Tag Archives: mountain bike

With the days getting a bit shorter as the fall bike event season progresses, there are several more bike events from October 23 through November 24th to enjoy for your preferred riding pleasure in the upper Midwest.  With cooler temps drifting south enjoy all the colors of the season along the way.

See more fun fall bike events scheduled over the next 30-days

With the days getting a bit shorter as the fall bike event season progresses, there are several more bike events from October 23 through November 24th to enjoy for your preferred riding pleasure in the upper Midwest.  With cooler temps drifting south enjoy all the colors of the season along the way.

Many more fun bike events are out there to extend your fall season off riding.

Many more fun bike events are out there to extend your fall season off riding – So have some more fun!.

Fall bike events ahead

Renegades Cyclocross   Des Moines IA Oct 23

Full Moon High Trestle Bridge Ride Slater IA  Oct 27

Iowa City Gravel Race Lone Tree IA Oct 27

Pedal for Karen Reynolds Cedar Falls  IA  Oct 27

Siouxland Halloween Ride Sioux City IA Oct 27

Women On A Roll Minneapolis MN  Oct 27

Spooky Cross  Altoona IA Oct 27-28 

Valley Junction Alley Cat Fun Ride West Des Moines IA Oct 28 

TCBC Halloween Ride Como Golf Course, St Paul  Oct 28 

MN HS State Championships Mankato MN  Oct 27 – 28 

Renegades Cyclocross   Des Moines IA Oct 30 

2018 MN Fall Corporate Bike Forum  Eagan, MN Oct 30

Halloween Costume Ride Des Moines IA Oct 31

Bike events through November 24th

Creekside ReUnion Cross  Coralville IA  Nov 3-4 

Winter Bike Expo  Eden Prairie, MN  Nov 3-4

Dirty Duathlon Des Moines IA Nov 10

Frosty Cross LeMars IA  Nov 10-11

Midwest Mountaineering Expo Minneapolis MN  Nov 16-18

Make-A-Wish Iowa Altoona IA Nov 17

Valley Cross West Des Moines IA Oct 17

Full Moon High Trestle Bridge Ride Slater IA  Nov 24 

Pie Burner Fat Bike Ride Hibbing MN  Nov 24

Did we miss an event?   Please submit the event or pass this link to the director for our Calendar Listing at HaveFunBiking, so it’s in the next e-Mag – thanks!

See more bike fun!

See more events further out in both the Iowa and Minnesota Bike/Hike Guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. As you explore all the bike-friendly destinations we have covered, please share your experience with us. And, don’t forget to smile we may be around the next corner with our camera ready to capture you for our next pic of the day!

Here in this bike pic, we captured this biker dude having fun pedaling into the morning sun. Can' t make it out today, check out all the fun upper Midwest ride events happening this weekend at HaveFunBiking.

Bike Pic Oct 04, fun riding into the Thursday morning sun

Here in this bike pic, we captured this biker dude having fun pedaling into the morning sun. Can’ t make it out today, check out all the fun upper Midwest ride events happening this weekend at HaveFunBiking.

What better way to continue your summer fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘HaveFunBiking’ bike pic

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have a great day!

Sadly, it is sometimes unavoidable to ride in the rain. So, when you do get caught in the rain, use these bike maintenance tips to protect your equipment.

Quick and easy post bike maintenance tips after riding in the rain

by John Brown

Sadly, it is sometimes unavoidable to ride in the rain. In my experience, the rain actually waits for me to get as far from home as possible before starting. So, when you do get caught in the wet weather, how do you protect your bicycle from the damages of water? Read on for a few helpful bike maintenance tips.

The First Step In Bike Maintenance Tips Is Get It Clean!

The first step after a riding in the rain is to get your bike clean. Road grime, mud, and other muck that has accumulated on your bike will hold moisture and encourage corrosion. A bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge is the best way to clean out that crud. Try to resist the urge to point a hose at the bike because pressured water gets into bearings promoting wear.

The Second Tip – Get It Dry

Once your bike is clean, use an old towel to get it dry. Rubber parts like tires and grips don’t need a lot of attention, rather focus on all the metal parts. Really try to address the steel hardware and make sure its dry to the touch before you’re done.

