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I'm told that when touring (carrying a big load) you're much better off to have 26" wheels than 28". But most second-hand bikes seem to come with 28".

Is it possible to replace the larger 28" wheels with smaller 26" ones?

What sorts of issues would I run into?

  • pedals hitting the ground?
  • v brakes not being able to reach tires?
  • gear/derailleur issues?
  • etc?
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Where did you read that - it doesn't sound like a good idea. You can always gear the bike lower (equivalent to a smaller circumference, and bigger wheels normally handle better (sweeping generalisation as it's only a comment). – Chris H May 12 '14 at 9:06
What do you mean by "touring". If you're talking on-the-road touring with bags, virtually all touring bikes are 700C. The main thing you need are smooth tires (little or no tread down the center), under 40mm in width. – Daniel R Hicks May 12 '14 at 11:29
People vastly over-think stuff for touring on a bike. While 26" wheels will be "stronger" for a given spoke count, any reasonably well built 700c wheel will work just fine for touring. If it's got 32 or more spokes, you're good to go. – Fred the Magic Wonder Dog May 12 '14 at 15:17
up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's possible to put smaller wheels into a bike frame but I can't see why you would want to. Bike frames are designed for a certain size wheel, so putting smaller ones in will affect the handling.

You've already mentioned the brakes not working correctly, which is a fairly major factor. Pedals may or may not hit the ground, but you'd certainly have less ground clearance.

You haven't said why smaller 26" wheels are better. A bike with 26" wheels might be better for what you want to do, but just fitting 26" wheels to a bike made for 28" wheels is not good idea for the reasons above.


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