Bike Tires: Learn how to Select



Are you a each day commuter who desires to keep away from flats? The filth fanatic who lives for singletrack? Or an occasional bike owner on the lookout for a cushty journey?

Relying on the kind of using you do, you’ll need to select the suitable bike tire. Past the apparent—a tire suited to your rim measurement—you’ve gotten a variety of choices.

It doesn’t matter what sort of rider you might be, sharp tread edges are a should. Once they’re worn right down to the purpose the place you are getting plenty of flats, your bike is dealing with poorly and/or the tread seems rounded or uneven, substitute your tires to ensure extra enjoyable and extra security.

Store fitnessinf’s number of bike tires.

Bike Tire Dimension

How have you learnt your present tire measurement? Simple—examine the tire sidewall.

Mountain bike tires: On mountain bike tires you’ll see a quantity pairing that appears like 27.5× That is the approximate outer tire diameter (27.5″) by the width (2″).

A cross-country bike may have tires within the 1.9″ to 2.25″ width vary. Path and all-mountain bike may have tires within the 2.25″ to 2.four” width vary. However downhill bikes, which are supposed to face up to the abuse of drops and rock gardens, are outfitted with tires ranging as much as 2.5″ huge.

Street touring and racing tires: On highway bike tires, you will see a quantity pairing reminiscent of 700×23. The primary quantity (700) is a measurement that roughly corresponds to the outer diameter of the tire in millimeters. The second quantity (23) denotes the precise tire width in millimeters.

Exceptions embrace a couple of 650s (used on entrance wheels for sooner acceleration and/or for smaller riders to lower stand-over clearance) and the 27″ measurement used on older bikes.

The letter on the finish of a tire measurement is a throwback to an outdated French system when the letters a, b and c designated completely different interior (wheel rim) tire diameters. These letters generally nonetheless seem in tire sizes.

Usually, any 700 tire right now is actually the identical measurement as an outdated 700c tire. You do see 650b, which is identical as right now’s 27.5″ mountain bike tire, in addition to 650c, which has a barely smaller interior diameter than a 650b tire and is discovered on a couple of highway bikes.

Most racers run 700 tires in widths starting from 18 to 23mm — the narrowest choices. Those that dwell for epic excursions usually tend to be using tires in widths starting from 25 to 28mm for a bit extra stability and luxury.

Cyclocross tires: These have small knobbies however are designed in a narrow-width 700 measurement to suit the geometry of cyclocross racing frames.

29ers: 29er mountain bikes run a wider, knobbier variation of the 700 tires used for cyclocross, however in any other case seem like your typical mountain bike tire. 29ers are designed to roll extra simply over technical path sections and thru mud and sand. Cornering and climbing traction may be higher on account of their elevated contact with the path.

BMX tires normally are available a 20″ diameter.

Bike Tire Tread

Extra tread sometimes means extra grip—but in addition extra rolling resistance. So you will have to steadiness your want for pace along with your need for grip.

Slick bike tires: Designed for highway, metropolis/commuter, touring and mountain bikes, slicks seem nearly clean, with a barely perceptible tread sample. Slicks are designed for clean surfaces like asphalt, slickrock and groomed singletrack (with the width of the tire figuring out one of the best use).  V-shaped grooves on some enhance cornering on rain-soaked roads.

Semi-slick bike tires: These tires are designed with a clean middle, for minimal rolling resistance and sooner acceleration, and aggressive treads on the facet to assist with cornering. They’re used for largely clean surfaces with some off-road functions.


Inverted tread tires: Tires designed with an inverted tread have extra grip—and rolling resistance—than slicks, however much less rolling resistance than knobbies. Use these tires if you happen to suspect you may enterprise off asphalt or journey on roads with plenty of ruts and potholes.


Knobby tires: Totally different knobby tread kinds are designed for particular path conditions.

