The road guide to bike tyres
Bike tyres are one of the components you will change the most on your road bike due to wear, punctures and season. There are a multitude of tires on the market and we’re going to help you navigate them in this handy article in which we’ll discuss tyre width, tyre tread and tyre type.
Tyre widths usually range from 23 to 28mm with tyres trending wider over the past few years. The peloton have been opting for slighter wider tyres of late with 25mm being the mainstay in pro cycling - but now some riders are starting to run 28mm tyres. This tyre would be sized as follows: 700c x 28mm. 700c is the size of the wheel and as 700c is industry standard, we can move on for now.
So, what are the benefits of the various sizes. Well, if we concentrate on thinner tyres (23-25) they are more aerodynamic. But unless you maintain a high average speed of over 30kmph, this probably won’t play a factor. Slightly thicker tyres (28) provide a more comfortable ride and more grip due to having slightly more surface, although they will have slightly more roll resistance than thinner tyres. To put these sizes into perspective, gravel bikes usually run 35-40mm tyres.
You would be forgiven for thinking more tread means more grip but that’s not the case on roads. Slick tyres gain much more grip on smooth roads as more rubber is touching the floor. They also roll smoother and are more comfortable than bulky, bobbly tyres. If you also ride your road bike on unsealed roads or trails, then a thicker tyre with some tread is more suited to you. Wet roads would prefer a subtle tread so why not have two sets of tyres and swap them every 6 months?
We’re going to talk about clinchers and the introduction of tubeless tyres. A lot of wheels on new road bikes will be compatible with both.
Clinchers are still the most common type of tyre and are sold on almost all new bikes, apart from very expensive ones. These tyres require an inner tube that is inflated to give your tyre inflation. These tyres have a beaded edge that ‘clips’ onto the rim of the wheel with the inner tube inside.
Tubeless tyres are relatively new to road cycling. These do not require an innertube. Instead, it is just a tyre that hooks onto the wheel as a normal clincher would, but with much tighter tolerances to create a firmer, airtight seal. Sealant is then added into the tyre to plug small holes and splits, reducing the chance of flats. In addition to a reduction in flats, tubeless tyres provide better rolling resistance than clinchers and can be run at lower pressures, improving traction, comfort and control.
Four of the most popular brands of tyres in pro cycling currently are; longtime Italian manufacturer Vittoria and the new kids on the block (in the cycling world at least) Pirelli. Continental are well known for their cycling tyres as are Maxxis. Goodyear has recently entered the race too, and Schwalbe is growing in popularity with amateur cyclists. Most tyres come in all black rubber, but tan sidewalls can give your tyre a stylish splash of colour.
We stock all these brands and various sizes. Shop with Pushbikes today for all your tyre needs.