Tyres are one of the most essential variables in deciding how your bike rides, aside from the chassis. Do you need the most grip or the most speed? Perhaps a mix of the two? Or is it possible that puncture resistance is crucial? Some of these questions will assist you in selecting the proper rubber.
Width – Size – Volume
Tyres may appear to be a simple ring of rubber, but they are sized extremely precisely. Let’s get started.
The diameter is the first consideration. Because this is set for each wheel, you must get a tyre with the same diameter as yours.
Mountain bikes are commonly measured in inches (26″, 27.5″, or 29″), but road and cyclocross bikes are frequently 700c (an old term from the early days of cycling). So far, so straightforward.
Next comes width, which is where things become complicated. You may alter the width of the tyre to fit your riding style to some extent. A better surface area of contact with the road or path means more traction (or grip).
Wider tyres equal more volume, and more volume equals more comfort. The increased rubber volume allows impacts to be spread more efficiently, resulting in reduced vibration.
More breadth, on the other hand, implies more rubber, which means more weight, and more surface area on the ground equals more drag.
You must also consider your bike’s clearance. A wide cyclocross tyre will not fit on a road bike, just as a super-wide fat tyre would not fit on a mountain bike.
Finally, think about the width of your rims.
When a broad tyre is mounted on a narrow rim, the desired form of the tyre is altered, and the rubber becomes unstable. A small tyre on a large rim will also be strained, resulting in a bad riding quality.
So there’s a lot to consider. Here are some basic guidelines:
- Diameter is unavoidable; get the same diameter as your wheel.
- Width is a personal choice, but keep in mind the limitations of your rims and frame to ensure the tyre fits properly.
- Choosing a width entails choosing what you want your tyre to do, such as:
You’re looking for a road racing tyre. Stay thin if you need to lose weight at the sacrifice of comfort: 700 x 23 or 700 x 25
You need a commuting tyre. You require comfort, grip, and dependability, as well as efficiency: 700 x 32 or 700 x 35
You’re looking for a long-distance off-road tyre. You’ll need something light but with a lot of grips: 2.1″ to 2.3″ broad
You need a tyre for technical off-road riding. Maximum grip is required: 2.4″ to 2.8″ broad
Unfortunately, for most of us, signalling back to the team vehicle and replacing a tire in the case of a puncture isn’t an option, thus a puncture-resistant tyre is required.
Most tyres will include extra puncture protection in the form of a sub-tread layer, a puncture prevention belt, or more rubber. Sharp objects such as glass, tacks, and thorns cannot penetrate the tube and cause a flat using these hard-wearing chemicals. Manufacturers strive to design a puncture prevention layer that is efficient without adding excessive weight or reducing a tyre’s rolling resistance.
There are a few things you can do to avoid punctures in addition to the built-in puncture safety measures.
Under-inflated tyres are more likely to puncture, so stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Check for foreign items
It’s a good practice to check your tyres on a regular basis for any foreign things that may have become embedded throughout your travel.
These little fragments may not cause a puncture right away, but they will make their way through the tyre and into the tube over time, finally producing a flat. It’s time for a new tyre if the item has produced a hole large enough to view the casing fibres.
Replace worn tyres
We’ll go through how to check for worn tyres below, which is crucial because worn tyres are more likely to puncture. Foreign items can pierce through the tire and cause a puncture when the tread wears down.
That’s why it is crucial to regularly check on your tyres, especially during the hot season as the tyres tend to deflate when staying in the sun for too long. Keep your bikes covered in the garage or any place that will hide them from the bad weather.
If you are looking, on the other hand, to buy a pair of new bike tyres you can visit some of the bike stores that offer a range of different tyres that will suit your bike the best. You can also visit some popular bike sales and look for the tyres you require.
Piles & Compound
Now that you’ve decided on a size, it’s time to consider construction. Rubber isn’t homogeneous; it comes in a variety of strengths, ranging from tougher to softer compositions, and commonly in a range of 70 to 40 (for bike tyres).
For commuting, having a long-lasting tyre with durable rubber to defend against punctures would be beneficial (60-70). A softer compound might be ideal for mountain riding to offer greater traction (40-50).
Rubber plies, or layers, are used to make tyres. To achieve a happy medium between durability and traction, a dual-ply tyre could utilize a hard compound below a soft compound.
