How to Pick the Right Bicycle Tyres

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How to Pick the Right Bicycle Tyres

The right bicycle tyres optimise your speed, comfort, and safety when riding your bicycle. The proper tyres enhance your experience and your performance, providing the correct level of traction and control. Understand how to pick the right bike tyres to get the best possible pair to meet your cycling requirements.


Choosing the Correct Size Bicycle Tyre

Unless you are replacing your whole bicycle or your bicycle wheels, your tyre size stays the same. If you do not already know your tyre size, look on the tyre wall. Bicycle tyres have two numbers on them. The vast majority of adult bicycles, except BMX bikes and road or racing bikes, have a standard wheel size of either 26 inches or 29 inches, and this represents the first number. The second number represents the width of the tyre in inches. Road bike tyres are measured in millimetres rather than inches.


Choose a Tread for Your Bicycle Tyres

Tyre tread is an important consideration for any bicycle, but particularly for mountain bikes, as any small differentiation in tread affects your riding experience. More tread provides more grip and traction, giving you more stability, but the increased friction reduces the speed and length of your free rolling and requires more pedal power to achieve the same speed with less tread. You need sharp tread edges for safety and durability. When your tyre treads show signs of significant wear, or you find yourself getting lots of flats, or slipping and poor brake control, you need to replace your tyres with new ones. Slick tyre treads are for city, touring, and mountain bikes, and are smooth, with only light tread patterns, similar in style to those of road and racing bikes. This tread offers high speed and is for use on smooth surfaces and terrain. Inverted treads have less rolling resistance but provide more traction across uneven terrain. Knobby treads are wider and ideal for mountain biking across rough, wet, and muddy terrain, with wide spacing and clear, defined edges for optimal control.


Choose a Bicycle Tyre Valve

Presta valves have narrow built-in valve caps and you usually find them on high-end bicycles, including road and racing bikes. Do not be tempted to use Presta valves on tyres with a large valve hole, as the gap around the edge causes shifting and eventually shears off the valve. Schrader valves are the most common type. They are sturdier but bulkier than Presta valves, and are less likely to shear off. Schrader valves are more likely to leak than Presta models are, so be sure to check your tyre pressure more often.

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