26 Inch Bicycle Rims Buying Guide

26 inch bicycle rims size opens the door to many categories of bikes. Starting with the MTB category, commonly known as mountain bikes, we will find MTB bicycle rims with brake mounts.

Part 1: Introduction to Frames

Bicycle frames 26 inch bicycle rims are one of the most popular sizes nowadays. Originally, except for city bikes, 26 inch bicycle rims were a common solution in the MTB world. However, nowadays, a mountain bike is usually equipped with 27.5″ or 29″ rims. Over the years, 26″ bicycle rims are widespread in touring bikes, as well as triathlon bikes. They are also used in electric models, recently becoming very popular.

26 inch mountain bike rim

26″ MTB bike rims, like those in other segments, can be divided by profile, among other things. Cheaper variants usually have single-wall profiles. On the other hand, more expensive models are equipped with additional walls, which increases the rigidity of the components. As a result, they become more resistant to deformation and damage, which is not difficult in the field. Thus, the more chambers in the profile of 26″ MTB bike rims, the greater their durability.

Deciding on 26 inch bicycle rims, you should also consider the type of brakes with which they will cooperate. Rims suitable for hydraulic retarders should not be used with V-brakes, as this may cause quick damage to the rims. A 26″ V-brake rim has special surfaces that the brake pads rub against. You should also pay attention to the material of the rims. The most common materials used today are aluminium and carbon fibre.

Road Wheels and Wheelsets

Every single bike has at least two wheels. Road wheels are very often sold in sets of 28 inches. The bike store more and more often offers carbon 26 mountain bike rims but not only. Road tires are narrow and with very soft treads in road wheels. The advantage of large wheels is indisputable and logical. Thanks to the larger diameter, the angle of attack on an obstacle is much smaller than in MTB. A large wheel smoothes out undulations and dampens bumps much better than a small 26 inch bicycle rim.

Choosing MTB Wheels

MTB wheels are one of the most important components of mountain bikes. They are made to maintain grip and develop high speeds. The materials they are produced are divided into two groups: aluminium wheels and carbon wheels. The rim and spokes can be made of these materials. Although the most common material used for spokes is stainless steel.

The hub is usually made of aluminium, the hub axle is made of steel or aluminium, and the other components (bearings, cones) are steel.

Part 2: Considerations for Frame Selection

Everyone can see what kind of wheel it is. Each component has a greater or lesser influence on dynamics during a ride. The most basic and key element is the rim, and it is the rim that is the subject of today’s article, namely how to choose the perfect rim width for yourself. How to choose from a wide range of 26 inch bicycle rims available on the market

Everyone who is at least a little bit interested in the technical side of a bicycle knows that even a millimetre can make a difference on a bike. It is no different in the case of 26 inch mountain bike rims. This parameter will determine the strength of the wheel, its weight, the width of the tire, and its grip. Proper selection of the rim directly translates into the parameters and efficiency of the ride and thus the purpose of the wheels.

The Use of Each Rim

Do you know the use of each rim? The main parameter determining the purpose of a rim is its internal width (mm). Different widths of 26 mountain bike rims are used for MTB marathons, XC races, and others for Enduro or downhill. Below we present 3 selected models from our range of wheels.

26 inch bicycle rims most commonly used in XC racing and MTB marathons have an inner width from 20-26 mm, allowing low wheel weight. The low weight of the rim means less rolling resistance and is paid special attention to it in XC and marathons. For those who place their interests in Enduro and downhill, it is recommended to choose wider rims, and usually, the inner width is 26-35 mm.

The wider the rim, the more it unfortunately weighs, but what is most important is that it increases its resistance to all kinds of impacts on mountain paths full of roots, stones, long flights, and jumps. There is a reason why the widest 26 mountain bike rims are chosen by downhill cycling enthusiasts, where the wheels and the whole bike get a really big push.

Wider Rims = More Grip, So Why Think about Narrower Rims

It all depends on the terrain in which you want to use the wheels. If you need wheels for flat terrain, you can safely choose narrower 26 mountain bike rims while gaining more weight. However, if we choose racing, for example, in the mountains, or enduro riding, the rim’s width can significantly help overcome obstacles and provide much more strength to the whole wheel.

For example, Enduro is a discipline of riding in mountainous terrain. You can get on an Enduro in the woods, but the potential of this bike is only revealed in dynamic terrain conditions such as mountain trails or purpose-built trails. In such conditions, the wheels have to withstand much higher loads. In addition, weight is also important because the bike must handle well on downhills and weigh enough to overcome uphills without much resistance. In this situation, you have to find the golden mean between how much you want to go off the weight of the wheels for the sake of durability. As we mentioned before, the inner width of the enduro wheel 26 inch mountain bike rims is 26mm to even 35mm.

Similar rules of finding the golden mean apply to wheels for marathons and XC. The difference is that the routes of typical mountain marathons are usually not as extreme as those of Enduro or XC. That’s why you can easily choose a narrower rim, guided by the relation between the wheel’s weight, the comfort of riding in difficult terrain, and their durability.

Below we present the most frequently chosen and recommended MTB, enduro, and downhill marathon wheels. The recommendations below are from years of experience in wheel building and customer feedback. It is important to us that the wheels are, first of all, reliable and, where required, also lightweight.

Rim Material and Profiles

Bicycle rims made of light metals allow reducing the total weight of a bicycle, translating into the comfort of use. Rims are with metal profiles, in which holes are drilled, then formed into wheel shape – in a very durable way. Bicycle rims themselves are aluminium alloy.

Rims are from U-shaped profiles. More expensive profiles have 2, 4, or 5 chambers, making them more durable and stiff. In multi-chamber rims, the spoke does not pierce the inner tube.

