Without a doubt, there are so many bicycle tire sizes that they at times get overwhelming. In addition, tires are made with a particular cadre of riders in mind. So, can I put 700c wheels on a mountain bike, and how will it affect the performance of my bike?
You can put 700c tires on most mountain bikes without issues. Actually, the rim diameter 29-inch MTB wheels are identical to that of a 700c wheel. So as long as the width of the 700c tire isn’t smaller than the rim width, it will work perfectly on a mountain bike.
Therefore, so long as the tire fits nicely on the rim and the bike’s frame has enough wheel clearance, you can install 700c wheels on mountain bikes.
What Does 700c Wheel Mean?
Maybe you already know what a 700c wheel is, but it is worth mentioning it for the sake of those who don’t.
Specifically, a 700c tire is any tire that can fit on a rim that has an interior diameter of 622mm and attains an exterior diameter of 700mm.
While the diameters of these wheels remain the same, they come in different widths. So, a 700c wheel for a road bike is sleek, while that for a mountain bike is more expansive than most of the other tires.
Technically, a tire will have two numbers that demote its size, e.g., 700 × 35c. The first number shows the outer tire diameter, while the second stands for tire width.
Can I Put 700c Wheels On A Mountain Bike – 29er MTB?
Before the year 2010, the 26” mountain bike was the standard. All the same, the bigger 29er came and became a darling to many trail riders.
As we had mentioned earlier, you don’t need to perform any conversion on 29er for 700c wheels to fit.
Actually, the diameter of 700c wheels and those of 29-inch mountain bikes is the same. Therefore, so long as the tire width fits on the rim, you can install 700c tires on a 29-inch MTB right away. However, if the tire is too narrow, it won’t fit well, and you risk suffering a blowout.
As such, it’s impossible to run a road racing tire on a 29er MTB rim, but a reasonably slim city tire will fit.
A wheel such as the 29” Continental Mountain King II Fold Tire is ideal for all terrains and has excellent puncture protection. With such a wheel, you can comfortably convert your bike to road bike wheels.
Can You Put 700c Wheels On A 26” Bike
Although the 16” mountain bikes have the smallest clearance, they can still work with 700c wheels. All the same, make sure the new tire has a corresponding outer circumference with the older one.
Mainly, a 26” mountain bike fitted with a 2.2-inch tire has a circumference of 2107.25mm. Therefore, when installing a 700c tire, you need to stay as close as possible to these values.
In that case, a 700c wheel for a 26” MTB will need 23-25mm wide tires. Notably, these are classic tires for road bikes.
Technically, a 700c-23mm tire will have a circumference of 2098.58mm. This is close to the initial rim circumference of a 26” mountain bike’s wheels.
On the other hand, 25mm tires on a 700c rim reach 2111.15mm, which is beyond the default wheel circumference of a 26” mountain bike.
Are All 700c Wheels The Same Size?
As we had earlier noted, a 700c wheel is any wheel that has an interior ISO diameter of 622mm. Although these wheels have the same circumference, they come in various widths.
For example, a tire like the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Home Trainer Fold Tire is for a 700c wheel that is 23mm wide, while the SCHWALBE Marathon Supreme HS 382 is for a 700c wheel that is 35mm wide.
So, all 700c wheels may have a standard inner diameter, but they are not the same in width.
Therefore, if you want to put a 700c tire on your mountain bike, make sure to get the correct width for your wheel.
Is There A Difference Between 700 And 700c?
It’s possible to find tires listed as 700×28, 700c×28, 700×28c, or any other tire width. This could be a bit confusing when getting a wheel replacement. So are the 700 and 700c wheels the same?
The answer is yes; they are the same. The nominal 700 represents the outer diameter of the wheel.
Actually, the letter “C” was a way of the French wheel sizing for what is now known as the bead seat diameter (BSD). Thus, there were three different widths; 700a, 700b, and 700c, with the latter being the widest at 32mm.
However, the other two became obsolete, and the letter codes no longer matter. This is because there are sleek tires that work with rims originally meant for wide tires.
In that case, 700 and 700c prefixes in wheel sizing mean the same in the current biking age, but there could be slight differences by the manufacturers.
Can I Use Road Bike Wheels On A Mountain Bike?
You can use road bike wheels on a mountain bike, but there is a catch or two. First, a 26” MTB has limited clearance, making them challenging to fit 700c wheels.
All the same, the 29ers that use 700c wheels will work with road bikes without many limitations.
Also, the other challenge that comes in is brake compatibility. You will need 700c v-brake adaptors like the Baoblaze Aluminum Alloy Brake Rack Adapter that will allow you to use rim brakes on mountain bike bosses.
However, disc brakes will make putting road bike wheels on MTB a lot easier. So long as the new wheels have rotors designed for the current type of calipers, the installation process will be straightforward.
Another issue you have to deal with is different hub spacing. Most modern-day mountain bikes come with an over-locknut dimension of 130mm, while road bikes have an O.L.D. of 135mm.
All the same, adding a 2.5mm washer on either side of the hub and resetting the drivetrain will work perfectly.
Also, if your bike has a steel frame, you may squeeze the axle with the dropouts and call it a day.
Are Mountain Bikes Faster With 700c Wheels?
When it comes to top speed, there is no much difference between the 26” mountain bike wheel and a 700c. Most folks have believed that a larger wheel means low speeds, but they miss the point.
First, a larger wheel like the 700c will have a slow acceleration speed than smaller wheels. But once they get rolling, they can attain the same speed and maybe more than the sleek tires and maintain a high momentum.
In addition, a bigger tire will require more torque due to the geometry. If the extra torque isn’t there, the wheel will not be faster than a smaller one.
In essence, the benefit a 700c while has over an MTB wheel is easier maneuverability on the streets, but they have no significant difference in top speed.
What Are The Challenges Of Putting 700c On A Mountain Bike?
- Unusually high bottom bracket
- Possible toe overlap
- You have limited tire options. If your bike is not a 29er, you will have fewer tire options.
- The process id overly expensive
So, can you put 700c wheels on a mountain bike without any major issues? Yes, you can. Actually, the 29ers are already running 700c wheels.
When you want to install road bike tires on mountain bikes, ensure that their widths fit nicely on the rim to avoid cases of blowouts.
If you own a 26” MTB, you may also put 700c on but remember you have limited wheel clearance. Therefore, your choices are also few.
Putting sleek tires on your existing MTB wheels is the easiest way to increase acceleration speed and get better maneuverability on the streets.