Can You Put 700c Wheels On A 26 Bike? (Explained!)

You may have read about riders replacing a 26-inch wheel with a 700c tire. But, do you wonder if you can do it with your mountain bike?

You want to use your MTB on the roads; therefore, you’ve considered replacing the tires with 700c wheels. Are you making the right decision?

Many riders, like you, are unsure if they should swap tires and wonder will a 700c tire fit a 26-inch rim. Therefore, it’s right to research whether or not you should do it.

Fortunately, this article will tell you whether you should use 700c wheels in 26-inch bikes and how to replace your 26-inch tires with 700c wheels. So kindly read on to learn more.

Pros and Cons of Using 26-Inch Tires


  • Availability of replacement tires
  • Structurally stronger
  • Cheaper components
  • Larger wheel clearance
  • Increase maneuverability
  • Lighter
  • Fewer broken spokes
  • Faster acceleration
  • No need to pack tubes and spare tires
  • Lower gearing
  • No toe overlap
  • More cushioning
  • Smaller packing
  • Better for shorter cyclists


  • Not for rolling over bumps and potholes
  • Requires more energy to maintain speed
  • Less comfortable ride
  • Limited frame options
  • Quality spares are challenging to find
  • Fewer wheel options
  • Not suitable for taller riders
  • Not stylish

How the 700c Wheels Began

700c Wheels

Initially, four tire size variations consist of 700a, 700b, 700c, and 700d. they share the 700mm outside diameter.

Race cyclists used to have several wheels and swap them according to riding conditions.

For example, the skinniest tires are for race day, and the thicker one is for training. On the other hand, the thickest bicycle wheel is for activity on dirt and rough roads.

Unfortunately, bike racers had to realign their brakes after swapping tires because of the change in rim diameter.

Cyclists don’t experience much hardship back then because the road brake calipers allow for several adjustments.

The tire sizes became obsolete as time went on, except for the 700c wheels. Moreover, the 700c became the standard tire for road bikes.

Road bike users now have fewer choices for their tires. However, the outer wheel diameter is now inconsistent.

The 700c refers to tires, rims, or wheels with a BSD of 622mm.

Pros and Cons of Using 700c Wheels


  • Better speed maintenance
  • Better rolling over road obstacles
  • More frame options
  • More tire options
  • Suitable for tall riders
  • Faster travel time
  • Standard bikes in developed countries
  • Better traction
  • May use 26-inch tubes, although not ideal
  • Trendy


  • Hard to find spare parts in developing countries
  • Structurally weaker
  • More expensive spare parts
  • Toe overlap
  • Heavier tires
  • More broken spokes
  • Slower acceleration
  • Less tire clearance
  • Decreased maneuverability
  • We need to carry extra tubes and spare tires in some parts of the world
  • Higher gearing
  • Not for shorter cyclists
  • Need more extensive packaging for travel

The Difference Between 26-inch and 700c Wheels

It would help to realize that the wheels of a mountain bike are sturdier, broader, and smaller than the tires of a road bike.

Moreover, the MTB wheels have low air pressure, helping absorb trail shocks. They also quickly and efficiently get over obstacles because of it.

However, the strengths of a mountain bike on the trails won’t be appropriate on the road.

For instance, wide wheels with low tire pressure slow down acceleration. In addition, the MTB tires are for the trail; therefore, they’ll quickly wear out on paved surfaces and roads.

700c wheels are for road bikes; they’re narrower and bigger in total diameter. Generally, you can use them on your 26-inch mountain bike if they fit.

700c wheels are more prominent in diameter, sleeker, and have better tarmac acceleration. In addition, they won’t wear out quickly when you use them on asphalt.

Are 700c Wheels Compatible with 26-Inch Rims?

It would be best to understand that 700c tires and a 26-inch rim aren’t compatible. A 26-inch wheel usually has a tire width from 1.75 inches to 2.2 inches.

However, you may find a 26-inch tire measuring from an inch to 1.5 inches wide. Moreover, it would help if you considered the 26-inch tire’s BSD of 559mm and 670mm outer diameter.

A 700c tire has a bigger outside diameter at 700mm and a BSD of 630mm. Therefore, the 700c tire has a greater tire width than a 26-inch bike wheel.

It isn’t advisable to install a 700c bike wheel on a 26-inch rim.

How to Convert from a 26-Inch to a 700c Wheel

If you insist on using a 700c tire on your 26-inch mountain bike, you should know that it takes a thorough process because this conversion will affect your other bike’s systems.

The Difference in Rear Hubs

Both the road and mountain bikes have 100mm over-locknut front hubs. On the other hand, they differ in the rear hubs.

Rear Hubs

Generally, a road bike with caliper brakes has 130mm OLD compared to a mountain bike’s 135mm. However, a new road bike with disc brakes uses a 135mm OLD.

Therefore, the rear hub of a 700c wheel is narrower than the 26-inch bike chainstays. It will help if you got a rear hub with a 135mm OLD if you prefer to use it on your 26-inch MTB.

Modifying the Rim Brakes

Because of its wider diameter, you will have an issue with the 26-inch MTB default braking system if you prefer to use a 700c wheel.

Your braking system is useless if your bike has a rim brake. You’ll notice an inch of the rim braking surface on the brake pads.

