How To Find Out The Size Of Wheels On A Bicycle


Schrader. automotive nipple, also referred to as AV (AutoValve). The most common and popular type, it is made in the form of a threaded cylinder with a diameter of 8 mm. Its standard length is 40 mm, but sometimes even 60 mm is found. It is most commonly found in extreme sport bikes, mountain bikes and hybrids (except for racing and high end models). Schrader nipple is also used in rear shocks and bicycle forks.

Classification and dimensions of bicycle wheels

We will NOT touch upon the diameters of the wheels that are installed on children’s bicycles, but let’s go straight to the most common options in the so-called “adult” bicycles.

There are several wheel diameters, each of which is “sharpened” for a specific discipline, riding style, requirements and preferences of cyclists. As a rule, we are talking about bicycles with wheel diameters ranging from 20, 24, 26, 27, 27.5, 28, 29 and ending with new 36 inch “monsters”.

Diameter 20 inches. BMX fans fondly refer to this type of wheel as “twenty”, as bikes with such wheels are very difficult to damage and they are designed to perform tricks.

The minus of this diameter, of course, is the speed, which does not allow to stand in a column with cyclists who prefer long distances.

Diameter 24 inches. Our parents, and even the parents of their parents, will tell the best about THESE wheels, since they installed them on Soviet bicycles of the Aist, Salut and others.

But some of the freeriders have taken a liking to this diameter from the past and are actively using it on bicycles designed for high-speed off-road descents.

Diameter 26 Wheels with a diameter of 26 are considered the most common. Their feature is versatility, which allows you to achieve amazing reliability and at the same time the ability to ride both on tracks and on dirt roads and off-road. This diameter is very often used on mountain bikes.

Diameter 27 The standard diameter of the wheels in the “Road”, which was one of the most common during the Tour de France.

Diameter 27.5. New, specialized wheel diameter introduced in 2012 for mountain bikes.

Diameter 28 twenty-eighth wheels. this is the standard option for equipping the so-called hybrids, which can be driven with the same comfort in the city, go on the track or travel on off-road territories.

Diameter 29 One of the most popular wheel options since 2016, which was installed on new bicycles called niners. Niner is a real all-rounder that allows you to develop a decent speed on the track with the same comfort and overcome off-road without a decrease in speed indicators.

Diameter 36 It is not known how this wheel radius will “take root”, but attempts to introduce such an impressive diameter are already underway. Of course, the larger the diameter, the better the roll, but what to do with the increased “windage”? Time will tell.

With an inelastic lace

To do this, pull a thread, cord or cable around the bike tire. Its thickness does not matter, the main thing is that it fits snugly against the rubber. Next, you need to make notes at the place of its contact with the Initial end. Then remove the cord, spread it on the ground and using a ruler (tape measure) measure the distance from the starting end to the set mark.

Bicycle wheel markings

Usually, the user only needs to visually look at the size of the bicycle wheels to make a decision to buy a vehicle, but sooner or later, the desire to understand the wheel markings will prevail. So what can you learn by reading the symbols on the wheels of the bike?

Manufacturer. Of course, the manufacturer’s brand is written in big letters on any wheels, which is an advertising platform for a long period of time.

Tire size. As a rule, the ETRTO standards are taken as a basis. The numbers on the tires say 52-559, and 2.0026 in brackets. The first numbers are the inner and outer diameters in millimeters, and the size in inches is indicated in brackets.

Pressure. The pressure into which the wheels can be inflated is written in small numbers and letters along the inner radius of the wheels. Measurements are written in different units of measurement (most often. atmosphere (Atm), Bar and PSI), from the minimum to the maximum.

Direction of movement. This parameter is also very important, since the design features of tires are designed for certain physical loads and if installed incorrectly, tire wear will occur many times faster.

In order not to be mistaken, the direction of movement is usually indicated on the tires in the form of an arrow.

And, of course, an important piece of information is the tire production date. These numbers cannot be found on all wheels, but the most conscientious manufacturers will definitely indicate the “freshness” of the product

Relationship between wheel size and rider height

To ride comfortably and overcome obstacles to be feasible, it is necessary to select the size of the wheel, starting not only from the type of bike, but also from the driver’s height. This is an especially important criterion when equipping children’s and teenage bikes, and let’s start with them. There is a special table:

With older bicycles, things are a little different:

  • 20 “wheels are suitable for folding bikes (dimensions will be noticeably reduced)
  • 26 “- great option for leisurely walks (easier transportation)
  • 27 “and more will significantly increase the speed of movement;
  • People taller than 180 cm will find it more convenient to ride a bike from 29 “wheels.
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An additional criterion for riding comfort on an adult bike is the correct frame size. You can pick it up according to the following table.

