If you’re a cycling enthusiast, you’ve likely encountered the term “700C wheel” in your research. However, this size can be a source of confusion for many. How big is a 700C wheel exactly? Is it larger or smaller than other wheel sizes?
Understanding the dimensions and applications of a 700C wheel helps. So in this blog post, we’ll explore how big it truly is!
Understanding Wheel Sizing
If you’re new to the world of bicycles, understanding wheel sizing can be a bit puzzling. How are wheels measured, and what do the numbers and letters associated with them mean?
Wheel sizing is a standardised method of measuring bicycle wheels. It ensures compatibility with frames, tires, and other components. Moreover, it involves two primary dimensions: the diameter of the wheel and the width of the tire. These measurements determine the overall size and performance of the wheel.
When measuring wheels, different systems are used worldwide. One of the most common systems is the inch-based measurement. This method is where the wheel diameter is expressed in inches, such as 26" Wheel bike”, 27.5”, or 29" wheel bikes. This is particularly prevalent in mountain biking.
Another system uses millimetres to measure the wheel size, as seen in sizes 650B or 622mm. This is typically associated with road and hybrid bikes.
700C wheel size
When it comes to the popular 700C wheel bike , there’s a lot to uncover. For one, the “C” designation carries specific significance. It is derived from the French term “crochet,” which means “hook”.
The C indicates that the wheel is designed for clincher tires used on road bikes. This designation differentiates it from other wheel sizes intended for different tire systems. For instance, tubular or tubeless.
The versatility of the 700C wheel lies in its compatibility with a wide range of tire widths. This allows cyclists to optimise their bikes for various riding conditions and preferences.
In terms of dimensions, a 700C wheel typically has a diameter of approximately 622mm or 29 inch bike. The width is measured from one side of the tire to the other and is typically expressed in millimetres. This measurement refers to the distance across the wheel from one side to the other, passing through the centre. The width of the tire can vary, though, ranging from narrower road tires to wider touring or gravel tires.
In the road biking realm, narrower tire widths are commonly used, ranging from around 23mm to 32mm. These narrower tires provide reduced rolling resistance and increased aerodynamics. This makes them suitable for high-speed riding on smooth surfaces. They excel in road racing, time trials, and other events where speed is paramount.
For riders seeking more comfort, stability, and versatility, wider tire options are available. Touring, endurance, and gravel bikes often use 700C wheels with tire widths 32mm to 45mm or even wider.
This compatibility provides cyclists with the flexibility to fine-tune their bikes. But it’s important to consider a few factors when selecting the right tire width for your 700C wheels. For one, wider tires may require additional clearance within the frame and fork. So ensure your bike has enough space to accommodate the desired tire width.
700C wheels have found widespread use across different types of bicycles. All thanks to their versatility, performance, and compatibility with various tire widths.
Let’s explore the applications of 700C wheels in some popular bike categories below:
700C wheels are most commonly associated with road bikes. This is due to their ability to enhance speed and efficiency on paved surfaces. It allows road cyclists to achieve high speeds while minimising rolling resistance.
The reduced surface area of the narrow tires also improves aerodynamics. This, overall, makes 700C wheels an excellent choice for road racing.
For long-distance touring or bikepacking, 700C wheels are a popular choice. Their compatibility with wider tires allows for increased comfort and stability.
The larger diameter of 700C wheels helps smooth out bumps and absorb road vibrations. This provides a more comfortable ride during extended journeys.
Hybrid bikes, designed for a mix of road and off-road riding, often feature 700C wheels. These wheels strike a balance between speed and comfort. They are well-suited for urban commuting, recreational rides, and light trail adventures.
The compatibility with narrow and wider tire widths allows hybrid bike riders to adapt to different surfaces. The versatility also caters to riders seeking a flexible and multi-purpose cycling experience.
The Pros and Cons
- Improved rolling resistance: 700C wheels provide reduced rolling resistance. This is especially true when paired with narrower tires. They require less effort to maintain speed and can result in increased efficiency.
- Better handling: The larger diameter of 700C wheels contributes to improved handling characteristics. They roll over obstacles more easily and maintain stability at higher speeds. Also, offer a smoother ride, particularly on well-paved roads.
- Versatility in tire options: 700C wheels are compatible with a wide range of widths. This provides versatility to adapt to different terrains and riding preferences.
- Availability and compatibility: A vast selection of tires, rims, and components are available.
- Limited tire options for certain terrains: Options might be more limited than off-road wheel sizes, e.g. 27.5” or 29”.
- Load-carrying capacity: The design of 700C wheels leans towards lightweight and efficient performance. And this may impact their load-carrying capacity.
- Reduced comfort: The limited tire volume can lead to a harsher ride compared to wider wheels for off-road.
- Aero performance trade-off: Narrow profile of 700C wheels can be susceptible to crosswinds. This may require additional effort to maintain stability in windy conditions.
Factors to Consider
When choosing 700C wheel bikes for a specific purpose, consider the following factors:
Heavier riders may benefit from stronger and sturdier wheelsets. Such features allow for the proper handling of higher loads without compromising performance.
For predominantly paved roads and racing, opt for narrower tires and lighter wheelsets. For mixed surfaces or off-road use, choose wider tires and stronger rims.
Determine if you prioritise speed and efficiency or value comfort and stability. Narrower tires provide better aerodynamics and speed. Meanwhile, wider tires offer enhanced traction and shock absorption.
Consider the desired tire width and type (clincher, tubular, tubeless). Ensure compatibility with the chosen wheelset. Check the availability of tires for your preferred terrain and riding style.
A 700C wheel has a diameter of approximately 622mm. It offers versatility in tire width options and finds widespread use in road bikes, touring bikes, and hybrid bikes. Overall, a 700C wheel provides advantages in terms of speed, efficiency, and handling.
However, it’s essential to consider various factors, as outlined above. Understanding the dimensions of 700C wheels can help you enhance your riding experience. Ready to shop? Browse our range of dutch bikes, vintage bikes, hybrid bikes or city bikes. Need a particular size? Browse our range of 20 inch folding bikes, 26 inch bikes or 29 inch bikes.