How to Choose Bicycle Tire

How to Choose Bicycle Tire | Buyers Guide 2022

While purchasing a bike, we pay a lot of attention to the frame, weight, and other compositions. Unfortunately, while doing so, we often forget about the tires, which is not a good sign.

To enjoy the best performance, you must also incorporate an excellent set of tires on your bike.

And to find the best one, in this article - how to choose bicycle tire, we have discussed every little aspect you must know about this bike component so that buying the right one never feels easier.

How to Choose Bicycle Tire: Everything You Should Know

Anatomy of a Bike Tire

Before buying, you must know everything about it. Knowing anatomy is crucial because it will affect your tires performance, comfort, and durability.

Anatomy of a Bike Tire


In simple words, bead is the lipped edge of the tire that is situated inside your rims. It is typically made from wire or kevlar and varies.

While inexpensive tires come with wire beads, the more expensive high-end ones feature Kevlar ones for premium experiences.

Moreover, you should note that the clincher and tubeless tire comes with beads that grab the tire onto the rim. You must also know that clincher with kevlar beads are usually called 'folding' tires.


The casing is the building block of your bicycle tire. It helps connect the beads and provides sufficient resistance from stretch to keep the air inside while keeping itself on the riding surface. Casing are usually made from nylon, cotton, or silk to ensure phenomenal service to you.

It is measured in 'threads per inch' or shortly known as 'TPI.' While tires with higher TPI counts ensure a more comfortable, bump-free ride with excellent rolling resistance, it doesn’t provide the best puncture protection.

On the other hand, a tire with relatively lower TPI won’t offer incredible rolling resistance; however, it will ensure long-lasting by providing superior puncture protection during your rides.


As the name suggests, a sidewall is the side of the tire. Even though it is a part of the casing, this component doesn’t touch the ground and therefore, it is super thin and not so sturdy.

Another aspect of the sidewall is that it contains all the information. You will find everything in one place for maximum convenience, from the wheel and tire size to the recommended pressure.


A sub-tread is an additional part of a tire and beneath the actual tread to provide additional safety and security. This extra layer helps stop any sharp objects from puncturing and releasing all the air.

However, not all come with a protective sub-tread. The tires that incorporate this tread will mention it on the label.


Tread is the outermost rubber part that meets the road surface. Therefore, the weight and controllability largely depend on the thread count.

If the tires are more treaded, it’s more weighted, affecting maneuverability.

Bike Tire Types

As there are different types of bicycles, there are different types of tires to suit their needs. So let’s discuss the different types for better understanding.

Mountain Bike Tires

Mountain Bike Tires

As the name suggests, these are exclusively used for mountain bicycles. The “not so highly inflated” tires come with wide knobs on the tread to provide excellent traction on off the road ridings.

They also grip well on any irregular terrains including rocks, dirt, sand, and other rough surfaces. The main purpose of mtb tires is to ensure better traction and comfort rather than providing higher speed.

Commuter Bike Tires

Commuter Bike Tires

The commuter tires are used for urban or commuter riding. Surprisingly enough, these have more tread than racing bicycles tires.

The increased tread is to provide better traction and grip to slippery city road surfaces to avoid accidents or any unfortunate events. However, before getting these, make sure that the tread is not as high; otherwise, they might slow down your bike.

Road Bike Tires

Road Bike Tires

Racing bike or road bike tires are specially designed to use on smooth road surfaces easily. And that’s why; these don’t have any tread and features a super smooth surface so that they can roll on the pavement at high speed.

As there is no tread, the tires experience less traction or friction on the road, allowing them to speed fast.

Gravel Bike & Cyclocross Tires

Gravel Bike & Cyclocross Tires

The gravel bike and Cyclocross tires are a relatively new addition to the tire family. It is a clever cross between a road and mountain tire to provide you the best of both.

These feature lower-profile tread patterns in the center of the tire and more aggressive knobs outside for better rolling resistance and tractions through turns.

What to Pay Attention When Choosing Your Best Bike Tires?

There are different types and qualities of tires available in the market to fit your bike perfectly. However, if you want the perfect one, you must keep in mind the following: finding the best ones is as easy as a b c.

Determining Your Tire Size

When you are planning to install a new pair, the first thing you must consider is the size. If the size is not perfect, then there are high chances that you won’t enjoy the best riding experience and might even face an accident.

To find out the exact size, you need to look at the side of the tire where the sizing is written. Usually come in sizes like 26 x 1.5; 26 x 2.0; 700 x 25c and 27 x 1 1/4.

Tire Width: What Width Do You Want?

Once you know the size, it’s now time to look at the tire width. Once you look inside, you would see that the sizing is written something like 26×2.10 or 29×2.25.

While the first number is the size, the second number is width in inches. The one you will choose entirely depends on your preference and the riding conditions you intend to ride on.

Tread Type

The tread type differs from type to type. While some come with a super smooth tread surface, others feature subtle to heavy tread to serve their purposes.

For starters, ‘slicks’ or tires with smooth tread offer the highest surface area with the ground when you are riding on smooth surfaces. They also provide excellent rolling resistance and grip.

On the other hand, tires that offer a bit improved grip on the riding surfaces come with a subtle tread pattern, whereas tires with increased tread provide incredible puncture protection but cut back in the speed.

Tire Durability

The durability of any tire depends on your riding style and the type of surface you are riding on. On average, last up to 1,000km to 10,000km.

However, depending on the road surface, the riding conditions, overall load, and tire pressure, your bicycle tires can suffer from wear and tear and age prematurely.

You might need to replace them to enjoy the best riding experience.