If you still want to use a 700c wheel, you should use a v-brake boss extender for new mounting positions over the initial holes.

On the other hand, if your 26-inch bike has disc brakes, you may quickly convert to a 700c wheel. Then, you only have to check if the rotors are compatible with the calipers.

Drawbacks of Installing 700c Tires on a 26-inch Wheel Bike


Your number problem in converting to 700c wheels is its price, especially if your 26-inch bike has rim brakes.

It would help if you bought new tires, rims, v-brake extenders, and inner tubes. Moreover, you should buy a new hub if the rear hubs aren’t compatible.

Therefore, if your 26-inch bike has rim brakes, you shouldn’t convert to a 700c tire.

Limited Tire Alternatives

A 700c tire has a longer diameter than a 26-inch wheel. Therefore, your 26-inch bike has a small wheel clearance.

You may find it hard to install a 700c tire on a frame for a smaller wheel. In addition, you’ll have issues with the chainstay’s bridge and forks’ arch.

Remember that a 26-inch wheel has a 2048.4mm outer circumference, and a 700cx25 tire has a 2105mm circumference.

Therefore, the 700c wheel has a circumference more remarkable than what the 26-inch bike frame requires.

Consider the tire sizes below:

26-inch wheel sizes

Wheel SizeCircumference (mm)Circumference (m)
26″ x 1.25″19501.95
26″ x 1.40″20052.005
26″ x 1.50″20102.01
26″ x 1.75″20232.023
26″ x 1.95″20502.05
26″ x 2.00″20552.055
26″ x 2.1″20682.068
26″ x 2.125″20702.07
26″ x 2.35″20832.083 
26″ x 3.00″21702.17

700c wheel sizes

Wheel SizeCircumference (mm)Circumference (m)
700 x 19C20802.08
700 x 20C20862.086
700 x 23C20962.096
700 x 25C21052.105
700 x 28C21362.136
700 x 30C21462.146
700 x 32C21552.155
700 x 35C21682.168
700 x 38C21802.18
700 x 40C22002.2

If you contrast the two tables, you’ll notice that you only have a few options when you convert to a 700c wheel.

Toe Overlap Risk

You may knock your toes on the front wheel if you use a wider 700c wheel on your 26-inch bike, especially during tight turns.

If you have a 26-inch mountain bike with a small frame, you’re likely to experience overlapping of your toes.

This issue can cause catastrophic results if you’re riding downhill. Therefore, if you’re getting a much wider tire, you should choose wisely.

When to Select a 26-Inch Tire

26-Inch Tire
  • Riding in a developing world because it’s faster to find spare parts
  • You have money issues
  • Your height is below 5’5”

When to Pick a 700c Wheel

  • Riding in developed countries because you won’t find it hard to search for parts
  • You’re not on a tight budget
  • You’re at least 6’ in height


What’s the Measurement of a 700c Tire in Inches?

A 700c tire is equal to a 29-inch wheel in diameter. Currently, it’s the standard for Cyclocross, road bikes, and other touring bicycles.

What is the Measurement of a 26-inch Tire in mm?

A 26-inch rim measures 559mm diameter and 670mm outer tire diameter. It was common to find it in mountain bike tires until 2010.

What are the Other Bicycle Tire Sizes?

The other bicycle tire sizes include:

  • 16-inch
  • 20-inch
  • 24-inch
  • 26-inch
  • 27-inch
  • 27.5-inch
  • 29-inch

Which is more Significant: 27-inch or 700c?

700c and 27-inch rims differ slightly. For instance, the former has a 622 mm rim while the latter has a 630mm rim.

Which is Better: the Rim or Disc Brake?

The issue isn’t which one is better but which brake is available when you ride. However, disc brakes are your better choice if you make quick stops.

If you ride in far-flung areas, you may find it challenging to find brake pads and other parts for disc brakes.

If you’re only riding in developed countries, you should opt for disc brakes and 700c wheels.

However, you should choose rim brakes and 26-inch tires if you’re going somewhere where you may find it hard to find 700c tires and disk brake parts in bike shops.

Is a 29-inch Tire the Same as a 700c Wheel?

The United States introduced the first mountain bikes; therefore, the measurements are in inches.

Initially, the MTB bikes had 26-inch wheels; however, mountain bikes today have 27.5-inch or 29-inch wheels.

29-inch tires are equivalent to 700c wheels. On the other hand, a 27.5-inch wheel is the same as 650b wheel.

Can I Use a 700c Wheel on a 27.5-inch Rim?

You may use 700c rims on 27.5-inch and 26-inch mountain bikes with the right-sized tires.

If your bike has disc brakes, it’ll be easier to convert to a 700c wheel.

How Do You Differentiate Between 700 and 700c?

700 is the outside diameter, while 700c is the standard rim or bike tire size. On the other hand, c is the bead seat diameter.

A 700c wheel has a bead seat diameter of 622 mm.

Will a 700c Tire Fit a 26-inch Rim?

You may use 700c wheels on a 26-inch frame, but it’s not advisable, primarily if your mountain bike uses rim brakes.

Thomas Kersten

Hi, I am a passionate biker, and I have been riding for more than ten years and share my biking tips and tricks with the world. I've tested more than 300 bikes.

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