The extinction of the rings 26

extinction of the rings

The new wheel sizes of mountain best bike us have generated decisive discussions for the development of products and technologies for the coming seasons. In the midst of the news of the 29 and 27.5, will the extinction of the rings traditional 26? The great source of cycling in this platform is maybe valued for you!

I wrote several times on the subject of wheel sizes. I was also interviewed and asked about it. I have been against and in favor of new sizes. The only certainty I have is that the world of mountain biking no longer needs to discuss whether the 650B (or 27.5) wheels are needed, as it is already too late for this discussion. The 650B is on the market and is part of the 2014 program of many brands and manufacturers.

Extinction of the rings

In recent months I have worked with bicycle shops and had the opportunity to test some models. I got to visit a big German bike brand, CUBE, where I had the opportunity to exchange some ideas about wheel sizes with some of the designers, engineers and even athletes.

I fear that bikes with 26-inch rims are at risk of extinction, at least here in Europe. The 650B gains strong support from the cycling industry and along with twenty-nine is what determine the development and innovation of new products.


The discussion

Hardly another topic has been more discussed currently in the world of mountain biking than the size of the wheels: 26 or 29 inches? Or would the new 27.5 be better – what is the ideal size?

The difference in radius size between a 26 and a 27.5 rim is 12.5 millimeters. Comparing the 27.5 to 29, the difference increases to 19 millimeters. This shows that the 650B is much closer to the classic 26 and so some tend to say that the 650B is the new 26.


Mountain bike

For the mountain best bike us with front suspension, also known as hardtails, the industry has made a clear decision, because in this category currently there are more offers of twenty-nine than the classic 26. Manufacturers like the specialized offer practically all their model’s hardtails in 29 and each more full suspension models are launched with the extinction of the rings size 29 and the new 650B. While the twenty inner dominates the cross country, the 650B is seen more and more in the all-mountain category.



What are the advantages and disadvantages of wheel sizes? What is it possible to calculate and measure? What is felt only during pedaling? To give a little clarity about the truths and untruths, follow some observations from the perspective of a bicycle designer, this means, without emotion, only mathematics and physics extinction of the rings.

Here are some interesting technical facts:

  • Large wheels roll more comfortable and secure over obstacles.
  • The larger the wheel diameter, the more traction on the pedal.
  • Large wheels require technical solutions to the problems in frame construction, especially at the rear.
  • Large wheels create an unfavorable relationship between stiffness and weight.
  • 26-inch wheels are more stable, especially in lateral twists. Loads or radial forces are less critical.


So far, the facts. But how does it all feel on the trail?    


The most striking effect is during scrolling. Several wheel sizes were tested in a similar stretch at the same speed and the clear advantages of twenty-nine were observed. With less force on the pedals, it was possible to maintain the speed and in the corners did not feel so much the instability of lateral twists, mainly in the wheels.

In a pedal with a twenty-nine one has more comfort during the roll. While riding on extremely rough terrain, there is stability in riding because of the greater distance of the wheel axles and the greater rear part of the frame. The more technical and rugged the terrain, the more advantages to the compact design of the frames of the bicycle with rim 26.

What plagues some cyclists in the twenty-nine are the fork sizes and the high riding position, which can be solved by shifting the flat-top or negative-position handlebar table down.



For cyclists over 1, 70 m in height, the 650B provides a good alternative to the classic hoop 26. For cyclists, more than 1.78 m tall, twenty-nine have been the best alternative. If the 26 wheels really are in danger of extinction, it will be a problem for the lower cyclists, maybe this is another reason for the preservation of the classic rim 26 in the bicycle market, or not? If you get more knowledge about checklist for bike tours are available in cycling-

Even today there is the myth that the size 26 wheels were used by the “inventors” of the mountain bike because they are stable, which is not true. The truth is that the cruiser bikes that were used as a base for the first mountain bikes had the standard size of 26 inches.

Of course, larger diameter wheels will be heavier, but with the intensive development of new products and materials for the 650B and twenty-nine, we will soon have a wide range of options and weight.


Search with market makers

Here in Germany research was done on the topic of wheel size with 45 manufacturers of products linked to mountain biking. The trend is that most companies are investing in the 650B instead of the 26th. In the future, they see the rim 26 as the size of rims for beginner best bike us and/or in the gravity (dirt, freeride and downhill) area where bicycles have suspensions with a stroke of 160 mm or more.

The companies think that in the three year period there will be no problem with replacing parts for the 26-wheeled bikes, but this also depends a lot on the market demand.

Some survey numbers made with 30 bike manufacturers and 15 parts and components manufacturers:

  • 57% of bike manufacturers imagine being able to maintain a market with three wheel sizes.
  • 73% of parts and components manufacturers see no problem in keeping all three sizes on the market.
  • 87% of bicycle manufacturers offer, in 2014, bicycles with rims 26, but 65% of them, only in the area for beginners or gravity.
  • 80% of the parts and components manufacturers will have, in the next three years, spare parts for the rings 26.
  • 13% of bicycle manufacturers also plan in three years, the development and manufacture of bicycle rim 26, also outside the segment for beginners and/or gravity.
  • 13% of bicycles and parts manufacturers see difficulties in the future for the replacement of parts for the rims 26 that will be more restricted.
  • 100% of the parts and components manufacturers have for 2014 offer for the mountain bikes hoops 26.

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