Bike Tires and Sizes (29, 27.5, 26)

Mountain biking is a very popular sport that continues to grow every year. More and more people are discovering this fast paced sport and are looking into joining the sport by purchasing their own mountain bikes.  It can be confusing when beginning to research the different types of bikes available for mountain biking.  The difference in mountain bike wheels is one variation in the types of bikes available.

Mountain bike wheels come in a few different sizes, the 29 inch, 27.5 and the 26 inch wheel size.  The 29 inch and 27.5 inch is becoming a far more common mountain bike wheels size, and many more bikes are made with this size wheel.  This size means that the overall bike is taller working well for riders that need a bigger bike.  This size of mountain bike wheels can also be good for better traction and ability to go over disturbances in the terrain.  This size wheel can take on larger bumps and lumps in the road.

The 26 inch mountain bike wheels is what the industry began producing mountain bikes with.  This has been the common size for many years.  Because the wheel is smaller, this can be a good selection for riders that aren’t as tall.  This size wheel is also good because as it is smaller, the entire bike is lighter.  For many who have been mountain biking for years, this is what they are use to using.   In some cases, the difference in mountain bike wheels boils down to what will work best for the rider.  It may benefit a novice mountain biker to try out both styles of wheels to determine which will work best for them.  Mountain bikes will continue to evolve as the sport grows, and mountain bike wheels will also change as the industry determines what consumers are looking for in a mountain bike.

Clincher tires consist of an outer tire with a cross section which has a typical U – shape while there is another inner tube within the tire. Apart from these parts there are three key parts which create the tire. The first part is the Bead which is basically the rim of the tire. Normally, the beads contain hoops which are made up of steel wires which are very strong. The second very important part is the fabric. Tire manufacturers weave this cloth fabric between two beads to make the basic framework of the tire. The third major portion is the rubber. Rubber is used as an outer layer to the fabric. Rubber is used only after the basic framework is complete.

Apart from the clinchers, the bicycles also have wheels which are known as tubular tires. Unlike the clinchers, the tubular tires do not have any beads. In the tubular tires, the two rims of the tires are actually stitched together around the inner tube.

Tires have a part called traction. This traction is basically the resistance capacity of the tires which avoid skidding or slipping. Another very important aspect of bicycle wheels is the width and pressure of the bicycle wheels. The width and pressure of the wheels are inversely proportional. This implies that if the width of the wheel is greater then it has a low pressure and if the width is not very wide then it has a high pressure.

The Bicycle Rim is definitely one of the most important part on the bicycle wheel. People often had mistaken the whole wheel. consisting of rim and spokes as the “rim”. but actually rim is defined as the metal circle which holds both the tube and the tire. Each wheel of the wheel set consists of several spokes which are used to connect the rim to the main hub (i.e. the center of the wheel consisting of the axle and the bearings).

Rims come in various size and shapes. depending upon the underlying tire. If the traditional tubular tires (these have inner tube sewn into the tire allowing the tire to be inflated without being mounted on a rim) are being employed. the tire needs to be glued to the rim. Although they are expensive and difficult to maintain. yet they provide excellent speed and often the preferred choice when it comes to racing. The other set of tires are the clincher tires (these enclose an inner tube to hold pressurized air). They can be repaired easily and the performance is also at par with the tubular tires. As both these tires are widely used. most manufacturers prefer to produce rim fittings for both sets.

In the beginning. wooden rims were used. which were later replaced with rims made of steel. The problem with steel is that it is heavy and if the rim gets damaged. it is really difficult to mold it back. These were later replaced by alloyed rims (including aluminum). Alloyed rims can be molded in any profile. but not too deep. as that will increase the weight too much. These provide lightless and beauty to the bicycle rim. The latest trend to hit the market is the carbon fiber rim. These are very light and quite strong. but then they hurt the pocket a lot more. The carbon fiber rims don’t brake well in damp situations. Thus. special brakes that can block carbon are required and these are again expensive. For the carbon rims to work. the rim needs to perfectly circular with no bulging.