What Size Bike Tires Do I Need?

Just like you would need to replace your old pair of running shoes when they wear out, you should do the same to your bike tires; you need to replace your bike tires after some time. And the same way you have to make decisive choices when purchasing a new pair of running shoes is the same way you should take time and decide the kind of tires you need. You need to ensure that your tires fit well. You might also wish to upgrade the functionality of your tires to achieve better comfort, better speed, and improved general performance.

We are going to enrich you with valuable information in this article. You will learn when you need to replace your tires, how to tell the size of bike tire you need, and some key features to keep in mind when you consider doing a tire replacement.

Signs That You Need To Do a Bike Tire Replacement

Bicycle tires do not last forever. However, when will you know that it is time for a repair? Read on to learn some tips when checking your tires and deciding whether it is time for a bicycle repair.

Worn Down Thread

Bike Tyre Worn Down Thread

It is easy to spot a worn-out thread. If you are using a general-purpose tire or an MTB and notice that there is no remaining thread, that is a good indicator that you need to replace your tire.

Flat Spot Along The Tire’s Center

Flat Spot Along The bicycle Tyres Center

It is hard to notice the condition of the thread of road tires; however, one way that you notice wear is when you spot a flat surface somewhere along the centerline of the tire. Using a tire regularly speeds up this type of wear.

Once you notice this ridge, you will realize that your tire sustains punctures regularly, you will find it hard to ride at high speed, and it will get harder to negotiate a corner. Once your tire gets too worn, it affects the performance of your bicycle. It would be best if you considered replacing it.

Cracked Rubber

Bike Tyre Cracked Rubber

Cracked rubber happens mainly if the bicycle stays idle for a long time. When rubber gets old, it tends to be brittle. Brittle rubber is dangerous if you don’t replace it. If the tire shows any cracks, mainly on the sides of the tire, it is time to throw it away and get a new tire.

Repeated Flats

Repeated Flats

You may fail to notice the threads, the flat surface, and the cracks. However, a worn tire will communicate that it needs to be replaced when it gets flats constantly. If you suddenly realize that your tire keeps having tires, check it for any wear, holes, and ensure that they are well-seated.

Cuts And Holes

Cuts And Holes

Roads are full of different kinds of junk and debris, especially after a rainy season. Some tires will get punctures from this debris, while others will have a buildup of several nicks and cuts. You should check if the damage of any of those cuts has gone beyond the casing. If so, you need to replace your tire.

You should also check for any sidewall tear or cut close to the tire’s bead. Such damage can lead to a blowout, and any tire with a damaged casing should be discarded and replaced with a new tire.

Worn Down Up To The Casing

Worn Down Up To The Casing

As mentioned earlier, many road tires do not show a damaged thread, so it might be hard for you to detect any signs of wear. However, when the tire has a flat spot, the damage can go beyond the acing to the nylon threads. Nylon threads reinforce and shape the casing. If you notice white fibers, dump the tire and get yourself a new one before you get hurt.

Visible Deformities Or Bubbles

Visible Deformities Or Bubbles

Sometimes when you are riding your bicycle after some miles, you may feel your bicycles going in bumps. When you experience this, you will notice that your tires have thinned out, and the tube is almost pushing through the casing.

When taking a ride in extreme weather and long distances, ensure that you check your tire constantly for any impending catastrophic issues. Something could be cooking out of sight!

What Size Bike Tire Do I Need?

Checking for tire dimensions can be complicated. However, there is a straightforward way that you can use to determine the size of your current tire.

To know the size of your tire, you need to look at the sidewall of the tire Manufacturers put the sizes of the tire at this position (the diameter and the tire’s width). The tires’ sizing can be only one set, two, or even three. However, as long as the new tire’s size matches one of the following sets of numbers, the tire will be a perfect fit for your bike.

Mountain Bike Tire Size

For a mountain bike, a tire with 29 x 23 measurements means that the tire has an outer diameter of 29″ and its width is 2.3″.

Road Bike Tire Size

A road bike tire labeled 700 x 25c indicates that the tire’s outer diameter is 700, and the width is 25mm.

Tire Size On Either Road Tire Or Mountain Bike

The International Standardization Organization (ISO) way of identifying the 700 x 25c tire is 25-622. It means that the 622mm inner tire diameter will match a tire with a 700 outer diameter. The critical concern is to ensure that the inner diameter and that of the outer diameter align.

What Is The Best Bicycle Tire Width?

Each tire indicates the tire width at the sides of the tire. The width of the tire is commonly the second number. For instance, if the measurements have been written as 27.5 x 2.80, 2.8 is the size of the tire width. If a tire indicates the measurements as 700 x 32, then the tire width is 32mm.

