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750D Wheel Size: 2023’s Ultimate Revolution or Mere Trend?

We will analyze what we know so far about the new 75OD measure to debate to what extent we are facing a mere experiment or a proposal that could revolutionize cycling in the coming years.

The world of cycling, ever-evolving and dynamic, is no stranger to innovations and debates surrounding them. The introduction of a new wheel size, the 750D, has recently stirred the pot. For many, this brings back memories of the significant shift from the 26′ to 29′ MTB wheel size.

This particular shift was a game-changer, ultimately marking one of the monumental evolutions in the history of mountain biking. Today, with the potential debut of the 750D wheel size, the cycling community stands at another crossroads, speculating about the future trajectory of this innovation.

Comparative view: 750D vs. 29' wheels
Comparative view: 750D vs. 29′ wheels

Historical Context

Rewind to the early 2000s when the 26′ to 29′ transition began. This change, although initially met with skepticism, turned out to be a blessing for mountain biking. Bikers found the larger wheels provided a smoother ride, better obstacle handling, and increased traction. However, with progress comes challenges. Adapting to this larger wheel size raised issues concerning bike rigidity, weight, and the compatibility of these wheels with different frame sizes and geometries.

The Origins of the 750D Hype

The buzz around the 750D began unexpectedly. Ben Delaney, a renowned journalist in the cycling niche, uploaded a video on his YouTube channel that became the talk of the town. The video featured a prototype from Moots at the SBT GRVL event in Colorado, USA.

This wasn’t a grand reveal at a major biking exposition, nor was it accompanied by press releases. It was merely a short interview with Jon Cariveau from Moots Cycles, where the new wheel size and a 750D tire prototype based on the new Moots Routt CRD were casually discussed.

Despite its informal introduction, the impact was undeniable. This prototype made another appearance at the MADE Bike Show in Portland. The gravity of this reveal was accentuated by its association with WTB, the same brand that in 1999 introduced the WTB Nano Raptor compatible for 700C tires – deemed by many as the first 29′ MTB tire.

Advantages of the 750D Wheel Size

The primary question looming is why the 750D wheel size might be preferable, especially for gravel bikes. The answers are multifaceted:

  1. Enhanced Speed: Larger wheels naturally possess greater inertia, allowing them to maintain speeds more effectively.
  2. Improved Traction: A larger diameter results in a larger contact patch with the ground, enhancing grip.
  3. Obstacle Handling: Larger wheels navigate obstacles more smoothly.

The idea behind the 750D wheel size is to offer the benefits of larger diameter wheels like those on MTB bikes while maintaining the lightness and rolling capacity typical of gravel bikes. This hybrid approach seeks to provide the best of both worlds.

750D wheel size on gravel bikes
750D wheel size on gravel bikes

Why might a larger diameter wheel be interesting in gravel?

Surely, at the beginning of the s. XXI That same question was asked by many people regarding MTB. In principle, larger diameter wheels have clear advantages: they attack obstacles better, they have more footprint on the ground (greater traction) and, when moving, they have greater inertia.

The disadvantages have to do with rigidity, weight and how to fit them into the geometries and small sizes.

In the case of gravel, the idea is to achieve a diameter similar to that of MTB bikes and especially XC bikes. That is, 29′ MTB tires and road and gravel tires have the same inner diameter (622 mm). But, if we count the tire, the 29′ wheels have a larger diameter. And the correct thing would be to say, taking the French measurement, that road bikes and most gravel bikes have 700C size wheels.

But in MTB we have stayed with the 29′, probably because it was a better reference compared to the 26′. We still remember when the 27.5′ wheels arrived. There were brands that preferred to talk about 650B.

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Returning to the case at hand, why? Well, according to what Johs Huseby says in Ben Delaney’s interview with him, summarizing it very much: more speed. To which are added the advantages that we have mentioned before of traction and ability to absorb obstacles.

And why not directly mount some 29′ wheels? Well this is very interesting, because in the US it is not an eccentricity to see gravel with 29′ wheels.

But it doesn’t seem like they are looking for large tire widths. In fact, an advantage could be having a larger diameter while keeping the wheels at a good standard of lightness. To give you an idea, the WTB Nano that we have seen in the prototype has a width of 40mm, which is a standard or intermediate measurement in gravel.

It also gives us clues that the “prototype” Moots is a Routt CRD, which is a “gravel race”. And the event itself in which they have been seen is one of the most important races on the international gravel calendar.

In short, they want the best of both worlds. The outside diameter and inertia of a 29′ MTB wheel, but with the lightness and rolling capacity of a gravel tire.

And why not more diameter? Why take 29′ as a reference? Well, surely, because they will consider that it is a reasonable objective and that the state of the art of the study of geometries in both gravel, road and MTB allows us to think that at some point this 750D measure could be applied.

And when we talk about geometries it is inevitable to think: could we use these wheels on a 700C gravel bike? Well it seems not, because we would surely have a wheel arch problem.

