What Does 700c Mean On A Bike? (Answer With Comparisons)

This is an instructive question that the majority are so curious to find an answer to. Hearing the word “700c,” several questions might come to your mind, including what does this number mean? Are there many bikes to count from 1 to 700? What does the “c” behind “700” signify? And so on like that.

The confusing part is that most people usually misunderstand the word “700c” to “700cc,” not knowing that they’re different terms for different cycles entirely. The 700cc is a common term for motorcycles, not bicycles, mainly referring to their motor power. In contrast, 700c is a common term for a hybrid bike.

Here, you will understand in detail what 700 and “c” means, the history behind the term “700c”, the pros and cons of 700c, and other necessary information you need to know about 700c. Therefore, you don’t have to worry; I got you covered.

what does a 700c bike mean

What Does 700c Mean?

700c is a hybrid bike that can be a ride on both on-road and off-road. In other words, it’s a bridge between a road and a mountain bike.

The term “700c” is a tire size system, also known as the French system. It’s a system introduced by the French to measure the outer diameter of the inflated tire. Braking the word into two parts, 700 represents the approximate diameter of the tire in millimeters while “c” represents the width size of the tire. Nonetheless, both are termed after the tire of the bike.

Furthermore, both the preceding and the succeeding alphabets a,b, and d have a significant meaning in the French system of measuring the width size of the tire. From the system, the wideness is termed from the letter “a,” which is the narrowest size, to the letter “d,” which is the widest width size of the tire. Therefore, the bikes are categorized into 700a,700b,700c, and 700d.

Though all these bike sizes are not popular as 700c, some riders prefer to swap their wheels depending on the priority of individuals. Typically, 700c and 700d are suitable for racing, while 700a and 700b are mainly used for training on unpaved surfaces.

The History Of The 700c Bike Wheel Size

The history of the 700c bike can be dated back to 1891 in France ( that’s why it’s called the French system.) During this time, each country had its standard of measurements, meaning there was no global system. But a few years later, the French standard became popular, and other countries like Belgium and Switzerland started using the same standard in their bicycle industry.

Not until 1921 that the United States adopted the standard as its own. However, the US measurement was different from France. The US measured the tire’s outer diameter at the shoulder while the French didn’t.

Overall, all the countries that adopted this measurement standard refer to the alphabets a, b, c, and d as the wideness of the tires. For example, the alphabet A represents the narrowest rims, while D represents the widest rims.

700c vs. 650b wheels size

Just like the 700c bike, 650b is also a French system dated back to the 1960s. It also has alphabets a, b, and c, which refer to the wideness of the bike. However, there are several differences and similarities between 700c and 650b.

Some cyclists argued that you could swap 700c wheels for 650b. However, both 700c and 650b are suitable as gravel bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, and touring bikes. Despite these similarities, you need to know these differences to decide the most ideal for your need.

  • 700c wheels measure 622mm, while 650b measure 584mm in diameter of the rims.
  • 650b wheels can be compared to 27.5-inch wheels, while 700c to 29er and 28-inch wheels.
  • 650b offers better traction than 700c tires.
  • 650b are lighter and accelerate faster than 700c.
  • 700c, on the other hand, has better rollover capability than 650b
  • 700c is more available in the market than 650. Therefore, you can see many frames for 700c compared to 650b.

Pros Of 700c Bikes

Most cyclists prefer using the 700c bike because of several benefits it entails. Majorly, riders who like to ride on both paved and unpaved roads or rocky areas. Here are some of the pros of 700c bikes, which you need to know if you want to get one.

It Rolls Better   

One of the advantages the 700c bike has is the ability to roll better over hard surfaces like potholes, branches, rocky ground, and so on. Its wheels make it comfortable for you to glide over rough terrain; that’s why it’s known to be one of the best hybrid bikes.

It’s More Available

700c bikes are so available in the market. You can easily find its component, most significantly, its frames. Even though it has being manufactured for a few decades, most riders are still in love with the model.

It Maintains A Higher Average Speed

You can use 700c bikes for sport. It maintains a higher average speed. As a result of having larger wheels, it covers more space than smaller wheels bikes. The same thing applies to 29er bikes.

It’s Good For Taller Riders

It’s suitable for taller riders between 5’5″ to 6’6.” Typically, the wheel size affects the geometry of the bike and makes the frame to be large. So, smaller riders can’t ride comfortably.

It Has Better Traction

Compared to some mountain and road bikes, 700c has better traction. The riders argue that larger wheels increase traction, while others are against the notion.

Cons Of 700c Bikes

It’s More Expensive

700c is beyond some riders’ budget, so the majority decided to get an alternative. The materials used to manufacture it are so expensive, affecting the price of its components, including wheels, tires, tunes, and so on.

It Accelerates Slower

Compared to 26-inch wheels, 700c accelerates slower. This might be because its wheels are heavier.

It Has Less Maneuverability

700c is not easy to maneuver. Since the wheels are larger, it’s not easy for riders to control and navigate. Some riders feel uncomfortable riding 700c.

It’s Not Suitable For Short Riders

700c is not ideal for short riders. They won’t be able to handle and control it. The wheels don’t fit the geometry frame size of short riders. So, if your height doesn’t reach 5’5″, it’s not ideal for you to ride 700c.


700c is one of the most popular hybrid bikes that you can easily find in both developed and developing countries. Some riders prefer it because of its speed, stability, and ability to move on smooth and rough roads. Nevertheless, after you have gone through this article and are convinced that 700c is not suitable, you can choose an alternative bike like a 29er or 28-inch bike.

People Also Ask

Can I Put 700c Wheels On A 26 Frame?

Yes, you can put a 700c wheel on a 26 frame, but you must consider these before switching. You must adjust the brake pads and get a new set of tires to support the larger wheel size.

Is A 29-Inch Wheel The Same As 700c?

Yes, most riders usually switch the wheels of 29-inch bikes for 700c. They have the same rim diameter of 622mm. However, some 29er tires might not fit 700c road rims because they might be too wide.

What Is The Difference Between 27 Inches And 700c?

27-inch and 700c bikes share almost the same similarities, but some differences differentiate them. Both are road bikes and are faster. However, the significant difference is the rim diameter. The rim diameter of a 700c wheel is 622mm, while that of a 27-inch bike is 630mm.

Can I Put A 700c Tire On A 27 Inches Rim?

No, since the wheel size of 700c is smaller than a 27-inch wheel, the 700c tire will not fit. Instead, you can put a 700c tire in a 28-inch tire; both fit right.

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