Can You Change the Wheel Size on a Mountain Bike?

This article talks about changing the wheel size on a bike. Have you ever thought to yourself, “I have this mountain bike but I don’t know how much clearance it has for my wheels? Or maybe I just want something with more ground clearance? Can you change the wheel size on your mountain bike in any way?

This article will talk about how to change the wheel size on your bike and give you a few suggestions for new bikes with better clearance and components that are compatible with one another.

Can You Change the Wheel Size on a Mountain Bike?

Yes, you can change the tire size and width on your mountain bike. However, it is important to keep in mind that changing these dimensions will also affect the handling and performance of your bike.

You must make sure that the wheelbase (distance between the brake lever and front axle) remains unchanged so that the suspension functions properly.

While it is typically recommended to stick with the wheel size that the bike is designed for, there are no regulations stating that you cannot change it. In fact, it is said that unless you’re riding on a designated mountain bike trail, you’re free to go with whatever wheel size you feel comfortable with.

Yes, you can put different size moutain bike tires on a mountain bike. If you are looking to switch up the wheel size on your mountain bike, just make sure that the distance between the brake lever and front axle (wheelbase) stays unchanged; this will ensure proper suspension performance.

Why Exactly Does Mountain Bike Wheel Size Matter?

Mountain bike wheel size matters because the size of your wheel determines the level of rolling resistance you will get on the trails. Having a bigger wheelbase allows you to overcome bigger obstacles.

The science behind this is called “angle of attack”. The larger the wheel, the higher point it will meet the obstacle at, and the steeper angle it will hit it. More force will reverberate back against the wheel making it harder to maintain control, stability and forward momentum on the bike.

Mountain Bike Tire Size Chart

The mountain bike tire size chart lists the available tire sizes and the corresponding wheel sizes. The mountain bike tire size chart is a helpful tool to know what size tires will fit your mountain bike. The mountain bike tire size chart is an accurate way to measure the width and the inner diameter of a mountain bike tire.

Bike Size Changeable Tire Size
26 24, 26, 27
27.5 26, 27, 29
29 27, 27.5, 29,


How to Install a Smaller/Bigger Wheel Size on a Mountain Bike?

One of the great things about mountain biking is that you can customize your bike to fit your needs. This includes changing the size of the wheels on your bike. If you are looking to install a smaller or bigger wheel size, there are a few steps you will need to take.

Be sure to have some basic knowledge of bike mechanics and be comfortable with removing and installing the wheel yourself.

  1. Choose the smallest gear and chainring on your bicycle.
  2. Put the brakes on.
  3. The brakes may have a built-in release level, or you may need to push the brakes to let go of any cable strain.
  4. You won’t need to change anything if you have disc brakes, which are great for changing wheel sizes.
  5. Loosen the bolt by releasing the quick-release button on the wheel. The wheel needs to be simple to remove.
  6. Make sure there is adequate clearance before installing a bigger wheel. Additionally, you want to confirm that a change in tire size is suitable for the kind of brake you now have.
  7. Make sure the wheel is completely put into the dropouts before inserting it.
  8. Make sure everything is secure by fully engaging the levers and nuts. The rear of the fork should be towards the front-wheel lever.
  9. The seat should remain in place at the back, and the rear wheel should be in line with the chain.
  10. Put the brakes back on. Make that they can brake effectively and are in alignment with the wheels.

How to Choose a Suitable Smaller/Bigger Wheel Size for a Mountain Bike?

Patch Size

Patch size is the amount of wheel that is touching the ground at any given time. A large patch size means more traction and power when riding, which is especially important when going uphill.

However, thin-rimmed bike wheels like those found on road bikes don’t have a large patch size, which is why they would be difficult to ride on mountain bike trails.

Angle of Attack

The angle of Attack is the angle at which a wheel hits an obstacle. Larger wheel sizes will have a higher Angle of Attack, making it easier to ride over obstacles.

The downside is that a larger wheel size makes small bumps more noticeable. This is only beneficial for riding on flat trails and no hills or mountains.


Mountain bikes come with different wheel sizes, and the size of the wheel can affect how the bike handles. Smaller wheels are better for sharp turns, as they allow for a tighter turning radius.

They also make it easier to change direction quickly. Larger wheels provide more stability and are better for traversing rougher terrain, but they don’t handle curves as well.


There is a lot of debate over what size wheel is best for mountain biking. Some people believe that bigger wheels are faster and provide more stability, while others think that smaller wheels are easier to maneuver through tight spaces and finicky trails.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and the type of terrain you will be riding on.

Wheel Strength

Wheels come in a variety of sizes, and each size has its own benefits and drawbacks. Smaller wheels are typically stronger than larger ones because there is less space for the spokes to break.

However, this also means that they are often heavier and have less traction. Larger wheels provide more stability and are easier to pedal, but they are also more susceptible to damage. It is important to choose the right wheel size for your needs.