Rider height (cm)

Road bike (frame, cm)

Road bike
(Frame, cm)

Mountain bike
(Frame, cm)

Of course, the data provided above are guidelines and are NOT strict rules.

However, cycling comfort and performance is highly dependent on wheel, frame and tire sizes, so it’s worth taking advice.

When choosing a bike, no matter what type and for what age category, you need to pay attention to the wheel diameter. This parameter is usually measured in English inches and is indicated on the side of the tire. For each category of two-wheeled vehicles, there are certain dimensional parameters.

One important thing to remember: the diameter of a bicycle wheel depends on the diameter of the rim and the thickness of the bicycle tire. Thus, you can choose the optimal type of equipment that will be comfortable to ride.

For each category of two-wheeled vehicles, there are certain dimensional characteristics. One important thing to remember: the diameter of a bicycle wheel depends on the diameter of the rim and the thickness of the bicycle tire. Thus, you can choose the best type of equipment that will be comfortable to ride.

There are 7 of the most popular wheel sizes. For easy systematization, it is best to place the diameter types in the table. This will make the perception of data more convenient and correct. How to determine the size of a bicycle wheel?

Wheel size in inches Bicycle wheel rim size, mm Bicycle types
20 406 Baby, folding
24 507 Teenage, stunt
26 559 Mountain, walking
27 622 Highway
27.5 584 Mountain
28 622 Road, hybrid
29 622 Niner

Wheels 27, 28 and 29 have the same rim parameters, the difference lies in the thickness of the tire. Size affects many qualities of technology, but there is some definite opinion on this matter. Physically speaking, if the wheel size is large, then a long distance will be covered, but more effort will be required. Thus, the acceleration time is increased. Bikes with small wheels are easier to speed up than the opposite.


  • When measuring the tire diameter, make sure that the wheel does not rotate. So you improve the accuracy of your measurements.
  • Tire dimensions are usually marked on their sidewalls and are given in this order: diameter x width, for example, 27 × 1.5.
  • When a tire is measured using the standard method, its diameter should be expressed as an integer. To do this, round the measurement values ​​to the nearest whole number.

How to find out the diameter of a wheel on a bicycle?

By labeling

A mark is applied to the tire. it can be a drop of paint or chalk. After that, you need to drive the bike on a flat and smooth surface, such as asphalt. So that the wheel completes one complete revolution. After the mark on the tire tread touches the road surface, at least 2 tracks will remain on the ground. This is the beginning and end of the path traversed by the wheel. The distance between the spots imprinted on the road section is the wheel circumference. Measurement is made using a metal tape measure.

For more accurate results, the bike with the paint on the tread is rolled in a straight line a little longer. For example, so that not 2, but 4 tracks remain on the ground. Next, the distance between the points is measured in turn (from 1 to 2, from 2 to 3, from 3 to 4) and the arithmetic mean is calculated. The resulting number is the desired value.

When there is no cable or chalk, you can drive the wheel through a puddle or apply a few drops of water to the tires.


The nipple is a part through which air is pumped into the chamber with the help of a pump. Design nipples are of two types:

  • Rubberized. Less comfortable and less reliable than metal ones, therefore they are used mainly in cheap cameras. Such a nipple has a significantly higher risk of damage to the edges of the hole in the rim, as well as a high probability of separation if it is inaccurately inflated.
  • Metal with thread. These nipples provide the Highest reliability due to the fact that they have a fixing nut that prevents the nipple from sinking and displacing during inflation. Accordingly, cameras with such a nipple are slightly more expensive (Schwalbe, Continental, Schwalbe, etc.).

Now we will consider the main types of bicycle camera nipples, which are divided into:

Methods for measuring wheel diameter

The very essence of the measurement comes down to obtaining numerical data. centimeters, millimeters or inches. Can be done in Several methods:

  • Measurement radius;
  • ISO;
  • Through the circumference.

The easiest is the first way. We take a centimeter or tape measure and place the bike vertically so that it does not fall. Attach a zero straight edge to the hub axis and draw it into the tire edges. This will be the radius of the wheel in centimeters. Then we multiply by two. we get the diameter. To get millimeters, you need to multiply by 10, and inches by 2.54.

