Can You Put 20 Inch Wheels on a 24 Inch Bike?

You have a 24 inch bike and you want to put 20 inch wheels on it, but the wheel just won’t fit. This article will show why you can’t fit a 20 inch wheel with a 24-inch frame and also explain why that is not possible.

Can You Put 20 Inch Wheels on a 24 Inch Bike?

No, you can’t put 20 inch wheels on a 24 inch bike. The frame size of the bike dictates the wheel size. It is generally not safe to put 20 inch wheels on a 24 inch bike. You may run into issues, but it is usually manageable.

If you’re looking to upgrade your bike, it’s best to consult with a professional to see what options are available and what would work best for you.

Why you can’t put 20 inch wheels on 24 inch bike


The brake system on a bike that uses rim brakes will not work with 20 inch wheels. The reason for this is that the brake bosses are too low to allow the brakes to grip the rims. There are solutions to this problem but none of them are very convenient.

Pedal ground clearance

You can’t put 20 inch wheels on a 24 inch bike because it will limit the tire clearance of the bike. The new wheels will greatly limit the tire clearance of the bike and thus make it impossible to use wide tires and accessories such as full fenders.

Chain ring ground clearance

Chain ring ground clearance is the distance between the lowest point of the chainring teeth and the ground. It’s important because if the clearance is too small, the chain can fall off the teeth and cause an accident.

The new wheels will greatly limit the tire clearance of the bike and thus make it impossible to use wide tires and accessories such as full fenders.


You could have issues with the gearing.

What Is the Most Common Road Bike Wheel Size?

The most common road bike wheel size is 700c. The 700 refers to the wheel’s diameter of 700 mm, while the “c” is an old French width code for tires. With “a” characterized as the most narrow width and “d” at the widest, “c” refers to a generally wider size.

16″ wheel size(ISO 305 mm)

While 16′′ wheels are often the smallest you’ll find on adult bikes, they are most frequently seen on children’s bicycles. Some adult folding bicycles employ them to provide a small folded size, but they reduce riding quality in the process.

While 16″ wheels are ideal for small children learning to balance, they struggle on bumpy or difficult roads. Smaller wheels are more vulnerable to damage from even little pebbles and debris, and potholes may completely engulf a 16-inch tire.

When compared to the full-size adult bike you’re accustomed to, riding a bike with 16″ wheels will feel and handle quite differently. Smaller wheelbases and turning radii might lead to too sensitive steering.

To get smaller wheels to revolve quickly enough to keep up with other bikes, bigger gear ratios are also necessary. As a result, climbing hills is much more challenging.

20 inch wheel size (ISO 406 mm)

The most typical size for “small wheel” folding bikes and the norm for BMX bikes are 20′′ wheels.

They are preferred among BMX riders because to their mobility, which facilitates flatland and aerial feats, but for the average rider, they still have many of the above-mentioned tiny wheel limitations.

The 20′′ wheel will still be more impacted by pebbles and impediments than bigger conventional wheel sizes, although being somewhat better than the 16′′ wheel.

A longer handlebar stem and special frame design are also needed for smaller wheels in order to provide the rider a regular upright stance. This may make the handling problems worse and permit unwelcome frame and steering column flex.

A slightly bigger wheel size that is also often referred to as 20′′ exists and should be noted, according to ISO 451. The ISO 451 rim is that one. Some racing BMX bikes and a few vintage British shopping cycles utilize tires of this size.

Modern motorcycles seldom use ISO 451 wheels, thus you may often presume that a 20-inch wheel is ISO 406.

24″ wheel (ISO 507 mm)

Most often encountered on youth mountain bikes and a few BMX “cruiser” versions designed for bigger riders seeking the same geometry and mobility as their 20′′ counterparts, 24′′ wheels are a rather unusual size.

The 24′′ junior mountain bike category is expanding because of a greater focus than ever on youngster racing and an increase in high-end features for kids’ mountain bikes.

26″ wheel size (ISO 559 mm)

In the bicycle business, 26-inch wheels have a lengthy history. Nearly a century ago, the standard for American-made cruisers evolved into the most widely used mountain bike wheel size, where it has stayed for many years.

