MBA test rider John Tomac and 24" wheels on the cover

Actually, this is the cover of the April 1987 issue of Mountain Bike Action, so it’s a little over 37 years old, but this cover is memorable enough that we wanted to share it here.

That’s John Tomac on the cover, back when he was our main test rider at Mountain Bike Action. 

If you check out the top cover line, you’ll see that we had an article on 24-inch-wheeled mountain bikes. The 24-inch size wheels got tried by a number of mountain bike companies back then, but they never really caught on.

Back in those days, 26-inch wheels were the norm. The 29-inch wheels started catching on somewhere around 20 years ago. The 27.5-inch wheels (also known  as 650b wheels) started replacing the 26-inch wheels about 12 years ago. Before long, the 29-inch wheels overtook the 27.5-inch wheels in popularity.

Today, the 29-inch wheels are the most popular size for most mountain bikes, although the 29″/27.5″ mixed-wheel combination seems to be steadily growing in popularity, and it seems like the mixed-wheel combination has already taken over a good-sized chunk of the downhill market.

It’s hard to know what the most popular wheels sizes will be in another ten years, much less 37 years. As someone once said, “The only constant is change.”


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