ISO will measure the diameter and rim and height of the tire profile. This method may be necessary if you need to put a tire of the second profile. several types of tires can be selected for the same rim diameter.

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Only measure the distance from the center of the hub to the outer edge of the rim. Knowing the radius, it multiplies it by 200. we get the diameter in millimeters. And I pick up another tire on it.

The third method shows how to determine the diameter in terms of the circumference. For THESE purposes you will need a rope and a tape measure. We wrap the tire with a cable, make a mark at the junction with the beginning of the cable. Straighten and use a ruler to measure the distance from the beginning of the cable to the mark. This will be the circumference.

  • Staple paint on tires.
  • Place the wheel so that the mark is in the lowest position.
  • Will ride one turn.
  • At the bottom, the paint will be erased from the tire, and on the sides it will remain, you can understand that the wheel was rolled exactly the opposite.
  • Measure the length of the filled line.

Do not be afraid that for large wheels this value will exceed 200 cm. First, divide it by 3.14. we get the diameter in centimeters. And then divide by 2.54 to convert to inches. Actually, it’s so easy to find out what size the wheel of a bicycle is.

What are the sizes of bicycle wheels?

The geometric parameters of bicycles differ according to a strict pattern. this applies to the size of the frame and the diameters of the wheels. Let’s start with a size chart:

The first column presents the Traditional wheel diameters in inches and millimeters. The wheel is measured with the tire. To find out the size of the rim, you need to subtract the height of the tire, multiplied by two. Standard Rim Sizes Shown in the second column.

Bicycle wheel measurement systems:

  • Classic, inches;
  • In centimeters;
  • ISO standard, in millimeters.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has implemented a universal wheel measurement system to avoid confusion. All bicycle manufacturers adhere to it. The dimensions of the wheels are made up of the diameter of the “clean” rim and the width of the tire profile.

When choosing new tires, you need to know the rim landing diameters. these numbers for tires must correspond to them. This will come in handy when changing to a different tire profile. In everyday life, a wheel is measured in inches, and in inches it gives the dimensions more conveniently. And by the size of the wheel, you can also determine the type of bike. walking, mountain or road.

Wheel sizes are important to know when choosing a children’s bike. There is a direct relationship between the numerical values ​​of the diameters with the height and age of the child, the so-called “wheel size”. Below is a table of standards:

Diameter, inches Height, cm Age
12 up to 98 3
fourteen 98. 104 3. 5
14, 16 104. 110 4. 5
16, 18 110. 116 5. 6
20 116. 128 6. 8
24 up to 164 over 8

Wheel sizes for children’s bicycles are separate from adults: children’s row ends at 24 “-wheels, while adults are just getting started (excluding 20-inch BMX). 24-inch wheels can be safely attributed to teenage and universal (for small adults). Of course, this data will only help you choose a bike, otherwise fitting is needed.

Speed, acceleration, maneuverability and passability

When testing various bicycles, it was noticed that acceleration in bicycles with small wheel diameters is much easier, they move out faster and go uphill more easily. Ascent, which is given with difficulty on a bicycle with speed switches from 26 “wheel, can be conquered much easier on a small single-speed bike with 20” wheels. With the same parameters of bicycles on a plain, a bicycle with small wheels lags significantly behind a large one: if on a small one you can reach a maximum of 35 km / h, then on a large one you can easily reach 60 km / h. Therefore, the ideal size of bicycle wheels should be chosen from the intended routes. You can easily see the direct dependence of acceleration and maximum speed on the diameter of the wheels: the smaller the wheel size, the greater the acceleration and the lower the maximum speed. The table presents test results showing how acceleration, speed and wheel sizes are related. The table shows that for long distance trips on trails, you need to take a bike from 26 “wheels, on city streets with frequent acceleration and deceleration. ideally with 20” wheels. A 24 “turns out to be the golden mean.

Dependence of speed and acceleration on the wheel diameter

speed acceleration
km / h maximum the average low
30-35 20
35-45 24
45-60 26
Dependence of handling and passability on the size of the wheel

passability controllability
Excellent good weak
low 20
good 24
very good 26

A bike with small wheels is easier to handle. Therefore, stunt bikes are configured 20 “wheels, since with a smaller wheel diameter it is easier to return it, which increases maneuverability. The larger the wheel, the more difficult it is to maneuver the bike, especially in a small space.

