How To Choose Bike Tires? Everything you should know before choosing bike tires

The tires that genuinely fit your bike are the best decision you can make to enjoy cycling. But choosing the right tire can be difficult for you. This is because choosing bike tires will strongly affect your cycling. Picking tires make all the difference whether you are going to win or lose, or whether your ride will result in crashing or not crashing.

In this blog, you will go through some key points that you should consider on how to choose bike tires. You will also get to know when it is time to replace your bike tires, the size and tread type for the bike tires, and much more!

How To Choose Bike Tires

You should consider looking into the following points while choosing a bike tire:

  • Set Priorities while choosing bike tires
  • Tire Options available in the market
  • Size of the tires
  • The tire treads
  • The Rolling Resistance

1. Set Priorities while choosing bike tires

The tires you will put into your bike are less expensive than your bike’s cost and other things present in your cycle. The tires affect the following things in the daily rides.

  • Your comfort while riding
  • The grip
  • Your handling
  • Your speed
  • The amount of time that you will spend on fixing bike punctures 

You should pay attention to all of these factors while choosing bike tires. But, unfortunately, there are no bike tires or magic tires that fit all the aspects. So, if you prioritize one area of specialty, you will have to compromise on another at the end of the day.

For example, a softer tire that has more grip may be more likely to puncture.

Similarly, the tires which have more resistance to punctures are harder. These tires will even affect your riding speed more because such tires are generally slower. 

So you have to prioritize what you are looking for in your bike tires, whether you want speed, comfort, grip, or puncture resistance.

The priorities may also change in different seasons of the year. Suppose, in winters, you will want tires with more puncture resistance and more grip. This choice is because of the wet and slippery roads. Similarly, in summers, you will want to choose a fast tire that has less rolling resistance.

Below is some in-depth information that will help you make a more educated decision on choosing bike tires.

2. The Clincher, Tubular, and Tubeless

Before you know about different tire treads and rubber compounds, let’s briefly look at tire options available for you in the market.

bicycle tire type Clincher, Tubular, and Tubeless
Bicycle Tire Type

You get three main options:

  1. The Clincher
  2. The Tubular
  3. The Tubeless

The Clincher Tire

The Clincher is the most popular Tire because it is easy to use and offers many functions to your bike.

Typically, these tires have a wire that fits into the rim of the wheels securely and firmly. 

There is an inner tube inside the Tire. This is very helpful when you get a puncture. Because you can quickly whip off the Tire, take the inner tube out, and put a new one. You can even fix the inner tube and put that back in.

Moreover, these tires are:

  • Quite handy
  • Very easy to use 
  • Have lots of performance benefits

The Tubular Tire

The tubular tires are more commonly used for racing. This is because

  • these tires are lighter
  • have low rolling resistance. 

The inner tubes are sewed into the tires. It means that instead of putting the tires onto your wheels, you have to tape them on the rim, which makes the process a lit bit tricky.

Similarly, if you get a puncture, it will be a little bit more difficult to fix it.

The Tubeless Tire

The tubular Tire is very similar to the clincher tire. They both look very similar. But the tubeless tires have a very tight fitting inside the wheel’s rim.

As the name shows, these tires have no inner tube inside the tires.

These tires are much lighter on the rim of the wheel, making them tricky to fit.

3. Tire Size Options 

You have so many options if we talk about the size of the tires. Three main options are 

  • 23C
  • 25C
  • 28C

Where “C” refers to “millimeters,” which is actually the Tire’s width, you can measure this width at the Tire’s widest point. 

the size of bike tire
The Size of Bike Tire

The 23C Tire

The 23C tires were the most used Tire for racing because it was thought to be the most popular Tire by that time.

The 25C Tire

But, recently, the 25C has taken the place of 23C, and now it is a more popular tire. This Tire has a wide contact area to the ground. This wide contact area will result in low rolling resistance of the Tire, which makes it a fast tire. You will put minimal effort to ride fast on these tires. 

This Tire may result in higher aerodynamic drag.

Since 25C is becoming more popular day by day, wheel companies are designing the wheels with 25C tires.

The 28C Tire

Talking about 28C, this Tire is broader as it has a wider contact area, due to which it has low rolling resistance and more grip.

