26" vs 27" Wheels


This ad disappears when logged in

wrongway

I live for the CABE
Apr 24, 2012
1,052
303
Pella, IA
#1
How much difference does 26x1-3/8 wheel/tire vs 27x1-1/4 wheel/tire make? I know the latter can be higher pressure, but the the taller wheel make a difference when it comes to going faster?
 

SKPC

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Feb 2, 2018
789
3,969
62
Utah - United States
#2
It is much more complicated than that. The most influential determinant of speed is the rider. Taller wheels roll over stuff easier but are not necessarily faster. But for sure "light is right"....
 
Likes: wrongway

SKPC

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Feb 2, 2018
789
3,969
62
Utah - United States
#4
^Fantastic links to tire widths and pressures in the links above by @juvela. Thank you for those...informative and trending today...
 

morton

I live for the CABE
Nov 9, 2007
1,540
1,863
York, United States
#5
It is much more complicated than that. The most influential determinant of speed is the rider. Taller wheels roll over stuff easier but are not necessarily faster. But for sure "light is right"....
I had the SA 3 sp hub from a 26" wheel laced onto a 27" alloy rim on one of my Speedster. Incredible difference. Of course part of that was going from steel to alloy, but another factor was using 90 psi tires that not only roll better due to high pressure but have a smaller tire footprint and thus a bit less rolling resistance. I think it also changed the gearing slightly. Nevertheless, it's become my favority bike. I'm thinking of doing it to a ratty racer that got a full repaint but still has it's 26" steelies.
 
Last edited:

Sven

I live for the CABE
Dec 24, 2017
1,760
4,728
55
Mechanicsville, MD, United States
#6
Calculating , the circumference of a 27 inch tire properly inflated will give you 1 inch further distance traveled than that of a 26 inch per rotation. At 63,360 rotations of the wheel , you will travel 1 mile further using the 27 inch wheel.
 

harpon

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jan 8, 2012
151
127
Jacksonville FL
#7
The jump up to 27" and down to alloy rims was the natural progression of cycling advancement. Yes, 27 rolls better- especially 1 1/8 opposed to 1 1/4" tires when I had my first Varsity as a teen, I soon found this the fact of life, and it did come with a little trade off- the 1 1/8" tires wore faster and needed replacing sooner- but back then, at those prices, and knowing the shortcomings of the poor old Varsity, not much of a trade-off.

I'll soon be getting rid of a Hercules 3 speed frame I put some 27" 3 speed coaster wheels from a Schwinn World Tourist on. I always wanted to try 700's on a three speed, but circumstance led me to this first. I found the 27 wheels fit, although the front starts to impede on the turning radius a little bit- I was surprised the front is more trouble than the back. (The bear trap pedals do NOT help this! But wide pedals are great for climbing, especially sans clips and straps) 700c wheels would be a slightly smaller solution- fit the frame- and work well on a three speed I think. Plus a larger selection of both rims and tires- I'll concede- but usually pick as thin as I can go.

DSCF2318.JPG
 

wrongway

I live for the CABE
Apr 24, 2012
1,052
303
Pella, IA
#8
I've been exploring different gear ratios on one of my old three speed bikes that is sort of set up like a road bike. Someone once said that 46x20 was a really good gear selection. I know my Rudge Clubman felt pretty fast at 46x17, but I want to see how fast I can get a three speed bike and still maintain a high average. I am going to take one on a 70+ mile trail ride in the summer. I remembered that I have a 27x1-1/8 aluminum wheel set with a Brampton 140B-3. (are Brampton hubs trustworthy?) I had abandoned them due to the hub slipping in second. Now looking back, I think it was due to the plastic fulcrum sleeve relieving the tension. Might be worth trying again.
 

