Tourer wheel size

I am looking to buy a steel touring bike. I would like to use Sustrans routes as well as roads and know that some are gravel tracks. I have seen some 26in wheel touring bikes and wonder If you feel such a bike, with its stronger wheels, would have an advantage over a traditional 700C-wheeled tourer such as the Hewitt Cheviot?

Pete Hutchinson

Even mountain bikers are beginning to realise that bigger wheels roll smoother and easier – especially on rough or loose surfaces – and are moving up to ‘29ers’ (which actually have 700C wheels). Less effort and a smoother ride equals more pleasure, and a 700C wheel with its usual 36 spokes is just as strong as 26in with its usual 32, so there’s no point in going down to 26 inch unless you are physically too short for a well-designed 700C frame with plenty of clearance. Many modern touring frames (e.g. the Hewitt Cheviot) will comfortably run 37mm tyres, which is enough for un-worried riding on any half-decent track.

Chris Juden


This was first published in the June / July 2012 edition of CTC's Cycle magazine.