So, before you go to buy a bike, you should check the wheel manufacturer’s suggestion for your bike because they may suggest you a specific tire size for that size of the rim.

For example, a wider tire on a narrow rim may end up pulling out of the wheel. So checking the suggestions of the bike manufacturer before buying tires for wheels is a good decision.

4. The Tire Treads

The Tire’s tread has minimal effect on your grip on the road. This is because the road is more complex and tougher than the tires. If the Tire’s rubber is soft, it is less puncture-resistant, but it will have more grip on the road.

The Tire Treads
The Tire Treads Examples

Similarly, the more puncture-resistant tires have less grip on the road. 

Another way of finding the grip is by running your tires at a lower pressure. This will increase the rolling resistance because it increases the contact patch with the ground.

In terrible weather conditions, even on slippery roads, putting a little more pressure on the tires may result in a pinch flat in the Tire’s inner tube. Under such conditions, using tubeless tires is very beneficial. Because there is no inner tube in these tires, you can efficiently run them under lower pressures without worrying about pinching them flat.

5. The Rolling Resistance

During summer, racing starts up again. The bike racers make high rolling resistance their priority. Rolling resistance is primarily dependent on 

  • The width of the Tire
  • The tread of the Tire
  • The compound of the Tire

As discussed above, the broader tires have lower rolling resistance than the narrower tires.

Similarly, if we talk about the tread on the Tire, the smoother the Tire, the less the rolling resistance will be as compared to the heavily-treaded tires.

If we talk about the Tire compound, the tires that have softer compounds are more flexible and have low rolling resistance than those that are less flexible and more complex compounds.

The harder compounds that make up the tires bounce (jump up and down) along the road, any rivet or bump in the street easily. This reduces the amount of energy lost while increasing the grip, and they stay on the road bit more.

So, essentially, you may be looking for a smooth tire, a slightly wider tire around 25C, and a softer compound to achieve high rolling resistance in your bike.

When to replace bike tires?

A few obvious signs will tell you when to replace your bike tires. We have listed a few factors that will help you detect all the problems in your bike tires and promptly notify you when to change bike tires.

Replace Bike Tires
Replace Bike Tires

When your bike tires are used enough to show excessive flats, and there is no tread left, it is an alarming sign for you to change your bike tires. Similarly, if there is any wear shown on tire and sidewall cuts, then it is also time you should change them.

You can read more about: How Long Do Mountain Bike Tire Last.

These are some of the most common signs to look for:

Cuts and holes –Debris and junk on the roads negatively affect the tires. The situation of the road gets worse when it is raining. There is mud, rough terrain, and slippery surface all around. You will see a continuous build-up of tiny scratches and cuts that may result in Punctures.

You should check the holes via casing. If the tire tube is inflated to 100 PSI, that will leak through the holes or cuts in the bike tires. If the bike tires are not changed, it will result in Puncture.

A sidewall hole or tear near the Tire’s bead is also an important thing to look like a sign.

These tires may cause a blow at any time. You should dump these tires instantly.

So, if you notice any cuts or nicks through the casing or sidewalls of the Tire, you should change bike tires as soon as possible.

Bubbles and deformities – When air is no longer present within the tires as it should be, the deformities and bubbles start appearing in the Tire’s sidewall. When riding in extreme weather conditions such as hot weather or rain, be aware and check your tires for less destructive issues immediately.

If you notice the presence of deformities and bubbles on the sidewalls of your bike tire, it is an alarming sign for you to change your bike tires instantly and not give a second thought to how often you should change bike tires.

Constant flats At increased inflation, if your Tire is under some pressure, this pressure can cause a pinched flat in your tire. A leaky tire bead is also the cause of your bike’s Tire getting flats in them. The increased pressure may also roll the Tire out of the rim. 

This will make you work harder during your ride. If the problem goes unchecked, the inevitable result will be poor braking control.

The bike tires should work perfectly fine without getting any flats until you have ridden 1000 to 3000 miles. Later, you may need to change your road bike tires if flats occur constantly.

Worn down to the casing – There is no tread pattern on many roads, making the tire wear get damaged earlier. This results in reinforcing and shaping the casing.