Sven

I live for the CABE
Dec 24, 2017
1,760
4,728
55
Mechanicsville, MD, United States
#9
The jump up to 27" and down to alloy rims was the natural progression of cycling advancement. Yes, 27 rolls better- especially 1 1/8 opposed to 1 1/4" tires when I had my first Varsity as a teen, I soon found this the fact of life, and it did come with a little trade off- the 1 1/8" tires wore faster and needed replacing sooner- but back then, at those prices, and knowing the shortcomings of the poor old Varsity, not much of a trade-off.

I'll soon be getting rid of a Hercules 3 speed frame I put some 27" 3 speed coaster wheels from a Schwinn World Tourist on. I always wanted to try 700's on a three speed, but circumstance led me to this first. I found the 27 wheels fit, although the front starts to impede on the turning radius a little bit- I was surprised the front is more trouble than the back. (The bear trap pedals do NOT help this! But wide pedals are great for climbing, especially sans clips and straps) 700c wheels would be a slightly smaller solution- fit the frame- and work well on a three speed I think. Plus a larger selection of both rims and tires- I'll concede- but usually pick as thin as I can go.

View attachment 933036
So would you go down 700 x 23(0.905 inch) size tires? That is a thin tire
 

Iverider

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
May 24, 2010
3,323
946
Bloomington, United States
#10
The tires of yesterday are not near as nice as the tires of today. The cliffs notes of the Jan Heine article is a larger volume tire run at lower pressure will allow faster speed because they roll over obstacles instead of being directed upward when encountering imperfections in the road like a narrow high pressure tire will.
I ride 700x28 on my road bike and 700x40 on my touring bike. They're both comfortable and quite fast.

The issue existing between 27" or 630 ISO and 26 x 1-3/8" or 590 ISO is that quality tires are few and far between. Panaracer makes some that would be good for either size, but that's about it as far as quality tires as far as I know. If you go to 700c or 622 ISO you'll have a vast selection of tires to choose from.

Another thought to consider, is raising your bottom bracket height when putting a larger wheel on a frame designed for smaller wheels. Though I doubt you'll be leaning a Hercules over in a turn, it will alter the handling characteristics.
 
Likes: SKPC

bulldog1935

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jan 21, 2013
3,759
5,478
Bulverde, TX
#11
Compass junkie here - Barlow and Stampede Pass ELs on all my bikes (except my Moser, on Vittoria Open Pave hand-glued tires).
Compass are the best vulcanized tires ever made, and you can only tell them from good tubulars before they warm up.
They also offer 700c, 650b and 26" (ISO 559) in a wide range of widths, and fast knobbies, as well.
QUtyXFS.jpg


If you're looking for good 590s - Brit 650A, you can get them from Japan - all these tires are made by Panaracer (Compass included), but with proprietary casings and compounds
https://cyclesgrandbois.com/SHOP/279817/935974/list.html

If you need 27" (ISO 630) Panaracer Pasela is really the only good choice, available from 1" to 1-1/4" - these don't have the fancy casings and compounds of the tires above, but are the best out there in this rim size.
 
Last edited:

49autocycledeluxe

I live for the CABE
May 29, 2017
1,014
1,768
59
fremont california
#12
in a nutshell, no. a taller tire will make no noticeable difference with everything else being equal.

lighter hoops, better bearings, and high pressure tires are what makes a bike faster with the same rider. the we get into 20 bladed spokes on deep rims with 130 PSI slicks if you want to be really fast
 

Duchess

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Feb 14, 2014
547
979
Beverly, MA
#13
High pressure skinnies vs lower pressure wider tires is like stiff suspension vs more compliant or, to a lesser extent, lower vs higher profile tires on a sports car. The formers are better for ultimate times under perfect conditions, the latters are faster in the real world of bumps and debris where the last tenth can't be used, not least of which because the rider/driver gets beat up less. I personally prefer wheels on the larger side (700c/29) with wider tires and appropriate gearing. When I went from 700 x 23 @ 100 psi (tried 120, but kept getting flats and I almost never get flats) to 700 x 28 @ 85 on my road bike (have to deflate and QR the brakes to remove the wheels), it made the bike much more comfortable and it seems to conform to the road surface in turns rather than skipping along. Lost some sharpness to the handling, but I'm not a racer, anyway.
 
