Ever admired cycling? Ever wondered about how a bicycle wheel size can affect movement? Do all bikes have the same wheel sizes? If not, how and where to check them? Here’s an in-depth knowledge every biker should have, about all types of bike wheel size, how to check for it, and how they can choose the correct wheel size for themselves. This article is about every detail you are looking for to know about bike wheel sizes.
You might be wondering if a wheel size matters for a bike? Yes, it does. Now the question pondering in your mind is why? This can be linked with a series of factors. You need to know where you will be riding a bike, as there is a difference in the height of the mountain bike wheel and the height of the road bike wheel. On the other hand, small bike wheel size is more likely to get affected amidst the rock and debris found in the mountainous roads. Considering all these factors, here is a detailed study about the bike wheel size. Keep scrolling to learn more.
Features of a bike tire
Before getting into details about the bike wheel size and how to determine bike wheel size, quickly check the features of a bike tire.
Bike tires are available in a mysterious display of sizes and can be mainly differentiated through specifications like bike wheel size for height, width, and diameter. Major features of a bike wheel:
- The rubber used in making the bike tire is considered one of the major features as soft rubber tires can easily adapt with the surface, but require frequent change as these are not very long-lasting. On the other hand, hard rubber tires are extremely durable but find difficulty adapting to the surface.
- Another major feature includes if the tire is puncture-resistant or not.
- Threads per inch ( TPI ) is important as the carcasses used for making bike tires have been rated in terms of TPI.
- The bike tires play a very important role as studded tires are suggested for slippery areas, tubeless tires that can be used in lower pressure, and foldable tires, though expensive, a very popular type.
Standards of demarcation
When it comes to comparing newer bikes, a novice could very easily get confused about his bicycle wheels’ standard and the way they’re marked. Suppose, you as an amateur cyclist, come across these bike wheels – 650b and 584ISO. But both of their rims measure 27.5 inches.
It is very important to know about the prime standards under which bicycle wheel sizes are compared and demarcated:
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
- European Tire Rim Technical Organization (ETRTO)
- American Standard
- French Standard
Obviously, tire sizes aren’t always indicative of how the biker’s body fits into their bicycle. Mountain and Dirt Bikes, for example, have high-range shocker suspensions and tire options that can (and, in fact, do) alter the height of the bike.
Ways to read the bike wheel size
How do you determine bike wheel size? The ISO and ETRTO are together working for naming the bike tire as well as studying the exact size of it. The bike wheel size is the diameter measured in millimetres. This diameter is the size within the tire and not the dimensions surrounding it. There is a bike wheel size calculator, whereas the ETRTO and ISO specify the size of the rim and the tire, avoiding any confusion. The French standard and American standard are also used for denoting the bike wheel size. For your easy way of understanding the wheel size, you will find it written on one side of your tire.
The above picture denotes the place where you can find the size of your tire—wondering how to find the exact size of the tire? Well, the one in yellow is the first digit ETRTO that denotes the size in millimetres. Thus, this is a 622mm tire. Another easy way to know the bike wheel size, you need to find out the measurement of the distance between the outer rim and the axle assembly.
Bike Wheel size – tips to choose your fit!
In the modern generation of cycling, a customer is provided with a wide variety of options to choose from what kind of bike they require – rim size, wheel diameter, suspensions, gears, and even more!
Bicycles can be custom-made according to requirements by specifying the entire wheel and other details. Want to know about your ideal fit? Let us have a know-how of the various bicycle wheel types:
Small size wheels
16″ (ISO 305 mm)
The 16-inch wheels are commonly found on children’s bicycles, though they are one of the smallest diameter wheels you will ever encounter on an adult bike!
Custom folding bicycles typically use the 16″ wheels to save space and make them lighter and compact. The ride quality is unsatisfactory. These wheels are perfect for young children who have just started learning but are never an optimal choice for high-standard bikes.
20″ (ISO 406 mm)
20-inch wheels are standard and very common in stunt bikes like the BMX. Also, they can be used in small-wheeler folding bikes too! 20″ wheels come with the standard build quality, making it compact and lighter. This, in turn, makes it easier for BMX stunt riders to manoeuvre their bikes and perform aerial stunts.
Nevertheless, these wheels also have similar drawbacks as the 16-inches when it comes to normal riding. 20-inch wheels can still be dangerous on rocky, uneven alleys and paths, making them difficult to handle.
24″ (ISO 507 mm)
The 24-inch bike wheel size is good and, in fact, one of the best and the most optimal choice for a BMX cruiser stunt biker.
24-inch wheels are used widely in mountain bikes, as they provide consistent manoeuvrability with proper geometry and balance. 24-inch models are too wide to be used in folding bikes. With increased customization, 24-inch wheels are a suitable choice for mountain riders.
26″ (ISO 559 mm)
World’s first standard mountain bike models were made with the 26-inch bike wheel. This size is widely used for high-performance bikes, providing comfort and perfect synergy.
27.5’’/650b (ISO 584 mm)
Originally named and demarcated as 650b, the 27.5″ wheels were first introduced into the cycling industry as tour bikes. Being smaller in diameter than normal road bikes, the 27.5-inch wheels are a perfect choice for a long-rider. Not only that, but these tires are also a perfect fit for gravel roadways too!
29’’/700c (ISO 622 mm)
The 29-inch 700c is the standard French wheel size used till date in the cycling industry. In the modern generation, almost every adult bike comes with a 700c bicycle tire, as it has proven to be the most effective fit for a 622 mm standard bicycle rim. Although some riders have complained about tire size and turn radius being not ‘worth it, the full-size wheel provides a lofty performance and good manoeuvrability for adult cycling.
32″ (ISO 686 mm), 36″ (ISO 787 mm)
The highly uncommon 32/36-inches are custom-built for tall bicycle riders, who find it easier and comfortable to ride on. These sizes are extremely unlikely in the normal bicycle production industry. Nevertheless, if you’re a 6 feet bicycle rider, these oversized wheels can be the better option!
If you are a novice, it is pretty natural for you to have queries about the bike wheel size, the rim size, valves used, and many more. While the above-mentioned information will help you understand the theory of the bike wheel size, here are some helpful tips:-
- You should always choose your bike wheel size according to the style of your riding and the place where you will ride the bike. There is a huge difference while riding a bike in the mountains than on the roads.
- Remember that it is easier to ride a bike with a 25mm width of the rim. This provides balance while you are riding.
- While purchasing, check the shape of the handlebar you are comfortable with.
- Select the best suspension system for your bike.
- Lastly, do not compromise in selecting the perfect gear.
Are you still confused about what bike wheel size to choose, or can the wheel size of a bike affect speed? Well, this article has a detailed guide for all your questions. So, if you are planning to purchase a bike, study about bike wheel size and then go out to buy it for an excellent pedalling experience. We tried to cover all the things you need to know. I Hope this will help you.
Travis is a bike aficionado. Since he was a little boy, he has been riding bikes all day! And this passion led him to start this blog! His passion reflects in his words and detailed reviews!