What tires to choose for a bike

easy steps to choose mountain bike tires

Spring has begun, and summer is just around the corner, so outdoor trips are sacred! In addition, we have already written how to choose a mountain bike that will meet the parameters of your physique parameters. And now it’s time to put on your iron horse, which we will teach you to do in just 5 easy steps;)

The actual tire size is determined using the number on the sidewall of the tire:

  • the first number is the diameter of the tire in inches;
  • the second number, after x, is the width of the tire in inches.

tires, choose, bike

Note: new tires must be of the same diameter, but you can choose a different width (more on this later). Also, the width of the tire should be chosen according to the brand and model of the rim.

Determine which tire system you usually use.

Tubeless tires are worth installing for three reasons:

  • there is no risk of pinching the camera;
  • the pressure in the tire can be reduced for efficient off-road driving;
  • if you use a sealant, then small punctures are sealed on their own.

The tubeless tire is denoted on the side by the word tubeless, in the photo above you can see.

On the side wall, the parameters of the tubeless type of tire are indicated.

If you are unsure whether your tires are with or without a tube, determine according to the make and model. Also, standard tube tires are usually significantly cheaper than tubeless tires, it is also very rare now to find tubeless tires in size 26.

  • downhill only;
  • runs an off-road marathon every month;
  • combine cross-country and enduro.

If you are combining riding styles, then make your choice, starting from the most extreme style. The more aggressive the conditions, the more likely you will need a tire that meets these conditions.

What type of terrain do you drive? Just in case: do not choose tires like anyone else’s. whose choice may not suit you:

  • the road is loose and rocky, covered with clay or sand?
  • the terrain is dirty, wet, uneven with steep climbs, fairly flat, without obstacles?
  • technical track or flat and level?

If the terrain combines several types, the tires must match each of them.

How does the width of the tires affect the ride? The thicker the tire, the more energy is expended to gain speed and overcome the frictional resistance with the road surface. We have published an entire research study about this, which proves that width, composition and tread have a strong influence on energy consumption.

Therefore, review your previous answers and compare them with the narrow / medium / wide tire options.

Keep in mind, you don’t need to have the same width, or even the same protectors at the front and back. Some cyclists opt for a wide front wheel cover for increased cornering control and a thin one for roll storage on the rear wheel.

  • low level of contact with the road. no smoothness on off-road and sandy terrain;
  • stiff riding is associated with less air volume, which increases the risk of snakebite;
  • fast acceleration, lifting, braking and direction changes;
  • less protection of the rim from damage.

Medium width tire (about 2.2. 2.5):

  • a greater level of contact with the surface, better off-road ability, a smoother ride due to an increase in air volume;
  • slower acceleration, lifting, braking and direction changes;
  • better protection of the rim from damage.
  • better rim protection, large contact area with the surface;
  • better off-road and sand cross-country ability, smooth ride;
  • slower acceleration, lifting, braking and direction changes;
  • sidewall support and less displacement due to low pressure.
  • the same tires on narrow rims twist the beads of the tires closer to each other, reducing the volume of air inside;
  • a wide lunch allows you to pump in a larger volume of air, and therefore increase depreciation;
  • wide rims provide better sidewall support.

But there is a drawback. wide rims are heavier

Scrupulousness when choosing horseshoes for your iron horse, subsequently will give you more pleasure and will quench the headache from punctures and problems with rolling;)

We will be happy to help you choose the best option for your bike, as always at the address: Degtyarevskaya, 51B and now on Poznyaky, at Knyazhiy Zaton, 11!

How to choose bicycle tires

Using unsuitable bike tires can significantly impair the performance of your bike. But a good choice of rubber can make the bike just take off.

The wheels of regular bicycles for adults come in diameters of 26, 27.5, 28 and 29 inches. Folding urban and some extreme models can be equipped with 20 or 24 inch wheels. The tire diameter is always written on the tire. For example, 26×2.1 means 26 inches in diameter and 2.1 inches thick. Note: 28 and 29 ” tires require the same 28 ” rim, but 26 and 27.5 require 26 and 27.5 ” rims, respectively. On road bikes, the wheel diameter is indicated as 700 or 700s. These are the same 28 inches, only in millimeters.

The thicker the tire, the better it softens bumps and adheres better to the surface, but also the greater its weight and the more difficult the bike rides on good asphalt due to the increased area of ​​adhesion to the surface. That is, for speed, they choose a tire that is narrower, and for cross-country ability or comfort, a wider one.

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The width of the tire also depends on the bike frame. Road bikes are fitted with tires up to 32mm thick and mountain bikes up to 2.3 inches. The same tire model can be produced in different thicknesses. If your bike is not a pure asphalt bike, then do not take the rubber close to the frame. Leave a gap for dirt on mountain and cyclocross or fenders on city bikes.

