From the Forums: Will 26-inch wheels ever make a comeback?

Is there room for 26-inch mountain bikes in the modern world?

From the Forums
Will 26-inch wheels ever make a comeback?

Will 26-inch wheels ever make a comeback?

Despite the complete dominance of larger-wheeled 27.5 and 29-inch mountain bikes, some mountain bikers still prefer the agility of 26-inch wheels. A lively discussion is taking place in our forums about the future of 26-inch mountain bikes. One member posed the question: Will the 26er ever rise from the ashes?

One die-hard 26-inch fan claimed that he would keep riding 26-inch wheels until he can’t buy tires anymore. Lucky for him, that day is unlikely to come—26-inch tires are still popular with dirt jumpers, children’s mountain bikes, and fat bikes. That said, some forum members expressed their frustration with the lack of components options available these days. A common lament is that it is getting increasingly difficult to find high-end wheels and suspension forks for the smallest of the three mountain bike wheel sizes.

There's still room for 26-inch wheels on children's mountain bikes, like the Trailcraft Maxwell 26.

There’s still room for 26-inch wheels on children’s mountain bikes, like the Trailcraft Maxwell 26.

Another forum member pointed out that 29-inch mountain bikes have eclipsed 27.5 mountain bikes over the past two seasons. If 27.5 is on the way out, does it follow that 26-inch wheels could see a resurgence?

What do you think? Have 26-inch wheels been relegated to mountain biking’s past, or will the cycling industry take a turn back to 26-inch wheels once again? Join the conversation here.



Comments:

  • Matt G says:

    Day 10 of the article and the only other comment besides this is spam. I guess this answers the “Will 26-inch wheels ever make a comeback?” question. Hot topic

  • DPeper says:

    sure enough my 10 year old rode one the whole season 2 years ago.

  • Greg S says:

    Yes it will. But they won’t call it 26 inch and it won’t be compatible with any 26 inch stuff. It will be something like 25.5 of 585 and will be the new ideal setup for quick handling mountain bikes. 25.5 for 2025

  • Sean B says:

    I don’t forsee a resurgence amongst adults. I could see it gaining popularity amongst kids but the jump from 24″ to 27.5″ isn’t so large that 26″ arguably really needs to be present. I see support, especially high-end support of 26″, fading since every adult in the market for a MTB is going for a 27.5 and 29 these days. It all depends on how popular mountain biking becomes in grade school, particularly for ages 12-18. If junior high’s/middle school’s and high school’s have mountain bike teams, and if mountain biking becomes popular amongst peers in that age range then 26″ bikes could make a resurgence. The need for high quality and inherently expensive equipment to facilitate that is a major hurdle, but multiple organizations are trying to change that not limited to but including an organization spearheaded by Gary Fisher himself.

  • Kenny D says:

    I prefer my 26er to my 29er, just cos it’s so light and responsive.

  • george humphreys says:

    I hope 26 makes a resurgence at some point, I have a Gary Fisher Hifi (2008) which is fantastic to ride, under 24lbs it doesn’t feel like the bikes around these days. Trying to keeping it going though is a challenge as parts become scarce. I have had to change to 1×11 as the componentry was unavailable, and now changed brakes to XT. I do have all the shims/bolts for the frame should I need to replace. I’m on the hunt for good quality wheels as originals are getting signs of fatigue and there really isn’t much choice.

  • Randy Weakley says:

    I put brand new groupset on my FSR 26er a few years ago, and then again about a year and a half ago had my HT powder coated and rebuilt in its ENTIRETY with new parts (down to the water bottle holders). You can still find NOS parts available on eBay. For example, I got a brand new (i.e. still in OEM box)several years old Reba dual air for the HT. I had a Recon on the FSR. It had nothing but air and rebound. I added in a Reba cartridge after speaking with Rock Shox about compatibility. Now it has hi/low speed compression damping and threshold adjustment. Wheels are still available too if you know where to look. And I got a set of tubeless tires for Christmas too. Long live my 26ers!

  • Sunray says:

    I rode 26″ Gary Fischer Joshua F2 for past 20yrs. Best bike I ever owned. Lightweight and fast. Never a tiring ride regardless of the terrain. Decided to upgrade because it appeared to be outdated when compared to other bikes on the trail. Just bought 2020 27.5″ Giant Trance 3. Big mistake. Bike is just too heavy (33lbs) when compared to my GF. Add water bottle, pump, tool kit etc now up to 37lbs. The bike excels on downhill but for regular trail it is very tiring. I ride half the distance of my GF then peeter out. Time to sell and go back to my GF. Bring back 26ers!

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