Challenges and Considerations

However, challenges lie ahead. Adapting to the 750D, which involves transitioning from the 622mm diameter to the 660mm, might seem minor on paper but will necessitate alterations in bike geometries and may introduce compatibility issues.

Reflecting on the 26′ to 29′ transition, which was a leap from 559mm to 622mm, it’s evident that the industry can adapt. Yet, it remains to be seen if the benefits of the 750D will be compelling enough to drive a similar universal shift.

Additionally, there’s the issue of obsolescence. Many fear that their current gravel bikes will become outdated with the rise of the 750D. But, given that the 750D is still in its experimental stages and is, for now, tailored mainly for gravel bikes, it might be premature to sound the alarm bells.

Moots prototype featuring 750D wheel dimension
Moots prototype featuring 750D wheel dimension

Can brands end up adopting this standard?

It’s hard to know. But there are obstacles. The increase from 622mm in diameter to 660mm is not significant on paper, but it involves retouching geometries and complicates compatibilities.

The change from 26′ to 29′ meant many learnings. It was a change from 559mm to 622mm in diameter. A substantial change with many challenges, but also many advantages.

It was a movement that generated many controversies with cyclists, but also with distributors and even stores. But the advantages were clear and time has proven the standard right. From a pure business perspective, the change in size also meant an almost total renewal of the “mobile fleet” of MTB bikes.

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But a change like this may not justify so much fuss. And although gravel is growing a lot around the world, it is still not the highest sales volume of the generalist brands which, in the end, are the ones pushing for a change in standard in something as important as wheels.

Something that has been commented on social networks is that it could be interesting for taller cyclists. But again, it doesn’t seem like the difference makes it worth it.

There are mountain, gravel, and even road bikes with 27.5′ wheels that make a lot of sense for cyclists who are short. But the difference between a 700C wheel and a 650B wheel justifies it.

In any case, the real results of the tests that are being carried out with the 750D measure remain to be seen. If they are really interesting and provide relevant quantitative advantages… We could see some important brand take heart.

The Future of the 750D

The introduction of any new standard in the cycling industry, especially something as foundational as wheel size, is a complex affair. It affects manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and of course, the end-users – the bikers. While gravel biking is growing in popularity, whether the industry giants will see enough incentive to invest in and promote a new standard remains uncertain.

If the 750D wheel size offers quantifiable advantages, it might garner the support of influential brands, propelling it into mainstream acceptance. However, the cycling community will need to wait and watch. For now, the 750D remains an exciting prospect on the horizon of the ever-evolving cycling landscape.

In conclusion, the emergence of the 750D wheel size has presented the cycling world with both excitement and challenges. As with past innovations, only time will reveal its place in the annals of cycling history.

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Conclusion: Rolling Together into the Future

As passionate cyclists and enthusiasts, we’ve witnessed the ebbs and flows of innovations in our beloved sport. Every change, every new introduction, nudges us out of our comfort zones, prompting a mix of anticipation and apprehension.

It’s only natural to feel a twinge of uncertainty when faced with potential shifts in the cycling landscape, like the 750D wheel size. After all, our bikes are not just mere machines; they are extensions of ourselves, our partners on countless adventures and memories.

But it’s essential to remember that the very spirit of cycling is rooted in exploration and evolution. Whether it’s conquering new terrains or embracing new technologies, we’ve always pedaled forward, sometimes with caution, but always with curiosity.

As we stand on the cusp of another potential change, let’s ride this journey together, supporting and learning from one another. Whatever the future holds for the 750D or any other innovation, our shared passion for cycling will always be the constant wheel that drives us forward.

Introduction of the new 750D wheel size
Introduction of the new 750D wheel size

Can brands end up adopting this standard?

It’s hard to know. But there are obstacles. The increase from 622mm in diameter to 660mm is not significant on paper, but it involves retouching geometries and complicates compatibilities. 

The change from 26′ to 29′ meant many learnings. It was a change from 559mm to 622mm in diameter. A substantial change with many challenges, but also many advantages. It was a movement that generated many controversies with cyclists, but also with distributors and even stores. 

But the advantages were clear and time has proven the standard right. From a pure business perspective, the change in size also meant an almost total renewal of the “mobile fleet” of MTB bikes. But a change like this may not justify so much fuss. 

And although gravel is growing a lot around the world, it is still not the highest sales volume of the generalist brands which, in the end, are the ones pushing for a change in standard in something as important as wheels.

Something that has been commented on social networks is that it could be interesting for taller cyclists. But again, it doesn’t seem like the difference makes it worth it. There are mountain, gravel, and even road bikes with 27.5′ wheels that make a lot of sense for cyclists who are short. But the difference between a 700C wheel and a 650B wheel justifies it.

In any case, the real results of the tests that are being carried out with the 750D measure remain to be seen. If they are really interesting and provide relevant quantitative advantages… We could see some important brand take heart. 

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3 COMMENTS

    • Who needs maneuverability when you can have style? Bigger wheels may not be practical, but they sure make a statement. Plus, who wants a lightweight car when you can feel the power? Embrace the trend and leave practicality behind!

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