Bicycle wheels come in a wide range of sizes from 12" wheels found on smaller Kids Bikes to larger 29" Mountain Bike and 700c Road Bike wheels. Larger wheels are normally faster and more stable at speed and their larger contact patch improves grip too. Smaller wheels are normally lighter, more manoeuvrable and have quicker acceleration.
Wheel sizes are defined by the country that first popularised the style of bike that used them - so you'll see some imperial and some metric measurements listed. Wiggle includes the ISO standard in brackets after each for ease of comparison.
Wheels are a great upgrade you can make to significantly improve the performance of your bike.
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Clincher wheels: This type of wheel is by far the most popular and offers maximum convenience. A bead seat on the rim prevents the tyre from leaving the rim. Clincher tyres hook onto the rim bead, and must be fitted with a separate inner tube. The pressure inside the inner tube pushes the bead of the tyre into position giving you a safe to ride on wheel.
Tubular wheel: These are normally lighter than a clincher wheel as there is no need for a bead seat on the inside of the rim. The tubular tyre is completely encased and hence mounting the tyre on the rim requires either glue or a tubular tape. The mounting process can be time consuming however the benefits are a reduced rolling resistance and a very supple feel. Tubular wheels remain the choice of most Pro Tour teams.
Tubeless wheels: These are becoming increasingly popular, most major wheel brands have a tubeless wheel option in their portfolio of products. They may also be referred to as 2 way fit, implying Clincher and Tubeless compatibility. These wheels are usually slightly heavier than a clincher only version, as there is extra material required on the rim to provide an airtight seal for the special tubeless tyres used. The upside is you don’t use inner tubes so lose some of the rotating mass and “pinch” punctures are also less likely.