The size of the bike’s wheels is an important part of figuring out the right tire size and making sure the bike works well.
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, understanding how to measure your bike’s wheel size is critical to your bike’s overall performance and your riding experience.
This article will cover several methods for measuring bike wheel size, including the standard method and the ISO method. Also, we’ll talk about the different charts you can use to find the right tire size based on the width and circumference of your bike’s rim.
We will also provide tips on how to measure kids’ bike wheels and the importance of measuring bike wheel circumference for accurate bike computer readings.
To make sure your ride is comfortable and safe, you need to know what size bike wheels your bike needs. Incorrect wheel sizing can cause problems such as uneven tire wear, poor bike handling, or even potential accidents.
By understanding the different methods and charts for measuring bike wheel size, you can make informed decisions when choosing the right tire size for your bike.
How to Measure a Bike Tire
A bike tire’s size is typically indicated on the tire sidewall, but the numbers and letters can be confusing if you don’t know how to interpret them. Two methods can help you measure a bike tire: the standard method and the ISO method.
The Standard Method
The standard method is the easiest and most common way to measure a bike tire size. You can typically find the tire size indicated on the sidewall of the tire as a sequence of numbers and letters.
The sequence generally appears as follows: “XX-YYY T”, where XX is the tire width in millimeters, YYY is the tire diameter in millimeters, and T indicates that the tire is a clincher (rim brakes) or a tubeless tire (disc brakes).
To measure your tire size using the standard method, follow these steps:
Step 1: Locate the numbers and letters on the sidewall of your tire.
Step 2: Write down the two numbers in the sequence, indicating the tire width and diameter, respectively.
Step 3: If your tire has a “T” at the end of the sequence, it means that it’s a clincher tire for rim brakes. If there’s no “T,” it’s a tubeless tire for disc brakes.
The ISO Method
The ISO method is the most accurate way to measure a bike tire’s size. It involves measuring the diameter of the tire and the width of the tire at its widest point. The ISO method uses millimeters as the unit of measurement.
To measure your tire size using the ISO method, follow these steps:
Step 1: Measure the diameter of the tire from one edge of the tire’s bead to the opposite edge of the bead on the other side of the tire.
Step 2: Measure the width of the tire at its widest point. This point is typically located about halfway between the tire’s bead and tread.
Step 3: Write down the two measurements in millimeters.
Pros and Cons of Each Method
The standard method is easier and more commonly used, but it may not be as accurate as the ISO method. The ISO method is more precise but can be more complicated and time-consuming.
In general, the standard method is suitable for most everyday cyclists, while the ISO method is more appropriate for professional or serious riders who require greater accuracy.
How to Measure a Bike Wheel (Rim) for Tire Size
When it comes to measuring a bike wheel (rim) for tire size, there are a few key measurements you need to take into consideration. The two most important measurements are the rim diameter and the rim width.
To measure the rim diameter, you will need to remove the tire from the rim so that you can measure the actual rim.
With the tire removed, use a tape measure to measure the distance across the center of the rim, from one side to the other. This measurement should be taken in millimeters, and it will give you the rim diameter.
It’s important to note that there are several standard rim sizes used in the bike industry, including 26 inches, 27 inches, 28 inches, and 29 inches.
However, some bikes may have rims that are larger or smaller than these standard sizes, so it’s important to measure your rim to determine the exact size.
Next, you will need to measure the rim width. To do this, measure the distance between the inside edges of the rim. This measurement should also be taken in millimeters.
Once you have determined the rim diameter and width, you can use a rim width to tire size chart to determine the appropriate tire size for your bike.
These charts will typically provide recommended tire sizes based on the rim width and diameter, as well as the type of bike (road bike or mountain bike).
It’s important to note that some rims may be labeled with the tire size they are designed to fit. In this case, you can simply replace the tire with a new one of the same size.
However, if your rim is not labeled or you are unsure of the appropriate tire size, it’s always best to measure the rim’s diameter and width to ensure a proper fit.
In general, it’s important to choose a tire that is appropriate for your riding style and terrain. For example, if you plan to ride on rough terrain, you may want a tire with a wider tread and more grip.
On the other hand, if you plan to ride on smooth pavement, a tire with a narrower tread and lower rolling resistance may be a better choice.
Road Bike Rim Width to Tire Size Chart
Road bikes are designed for high speed and efficiency on smooth roads, and the rim width and tire size are critical to their performance.
