How to Convert a Bicycle With 26 Tires to 24 Tires

How to Convert a Bicycle With 26 Tires to 24 Tires
Converting from 26-inch to 24-inch tires on your bicycle requires making several important changes to your bicycle. In addition to new tires, you will need to replace the wheels and inner tubes. The conversion can be a challenge if your bicycle frame has brakes that are incompatible with a shorter wheel, but you will be able to swap the tires on most frames.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Tire Conversion

Things You’ll Need:
  • 24-inch wheels
  • 24-inch tires
  • 24-inch wheels
  • 24-inch inner tubes
  • 15mm wrench
  • Crescent Wrench
  • Tire levers
  • Bicycle pump
 
Step 1
Remove 26-inch wheels from bicycle frame by loosening the quick release levers or removing the locking nuts with your 15mm wrench. Remove the tires and inner tubes from the wheels with your tire levers.
Step 2
Place the 24-inch inner tubes and tires on your 24-inch wheels. Gently inflate the inner tubes with your bicycle pump to about 1/4 of their full capacity to give shape to the tire.
Step 3
Install the 24-inch wheels onto your bicycle frame. Lock in place with the quick release levers or tighten the locking nuts with your 15mm wrench. Fully inflate the tires.
Step 4
Adjust the brake height by loosening the brake pads with a crescent wrench. Lower the brakes until they meet the rims of your 24-inch wheels. Tighten the brake pad nuts and make sure the wheel has full clearance from the brakes before riding.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Check to see if your brakes are adjustable to a lower height. You will need to be able to lower them an entire inch for them to work in sync with 24-inch tires. If they are not adjustable, either install new brakes or find a different bike frame to convert.
 
Take your bike for a short test ride after changing the wheels to make sure everything is secure and properly installed. Shorter wheels can sometimes cause the pedals to strike the ground, especially on curves, so make sure to get a feel for the new dimensions of your bike before taking any long or traffic-heavy trips.

Article Written By Jake Kulju

Jake Kulju is a Minneapolis-based freelance outdoors writer with 10 years' experience. He is an outdoors guidebook author for Avalon Travel and his work is regularly published in "Outdoor Traditions Magazine" and "Naturescape News." His nature-based poetry is published in "Poetry Canada" and "Farmhouse Magazine." Kulju holds an English degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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