Then, Clean The Rims

Unless you have disc brakes, riding in the rain takes a toll on both the rims and brake pads. All the road grime that attaches itself to the rim works like sandpaper, wearing both the rim and the brake pads when you stop. Therefore, after riding in wet weather you will want to focus on getting all that abrasive grime off the rims and pads. If the dirt is left in place, your brakes can start making noise, be less efficient, and wear out quicker.

Lube The Chain

Water and motion will do a good job of scouring all the lubricant off your chain. Additionally, the same road grime that wears rims and brake pads will wear your chain. Additionally, that wear leaves your chain particularly susceptible to rust. To lube your chain, start by propping the bike up so you can rotate the cranks backward freely. Next, Backpedal the bike, while dripping lubricant onto each chain link. Once the chain is well saturated, give a few moments for the lubricant to penetrate the chain. Finally, wrap a rag around the chain, backpedal, and remove all the excess lubricant. Done!

Lube The Cables

Like the chain, cables will lose lubricant and wear quicker in the rain. To keep your bike shifting and braking well, drip a small amount of lubricant onto the cables where they enter the housing. Once capillary action carries a few drops of lubricant into the housing, shift through your gears a few times and squeeze the brakes repeatedly to help the lubricant find it’s way.

Drain The Bike

A bicycle may appear to be sealed from the elements, but it is, in fact, able to take on water when you ride in the rain. The water that collects inside your bicycles frame can destroy bearings, rust a frame from the inside, or freeze in the winter and burst frame tubes. To drain a frame, pull the seat and seat post out of the bike, and turn the bike upside down. Leave the bike for a few hours to drain and then replace the seat and post.

Overall, when servicing your bike after you ride in the rain be aware of the corrosion and wear rain can cause. Focus on getting the bike clean and re-lubricated, ready for your next ride.

Now into the fall season here are several more bike events October 1st through October 9th for your preferred riding pleasure in the upper Midwest.  With fall now here you will notice cooler temps and more colors as the season progresses.

Discover all the fun bike events over the first nine days of October

Now into the fall season here are several more bike events from October 1st through October 9th for your preferred riding pleasure in the upper Midwest.  With fall now here you will notice cooler temps and more colors as the season progresses.

This fall is full of cyclocross bike events for all levels of riders.

This fall is full of cyclocross bike events for all levels of riders.

 

Bike events, 9-days out

Monday Night No Drop Dirt Ride Des Moines, IA  Oct 1 

World Championship MTN Bike Time Trials Minnesota City Oct 2 

Renegades CyclocrosDesMoines, IA Oct 2 

Mountain Bike Skill Builders Clinic Minneapolis MN Oct 3

Thursday Cross Practice Cedar Falls IA Oct 4

Capitol City Bikeway Tour  St Paul, MN Oct 4

Thursday MTB Singletrack Golden Valley, MN Oct  4

Saturday

Alempics Bike Skills Pentathlon Olympics Ankeny, IA Oct 6

The Spotted Horse Gravel Ultra  St Charles, IA  Oct 6

Shaggy Ridge Ride Tipton, IA  Oct 6

GEARS Greenbush Grinder Glenbeulah, WI Oct 6

FATOBER Osage, IA Oct 6

Willis Dady Run & Ride Festival Decorah IA Oct 6

How to Ride a Bike Bloomington, MN Oct 6

Free Bikes 4 Kidz Bike Collection Day Twin Cities Area Oct 6

“Start Me Up” Day Red Wing, MN Oct 6

Ladies MTB Skill Builders Clinic Minneapolis, MN Oct 6

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Grand Rapids, MN Oct 6

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day Fergus Fall, MN Oct 6

Teravail Oremageddon Ironton, MN Oct 6

Apple Affair Tour Galesville, WI  Oct 6

Donkey Cross Centuria, WI Oct 6

Sunday 

MN HS League Race #5, River Falls, WI Oct 7 

Mankato River Ramble Mankato, MN Oct 7

Iowa Junior Mountain Bike Race Des Moines, IA Oct 7

Dirt Bag MTB Clearwater, MN Oct 7

Joyful Ride To Minnetonka Orchards Minneapolis, MN Oct 7

Woolly Day 2018 St. Croix Falls, WI Oct 7

Tuesday

World Championship MTN Bike Time Trials Minnesota City Oct 9

 

Gathering for a ride on the Promenade in Cedar Falls. in this bike pic

Gathering for a ride on the Promenade in Cedar Falls, in this bike pic..

