Swapping 29 Inch Wheels Onto 700c Bikes: Is It Possible?

Perhaps the biggest dilemma in the history of cycling is If you can fit 29 inch wheels on your 700c MTB. It's time to put this confusion to rest once and for all!

So you are wondering if you can put 29-inch wheels on your 700c bike? Well, there is some good news in store for you!  YES! you can put 29-inch wheels on a 700c bike. Ask the famous Canadian mountain biker and cyclist Geoff Kabush, who has been a fan of combining the speed and agility of a 700c bike with the stability and rollover of a 29er. He has been a fan of the 29ers for a long now! 

But don’t just take my word for it, research found that 29-inch wheels have a number of advantages over smaller wheels such as increased rolling efficiency, improved traction, and greater stability. If you are looking to make the performance of your bike better on rougher trails, 29-ers can be one thing to consider. 

Before you jump on this bandwagon, there are some things you must consider. What are they? Well, I am glad you asked. Read on to find out!

What Is A 700c Bike?

The term 700c describes the wheel parameter. This type of wheel size is usually used on hybrid, trail, and road bikes. This wheel size is famous for being larger as compared to other sizes. There are several advantages of having a 700c bike such as:

  • 700c bikes are fast on paved roads.
  • They are more efficient.
  • They are lightweight.
  • You will have a wide range of tire options on a 700c bike. Go for either narrow tires or wide touring tires. The choice is yours. 

What Is A 29er Bike?

29er bikes are mountain bikes with a wheel diameter of 29 inches. 29 inches is the largest wheel size that you can find for your mountain bike! Having a 29-inch wheel also has its own benefits including: 

  • You will have a better rolling efficiency. These wheels are well capable of rolling over obstacles. 
  • They provide better traction on a slippery slope. Since they have a huge contact patch with the ground. 
  • These wheels provide more stability at higher speeds because they have a higher center of gravity. 

700c Vs. 29er Bikes- The Trial Challenge

Terrain 700c Bikes 29er Bikes
Paved roads Faster and more efficient Slower and less efficient, but still comparable to 700c bikes
Dirt trails Slower and less efficient Faster and more efficient, with better traction and stability
Singletrack Slower and less efficient Faster and more efficient, with better stability and easier to maneuver

The Benefits And Challenges Of Using 29 Inch Wheels On A 700c

Close Up Bicycle Front Wheel
Close Up Bicycle Front Wheel

I installed 29-inch wheels on my Trek Emonda. There are definitely some benefits of doing so but I also faced a handful of challenges. Here is what I analyzed from my experience and from going through various studies:

Pros Of Using 29 Inch Wheels On A 700c

Here are the benefits or pros that you will enjoy:

1. You Will Have An Increased Rolling Efficiency 

29-inch wheels are better at rolling over obstacles. You will have to put in less effort which saves you energy in the long run. A study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine in 2009 found that riders were able to save 6% of their energy riding a 29er bike on dirt tracks while on single tracks, they saved almost 10% of their energy. 

This makes me wonder how much faster will carbon road bike wheels go. Are you thinking the same? 

2. They Provide Better Traction 

Since 29-inch wheels have a huge contact patch with the ground, they offer better traction on rough and slippery slopes. 

3. 29-Inch Wheels Provide Better Stability 

Since these wheels have a higher center of gravity, they provide better stability even at higher speeds. In 2011, another study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences claimed that 29er bikes are more stable. Riders are less likely to suffer a crash even on rough terrains when they are using a 29er bike. 

4. They Offer More Versatility 

You can use 29-inches wheels on all kinds of terrain. Whether you want to ride on dirt tracks, paved roads, or even single tracks, 29-inch wheels are ready for it all. 

5. They Provide Better Comfort 

Since 29-inch wheels have a larger contact patch, they are better at absorbing bumps and vibrations. This makes your ride more comfortable. 

Cons Of Using 29 Inch Wheels On A 700c

These are a few of the cons that I faced after making the switch. 

1. You Need More Tire Clearance 

Since 29-inch wheels are larger than 700c wheels, you will need more tire clearance. The 29-inch wheels have the same ISO as the 700c (622mm). So they will fit your 700c bike but you will need to make sure that your fork and your frame have enough tire clearance to support 29-inch wheels. 

2. Gears Will Need Adjustment 

With larger wheels, you may have to adjust your gears to properly compensate your wheels. 

3. You Will Also Need To Check Disc Brake Compatibility 

For disc brakes, you will also need to check your rotors’ compatibility with larger wheel tires. 

4. 29-inch Wheels Are Heavier 

29-inch wheels are heavier as compared to 700c wheels. Heavy wheels take more effort to spin and they slow down much more quickly. Heavy wheels can be a reason why your bike is so hard to pedal! Not to forget that they will add weight to your bike, reducing the aerodynamic advantage you may have. 

If you have a lightweight bike, you have to consider the weight these wheels will be adding to it. Read this guide to find out how you can choose wheels for the lightest road bikes.

5. They Are Expensive 

One thing that you have to consider before making a switch is the cost. These wheels are expensive. There are budget-friendly options of bike wheels but they might not be the same size!

If you are just thinking of buying new road bike wheels instead of making a 29er upgrade, here is the truth that you need to know about buying new road bike wheels!

What To Consider When Using 29er Wheels On A 700C?

It is established already that using 700c wheels on a 29er improves the performance but before you make the leap, here is what you have to consider to avoid facing any challenges. 

1. The Type Of Your Bike 

The type of your bike matters the most when it comes to making this kind of adjustment. If you have a racing bike, I would recommend you not to use 29-inch wheels. This is because adding such heavy wheels increases the weight of your bike. Your bike will become less responsive. 