The width of the rim affects the tire’s shape and volume, which in turn affects the ride quality, grip, and rolling resistance of the bike. To ensure optimal performance, it is important to choose the right tire size for the rim width.
The following is a chart that shows the recommended tire size for various rim widths for road bikes:
|Tire Size Compatibility||Internal Rim Width|
|23 – 25c||13-15, 17-19mm|
|25 – 28c||13-15, 17-19, 20-21, 22-23mm|
|30 – 33c||17-19, 20-21, 22-23, 24-25mm|
|33 – 35c||17-19, 20-21, 22-23, 24-25mm|
|38 – 40c||20-21, 22-23, 24-25mm|
|40 – 43c||20-21, 22-23, 24-25mm|
|43 – 45c||22-23, 24-25mm|
|45 – 48c||22-23, 24-25mm|
|48 – 50c||24-25mm|
It is important to note that this chart is only a general guideline, and tire size recommendations may vary depending on factors such as rider weight, road conditions, and riding style.
Before making any changes to how your bike is set up, you should always talk to a professional bike mechanic or do your own research.
Mountain Bike Rim Width to Tire Size Chart
When it comes to mountain bikes, the choice of tire size and rim width largely depends on the type of riding you’ll be doing.
Below is a chart that shows the recommended tire sizes for different rim widths for mountain bikes:
|Tire Size Compatibility||Internal Rim Width|
|2.8-3.1″ (plus) Tires||22-23, 24-25mm|
Note that these recommendations are just general guidelines, and the tire size you choose will also depend on other factors such as the type of terrain you’ll be riding on, your riding style, and your personal preference.
In general, wider tires are better for riding on rough terrain and provide more traction and stability, while narrower tires are better for smoother surfaces and offer lower rolling resistance.
However, wider tires may not fit on all rims, so it’s important to check the manufacturer’s specifications for both the rim and tire before making a purchase.
How to Measure Kid’s Bike Wheels
Measuring a kid’s bike wheel size is similar to measuring an adult bike wheel size. However, there are a few differences in the measurements, mainly due to the smaller size of the wheel. Here are the steps to follow to measure a kid’s bike wheel:
Put the bike in an upright position: To measure the bike wheel, first, put the bike in an upright position. You can prop the bike up against a wall or use a bike stand.
Find the center of the wheel: Locate the center of the wheel by identifying the axel nut or quick-release lever.
Measure the diameter of the wheel: Measure the diameter of the wheel by placing the tape measure on the ground, making sure the tape is touching the lowest point of the tire, and measuring straight up to the center of the wheel.
Measure the width of the tire: Measure the width of the tire by placing the tape measure across the widest point of the tire.
Record the measurements: Write down the diameter and width of the tire in inches.
It’s important to note that kids’ bike wheels are typically measured in inches, and the sizes can range from 12 inches to 24 inches.
The tire widths for kids’ bikes vary depending on the type of bike and the intended use. It’s always a good idea to consult the manufacturer’s specifications or the bike shop for guidance on the appropriate tire size for your child’s bike.
Measure Bike Wheel Circumference for a Bike Computer
If you want to use a bike computer to track your cycling performance, you need to measure your bike wheel’s circumference accurately. The bike computer uses this measurement to calculate your speed and distance covered.
Here’s how you can measure your bike wheel circumference:
- Put your bike against a wall or use a bike stand to keep it upright.
- Mark a point on the ground directly beneath the valve stem of the wheel you want to measure.
- Move your bike forward until the valve stem is at the bottom.
- Mark another point on the ground directly beneath the valve stem.
- Measure the distance between the two marks you made on the ground.
- Multiply the distance by 3.14 (pi) to calculate the wheel circumference.
For example, if the distance between the two marks is 2 meters, then the circumference of your wheel is 2 x 3.14 = 6.28 meters.
Once you have measured your wheel circumference, you can enter the value into your bike computer to get accurate readings of your speed and distance. Make sure to double-check your measurements and enter the correct value into your bike computer to avoid any errors.
Most Common Bike Wheel Sizes
Bike wheels come in a variety of sizes, each with its own purpose and advantages. Here are some of the most common bike wheel sizes and their uses:
700c: This is the standard size for most road bikes. These wheels have a diameter of 622 mm and are narrow, which reduces rolling resistance and improves speed.
They are also lightweight and offer excellent maneuverability, making them a popular choice for racing and long-distance rides.
29″: These wheels have a diameter of 622mm, the same as 700C wheels, but are wider and have a larger circumference. They are commonly used on mountain bikes, offering improved stability and traction on rough terrain.
