pads don’t line up with the rim, they hit just below it. The brake pads need to be a little higher in order for them to line up with the braking surface.  This is where Mavic’s caliper adjusters will come in handy.


The caliper adjusters remind me of the old school brake boosters that were popular back in the nineties, but with a set of brake bosses welded to the adjusters to allow you to mount your brakes higher on the frame. This will bridge the gap and perfectly line up your brake pads with your new 700c wheels.

Installation is simple, just remove the brakes and bolt the caliper adjusters to the brake bosses on the frame using the supplied stainless hardware.  Then bolt your brakes to the caliper adjusters.  The next step is to install the new wheels.

Pay close attention here to avoid purchasing a wheelset that will not fit your bike.  Essentially, don’t simply purchase a standard 700c road wheelset.  Here is why. When it comes to buying a set of wheels, you need to be sure to get a pair of wheels that match the spacing of your frame.  Mountain bikes have 100mm front-wheel spacing and 135mm rear-wheel spacing.  Road bikes have 100mm front-wheel spacing and 130mm rear-wheel spacing.  As you can see, the front wheel has the same spacing, but the road bike’s back wheel is 5mm narrower.  So be sure to get a 135mm-spaced 700c back wheel.

Hybrid bikes as well as some touring and cross bikes use 135 mm spacing, so it won’t be hard to find a new 700c wheel.  You may also pick up Mavic’s Speedcity wheelset, made specifically for this purpose. Once again, Mavic has another easy solution.

The last part to sort out is the tire size.  If you plan on sporting your super tight Lycra to dominate the roads, you can put on the smallest tire your rim will allow.  If you still crave a little dirt and prefer a little cyclocross action, you can fit a 32mm tire onto your sweet new rims.  However, when you take the tire size up to 35 mm, you tend to pick up a few noisemakers (i.e. leaves, sticks, and stones) in the gap between the adjusters and your tire.  Once you’ve slapped on your new tires and your cassette, go ahead and put your new wheels onto your old mountain bike frame.  All thats left is a quick brake adjustment and you’re ready to roll.

I used to race my old, rigid mountain bike at cyclocross races, and after I switched to the larger wheels, I could really feel a big difference.  I was glad I made the switch to 700’s.  The caliper adjusters were a great way to transform my ride into a completely different machine.   Whether it’s a great commuter or cyclocross bike you’re looking for, there are many options for that old 26 inch-wheeled mountain bike.