Therefore, you can change bike tires right away whenever you notice white fibers.

Flat spot along the center of the Tire – One of the factors that will tell you when to replace road bike tires is the Flat Spotting of your bike. The term “Flat spot” means the poorly worn-out section of a tire tread. Often it is not visible physically at first. But the biker may feel vibrations and bumps while riding.

This flat-spotting affects the performance of the bike very badly. The rider will be unable to speed up the cycle. This is because you will get more punctures.

The ultimate solution to this problem is changing your bike tires.

Worn down tread – You will get to know immediately how often you should change bike tires when you keep a keen eye on the tread of your tires.

When the tread depth is less than 2/32″, you should consider your tires worn out. Driving on worn-out tread tires is very dangerous. 

Getting your bike tires replaced with new ones should be considered immediately.

What are the parts of a bike tire?

All the tires are not the same and are equally created. A lot of technologies and pieces make a tire. These are the things that you cannot even see or barely pay attention to. Bike tires are made up of the following items:

  1. Bike Tire Casing
  2. Bike Tire Bead
  3. Bike Tire Tread
  4. Puncture Protection

1. Bike Tire Casing

It is the Tire’s foundation where the Tire’s tread sits. It is made from many tightly woven threads. One can know the quality of a bike casing by knowing its TPI, which is the number of lines incorporated in one inch of the tire casing.

2. Bike Tire Bead

The tire bead is the edge of the Tire that fits into the rim of the bike tire. The two types of beads called folding and wire beads, are made from lightweight aramid fibers (Strong and durable synthetic fiber).

3. Bike Tire Tread

The part of the tires that come in contact with the ground is the tire tread. Treads are designed to achieve other goals of efficiency, speed, longevity, and traction.

3. Puncture Protection

The tires designed for very high performance, especially hybrid and road tires, have a built-in feature for tire protection known as “breaker belts.” These extra belts provide extra durability to tires.

Bike Tires By bike Category

The list below explains the bike category and the tires used for these bikes.

Bike-CategoryTires Used
Road bikeThe Clincher The TubularThe Tubeless
Mountain bike26-inch variety27.5-inch variety29-inch variety
Touring bike25 x 1.75 size tire
Folding Bike26 x 2.3-inch size tire

How to Get the Right Bike Tire Size?

To get the right bike tire size, you need to understand the dimensions of your tires first to find out the size that fits your bike.

To do this, first, check the sidewall of your Tire. The numbers that are shown there will help you get an idea about your tire size.

Size for a typical road bike tire – 700 x 32c ( Outer diameter – 700mm, width – 32mm)

Size for a typical mountain bike tire – 2.2 and 27’’ ( Outer diameter – 27.5’’, width – 2.2’’)

 The sizing numbers should tell you whether or not your new Tire fits your bike or not.

Types of bike tires valves

The inner tube of the bike comes in three different Valve stems. The tubeless bike types have only two forms: Schrader and Presta.

  • Schrader
  • Presta
  • Woods

One is a Schrader valve stem that has a spring inside it that helps keep the valve shut. That is the reason the tube is larger.

Presta is small in diameter. They do not have spring inside them.

The woods tire valves have the same diameter as Presta valves.

More about the Type of Valves you know read in our Article.

What should PSI bike tires be?

Your Tire’s advised PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) measures the level to which you should inflate your Tire.

Road bikes should have 80 to 130 psi air pressure, mountain bikes should have 25 to 35 psi, and hybrid tires should have 40 to 70 psi.

To guarantee that you can get to such pressures, we’d suggest a high-quality digital tire pressure gauge and track pump ensure accuracy.

How To Choose Bike Tires Summary

I hope this article helped you with all the information from tire size to tread, rolling resistance, and answers to the most concerning question that you needed to know before choosing the right bike tires. 

We are hoping that all the mysteries of tire size, rubber compounds, tread patterns, tire pressures, tire width, and tubeless options are now solved in front of you.

About Martin

I am Martin, I am the author of this blog. My main interests include cycling. That's why this blog was created. I have always been interested in technology and how bicycles are made, so I built one myself.

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