They are also popular on hybrid bikes, which provide a balance between speed and stability on pavement and light off-road trails.
27.5″: Also known as 650B, these wheels have a diameter of 584mm and are becoming increasingly popular for mountain bikes. They offer a good compromise between the nimbleness of 26″ wheels and the stability of 29″ wheels.
26″: These wheels were once the standard for mountain bikes but are now less common. They have a diameter of 559 mm and are wider than road bike wheels, providing more stability and traction on rough terrain.
24″: These wheels are often found on kids’ bikes. They give smaller riders a good balance of stability and maneuverability.
20″: These wheels are also found on kids’ bikes, providing a smaller and more manageable size for very young riders.
It’s important to note that there are other wheel sizes available for specialized uses, such as fat bikes with extra-wide tires or BMX bikes with 20-inch wheels.
When purchasing a bike or new wheels, it’s important to match the wheel size to the intended use and the rider’s size and abilities.
What Is the Most Common Road Bike Wheel Size?
The most common road bike wheel size is 700c. Road racing bikes have made this size common, and it has now become the norm for most road bikes. 700c wheels have a diameter of approximately 622mm and are typically paired with tires ranging from 23mm to 32mm in width.
The 700c wheel size offers a number of advantages for road cyclists. Firstly, the larger diameter allows for faster speeds, better rolling resistance, and improved handling at high speeds.
Additionally, the wider range of tire widths available for 700c wheels allows riders to customize their bikes to suit their specific riding needs, whether it be racing or touring.
It’s worth noting that while 700c is the most common road bike wheel size, there are still other sizes used for certain applications.
For example, smaller 650C wheels may be used for triathlon bikes or smaller riders, while larger 29-inch wheels are often used on gravel bikes and adventure bikes.
Most Common Size of Mountain Bike Wheel
The most common size of mountain bike wheel is 29 inches. This size is also known as “29ers” and has become increasingly popular in recent years. 29-inch wheels offer a larger contact patch, which provides better traction and stability on rough terrain.
They also roll over obstacles more easily than smaller wheels, making them a popular choice for cross-country and trail riding.
In addition to 29-inch wheels, the next most common size for mountain bikes is 27.5 inches. This size is also known as 650B, and it offers a balance between the rolling capabilities of larger wheels and the nimbleness of smaller wheels.
26-inch wheels, once the standard for mountain bikes, have become less common but are still used on some specialized bikes, such as downhill and dirt jumpers.
When choosing the size of your mountain bike wheels, it’s important to consider the type of riding you plan to do and your personal preferences. While larger wheels offer benefits in certain areas, they may not be the best choice for everyone.
ISO Wheel Size Chart For Bike Tires and Rims
The ISO wheel size chart is an international standard that defines the dimensions of bicycle tires and rims. It was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to provide a universal system for classifying tire and rim sizes.
The chart lists tire and rim sizes in a standardized format, making it easier for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to identify compatible components.
|ISO Bead Seat Diameter||ISO Bead Seat Diameter||Traditional Sizings||Applications|
|137mm||5.4″||8 x 11/4||Wheelchairs|
|152mm||6″||10 x 2||Wheelchairs|
|203mm||8″||12 1/2 x various||Scooters (children’s)|
|254mm||10″||14 x 2.00||Various (children’s)|
|305mm||12″||16 x 1.75 – 16 x 2.125||Folding bikes, some recumbents|
|317mm||12.5″||16 x 1 3/4||Schwinn (children’s)|
|337mm||13.25″||16 x 1 3/8||Very rare bike tire|
|340mm||13.4″||400 A||Folding bikes, European bikes (children’s)|
|349mm||13.75″||16 x 1 3/8||Folding bikes, recumbents, bikes (children’s)|
|355mm||14″||18 x 1.5 – x 2.125||Folding bikes, bikes (childrens)|
|369mm||14.5″||17 x 1 1/4||Moulton bikes|
|390mm||15.35″||450 A||European bikes ( children’s)|
|406mm||16″||20 x 1.5 – x 2.125||BMX, bikes (children’s), folding bikes, recumbents|
|419mm||16.5″||20 x 1 3/4||Schwinn (children’s)|
|440mm||17.3″||500A||European bikes (children’s), folding bikes|
