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.
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.
The Bontrager XR4 Team Issue tyres look plenty beefy enough for a trail bike. Trek
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.
Tom’s long-term test bike, his Santa Cruz Chameleon, is being run as a mullet bike. Steve Behr
The links you need
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Previous BikeRadar Tech Talk Podcast episodes
Previous BikeRadar Podcast episodes