How To Choose Mountain Bike Wheels

What You Need To Know About MTB Wheels?

When you don’t understand anything about wheels, you will see them just as round objects with rim, spokes, and hub. However, there is so much to learn about wheels to get a good wheel that will work perfectly on your mountain bike. It would help if you had a good understanding of the wheels. In this article, we have explained what you need to know for choosing wheels for mountain bikes.

Components of MTB Wheels.

Parts of Mountain Bike Wheel

Rim: The rim is the outer component of the wheel. This is where the wheel sits on.

Hub: The hub is the center part of the wheel. This is where the spokes branch out to the rim. It rotates around the external component that is attached to the fork or frame.

Spoke: The spokes are the rods connecting the hub to the rim.

Hub flange: This is the collar of the hub, and it’s where the spokes are attached to.

Nipple: The nipple is a small component where spokes screw into the rim.

Eyelet: The eyelet is a fitting in the rim that holds the nipple in place.

Lacing: Lacing is the pattern in which spokes are threaded when building a wheel.

True: A straight wheel is known as a true. If the wheel wobbles due to unequal tension, then it is out of true.

Wheel Size

When choosing a wheel size, you need to pick what is best for you. There are three main wheel sizes in the market. The smallest size is 26 inches, and the largest is 29 inches.

26-inch wheels: The 26 inch wheels are light and stiff. Being stiff and lightweight, this wheel accelerates quickly. The wheel offers smaller rotations so it can maneuver through single tracks at high speed. This wheel also has excellent cornering abilities, so you can ride on any terrain.

27.5-inch wheel: This wheel is also the 650 b wheel. The wheel size is slightly bigger than the 26-inch wheel and smaller than the 29 inches wheel. The wheel is an excellent compromise of the 26inch and the 29-inch wheel.

Most people prefer this wheel because it retains the lightness of 26 inches. It also offers better handling on twisty trails. The wheel also has improved traction and rolling capabilities that are found in the 29-inch wheel.

29-inch wheel: This wheel is the largest option for mountain bikes. The 700c wheel feels slower to accelerate to high speed because the large rims and long spokes increase the wheel’s weight. So you need to apply more effort to the pedals to get the wheel spinning.

This wheel has increased traction since it has more contact with the ground. The wheel is better when rolling over bumpy grounds and creating a smooth-riding feeling over small obstacles like roots.

Mountain Bikes Rims

When choosing wheels for our mountain bikes, you also need to consider the rims. We have standard rims and tubeless rims.

Standard rims: These rims are designed for use with an inner tube. These rims are meant for traditional setups. To set this rim up, you require the inner tube and rim tape. The setup is relatively easy and can be done in a few minutes.

After setting up the rim, you should consider the tire pressure. For a tubed setup, the tire pressure should be high to avoid punctures. Higher pressure maintains an excellent rolling speed across different terrains.

Tubeless rims: With the advancement in technology, we have tubeless rims. With these tubeless rims, the inner tube can be removed, giving you a different feel when riding.

To set up a tubeless rim, you will require more tools to achieve the sealed system. You will need a tubeless valve, rim tape, sealant, and a tubeless tire. The bead of the tire is attached to the wheel after setting it up. By not having the inner tube, the tire runs at low pressure and reduces the possibility of pinch punctures. This provides excellent absorption properties when riding in rough grounds. The sealant helps repair small punctures even when on the move.


The material, shape, size, and number of spokes will vary from one mountain bike to another. If your bike contains a high count of spokes, it will be strong and highly durable.

Spokes come in different materials, including steel, aluminum, carbon, fiber, and titanium. The most common material is steel. The spoke count varies from the front and rear wheel. The rear wheel usually has more spokes since this is where more force is applied. A lightweight front wheel has 24 to 28 spokes, while the rear wheel has 28 to 32 spokes.

We have two types of spokes, the straight-pull, and the J-bend. The J-bend is the most common, and they have been in use for a long time. The J-bend features a 90-degree bend at the hub that looks like a “J.”

The straight-pull spoke to have no bend at the head, and they require specific hubs. The straight-pull spokes lead to a more durable wheel. However, these spokes are difficult to find, so finding a replacement can be difficult and expensive. Other varieties of spokes include the butted and straight gauge spokes. Butted spokes are usually robust and more durable spokes. Butted spokes also allow you to have butting. This is the process of varying the thickness so that you can offer two different diameters along its length.


When looking at the wheels of your mountain bike, the hub is also a critical component. This is because they provide anchoring points for the spokes, and they allow the wheels to rotate.

The front-wheel hubs are more basic, but the rear hubs are more complicated and feature a free-hub. The free-hub drives the rear wheel and allows it to coast.

The rear hubs of modern mountain bikes have a width of 135mm, 142mm, or 148mm. The standard width for most mountain bikes is 142mm. The 148mm hub has become very popular because increased hub width allows you to use a wider tire.

Wheels are some of the most essential components in bikes. The wheels will keep you moving and ensure the quality of your rides. Therefore, when choosing the wheels, you need to select quality wheels. When picking wheels, always check the wheels’ components to ensure proper working—countercheck on the rims, spokes, hub, and size for better performance.

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