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Is a 26 inch wheel a 26 inch wheel?

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Is a 26 inch wheel a 26 inch wheel?

Old 08-18-09, 10:28 AM
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Is a 26 inch wheel a 26 inch wheel?

Just thinking here at work. Old ten-speeds came equipped with 26 inch wheels and tires. MTBs come equipped with 26 inch wheels and tires. Are they compatible (ie can I use a nice narrow, medium preasure gum-walled tire on my old MTB's rims)?
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Old 08-18-09, 10:32 AM
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Older quality ten speeds usually came with 27 inch wheels, not 26 inch. I do have a rusted out Free Spirit in the backyard that takes 26x 1 3/8 tires but they are not interchangeable with mountain bike tires, because the former is a fractional size and the latter is a decimal size.

See http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire_sizing.html

Last edited by rix; 08-18-09 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 08-18-09, 01:05 PM
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26 is a notorious size that is difficult to assume anything.

On an old 10 speed, other than a mountain bike, the 26" tires are likely to be 26 X 1 3/8 and even at that, there are two different 26 x 1 3/8, one for Schwinn, and one for everyone else.

Digital sizes are pretty interchangeable, any of the fractional tires, you need to be careful, as they don't interchange with decimal tires, or most other fractional tires. The exception is 27" fractional tend to be interchangeable with other 27" fractionals...
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Old 08-18-09, 01:55 PM
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If the tires are not quite old they should be marked with an ISO size number. This is a metric size designation. Look for a 3 digit number and a two digit number. For example a 700C tire is marked 622 x XX. If the three digit number is the same the tires should be interchangeable as long as rim widths are similar. The two digits XX are the tire width. MTB tires are normally marked 559 x XX. IIRC there are at least 4 tire bead seat diameters designated 26" commonly that are not interchangeable.

As rix noted the article he linked to is excellent at explaining all the various sizes.
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