Gone are the days when mountain bike wheels came in one variety and one variety only. Over the years, new types of wheels have emerged and while many haven’t gained that much popularity, there are a few that have stuck around.
Generally speaking, if you were to look for mountain bike wheels nowadays, you’d find that there are three main categories that they fall under:
- 26 inch wheels
- 29 inch wheels
- BMX wheels
Most experienced mountain bikers will instantly recognize the 26 inch wheels as the ones that are most popular. These are the conventional wheels that have gained widespread use over the years – especially among off-road mountain bikes. The ’26 inch’ measurement refers to the total diameter of the wheel. Some 26 inch wheels have rims of about 22 inches in diameter.
Although 29 inch wheels are relatively new compared to their 26 inch cousins, they are gradually establishing a foothold in the cross-country region. Because of the larger diameter, these wheels are able to go over bumps more easily and thus the mountain bikes that use them could also use less suspension. Furthermore the increased diameter also generally means better grip and traction – both of which are extremely important factors when choosing mountain bike wheels.
Last but certainly not least, BMX wheels are generally chosen for the simple fact that they are more durable and have very few peers when it comes to withstanding the stress on the wheels from bike stunts. These mountain bike wheels are definitely a favorite among the younger crowd and strike a very nice balance between cost and durability.
When choosing a type of mountain bike wheel there are many factors that you should consider. Now that you have a rough idea of the differences between the various types of mountain bike wheels you should at least have a point of reference that you can start from however.
The important thing to remember is that all three types of these wheels are very often used and extremely popular in their own right. There is no one type of wheel that is clearly superior to the others and each option is beneficial to mountain bikers in specific situations and under certain circumstances.
Also a large factor at play when choosing between the different types of mountain bike wheels is personal preference. Some bikers prefer one type of wheel over the next simply because of the way it feels and the sort of ride that it gives them.
Long story short, the next step to trying to grasp the different types of wheels is to try them out for yourself firsthand and see how they feel!