Introduction to Performance Right Fit

With the proliferation of mountain bike wheel sizes over the last few years, buying a new mountain bike has gotten a little bit complicated—especially for newer riders. Now not only frame size needs to be considered, but so does wheel size, and how that will impact your ride experience.

At Performance, we’re always looking for ways to help make finding the right bike easier, so we’ve worked with some of our bike partners to create a program called Right Fit.

Right Fit takes a lot of the confusion out of buying a new mountain bike by matching up frame sizes with different wheel sizes so you get the best fit, excellent performance, and more enjoyment.

HOW IT WORKS:

Right Fit matches up the rider with the right wheel size based on frame size. For Right Fit bikes, smaller sizes—typically XS-M (depending on manufacturer) will be available with 27.5” wheels. Sizes M/L -XL (again, depending on the manufacturer) will be available with 29” wheels. This ensures you’ll get the best fit and performance without any compromises.

But why offer a bike that has different wheel sizes depending on the frame size?

It’s a fair question, and the reason has to do with how the wheel size changes how the bike rides. There’s a lot that goes into how a bike handles and what makes it ideal for each rider—stuff like frame geometry, stand over height, reach, toe overlap and more. In looking at all those factors, we found that offering smaller bikes with a 27.5” wheel and larger bikes with a 29er resulted in fewer compromises and improved ride performance.

The result is that the rider gets a bike that’s tailored to them and offers better performance, with fewer compromises or potential fit issues.

Click here to learn how to properly fit a mountain bike

Click here to shop for Right Fit bikes

MORE INFORMATION

Both 27.5” and 29er wheels have their own specific advantages for riders. The goal for Right Fit was to create a bike that really brought out the best of each wheel size while minimizing any compromises to the rider.

27.5" Wheels

27.5” wheel bikes, also known as 650B, split the size difference between the older 26” wheel and the larger 29” wheel.

Advantages:

An Improved Angle of Attack: for cross country and trail or all-mountain style riders, a 27.5” wheel will roll over faster and easier than a 26-inch wheel. The larger the wheel, the smaller the obstacle relative to the wheel. Sounds easy enough and when you encounter a log or a rock, you quickly learn that this is true.

Improved Agility: for the rider that likes to be aggressive on the trail, the 27.5” wheel may be the perfect size. Compared to a 29-inch wheel, the 27.5” is easy to get off the ground and get some air, and it’s easier to maneuver through winding and tight singletrack lined with precarious branches. For riders on smaller sized frames, it also decreases the chance for “toe overlap” with the wheel, further improving handling.

A Lower Center of Gravity: this means more stability byway of the relative position of the bottom bracket to the wheel axle. Your body will feel more comfortable and centered on the bike as a result.

A Better Fit For Average Height Riders: the 27.5” wheel simply isn’t as physically large and cumbersome as the 29-inch. That means that everything isn’t as tall or bulky (frame, wheels, etc.), so that an average sized rider can throw their leg over the frame comfortably, whereas on a smaller sized 29er bike riders sometimes have the feeling of sitting “in” the bike instead of on it.

Improved Clearance: Bigger bikes mean bigger problems with tire clearance. Not so with the 27.5” wheel. The 27.5” provides plenty of tire clearance, so you can throw on just about any tire width that will clear the frame and fork.

29" Wheels

29” wheel bikes, also known as “twenty-niners”, are the largest size of mountain bike wheel available.

Advantages:

An Improved Angle of Attack: Just like with the 27.5, the larger the wheel, the smaller the obstacle relative to the wheel. This means it’s less critical that you pick the right line and can roll over larger obstacles more easily. Sounds easy enough and when you encounter a log or a rock, you quickly learn that this is true.

Better Contact: Because of the longer contact patch on a 29” tire, you often get better traction since more of the wheel is in contact with the trail.

A Better Fit For Above Average Height Riders: the larger wheels better sit inside bigger frames with almost none of the compromises found on smaller bikes—so things like toe overlap and center of gravity aren’t as much of an issue.

More Rolling Momentum: The bigger wheels have excellent rolling momentum. That means they pick up and carry speed, so it’s easy to get over obstacles

Bikes and Frames