27.5" v. 29"
by Endorphin Fitness Crew

Previous Columns:
Strength Training II
Strength Training I
27.5 vs. 29"

ASK The Crew :Click Here

Click 'ASK The Crew' and they'll be in touch soon!

27.5" vs. 29"

In today’s new age of mountain bikes, there are two tire sizes that the big mountain bike brands are making; 27.5 inch and 29 inch. Some bike brands are making both 29 and 27.5 wheel sizes, Scott bikes makes both, whereas others have chosen to only make one of the two. Lets agree with the big bike brands we sell here at Endorphin fitness that both sizes are a significant improvement over the long over used 26 inch wheel. We are going dive in and discuss the pros and cons of the 27.5 inch and the 29 inch to see if one is better than the other.

First, let’s talk about 29 inch wheel. It was the first wheel design after the 26 inch wheel. That is a 3-inch difference in diameter of the wheels and makes a significant impact. When the 29 inch wheel was released, it was definitely a big improvement from 26 inch wheel. The wheels helped mountain bikers gain a lot more ground clearance, which is one of its best improvements. A large sized mountain bike gained about 1.5-2 inches, which can help a lot with clearing obstacles. The second thing 29 inch wheels helped accomplish was a higher rolling speed. With bigger wheels comes a much larger wheel circumference, which equals an increased rolling speed. It may take a little more work to get the wheel rolling than its older brother, the 26 inch wheel, but once you do, it stays at a higher speed longer.

Next came the 27.5 inch wheel. Many bike brands felt that 29 inch wheel was too much of a jump from the 26 inch wheel. 27.5 wheels came with many of the same advantages as the 29 inch wheels: better rolling speed and better ground clearance. However, when it came to putting 29inch wheels on small and medium sized bikes, it seemed to be a bit big and made handling the smaller bikes more difficult. This is the major reason why some bike companies only made 27.5 inch wheels versus other companies making both. It was a bike brand census that 27.5 inch wheels were needed because 29 inch wheels were just too big for some of the riders.

My personal opinion is that both wheels sizes are a great improvement over the long used 26 inch wheels size. I think that both wheel sizes are necessary in today’s mountain bike world. Here at Endorphin Fitness, we stock both 29 inch and 27.5 inch wheels. The current World Champion Nino Shchuter (Scott-Odlo-MTB racing team) rides a Scott Spark 27.5 inch wheels since he is a smaller guy. If you ride an extra-small to small bike, 27.5 inch wheels are the way to go. If you ride a large or extra large mountain bike, 29 inch wheels are the size for you. The line becomes blurred when it comes to the medium sized bike. If you are on a medium sized bike and the frame is a little big for you, I would go with the 27.5 inch wheel. If your on a medium sized bike and the frame is on the small side for you, and you have a lot of seat post showing, I think the 29 inch wheel could benefit. Both wheels sizes are needed and both are a huge improvement over the past, it just depends on your fit on a properly sized bike. Here at Endorphin Fitness we have many size bikes in both 29 and 27.5 inch wheel sizes, come by and check some out.

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Service Manager Bike Shop

Dane King is the service manager at the Endorphin Fitness bicycle shop in addition to a bike fitter and coach.  Dane grew up building cars and fixing heavy machinery at his father's rental business before he fell in love with bikes and decided to focus his expert mechanic skills there.  You can reach Dane at or
by calling 804-741-1599

Andrew Callihan
Personal Trainer

Andrew Callihan has been certified as a personal trainer with the American College of Sports Medicine since 2006. He is known by his clients for his passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle, his attention to the detail of every workout, and his desire for each client to meet the goals they set. Overweight and unhealthy as a child, Andrew understands what it takes to get fit. More importantly, he knows firsthand how getting fit can positively change your life. In fact, in 2012 he found a passion for triathlon and will be racing Eagleman 70.3 in June of 2013 – something he’d never have dreamed of years ago. Through his career and personal achievements, he has seen the incredible difference strength training can make in not only your endurance but in your daily life and works every day to pass that on to his clients.



Endorphin Fitness began as Virginia's premier endurance coaching group and has since expanded into bicycle retail and service because of a desire to fully serve the endurance community. The Endorphin Fitness Training Center and Bicycle Shop are located in the West End of Richmond and carry Scott, Cervelo, and Felt road, mountain, and triathlon bikes.  Learn more about their coaching and shop at

Virginia Off Road Series | Dirty Series of Events LLC | POB 14546 | Richmond Va 23221