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Bike Tire Sizes Explained


How To Choose Bike Tires Sizes?

I ride almost like 3 to 4 times a week. I own an MTB, A Merida 40 D big seven. Depending on the type of ride you do, it is important to find out which is the apt tire type for you. In this article, I have explained different bike tire sizes which are available. 

Check out my last article about choosing the right bike

How to choose correct bike tire size for your bike?
How to choose correct bike tire sizes for your bike?

Let’s take this step by step and understand each aspect of determining the correct tire size.

How To Determine Your Bike Tire Sizes?

Every tire has a size value embossed on the side. For instance, my mountain bike has 27.5 X 2. Let’s understand as per bike types.

Mountain Terrain Bikes
Merida big 7 40D
Merida big 7 40D

On a mountain bike, you will have numbers embossed on the side of the tires like 27.5 X 2 in my bike. Let us understand what these numbers signify. These numbers say 27.5″ is the approximate outer diameter by the width 2″.

Now, these number depends on the type of bike that you are using. A cross-country bike will have bike tire sizes between 1.9″ to 2.25″ width. Trail and MTB’s tires usually have the width between 2.25″ to 2.24″. Finally, the downhill bikes which undergo extreme terrain had tire width up to 2.5″ or more.

Road Or Touring Bikes
Bike Tire Sizes In Road Bikes!
Bike Tire Sizes In Road Bikes!

As compared to MTB, a road bike is faster. The credit goes to their tire size. A number combination around road bike usually reads as 700 X 23. KWhat this means is that 700 is the number that tells you about the outer diameter of your tire in millimeters, furthermore, 23 is the tire width again in millimeters.

Most racers run 700 tires in widths ranging from 18 to 23mm which is the narrowest options. In addition to, those who live for epic tours are more likely to be riding tires in widths ranging from 25 to 28mm for a bit more stability and comfort.

Cyclocross Bike Tyre Sizes
Cyclocross Bike!
Cyclocross Bike!

The major differences between a road bike and cyclocross bike are the frame geometry and the wider clearances. Cyclo-cross bikes have larger tires for mud and other debris that they accumulate.

A 29er
A 29er bike!
A 29er bike!

A lot of my friends ride 29ers these days. The good thing about 29ers is that these tires are designed to roll more easily over technical trail sections and through mud and sand. Cornering and climbing traction may also be better due to their increased contact with the trail.

“Now when we are done with understanding bike tire sizes, let’s talk about tire treads’

Understanding Bike Tyre Treads

Treads By Definition: The tread of a tire or track refers to the rubber on its circumference that makes contact with the road or the ground.

Bottom Rule: More the treads in the tire, results in more grip. This also means that the resistance would be greater in case of more treads. It is important to balance between the two to meet your requirements.

Let’s understand different tire treads.

Slick Bike TIre Type

Designed for the road, city/commuter, touring and mountain bikes, slicks appear almost smooth, with a barely perceptible tread pattern. Slicks are designed for smooth surfaces like asphalt, Slickrock and groomed singletrack (with the width of the tire determining the best use). In other words, these kinds of tires are best suited for road bikes. You can alter these tires in a Hybrid bike or an MTB as per your ease, however, due to change geometry, the performance would not be as equal to the slick tires being used in a race geometry road bike. Go for these type of threads if you want to go fast and frequently participate in race events.

Semi-Slick Bike Tires

These tires are designed with a smooth center, for minimal rolling resistance and faster acceleration, and aggressive treads on the side to help with cornering. They’re used for mostly smooth surfaces with some off-road applications. These kind of tires are best for Hybrid bikes.

Inverted Treads Tires

Tires designed with an inverted tread have more grip and rolling resistance than slicks. However, less rolling resistance. Use these tires if you suspect you might venture off asphalt or ride on roads with lots of ruts and potholes like MTB tracks.

Bike Tire Valves

When it comes to valves, there are two types available to us. This is based on the investments that you are willing to up in your bike.

Presta Valves

These are more commonly seen on higher end bikes. I have seen them specifically on expensive road bikes till now. These are thinner than their counterparts. These valves have built-in capping system that you lose first to fill up the air from the pump and then tighten when you are done filling up the air.

Schrader valves

These are seen in less expensive and mid-range bikes. I have the same on my bike. These are wider than Presta valves. Schrader won’t even fit in a Presta-size hole. If your wheel has a Schrader-size hole, it is possible to get an adapter so that you can safely run Presta valves. However, this is generally not recommended.

Summing Up

I ride an MTB, you might ride a hybrid or a road. Furthermore, it is very important to choose right bike tire sizes. It affects your bike performance as a whole. Make sure that you have the aptest tire in your bike and do consult a professional while deciding this.

I hope this article would have been some help to you. Let me know what are your views about bike tire sizes and which one do you use?

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