Wear and tear is inevitable when it comes to components. Especially when it comes to tires. If you think about it, your bicycle tires are always under constant pressure and friction when riding. They’re bound to wear out at some point. When they do, you’ll need to change them to prevent further damage. When you are in the market for new tires, you’ll have a bunch of options – you might want to make upgrades for better speed, durability or simply all-around performance. This article will help you know when it’s time to get new tires and how and why you’ll need new tires.
WORN OUT TIRES; WHY BOTHER?
First, let’s go through some indicative signs that indicate your tires are worn out.
- Your tread edges are noticeably worn down and you’re getting a lot of flats
- Rubber is beginning to crack or flake off of the knobs or sidewalls
- Your wear indicators—typically one or two small dimples that begin to disappear (not all tires have wear indicators).
Now you might ask, why bother changing the tires? A worn-out tire is unsafe for multiple reasons –
- You lose a considerable amount of tread – this basically means that you lose traction.
- Worn out tires are also highly vulnerable to punctures.
- A tube may burst when riding causing a crash.
- A worn-out tire is also less efficient and may actually slow you down.
WHAT KIND OF TIRE DO I NEED?
Road bike tires – Almost all road bikes have a 700mm outer diameter, with widths starting at 23mm. Most road tire widths are less than 30mm, but you can also find tires as wide as 32-45mm on bikes intended for gravel roads. The most common tire width for a road bike these days is a 25mm (25C). Even professional racers these days use 25mm tires as these offer a good blend of performance and comfort. Road bike tires have almost no tread present at all. This is in order to increase rolling and reduce friction.
Hybrid bike tires – Most hybrid bikes also use the same road bike specification of a 700mm outer wheel diameter. They do, however, vary in widths when compared to a road bike. They’re usually in the range of 32-40mm widths. As hybrids are more comfort-oriented, 32mm tires and wider are a common sight these days. Hybrid bike tires also have knobbier treads to handle some amount of off-roading. Overall grip is also enhanced thanks to this.
Mountain bike tires – Outer tire diameters on MTB’s usually vary between 26″,27.5″ and 29″. Widths also vary considerably for different Mountain biking disciple. Raining from 1.9″ to 5″.
- Cross-country bikes: 1.9″ to 2.3″ wide.
- Trail and all-mountain bikes: 2.3″ to 2.5″ wide.
- Downhill bikes: up to 2.5″ wide.
MTB tires come in a bunch of varieties. Some having different tread and knob patterns, others featuring different compounds and having the ability to be tubeless-ready. The pros usually opt for a tubeless setup when racing and in other competitions. Doing so lets you run lower tire pressures for more traction without worrying about flats. MTB tires also come in a variety of tread pattern options. Wider more prominent blocks on tires provide more traction but slower rolling. Tires with closer spaced blocks and minimal height are great for XC or light trails.
Puncture-resistant bike tires– If you’re a commuter or simply despise changing flats, investing in this more expensive (and slightly heavier) type of tire makes sense. Puncture resistance comes from tougher compounds like Kevlar and thicker tires overall.
Foldable bike tires– A big reason to get a foldable tire is to save weight. It can be folded up, storing and carrying the tire becomes easy. Available for both mountain and road bikes, foldable tires are usually more expensive than standard wire beaded tires.
Tire thread count casing (TPI): TPI (thread counts per inch)is often a specification you see written on the outside of the tires packaging. The TPI of a tire is in the structural layer that underlies the external rubber layer on your tires—this has the greatest impact on road tires, where tire pressures are higher. Thread counts might range from 60 TPI up to 320 TPI in high-performance tires.
A good tire is the most important addition you can make to upgrade your ride and comfort. A fresh pair of tires will not only improve that but also the efficiency with which you cycle. From a safety perspective too, having a nice grippy bit of rubber underneath you is always a good thing. Choose the kind of tire according to your intended riding style.
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING
I’m an avid mountain biker and I like riding fast and flowy singletrack. As I keep riding, I continuously work on honing my riding skills. I like to ride whenever possible, especially with friends. I also like to influence folk into getting to ride more often.
Working on bicycles has also been a keen interest of mine for quite some time.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain biking and Road biking
CURRENT BIKE: RockRider 5.3 & Specialized Allez Elite DSW
DREAM BIKE: Santa Cruz 5010