What Does 700C Mean For Bike Tires (Solved and Explained!)

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What Does 700C Mean For Bike Tires

Have you ever seen a “700C” engraving on your bike tire and wondered what it means?

What does 700c mean for bike tires?

It means your bike tire has an outside diameter of 700 mm and a grade “C” for width.

Want to know more?

Today, we have compiled this detailed guide that will show you:

  •  What are 700C tires?
  • How are these tires better than others?
  • The most efficient way to change 700C tires.
  • And much more!
What's In This Guide?

      What Are 700C Tires

      700C is the size of your bike tires.

      During the late 20th century, many manufacturers of bikes wanted the diameter of the wheel to be different from the width. Some French engineers created unique labelling for tires (Oui!).

      The system became helpful as the bike industry was producing TONS of different types of bikes. So, people wanted to know which size wheels can fit into their bikes.

      These labels such as “700C” are not difficult to understand.

      The number “700” represents the diameter of the outside wheel in millimeters. While the width of the tires is labelled alphabetically from “A to D”.

       Wheels with the letter “A” are thin, while the letter “D” indicates wider wheels. Since your tire has a size “C”, it means that they are more in the “wide and large” range.

      However, some rare bike manufacturers use the letter “C” for other purposes. For example:

      “C” stands for Clincher Tires: While relatively uncommon, some tires with “C” engravings stand for “clincher type”.

      Clinchers are a type of tire that combines with an inner tube and connect to the bike’s rim.

      However, the chance of the letter “C” representing clinchers type tires is low.

      “C” stands for Crochet Rim: In some countries across the world, “C” can stand for a type of rim called “the crochet type”.

      The chance of this labeling occurring on a tire in the United States is very low.

      What Makes 700C Tires Better Than Other Tires

      The general rule is that the higher the number and alphabet, the bigger and taller the bike.

      This makes sense as a bike with the number “700” will have a larger outer-wheel diameter than a bike with the number “600”.

      A “700C” tire distinguishes itself from other tires by lasting longer and being more durable.

      However, there is a myth we would like to tackle. People often say that “700C wheels are faster than 650B”. The main idea inspiration for this misconception is that the 700C wheels “feel” smoother on rougher terrains.

      Moreover, the common claim is that a larger wheel has a lower angle of attack, meaning that it can roll over obstacles rather than bumping into them. For example:

      •  If a 700C wheel goes over a rock, it is similar to us walking on a piece of bread crumb.
      • If a 650B goes over a rock, it is like us walking on a paper bag (a bit harder, but still doable).

      But this is false.

      The difference between a 700C and 650B sounds a lot, but they are quite similar in wheel size. So, this marginal gain of 50mm and some extra width is NOT enough to have more speed.

      This was researched in detail by a company named BikeQuaterly. The results below show that the watt or “speed” produced by the bikes doesn’t vary significantly.

      Source: Bikequartely.com

      If you are looking for some new 700C tires, you may have noticed a slight decrease in the production of these tires. The main reason for this is that:

      • Many bikes are being built differently and do not accommodate these tires.
      • Removing these tires from your bike often caused some readjustments to the break’s callipers.

      That Type of Bikes Use 700C Tires

      Hybrids, Cyclocross, and European-style cruisers

      The above are the three main types of bikes that run 700C tires.


      Don’t be afraid to go to your local bike store and test some of the 700C bikes there. This can give you a MUCH better idea of whether you enjoy the tires or not.

      How Big Are 700C Tires In Inches

      700C is equal to 27.5 inches.

      Now that you know this conversion, I would like to show you more studies about size does not matter.

      Below are some results from the research done by bike company Rene Herse. They tested different types of tires over a 132m hill to see the time it takes:

      Source: Renehersecycles.com

      As we can, it takes pretty much the same time for all the tire types to cover a similar distance.

      Is It Hard To Change 700C Bike Tires


      If you have never replaced a tire before, the whole process can seem a bit daunting. But changing the wheels of your bike is quite easy and is something that EVERYBODY should know.

       Before we start, below is a diagram of a bike tire. This is important for the instructions.

      Source: Maidancentar.com.br

      Once you have understood, you will need the following equipment:

      The process is simple but can take about 40 minutes.

      1. Undo the release bolt at the hub of the wheel using the skewers. This will allow you to remove the wheel of the bike.
      2. Deflate the wheel if needed.
      3. Use the tire levers to prise over the wheel rim and remove the old tires.
      4. Once the old tires get removed, you can remove the old tube.
      5. Make sure to check the inside of the rims for any stuck sharp objects.
      6. Fit the new tube in.
      7. Loosely fit the new tire.
      8. Try to partially inflate the tube and check if it holds the pressure.
      9. If successful, re-fit the wheel into the bike through its hub.

      The Bottom Line

      700C tires have a diameter of 700mm and have a grade “C” on their width. The wheels are 27.5 inches.

      The 700C wheels are more durable than other wheels and don’t affect the speed of your bike.

      While production of these 700Cs has been decreasing, the tires can still give you pleasure and performance.

      Photo of author
      Bryan Ray is the Co-Founder of The Biking Apex. He's a cyclist and a trainer who loves fitness and loves to teach people how to ride and maintain their bikes and bike accessories.

      The Biking Apex

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