Likes: bulldog1935

bulldog1935

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jan 21, 2013
3,759
5,478
Bulverde, TX
#15
What you gain with fine casings even in clinchers is, like a high-grade tubular, the carcass spreads the road shock farther through the casing, and less through the frame and fork.
On cold mornings you can tell the difference between the U of a clincher and the perfect doughnut of a tubular.
All my friends have come around and are ex-teeth-chatterers, now also riding on clouds.
The smallest tires I ride are 27mm, and those are the hand-glued with 320 tpi linen-polyester casings.
It's always wise to mount the widest tires that give good clearance on your bike.
Especially if you believe Jan's logic, most "racer wisdom" is myth, though the aero factor is a worthwhile argument.
Racers need every edge they can get, because they often win or lose by seconds - the rest of us go plenty fast and still out pace most people on their skinny hard tires.
JyIqtHM.jpg

as far as pressure goes, a tire that conforms to the road surface is faster, though many people believe their senses that ragged-edge road chatter is faster.
In reality, the tire loses momentum every time it leaves the road, and has to catch up when it recontacts, so high-pressure-induced road chatter is self-limiting on speed.

An important point about Berto chart for tire load and pressure, optimizing the contact patch can quadruple the life of your tire tread. This is somewhat important if you're buying high-dollar tires. Too high pressure, you're not riding as fast/efficient, and your tires wear out in one-fourth of the miles.
bertopresschart.jpg
 
Last edited:
Likes: sarmisluters

harpon

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jan 8, 2012
151
127
Jacksonville FL
#16
Sven asked me: So would you go down 700 x 23(0.905 inch) size tires? That is a thin tire

Depends- but yes- both my 67 Peugeot PX10- my "daily driver" since '87, and a Schwinn World Sport I ride through the hoods have 23mm tires- and roll very well.
23755712_1988418921184806_5853333125212242015_n.jpg



DSCF2250.JPG



But If I carry a lot in baskets or have a motor I obviously need some more tire support I rarely go over 28 or 32 mm now, even with a 66cc China Girl two stroke, and considering I'm quite a bit heavier than what I weighed racing between 1971 and 1984. I set that up at first with 27x 1 1/4, figuring that was enough rubber and profile- and not a tire has ever really equaled the 27 x 1/1/4 or 1 1/8 RAISED CENTER tire that was THE STANDARD clincher of my youth
AugJuly090016.JPG



by 1971 I was on fragile sew-ups until 700 clinchers came along in the mid -80's- the raised center clincher sets it even more apart from it's size, and it seems you can only find it on better 700c tires, or until it matters little at 25 or 23 mm. The China Girl Micargi evolved from 26 beach tires to 1 3/4 tires- very familiar from my middle weight young days- to one 27 wheel chopper look on the front until finally two on both wheels-
2009_0623teardrop0005.JPG

postmotorbike0001.JPG



same bike- new paint

DSCF2209.JPG



Each time the roll got better and the speed and lower stress on the tiny motor, or the peddling through the parking lots or to get it going to pop the clutch, or coasting a half of a mile after killing the motor with the kill switch-
The 27 wheels did not work out only because I was breaking spokes on the back- a greater pain dealing with a larger motor chain- I eventually went to 700c wheels- breakage solved- and usually rode a 50 cc, but now mostly silent running electric.
2011_0106ank0012.JPG




GT 6.jpg

A 35 mm rear 700 c tire proved to have too much profile that wanted to collapse in turns, so I went back to 32mm Kenda Kevlar there. I haven't so much put a dent in a rim in flat temperate Florida, Although I did that once on an alloy rim and 25 tires years back now, on a pedal bike.

Yes- in fact those are the same blue tires now on the Hercules above.

Anyway 700 c tires come in sizes for every weight and use and I'm a big fan.
 