Also Read: Can I Convert My Mountain Bike to 29-Inch Wheels?

How-To Convert 26″ to 27,5″ / 650b MTB wheel size

Mountain bikes originally came with 26-inch wheels. Now, 27.5- and 29-inch options are available on new mountain bikes. You might be wondering if you can convert your old 26-inch wheel mountain bike to the newer 27.5- or 650b size.

The good news is that it is possible to change the wheel size on a mountain bike. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Measure the width and height of your existing 26-inch wheel.

2. Find a compatible hub or rim that is the same width and height as your original wheel.

3. Find a spacer that is equal to or greater in width than the original wheel’s width. This will be used to space out the new hub or rim so that it fits in the frame correctly.

4. Find a compatible tyre that is the same size as your original tyre.

5. Find a compatible cassette or chain that is the same size as your original cassette or chain.

6. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to install the new parts onto your mountain bike

What is the difference between a 26-inch wheel and a 29-inch wheel?

The difference between a 26-inch wheel and a 29-inch wheel is the maximum diameter. A 26-inch wheel has a maximum diameter of 597mm while a 29-inch wheel has a maximum diameter of 622mm.

The larger the diameter, the higher the bike’s center of gravity and the harder it is to maintain balance and stability.

When changing tire sizes on a mountain bike, it is therefore important to pay attention to the different diameters to ensure that the new tires are compatible with the existing rims.

What are the clearance issues with mountain bike wheels?

There are several clearance issues to consider when changing the wheel size on a mountain bike.

You need to measure the space in between the fork stanchions to accommodate for width and the height off of the rim to the first portion of the suspension that the tire may come into contact with.

Depending on what your bike’s frame looks like, you may need to measure for width in-between portions of the frame. It is not good to have tires that come into contact with the chain or chain assembly of your mountain bike.

Can I put larger wheels on my mountain bike?

Yes, you can put larger wheels on your mountain bike if it has disc brakes that will work. You’ll need to combine this with shorter cranks like 150mm (if you have short legs), and you cannot move down too much. You can change 700c to 650b and 650b to 26″, but changing 700c to 26″ can be too much.

Advantages of Larger Mountain Bike Wheels

Angle of Attack

The angle of attack is the angle between the direction of an aircraft’s motion and the chord line of its wing. A higher angle of attack represents a higher risk of stalling, but it can also give the aircraft more lift.

Larger mountain bike wheels have an advantage when it comes to rolling over obstacles and maintaining speed on rough terrain. This is because they have a larger diameter and can thus roll over obstacles more easily.

In addition, larger wheels have a lower angle of attack, which means that they are less likely to stall on rough terrain.

Contact Patch Size

When you have a larger mountain bike wheel, you get what is called a “larger contact patch size.” In other words, the area of your tire that is actually touching the ground is larger.

This is beneficial because it means that you’ll get more traction in relation to a smaller wheel. More traction means that you can go faster and take on tougher terrain.

Advantages of Smaller Mountain Bike Wheels


Smaller mountain bike wheels have a few advantages over larger wheels when it comes to acceleration. First, they will pick up speed faster than a larger wheel. This is because there is less mass to move and therefore less inertia.

Second, smaller mountain bike wheels are better for tight and twisty trails that require you to pedal out of corners. This is because they have a lower gyroscopic effect, which makes them easier to change direction.

Stronger Wheel

Smaller mountain bike wheels are stronger than larger wheels. The longer the spokes, the less tension, and strength. Longer spokes mean there’s a longer lever arm to wrench on them when you case that jump or drop a little catty-wumpus.

Rim, spoke and hub designs have improved vastly in the past 10 years. So, while a smaller wheel may have been a liability in the past, that’s no longer the case. In fact, many of today’s top riders are choosing smaller wheels for the advantages they offer.

Better Cornering Mechanics

Smaller mountain bike wheels take less movement of the arms to produce a lean angle, making them better in cornering.

Smaller wheels are also generally lighter. This decreases the gyroscopic effect of the wheel righting the bike and fighting against your efforts to lean the wheel.

Larger diameter wheels may hold more traction and speed through a corner, but the decrease in agility and lean angle may be seen as a drawback on a twisty trail.


In conclusion, if you want to change the wheel size on a mountain bike, it is possible to do so. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are some advantages and disadvantages to doing so.

A 29er bike will offer many advantages for riders who like to tackle difficult mountain trails. However, a 26-inch mountain bike may not handle bumpy trails as well and can’t go as fast.

The relatively new 27.5-inch size mountain bike is designed for those who want something that strikes a balance between the extremes of these advantages and disadvantages. It is always better to have a bike frame that is designed to fit the wheel size you want.

Before you embark on a project like this, make sure you have all of the tools and expertise you need.

Anna Stones