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?
  • 3
    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
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 9:06
  • 1
    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. Commented May 12, 2014 at 11:29
  • 1
    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. Commented May 12, 2014 at 15:17

1 Answer 1


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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