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OK, I fold. Can someone explain all the different MTB wheel sizes?
Last Post 05/14/2015 11:53 AM by Cosmic Kid. 5 Replies.
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04/18/2015 07:26 AM
While I initially laughed at the idea of 29" wheels way back in 2002, it obviously caught on. Then came 27.5" and I could understand that since it was a nice compromise between 26 and 29 inch. But what the hell is going on with 650B, 27.5+, 29+, etc????? And all the silly fat-bike sizes too? Completely lost. Extremely confused. Let's not even get started on all the different hub sizes. All of these sizes for both rim, tire and hub make it insanely difficult to purchase upgrades or another set of wheels.


04/18/2015 11:00 AM
There are only three diameters. 26 which will be extinct soon, 650 aka 27.5 and 29 aka 700. The middle sized was referred to as 27.5 because it was marketed as being the middle size but it is actually closer to 26 than 29. The only reason mountain bikes were 26 in the first place was simply what was available as tires back in the day. Tom Ritchey made a 650 bike at the beginning of mountain bike history but good tires weren't available then. The plus sizes are simply fatter tires and rims. And wider frames and forks. But not quite fat bike. I don't see the point myself. Might be terrain dependant.
Gonzo Cyclist


05/12/2015 10:58 AM
yup, what OF said, more tires, a couple of years ago, you only had a couple of choices, now everyone is on it.
26" seems to still be the choice for many downhill type guys, but everything is moving to 27.5 for Downhill, and Enduro racing, and these bikes are GOOD, climb very well, but descend like a downhill bike, 6 inches plus for the suspension. And 27.5 is good for smaller women looking to step up wheel size, but maybe 29 is too big
A new trend is 27.5 PLUS, which makes the tire closer to a 29, but with a huge footprint. 29 is still the choice for cross country it seems, and 29 PLUS is becoming more popular
Fat bikes are all 26,


05/12/2015 06:55 PM
Since downhill is such a small market 26" wheels just had no experimenters. I see 27.5s are emerging.

I went 29er and it has so improved my riding I really wonder why it took so long to catch on. Ryder road 29er when he raced for Gary Fischer back in 2002.

Yes really tight switchbacks are not the best place for 29ers but they are manageable. 27.5 is an improvement on 26 and is a pretty good compromise for shorter riders and really tight technical rides.


05/12/2015 07:47 PM
Ditto OF
26 is hanging on for DH b/c it makes big travel easier to design and manufacture. And is more agile. Those DH guys are so good they could ride a kid's tricycle down those courses. 650B/27.5 likely will take over, but I may be wrong.
Cosmic Kid


05/14/2015 11:53 AM
Let me make this simple for you - buy the red bike. ALWAYS buy the red bike.

Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
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