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Thread: 24 or 26 inch wheels? 12 or 24 spokes?

  1. #1

    24 or 26 inch wheels? 12 or 24 spokes?

    I've always used 24 or 25 inch wheels. Are there any mechanical or other advantages to 26" wheels other than a wider variety of tires is available for 26"?

    What about spokes? I have the option of 12 or 24 spokes what are the advantages there?


    Thanks for everyones input so far. You've been very helpful!

    Erik

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by erikferret View Post
    I've always used 24 or 25 inch wheels. Are there any mechanical or other advantages to 26" wheels other than a wider variety of tires is available for 26"?

    What about spokes? I have the option of 12 or 24 spokes what are the advantages there?


    Thanks for everyones input so far. You've been very helpful!

    Erik
    I run 24 in 12 spk xlx no need for more spokes, the xlx are sweet wheels. i'm 6'2 210
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
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  3. #3
    I would think with your experiences of 24 and 25 inch wheels you would feel the difference on an inch. Having used 24" only until my last two chairs, where I switched to 25", I found it to be quite a difference and couldn't imagine going back to 24". I don't know your injury level, but a taller tire is harder to clear when transferring and takes more to get going, although on the later part, I don't recall more effort in getting my chair going.
    C5-6 Complete - 8/13/1982

  4. #4
    Senior Member brian's Avatar
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    When sizing wheels and tires, DO NOT use inches. Only use ETRTO sizing. ETRTO is an international standard of sizing.
    Look for a number like "25-540" on the side of your tire. The larger number (540 in this case) is the diameter.

    This is because several different ETRTO sizes of wheel and tire are called 24" depending on its use.
    And 559 ETRTO size is called both 25" for wheelchairs and 26" for bikes.

    ONLY use the ETRTO sizes when measuring and purchasing wheels and tires or you could buy items that don't fit or have trouble finding thins in the correct ETRTO size.
    See this thread for how only measuring in inches can cause problems.

  5. #5
    Senior Member NW-Will's Avatar
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    It is all so personal, the best advice is to try and test out all the options and see what fits best for your body and lifestyle, what kind or environment are you rolling in.. it should all be about what fits you.

    25" (559) wheel chair wheels have by far the largest selection of tires, due to the way bicycle tires are measured, most of those tires will show up as 26" tires (but still marked with 559).

    as Brian says, do yourself a favor and start looking at wheels and tires with their etrto ( European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation) size you will save yourself a lot of headaches.

    Also depends on your chair.. if you start changing you tires out, and keeping the same wheels, chances are you're going to change the geometry for your chair and have to think about making adjustments to your chair as you swap out wheel tire combinations.
    That would be your Center of Gravity, brake alignment, side guard alignment, caster flutter etc..


    I've run 24", 25" 26" and 27" wheels.. and for me I'm a huge fan of 27" wheels.
    apart from the geometry of your arms to the pushrims they're all equal to push as the distance from the edge of the tire to pushrim stays the same distance.
    The larger wheels have less rolling resistance, for the same reason bicycles use larger diameter wheels.
    This rolling resistance is offset a little with the larger wheels being slightly heavier, there is just more material in the larger wheels.. so find your sweet spot.

    For me, the larger wheels work well, but the real inspiration is I can use the standard 27"(622) non-marking wheelchair narrow tires, and swap out for 25"(559) wheels with balloon tires without having to make any adjustments, the outside diameter of both combinations is identical, allowing for this easy swap.

    Spokes the biggest advantage I've found for less spokes is the gaps between the spokes is larger allowing you to put your hands through the spoke gaps and access things under your chair easily. If you're constantly picking kids toys off the floor this makes a huge difference


    Quote Originally Posted by erikferret View Post
    I've always used 24 or 25 inch wheels. Are there any mechanical or other advantages to 26" wheels other than a wider variety of tires is available for 26"?

    What about spokes? I have the option of 12 or 24 spokes what are the advantages there?


    Thanks for everyones input so far. You've been very helpful!

    Erik

  6. #6
    I also went from 24" to 25" and like them better. You need to make sure the bend of your elbow when you grab your handrims is within the recommended range (maybe someone can chime in on the angle). Because if it's where it should be and you can push efficiently, when you go up in wheel size without adjusting your rear seat to foor height the same amount you're going to be putting more stress on your shoulders (especially if they raise when you push) and its going to take more effort to push. I know from experience. Going from 24" to 25" may not be that noticable but i wouldn't go from 24" to 26" without being able to move your seat to floor height up as well, if it's even adjustable.

    Also, I second the suggestion to go with 12 spoke xlx wheels. When taking them off to put in the car, there is a good 3" between the base of the spokes at the hub for your hand. I can fit all four of my fingers between the spokes.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by NW-Will View Post
    25" (559) wheel chair wheels have by far the largest selection of tires, due to the way bicycle tires are measured, most of those tires will show up as 26" tires (but still marked with 559).
    This is the entire reason I'm switching from 590 to 559 wheels for my next chair. I prefer the very slight advantage in regard to hopping up curbs and being able to sit a bit higher and still get a decent push, but one of my tires (not tubes) went bad when I was out of town and I was in a sketchy, sketchy situation for three days until the "next day" delivery of 590 tires came in, and I had to pay $100 for shipping on top of the cost of the tires. Went to 5 different bike shops and nobody had a 590 tire. The convenience of availablility of 559 (25" wheelchair) tires heavily outweighs the small downside imo.

  8. #8
    I just looked at my old chair and those tires say 25-540 which is only 21.26 inches. I guess my wheels are way smaller than I thought. In my ignorance I was looking at the 25 and thinking that was 25 inches. This gives me alot more to think about as I spec out my new chair. I wouldn't mind sitting a bit higher...

  9. #9
    i got 24" wheels, spinergy blades and personally i'd rather they were smaller, they take up less room in my car and coz they are a little smaller you could potentially go faster :P also if you built your chair around the wheel size changing up to 26" will have an effect on the rear height etc.

  10. #10
    I keep going back and forth. its a good thing I haven't placed my order yet. I am a really small guy like, 4'10 and 120 lbs (okay so I'm a little stocky) and I have significant contracture at my elbows. If I am meant to hang my arm down and reach the hub I probably should stay with smaller tires. I wish it was easier to try out various configurations. When you buy a car you can test drive a bunch of cars. Having a wheelchair made (and paying out of pocket) is a really serious purchase and yet there is less access to useable demos. Even if I was working with a DME demo chairs never ever fit. In an ideal world I would fly to Texas and have my chair speced out at Box but between working and my physical needs (it would be best if I travel with a PA) I don't think that is going to happen.

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