Slick, or completely smooth rubber, is only used for driving on smooth asphalt. Typical Representatives: Schwalbe Kojak, Rubena Cobra and Michelin Wild Run.

Semi-slick are quite versatile tires that allow you to ride on uncomplicated terrain. Soft types of rubber, from which semi-slick are made, quickly grind on the asphalt. Typical Representatives: Continental Speed ​​King 2 Race and Schwalbe Sammy Slick.

The use of road rubber is asphalt. It is tougher and therefore wears out longer. Usually has some puncture protection. Typicals: Continental Town Ride, Schwalbe Land Cruiser and the most popular Schwalbe Marathon series.

Rubber with a developed tread (in everyday life. evil rubber) behaves well in mud, sand, snow, but they ride on the asphalt very badly and, moreover, make a lot of noise. Typical representatives: Continental Mud King and Michelin Country AT. A compromise option is the alignment of the tread teeth, forming a semblance of a central track. Such rubber is good both in mud and on asphalt. Typical Representatives: Schwalbe Smart Sam and Schwalbe Black Jack.

Balloon bike tires are tires that can function at low pressure, which makes them surprisingly comfortable. They are used for city driving or for tourism, since the tread of such tires does not have developed lugs. Typical Representative: Schwalbe Big Apple.

Tubeless tires have anti-puncture properties. Typically used in cycling because they require special rims or special seating bands and sealant. They are expensive, and in the event of a puncture, they are extremely difficult to glue and change. Studded tires are used for driving on ice. Ordinary rolled snow and snow-covered urban asphalt do not require special tires, therefore studs are used only in races or in regions where ice is very frequent. A set of studded tires costs like a budget bike. A typical representative is Schwalbe Ice Spiker. Solid tires are very poorly distributed in our market. They are difficult to place, but they do not break through.

Often, the same tire model is available in two versions. regular, with steel cord (a mesh of steel wire or Kevlar threads that makes up the tire carcass), or folding (folding) with Kevlar cord. Folding is more expensive and easier.

TPI (Threads Per Inch) is the density of the cords in the tire. Less dense cords (from 30 to 60 TPI) make tires softer and lighter, denser (90. 150 TPI) are used in more wear-resistant, hard tires.

Compound is a term for the composition of rubber. Engineers can mix two or three different rubber grades into a single tire (dual and triple compound, respectively), which allows for optimal cornering grip with good roll-off on the center track. Each manufacturer has its own formula and compound technology.

Weight is an extremely important characteristic of a tire, because the wheels are constantly spun by the cyclist, and the easier it is to do this, the less effort is spent on it. But the lighter the tires, the more expensive they are and, as a rule, the easier it is to break through. The higher the anti-puncture properties, the more difficult it is to puncture the tire. Tires of the highest grades are not punctured even with pushpins. Simple tires in the conditions of Ukrainian littered roadsides can be punctured quite often. However, you have to pay for anti-puncture with weight. Good anti-puncture tires weigh 2 kg per set. Truly, such tires are needed only in some areas where thorns grow, and for trucker cyclists.

Reflective elements are often used on modern rubber to increase the range of visibility at night. Most often this is a side strip, but there is also an inscription itself. the name of the rubber. These tires are marked with the letters R, RT or Reflex.

Fatbike and cruiser bikes can have thicker tires. Wider tires are inflated with less pressure than narrow ones, which means that the wider the tire, the more comfortable and passable it is, but it rolls harder and worse on smooth asphalt.

The choice of a bicycle tire according to design requirements

First of all, bicycle tires should be chosen strictly in size:

  • According to the landing dimensions of bicycle rims: diameter (559 mm, 622 mm, etc.) and width (13. 15 mm on highways and cyclocross, 17. 19 mm on road builders, turers, city bikes, 21. 22 mm on MTB cross-country, 23. 25 mm on MTV mountain and BMX). How to match a tire to a bicycle rim? To do this, you need to know the size of your rim, and choose the appropriate size from the marking on the bicycle tire. Or consult the seller.
  • By the tire’s own height, depending on the size of the bike frame and the front fork. This choice is relevant for wheel rims with a landing diameter of 622 mm (70 ° C), for which you can “to plant” tires 27” (for road racing), 27.5” (new universal size), 28” (old universal size), 29” (for MTV niners).

How to choose bicycle tires?

The tire is one of the replaceable structural elements of the bicycle. After all, bicycle tires change not only when they are torn, frayed, but also selected (with replacement) depending on the conditions of cycling. Optimal. every time they change.

How to choose tires for a bicycle for riding (riding) conditions?