To guard against sharp things, a manufacturer may incorporate a puncture-resistant layer between plies. Commuting or road tyres are the most common places to find them.
So, what have we discovered? A soft compound rubber is gripping, but it wears out quickly and makes pedalling seem slower (or harder).
A strong compound rubber will last longer and defend against punctures, but it will provide less traction. Plies are constructed to provide various riding qualities.
First and foremost, tread. A chunky tread will provide better traction off-road, whereas a shallower tread will roll faster.
Knobs are shaped to roll easily or offer traction while also shedding dirt and debris. More than anyplace else, this is where you must choose your priorities and how you want your bike to operate.
Some tread patterns, such as the Maxxis Minion DHF and High Roller, have become well-known owing to their excellent design.
Many off-road tyre tread patterns are quite similar, and only minor design differences can make a significant impact on the terrain.
It’s a little easier on the road because the only tread you’ll likely encounter is extremely shallow grooves designed to displace water on rainy roads.
Is it better to tube or not to tube?
We could create a whole tutorial on tubeless tires, but let’s start with the basics. Most bicycles come with sealed rubber inner tubes that fit between the tyre and the rim. They push the tyre out to the desired pressure when inflated.
Tubeless is a tire-to-rim technology that eliminates the need for a tube inside the tyre. This is accomplished by using a sealer to keep the system airtight.
To utilize this method, you’ll need a tubeless-specific tyre and rim, however, you may also use regular tyres with these rims and a tube with tubeless tyres.
Why would you want to go tubeless? Consider the following advantages and disadvantages:
- If a sharp item pierces the tyre, the tube will not explode, and the sealant will frequently seal the hole while you ride.
- Tyres may be run at lower pressures since the inner tube will not pinch and split (great for MTB).
- The tyre can more readily bend to the terrain without an inner tube, providing superior grip and comfort.
- Tubeless tyres might be more difficult to install and replace when using a sealant.
- Tubeless tyres are often more expensive than regular tyres, and if the sealant fails to seal a puncture, it can be difficult to replace.
The main fact is that tubeless tires provide a superior ride for performance riding, whether on or off-road. Especially for mountain riding, tubeless tires should be considered. A regular tyre and tube will be enough for pleasure cycling, commuting, and another ordinary riding.
Another consideration in the search for the perfect tyre is the pressure to use. Tubeless tyres allow you to use lower pressures while maintaining the same rolling resistance. The appropriate pressure, on the other hand, may make or break a ride: too low and it will feel like hard labour; too high and you will lose grip.
Low pressures are often used for mountain riding to ensure optimal traction on slick rocks and roots. It’s all about obtaining a comfortable pressure for road cycling. On a mountain bike, aim for 27-32 psi (with a bit extra in the rear tyre), and on a road bike, aim for 80-100 psi, depending on your choice. A pressure gauge is an excellent tool for serious riders to verify that their bike is properly set up.
Resistance to rolling
The resistance of the tyres when they touch the road is known as rolling resistance. The deformation of the tyre as it adapts to the road surface and its minor undulations is the most important component determining rolling resistance.
Higher pressures can be utilized on a road tyre that predominantly covers flat surfaces since there will be less distortion and resistance.
Lower pressures are advantageous on the routes of Paris-Roubaix, where cyclists must race on ancient, cobblestone roads.
Softer tyres adapt to the terrain in this circumstance, resulting in less vertical movement and greater forward movement.
All of the parameters we’ve mentioned – tyre width, pressure, construction, and tread pattern – have an impact on a tyre’s rolling resistance, therefore the challenge for manufacturers is to design a tyre that excels in each of these categories, or excels in one or two specialized areas, such as race tyres.
Tubeless tyres, on average, have lower rolling resistance than clinchers. This is primarily due to the removal of all friction between the tube and the tyre. Furthermore, tubeless tyres are known for providing a soft riding feel due to their ability to run lower tyre pressures than clinchers.
As you could see, there is a variety of factors that affect the quality and durability of any tyre so make sure you follow every little step to provide proper maintenance. We hope this article will widen your picture and provide you with bigger knowledge about the tires, as well as help you in choosing the best tyres and making your bike even better than it was.