Explained: Are Bigger Wheels Better on a Mountain Bike?

Are larger wheels truly better for mountainous terrain?

It’s a typical query among riders of all abilities, and the response could surprise you.

We’ll examine the benefits and drawbacks of bigger wheels on a mountain bike in this article to help you decide if they’re the best option for you. Everything will be discussed, from the benefits of more easily rolling over barriers to the potential negatives of slower acceleration and heavier loads.

But don’t worry, we won’t abandon you. We’ll provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice, as well as advice on selecting the best wheel size for your riding style and goals. Regardless of your level of experience, this post is for you.

Let’s investigate whether larger mountain bike wheels are indeed superior.

Let’s go!

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Are Bigger Wheels Better on a Mountain Bike?

Bigger wheels on a mountain bike have some advantages, such as improved smoothness over obstacles and better traction when climbing. However, they also have potential drawbacks, including slower acceleration and increased weight.


Whether bigger wheels are better for you depends on your personal preferences and riding style.

Let’s dive deep into this!

Advantages of Bigger Wheels on a Mountain Bike

Are you prepared to benefit from your mountain bike’s larger wheels? You’re going to enjoy this!

Rolling Over Obstacles Effortlessly

Larger wheels have the potential to roll over obstacles more smoothly, which is one of its main benefits.

You’ll feel more in control and at ease on uneven terrain with a larger contact patch on the ground. Furthermore, even on uneven trails, you’ll be able to retain your pace and effectiveness.

Increased Attack Angle

The increased angle of attack provided by larger wheels is another advantage.

A larger diameter lowers the possibility of becoming stuck or losing momentum by allowing you to roll over obstacles at a shallower angle.

This enables you to confidently tackle more difficult climbs and descents.

Improved Traction

More traction can also be achieved with larger wheels, in addition to better angles of attack and smoother rolling.

More of your wheel will come in contact with the ground, which will help you keep your footing even on uneven or slick conditions.

When you’re pushing yourself to the limit, this can really help.

Increased Top Speed

Finally, having bigger wheels might increase your top speed.

On flat or rolling terrain, you may maintain a quicker pace because each rotation covers more distance. When you’re competing in races or attempting to keep up with more experienced riders, this can completely shift the game.

With these advantages, it is understandable why so many mountain bikers are deciding to use wider wheels.

Yet, there may be drawbacks to consider with any equipment option.

We’ll examine the potential negatives of bigger wheels in more detail in the following chapter, so you can decide if they’re ideal for you.

Drawbacks of Bigger Wheels on a Mountain Bike

Are you thinking of buying a mountain bike with larger wheels? Before choosing, it’s critical to be aware of any prospective disadvantages.

Less Rapid acceleration

The slower acceleration of larger wheels is one of its most obvious disadvantages.

This is because the additional mass makes it more difficult to start the bike from a stop. While attempting quick starts and stops or climbing steep hills, you could feel this the most.

Increased Weight

The weight increase caused by larger wheels is another drawback. Bigger wheels necessitate bulkier tires and additional components, which can reduce your bike’s responsiveness and nimbleness.

If you need to carry your bike over obstacles or if you prefer a more agile riding style, this could be a drawback.

Increased Price

Moreover, larger wheels and tires may cost more than smaller ones.

This might be a thing to consider when deciding on your wheels if your budget is limited.

Loss of Manoeuvrability

Larger wheels can also make your bike harder to control. It could be more difficult to maneuver through narrow places or make rapid turns with a longer wheelbase and higher weight.

This may be more obvious while traveling through difficult terrain where quick direction changes are required.

You can decide whether larger wheels are appropriate for you by being informed of any potential negatives.

We’ll give you advice on when to go with bigger wheels and when to stick with smaller ones in the following chapter, so you can make the best choice for your riding style and objectives.

Choosing the Right Size

Are you having trouble deciding which wheel size is best for your mountain bike?

It’s an important choice that could affect how you ride in general. Let’s get started and examine how to select the appropriate size for you.

Understanding Mountain Bike Wheel Sizes

The three standard wheel sizes for mountain bikes are 26″, 27.5″, and 29″.

However, certain specialist bikes also employ smaller sizes, such as 24″ and 20″. The best size for you will depend on your height, inseam, riding objectives, and terrain, as each size has specific benefits and drawbacks.

Formerly the industry standard, 26″ wheels provide a snappy and nimble ride that is ideal for tricky terrain and jumping.

Between 26″ and 29″ wheels, 27.5″ wheels, sometimes referred to as 650B wheels, offer a compromise between nimbleness and rolling ability.

The largest regularly used wheel size, 29″, offers a smoother and more stable ride, making it perfect for long rides and rolling terrain. They also provide a greater angle of attack over obstacles and better traction.

Selecting the Correct Size

Consider your riding style and personal preferences when selecting the appropriate wheel size. 26″ wheels can be a good match if you’re shorter or prefer tough terrain.

A good choice if you’re looking for a midway ground are 27.5″ wheels. 29″ wheels might be the ideal option for taller riders or people who like rolling terrain.

The proper size can also be determined by looking at actual riders’ experiences. While some riders favor 29″ wheels for their smooth ride and enhanced speed, others may prefer 27.5″ wheels for their adaptability.

To get the perfect fit for you, it’s critical to try on various sizes and consult other riders.

In conclusion, selecting the proper wheel size will greatly improve your mountain biking experience. The greatest choice for you will depend on your tastes, riding style, and terrain.

Frequently Asked Questions

What advantages do bigger wheels provide for a mountain bike?

The capacity to roll over obstacles more easily, higher traction and stability, and a smoother ride are just a few advantages of larger wheels. These advantages may enhance your overall riding comfort and enjoyment.

Is a 27.5 or a 29 MTB better?

Your personal preferences and riding style will determine whether you choose 27.5″ or 29″ wheels. While 29″ wheels offer a smoother ride and more grip over obstacles, 27.5″ wheels offer a balance between maneuverability and rolling ability. See which size feels more comfortable for you after trying both.

What benefit do 29-inch wheels have for a mountain bike?

The smoother ride, improved stability, and greater angle of attack over obstacles that come with 29″ wheels. They are therefore perfect for lengthy rides over undulating terrain where you wish to conserve energy while maintaining speed.


As we’ve explored throughout the tutorial, the solution is complicated. Your riding style, terrain, and preferences determine your wheel size.

Enjoying your journey is most important, regardless of wheel size. Whether you choose 26″ wheels for their nimbleness, 27.5″ wheels for balance, or 29″ wheels for smoothness, what matters most is that you feel comfortable and secure on your bike.

Talk to other riders, try different sizes, and choose the ideal one.

This tutorial should have illuminated the pros and cons of mountain bikes with larger wheels.

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