You have some freedom to play with the width of the tire. While you do not wish to purchase a much broader or much narrow tire than the one that came along with the bicycle, you can still change the sizes slightly because there is room for that.

Narrow TiresWider tires
ProsMore comfort with added grip

Resist flats more due to the higher volume inside the tire

Lower rolling resistance; therefore, it is faster.

 

Lighter

ConsHeavier with a higher rolling resistance that makes the bike slower.Less comfortability

Less grip.

 

The tire width that you consider the best fit depends on the type of bike you have.

Road Biking Tire Widths

The width that many people prefer in most road bicycles is 25mm. This bicycle width guarantees sufficient balance and comfort, speed, and enough grip. Aside from the 25mm bicycles, the 28mm bicycles are common as well; they offer more comfort when riding on rougher terrain.

Sometimes back, people preferred the 25mm tires. However, once a rider switched to tires with a wider width, they never looked back. While you have the freedom to choose the width you prefer, ensure that you go for a tire with enough clearance that will fit so that there it does not rub with the frame.

Bike Commuting Tire Widths

For bike commuters, a blend of comfort and high performance is necessary to handle the road and the changing conditions. Therefore, tires with a width that ranges from 32mm to 42mm will be the best option.

Mountain Bike Tire Widths

Mountain bike tires have come in a wide range of widths. Cross-country riders commonly use narrower tires. Downhill mountain bikers, on the other hand, prefer wider tires.

All mountain and trail bikers need added volume to add their traction and comfort. The best width for these bikers is between 2.25”-2.4”.

XC riders usually go for tire widths that range from 2″ to 2.35.”

Bikes with are plus-size have more clearance that can accommodate tires with 2.6″-3.0″.  These tires offer outstanding traction and comfort despite the condition of the trail.

Gravel Riding Tire Width

If you need a perfect tire width that will take you for adventures on gravel or unpaved roads, look for a tire with a width starting from 36mm to 48mm. This way, you are sure of having a smoother ride with high traction. However, confirm with your frame clearance to be sure that the tires you are admiring will fit.

How To Measure A Bicycle Tire

While some bicycle tires come with the measurements written on them, you might face a situation where the size of the bicycle tire is not indicated. Therefore, it is crucial to master the golden skill of manually measuring the size of a bicycle tire.

Items Needed:

Tape measure

Pen

Paper

Step 1

Stand the bicycle up, supporting it with a kickstand, or lean it on a stable surface like a tree or a wall.

Step 2

Place the tape measure at the center of the bicycle wheel. Next, stretch the tape in a straight line towards the outer edge of the tire.

Write down the measurements. Then multiply the measurement you have by two to get the length of the diameter.

It is not as hard as you might have imagined, right?

Note that in most cases, tire diameters are in whole numbers. Therefore, if you attain a measurement of something with decimals, like 25.7, then the actual diameter of the tire is 26 inches.

Considerations For Choosing Tires

Tread

To ensure that you choose the right tires that will fit your riding style, you should get the most suitable tread pattern that will enhance your riding experience. The treads on mountain bikes come with a wide array of knob patterns. On the other hand, road bikes have tread patterns that range from slicks to more refined groove patterns.

We have compiled a detailed overview of the various types of the tread. However, pointing out the type of tire that will suit you best is less up-front. The best clue to get the best tire is by considering its intended use. You can also browse the websites of different tire makers to get more insights into the treads they produce.

Types Of Knobby Mountain Bikes

Small knobs spaced closely to each other are suitable for dry and smooth trails.

Widely spaced knobs have improved handling. Therefore it can be best for muddy places.

Small knobs that are evenly spaced are good at cornering.

Types Of Road Bike Tires

Slick-bike tires- have a tread pattern that is barely there. It guarantees undisturbed rolling speed on a smooth surface.

Semi-slick bike tires- Mostly suitable for smooth surfaces; however, it can also be a performer on the off-road.  They have a smooth center that allows fast-rolling and wild side treads that are good for cornering.

Inverted tread tires- also good on rough surfaces, and they provide good rolling speed on smooth surfaces and offer sufficient grip on surfaces that are not so smooth.

Tread Direction

Most tires have directional treads. Therefore, when you mount them in the opposite direction, you will tamper with the bicycle’s performance. The directional information is always on the sidewall. It would be best if you referred to that before mounting the tire.

Front and rear wheel treads- many tires are specific to either front when or rear wheel. Therefore, ensure that your replacement tire matches the original tire treads to achieve maximum results.

Bike Tube And Valve Size

Bike tubing is almost the same as bike tire sizing. However, the difference lies in the ability of the tubes to stretch. While tubes can stretch, tires cannot stretch. Therefore, you should ensure that you buy a bike tube with a width size that is compatible with the sizing of the bike tires.