Old 26′′ cruiser wheels were the only available bicycle wheels that had wide enough tires for the needs of the off-road when the world’s first mountain bikes were being built by pioneers like Joe Breeze, Charlie Kelly, and Gary Fisher.

This size is common among high-performance folding bikes, particularly Montague’s Paratrooper brand, and serves as the benchmark for mountain bikes.

Like most bike wheel naming standards, “26 inch” refers to the estimated outer diameter of the tire that fits this wheel size rather than the actual diameter of the wheel itself. A typical 26-inch wheel’s ISO diameter is 559 millimeters.

650b / 27.5 inch wheels (ISO 584 mm)

The usage of many names for the same size of a bicycle wheel is one factor that contributes to this confusion. Originally called 650b wheels, they were initially used on French touring bicycles in the 1960s. Their ISO diameter is 584 mm.

Their usage survived on tiny and extra-small road frames that couldn’t handle a 700c wheel due to their somewhat smaller size than contemporary road bike wheels.

When used on road or gravel bikes, the size is still known as 650b, but the mountain bike industry has accepted it and changed its nomenclature.

Larger wheels have been more popular on mountain bikes recently, and when 650b was adapted for off-road use, it was given the name 27.5′′.

27.5′′ wheels provide a number of benefits over the 26′′ wheels that predominated in the MTB industry, including the ability to roll over obstacles more quickly, a wider contact patch for increased grip, and more rotational inertia to keep momentum.

The first folding bikes in the world to utilize 27.5′′ wheels are the Montague Paratrooper Highline and Paratrooper Elite.

29″ / 700c (ISO 622 mm)

Here, we have two more widely used wheel sizes that are, in fact, identical! The term “700c” refers to the normal current road bike wheel, which has an ISO diameter of 622 mm.

The others became extinct, but the 622 mm rim emerged as the standard for thin road tires. Today, almost every adult bike built for pavement usage, including Montague’s line of folding pavement bikes, has 700c wheels.

Compared to tiny wheel folders, using this full-size wheel gives better performance and ride quality.

The 700c wheel has recently grabbed the mountain bike world by storm and been known as 29′′, much as how mountain bikers accepted the 650b wheel and gave it the name 27.5′′.

On a 29′′ (or 29er) mountain bike, all the above-mentioned benefits of a bigger wheel are pushed to their absolute maximum, while some riders believe the trade-off in maneuverability and turn radius is not worthwhile.

Although both 29′′ and 700c wheels have the same diameter (622mm), mountain bike rims are often bigger to allow wider tires.

27″ (ISO 630mm)

A significant number of American road cycles from the 1970s and 1980s that utilized these “27 inch” wheels are still present in basements and garages throughout the nation despite the fact that the ISO 630mm size is practically no longer in use.

Many of us discovered the hard way that the rim is somewhat bigger than contemporary 700c wheels after purchasing a new road tire and having trouble getting it mounted.

Because there are so many 27-inch wheels in use, tire manufacturers still make them, so if your antique steel racer needs a new tire, ask your neighborhood bike shop to get one.

What is the difference between 24-inch and 20-inch wheels?

The size of the frame can vary for the same wheel size depending on the model and the brand. For example, a 24-inch bike frame from one brand might be bigger than a 20-inch bike frame from another brand.

It’s possible to extend your legs further on a 26″ bike frame than on a 20″ or 24″ frame, but there isn’t much difference between the two. The main difference is that a 26″ bike will be heavier and harder to maneuver than a smaller bike.

Can you put smaller wheels on a 24 inch bike?

Yes, you can put smaller wheels on a 24 inch bike. A smaller wheel is stronger than a larger wheel and will not break as easily. However, keep in mind that a quality 24 inch wheel is incredibly strong and close to unbreakable unless there’s an accident.

What are some other things to consider when changing wheel size?

While the conversion to 24″ wheels can offer a number of benefits, there are also some potential negative consequences. These include:

  1. The bike may be too tall for the rider and could result in a fall.
  2. The bike may be difficult to control, especially at high speeds.
  3. The bike may not be able to be ridden on certain trails or roads.
  4. The bike may not be able to carry as much weight as a larger bike.

It is better to sell the existing bike and get a dedicated 24″ or even a 26″ model. The wheel size is important, but other factors such as weight and licensing requirements should also be considered.

Anna Stones