700c Wheel Size In Inches: What Does It Mean?

You may have difficulty figuring out the answer as the confusion in the tire system diverts you far from your destination. 

The conflict in the measurement has messed up the knowledge of cyclists. The good news is that the global industry has finally come to a mutual standard – ISO. All you need to do now is capture the transition between the old system and the modern norm. Check it out in our section below.

What Does 700c Mean For A Bike

The term “700c wheel size” was first coined by the French in the 1890s. The number “700” refers to the tire’s outer diameter in millimeters, but it is not exactly 700 mm.

A common misunderstanding is that cyclists often mistake the letter “c” for “centimeter.” But in fact, it refers to the width of the tire when inflated. You may also come across other characters in this old measurement system, including a, b, and d.

that a wide range of wheels and tires fit this current standard. 

Technology development has brought to the market many new features such as anti-collapse, guard spikes, etc., thus affecting the way diameter is measured. As a result, the old-fashioned measurement system has become inaccurate and redundant.

Instead, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has established a new standard in terms of structure: tire width – bead seat diameter (BSD). Current 700c tires come with an “x-622.” where x varies by bicycle type, as shown in the 700c bike wheel size chart below. 

Bicycle Type Common Tire Width 
Road Bike23 – 28 mm
Cyclocross Bike28 – 35mm
Gravel Bike35 – 45mm
Hybrid Bike35 – 45mm

700c In Inches: A Full Explanation 

What is 700c Wheel Size In Inches?

When you use the unit converters, the simple answer is 27.5 inches, but it is not quite straightforward. If you buy a tire according to this parameter, it does not work with your road bike.

As you have seen, the recommended tire width for your vehicle should run between 23 – 28mm even though it is a 700c bike. You may sometimes install such a wide tire in the bicycle wheel, but it collides with the bike frame and interferes with safe operation.

In reality, you will come across many 26ers, 27.5ers, or even 29ers labeled as “700c.” In the vast pool of bike types and wheel sizes, there is no cut-and-dried answer. By that, we mean the right wheel size will not be exactly 26, 27.5, or 29 inches but somewhere between them.

For all the above reasons, make accuracy a top priority when converting from 700c to inches. If you do not have any ideas yet, refer to the comparison table below. 

Size Of TiresISO SizeAccurate Diameter (inches)
700 x 18c18-62225.94
700 x 19c19-62226.06
700 x 20c20-62226.14
700 x 23c23-62226.27
700 x 25c25-62226.38
700 x 28c28-62226.8
700 x 30c30-62226.9
700 x 32c32-62227
700 x 35c35-62227.17
700 x 38c38-62227.32
700 x 40c40-62227.57
700 x 44c44-62228.01
700 x 45c45-62228.1
700 x 47c47-62228.42
Bike Wheel Size Guide

26er vs. 27.5er vs. 29er

According to the US inch measurement system, there are three common wheel standards, including 26, 27.5, and 29 inches. But the ISO system, at last, provides other common standards based on conversions to mm, including:

  • 26 inches – ISO 559
  • 27.5 inches – ISO 584
  • 29 inches and 700c – ISO 622

But that is not the whole story, as in some cases, you find it magical to replace one of these tires with a rim of 700c and vice versa. Hence, it is useful for an in-depth analysis so that you understand differences between wheel sizes.

26er Tires

This is a common wheel size standard for mountain bikes and fat bikes. However, its popularity faded into the past around the 2010s when the 27.5er and 29er entered the bicycle market.

For the time being, 26-inch wheels are known for their heavy load-carrying capacity and gentle climbs in situations that require quick reactions from the rider.

See also: Mountain Bike Size Chart

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight appearance
  • Support for quick response on the trails
  • Ideal for regaining speed after losing momentum
  • Energy savings due to a small fork
  • Economical for replacement tires

Cons

  • Not recommended for tall riders
  • The top pace is slower than the rest of the vehicles
  • Less durable for bumpy places
  • Less traction, so the rider must maintain enough speed to keep the advantage

29er Tires

From the very first turn of the 29er wheel, you can feel a different transmission compared to other vehicles. Simply put, you get more without much effort. Riders regularly trail downhill or overcome obstacles to gain confidence and stability with this option. 

Pros

  • Maintain a good steady velocity
  • Less vibration and increased efficiency when passing through rocks, gravel, or tree roots
  • Excellent traction
  • Large diameter moves more with the same foot rotation

Cons

  • Minimize timely response
  • Big forks and wheels add a bit to the overall weight
  • Lack of portability

27.5er Tires

The cycling industry has tried its best to launch a version that combines the above mentioned. The theory for this design is to create a balance and minimize the trade-offs between comfort, handling, and speed. These pulses contribute to a long journey of aggressive off-road vehicles.

Pros

  • Deliver the same speed as the 29er with little sacrifice of rider power
  • Inheriting the 26er’s superiority in a more comfortable position
  • Less suspension boosts overall performance
  • Good traction

Cons

  • All attributes are average, so professionals may not find it prominent to deal with a particular environmental problem.

What Is The Perfect 700c Tire & Inner Tube For Your Bike?

Unfortunately, you only have the “close enough” inch conversions to keep you safe on the roads. Several variables, such as frame, bike type, desired tire clearance, etc., may affect the accuracy of the diameter. On the bright side, this variety expands your choice of the tread pattern.