The larger the wheel size, the better the bike’s flotation. On the sand or rubble from 20 “wheels are difficult to drive even a couple of meters, and 24 “, not to mention 26 “, this is much easier. It is the same with dirt. Optimal performance for 20 “wheels. good and smooth asphalt. The larger the wheel size, the easier it is to overcome all the bumps, bumps and potholes in the asphalt.

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If the road is mostly muddy and the routes are long, wheel size is optimal 26 “. If the road is winding, rolled paths and the distances are short, then the optimal wheel would be 20 “. A 24 “is the golden mean in terms of speed and handling.

For those who live in mountainous and hilly areas, there are peculiarities when choosing the diameter of the wheels. The larger the wheel, the more difficult it is to climb the hill. you have to spin it and fight the climb at the same time. The amount of effort is especially noticeable on small but long lifts. At 26 “wheels will spend more forces than 20”. For uneven terrain, choose a bike with small wheels.

When choosing a bike, the height of a person also influences. Tall people on a small bike from 20 “wheels look funny. So they have to choose 26 “or even 29” wheels. Or create a bike configuration yourself, there are such opportunities now, especially if long routes are planned.

Dependence of the expended efforts on the size of the wheel

easy average heavy
20 24 26

Overall, it is best to choose a bicycle wheel size of 24 “- this is the golden mean in all respects.

How the wheel size of a motorcycle affects its performance

One of the most fundamental properties of a motorcycle. its dynamics. depends on many parameters, among which is the amount of torque supplied to the rear wheel. This characteristic should exceed the moment of resistance, which directly depends on the dimensions and characteristics of the wheel. If the wheel is too large, then the motorcycle will experience a sharp decrease in dynamic qualities, but the speed will be high. If the wheel is too small, then not only the dynamics and controllability decreases, but also the permeability, as there will be constant wheel slip and wheel failure in soft soils such as sand and mud. Therefore, in order to achieve a good performance motorcycle, it is necessary to select the correct wheel sizes and tire characteristics.

C6 rim size

New in cycling accessories in recent years is the 36-inch rim. Manufacturers claim that wheels of this size allow the vehicle to better overcome uneven sections of the track due to the greater contact area of ​​the tire with the road.

How much this corresponds to the truth, most of the Domestic VELOCATOR has not yet had the opportunity to be convinced. Since transport with such a rim is still rare in our open spaces.

What does the wheel consist of?

First of all, it is worth learning about the construction of a bicycle wheel. Regardless of its type (mountain, urban, sports, etc.) The device of this part is identical.

How To Find Out The Size Of Wheels On A Bicycle
  • Hub (bushing). It is located in the center of the wheel and rotates around a fixed stationary axis on bearings. The ends of all the spokes are attached to it.
  • Bicycle wheel rim. This is the metal circle to which the second ends of the spokes are attached, as well as the tube and tire.
  • Knitting needles. Together with the rim, take on most of the load when driving.

How to find out the radius of a wheel on a bicycle. Children’s rim sizes (12-20)

The 12th size is put on children’s bicycles for the smallest. from 2 years old. As a rule, these are either three-wheeled or two-wheeled with auxiliary plastic wheels.

Size 16 is designed for bicycles for older kids. 4-7 years old.

19-th size refers to children only conditionally. This is a specific size, which is most often found on models for trial cycling (overcoming obstacles and jumping on bicycles). Such a small size of the wheel is due to the fact that in this case the speed is not as important as the lightness of the vehicle.

The 20th size (rim diameter. 406 mm) is the boundary, since it simultaneously refers to the last child and the first adult. Most often it is referred to as a teenager. Many bicycle trial “iron horses”, along with the nineteenth size, equipped and the twentieth, as more common and affordable for purchase tires. As a rule, these rims are also found on folding bicycles.

The most common bicycle wheel rim 26 (photo)

Without a doubt, this size is the most common in the world. In millimeters, its diameter is 559.

These wheels are used mainly on most adult mountain, walking or urban species.

SEPARATE CASES 26 ” Bicycle Wheel Rim Fitted on Chinese Mountain Teens Models.

It should be noted that on most types of “iron horses” for adolescents and adults, rim (V-brake, tick-borne, hydraulic, cantilever) or disc brakes are installed.

In this regard, wheels of the 26th size differ among themselves in compatibility with their different types.

As a rule, a separate model has been developed for each of them, as indicated in the title. For example: bicycle wheel rim 26 (under V-brake) or 26 (under Disc).