See More

See more events further out in both the Iowa and Minnesota Bike/Hike Guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. As you explore all the bike-friendly destinations we have covered, please share your experience with us. And, don’t forget to smile we may be around the next corner with our camera ready to capture you for our next pic of the day!

As summer slips into fall and we are into our last week of September, here are several more bike events September 24th through October 3rd, here in the upper Midwest.  With fall now here you will notice cooler temps and more colors as the season progresses.

Discover all the fun bike events, Sept. 24th and continuing into October

As summer slips into fall and we are into our last week of September, here are several more bike events September 24th through October 3rd, here in the upper Midwest.  With fall now here you will notice cooler temps and more colors as the season progresses.

This fall is full cyclocross bike events for all levels of riders.

This fall is full of cyclocross bike events for all levels of riders.

Bike events, 10-days out

Full Moon Ride  Slater, IA Sept 24 

Monday Night Mountain Ride St Cloud, MN  Sept 24 

Women’s MTB Clinic Burnsville, MN  Sept 24 

World Championship MTN Bike Time Trials Minnesota City, MN Sept 25 

Renegades Cyclocross DesMoines, IA Sept 25 

Mountain Bike Skill Builders Clinic Minneapolis, MN Sept 26 

Pop-Up Bike Park #3 Minneapolis, MN Sept 26 

Wednesday Night CX Maplewood, MN Sept 26 

Northwoods Epic Bikepacking Stage Race Grand Marais, MN Sept 27-30 

Thursday MTB Ride  Golden Valley, MN Sept 27

Loess Hills Parks & Peaks Bicycle Tour Sioux City, IA Sept 27 – 30

Thursday Cross Practice Cedar Falls IA Sept 28 

Saturday Events

Women’s MTB Skills in the Park Roseville, MN Sept 29 

Bikes 4 Kids Legacy Ride Maple Grove Sept 29 

Heck of the North (gravelTwo Harbors, MN Sept 29

Bike Your Park Day Worldwide Sept 29 

Brew & Bikes 2018 Grand Rapids, MN Sept 29 

Bucktoberfest at Buck Hill Burnsville, MN Sept 29

End of the Season Poker Ride Prior Lake, MN  Sept 29 

Fall Classic Duathlon  Lake Elmo, MN   Sept 29 

Introduction to MTN Biking Class -Level 1 Woodbury, MN Sept 29 

Karma CX New Brighton, MN Sept 29-30 

Mississippi River Bike & Brew Tour St Paul, MN  Sept 29 

Utepils Brewing Oktoberfest Fondo Minneapolis, MN Sept 29 

Oktobershred Cottage Grove MN Sept 29 

Progressive Dinner on the Greenway Minneapolis, MN Sept 29 

7th Annual Raw Rotary Ride Across Warren Co. Indianola, IA Sept 29 

Saturday and/or Sunday Events

Jingle Cross Festival Iowa City, IA  Sept 29 -30

Open Streets Minneapolis University of MN  Sept 30 

MN HS League Race #4, Detroit Lakes, MN Sept 30

Gravel Grovel 5 Miesville, MN  Sept 30 

MTN Biking Tour of the Twin Cities Woodbury, MN Sept 30 

LCTA Ride & Learn  Marion, IA  Sept 30 

October Events

Monday Night No Drop Dirt Ride Des Moines IA Oct 1 

World Championship MTN Bike Time Trials Minnesota City, MN Oct 2 

Mountain Bike Skill Builders Clinic Minneapolis MN Oct 3

Gathering for a ride on the Promenade in Cedar Falls. in this bike pic

Gathering for a ride on the Promenade in Cedar Falls, in this bike pic..

