Comprehensive guide of bike tires – how to recognize and choose

Comprehensive guide of bike tires - how to recognize and choose

Bicycle is one of the most successful means of transportation invented by human beings.

Bicycles can take us to see the world, see the great mountains, ride to any place we want to go, challenge ourselves, surpass ourselves and realize our dreams.

The first thing to do when traveling, riding and exercising is to check the condition of the bike.

Bike tires are the first item to be checked, and they are also the most likely to cause problems.

Bike tires are mainly divided into two parts: mountain bike and road bike tires. The former type include semi slick, off-road, off-road speed and fat bike tires, the latter include clincher, vacuum and tubed bike tires.

Like comparing road bike speed vs mountain bike speed before, today we mainly compare two types of bike tires, road bike tires and mountain bike tires. What are the differences? 

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Mountain bike tires

    Different types of bikes suit different kinds of bike tires.

    Mountain bike tires are roughly divided into four categories based on width, teeth, etc.

    Semi slick bike tires

    The width of these bike tires is mostly between 1.75-3.0 (unit: inch), such as the common 26*1.95, 26*2.1, 26*2.35, etc.

    Due to different wheel diameters, 20-inch, 24-inch, 27.5-inch and 29-inch also have these specifications, which are characterized by wider tires and deeper tooth patterns.

    Look at the picture to understand.

    The general width of this tire is between 1.5 inches and 1.95 inches, suitable for urban roads, dirt roads, mountain roads and other road conditions.

    Light weight, low rolling resistance, energy saving.

    Semi slick bike tires

    Off-road mountain bike tires

    If you are familiar with this tire, you will know that it is the pattern of K1047, width 1.75 inches-2.1 inches, city roads, mountains, light off-road can be suitable for most road conditions.

    Off-road mountain bike tires

    Off-road speed bike tires

    Look at this wind, exaggerated, the height of each tooth is about 10mm.

    This kind of tire is generally used for off-road, mountain speed, basically some soft tail car with good grip, a certain impact effect, resistance, the width is generally 2.25 inches – 3.0 inches, vacuum tires or quasi-vacuum tires.

    Off-road speed bike tires

    Fat bike tires

    The width of these bike tires is mostly 3.0-4.5 inches. The tooth pattern is not large, unlike the exaggerated tooth marks of the speed tires.

    The main feature is wide, suitable for beach, snow and other roads, like beach cruiser bike. These bike tires are also vacuum and quasi vacuum two.

    There is another kind of tire used on shaped bikes, such as unicycles, skilled acrobatic bikes, etc.

    These tires are often different from the specifications and parameters of the above four types of bike tires to meet special needs, and are relatively rare.

    Fat bike tires

    Road bike tires

    The reason for the rise of road bikes is probably the ease of transportation and people’s love of speed.

    By this year, the world’s most famous cycling event, the Tour de France, has gone through 100 years, starting with the first edition in 1903, and has grown through a century of hardships to become the most prominent focus of the cycling world.

    With the rise of road bikes and the progress of the times, the types of road bike tires also appear diversified and technological characteristics.

    According to the structure, they can be divided into tubed tires, vacuum tires, open tires, according to the surface pattern of bald tires, semi-gloss tires (rain special), according to the size of 700 * 23C, 700 * 25C, 700 * 28C, 700 * 32C (for off-road bicycles).

    Today, we mainly know about clincher tires, vacuum tires and tubed tires.

    Clincher bike tires

    Clincher tires are the most commonly used outer tires, which need to be fitted with inner tubes, and there are two types of wire tires or folding tires.

    Wire tires and folding tires are the most obvious features of the appearance of wire tires that can not be folded.

    Of course, the structure of the two is also very different, wire tires have better ground grip and high-speed stability, folding tires are light weight, no hard edge, easy to carry and replace, but the price is higher.

    Both tires are the same for the wheelset, and the wheelset supporting the wire tires also supports the folding tires.

    Clincher bike tires

    Vacuum bike tires

    The most important feature of this tire is that it does not require an inner tube.

    The vacuum tire eliminates the installation of the inner tube and fills with self-replacing fluid, so that it can make up for leaks in time when it encounters smaller perforations while riding.

    In a sense that the outer vacuum tire is more puncture resistant than the open tire.

    Since there is no inner tube setting, there is no need to worry about the risk of tire breakage when the tire pressure is too low, so you can get better comfort by lowering the tire pressure appropriately.

    Vacuum bike tires have a distinctive letter mark – TUBELESS READY, and need to be used with self-supplementing fluid and real air nozzles, and must support vacuum tire wheelsets, which also have the TUBELESS letter mark.

    Vacuum bike tires

    Mountain bike outer tires also have vacuum outer tires. Some riders do not know how to use vacuum tires and vacuum wheels. Please follow the following combinations.

    ① Vacuum outer tire + inner tube + vacuum wheelset or vacuum wheelset
    ② vacuum outer tire + self-replacing fluid + vacuum wheelset

    Tubed bike tires

    There is no traditional sense of inner and outer tires, or you can say it is a combination of inner and outer tires into one.

    It relies on inflation pressure to keep the tread shape on the opposite side of the laminated surface, which is equivalent to combining the inner and outer tires together, and can also be seen as only the inner tire.

    The biggest advantage of this tire is its low weight, which has long been recognized as the golden choice for race-grade road bikes.

    With the advantage of light weight, the wheels are also very lightweight, compared to clincher tires that are more resistant to the risk of tyre breakage.

    Tube bike tires

    Disadvantages are also more difficult to install, impossible to repair quickly, and more expensive.

    Buying a tubed tire still requires wheel set support to install, but also has some hands-on ability to achieve perfect installation.


    Three types of bike tires are used as follows:

    With tubed tires, the air chamber is completely enclosed inside the tire.

    Clincher tires require an inner tube to hold the gas. And vacuum tires are air chambers themselves and need to be matched with specialized vacuum tire rims.

    In other words, the tire must be selected according to the existing rim.

    Tubed tires need special rims; vacuum tires have special rims, which can also be used with inner tubes and clincher tires.

    Clincher tires rims can be used with inner tubes plus clincher tires or inner tubes plus vacuum tires.

    Pros and cons of these bike tires

    The advantages and disadvantages of these three types of outer bike tires: clincher tires: the biggest advantage is that the price is cheap, easy to repair tires.

    The disadvantage is that the road is worse, easy to tie the tire, the advantages of vacuum tires are comfortable and safe, but not convenient to repair the tire.

    If the tire wound is larger, you can only change the tire.

    The advantage of the tubed tire is excellent shock absorption performance, allowing higher maximum inflation pressure, lightweight, the disadvantage is expensive, installation is also not convenient.

    Hi, I'm an experienced writer about mechanic and an expert on bike and e-bike tech who appreciates practical, beautifully-engineered things. And of course, I love cycling.
    Related posts

    SAMEBIKE electric bike blog, where you will find all articles about cycling tips, as well as some reviews and newsletters about e-bikes.



    Video Gallery
    Contact Form Demo
    Scroll to Top


    Complete control over product allows usto ensure our customers receive the bestquality prices and service. We take greatpride in everything that we do.