It’s best to choose a bike tyre based on the type of riding you’re going to be doing.
Road bike tyres
Road bike tyres are identified by a smooth tread pattern and narrow width for speed and efficiency.
Mountain bike tyres
MTB tyres are much wider with chunky tread for added grip on off-road conditions.
Hybrid/ commuter tyres
These tyres will often blend characteristics from road and MTB tyres with added puncture protection for daily durability.
Thin tyres are fastest as they have low rolling resistance and are more aerodynamically profiled.
Wide tyres are more comfortable and stable due to the increased contact patch with the ground.
Take a look at the sidewall of your current tyres and you’ll see one or two sets of figures;
One is the traditional size like 700x28c or 27.5x2.2.
The first figure is the tyre diameter (size). The second is tyre width. Note: road bike sizes are in mm, MTB sizes are in inches
The other set of figures you may see is ETRTO sizing like this 28-622.
The first number here is tyre width while the second number relates to wheel diameter.
Here is a comparrison chart for traditional and ETRTO sizing to help you choose the correct tyre size.
|700c road bike wheels|
|18-622||700 x 18C|
|23-622||700 x 23C|
|25-622||700 x 25C|
|28-622||700 x 28C|
|32-622||700 x 32C|
|37-622||700 x 35C|
|47-622||700 x 47C|
|26" mountain bike wheels|
|50-559||26 x 1.9|
|54-559||26 x 2.1|
|55-559||26 x 2.2|
|58-559||26 x 2.35|
|27.5" (650b) mountain bike wheels|
|50-584||27.5 x 1.95|
|54-584||27.5 x 2.1|
|57-584||27.5 x 2.25|
|29" mountain bike wheels|
|50-622||29 x 2.0|
|54-622||29 x 2.1|
|55-622||29 x 2.2|
Your new tyre must be the same diameter as your current one (to fit your wheel rim).
Then, you need a choose a tyre which will fit your frame.
Road bike tyres are generally 21 – 28mm wide
MTB tyres can range from 1.5”-5”
To make things complicated road tyres are measured in mm, while MTB tyres are in inches.
How wide is too wide
You want to leave at least 4mm clearance between your frame and tyres to prevent rub and allow for mud clearance.
Measure the following areas on your frame:
Fork crown (top)
Brake calipers (make sure you squeeze them)
Subtract 4mm and you’ll have the maximum width your frame can handle.
If you’re commuting, riding and training daily you’ll want a tyre with some form of puncture resistance.
Puncture resistance often comes in the form of a harder or thicker rubber compound, or a protective layer running underneath the tread pattern.
Tubeless tyres do not have an inner tube. The tyre and rim of your wheel (you need a tubeless ready rim) create an airtight seal with the valve directly mounted on the rim.
You can run these tyres at lower pressures for an improved ride quality. A bigger contact with the ground means you have improved traction when cornering.
Tubeless tyres often come with liquid sealant that creates a seal that may heal itself on a small puncture so you can keep riding home.
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