The conditions that determine the choice of a bicycle tire are:

  • Cycling season. The main cycling season is considered to be from spring to autumn, and therefore the vast majority of bicycle tires, according to their characteristics, are developed for ambient temperature conditions above 10 degrees C. Fans and practitioners of atypical winter cycling should look for special winter bicycle tires with extra soft rubber for reliable grip on slippery roads, and an appropriate type of anti-slip tread.
  • The nature of the surface (road surface) on which the cycle routes are laid:
  • for high-speed sports driving exclusively on dry hard road surfaces (asphalt, concrete), you should choose the most “express” tires with minimal (smooth) tread “slick”;
  • for multipurpose driving conditions (both high-speed and measured riding) both on paved roads and with periodic driving onto a country road, on dry and wet roads after rain, universal bicycle tires with positive tread should be used “half-slick”;
  • for extreme off-road riding (country road, mountain and forest trails, sandy beaches, etc.) in all-weather conditions, incl. on wet ground, you should choose special off-road (“mountain”) tires. wide, with high lugs;
  • for riding in winter conditions on slippery roads (ice), you should look for special studded bicycle tires with steel studs.
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The main criteria for choosing a bicycle tire

So how do you choose tires for your bike? The choice of tires for your bike is made according to the following criteria:

  • Construction requirements. They are a conditionally constant factor (the design of the bike can also be changed within certain limits), and depend on the units installed on the bike at a given time, primarily the wheel rims, bicycle frame, front fork;
  • Preferred conditions for cycling. They are a variable factor, depending on the subjective choice of the cyclist, who decides for himself when and where to ride his bike;
  • The design of the tire itself (chamber, tubeless, one-tube) and materials of manufacture (compound, rubber, with Kevlar threads, etc.);
  • Workmanship, which in practice is expressed in the preference of certain manufacturing companies.

The choice of bicycle tires by design, materials and workmanship

Bike tube tires. a classic, time-tested design that will fit in virtually any driving condition.

Tubeless tires are a modern, technologically advanced and lightweight design for fans of high-speed sports driving. The tubeless tire is itself sealed by the pressure of the inflated air, which tightly presses its walls against the wheel rim. But due to the thinness of the bicycle rim, which is relatively easy to deform when hitting stones, curbs, jumping, falling, etc., tubeless bicycle tires are not recommended for use by fans of extreme sports and off-road riding, as well as bicycle tourists., “rolling” long distance.

Natural rubber tires offer the best performance. But at the same time, they are also the most expensive, the cost of which “affordable” far from all ordinary cyclists. Kevlar tires are characterized by increased puncture and tear strength and, at the same time, by their thinness and lightness. But for the price they are also strong “bite”, remaining accessible only led athletes. professionals or “advanced” bike lovers. In fact, good tires made from traditional synthetic rubber compounds tend to meet the riding conditions and needs of the vast majority of amateur cyclists.

Hybrid & Touring Tires

Continental Tour Ride. If your hybrid acts as a versatile car and you often ride on the ground, then I can recommend this rubber. For your little money, this is just a wonderful choice.

A rolling tire that won’t let you down in the forest. The width is enough to ride in the same place as a mountain bike, if you know how, of course. I drove about 5000 km on it and was satisfied.

Great for traveling, last year I rode it in Italy. super.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus. I personally have not ridden these tires, but among cyclists, especially in the west, they are considered almost cult. Many trips around the world have been made on one set of this rubber.

People write about a tread resource of several tens of thousands of kilometers, and this is taking into account the load on the trunk. I must say that the weight of this tire is almost 900g, which, of course, is too much, but you can forget about cuts and punctures.

Such rubber is put on long journeys when a high speed of movement is not planned. If you have several months ahead of you, then problem-free tires are very important.


Basically, I put these tires in two combinations. universal, for mixed riding (asphalt, dirt, trails):

  • Rocket Ron forward, Racing Ralph backward

Mostly off-road, difficult trails, often wet mud:

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  • Nobby Nic forward, Rocket Ron backward

Continental Race King. so that I would not be suspected of being a hidden Schwalbe sales agent, I will write about this tire. She and I traveled many thousands of kilometers before I switched to Schwalbe.

It also rolls very well without losing grip. Continental generally makes very good-quality rubber, and it is no worse than their main competitor.

For those who use MTB more on asphalt and hard ground, I definitely recommend semi-slick. This is a type of rubber in which the treadmill has no tread, but has lugs on the sides. This allows you to quickly roll on hard surface, and not get stuck in the sand, raking side tracks.

Schwalbe Hurricane. good tires, reliable and rolling. Typical half slick, also worked well on my bike.

Schwalbe Ice Spiker is a winter studded bicycle tire. For those who ride in winter, a must-have accessory. I can’t call myself a winter cyclist, but I traveled on these tires for a couple of seasons. The only downside is the heavy weight, but that’s okay for a four-row stud. Pros. good roll at close to maximum pressure and excellent grip.

All models shown are also available in size 29 ″.

