Used bike Tyre Buying Guide

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The bike tyre is an important feature of the modern bicycle, providing both a smooth ride and the grip required to enable you to stop swiftly and safely. There have significant advances since the first bike tyres, which were simply iron bands on wooden wheels, and a simple search on eBay will reveal that there a number of options available depending on what you'll using your bike for. Though these can seem daunting, with a little research you'll be able to get the right tyre for you.

Different Types of Bike

The first consideration when buying a used tyre is the kind of bike that you'll be buying it for.  As well as dictating the size of the tyre, the kind of bike you'll be using will determine the kind of grip, the width of tyre, among other aspects.

  • Road Bike

These are designed for travelling quickly and smoothly on tarmac roads, which present a very standard surface, because of this road bike tyres will be slick (with a smooth surface) and narrow. As the starting point of a road bike tyre is to have little to no grip so as to maximise the rolling momentum of the bike there is little to get worn down, and as it will not be jumped so there will be less distortion of the tyre, these are a good option for buying used. Road bike tyres will be able to take a higher pressure, usually 120 psi, as this creates a higher tension in the tyre and minimise the rolling resistance. The tyres for a folding bike will be very similar to these, but simply smaller in size due to the size requirements for a folding bike.

  • Mountain Bike

These are designed to provide grip and durability, so the tread will be significantly deeper and the tyre will be wider so as to provide better balance when moving over rough terrain. Mountain bike tyres can be put under considerable strain over their lifetime, so ask the seller if there is any distortion in the tyre wall. If they haven't provided a close up picture of the tyres tread then ask them to provide it. The pressure in a mountain tyre will vary depending on it's intended use, but can be as low as 30 psi. BMX bike tyres, while their tread and width vary on whether the bike is either a trick or race one, are subject to similar stresses and should be checked in a similar manner.

  • Hybrid Bike

These are designed to work both as a mountain bike and a road bike, however, though they can be taken off road they won't be subjected to the same pressures as a mountain bike tyre. In terms of tread and width, they are somewhere in the middle between a road bike and a mountain bike, so as to provide stability when riding off road while still providing a smooth experience on the road.

Different Types of Bike Tyres

Type of Bike Tyre



This is perhaps the more popular of the two options. It works with a wire that slips (or clinches) into the rim on the bike wheel. There is a separate tube that runs through the tyre and is pumped up to the required pressure. As the two parts are separated out it means it is less expensive to replace the tube as you don't have to replace the tyre as well. It also makes it easier to repair the tube if needed.


This tyre is less common on modern bicycles, but still has a keen following from some cyclists. The inner-tube is stitched into the tyre, essentially meaning that they're the same piece. This makes the tyre hard to replace or repair, but they are preferred by some.

Tyre Size

The width and diameter of the tyre that you require is dictated by the kind of wheel that you have on your bike. The dimensions are stated on the tyre, or sometimes on the wheel. If you don't have the previous tyre then you can measure the wheel yourself with a tape measure.

The diameter of the tyre can be confusing, as it can be described in either imperial or metric measurements. As a rough standard though road bike tyres will have a diameter between 650mm – 700mm, and a mountain bike will be between 26 inches and 29 inches. A hybrid bike may vary between the two different types.

Components of a Bike Tyre

While it is not necessary to know the complete make up of a bike tyre to buy one used on eBay successfully a good introductory knowledge will help you ensure that your purchase is of the required quality




This is edge of the tyre, and is essentially the lip that connects the tyre to the wheel and ensure that the kept in place. It's given additional stiffness by including steel cables. These can rust and deteriorate, resulting in the tyre not staying the wheel properly, so check in the items pictures that this is clean and retains the shape of the tyre.

Inner Tube

Made from rubber usually, this is the tube that runs through the interior of the tyre and is inflated to the required pressure. As mentioned earlier this is not always part of the tyre, so if purchasing a tubular tyre check that there are no leaks or bulges in this when you receive the item. Even if cycling a short distance a repair kit is a great help in case you sustain a puncture.


This is exactly what it sounds like, it is the side of the tyre. It doesn't touch the ground so there is no tread on some models so as to keep the weight of the tyre down.


This provides the grip, and ranges from knobbly (for mountain bikes) to slick (for road or race bikes). The more tread you have the more grip, enabling you to stop in a shorter time, but it also creates more resistance meaning that your speed will not be as much with a knobbly tyre as with a slick. User preference plays a big part in the kind tread you go for, as it's largely down to what priorities you have.

Finding a Used Bike Tyre on eBay

Cycling has risen in popularity with people becoming more environmentally aware, and it is also a good way to get in shape. So when buying on eBay you're can take advantage of the wide selection available, as well as the flexible payment and shipping options. With the different uses for a bike there are a huge number of different brands and types out there, so it is important to use the filter options on the left hand side of the page to narrow down your options so you can find the perfect option.

Starting off on eBay's homepage you can navigate to the Sporting Goods category using the option on the left of the page. You can further narrow this down by clicking on Cycling,  then Bike Parts, and then Tyres & Wheels.. Once you have brought up the list of tyres available, you can further narrow it down by bike type, condition, price and so on.

If you don't have a specific brand in mind it is worth checking out what the different varieties are selling for so that you can be sure of getting a bargain. The main brands are Schwalbe, Kenda, Raleigh, and Continental, but a lesser known brand may provide the best option for you.

If you prefer you can simply use the search function at the top of the eBay page, which has the added bonus of enabling you to be as specific or as vague as you want.

When comparing the listings carefully review the information that they've included, making sure that the tyre is the right size for what you're looking for. As well as reading the description take a look at the images they've included as well, and if there is any information missing then you can easily Ask the Seller a question if you need to clarify something. There is also a Buying Tips page for more information so you can be sure to get the best deal.

You can place the listing in your Watched Items while you think about it, and as soon as you're ready to purchase it you can place a Bid,, Buy it Now,, or put down your Best Offer.. If competing in an auction then make a note of when the listing is ending, as well as the best offer feature, so that you don't miss out. Part of the benefits of going through eBay is that you can use PayPal for the payment, who provide a smooth and easy service for both buyer and seller. Remember that when you buy through eBay you're protected by the Buyer Protection Program..


Cycling is an increasingly popular option, and whether you're commuting to work, riding downhill, or taking it easy on a weekend ride with the family then eBay has the used bike tyre to suit your needs. The tyre is one of the most important parts of the bike, so make sure to replace your tyres as often as are needed. As one of the key factors in your safety and comfort whilst riding it important to get the tyre,, and with a little preparation and thought you can easily do this.

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