Wheel, The Perfect Size

The elusive Goldilocks wheel. (Tim Tomkinson)
Photo: Tim Tomkinson

An elusive and controversial hoop that allows mountain bikers the ability to optimize progress over rocky terrain. For decades, mountain-bike wheels were 26 inches in diameter—light and agile but inept on larger obstacles. The late aughts and early teens saw the sudden rise of bikes with 29-inch wheels (so-called 29ers), which effortlessly clear large rocks and logs but are unwieldy for smaller riders. Recently, the 650B, 27.5-inch wheel has come into favor for occupying the Goldilocks-style middle ground—not too big, not too small, just right. At least for now. (See “Runaway Inflation.”)

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