Small Wheels versus Big Wheels

 

Sometimes people wonder if a small wheeled bicycle is suitable for long distance rides.

Yes, it is possible to comfortably ride far distances on a bike with small wheels.

It all lies on the gearing configuration, essentially the size of the chainring (aka the front gear ring) and the size of the rear cog (aka the gear ring at the back wheel).

What you want to do is to get the chainring size as large as possible and the rear cog size as small as you can comfortably cycle.

With the right gear ratio combination, a small wheeled bicycle (e.g. a 16″ foldable bike) can be setup to go as far as a large wheeled one (e.g. a racer bike)

Download our calculator to see the distance you travel each time you pedal one rotation on the bike’s crank.

Example
For a bicycle with 27” wheel, 52T chainring and 13T rear cog, for each crank rotation, the bike travels 8.6m.
For a bicycle with 16” wheel, 60T chainring and 9T rear cog, for each crank rotation, the bike travels 8.5m.
For a bicycle with 20” wheel, 56T chainring and 11T rear cog, for each crank rotation, the bike travels 8.1m.

 

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