The effect of mountain bike wheel size on Cross-Country performance

Hurst, Howard Thomas orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7889-8592, Atkins, Stephen, Metcalfe, John orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8414-978X, Sinclair, Jonathan Kenneth orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2231-3732 and Rylands, Lee (2016) The effect of mountain bike wheel size on Cross-Country performance. Journal of Sports Sciences . ISSN 0264-0414

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The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of different wheel size diameters on indicators of cross-country mountain bike time trial performance. Nine competitive male mountain bikers (age 34.7 ± 10.7 years; stature 177.7 ± 5.6 cm; body mass 73.2 ± 8.6 kg) performed 1 lap of a 3.48 km mountain bike (MTB) course as fast as possible on 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ wheeled MTB. Time (s), mean power (W), cadence (revs · min−1) and velocity (km · h−1) were recorded for the whole lap and during ascent and descent sections. One-way repeated measure ANOVA was used to determine significant differences. Results revealed no significant main effects for any variables by wheel size during all trials, with the exception of cadence during the descent (F(2, 16) = 8.96; P = .002; P2 = .53). Post hoc comparisons revealed differences lay between the 26″ and 29″ wheels (P = .02). The findings indicate that wheel size does not significantly influence performance during cross-country when ridden by trained mountain bikers, and that wheel choice is likely due to personal choice or sponsorship commitments.

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