Mountain Bike Wheel Sizes In Calderdale

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by andy.geall79

Posted on Feb 26, 2015 at 12:28 PM

Calderdale Mountain Bike Wheel Sizes

Mountain Bike Wheel Sizes In Calderdale

Having ridden mountain bikes in Calderdale since the early 90’s a lot has changed, the terrain remains the same but the technology invested has dramatically changed the bikes we ride today. Over the years suspension was introduced, hydraulic disc brakes became a regular feature and most recently the hot topic of wheel size 26”, 27.5” (650b) or 29” have been the talk of the mountain bike community.

26”

So what works best in Calderdale? For years the majority of mountain bikes were equipped with a 26” wheels and this was just the way it went, technology improved around other areas of the bike and we went from riding ‘bone shakers’ to comfy bikes that could not only stop on a sixpence but soaked up the terrain. You can’t simply forget the 26” is the most tried and tested wheel and if you like your bike to be responsive and nimble on twisty terrain this may still be the bike for you. From a Calderdale perspective we don’t have many trails of this nature. Many of the big bike manufactures will soon stop making the wheel that provided years of smiles for many of us.

Pros: long term pedigree in the mountain bike world and a great time to buy a second hand 26” if this is the wheel size for you.
Cons: Greater chance of going over the handlebars and ability to roll over terrain compared to the bigger wheels.

27.5” (650b)

The 27.5” (650b) has been dubbed the best of both worlds with the ability to roll over obstacles like the 29er and have the nimble handling or a 26” wheel. Having ridden a number of bikes with the mid-sized wheel I’m not convinced, you naturally compare the capabilities of this bike to the 26” and although I enjoyed riding this wheel size I couldn’t recognise a huge difference between these wheels and my trusty 26”.

Pros: Lighter wheels than a 29er and a consideration for those riders who loved their 26” wheels.
Cons: It simply doesn’t have the capabilities of a 29er although multiple cross country world champion and world cup winner Nino Schurter has a strong case to argue this as his wheel of choice is the 27.5”.

29er

The 29er for me is just brilliant, I was amazed by the ease this wheel size floated over technical terrain and at the same time put the rider in a more relaxed and comfortable riding position compared to the 26” wheel. Simply put for me this bike is quicker more fun to ride and suits the hard packed mountain bike terrain Calderdale has to offer.

Pros: A great all-rounder equipped to deal with the Calderdale terrain.
Cons: They have a dull spot below 5mph due to their larger wheel size that some riders may find hard to get going.

Summary

From the view of a cross country rider who just loves going fast the 29er would be my wheel of choice. Many riders may disagree with my thoughts and that’s fine, what I would say is ask yourself what type of mountain biking you like best and go test ride some bikes before you pick the one that’s right for you.

Andy Geall – Calderdale Cycling Officer

About the Author

andy.geall79's avatar

andy.geall79 Sustainable Development Officer - Cycling Specialist at Calderdale MBC

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