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Small Wheel Myths

Many folks who remember riding their 20-inch bike chasing an older brother or sister on a larger wheel bike ask the obvious question:

Don't you have to pedal more?

The simple answer is, No!

It's all in the gearing. A single turn of the pedals on a Bike Friday will cover the same ground as that of a regular wheeled bike — the small wheel just turns a little more.

Other small wheel facts:

  • The gears on a Bike Friday are configured to match the ratios of a regular bike
  • Small wheels climb better due to a smaller diameter that needs to be rotated.
  • Small wheels accelerate faster.
  • Small wheels are more responsive — they turn and steer more easily.
  • Small wheels, having a lower surface area, have lower wind resistance in headwinds.
  • When riding in a group, small wheels enable you to get closer together and draft better.
  • We've seen tests that shown up to 16 mph, the small wheel is more efficient that a big wheel. Between 16 and 33 mph there is little difference.
  • Small wheels are lighter [they simply have less
  • Small wheels are stronger [less spokes are
    needed for the same durability].


SPECIAL NOTE: Bike Friday hand builds each of its wheels at our factory, with the exception of high-end custom wheels like Rolf Prima.