Choose the size of the wheels of your EAB according to the use of the electric bike
Electrically assisted bicycles (EABs) have become an increasingly popular means of transportation due to the many benefits they offer. These include a reduced carbon footprint, ease of travel and savings on overall transportation costs. However, choosing the right electric bike is essential for an enjoyable experience, especially if it is to be used daily. Among the most important aspects to consider, wheel size can have a significant impact on the performance, comfort and versatility of the EAB. But then, how do you determine the right wheel size for your needs and intended use? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? And what is their impact on performance and riding comfort?
Check out our guide to help you better understand the different types of wheels available for EABs and make an informed choice based on your future use.
The different sizes of wheels for electric bikes
Choosing the right wheel size for your electric bike is crucial to optimizing your riding experience. If you make the wrong choice, your experience could be affected. This step is even more difficult because there are several wheel sizes available on the market.
16 to 20 inch wheels
The 16 to 20 inch wheels are most often used in the city. They are mostly found on compact and folding electric bicycles, which are convenient for short trips and travel in cars or on public transport. Thanks to their small size, these wheels contribute to the easy storage and transportation of the EAB. However, it should be noted that their small diameter can significantly limit their maximum speed, as well as the rider's comfort on rough terrain.
As a general rule, 24-inch wheels are preferred by smaller riders or for children. Like 20-inch and smaller wheels, these wheels allow for good handling of the electric bicycle.
The 26-inch wheels are considered the most common and are widely used on most of the EAB models on the market. In the majority of cases, they are equipped on electrically-assisted bicycles intended for city use or for travel. Without being too heavy, they guarantee a good handling and accept a relatively high weight.
27.5" wheels are the right choice for cyclists who want a slightly sportier and more versatile electric bike. They combine the advantages of 26-inch wheels, namely stability and comfort, with more speed. They are suitable for both city riding and wilderness escapades. However, for the performance-minded rider, they can be restrictive.
E-bikes with 28-inch wheels are generally designed for road and long-distance riding (trekking, etc.). When fitted with thinner tires, these wheels optimize the performance of the EAB, although they may be less maneuverable and comfortable on some types of terrain.
Even if they are rarer, 29-inch wheels are mainly found on electric-assist bikes designed for off-road riding. On the plus side, they have the advantage of reducing discomfort due to uneven surfaces. They also provide increased stability and grip at high speeds, both uphill and downhill. Unfortunately, on the other hand, they can lead to a lack of agility of the bike.
Choosing the right wheel size for your electric bicycle
To choose the size of the wheels of your electric bike according to your use, you must take into account the specificities of your movements and your profile.
For example, for city use and short trips, small or medium size wheels, between 20 and 24 inches, are more than sufficient. They'll give you better maneuverability in tight spaces, while allowing you to accelerate and maneuver in heavy traffic.
If you're planning to use your bike for a variety of purposes, both in the city and out in the wilderness, you're better off with medium-sized wheels, between 26 and 27.5 inches. These wheels offer a good compromise between the necessary comfort, the expected performance and the handling of the electric bike. Moreover, they also have the advantage of being suitable for several types of terrain.
For long distances, like hiking or trekking, large wheels, between 28 and 29 inches, are preferable. They will allow you to ride with good comfort, excellent stability and a higher cruising speed. However, because of their imposing size, you will probably have understood that they make the EAB less maneuverable in the city and in restricted areas.
Of course, if you plan to use your electric-assist bike on difficult or rough terrain, it is recommended that you go for 29-inch wheels. Most of the time, 29-inch wheels are used on electric mountain bikes, since they offer better traction and cushioning.
Don't forget to take your height into account either, as this criterion can be very important when choosing your wheels. The taller the rider, the more likely it is that smaller wheels will affect comfort. Of course, the same is true in the other direction. As a guide, you can assume that 26" wheels are suitable for riders between 5'10" and 6'10". Below and above these two limitations, it is highly recommended to opt for either smaller or larger wheels.
We recommend these other pages:
- Choosing the right type of electric bike
- The importance of the type of motor of an EAB
- The choice of the assistance mode of an electric bike
- Electric bike with or without derailleur
- The importance of choosing the right battery for an EAB
- Electric bike : tubeless tire or inner tube
- The weight criterion of the electric bike or EAB
- The type of transmission and brakes of the electric bike
- Choosing comfort and safety accessories