Can 650b Wheels Fit on a 26-Inch Bike Frame?

Can 650b Wheels Fit on a 26-Inch Bike Frame?

Upgrading your 26-inch bike to 650b wheels can be a great way to improve its performance. But can you fit 650b wheels on a 26-inch frame? Read on to find out how to determine if this upgrade is possible for your bike and how it might affect your ride.

Converting a 26-inch bike frame to 650b wheels is a controversial topic in the cycling community. While some riders might enjoy the aesthetic change, experts often advise against it due to potential issues with compatibility, handling, and ride quality. Before making the conversion, it is recommended to carefully consider factors such as frame geometry, tire clearance, and suspension design to ensure a safe and successful build.

Understand what “650b” means and how is it different from 26-inch wheels.

650b wheels are typically referred to as “plus size” wheels and they differ from 26-inch wheels in both size and tire width. Measuring 27.5 inches in diameter with a 2.6-2.8 inch tire width, 650b wheels allow for larger rolling momentum, increased grip, and enhanced off-road performance compared to 26-inch wheels. So before swapping out your bike’s current wheel sizes, make sure that you know how a change to 650b will affect its overall riding experience.
To ensure that 650b wheels fit onto your 26-inch frame, you’ll want to look at the bike manufacturer’s specifications or do some research on measurements. 650b wheels require a fork and frame with enough clearance for the larger wheel size as well as wider tires. If your bike does not have enough tire clearance for a 2.6-2.8 inch tire width, then 650b wheels are unfortunately not going to be an option! Make sure to double check before making any changes so that you can get the most out of your new wheels.

In this video, the creator is embarking on a new project by converting a 1992 Specialized Stumpjumper mountain bike. The original bike was equipped with 26-inch wheels, but the creator wanted to modernize its look by fitting it with 650B wheels. Despite the warnings from various online forums that the conversion would not be possible, the creator was determined to give it a try.

The new components of the bike include Planet X Nifty Swifties 650B tires, a Cane Creek 1-inch headset, a SRAM hollow chainset, XTR brakes, a Shimano saddle, and a SRAM Apex MEC. The creator had some challenges with the external cups of the chainset but eventually found the right size. The bike has a clean and modern look with a comfortable saddle and a carbon fiber handlebar.

The creator is hoping for a positive response to their work and will consider doing another update video if they receive enough likes and subscriptions. With its new components, the bike now has a gravel grinder look while retaining the bigger wheels of a mountain bike. The creator invites viewers to like and subscribe to their channel to show their support.

Five reasons not to convert 26in to 650b

Converting a 26″ bike frame to 650b wheels may not be recommended by experts in the field. According to an article on Bikeradar, there are several reasons why this conversion may not be ideal. 

The article cites potential consequences such as altered bike geometry, reduced tire and frame clearance,decreased suspension performance, and compatibility issues with other components. It is suggested to carefully consider these factors before attempting a conversion. 

It may be better to purchase a bike designed with 650b wheels to avoid potential issues.

There are several reasons why converting a 26-inch bike frame to 650b wheels may not be recommended by experts in the cycling industry.

  1. Geometry: The 26-inch frame was designed with a specific geometry in mind to provide a certain ride experience. Converting to 650b wheels can alter the bike’s geometry and potentially affect handling, stability, and overall ride quality.

  2. Suspension: The 26-inch frame was likely designed with a specific suspension in mind, and converting to 650b wheels may not provide enough clearance for the suspension to work properly. This could result in damage to the suspension components and decreased performance.

  3. Brake Compatibility: 26-inch frames may not have the necessary clearance for larger 650b wheels and modern brakes, which can lead to braking problems and potentially dangerous situations.

  4. Tire Clearance: The larger 650b wheels may not fit in the frame’s fork or rear triangle, leading to tire clearance issues that can affect the performance and safety of the bike.

  5. Cost: Converting a 26-inch bike frame to 650b wheels can be a significant expense, especially if it requires purchasing new components to accommodate the larger wheels. In many cases, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a new bike specifically designed for 650b wheels.

These are some of the reasons why experts in the cycling industry may not recommend converting a 26-inch bike frame to 650b wheels. It is important to carefully consider these factors and consult with a professional before making any modifications to your bike.


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