Bike Tubes Valve Types

Bike tube valves are either Schrader or Presta. The valve has a hole that matched the type of valve. Therefore, you should ensure that the valve type matched your old tire.

Presta Valves

Presta Valves

Presta valves are narrow, and they usually have a tiny nut that seals and opens them. They are mostly found on road bikes. These valves fit in many rims; however, these valves should not be used on Schrader rims.

Schrader Valves

Schrader Valves

Schrader valves have a wider surface as compared to their Presta counterparts. They have a separate valve cap. Schrader caps are mostly found on mountain bikes. They are too wide to fit in Presta rims.

Tubeless Bike Tires

Tubeless Bike Tires

Tubeless bike tires seal on the rim directly, and they are usually inflated. They do not require any tubes to be operational. If you want to consider switching your tubed bike to a tubeless tire, you will notice a substantial increase in the level of performance.

With tubeless tires, you can run on lower tire pressure that can be as low as 20psi. The low pressure will guarantee better traction and a smoother riding experience. Tubeless tires are also safe from experiencing flats that happen when a tube experiences a pinch.

Installing a tubeless tire can be complex, just as it is when fixing a tubeless tire flat. You will need to purchase tubeless-ready rims and tires.

Puncture-Resistant Bike Tires

If you are using your bike to commute and you despise changing flats, then maybe you should consider investing in puncture-resistant bike tires. These types of tires are, however, more costly and heavier. The tires have been made from tough compounds like Kevlar to resist punctures.

Foldable Bike Tires

Foldable Bike Tires

Foldable bike tires lack the wire bead (the point that secures the tires on the rim). However, they have Kevlar bead. Foldable tires are the best option if you want to achieve the lightest weight.

With this type of tire, you can fold them up. Therefore carrying and storing these foldable tires is much easier. You can add foldable tires on both mountain bikes and road bikes.

They are more expensive than standard- bead tires.

Studded Bike Tires

Studded Bike Tires

Studded bike tires are the best option if you are riding in the winter. They have aluminum or steel studs that sufficient traction for riding on snow or ice.

What is The Correct PSI

This answer does not have a simple answer because the proper PSI (Pound per Square Inch of air pressure) depends on many factors.

The PSI depends on the type of tire, the terrain, the weather, and the rider’s weight. However, generally, a lower PSI has more grip because it offers a broader surface area for contact (area of the tire that touches the ground).

You need to ensure that you achieve the golden middle. Do not go too soft, as this may lead to a puncture or damage to the rims. Also, you should avoid going too hard since this reduces grip leading to a bumpy ride.

Tubed VS Tubeless Tires

One of Pandora’s boxes in cycling is the argument of whether one should run on tubed or tubeless tires. As always, you will find those who claim that it is not worth going through all the trouble of going tubeless. On the contrary, some will argue that going tubeless have unmatched benefits.

Both tubeless and tubed bicycle tires have their pros and cons. They include:

Ease of use- it is easy to mount and to remove tubed tires. You can accomplish the tasks using very few tools or without using any tools at all. On the other hand, Tubeless tires require the use of more tools, skills, and time to mount or remove.

Flat tires: although standard tires are more adaptive in that they can handle corners and bumps better, these tires have a higher chance of getting pinch flats than tubeless tires.

Tubed tires are lighter than their tubeless counterparts.

Benefits of Tubeless Bike Tires

Lower pressure- Tubeless tires can run on lower pressure, guaranteeing more traction and smooth riding.

Lower rolling resistance: Although tubeless tires are heavier, they have lesser parts, making them achieve lower rolling resistance.

Puncture resistance- Riders who use tubeless tires experience lesser flats than tubed tires.

There both tires have their unique benefits. Therefore, if you don’t change your tires regularly, stick to the tubed tires because they are easy to mount, repair, or remove. Otherwise, you can choose the tubeless tires and enjoy a better cycling experience.

How To Change A Tire

Whether your tire has a flat or you simply want to replace your tires, you need to know how to do that. If you are using tubeless tires, you will need tire levers and a spare tube. For tube tires, you can repair the tube. However, it would be best if you replace the tube with a new one.

If your bike has V-brakes, unclip them first before taking your wheel off the bike. Then, deflate the tube, and lift the tire using the lever. Then remove the tire from the rim using the lever, then take the tube off and do the repairs and replacement before putting it back.

Conclusion

Just like there is no right or wrong answer as to which ice cream you like, vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate, there is no wrong answer as to what type of tires you should place on your bike. Just ensure that you have the right size, the correct width, and the most suitable rubber for the ride. The golden tip is, to choose the right tire, you need to match the tire with the type of bicycle and the type of terrain you will be riding on.