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Mountain Bike Tire Sizes Explained. Wheel Size Comparison, Sizes and Uses.

Mountain Bike Tire Sizes Explained. Wheel Size Comparison, Sizes and Uses. 2020-10-10Leave a comment

electrical bike Mountain Bike Tire Sizes Defined. Wheel Dimension Comparability, Sizes and Makes use of.

mountain bike tire sizes

A time comes for many of us to purchase new bikes. The actual fact is, mountain bikes hold getting higher, and newer ones carry out higher than the outdated ones in each doable means, save for maintaining your bank card steadiness in examine. However new bikes additionally hold getting extra difficult, with genres and subgenres and wheel sizes and single-ring drivetrains and all the remainder. We might go down a really, very deep rabbit gap attempting to suss out all that stuff, so let’s stick, for essentially the most half, to wheel dimension and tire width.

As a complete, on the subject of wheels and tires, the bike business has been traditionally sluggish to maneuver. Over a decade in the past the resistance to 29-inch wheels took on nearly spiritual fervor, with some corporations going so far as declaring “no 29ers, ever.” Clearly, everyone knows who misplaced within the nice 29 vs. 26 battle.

Firms that held out in opposition to 29ers (and to a lesser extent, fats bikes) quickly realized this was a strategic mistake, and the ache may very well be felt through misplaced gross sales and leftover stock. It now appears we’ve swung the opposite means, with new wheel dimension concepts being adopted far more shortly.

Some riders grumble that that is all only a cash seize on the a part of bike makers, forcing obsolescence on older fashions and gear as new wheel sizes (and hub spacing, and backside bracket requirements, and many others.) take over giant components of the market. However that is nothing new. Know-how marches ahead, and surprisingly sufficient, it doesn’t bodily change the bike you might be driving, simply the notion of its flaws.

My first bike was a Large Iguana, outfitted with Suntour’s last-gasping-breath of a drivetrain, marginally efficient Dia-Compe cantilever brakes, and tires with a durometer of weathered oak. If it hadn’t been stolen off a porch years in the past, I might nonetheless stroll into any bike store and get components to maintain that factor operating. Makes it laborious to complain about obsolescence when you possibly can simply hold decades-old equipment operating with a minimal of fuss.

And let’s not overlook, riders all the time vote for brand spanking new expertise with their wallets. And proper now, all of us appear to be voting for extra choices.

Right here’s the place we stand with tire sizes lately
Whereas there are solely three fundamental shared rim diameters (ISO dimension) amongst grownup bikes, the huge variations in rim and tire widths are what actually set all these aside.

The three ISO diameters are:

  • 559 ISO – the unique 26-inch wheel dimension
  • 584 ISO – 27.5 or 650b
  • 622 ISO – 29 or 700c

For simplicity, when referring to “wheel dimension” it will likely be one among these under:

Wheel Dimension Explainer

  • Customary Tires (about 1.95-2.5 inch width)
  • 26 inch (559 ISO) – the unique knobby tire, now principally relegated to children’ bikes and dust jumpers
  • 27.5 inch (584 ISO) – also called 650B, the “barely greater than 26 inch” wheel dimension
  • 29 inch (622 ISO) – similar rim dimension as most trendy highway bikes

Pluses: shorter sidewalls squirm much less below laborious cornering; rolls shortly; big number of bikes and parts

Minuses: unpredictable traction in gentle situations; much less capacity to soak up path chatter; similar old-same outdated

Fats Bike Tires (3.8-5 inch width)
26 x 4 (559 ISO) – the primary fats bikes
26 x 5 (559 ISO) – wider fats bike tires
27.5 x 4 (584 ISO) – new fats dimension, at the moment Trek-only
Pluses: traction for days; flotation for days; squishy tires soak up path irregularities

Minuses: all that rubber is heavy; self-steer points on off-camber trails; laborious to steadiness tire strain to forestall each squirm and bounce; extensive pedal stance can trouble some riders; squirmy in high-load conditions; restricted to principally inflexible bikes or hardtails; the sooner you go, the weirder it will get

Plus Tires (2.8-3 inch width)
26plus (559 ISO) – fairly uncommon, however rumored to grow to be extra prevalent
27plus (584 ISO) – most typical plus dimension
29plus (622 ISO) – the largest of the large
Pluses: not a lot heavier than sturdy 2.3 inch extensive tires; traction in unpredictable terrain; much less squirm and bounce than fats bike tires; can slot in some frames and forks not particularly designed for plus tires

Minuses: laborious cornering masses can nonetheless trigger squirm until heavy tires and extensive rims are used; will be unpredictable on off-camber and excessive traction terrain; slim (however increasing) number of tires and rims; sidewalls will be vulnerable to cuts

There are many different issues apart from tire dimension that ought to be thought of (geometry, suspension journey, and many others.); however it’s tires, and tire strain, that switch all our braking, steering and acceleration to the path. So, let’s break mountain biking down into a couple of classes and make some suggestions:


For lengthy rides on unknown terrain, it’s laborious to go mistaken with greater tires. Whereas fats bike tires may be an excessive amount of for areas with out giant quantities of sand or snow, a variety of exploratory sorts would quite have greater than sufficient tire than too little. The plus tires are a great all-around alternative that ought to steadiness grip, fl oat and weight fairly properly. For overlaying giant quantities of unpredictable terrain shortly, there’s actually nothing like a 29plus bike.


The perfect guess for deep sand and snow is floatation, and the widest tires are the best way to go right here.

Wheel Dimension Explainer bikes-1

Cross-Nation Racing/Health Using

When it comes all the way down to who has the strongest legs and largest lungs, quick is the best way to go. And in contrast to gravity racing, cross nation is gained on the climbs, and that requires fast-rolling, light-weight tires.

Gravity Using/Enduro Racing

It’s comparatively simple to go quick in a straight line, however cornering pace is what separates the really quick guys from everybody else. Cornering laborious means excessive masses on tires, and people masses could cause all types of flex within the tall sidewalls of fats and plus tires. However at the same time as I kind this, we’re seeing an increasing number of quick riders loving on the plus tires in sure conditions.

Marin Assault Path-2

Path Using

There are actually no proper solutions about what bike to trip on dust for enjoyable. Whereas some areas will be fairly homogeneous, on any given day in most places you’ll find folks driving dust on absolutely anything with knobby (and typically not-so-knobby) tires.

Experiment, take a look at trip some bikes, swap bikes together with your buddies, get pleasure from your self, and don’t get too hung up on what you “ought to” be driving. That mentioned, in case you are searching for a do-it-all path hardtail, there are a variety of compelling causes to take a look at the brand new crop of 27plus bikes.

The upside to all these selections?
They’ll break down into comparable wheel diameters, making it simpler to suit a number of wheel sizes into the identical body. With bikes like Salsa’s Pony Rustler/Horsethief, Advocate’s Hayduke (learn our Hayduke evaluation) and the brand new Santa Cruz Hightower being designed to make the most of 29 inch and 27plus tires, we count on this concept to unfold to the remainder of the business.

With 2021 product [already being] launched, count on to see this dual-wheel-size-compatible thought to unfold to 27.5 inch/26plus bikes as properly. This could simplify issues for producers, retailers and customers. There are going to be some rising pains right here, and we’ll in all probability must wade by means of some foolishness to get to the wheel dimension knowledge we’re all in search of.

We’ve been by means of comparable issues earlier than, and we’ll undergo this once more.

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