Unlike bicycle frames, tires are not a static part of your bicycle. If you are changing your cycling style, you should also change your tires to meet your needs. For example, if you find yourself using your mountain bike more for city commuting then rugged trails, you may want to consider switching out those knobby tires for smoother tires. Making sure you have the best bicycle tires and tubes on your bike ensures three things:
- Lowest possible amount of rolling resistance
- Highest amount of traction
- Highest level of cycling pleasure
Tip: If stability is your primary concern, clincher tires are the way to go.
Clincher tires are widely known to be heavier than tubular tires because they require the use of an inner tube and rim liner. However, with that added weight comes extra stability.
A more stable ride is also a safer ride, so if you anticipate uneven terrain on your cycling trips or lack confidence when cycling, get yourself some clincher tires.
Bicycle Tires and Tubes Sizing Chart
If you are replacing tires currently on your bike, you should look on the side of your old tires to determine what size of tire you require. Otherwise, you should bring your bike in to the shop with you to make sure you are purchasing the best bicycle tires and tubes. Here is a tire sizing chart for typical styles of bicycles:
|Type of Tire||Size (diameter/width)|
|Commuter||26" X 1.5cm|
|Beach Cruiser||26" X 2.125cm|
|Cross Country Mountain Bike||26" X 2.25cm|
|Downhill Mountain Bike||26" X 2.3cm|
|Road Bike||700mm X 23mm|
Here's more information about bicycle tire sizing.
Clincher or Tubular?
Most tires on most bikes will fall into the category of clincher tires. Clincher tires attach to the wheel by means of folding the steel or Kevlar bead (wire) of the tire inside the rim of the wheel. Bicycle inner tubes, essentially an inflatable rubber balloons, fits inside of this attached tire.
The tubular tire is another world. Tubular tires do not have beads in them. Essentially the inner tube is sewn right into the tire, and then tire is then glued onto the rim.
Some pros and cons of this style of tire are:
|Benefits||The Darker Side|
|Wider range of possible tire pressures||Next to impossible to change flats on the road|
|Less chance of pinch flats||Improperly glued tubular tires can roll off, causing crashes|
|Less rolling resistance||Carrying an extra tubular is bulky|
Tubular tires save a little bit of weight on a bike, but for all the hassle and expense, I would recommend you just stick with regular clincher tires!
Tires With Tubes or Tubeless Tires?
There is an on-going debate in the cycling community which type of bicycle tires are best - tires with tubes or tubeless tires. I have to say that there is no clear resolution to this dilemma.
Each of these types has its own advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day the question which tire to use is a matter of personal preference. This article is focus mainly of tires with tubes. For more information about tubeless tires and about this debate you are invited to visit the page about tubeless bicycle tires.
Bicycle Tires and Tubes for Commuter Bikes and Hybrids
The best bicycle tires for commuter bikes are manufactured with durability in mind, over lightness. These tires may have extra thick rubber on the tread portion of the tire, or they may also have a Kevlar lining to resist punctures. Commuter tires may also come with reflective sidewalls to aid the visibility of the cyclist at night.
You can consider having puncture proof bicycle tires for your commuter bikes. Read here more about puncture proof bicycle tires.
As well, commuter tires have a less knobby tread then mountain bikes. This is because a smoother tire will have less rolling resistance and will therefore be faster. It is also assumed that you won't need knobby tires to climb up boulder-encrusted mountains within city limits!
Tires for Mountain Bikes
Because of the demands of off road terrain, the best mountain bikes tires to look for are rugged and highly puncture-resistant. Getting a flat in the city is inconvenient; getting a flat in the middle of nowhere can be life-threatening!
Still, I would not recommend having puncture proof bicycle tires for this kind of riding style, as they are too heavy. Read here more about puncture proof bicycle tires.
Aside from the durability of these tires, they also possess rubber knobs for added traction. Tires for tame single track will obviously have fewer knobs than those found on a tenacious all-mountain tire.
Bicycle Tires and Tubes for Road Bikes and Cross Bikes
Road racing bicycles and cyclo-cross bikes use the same size of wheel, and thus the same size of tire. However, tires for cross bikes will have more tread to deal with the roughness of cyclo-cross courses.
Road bike cyclists tend to lean towards lightness when purchasing tires in order to complement the overall lightness of the bike. Depending on your priorities, road tires can be purchased for as little as $15/tire, with durability being the priority. For weight-conscious riders, much lighter racing tires can be purchased for around $60-70/tire.
Bicycle Tires and Tubes for Cyclo-Cross
The sport of cyclo-cross racing has gained in popularity, and along with this popularity the need for sturdy wheels has also increased.
Tubular tires are popular in cyclo-cross, as these tires can be run as lower pressures without as much risk of suffering pinch flats. Nonetheless, a clincher with an aggressive tread will be more than adequate.
Where to Buy Bicycle Tires and Tubes?
If you are interested in buying bicycle tires and tubes you can buy them in one of these trusted online stores: