Using 700c wheels limits the choice of tyres and when touring tyres might be hard to find. Is there a problem in using 26 in wheels instead.

  • 1
    Do you currently have disc brakes?
    – mikes
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 20:46
  • The biggest problem you have with switching to a smaller diameter rim is that if you have rim brakes they will no longer line up properly. But note that 700c tires have been standard for touring for decades, and it's unlikely that touring-suitable tires will cease being available. Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 1:07

3 Answers 3


Brakes, tyre clearance, and lowered ground clearance are the three points.

If you have rim brakes, give up now. They simply will be wrong, and buying super-long reach brakes will be expensive and won't work very well for leverage reasons. Disk brakes may work okay, provided the rotor lines up, and your fork spacing is acceptable.

Tire/Tyre clearance should be okay because your new rim would be smaller. However 26" tyres are often 1.75 or 2" so there may be clearance issues. You'd probably have to go for smaller and not knobby tyres.

The bike will be sitting lower to the ground now too. This will increase the chance of pedal strike going around corners, and the break-over height will be less, so you could strike the big chainring on the ground easier.

Surprisingly the wheelbase length will not change. So "handling" should be unchanged.

Finally, the aesthetics will look somewhat weird, but that's only a visual thing.

  • 1
    Handling will change slightly, due to the change in "caster" of the front wheel. Probably not enough to notice, though. Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 2:09
  • Oh yes quite right - the amount of follow or trail will decrease slightly so the steering will get slightly more twitchy/responsive and it would be minorly-harder to steer hands-free.
    – Criggie
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 3:04

Handling will also be affected by having a lower centre of gravity. In theory the original wheel size would optimise the bike design and performance, though, as illustrated by Hicks and Criggie considerations.


Yes. Your frame has to be designed for the size of wheel that you are using. If you want to switch to 26 inch wheels, you are going to need to get a new frame.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.