Everything You Need to Know About Bike Tyres

Like if this guide is helpful
Everything You Need to Know About Bike Tyres

This guide will run through the ins and outs of bicycle tyres - from the different models they come in to the material they are made out of - and also give an idea of how to best purchase them, specifically from eBay.

The tyre is one of the most important parts of the bicycle and a poor pair can affect the quality of a ride immensely. Bike tyres are the main contact point between the bike and the ground so it is important to find the right pair and look after them correctly. As well as being a main source of the bikes' suspension they also help with balancing, turning and braking.

The most common type of bicycle tyre is the 'clincher' or 'wired-on' tyre, which has a separate inner tube and is made out of beads. There is also the rarer tubular tyre which does not have beads but are actually sewn to the inner tube. This makes it hard to repair any punctures however as the tyre needs to be taken off completely.

Mechanics of a Bike Tyre

Below is a table that illustrates some of the different parts that make up a bicycle tyre along with a quick description.




The 'bead' of a tyre is the part on the edge of it that sits on the wheel. Its purpose is to connect the tyre onto the rim and holds the whole wheel together. Inflating the tyre well helps to keep the bead in place. Rubber is used to make the bead reinforced with metal cables, mainly steel.


The 'tread' of a tyre is the point at which the bike touches the riding surface. Synthetic rubbers are predominantly used to make the tread. They come in different patterns, smooth or knobbly which are best suited for different surfaces. Smoother treads are better suited for on-road use whilst knobbly treads are designed for rougher surfaces.


Whilst the tread of a tyre is designed to cope with constantly touching the ground, the 'sidewall' is the part of the tyre that will not touch the surface at all. Gum-wall tyres are tyres where the sidewalls are made from rubber. The Skin-wall types are tyres where very little or no rubber is used to make up the sidewall.

Inner Tube

The inner tube is the balloon within the tyre which has a valve for inflation. It mustn't have the capability to leak, although it is by nature a fragile part of the bike and must be protected with the tyre itself. They can be liable to puncture so spares are usually needed. Inner tubes are made from butyl (a synthetic rubber) or latex.

Sizing of Bike Tyres

The majority of modern bike tyres are sized by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) which now makes the sizing of the tyre more clear and concise. Traditional metric measurements could be vague and differ for different countries.

Cyclists will see a size of their bike tyre in the following format according to the ISO regulations: 32-584 just as an example. The initial two digit number before the dash signifies the width of the inflated tyre in millimetres. The three-digit number after the dash indicates the bead diameter of the tyre in millimetres when attached to the rim.

Try and purchase a bike with the ISO measurements on the tyre as in the 5 digit format as listed above as this may make it a lot easier with coming to fit new tyres at a later date. There are size guides on the internet that can match up different sizing measurements if needed however, from the ISO guide to the imperial, metric and American versions.

When coming to buy tyres online then they are listed often in respect to the size of the wheel itself. For example some of the listings on eBay will have bike tyres listed as being 26" x 1.95" or 700mm x 23mm which refers to the size of the rims. Make sure the size of the bike wheel is known if this is the case.

Pressure of Bike Tyres

All tyres should be marked with a pressure value and sometimes show a pressure range from a minimum to a maximum number. Do not go outside these recommended figures if coming to adjust a tyres pressure. Pressure is noted in the following format: 90 psi (pound per square inch.)

The higher the tyre is inflated within the pressure range, the more control the rider will feel to have over the bike and of course decrease the chance of getting a flat tyre. The lower the tyres are inflated will provide for more of a comfortable ride and increase traction from the surface.

Traction of Bike Tyres

Traction is the resistance of the bike tyres have in respect to skidding on the surface. It is determined by the inflation pressure of the tyre, the type of rubber used and pattern of the tread. Other factors that may be important are the rider's physique and cycling ability which could cause strain on the suspension.

How to Change a Bike Tyre

It is not inevitable that the tyres on a bike will need to be changed but it is a common practice in the event of a flat tyre and something all cyclists should be accustomed with. Below is a very basic step by step guide of how to repair or replace a bicycle tyre. If unsure over any aspect of changing bicycle tyres then feel free to research the topic further.

