650b vs. 700c

What's the Difference?

650b and 700c are two popular wheel sizes commonly used in bicycles. The main difference between the two lies in their diameter. 650b wheels have a diameter of 27.5 inches, while 700c wheels have a diameter of 29 inches. This variance in size affects the overall ride characteristics of the bike. 650b wheels are known for providing a more nimble and agile ride, making them ideal for off-road and mountain biking. On the other hand, 700c wheels offer a smoother and faster ride, making them popular for road and gravel biking. Ultimately, the choice between 650b and 700c depends on the rider's preferences and the type of terrain they plan to ride on.


Wheel Diameter27.5 inches29 inches
Tire WidthBetween 1.8 to 2.4 inchesBetween 23 to 32mm
UsagePrimarily used for mountain biking and gravel ridingCommonly used for road biking and touring
Rolling ResistanceHigher rolling resistance due to wider tiresLower rolling resistance due to narrower tires
AgilityOffers better maneuverability and agility on technical terrainProvides better stability and speed on smooth roads
WeightGenerally lighter due to smaller wheel sizeCan be slightly heavier due to larger wheel size
CompatibilityMay require specific frame and fork designsCompatible with most standard road bike frames

Further Detail


When it comes to choosing the right wheel size for your bicycle, there are several options available. Two popular choices are the 650b and 700c wheel sizes. Both have their own unique attributes that cater to different riding styles and preferences. In this article, we will compare the attributes of 650b and 700c wheels, exploring their differences and helping you make an informed decision.

Size and Diameter

The most noticeable difference between 650b and 700c wheels is their size and diameter. The 650b wheel size has a diameter of 27.5 inches, while the 700c wheel size has a diameter of 29 inches. This means that the 650b wheel is slightly smaller than the 700c wheel, resulting in a different riding experience.

The smaller diameter of the 650b wheel offers several advantages. It provides better maneuverability and agility, making it ideal for off-road and mountain biking. The smaller size also allows for a wider tire, which enhances traction and stability on rough terrains. On the other hand, the larger diameter of the 700c wheel offers better rolling efficiency and smoother rides on paved roads. It is commonly found on road bikes and touring bicycles, where speed and long-distance riding are prioritized.

Weight and Acceleration

Another important attribute to consider when comparing 650b and 700c wheels is their weight and acceleration capabilities. Generally, the 650b wheel tends to be lighter than the 700c wheel due to its smaller size. This reduced weight can result in quicker acceleration and improved handling, especially in technical and challenging terrains.

On the other hand, the larger diameter of the 700c wheel may add some weight to the overall bike setup. However, this additional weight is often offset by the increased momentum and rolling efficiency it provides. The larger wheel size allows for a larger contact patch with the ground, resulting in better traction and stability at higher speeds. This makes the 700c wheel a preferred choice for road cyclists and those who prioritize speed and efficiency on paved surfaces.

Tire Selection and Versatility

One of the key factors to consider when choosing between 650b and 700c wheels is the availability and variety of tire options. The 700c wheel size has been the standard for road bikes for many years, which means there is a wide range of tire choices available. Whether you prefer slick, narrow tires for high-speed road riding or wider tires for touring and commuting, the 700c wheel size offers plenty of options to suit your needs.

However, the popularity of the 650b wheel size has been growing rapidly, especially in the mountain biking community. This has led to an increase in tire options specifically designed for the 650b wheel size. These tires often feature wider profiles and aggressive tread patterns, providing excellent traction and control on challenging off-road terrains. The availability of a wide range of tire options makes the 650b wheel size a versatile choice for riders who enjoy both on-road and off-road adventures.

Frame Compatibility

When considering a wheel size upgrade or replacement, it is essential to ensure compatibility with your bicycle frame. While most modern frames are designed to accommodate both 650b and 700c wheels, there may be limitations depending on the specific frame design and intended use.

Some frames are optimized for a specific wheel size, and switching to a different size may affect the bike's geometry and handling characteristics. It is crucial to consult the manufacturer's specifications or seek professional advice to determine the compatibility of your frame with different wheel sizes. Additionally, if you plan to switch between 650b and 700c wheels on the same frame, you may need to consider factors such as brake reach and tire clearance to ensure a proper fit.

Riding Style and Preference

Ultimately, the choice between 650b and 700c wheels depends on your riding style and personal preference. If you primarily ride on paved roads, prioritize speed, and enjoy long-distance rides, the 700c wheel size may be the ideal choice for you. Its larger diameter and efficient rolling capabilities will provide a smooth and fast riding experience.

On the other hand, if you enjoy off-road adventures, technical trails, or prefer a more agile and maneuverable ride, the 650b wheel size might be a better fit. Its smaller diameter and wider tire options offer enhanced traction and control, making it suitable for mountain biking and exploring rough terrains.


Choosing between 650b and 700c wheels is a decision that should be based on your riding style, terrain preferences, and personal preferences. Both wheel sizes have their own unique attributes that cater to different needs and riding conditions. The 650b wheel size offers better maneuverability and versatility for off-road adventures, while the 700c wheel size provides superior rolling efficiency and speed on paved roads.

Consider factors such as tire selection, frame compatibility, weight, and acceleration when making your decision. Ultimately, the right wheel size will enhance your riding experience and allow you to fully enjoy your time on the bike, whether you're exploring mountain trails or cruising along smooth roads.

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