  • Smaller knobs are sooner and appropriate for clean singletrack.
  • Taller knobs supply extra grip in technical terrain like roots and rocks.
  • Wider tires with sturdy paddle-like knobs are finest for smooth path circumstances.
  • Knobs which can be wider on the base will nook higher on hardpack.
  • Tires with tall, broadly spaced knobs supply versatility in unfastened and hardpacked circumstances.
  • Tires designed for mud have widely-spaced knobbies in order that mud sheds from the tire. (In any other case you will primarily be working slicks when mud will get packed between the knobs.)

Entrance- or Rear-Wheel Tire Treads

When searching for mountain-bike tires, search for front- or rear-wheel particular treads.

Entrance tires are designed for front-end traction when cornering. Rear tires give optimum energy transmission and rear wheel management.

Mount them with the tread going through the correct route. To take action, examine the sidewall for an arrow that factors within the right rotation route.

Street tires are easier. Entrance- and rear-specific treads are sometimes bought as units. And since highway tires grip the irregularities in pavement, you will not see as many tread variations as you’ll with mountain-bike tires.

Bike Tire Valves

Presta valves are narrower and have built-in valve caps that you simply loosen to pump up the tire and tighten afterwards. Prestas are extra sometimes seen on higher-end bikes, particularly these designed for highway using. Don’t use a Presta tube in a Schrader-size gap in your rim, as it can shift an excessive amount of and probably sever the valve.

Schrader valves are wider than Prestas, with a valve like these on automotive tires. These are mostly discovered on cheap and mid-range bikes. Schraders will not even slot in a Presta-size gap. In case your wheel has a Schrader-size gap, it’s attainable to get an adapter with the intention to safely run Presta valves.

Bike Tire Options

Foldable Bike Tires

As an alternative of a wire bead (the sting of the tire that holds the tire onto the rim), these tires usually have an aramid-fiber bead (reminiscent of Kevlar®). This makes them mild and foldable for straightforward transport and storage. Foldable tires can be found for each mountain bike and highway using. The draw back is that they’re normally dearer.

Tubeless Bike Tires

These are gaining in recognition. Relying in your weight and the terrain, you possibly can run decrease tire pressures—right down to 20 psi (kilos per sq. inch)—for higher traction with out pinch flats. Plus, the journey tends to be smoother.

The cons? The set up course of is a bit more difficult, as is fixing a tubeless flat. You possibly can carry a tube in your rides, although, to simplify fixing a flat on the path or on the highway.

To make the change to a tubeless setup you will most likely need to put money into tubeless-ready tires and rims. You can even purchase conversion kits for normal tires and rims.

Studded Bike Tires

Studded bike tires sometimes characteristic metal or aluminum studs with carbide pins to offer larger traction for using on snowy or icy terrain.

Puncture-resistant Bike Tires

These tires will not really feel as speedy as customary bike tires, however commuters, specifically, are prone to expertise fewer flats. How? Many tire makers make use of a sturdy belt of aramid fibers (such because the well-known Kevlar® model) to withstand punctures; others merely improve the tread thickness.

Smooth or Arduous Rubber Bike Tires

Most tires use primarily one sort of rubber. Smooth, sticky rubber is grippier whereas arduous rubber is extra sturdy. Most riders decide what sort of tire to purchase primarily based on finances and efficiency necessities.

Excessive-performance riders may need to take into account dual-compound rubber tires. These characteristic a softer rubber on the skin that contacts the bottom, and a more durable rubber between the tread and the casing. The outcome? Higher grip and higher cornering in nearly any terrain.

Bike Tire Thread Depend Casing (TPI)

Thread counts have probably the most influence in highway tires, the place tire strain is increased. Greater thread counts permit the usage of lighter supplies and designs and are present in tires that provide a extra comfy journey.

Thread counts for a highway bike tire begin at 60 tpi (threads per inch) and go as much as 320 tpi for higher-performance tires utilized in racing. Different tires have thread counts as little as 20 tpi. Test the specs tab on product pages to check completely different tires.


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