|451mm||17.75″||20 x 1 1/8; x 1 1/4; x 1 3/8||Bikes (children’s), BMX, recumbents, folding bikes|
|457mm||18″||22 x 1.75; x 2.125||Bikes (children’s)|
|490mm||19.3″||550 A||European road bikes (children’s)|
|501mm||19.75″||22 x 1 3/8, 22 x 1.00||British bikes (children’s)|
|507mm||20″||24 x 1.5- x 2.125||Mountain bikes (children’s), cruisers|
|520mm||20.5″||24 x 1, 24 x 1 1/8, 24 x 1 3/4||Schwinn bikes|
|540mm||21.25″||24 x 1 1/8, 24 x 1 3/8 (E.5),||British bikes (children’s), wheelchairs, Japanese women’s bikes|
|547mm||21.5″||24 x 1 1/4, 24 x 1 3/8 (S-5)||British bikes (children’s), Schwinn bikes (children’s)|
|559mm||22″||26 x 1.00- x 2.125, fatbike tires up to 5 inches wide||Mountain bikes, cruisers, fatbikes, Schwinn bikes|
|571mm||22.5″||26 x 1, 26 x 1 3/4, 650 C||Cannondale bikes, wheels for shorter cyclists, Schwinn bikes|
|583mm||22.95″||700 D||GT bikes|
|584mm||23″||650B, 26 x 1 1/2, 27.5||French bikes, tandem and touring bikes, Raleigh & Schwinn mountain bikes|
|590mm||23.25″||26 x 1 3/8 (E.A.3), 650 A||French & Italian bikes, English 3 speed bikes|
|597mm||23.5″||26 x 1 1/4, 26 x 1 3/8 (S-6)||British bikes, Schwinn bikes|
|599mm||23.6″||26 x 1.25, x 1.375||Old US bikes|
|622mm||24.5″||700 C, 28 x 1 5/8 x 1 1/2, 29 inch, 28 x 1 1/2 F.13||All bike types, Canadian bikes (F.13),|
|630mm||24.8″||27 x anything (not 27.5), 609mm||Rare Danish bikes, old road bikes|
|635mm||25″||28 x 1 1/2, 700 B, 28 x 1 5/8 x 1 1/2||European roadsters, old Swedish bikes|
|686mm||27″||32 inch||Unicycles, Custom bikes|
|787mm||31″||36 inch||Unicycles, Custom bikes|
Bike Wheel FAQs
What factors should I consider when choosing a bike wheel size?
When choosing a bike wheel size, consider the type of bike you have and the terrain you will be riding on. Most road bikes have bigger wheels to make them faster and more efficient, while mountain bikes have smaller wheels to make them easier to steer on rough terrain.
Also, consider your weight, riding style, and the type of tire you want to use.
Can I use any tire size with my bike wheel?
No, not all tire sizes are compatible with every bike wheel. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s recommended tire size and width for your particular bike wheel to ensure safe and efficient riding.
What’s the difference between tubeless and tube-type tires?
Tubeless tires have no inner tube and are designed to be used with a special sealant that fills punctures and seals the tire to the rim.
Tube-type tires, on the other hand, use an inner tube to hold air and are typically more affordable and easier to repair.
How do I know when it’s time to replace my bike wheel?
Signs that it’s time to replace your bike wheel may include visible damage or wear, such as cracks, dents, or warping. You may also experience poor performance or handling, such as wobbling or difficulty turning.
Regular maintenance and inspections can help catch issues before they become serious and impact your riding experience.
Can I upgrade my bike’s wheel size?
It’s possible to upgrade your bike’s wheel size, but it’s important to make sure the new wheel size is compatible with your bike frame and components.
Talk to a professional bike mechanic for advice and make sure all the parts are installed and adjusted correctly.
Conclusion – How to Measure Bike Wheel Size
In conclusion, measuring a bike wheel is a simple process that requires a few basic tools and a little bit of knowledge about the bike’s size and type.
It’s important to get an accurate measurement of the bike wheel, especially when buying new tires or rims, to make sure they fit well and work well.
To measure a bike wheel, start by identifying the type of bike you have, such as a road bike, mountain bike, or kids’ bike.
From there, figure out the right way to measure and what tools are needed, whether you need to measure the diameter, width, or circumference of the wheel for a bike computer.
It’s also essential to understand the different wheel sizes available and which ones are most common for your type of bike. With this information, you can choose the right tire size and rim width for the best performance and comfort.
Finally, if you’re unsure about how to measure your bike wheel or select the right size, it’s always best to consult with a bike mechanic or experienced rider for advice.
With a little bit of knowledge and some simple tools, anyone can measure a bike wheel and enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride.