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Electric Mountain Bikes Size Comparison: 16" vs. 20" vs. 24" (2023 Updated)

by DYUCYCLE USA 01 Oct 2023 0 Comments

Electric bikes come in a range of wheel sizes, with the most common options being 16", 20", and 24". Choosing the right wheel size for your e-bike can have a significant impact on the fit, handling, and overall riding experience. In this detailed comparison guide, we'll examine the key differences between 16", 20", and 24" wheeled electric bikes to help you select the best option for your needs and preferences.

What Is Wheel Size?

Wheel size refers to the diameter of the wheel on a bicycle, including the inflated tire. It is commonly measured in inches or centimeters. The larger the wheel size, the farther the bike will travel with each pedal rotation. The most common wheel sizes for electric bikes are 16", 20", and 24" electric bikes.

Click to learn: How Wheel Size Affects Your Ebike.

diameter of the wheel on a bicycle

What Are the Differences Between 16" vs. 20" vs. 24" Electric Bikes?

The comprehensive table below integrates key features, specifications, and ideal use cases for 16-inch, 20-inch, and 24-inch electric bikes. It offers an all-in-one reference to help potential buyers make an informed decision based on their height, speed preferences, and intended usage.


16-inch Electric Bikes

20-inch Electric Bikes

24-inch Electric Bikes

Best For Rider Height

Under 5'2"

5' to 6'

Over 5'10"

Wheel Size

Compact; suitable for short commutes

Intermediate; better range and speed

Large; best for speed and long-distance riding

Ease of Dismounting



Less easy

Rider Comfort

Ideal for kids and shorter riders

Suitable for a broad range of riders

Best for taller riders; comfortable for long rides

Turning Ability

Highly nimble; tight turns

Balanced; good maneuverability

Less nimble; not ideal for tight turns


Most portable; easy to carry & store

Moderately portable; heavier than 16-inch

Least portable; not ideal for frequent carrying

Top Speed


Balanced; good speed range

Maximum speed stability

Common Use-Case

Folding e-bikes, short commutes

City and commuting e-bikes

Electric mountain bikes, longer rides, moderate off-roading


Highly agile; ideal in crowded areas

Balanced agility and stability

Less agile; better stability at higher speeds

Stability & Traction

Lower due to small contact area

Moderate; good for various terrains

High; stable at high speeds and uneven terrains

Storage Capacity

Limited due to small frame

Moderate; may offer racks or panniers

Most options for cargo; larger frame

Battery Life

Lower battery capacity

Moderate; suitable for medium-length trips

Large capacity; ideal for extended journeys

Discover now:What effect do bicycle tire sizes have on riding?

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wheel Size for Your Electric Bike?

Rider Height

A major consideration is matching the wheel size to the rider's height. 16" wheels best suit riders under 5'2", while 24" wheels are ideal for those over 5'10". 20" wheels can comfortably accommodate most heights in between.

Comfort and Shock Absorption

Larger wheels tend to provide a smoother ride over uneven pavement or trails. The longer spoke length and greater air volume of bigger tires better absorb bumps and vibration. Smaller 16" wheels lose some shock absorption but can be paired with wider tires to compensate.

Speed and Acceleration

Larger wheel sizes correlate with faster top speeds due to increased circumference. But smaller wheels provide quicker acceleration and tighter handling for stop-and-go urban riding. Weight factors also impact speed, with heavier 24" wheels losing some advantage.

Discover more: How Fast Do Electric City Bikes Go?

Weight and Portability

Smaller 16" and 20" wheelsets are inherently more lightweight. This aids acceleration and portability for carrying or folding the e-bike. Larger 24" wheels add more overall heft, although carbon fiber and aluminum components are lowering wheelset weights.

portability for carrying or folding the e-bike

Handling and Stability

Smaller 16" and 20" wheels offer quick steering inputs and unmatched agility for winding urban environments. But larger 24" wheels have more inertia at speed, providing steady handling over gravel trails or at fast descents.


For e-bikes that need to fold for storage and portability, smaller wheels are a major advantage. Many folding e-bikes utilize 16" or 20" wheels to minimize the folded footprint. Full-size 24" wheels rarely allow for folding frame designs.