See More

See more events further out in both the Iowa and Minnesota Bike/Hike Guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. As you explore all the bike-friendly destinations we have covered, please share your experience with us. And, don’t forget to smile we may be around the next corner with our camera ready to capture you for our next pic of the day!

As summer slips into fall this coming Sunday, here are more bike events September 19th through 24th, here in the upper Midwest.  With fall now approaching, on Sept 22nd, you will notice cooler temps and more colors as the season progresses. 

Discover all the fun bike events, Sept. 19th and continuing into the fall

As summer slips into fall this coming Sunday, here are several more bike events September 19th through the 24th, here in the upper Midwest.  With fall now approaching, on Sept 22nd, you will notice cooler temps and more colors as the season progresses.

Bike events, 7-days out

Renegades Cyclocross DesMoines, IA Sept 18

Wednesday Night CX   Brooklyn Park, MN Sept 19 

Thursday Cross Practice Cedar Falls IA Sept 20

Tour de Fall W. Des Moines to Lanesboro, MN.  Sept 21-23 

Trek CX Cup Waterloo, WI Sept 21-23  

Wild Ride Mountain Bike Lebanon Hills – Eagan, MN   Sept 22 

3rd Annual Save Summer Bike & Brew Fest Walker, MN  Sept 22 

Root River “Taste of the Trail” Rushford, MN   Sept 22 

Tour De Hugo  Hugo, MN Sept 22 

Central Lakes 24/7 Duathlon Fergus Falls, MN  Sept 22 

Headwaters 100  Park Rapids, MN Sept 22

Full Moon High Trestle Bridge Ride Slater, IA Sept 22

Arthritis Bike Classic  San Francisco to L.A. Sept 22-29

The Ride  Sun Prairie WI Sept 23

Hero Gravel Classic  Stillwater, MN Sept 23 

GIRG (Gravel Iowa River Greenbelt) Ride Steamboat Rock, IA Sept 23

Full Moon Ride Slater, IA Sept 24

See More

See more events further out in both the Iowa and Minnesota Bike/Hike Guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. As you explore all the bike-friendly destinations we have covered, please share your experience with us. And, don’t forget to smile we may be around the next corner with the HFB camera ready to capture you for our next pic of the day!

As summer slips away over the next week most bike events, here in the upper Midwest, will continue to enjoy warm days and cool nights, low humidity, very few insects as the autumn colors changes the landscape.

Discover the fun fall bike events, September 9th through the 16th

As summer slips away, over the next week most bike events here in the upper Midwest will continue to enjoy warm days and cool nights, low humidity, very few insects as the autumn colors change the landscape.

Bike events, 8-days out

Here is a list of bike events you may want to check out over the next week:

RideMN1 Bike Crossing  Browns Valley to Taylors Fall, MN   Sept 9-14

Door County Holiday Sturgeon Bay, Wi Sept  10-14

Renegades Cyclocross  DesMoines, IA Sept 11

WNCX Battle Creek  St Paul, MN Sept 12

Thursday Cross Practice Cedar Falls, IA Sept 13 

Ride the Ridges  Winona, MN Sept 15 

Mora Bike Tour Mora, MN Sept 15  

Pedal the Parks Lakeville, MN Sept 15  

Purple Ride Stride Maple Grove, MN Sept 15 

Root River “Taste of the Trail”  Preston, MN Sept 15 

Woodtick 100  Deerwood, MN Sept 15 

Bar-B-Kee Bash Waukee, IA Sept 15 

Big Creek Bike Ride Polk City, IA Sept 15 

Capital City Cross  DesMoines, IA Sept 15

Embrace the Hills Mondamin, IA Sept 15

Tour De Fire Ottumwa, IA Sept 15 

Jack Lake MTB Deerbrook, WI September 15 

Gopher CX Zimmerman, MN Sept 15-16 

Hawkeye Human Race Weekend Cedar Rapids, IA Sept 15-16

MN HS League Race #3 Rochester, MN Sept 16 

Minneapolis Bike Tour Minneapolis, MN Sept 16 

Manchester Gravel Ride Pub Crawl Manchester, MN  Sept 15

Bicycle La Crosse Gravel Eduro Series Houston, MN Sept 15-16

Solidarity Cycling Gravel Series Ride #4 Vermillion, MN  Sept 16

New Heartford Omelet Ride Cedar Falls, IA Sept 16

Farm Cycle Iowa City, IA Sept 16

Relay Cross Des Moines, IA Sept 16 

Autumn Trek Ride River Falls, WI  Sept 16

Bike the Barns Reedsburg, WI Sept 16

See More

See more events further out in both the Iowa and Minnesota Bike/Hike Guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. As you explore all the bike-friendly destinations we have covered, please share your experience with us. And, don’t forget to smile we may be around the next corner with the HFB camera ready to capture you for our next pic of the day!

The second most common mechanical problem to a flat tire, is a broken chain. Read on to learn the causes of and quick remedies to fix your chain.

Causes of a broken chain and the quick and easy ways to fix it

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The second most common trail side mechanical problem to a flat tire is a broken chain. While it could be the end of an otherwise great ride, with a little preparation you can easily fix the chain and get your bike back on the road. Read on to learn the causes of and remedies to a broken chain.

Why is a broken chain common?

Wear

Chains break for a host of reasons, but most common is wear. For example, if a chain has been ridden for 2500 miles, it will actually stretch out. Correspondingly, a ridden chain will be longer from link to link than a new chain. Because the chain is stretched, the metal fatigues is more susceptible to failure. Additionally, as the chain wears the chainrings and cassette (gears in the rear) will wear out as well. Combine all those factors, mix in one bad shift and you have a recipe for a broken chain. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have your chain checked by your local bike shop at least once a year.

Impact

Chains, like anything else on your bike, can be damaged if it gets hit hard enough. While not as common, chains can break if they are involved in a rock strike or other impact. Impact damage to chains can be more difficult to repair than if the chain breaks due to wear. The reason being, wear will typically only break one chain link, while impact can damage many.

The parts of your bike chain

Your chain is made of only four pieces; the outer plate (A), inner plate (B), roller (C), and rivet (D) and every link contains two of each.

How to fix a broken chain

To start, you need find and remove the broken link. How much of the broken chain you remove depends on how you are fixing it. Usually, you need to remove a complete link (one set of outer plates, inner plates, rollers and rivets like in the picture above).

To repair, replace or adjust the length of you chain you need to purchase a chain tool. A chain tool is a device that pushes the rivets into and out of a chain. Generally speaking, most bicycle multi-tools will have chain tools, but you can also buy them individually.

broken chain

Pedros multi tool on the left and Park Tools CT5 on the right.

To use the chain tool, position the chain into the lower tines (see image below). Once the chain is positioned, begin threading in the rivet tool (see image) until it forces the chain rivet almost all the way out. As you can see, the chain will easily come apart. Repeat this process until all portions of the broken chain are removed.

Removing a broken chain link and shortening chain

For older chains you can remove the broken link and mend the chain back together one link short. Keep in mind, the chain length is very specific for the function of the drivetrain. If you shorten the chain, you will lose the ability to shift into the largest cogs safely. Therefore, have the chain properly sized and repaired at your local shop once you get home. With the broken link removed you will need to put the chain back together. Start by pushing the two links ends together and placing them in the chain tool. Force the rivet back into place with the chain tool. Done!

Install a quick link

Quick links come in many different sizes depending on the amount of speeds your bike has. From 8-12 speed, chains will all use a different quick links that are not cross compatible. If only the outer plates are broken, you can cut them out, install the quick link, and ride off as if nothing happened. If an inner plates break, you must cut 1-1/2 links out of the chain before installing the quick link.

Install a chain pin

Installing a chain pin is necessary for all Shimano brand chains. Like quick links they are speed specific (ie. 8,9,10 speed etc.), and not cross compatible. To install a chain pin, remove the offending link and the rivet completely (see image below). Then, put the two chain ends together (held in place by the chain pin) and use the chain tool to press the pin into place. Once the chain is installed break off the portion of the pin protruding from the back of the chain.

