Look closely and you’ll see a new trend on the trail these days: big-wheeled mountain bikes. While 26-inch bikes have been the tried-and-true standard wheel size for quite some time, two bigger sizes have recently proved their popularity among riders. 29-inch and 27.5-inch wheels are infiltrating the market at record speed. Why the additional options? It seems fans of the latest offerings appreciate the bigger wheels’ advantages on the trail. As far as I can tell, this isn’t a fad. I suggest you test them out for yourself before you choose sides.
This year's largest bike trade show was abuzz with the latest big wheel offerings. Like it or not, 650b--or should I say 27.5-inch--wheels are here and not going anywhere anytime soon. Everywhere I looked, manufacturers were quick to embrace the new middle wheel size. I saw forks, rims, wheels and even complete 27.5-inch bikes. I think it’s safe to say this relatively new middle sibling is poised to stay the course. Take a look at which manufacturers showed their support for the middle wheel size at Interbike 2012. Still wary of the tweener wheel? You might be surprised at the big names on this list.
While 26 inches is considered the “standard” wheel size in the mountain bike industry, 29-inch wheels are fast on their heels. And if you look closely, another wheel size has been garnering a lot of attention at trade shows and on the trail. The 27.5-inch wheel fits right in between the 26- and 29-inch offerings. With so many wheel sizes, you might be wondering which one is best for you. You're not alone. Read on to learn a bit more about each option, and why it may—or may not—suit your needs.
The “29” in “29er mountain bike” refers to the diameter of the whole wheel, including the tire. It’s a larger rimed mountain bike than what has traditionally flooded the market, and it’s oh, so popular on the trail these days. But why? The bigger-wheeled bikes offer riders a boatload of benefits--from better traction to improved stability. Brush up on the advantages and disadvantages before you decide to throw a leg over one. While 29er mountain bikes may not be for everyone, their continuously growing fan base proves they'll be sticking around for the long haul. In this article, take a look at how this fine piece of machinery came to be, what it offers riders and who should be throwing a leg over one.
Written by former About.com guide Kevin Tisue, this article does a great job at defining the medium-sized wheel and why we haven’t seen that many for sale—until now. he states that those at the forefront of the 650B/27.5-inch movement claim that this tire size offers all of the advantages of the 29" movement (lower rolling resistance, better traction, smoother ride, etc.) with less of the disadvantages (geometry limitations, toe clearance issues, higher center of gravity, suspension travel limitations). Read on to learn more about the latest mountain bike tire size and why you might consider rolling on a pair yourself.
650b, 27.5-inch—call it what you will, the new medium-sized wheel is all the rage these days and I know you've got an opinion on this. Let's hear what you think about 27.5-inch wheels. Are they the perfect solution? Industry hype to sell more bikes? An unnecessary addition to the growing number of mountain bike wheel sizes? We want to hear your thoughts about the latest wheel size to grace the singletrack. So, cast your vote!