BikeRadar Tech Talk Podcast Ep 5: Wheel diameter and tyre size

It's the never-ending debate: how big should your wheels be and what width is best for your tyres? Tom and Seb tackle this controversial subject in the latest BikeRadar Tech Talk podcast

Vee Tire Crown Gem tyre

BikeRadar‘s Tech Talk podcast series is back and in Episode 5, technical editor Tom and technical writer Seb dig deep into the ever-changing and never-ending debate on what diameter wheel you mountain bike ‘should’ have and how wide the tyres mounted to your wheels might be.

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Debates over wheel size in mountain biking are seemingly endless. First, there were 26in wheels, then 29er stormed on to the scene and the larger diameter found fans in the cross-country world, but older geometries just didn’t work out when travel numbers grew.

Then, out of nowhere, the 650b wheel arrived and killed off 26in almost instantly.

Bontrager XR4 Team Issue mountain bike tyres
The Bontrager XR4 Team Issue tyres look plenty beefy enough for a trail bike.

In the background, 29ers started working nicely in longer travel bikes, while plus-sized and fat tyres also entered the market.

Eventually, things settled down, with wider 29in wheels dominating bikes designed to go fast, while 650b retained its place in the ‘fun’ trail and enduro bike market, and shared the honours in downhill.

Then, in 2019, the Mullet truly arrived: 29in at the front, 650b at the back. Why? Let Seb and Tom talk you through the what/why/how of the latest mountain bike wheel size drama.

Taking a photo of the Santa Cruz Chameleon
Tom’s long-term test bike, his Santa Cruz Chameleon, is being run as a mullet bike.
Steve Behr

The links you need

We’ve got a new series – Bike Shorts!

While Tech Talks is a six-part series (another episode in four weeks time!), and our BikeRadar Podcast comes out every two weeks, we now have a very brief, weekly news-based podcast called Bike Shorts.

Be sure to try and catch 10 to 15 minutes of the latest and greatest news with views every Friday.

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How to listen to the BikeRadar Podcast

If you want to download the BikeRadar Podcast to your iPhone, you can find it on iTunes, alternatively, it can be streamed via Spotify and all the other usual podcast services.

Previous BikeRadar Tech Talk Podcast episodes

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Previous BikeRadar Podcast episodes