How to choose your own bike tires?
The signs indicate it’s time for new bike tires:
- Your tread edges are noticeably worn down and you’re getting a lot of flats
- Your bike’s handling has gotten noticeably worse
- Your tire tread appears rounded or uneven
- You notice a thread pattern (hashtags) on the sidewall of the tire
- Rubber is beginning to crack or flake off of the knobs or sidewalls
- You notice a distortion in the tire (caused by a damaged casing underneath the outer wall)
- You notice the sipping—tiny slits in tires that help their grip on wet surfaces—is disappearing
- You notice a lot of small cuts that may (or do) contain slivers of glass—those can work their way inside the tire and cause flats
- Your wear indicators—typically one or two small dimples—are disappearing (not all tires have wear indicators)
How do I know what bike tires to buy?
- Get the right bike tire size
- There is a straightforward way to find out the size of your current tire:
Check your tire’s sidewall the numbers there indicate your tire size
E.G. (Diameter) 700 x 32C (Width)
- The first number is the tire diameter. The most common option are 26 inch, 27.5 inch and 29 inch for mountain bikes and 700 for road bikes.
The second number is the width of the tire. This number is expressed in inches for mountain bike tires and un millimeter for road tires.
- Wider tires vs Narrower tires
- Wider tries is more comfort and grip. Resist pinch flats better because of high volume inside the tire, however it is higher rolling resistance and heavier, which slows you down. Common mountain bike tire size is 2.25-2.4 inch.
- Narrower tire is lower rolling resistance, lighter and more aerodynamic but less comfortable not as grippy, since you need to have them at a higher pressure to prevent pinch flats. Common road bike size is 25mm and 28mm.
- The tread pattern
Different tread can give you more grip and traction, smoother and faster rider.
- Road Bike tire treads:
- Commuter bike tire treads:
These vary from slick to semi-slick. A semi-slick tire has a smooth middle part with small lugs along the edges to give some traction when you take shortcuts on unpaved roads. If you commuter in winter, you may want to consider tires with studs. They are great for extra grip on ice.
- Mountain bike tire treads:For cross country riders: on rolling, firmly packed trails with little roots and rocks can get away with smaller, tightly spaced treads. These have the lowest rolling resistance and still allow you to move effectively on the trails.
- For Trail, all mountain and enduro riders: need tires to roll efficiently and still give traction when the trails get rowdy. The center of the tread generally features ramped lugs that come into play when cornering at speed. It is also common to see enduro racers with different front and back tire. The most aggressive and grippy tire is mounted on the rolling resistance.
- For Downhill riders: need tires to optimize traction. In muddy condition, tires with big, tall lugs that have spacing between them helps shed the accumulated grit.
4. Wire vs. folding tire beads
- Wire beads made of steel and can’t be folded on itself without damaging the tire, are usually the cheaper option.
- Folding beads: Kevlar is used in place of steel. It is extremely resistant to stretching while remaining flexible. Folding tires are much easier to transport as they can be folded om themselves and lighter that wire beads equipped tire. They are usually the more expensive option.
5. Tire carcass and TPI (thread per inch)
Under the top rubber layer is the carcass, which looks a lot like a piece of fabric. The TPI count of a tire carcass influences how pliable and supple it is. Higher-end tires will have a high TPI count, which creates a smoother ride, increase traction and roll faster. A lower TPI count results in a tire that isn’t as smooth and fast, but usually comes at a lower price and can be more durable.