The rim profile should have pre-drilled holes for nipples and spokes. The holes may have rings, which extend the rim’s life. The number of holes is usually from 28 to 36.

Side Surfaces of Bicycle Rims

Side surfaces of bicycle rims should be even and long, so braking is smooth and very quiet.  We select the rim according to riding style and type of bike. The weight of rims is very important in bicycle competition, but lower weight causes faster wear.

The rims do not have smooth sides and are light and aerodynamic on mountain bikes. Heavier rims are durable; they won’t suffer even if a heavy stone hits them. We can buy a bicycle rim for as little as a dozen PLN, but it is worth spending a bit more to get a better quality and more durable model.

Types of Bicycle Tires

We can divide all bicycle tires into several categories. Looking at specific types, after taking into account the riding styles and conditions for, we can divide individual models according to the following criteria:

As the name suggests, road tires are a type of tire. Each road tire is unique with a very fine tread pattern or complete lack. The most popular widths in which they occur are 23 to 30 mm. The most important features that characterize any good road tire are its weight, grip, and resistance to punctures.


MTB tires – a type of tire for use in difficult off-road conditions. Its size, width, and shape depend on the type of mountain biking and the terrain. All good MTB tires are of strength, grip, and puncture resistance.

Gravel tires – bike tires that are for riding in mixed terrain. They are to increase travel comfort both on asphalt roads, gravel, and forest paths. They are unique for delicate thread, and their width usually ranges from 30 mm to 42 mm. The desirable features of gravel tires are their puncture resistance, weight, and good off-road grip.

Trekking tires – these are tires for tourist bikes. Their width and type of tread are to provide comfort during the ride, obtain minimum rolling resistance when riding on asphalt, and maintain full control over the bike when leaving the paved road. A good trekking tire should have excellent puncture resistance, durability, and the ability to ride on any terrain.

Cross country tires – a type of tire used for cross country cycling. Their appearance, size, and width are similar to the road tires but distinguished by an aggressive tread to provide traction when riding off-road. The biggest advantages of this type of tire should be weight and grip. The maximum width that a cyclocross bike tire can have is 33 mm.

City tires are a type of tire. Its shape, width, or size is on the type of bike. As mentioned earlier, a common feature of the tires used in all the city is a delicate tread pattern and increased resistance to punctures.

Trainer tires – a tire designed for one purpose. It is completely devoid of tread, and the rubber compound provides high strength and resistance to friction that occurs when the tire contacts the roller of the trainer.


Speaking about the types of bicycle tires, it is impossible not to mention their systems. It is the classic tube system and the tubeless system. It allows not only to ride on much lower pressure but also seals small punctures on its own, which is a classic solution that would force us to patch or replace the tube. It is also worth mentioning another solution in which the tire is with the inner tube – we are talking about the rails. It’s a system in which the neckline is on the rim to work with a given type of tire. The main advantages of this type of tire are its low weight, resistance to punctures, the possibility of inflating to very high pressure, and ideal grip regardless of the angle of inclination of the tire when cornering.

Part 3: Considerations for Price Selection

Weight Is Important

If you do not intend to participate in races but ride for pleasure, it is worth choosing a slightly heavier but a few millimetres wider rim. This will increase the comfort and reliability of your ride concerning taking part in MTB competitions. As we mentioned before, in disciplines like XC or marathon racing, the weight really matters, and by the nature of the ride, reducing the bike’s weight has become a key aspect when choosing components. The lower the bike’s weight, the less power you have to generate, and the more power you save, the better your score.

A wider rim on an MTB, in short, means an easier ride on technical terrain. Unfortunately, the wider the rim, the heavier the wheels. You can save about 100-150 grams on average compared to aluminium wheels of the same width.

This is especially noticeable in the World Cups. A wide rim is heavier for sure, but it also increases the wheel’s stability and improves the comfort of the bike, which is important for technically difficult obstacles. A tire on a wider rim fits much better while riding, which is especially important when manoeuvring off-road.

It behaves much more stable than the same tire on a narrower rim because there is more tire surface in contact with the ground. An interesting example of a complete revolution in the industry is BST technology, pioneered by American company Stan’s NoTubes in ZTR rims. BST technology involves lowering and simultaneously widening the sidewalls of the rim.

Part 4: Frequently Asked Questions

Can A 6 Foot Man Ride A 26-inch Bike

Out of many bike sizes, the 26-inch bike is suitable for every adult. It’s also one of the most common sizes people use nowadays. In detail, if you’re around 6.2 feet tall, then the 26-inch bike is perfect for you.

What Is the Diameter of A 26 Inch Wheel

As with most bike wheel naming conventions, the term ’26 inch’ does not refer to the diameter of the wheel itself, but rather the approximate outside diameter of the tire that fits this wheel size. The actual ISO diameter of a traditional 26″ wheel is 559 millimetres.

Will A 700c Tire Fit A 26 Inch Rim

It’s possible to find 26-inch tires that will fit on 700c rims, but a 700c tire will not fit on a 26-inch rim without stretching the sidewalls of the tire just enough to make it fit, especially if you use a tire with especially thick sidewalls.

Part 5: Conclusion

It is also a way to improve the performance of the vehicle and better adapt it to the specific conditions and surfaces on which it moves.

Especially since the bicycle wheel comes in so many varieties. In our store, you will find various products made of high-quality materials. Among others, we offer carbon wheelsets and carbon fibre models. They provide very high mechanical strength.

Of course, a bicycle wheel alone is not enough. You also need other components. For example, the hub, which we also offer in many different versions.  All this to ensure a comfortable and safe ride. The bicycle hub is, of course, not the only mounting element worth paying special attention to.