The Takeaway

Choosing the ideal e-bike wheel size involves matching specific riding priorities around height, terrain, folding, and desired handling. While 20" strikes the best overall balance, very petite riders gravitate to 16" wheels for extreme agility, while taller riders seek 24" wheels for high-speed stability. Test rides can help determine the optimal wheel size based on your personal preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions About Electric Bikes Of Different Sizes

Q: What size electric bike is for my height?

A: To determine the right electric bike size for your height, you'll generally consider both the frame size and the wheel size. This table provides guidelines:

Rider Height (Feet & Inches)

Rider Height (cm)

Frame Size (Inches)

Frame Size (cm)

Wheel Size (Inches)

4'10" - 5'2"





5'2" - 5'6"





5'6" - 5'10"





5'10" - 6'1"





6'1" - 6'4"





6'4" - 6'6"





Q: How much does wheel size impact the range of an e-bike?

A: Larger wheels are inherently more efficient once up to speed, so a 24" wheel e-bike will generally have slightly better range vs. a similar motor on 16" or 20" wheels. However, the larger 24" wheels add more weight, which counteracts some efficiency gains. Overall, wheel size has a relatively minor impact on range compared to motor power and battery capacity.

Q: Can I put larger wheels on my e-bike if I want to go faster?

A: Yes, you can upgrade to larger wheels to gain higher top speeds, but it requires carefully matching the new wheel size to the motor and bike geometry. Switching from 20" to 24" wheels will give a noticeable speed boost. Just ensure your brakes have enough reach and that pedal height works for proper leg extension.

Q: Are fat tire e-bikes only compatible with certain wheel sizes?

A: Fat tires typically require a wider fork and frame to fit the larger tire width. So fat tire e-bikes tend to be built exclusively around either 26" or 27.5" wheels. There are a few fat tire options for smaller 20" wheels, but 16" cannot accommodate most fat tire widths.

Q: Can I put the suspension on an e-bike with smaller 16" or 20" wheels?

A: Absolutely, many urban and folding e-bikes come equipped with front suspension and electric mountain bikes full suspension, even on 16" and 20" wheel models. Ebike full suspension is also possible in some cases. The smaller wheel size may limit the total travel range but still provides a smoother ride over bumps.

Q: What tire pressure should I run on different-sized e-bike wheels?

A: Optimal tire pressure ranges for common e-bike wheel sizes are:

  • 16": 55-65 psi
  • 20": 50-65 psi
  • 24": 40-60 psi
  • 29": 30-50 psi

Larger wheels can safely use lower pressures, while smaller wheels require higher pressure for performance and preventing pinch flats.

Q: What are the benefits of a smaller wheeled electric bike?

A: Compact e-bikes with 16-20-inch wheels are extremely nimble and easy to maneuver in tight spaces. They accelerate fast and are well-suited for urban stop-and-go riding. Their small size also makes them easy to store and transport.

Q: What are the drawbacks of a compact folding e-bike?

A: The smaller wheel size means they may be less stable at higher speeds compared to a full-size bike. They may also provide a rougher ride over uneven terrain. Range and power may be reduced on mini e-bike models.

Learn more: What are the pros and cons of a folding e-bike?

Q: How portable are folding 20-inch e-bikes?

A: Folding 20-inch wheel e-bikes can collapse to a very compact size for storage and transport. They are ideal for RV vacations, boating, commuting via public transit, or stashing in a small apartment. Many fit easily in a car trunk.

Q: Are small wheel e-bikes just for kids?

A: While youth e-bikes typically have 16-20-inch wheels, many compact adult e-bikes also use this smaller wheel size. As long as the frame accommodates your height, these nimble wheels work great for navigating congested urban areas.

Read more: Electric Bikes For Kids: All That You Need To Know.

Q: What's the best electric bike for shorter riders?

A: For riders under 5'2", a 16-inch wheel e-bike provides the best fit and handling. Choose a step-through frame with an adjustable saddle to customize the ergonomics for shorter legs and reach.

Q: Are suspension forks an option on 16-inch e-bikes?

A: Yes, many 16 and 20-inch wheel e-bike models offer front suspension forks, especially for more rugged off-road riding. The suspension travel may be a bit less than a full-size MTB, but it still smoothes out bumps.If would like to know more about electric mountain bikes full suspension, feel free to explore these electric mountain bikes full suspension which could help you refine your choices.

For more FAQ, click here: 2023 E-Bike Laws In New York City: FAQs You Should Know.

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