Last edited:

bulldog1935

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jan 21, 2013
3,759
5,478
Bulverde, TX
#17
@Sven
Biggest problem with skinny high pressure is throw in one loose rock on a turn, and you could be down - even a 27mm at Berto chart pressure keeps me upright.
A bigger fast soft tire makes an amazing difference on a wet surface.

What I always noticed with Panaracer Pasela in 27" is they didn't handle well or even ride particularly well far below rated pressure, i.e., Berto chart and x1-1/4" - but they're still the best tire available in 27"
So I would say if you're going to run Pasela in 27", pick the x1-1/8" and ride them about 85-90 psi. They do make a x1" tire you could run at a little higher pressure.

If you have a 27-inch bike, coverting it to 700c rims - lowering the brake pads by 4mm - opens up a world of wonderful tires that they just don't make in 27-inch.
XBXKOkI.jpg

The Challenge "open tubular" (hand-glued clinchers) just above ride incredibly soft and fast, but I gave up on them because the bead would stretch out before the tread wore out.
They also offer really fast knobby cross tires in 30 and 33mm sizes.
If you're lighter (I'm 6'3", 210) and can run these at lower Berto chart pressures, they don''t suffer this problem - my friend's daughter is still riding a set of 25mm donated from my daughter's bike (replaced with Veloflex). Challenge also have a lower profile than any tire, and will fit a wider size in a low-brake-clearance bike. Her '85 Shogun had 19mm tires, and we were able to fit the 25mm Strada just fine.
The Vittorias don't have this bead problem, and they are taller profile, but the Challenge bead problem finally led me to Compass vulcanized tires in my larger sizes, and my addiction.

But I really like Challenge in tubulars - long life, tough as nails, soft, fast ride.
Q47SHIr.jpg
 
Last edited:

SKPC

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Feb 2, 2018
789
3,969
62
Utah - United States
#18
Regarding 26 vs 27 or 28's. A 26"(559) rim with a 2.3" or 2.4" tire is about the same diameter as a 700cc with a midsized tire. The difference is slightly less than 1/4 ". I have no idea what this translates to performance-wise. I have not much experience with 27's or 28's but run my 26 x 2.125's at 47lbs in front and 53lbs in back in a road tread and find them to be plently supple and fast on my 26-er wheels. I can lean my bike waaaay over at speed and still feel connected. I don't feel that connection on road bike tires....Fatter tires in any wheel size seems to be trending, and the casings and materials are always improving to the betterment of riders. There is of course a breaking point I am sure......
The links above speaking to tire widths and pressures and the effects on speed is worth reading, and there is also information on weights as well that is a bit surprising. I really notice the tire weights when changing tires out to lighter or heavier on my 26-er rides...
 
Last edited:

rhm

Look Ma, No Hands!
Mar 1, 2015
38
41
#20
My experience is based on having ridden bikes with 20" wheels, three different 26" sizes (559, 584, 590), 700c, and 27"; and tires ranging from 1" width to 2" width; and, of course, what I've read on the internet. My conclusions are:

Overall wheel diameter is a very small factor.
Bearing quality is also only a small factor.
The combination of small wheels and bad bearings is going to combine the minor disadvantages of both, and may actually be measurable. I doubt it, though.

Higher pressure tires feel faster (but the advantage is illusory). They don't actually roll faster; they only feel faster.

There definitely are faster tires and slower tires. You can really feel slow tires. I read that this difference is measurable, but I have not measured it. I tend to believe that a high quality tire (like a Compass tire) at fairly low pressure is the best of both worlds. Fatter tires at relatively low pressure are definitely more comfortable, though, and comfort adds to a major advantage on long rides. I have a bike with Compass Rat Trap Pass tires (26 x 2.3) and I rode it successfully on 300 km, 400 km, 360 km, 600 km, and 1200 km brevets last year. No regrets.
 

This ad disappears when logged in
Most Recent BUY IT NOW Items Listed on eBay
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture