Bicycle Tires – There are many variables to consider when selecting the right bicycle tires. The bike that you have and the type of riding you do has a big influence over what type of tire will give you the best performance. Here are the factors to consider when buying bicycle tires.
Bicycle Tires Size:
Bicycle tires for standard adult bikes like mountain bikes, hybrids, etc. usually come in either 26 or 27 inch sizes, which is the measurement of the outside diameter of the tire. On road/performance bikes, the wheels are usually sized in metric, with either 650 mm or 700 mm being most common. BMX bikes usually have 20 inch wheels. The bicycle tires size will be stamped on the sidewall of your present bicycle tires. If you don’t know the size of bicycle tires you have, then you will need to:
Dig out the manual or paperwork for your bike, if you still have it; or
Go to the manufacturer’s website, which usually has specs for all of their bikes; or
Measure the rims yourself; go rim-to-rim for the complete size, or else axle to rim, then double it; or
Easiest of all, show it to the pros at your local bike shop and they’ll know just by looking at it. They’ll also be able to recommend the best width for your type of riding and for your specific bike.
Bicycle Tires Width:
The next component of tire size is its width. This is the second number of the tire’s measurement. For instance, bicycle tires labeled “26 x 2.125” means that they are 26 inches in diameter and have a width of 2.125 inches across. Most bicycle tires on mountain bikes and hybrids are in the range of 26 x 1.5 inches, but the specific size you’ll want will depend on the type of riding you do. Road bikes measurements also show diameter then width: 700 x 23 is common for high speed racing tires, meaning the tire is 700 mm in diameter and a skinny 23 mm wide.
What Width Do You Want?
Here’s the basic formula related to bicycle tires width: skinny equals fast, because there is less contact with the road, however, there is a trade-off. Skinny tires need higher air pressure which gives a harder ride and they are also more vulnerable to sidewall damage and wear out quicker. Wider bicycle tires offer a greater sense of stability, they provide more contact with the road and they may offer better traction on irregular surfaces. Bicycle tires that match the diameter of your rim will usually fit properly in a range of widths. Where a wider tire may cause problems is in clearing your frame or brakes.
Bicycle Tires Tread Type:
The type of tread you want is related to your expected normal riding surface. Completely smooth bicycle tires are best for racing or for riding on pavement. They are intentionally made to have minimal contact with the road. Knobby tires on mountain bikes are at the other end of the spectrum. Those bicycle tires are great for wet or muddy trails, but they require more pedal power because they have more contact with the ground. Most riders, especially those who ride mainly on pavement, will want tires with a smooth tread pattern.
Bicycle Tires Durability:
Another major factor is how durable your bicycle tires need to be. If you are going to be a daily commuter or put on lots of miles on rough roads with glass, nails and other debris in your path, you definitely want to spend a little extra and get a tire that will last longer and be puncture resistant. There are a number of good tires out on the market today with features like kevlar reinforcement for extra puncture resistance for your bicycle tires.