29-inch wheels are great for gravel and touring bikes. 

2. Your Riding Style 

Casual riders might not need 29-inch wheels to ride on the pavement. But if you are more of an aggressive rider like me who loves to ride on different kinds of terrain, you should definitely upgrade your wheels. 29-inch wheels are good at handling all kinds of terrains. 

3. Your Budget Constraints

29-inch wheels are more expensive than the usual 700c wheels. If budget is a problem, it is better to stick to your usual 700c. If your tire is nearing its expiration date, then maybe you can make a big update! 

4. Your Body Size 

29-inch wheels are fairly big. If you are a person with a short height, these wheels might not suit you. 

If you are looking to install new 29ers on your bike, you should definitely check out this guide on bike tire directions!

Different Types Of 29-inch Wheels You Can Consider 

Bike Tires And Wheels
Bike Tires
Brand Model Price
Shimano MT620 $150
WTB STi29 $200
Nukeproof Horizon V2 $250
SunRingle Duroc 35 $300
Alexrims EX35 $350
Hunt Trail Wide V2 $400
DT Swiss XR1700 Spline $500
Stan’s NoTubes Crest MK4 $600
Industry Nine Enduro S $700
Enve M25 $800

If you want to explore more options, read this guide on wheels for road bikes

Cycling Heroes Who Used 29 Inch Wheels On A 700c

There are many famous cyclists who have used 29-inch wheels on 700c bikes to set historical records and even won races.

  • Geoff Kabush: Kabush won the 2009 Leadville 100 mountain bike race on a 29er bike.
  • Alison Sydor: In 2012, Sydor won the World Masters Mountain Bike Championships. This marked the first time a 29er bike won a major world championship race
  • Mike Hall: Hall rode a 29er bike to win the Transcontinental Race where he cycled across Europe in 2014. This proves that using a 700c on a 29er makes your rides comfortable. 
  • Lael Wilcox: Recently, in 2023, Lael Wilcox set a world record for the fastest time to ride the Tour Divide. Guess what was he riding? 

FAQs

How To Measure The Clearance On Your Frame And Fork?

Begin by removing your wheels and tires. Now measure the distance from the top of your tire to the closest part of your fork or your frame. The smallest measurement will be the clearance that you have for new wheels. 

How To Choose The Right 29er Wheels And Tires?

For choosing the right 29er wheels and tires, it is important that you consider the type of riding you will do, the kind of terrain, the wheel and tire weight, along your budget. 

How To Install 29-inch Wheels On A 700c Bike?

Start by removing your current wheels and tires, Now install your new 29er wheels and tires. Make sure that you center the wheels in the bike frame and the fork. Now adjust your brake and shifters. In the end, set up the right suspension for 29-inch wheels.

How to adjust your brakes and shifters?

If you have disc brakes, adjust the position of your rotors. If you are using rim brakes, you will need to adjust the cables of the mechanical shifters. For electronic shifters, you will have to reprogram them. You can easily adjust your brakes by following these tips and tricks. 

How to set up your suspension for 29-inch wheels?

You will need to adjust the preload and then rebound damping on your shock and fork. After this, set the sag on your shock and fork. You can follow this video for an easy method:

What The Widest Tires I Can Put On A 700C Rim?

The widest tire size that you can put on a 700c rim depends on the internal width of your rim and the recommendations of the tire manufacturer. The most famous widths are 23, 25, and 28mm in the mix. However, 29er mountain bikes can fit off-road tires up to 75mm wide.

What Tire Size Do Pro Cyclists Use?

28mm or 30mm tires on 700c rims are tire sizes used by many pro cyclists. Tires of this size provide a balance between speed and comfort. Some pro cyclists like Mathieu van der Poel, Peter Sagan, and Greg Van Avermaet also use 32mm or 35mm when they have to compete on rougher terrains or races including cobblestones like Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders. 

Conclusion 

To put all confusion to an end once and for all: You Can Put 29 Inch Wheels On A 700c? Overall, the advantages of using 29-inch wheels for a 700c bike outweigh the challenges. The switch does come with some challenges. It is a better idea to talk to a mechanic or discuss things with a professional before you make the upgrade. 

All this talking has got me thinking can we put 29-ers on an electric road bike? Will it be any different than a normal bike? How about we discuss this next time in detail? Let me know in the comments if you will be interested in finding out. 

However, I recommend that you test-ride a 29-inch wheel bike before making a decision. 

Also Read: The 12 Best Budget Road Bike Wheels – Lighter Wheels For Speedy Travel


This article was crafted by Luke Ameen, Associate Editor, a seasoned expert, bringing 8 years of experience and knowledge about all types of bikes. Our goal is to provide you with accurate, reliable, and valuable insights to help you make informed decisions and enhance your biking experience.

Should you have any questions or require further clarification on the topic, please feel free to connect with our expert author Luke Ameen by leaving a comment below. We value your engagement and are here to assist you.

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Luke Ameen

Luke Ameen

For many years, I've journeyed the world as an ardent cyclist, feeling the pulse of the road beneath two wheels. Even though competitive mountain trails might not be my battleground now, my zeal for cycling remains undiminished, pushing me to chase new escapades every chance I get.

My heart beats for everything related to cycling. Over the years, I've immersed myself in extensive research and hands-on tests of cycling equipment and enhancements, aiming to guide fellow cyclists in amplifying their riding experience. My mission is clear: deliver trustworthy insights and reliable guidance that readers can lean on. My vision is to kindle the same fervor for cycling in others, whether they're seasoned veterans or just embarking on this journey. Rest assured, I'm here to equip you with the freshest updates, advice, and perspectives to enrich every ride.

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