We have tried many different types of tires and have come up with a few helpful tips. Small and medium tires in the 23 – 33c range are ideal for flat surfaces. In other words, they become a perfect match for hybrid and road bikes to produce smooth and quick rolling.

Manufacturers offer better treads for amazing grip as you move towards wider options. Our gravel and dirt bikes certainly could not turn down such a reliable component for slippery or uneven surfaces. We have also caught it on a few winter-specific hybrid bikes.

When it comes to suitable bicycle inner tubes, you can find an answer right on the tire. For example, if your component shows “700 x 28c”, “28” is what you are looking for.

However, each item often owns a range representing its allowable tension level instead of a fixed one. As for longtime cyclists, it is no stranger to “700×23 – 45”. This means they satisfy tires with sizes from 700 x 23c to 700 x 45c.

See more: How To Measure Bike Wheel Size?

How To Determine The Accurate Tire Size & Inner Tube?

So what kind of tire does your “horse” need? We have two simple ways to solve this problem. 

Determine The Accurate Tire Size

Case 1: Take Advantage Of Your Existing Tire

You are blessed if those old tires still attach to your bicycle or are available in the warehouse. Go with one of them and look for sidewall markings to determine a suitable replacement.

You should keep an eye out for two important pieces of information, including the ETRTO (European Tire and Technical Organization) and ISO specifications which show up as “700 x 23c” and “23-622,” respectively ( or any other number in place of “23”). 

Now all that is left to finish is to scroll up to our sizing chart and look up for your actual diameter. Then enter the data into the search bar, and Google may suggest some models worth buying.

Case 2: Measure By Yourself

It is no big deal if your tires get worn out, and you lose the important numbers. Unless you know it is a larger vehicle or one for kids, 99% of full-size road bikes come with 700c wheels.

Do not hesitate for the BSD test if you want certainty. Use tape and pull a line along the inner diameter of the wheel. If you measure 24.5” or 622mm, your guess turns right.

Now it is time for the main task: to calculate the inner rim diameter. Follow our simple process as follows:

  • Remove the tire and keep the wheel upright.
  • Apply measuring tape to the inside of the rim
  • Measure the distance from one rim to the other. Note that small errors are possible because of interference.
  • Take measurements and compare them with the table below. You can use a tire larger than recommended but consider clearance for safety (we will mention this in the following section).
Inner Rim SizeTire Size
13-15, 17-19mm23 – 25c
13-15, 17-19, 20-21, 22-23mm25 – 28cc
17-19, 20-21, 22-23, 24-25mm30 – 33c
17-19, 20-21, 22-23, 24-25mm33 – 35c
20-21, 22-23, 24-25mm38 – 40c
20-21, 22-23, 24-25mm40 – 43c
22-23, 24-25mm43 – 45c
22-23, 24-25mm45 – 48c
24-25mm48 – 50c

The Best Bicycle Tire Width

You have now determined the right bead diameter and tire size for your bike. However, a wider tire improves performance, especially on rugged roads. The truth is no surprise: the larger the contact area, the better the stability and traction.

But does the width of the tire impose a limit? The answer is always YES. Hence, it would help if you determined the maximum tension of the tire before increasing its size. We have tested the upcoming process at home, and it is sure not to be a risky bet.

First, you must prepare a set of calipers that also come in handy for your home maintenance later. Clip the tool and measure at the widest point. Do not try to compress the tire, but increase the opening by 0.5 mm.

We have never seen a difference of over 0.05 mm for our items, but it may be a game-changer game-changer. Though you still find the width marked on either side, it is not accurate enough for subsequent actions, especially with used ones.

Once you have the correct measurement, check the clearance to see the between the tires and important parts such as:

  • Fork crown
  • Seat tube
  • Front and rear brake calipers
  • Chainstays
  • Seat stays
  • Fenders & Panniers
Bike Main Part

It is best to have a minimum result of 5-6 mm for gravel bikes. We recommend more than 3mm clearance for road bikes. If your vehicle is constantly exposed to muddy or rough roads, feel free to customize this size to be larger to avoid entanglement with rocks or branches.

Select the smallest gap and use the clamp to determine the exact measurement. Then apply the following formula:

Maximum tire width = 2 x (current minimal clearance – desired minimum clearance) + current tire width

Our experiment found that this formula works well with premium tires. The cheap ones tend to have a skewed height-to-width ratio.

See also: Bike Size Chart

FAQs

What Are 700c Wheels Good For?

Compared to the 650b wheels, the 700c offers superior control due to the larger wheel size. This design gives birth to a wide tire that creates greater momentum and grip. It trades comfort for a smooth ride on bumpy terrains, such as gravel, rocks, or tree roots.

What Height Should A 700c Bike Be?

The ideal rider height for the 700c ranges from 6’5” – 7’4”. Do not miss this option if you are up to standard size and looking for aerodynamic properties for your cycling.

Conclusion 

What does 700c mean bike? Modern classification has confirmed the answer: the tires are identified as 622mm. Unfortunately, ISO 622 has so many variations that you must take a few extra steps to determine the correct component for your bicycle. Hopefully, our simple instructions come in handy in your case. Complete each stage slowly and carefully, as a result, determines the operation and safety of your vehicle.


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Nathan Bergmann

Nathan Bergmann

Cycling Instructor at BikeDenver

I've been a semi-professional cyclist for 7 years and currently coach classes at BikeDenver. I want to share my passion and experience with those who love cycling, let me make your journey better.


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