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What wheel size choose on a mountain bike

What wheel size choose on a mountain bike

Currently, the 29 ”wheel size for mountain bicycles is the indisputable standard of the modality. He has eclipsed and left virtually disused to the 26 ”wheels and cornered to those of 27.5”. The idea of ​​buying a bicycle with these latest measures seems that it is no longer useful. For many it is practically throwing money. But is this true? Or is it just one of those dogmas (one more) that have been established in the cycling market? We answer these issues, explaining in detail what are the benefits of the different small wheel sizes for Mountain Bike and how important your choice is.

Evolution of wheel measures in MTB

First it is necessary to contextualize the reason for this evolution in wheel size on the mountain bike. In the 1990s - the decade of growth and worldwide implementation of this sport - the 26 -inch wheels (with inner diameter of 559 mm) became the most used standard. The brands bet on this size somewhat smaller than those of road bicycles for several reasons. The ideal adaptation to the greatest weight of the painting and geometry was achieved and also to the shortest developments of a mountain bike. With the 26 ”tires, the best possible balance between pedaling and handling in those bicycles was reached.

Why has the size of the wheels increasing?

The 26 ”wheels have been the standard that has been maintained as a sales leader. But from 2012 approximately the main brands (Specialized, Cannondale, Trek, etc.) decided to increase wheel diameter to get better performance. All this without sacrificing key issues such as agility or bicycle management on the most complicated paths. This bet greatly influenced the evolution of the paintings. The extension of the carbon frames of high high ranges allowed to create lighter and more compact bicycles without sacrificing resistance or rigidity, and even increasing them. This allowed the assembly of larger wheels: 29 ”for XC and 27.5” for Trail and Enduro, mainly, without the weight or size of the bike.
The manufacture of increasingly light and compact paintings facilitated the assembly of increasingly
However the first generation of Mountain bicycles with 29 ”wheels He did not have the success in expected sales. They were slow movements, heavier than those of 26 ”and not very functional for cyclists of medium and low stature. They had to spend some years so that from 2014 and 2015 the paintings would file grams and improve their geometry, thus achieving the perfect lace with such large wheels. From there, faster 29 ”bicycles emerged (the largest wheels imply greater inertia), light and manageable. With the 29 ”a new standard was established that ended up definitely displacing the 26” wheels and left the 27.5 ”reserved for more radical modalities such as the All Mountain and the enduro.

Is it worth buying a bicycle of 26 "or 27.5"?

[Captation id = "Attachment_6931" Align = "Alignnone" Width = "900"]Rear wheel of a mountain bike Image: Oleg Troino[/caption] Once the reasons for this rapid evolution to larger wheels are clarified, you may still ask why there is still so much debate about wheel size in mountain cycling. Is it really so important? We have to answer yes. The manufacturers develop their bicycle frames depending on the chosen wheel size. In addition, the assembly of components, tires, axes, handlebars and brakes are also chosen depending on wheel size. Hence its capital importance in the behavior and management of the bicycle. Therefore, when buying a new or second -hand mountain bicycle, the first thing you should fix, before even in the price or design, it is in the wheel size. We have already explained the reason for the current domain of the bicycles of 29 ”. But its success is not completely ended with those of 27.5 ”or those of 26”. The marks have not yet been able to solve certain imbalances and lagoons originated by the increase in the diameter. Imbalances that do not have as much 27.5 ”and 26”. That is why they still survive with a niche of their own market (although smaller and smaller). Thus, we have to tell you that depending on your needs and type of cyclist that you are not buying by system a bike of 29 ”. In some cases it may be worth buying a 26 "mountain bike or a 27.5 ”. We detail the situations and recommended use of both sizes.

What use are the 26 "recommended?

The 26 ”Mountain Bikes are in disuse, but not forgotten or completely obsolete. They are still selling, intended for certain uses:
  • Initiation models or occasional outputs: If you have begun to practice Mountain Bike or salts occasionally and in short and simple tours, a 26 ”can be a great option for its low price and functionality. In this sense, we recommend looking for you in the second -hand market, where you can find a greater variety of models with quality assemblies at a very attractive price.
  • For children or adolescents: 26 ”wheels are best for small pictures and are more manageable and light, perfect for Bikers younger.

What use are 27.5 "recommended?

In recent months, the decline of 27.5 ”has been discussed a lot in forums and media. But we are clear: the 27.5 ”still have a lot of commercial life ahead and presence in the market, for several reasons:
  • Recommended standard for Radical MTB: especially for initiation or medium levels and RIDERS of short stature. Its commitment between speed, acceleration, agility and management is even greater than that can be obtained from a trail, enduro or 29 ”DH.
  • For small sizes: This greater balance is also optimal for low stature people (up to 1.70m or minor). Therefore, the big brands still offer new models with assembly of 27.5 ”in Sizes XS and S.
  • MTB Mullet boom (29 - 27.5 ”): Finally, we must not forget the rise of MTB Mullet. These are conventional or electrical bikes that combine a 29 ”wheel in front and a 27.5” behind. The objective is to obtain a manageable bike in curves and accelerations and fast or rolling at the same time. If you want on a mountain bike, you should certainly look at Mullet type assemblies.


In view of the data we have exposed, we advise you not to get carried away by the furor of the 29 ”and input discards any bicycle with a minor diameter wheels. In certain circumstances, either by your size, the type of mountain cycling that you practice, the level you have or the budget, may agree to buy a 27.5 ”or even 26”.
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