Can you change the wheel size on a bike

Can you change the wheel size on a bike?

Every bike has been designed in such a way that all its accessories are compatible mutually and the rider selects his desire bike according to his/her criteria. The question that Can you change the wheel size on a bike” arise in your mind for various reason. But the answer is, you can change the wheel size keeping in view braking, tire and pedal system of the bike.

One decides to change the wheel size due to road, trails issues or the rider personal health issues. Such observations will lead you to change the wheel size on a bike but most of the riders with good financial health buy new ones to avoid any complexities.

What Happens when you put small wheel on a bike?

When you put small wheel on a bike and if the frame of the bike is not able to adjust a different tire or the brakes will disturb, then you will face problem in riding and also it will affect the seating position which will lead to back injury and pain.

For your kind information, you can exchange the wheel size in some bikes that have 2 or less inches difference like you can change 700c to 650b.

There are a variety of wheel sizes designed by the manufacturers for kids, young, mature, and aged ones. We have the following wheel sizes in the market.

  • 16″ Wheel (ISO 305 mm)
  • 20″ Wheel (ISO 406 mm)
  • 24″ Wheel (ISO 507 mm)
  • 26″ Wheel (ISO 559 mm)
  • 27″ Wheel (ISO 630mm)
  • 27.5″ / 650b Wheel (ISO 584 mm)
  • 29″ / 700c Wheel (ISO 622 mm)
  • 32″ Wheel (ISO 686 mm)
  • 36″ wheel (ISO 787 mm)

We will discuss all these size in a bit detail so that you can easily differentiate between these sizes.

16″ Wheel (ISO 305 mm)

Such type of wheel is generally installed on kids bike but are sometimes found on adult folding bikes that can easily to be fold. As this wheel is specifically designed for kid bike so if installed on adult bike, the rider will have to face problems in long drive and will feel tired after some pedaling as it is not appropriate size for an adult physique.

The kids can easily learn riding on 16″ Wheel as if the kid fall to the ground, there will be less chance of injury and if the adult ride on it and a rough road comes in front, almost the whole bike will damage as well as the rider.

For a mountain rider, this 16” Wheel bike is not suitable for adults to ride as it will require more power to pedal, and the weight of the adult will dump the bike.

You cannot change 16” wheel with other wheel size as this is the small size and it is hard to compatible other large size with such bike as the braking system will not fit on the change one.

20″ Wheel (ISO 406 mm)

This Wheel is considered as the standard size wheel for BMX Bike. As BMX bike is mostly used for aerial tricks and for other stunts, so its easily to pick the bike with such wheel.

The BMX interested ones select 20” Wheel bike for its smooth mobility. As 20” wheel is also comparatively small size, so it is also not useful for off roads, trail conditions and also for hilly areas.  You can change the handlebar to an upright position for a bit smooth ride on 20” wheel bike for long distance. Riding on small wheel will get to back pain after long riding.

As 20” wheel is ISO 406mm that is hard to change with other inch as it is also considered to as a small wheel size but there is another model called ISO 451 that is also 20” Wheel size. So if you can exchange your ISO 406 to ISO 451, you can change such size mutually with alignment of other accessories of the bike.

24″ Wheel (ISO 507 mm)

As 24” Wheel size is used commonly for mountain bike and BMX Bike, so this is the fast-growing wheel size that the rider love to ride on. This wheel is suitable for long ride, off roads and used for adventures as it allows the rider to pedal the bike with power, so it grabs the speed and flat on roads with a less chance of injury.

The 24” Wheel is ISO 507 mm and if anyone feels uncomfortable with such wheel size, he should approach to 26” wheel size if suitable to the rest bike accessories.

The mountain bike rider is advised to change the wheel size carefully if needed and will be suitable if contact with the experts for changing the wheel size as there will be high risk of riding on hilly areas on changing wheel size bike.

26″ Wheel (ISO 559 mm)

This is considered as Full adult size wheel size. If we call it as the oldest one standard size, it will not be wrong. As this size wheel was used on cruiser bike some decades ago and still have marked its position in the market for its outstanding performance on any type of road. The 26” Wheel was in demand for the mountain riders and for off roads riders as it’s riding will not suffer the rider even if it is used for long distance. The pioneers like Gary Fisher and Joe Breeze were also the fond of such wheel size.

This wheel size is mostly known as ISO 559mm wheel as it has the dominancy in the market for long period and the riders mostly known for its ISO model.

27″ Wheel (ISO 630mm)

Almost Forty years back, the 27” wheel size were in demand especially in America and were used for long drive and on flat and off roads. As the manufacturers are now designing such wheel with an increase of 0.5” so this wheel size is not common at all. It was known s ISO 630mm in 1970s. Such bikes are now found in basement and corners of the homes and are not in regular use as the parts of such bike is not available in market.

The maker of the tire for 27” wheel is still making the tire as it is used for 26” and 27.5” wheel size. So, if anyone having the above wheel sizes can change the tire with the 27” and hopefully there will be no issue in riding.

27.5″ / 650b Wheel (ISO 584 mm)

In 1960, the 27.5” wheel size was introduced in French Touring Bike. In that time, it was called 65b wheel and due to multiple names of a single frame can sometimes confuses many of the riders which results in installing wrong wheel size on a bike. Such wheel size bike was used normally on small roads and for a short distance. It is also known as ISO 584mm.

Like other size bikes, this wheel size bike is also good for mountain trails and due to its remarkable performance on hilly areas, the mountain bike company recommends such wheel size on mountain bike.

when the mountain bike company recommends 27.5” wheel, there is a bit change and it was designed in such a way that now it is also comfortable on off roads and for a long drive.

One can observe the great advantage of such wheel that is, it can easily overcome on obstacle ways and can roll over rocks easily while riding on hilly areas.

29″ / 700c Wheel (ISO 622 mm)

This 700c Wheel has been upgraded with a minor change and is famously by ISO 622mm. This wheel size has 3 version of rim 700a, 700b and 700c. its diameter is same for all 3 rim 700mm.

Like other 27” wheel, the mountain bike adopted this 29” wheel for its better use and output at long distance. Such long wheel size has great impact on riding on any type of route and flat tire.

As the rim of this wheel size is wide so the tire is obviously wider than others which results in less chance of injury during riding on trails.

Some of the oversized wheels are also introduced in the market that are not very commonly in use. There are a large group of bike riders that are not familiar with these oversized wheels and those who opted them, have not satisfied with their performance as such wheel makes the bike heavy and very hard to move pedals for speed. These sizes are:

  • 32″ Wheel (ISO 686 mm)
  • 36″ wheel (ISO 787 mm)

Final Statement

This article shows that you cannot change the wheel size unless you have the option of adjusting the braking and pedaling system. If the bike expert, make compatibility with a different wheel size then you can exchange with another wheel size. But it is mandatory to mention that you can easily exchange 700c to 650b as these both haven’t any big differene.