Mountain bike tires

Of all the variety of rubber choices, I prefer two firms. Schwalbe and Continental. In the MTB segment, I choose Schwalbe. The price is not the cheapest, but it is fully justified by the driving qualities, I recommend to readers only from my own experience.

Schwalbe Racing Ralph is one of my all-time favorite tires, great combination of rowing and rolling tread pattern.

When Schwalbe first launched this model, it was a hit. This tire is for those who need a versatile option for forest, soil and asphalt.

These tires are available in 26 “, 27.5” and 29 “sizes.

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There is a variant of the same rubber with the Evolution index. Compared to Performance, it is almost 100 grams lighter, has a more advanced compound (rubber composition) and is considered racing. But it also costs almost twice as much.

Schwalbe Rocket Ron is another Schwalb hit following Racing Ralph. The difference is a slightly more aggressive tread and less weight. This tire is already on the verge of fetishism, because the lightweight construction can compromise reliability.

But how does this rubber roll For those who use a mountain bike for its intended purpose (trails, forest), then put Rocket Ron in front, and Racing Ralph back. a very rolling combination.

These tires are available in 26 “, 27.5” and 29 “sizes.

Also, as in the previous case, the Evolution index means a more racing version. And by the way, my friend Ron Evolution, who rides the Rocket, claims that this version is much more puncture-proof, and he hasn’t pierced it yet.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance. I had this option on a bike that I loved to ride through forests and mud. It does not roll as well as the previous two, but the rowing is excellent. A wonderful balance between coasting and traction for those who value the latter.

These tires are available in 26 “, 27.5” and 29 “sizes.

Whether you are racing in the mountains, in forests, or wherever it is important to grip the ground, this is your front wheel choice. Back I recommend Rocket Ron. I advise you to set both Nobby Nic for real off-road, where you need to cling and row. Great rubber for your conditions.

Which tires to choose for different riding styles

I decided to write this post because I regularly get questions about the choice of bicycle tires for different types of bikes and riding styles.

I do not pursue the goal of assessing the entire range of rubber on the market, so I will simply describe what I have used and continue to use personally. I will only touch on the styles that I ride myself. cross-country, tourism and highway. Don’t be surprised that I’ve tried so many tires, that’s my weakness.

I will say right away that good tires are expensive, and sometimes very expensive. I have moved away from fetishism, but nevertheless, I buy tires worth 30-40 euros, because I consider it an effective investment of money. Lightweight, rolling and durable rubber gives the bike much more than an XTR derailleur or titanium bolts.

Road bike tires

If in the mtb segment I’m a Schwalbe fan, then on asphalt my clear favorite is Continental.

The Continental Grand Prix 4000 is a must-have tire on any road bike. Lightweight, highly puncture-proof and highly durable racing rubber.

At the moment, 8,000 km have already been driven on the highway, and the tread is only slightly worn out on the rear wheel. Not a bad investment in my opinion.

Continental Grand Prix 4 Season. my acquaintance with the highway began with this tire. 4 season is the so-called training rubber with greater strength.

I put it on a hybrid before owning my road bike yet. Compared to conventional hybrid tires, it rolled just fine. 4 season, 28mm wide, I can recommend to those road lovers who ride on bad asphalt roads, the tire holds just colossal loads.

There were a dozen more different tires that I did not like or quickly deteriorated, but I will not write about them, as perhaps these were cases of marriage.

Also, here are some tips for cycling tires:

Combine different treads, it is not necessary to put the same rubber on both wheels. For example, I used this scheme. I put the rowing Nobby Nic forward, and the rolling Racing Ralph backward.

That’s right. we put a tire forward with a more pronounced tread for better handling. As a percentage, the front wheel is unloaded, so even an aggressive pattern of lugs does not impede rolling too much.

Be sure to observe the direction of travel of the wheel, which is indicated by the arrow on the sidewall of the tire. If this is not done, the specially designed tread pattern will not work. Instead, get both a non-rowing and non-rolling tire. When there are no arrows, it means that the tread is symmetrical and the direction does not matter.

Watch for tread wear. The back side always wears out faster, especially with heavy cyclists or when driving with a load on the rack. It makes sense to change the tires in places, in this case the total resource of the pair increases.

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If this is not done, then on the back side not only the tread is worn out, but also the structure of the cord is broken. Because of this, the tire often begins to puncture, it loses its perfectly round shape, hernias are possible, etc.

Hopefully now when you upgrade your bike tires, you won’t have any questions about which to choose. Each of the tires presented here has a good price / performance ratio.

You shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve tried so many rubber options in my cycling practice. I had two wheelsets for almost every bike with separate sets of tires for different conditions.

How the bike behaves depends on the correct choice of tires, and therefore I highly recommend not to spend money on cheap tires. In my opinion, the are fully justified.

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