Ongoing maintenance

Breaking a chain is rarely an isolated incident and more frequently, it is the sign of a larger issue. If you do break a chain on the trail, be sure to get your bike to a professional for inspection. Additionally, if you need to replace the chain be prepared to replace the cassette, and possibly chainrings as well. Considering all the parts of your drivetrain wear together, attempting to to introduce a new part into that group might not function well.

We hope this information is helpful, both for situations when out riding and when you need to bring your bike in for servicing. Have Fun!

 

Many times, riders will assume that because the weather is cool or a ride is short they don’t need to bring water with them on a bike ride. Truth be told, the biggest drain to your energy while riding can be related to dehydration.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of water on any length of a bicycle ride

Many times riders will assume that because the weather is cool or a ride is short they don’t need to bring water along with them on a bike ride. Truth be told, the biggest drain to your energy level while riding can be related to dehydration. Stay hydrated by bringing water or a sports drink along on all rides.

Yeah water, bring plenty along!

Yeah water, bring plenty along!

Stay hydrated before, during and after your ride!

Here are five tips on how much to drink and what to drink when biking:

1. On days that are going to be hot, first thing in the morning drink at least a pint (20 to 24 Fl. OZ.) of water. If you have a lemon handy, squeeze some juice in with the water. This combination wakes up your metabolism and replaces lost water from sleep. Plus the vitamin C from the lemon helps build resistance to catching a colds.

2. Then, one to two hours before heading out on your bike consume another pint of fluid, an hour before you start riding. This is particularly important on the hotter days.

In colder weather, try to avoid consuming large amounts of fluids in the morning before your bike ride. This is because in cold weather your body will want to reduce the supply of blood going around your body. It will do this by making you want to go to the bathroom to get rid of excess fluid.

3. On longer rides when you are out riding for several hours replace fluids an electrolyte drink. Evidence shows that people hydrating only consuming water don’t replace electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride. This will result in a dramatic drop in performance and create fatigue. With several brands on the market use a richer mix during the winter (because you are drinking less) and a weaker solution during summer (because you’ll be drinking more).

On longer rides consider mixing one of your water bottles with an electrolyte drink mix and grapefruit juice. Or, for a high carbohydrate burn rate use gels with water.

Drink before you get thirsty

4. The main thing to remember when cycling, drink before you get thirsty. Sip on the water and the electrolyte drink on those hot days. Ideally target to take a couple sips of fluid every two or three miles on really hot days. Everyone is unique so this still might not be enough on really hot days. However, it is better to consume plenty of fluids early on in the ride to help reduce the chance of hydration issues later on in the day.

5. Hydrate and replenish after each and every bike ride. Do not just get home and have some water! You need to replace protein, carbohydrates, electrolytes and water alone wont help your body recover quickly for that next planned activity. A quick recovery drink alone isn’t enough, you have to pay attention and keep hydrated the rest of the day too

Remember – Staying hydrated is unique to each individual. So please experiment with the steps above and the products available on the market to find out what works best for you. If you feel faint, dizzy or start to get a headache while out riding please stop and seek shade or an air conditioned room) and call medical assistance ASAP.

So, stay hydrated and have fun no matter how hot it gets!

Remember - Drink water before you get thirsty!

Remember – Drink water before you get thirsty!

 

 

We now have: 24”, 26”, 27.5”, 29”, 27+ and 29+ wheel sizes for mountain bikes. Take a look below to see the pros and cons of each size.

Mountain bike wheel sizes: past, present and future explained

by John Brown, 

Here is a brief history and a look into the future of mountain bike wheel sizes. Once the 29er revolution took over, many companies started looking at even more sizes. Therefore, we now have: 24”, 26”, 27.5”, 29”, 27+ and 29+ wheel options, with another new dimension on the horizon.

The Mountain Bike began it’s commercial success in 1978 in the mountains around the San Francisco bay area. A group of friends started racing down mountain roads on trash-picked Schwinn Excelsior cruiser bikes. Quickly, riders demanded a more durable bicycle that could not only bomb down the hills, but turn around and ride back up. To that end, Joe Breeze of Breezer bikes was happy to oblige by building the first ever Mountain Bike. Considering there were only 26” balloon tires (like the ones on the Excelsior) That is what he used for the first Mountain Bike, setting the tone for all Mountain Bikes built over the next 25 years.