Riding Style

The tire you should choose also depends largely on your riding style. If you enjoy city road riding at a relatively high speed, getting smooth tires with no tread would be the right choice.

On the other hand, if you love off-road ridings and often go on adventures with your bicycle, incorporating a wide knob tread tire would prove safe yet effective for you.

Tire Weight

Weight matters a lot. This is because if you mount a relatively heavyweight tire, it will increase the bicycles total weight, affecting its maneuverability a lot.

Heavyweight bicycles are difficult to control and don’t provide the best speed. Try to find tires that would not only serve your purpose but are also lightweight.

How to Get the Right Bike Tire Type (Tread)

Getting the right type of tread is extremely important as it affects the overall bicycles performance. Let’s discuss the different types of tires in terms of tread for an elaborate understanding.

Knobby Mountain Bike Tire

Mountain bicycles usually use tires that come with knobs on the surface. The knob density may vary and with each varying type, the performance also varies.

For instance, tires that come with closely packed knobs are extremely suitable for smooth, dry riding surfaces, while the ones with widely-spaced knobs offer incredible control and convenience in both muddy and loose dirt riding conditions.

Road-bike Tire Types

The different types of road bicycle tires that you must know about are:

Slick Tires

Stick don’t have any tread on them. Instead, the tire's smooth surface helps you gain unhindered rolling speed on smooth surfaces for the best riding experience.

Semi-slick Tires

The semi-slick are a clever combination of both treaded and non-treaded tires. While its center is super smooth for fast-rolling, the sides are aggressively treaded to offer great help with cornering.

Inverted Tread Tires

Designed for rough terrain ridings, the inverted tread tires are specially designed to combine rolling speed and the grip on the riding surface.

Tread Direction

As the name suggests, the directional tread tires have a tread pattern specially designed to rotate in only one direction, which means that they will provide amazing speed and resistance on the road.

Other Bike Tire Options

In addition to the primary types of bicycle tires, there are also some other options that you must know about. The other options are as follows:

Tubeless Bike Tires

You might have guessed that tubeless bike tires don’t have any tubes incorporated in them from the name. Instead, they are sealed directly onto the rim and are inflated to provide an excellent rolling experience sans the tube.

Tubeless Bike Tires

This type of bike tire is extremely popular among professional riders because of its incredible performance during riding.

However, because of their lack of everyday functionality, tubeless tires are less popular among recreational riders and are not used in urban or commuter bikes in general.

Puncture-resistant Bike Tires

If you want durability and security while riding on off-road surfaces, getting puncture-resistant bicycle tires is the best option for you.

Puncture-resistant Bike Tires

These are usually incorporate a tougher and thicker outer surface so that gravels or other sharp objects cannot penetrate through them as easily and inflate them in the middle of the road.

Foldable Bike Tires

Foldable Bike Tires

Unlike others with a wire bead, the folded tires come with a Kevlar® bead to keep the weight light and easy folding. Riders tend to prefer this bicycle over others is mainly because of the weight and its folding capability.

You can easily turn it into a compact size and carry it with you anywhere you go without much of an effort or inconvenience.

Tubes vs. Tubeless Tires

While some mountain bike tires are labeled as tubeless, others come with tubes inside them. The tubeless tires are attached directly to the rim and are extremely suitable for professional riders tubeless wheel set up.

On the other hand, tubeless uses an inner tube that is sewn perfectly to provide you the convenience of riding yours without losing control, even when the tire fell flat and requires air.

Wire Vs. Folding Bead Bike Tires

The main difference between a folding bead bike tire and a wire tire is only the tire beads construction material. While the wired one come with wired beads inside them, the folding ones include beads made from high-quality synthetic fibers like Kevlar.

Kevlar is an extremely durable material that offers incredible flexibility so it folds easily without suffering from any cracks or breaks.

When to Replace Bike Tires?

It is essential to know when to replace your tires. If its  not worn and torn enough, changing them won’t be a good idea.

On the other hand, if you don’t change the damaged ones, there are high possibilities that you might face several unfortunate events.

Mountain Bike Tires

Besides the fact that your tire is not having the same traction and control as before, there are few other indications to replace.

When the tires start showing bulges in some spots and their knobs are not as tall and sharp as they were before, you should know that it's high time you get a new set for your MTB.

Road Bike Tires

Telling you whether to change your road bike tires is very easy. Aside from the falling flat, other signs that indicate it’s now time to mount a new set of tires are cuts and cracks and bald treads.

Whenever the tires start showing signs of cracks and cuts and cannot hold the air pressure, change them immediately to keep you safe from accidents and enjoy an excellent riding session.

What is Bike Tire TPI? Why Does It Matter?

Tire TPI or Treads per Inch is the measurement of the number of threads incorporated in one tire casing inch.

The lower the number of TPI, the larger the gauge cords in the tire's casing, which means becomes more durable and can endure almost any road surface.

On the other hand, it is more lightweight when a tire has a high TPI and ensures a higher speed comparatively. The tire TPI is a vital feature to consider as it determines the overall bicycles performance and comfort.

Wrapping Up

Nothing can replace the importance of tires in a bicycle. An excellent set of tires not only provides phenomenal riding experiences but at the same time, also ensures the comfort, control, and maneuverability of the bicycle.

And now that you know how to choose bicycle tire, we hope that your future rides will be as enjoyable as you want them to be.

About the Author Zachary Anderson

Hi, I am Zach who is behind I am a fitness geek. I love to ride bicycle regularly to be fit everyday. In winter when riding is impossible in cold then I love to workout at home using indoor exercise equipment. I also love to write in blog to share my knowledge in cycling & workout segment. I hope my articles will help you to be fit in any weather.Thanks!

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