All About Bicycle Tire: A Beginner’s Guide


All About Bicycle Tire: A Beginner’s Guide

For first-time bike enjoyers, one of the most important elements is a bicycle tire. For different types of bikes, there are different types of tires too. It’s not just a round thing that gets your bike going from place to place. It is a pivotal aspect since it could affect the comfort of your bike. It also provides suspension and generates forces that could balance and turn the bike. Here’s everything you need to know about bicycle tires.

Bicycle Tyre
Bicycle Tyre

Bicycle Tires Materials

Bicycle Tires Materials, The first thing that you need to know about bicycle tires is that they consist of rubber-impregnated cloth casing, also known as carcass. On the surface, there’s additional rubber namely the tread that helps your bike to have a grip on the ground. This thread is made of natural as well as synthetic rubber that  includes some kind of fillers. The characteristic black color of a bicycle tire comes from the fillers which contain carbon black and silica. 

The fillers also determine the use of the bike. It determines the characteristics of the tire such as traction (wet or dry), time usage, rolling resistance, and even cost. It might also include oils or other lubricants that act as a softener. Even Sulphur as well as zinc oxide for vulcanization. Some tires might also have dual-compound tread that makes them tougher in the middle but also have grippier edges.

Different use of bikes means different tread patterns. For on-road use, the pattern is smooth with little traction. For off-road use, the treads are knobby to improve tractions in soft soil. The pattern in a bicycle tire is omnidirectional. Meaning it can be installed in either orientation. However, it is also possible for tires to be unidirectional and even specified for front or rear wheels only.

Bicycle Tire Sizes

Bicycle Tire Sizes, According to International Standard ISO 5775, bicycle tires are displayed through the tire’s width followed by the diameter of the tire’s bead or rim both in millimeters. This size marking system is also known as ETRTO or Europe Tire and Rim Technical Organization. It creates professional measurement of tire circumferences. This was initiated because many countries use their own size standards for tire manufacturing and creating worldwide confusion, especially for bike companies.

Common bicycle tire sizes are listed below:

  • On-road and track tire use 700c × 23 mm – 32 mm
  • Gravel and mixed surface use 700c × 35 mm – 50 mm
  • Small road bikes use 650b × 23 mm – 25 mm
  • Cross country MTB use 26” × 2.1” – 2.3”, 27.5” × 2.1” – 2.3”, or 29” × 2.1” – 2.3”
  • Trail bike use 26” × 2.3” – 2.5”, 27.5” × 2.3” – 2.5”, or 29” × 2.3” – 2.5” 
  • Downhill bike use 26” × 2.4” – 2.6”, 27.5” × 2.4” – 2.6”, or 29” × 2.4” – 2.6”

If you are wondering what 700c or 650b is, and why they use different metrics, here are some explanations.

On the first standard, there are 3 different size markings. ISO, inch markings, and French. French size markings for bicycle tires are divided into three different widths. The narrowest tire is code A and the widest tire is code D.

However, 700c doesn’t mean that the width of the tire is 700 mm. In fact, it is 622 mm and considered type 622. The letter that follows the measurement usually is taken away, but it’s important to differentiate between bicycle tire sizes. For example, if you have a 650c rim, buying a 650b tire will not fit.

When you want to replace your bike tires, you don’t actually need to measure them. You can check on the side of the tire for the tire’s diameter and width. If you can’t find it, you can measure it with a tape measure. Or if you are buying the body of a bike with no tire, you can measure the wheel rim diameter. 

Bicycle Tire Types

Bicycle Tire Types, There are three most common bicycle tire types that you can find in the market.

  • Clincher – These types of tire use steel wire or Kevlar fiber bead that interlocks inside the tube of the rim. However, the inner tube is specified for each size of tire. You will need a tube that matches your tire diameter and width.
  • Tubeless – As the name states, this type doesn’t use an inner tube to stay inflated. They use a tire sealant that creates an airtight seal around the bead once it is inflated.
  • Tubular – This one is the type you find in older bikes. In tubular types, bicycle tires are glued to the rim. It is also used for road racers and cyclocross riders.

Bicycle Tire Valves

Bicycle Tire Valves, Not only types and sizes of bicycle tire valves, also have some variations that you need to know. Here is the full list.

  • Schrader Valves

    If you are looking for a valve with size variation, you might want to check Schrader valves. It is strong with a wide valve stem and is easily replaceable with a reasonable price. This type of valve could also hold high pressures and is easy to operate.

    • Presta Valves

    Presta is the most common valve you can find in modern bikes. It is long and narrow and used to control airflow into and out of the inner tube of a bicycle. It is also made in different sizes to fit into wheels with deep-section rims. It is also thin and requires a smaller hole that can minimize weakness in the rim. This is the type of valve you want to have that makes a bicycle tire pump process easier.

    • Woods Valves

    This valve is also known as the English valve. Even though it is named the English valve, you will rarely see it around the USA and the UK. Instead, it is commonly used in Asia. It is the cheapest but heaviest valve you can find. It also has a thick valve stem and to remove it from your bicycle tire, you don’t need a special tool.

    • Tubeless Valves

    Tubeless valves only work on the tubeless wheel. It has a rubber base that helps to maintain air pressure inside the seals of a wheel’s rim. Commonly, you will need to add sealant liquid that will be forced out in puncture holes and reseal the tire.

    That is all about the bicycle tire. You might think that you don’t need to know all of this, but it’s beneficial if you need to change your tire in the future. You can also use this information if you are thinking about modifying your bike.

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