Understanding Wheel Sizes on Electric Bikes

Understanding Wheel Sizes on Electric Bikes

In this 3-Minute Electric Bike Video Series installment, Bill talks about bike wheel sizes, tires, and what is the best choice for you.

First, you should know that tire sizing is a hotly debated subject even in the cycling community, so you might see several groups giving information on this; if you do some research on the internet. Don’t worry; we can simplify it for you!

Basically these numbers are in reference to the outside diameter of the tire. There is the tire, and then there is the rim. These numbers are in reference to the outside diameter of the tire itself. That can vary depending on the thickness of the tire you put on; it could be slightly larger. So the actual measurement of a particular bike may vary from the spec on the particular rim.


Twenty-six-inch wheels are used most commonly on mountain bikes, and they tend to be fatter. They have a little more cushion to them. Naturally, there is more air volume to disperse as you go over bumps. On the other hand, 700c tires tend to be narrower. And in recent years there has been a new tire – “29-er tires” come out; they are larger in diameter than mountain bikes. Here’s their secret; they are 700c rims that are laced with the spokes to a mountain bike hub, so the 29-er is a 700c with a big fat tire on it.


When you are looking for an electric bike, you might be asking yourself, “Okay, so what tire size should I be looking for?”

Generally, a 700c tire is going to be a narrower tire; it’s going to provide less cushioning, lower rolling resistance so to be more efficient. The ride, because there is less cushioning, will be a little bit harsher.

A 26” tire tends to be wider; it’s fatter; as I said before, there is more air volume, so when you do hit an obstruction, the air in the tire actually absorbs some of that and makes for a little more comfortable ride. They are more suited for mixed terrain, so if you are going to be on-road and off-road, a 26” rim is probably what you are looking for.

Twenty-nine-inch rims are pretty rare in the electric bike world if you were looking at one of those you probably looking for a more serious off-road electric bike.

That’s all for this installment on tires! See you next time!

Understanding Wheel Sizes on Electric Bikes | EVELO