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27.5 vs 29er Mountain Bikes: What’s the Difference?

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale


27.5 vs 29er mountain bikes

Mountain biking is an exhilarating sport that requires the proper equipment to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. When purchasing a mountain bike, selecting the right MTB wheel size is crucial.

It used to be a lot easier because all mountain bikes were equipped with standard 26-inch wheels. However, due to its weak traction ability and difficulty in overcoming large obstacles, 27.5 and 29er inch wheels were introduced to the market.

However, many riders can not distinguish between these wheel sizes. Read on to see our comparison between 27.5 vs 29er mountain bikes and make the right decision for your next trip.

  27.5’’ 29ers
Acceleration rate Fast A tad slower (due to weight)
Traction Good traction Better traction
Weight A bit more lightweight A bit heavier
Maneuverability Better Good
Fit Favors shorter riders Favors taller riders

Compare 27.5 vs 29er Singletrack Bikes


What are 27.5 and 29er?

29er is the most frequently used wheel size in mountain bikes. It measures 29 inches, and this type of bike has become an ideal vehicle because of its flexibility on different terrain and better performance. It is suitable for every rider, cross-country, trail, and mountain biking is no exception.

A 27.5 bike is smaller with approximately 27.5-inch wheels (also known as 650b wheel size). This mid-sized wheel can provide a good balance between speed and stability, which is also preferred by a lot of riders.

Differences Between 27.5 Vs 29 Wheels

1. Ride experience


The 27.5 bikes have the following:

  • A smaller wheel diameter: Make it faster to accelerate and maneuver in tight and technical terrain. As a result, it will be a top-notch choice for beginners and for short riders who may find it difficult to change direction of larger bikes.
  • Lower center of gravity: Make your riding experience more stable, especially in steeper sections.

It’s a well-made product for those who prioritize agility and handling over speed, so it can be a weakness if you want to maintain your speed on smoother terrain.

29er wheels, on the other hand, are the best decision for heavy riders:

  • Have larger wheels which enable riders to have a more stable experience on flatter terrain.
  • Requires less effort, making them a good choice for cross-country riding. Even on technical and rough terrain, they can easily roll over obstacles like rocks.
  • However, its nimbleness in tight turns can be a big challenge for newbie riders.

2. Performance


In general, 27.5 vs 29 MTB do their best in different conditions. While the 29er tends to perform better on smooth terrain and at higher speeds, 27.5-inch mountain bikes are more excellent in technical terrain and at lower speeds.

Specifically, 29-inch wheels are larger and have a greater circumference, allowing them to maintain momentum and speed more efficiently. But higher speed also comes along with more effort. If you struggle to maintain it, 27.5 MTB is a wiser choice that helps you accelerate, especially in twitchy paths.

3. Traction

Both 29er vs 27.5 bikes can offer good traction, but 29-inch wheels can outweigh the remaining one. The larger contact path is a bonus point when possessing a larger wheel size, it can ensure riders’ safety, especially when facing moist conditions.

The 27.5-inch MTB can still provide good traction. Remember to make a decision depending on the type of riding you plan to do.

4. Weight

29-inch mountain bikes are slightly heavier than 27.5-inch ones due to larger wheel size and several factors: frame material, the components, etc. However, the weight of the bike may not be an essential factor in some cases.

  • If you frequently ride a bicycle, the gripping power and angle of approach are more crucial than the weight difference between a 27.5-inch and a 29-inch wheel.
  • Whether you compete or take part in cross-country races, you should lighten the load on your bike. Installing smaller wheels or searching for windscreens, handlebars, and frames made of extremely light carbon fiber is possible. If your bike already has these carbon parts, you can take it off to reduce pressure when riding.

5. Size


You need to choose a bike that fits your height and makes you feel comfortable. The 29-inch bike is suitable for taller people (about 6 feet tall). For shorter people (under around 5’6 in height), a 27.5-inch MTB is a better choice.

6. Cost


Bike prices can vary greatly among different wheel sizes, brands, and models. You can expect to spend from $200 – $500 for a mountain bike for beginners. As you level up, you can purchase models up to $1000 and even higher for a great ride. 

Pros and Cons

29er mountain bikes


To sum up, here are the 29er mountain bikes review:

  • Better stability and obstacle crossing ability.
  • The area in contact with the terrain surface is larger, so the vehicle’s grip is greater.
  • 29-inch wheels can readily obtain significant advantages in races over significant distances.
  • 29-inch wheels require less tire pressure than 26-inch wheels, making repairs simpler in the event of a problem.
  • Casual travel flexibility may be decreased by large wheels (only suitable for complex terrain).
  • Less responsive and less agile tight turns
  • The 29-inch wheels are heavier than the 26-inch wheels due to their larger size.

27.5 inch wheels:


About the 27.5 inch wheels:

  • More responsive
  • Good balance between speed and stability
  • Require less effort, especially for beginners
  • Faster acceleration, best suitable in technical terrain
  • Harder to maintain your speed and cross over obstacles
  • Weaker traction ability

Frequently Asked Questions


Is 27.5 or 29 better for trail riding?

Choosing a 27.5 or 29 trail bike depends on your preference and the specific type of trail you’ll be riding.

As we have mentioned, a 29-inch wheel size provides smoother handling and greater stability at higher speeds, suitable on flat terrain. But if you want a bike that is more flexible in different conditions like tight and technical tracks, you should purchase a 27.5 instead.

Moreover, you should also consider the type of mountain bike: Full-suspension and Hardtail. 27.5 vs 29er full suspension bikes have higher quality, faster, and smoother experience in technical trails. Otherwise, 27.5 vs 29 hardtail ones are the best choice if your budget is tight, it can still meet your demands.

Are downhill bikes 27.5 or 29?

Downhill bikes can come in both 29er vs 27.5 wheel sizes. 27.5 MTB has always been great for downhill riding, but 29 MTB has now become a popular choice for different tracks, including downhill racing.

27.5 plus vs 29?

27.5 plus is an upgraded version of the traditional 27.5 wheels. It is wider and provides better traction and stability on rough terrain. The riding experience is also enhanced as it can absorb more bumps and shocks. The choice between 27.5 plus vs 29 is similar to the recommendation above.

27.5 inch bike for what size person and for what height?

This bike size is for people from 5 ft2 to 5 ft10 tall. Actually, many manufacturers recommended that it would fit riders under 5ft7, but if you enjoy a rather short and comfortable bike, you might as well go for it.


The decision on a 27.5 or 29 trail bike is determined by several factors like riding style, terrain, personal preferences, height, and more. For the bike brand or models, you can go to Reddit and other bike forums to get some good suggestions. 

Here are our comparisons between 27.5 vs 29er mountain bikes, hope they will help you make the right decision. Thank you!

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