The debate over which is the best wheel size for cycle touring may never see a clear winner. Traditional touring bicycles have always come equipped with 700c wheels while some newer models are now making use of 26-inch wheels. Some touring bike manufacturers even offer their frame models in either wheel size configuration in order to please both camps of touring aficionados. The best advice is certainly to weigh all of the pros and cons of each wheel size and then evaluate these against your own particular needs. A good idea of the conditions of your intended route could prove immensely useful in making your final decision. With that said, BicycleThailand.com would like to offer its own take on the wheel size debate as it pertains to cycle touring in the country of Thailand.
Those traveling to remote areas of the world are usually better suited with a pair of 26-inch wheels. There are two main reasons for this:
- 26-inch wheels are better suited for travel on dirt roads, rocky trails, and in areas where the streets are less than perfect.
- 26-inch wheels are best to use in remote places of the world because the bike shops in these areas are unlikely to carry 700c wheels/tires/tubes. The 26-inch wheel is standard just about everywhere in the world whereas 700c wheels, along with Presta valve tubes and/or tires, are not.
If you are planning to travel to a place in the world where bike shops are few and far between then arguably the better option is a set of 26-inch wheels equipped with Schraeder valve tubes and tires with a fairly common width (1.75-2.125).
Most people who travel by bicycle plan their routes along paved roads and many of them ride in areas where 700c wheels/tires/tubes are easy to find at local bike shops. In Thailand, it is recommended that touring cyclists stock up in major cities along their route, always making sure to carry at least one spare tire and tube as well as a few spokes for your particular wheel size. Happy riding!
Planning a cycling trip in Thailand? Want to remove some of the guesswork when it comes to routes and information? BicycleThailand.com offers GPS route data for touring cyclists that can be used on a GPS device, smartphone, or tablet. These routes can be viewed on your device regardless of internet access during your Thailand cycling adventure. Learn more about our Thailand GPS cycle touring routes.