Tire Size

Breezer #1 (the first Mountain Bike) and the Schwinn Excelsior “klunker” both with 26″ wheels

Early changes to wheel sizes

By the early 90’s, mountain bikes had exploded. There were professional mountain biking events all over the world, a prime-time TV show (Pacific Blue anyone?) and mountain bikes in every garage in the country. On the wave of MTB excitement bicycle brands started investing serious money into new technology development, and one of the areas of interest was wheel size. Starting things off was Cannondale with their long heralded “Beast of the East” that used a 24” rear wheel. The benefit of a smaller wheel is better acceleration and the ability to make shorter chainstays.

tire size

Cannondale “Beast of The East” with 24″ rear wheel

On the other side of the country, in Petaluma California, a different idea was being hatched. Based on the development of the 700x48c “Rock and Road” tire by Bruce Gordon, A custom builder caller Willits, started making mountain bikes with 700c wheels. The owner of Willits, Wes Williams, was well connected within the cycling industry and became the advocate for what would be called a 29er. From Wes’ influence, Trek, the largest bike brand in the world, launched production 29ers through their Gary Fisher brand. At that point 29ers were in the main stream and now with so many wheel sizes take a look below to see the pros and cons of each size.

 

tire size

Rock and Road tire that was the start of the 29er movement

It all started with a 26” wheel size

The 26 inch wheels have existed for over 100 years. Furthermore, the critical dimensions of these wheels haven’t changed. Therefore, you could theoretically fit a tire from 1930 onto a rim of today. In an industry that releases new products every year, that consistency is amazing. Currently, 26” wheels are used primarily on department store Mountain Bikes or cruiser bicycles. Therefore, 26″ replacement parts can be found easily and inexpensively.

27.5” and 29” wheels

While 29ers led the way for new wheel sizes, 27.5” wheels were also popular in the initial wheel size change. The reason 29ers took hold so quickly was, in comparison to 26” wheels, they roll over objects easier and have better traction. Conversely, the downside to larger wheels is more mass to push around. In fact, The issue with mass is why 27.5” wheels became popular. A 27.5” wheel has similar traction and roll over to a 29er with much less weight. Therefore they accelerate and change direction more easily. You will now find 29” and 27.5” wheels on almost any mountain bike sold in bike shops. Typically, you see 27.5” wheels on smaller size bikes and 29” on the larger sizes. Also, full suspension bikes use 29ers on the lower travel options and 27.5” on longer travel bikes.

wheel size

A fun chart Giant Bicycles released to compare wheel size and angle of attack

Plus wheel sizes

Plus sized tires are a new development in the cycling industry. In detail, they use the same rim diameter as 29″ and 27.5” bikes, but the rims and tires are wider. For example, a standard tire width is around 2”, while plus tires are 3” wide. As a result,  plus sized tires puts a lot more rubber on the ground, and gives you amazing traction. With a plus sized tire, you can expect to climb up almost anything with ease. Therefore, once difficult trails become easier, and it feels as if every turn has a berm. The penalty for all that traction is additional weight. Additionally, having large tires increases the tire’s overall air volume and makes finding the right pressure a bit more complicated. If you are interested in plus tires, your bicycle has to be built to accept their additional size. Usually, it’s just best to buy a complete bike.

wheel size

Plus tire angle of attack

The future wheel sizes

The development of wheel sizes has slowed down a bit for the cycling industry. With that being said, the movement has shifted to tires. The most recent buzz is coming from the 29” x 2.5” size tire. This “Big 29” tire is looking to be the new size of the year. The reason that size is getting attention is because it blends the speed and agility of a standard 29” tire with the gravity defying traction of plus tires.

What wheel size is best for You

I would love to say it’s easy to measure the pros and cons of each wheel/tire size, cross reference that information with your personal preferences and decide what is the right thing for you. Sadly, that doesn’t work. In reality, the best way to see what is going to work for you is to test ride them. Test rides are the best way to match your riding style with one of the many options available today.