* Firstly, turn the bike upside-down so its weight is resting on its handlebars and seat.

* The wheel then needs to be taken off in order to change the tyre. This can be done by loosening the nuts on the axle in the centre of the wheel. A lot of bikes now come with a quick-release mechanism that allows this to be done much easier.

* Now the wheel can be removed from the frame which will make it easier to replace the tyre (if changing the back wheel then be careful of the chain and gear system which might be in the way.)

* Deflate the tyre as much is possible and then use tyre levers to wedge in between the tyre and the rim. Take care not to puncture the inner tube when doing this.

* Now it is possible to inspect the tyre for any deficiencies or set about replacing it completely. Make sure there are no more sharp objects in the tyre before replacing the inner tube.

* If satisfied that the old tyre if fixed sufficiently or just changing it completely, then begin to re-attach the tyre onto the rim. Line up the valve stem in the correct position and make sure it isn't angled in any direction when coming out of the hole in the rim.

* Make sure the tyre is firmly settled onto the rim around the whole length of the wheel. Make sure that no part of the tube is hanging out by doing a check with your fingers around the whole circumference.

* Now it is okay to begin to inflate the tyres again after they are secured into the wheel. Reattach the wheel back onto the bicycle.

Again this is only a brief guide of the steps needing to be undertaken to change a bike tyre. More information can be found on this topic and may be needed if it becomes tricky to remove and replace the tyre.

How to Purchase Bike Tyres from eBay

eBay has plenty of bike tyres available within its online marketplace from such brands as:

* Schwalbe

* Continental

* Kenda

* Raleigh

* Michelin

* Plus many more

Typing in "Bike Tyres" or "Bicycle Tyres" on eBay will bring up all the listings available. Some of these may include some accessories of bike tyres such as puncture repair kits or inner tube protectors but these can be narrowed down by using the preference bar on the left hand side. The search can be narrowed down by:

* Component Type

* Bike Type

* Condition

* Brand

* Material

* Price

eBay is a great way of finding bike tyres at more affordable rates than on the high street. There are plenty of tyres in brand new condition as well as second-hand pairs that may not be of use to the seller but still be in fantastic condition.

Make sure to read the item's description as carefully as possible and be certain that the tyre will fit the wheel it is intended for. eBay provides the option to ask the seller a question so if there is any ambiguity about the tyre then be sure to do this.

Check the seller's history also and any feedback they have received. Too many negative reviews or only a few completed transactions are something to be cautious of. If two new tyres are required then also ensure that this is what is being sold and not just the one. If the tyres are urgently required it may be wise to look for a listing with a Buy It Now option to guarantee the purchase.

e �#u p���he seller what type of riding they have done and how many miles they have ridden. This helps you to assess the previous usage of the wheels and whether they match what you are looking for.

Buying Tips

* When buying bike wheels it is important to check that the wheels are not buckled and the spokes are not loose. However, a slight wobble can be easily fixed.

* Make sure that you can see a close-up photograph of the rim. Check that it is not worn down or hollowing in as this will affect your braking ability.

* Look for lines or scratches around the rim; this may indicate that they have been damaged by dirt, shale or gravel which has damaged the rim by getting under the brake pads. This could lead to the rims splitting.

* Clean rims which are unscratched show that they are in good condition.

* Cleanliness around the hub of the wheel is a sign of good wheels. Ask for close-up photos of the hub, spokes and rim of the wheels as these areas give you strong indication of their condition and that they have been well looked after.

* Check the competitiveness of the pricing and make sure it is reasonable, not excessively high or low for the product. Get to know the market and the wheels available. Look through all available options, compare prices and search for the best value for money.


Second hand bike wheels can get you a great product at a good price compared to buying new. For all cyclists, the key to a successful buy is to research and know what you want.

Riders should check the details to ensure that the wheels will fit their bike, are suitable for their riding style, and are reasonably priced. eBay offers secure payment through PayPal and all purchases are protected by the Buyer Protection Program. This allows buyers to shop with confidence and to make the most of the choice of products that eBay offers.

The decision-making process is helped by the search function that ensures bike riders can find the right wheels for them and their bike amongst the thousands of wheels listed on eBay.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides