Buying Bike Tyres

January 30, 2014
Buying Bike Tyres

Bicycle Tyres Overview

Before buying bicycle tyres, you will need to check the bicycle tyre size you require and consider what style of riding you are planning on doing.

Tyre Tread Guide

Tyres have variations in width and tread patterns that allow for the different riding styles and road surfaces. This is especially true for BMX and mountain bikes as there are many variations and riding styles that can be performed. The information below should assist you in selecting the right style of tread pattern for your riding.

Minimal Tread (Slicks)

These tyres are mostly used for Free-style BMX riding and Road riding, specifically road bikes. If most of your riding time is spent on the road, it is better to have a tyre with minimal tread or slicks because they will allow the bike to glide along the road easily. Slick tyres also give you greater grip and handling on the road, making riding much more efficient, comfortable and safer.

Knobby / Jagged Tread (Off-Road)

Generally used for off road riding, specifically riders who spend less time on the road and more time in the dirt and bush tracks. Jagged tread will help the bike grip in rough unpredictable terrain and will give you better control of the bike.

Outside Jagged Tread

The outside jagged tread generally has minimum amounts of tread in the middle with more jagged tread formed on the outer sides of the tyre. These tyres are great for commute and social riders who do a bit of everything on and off the road. They have enough traction for everyday riding, but will lose traction under extreme pressures.

Buying the Right Size

Once you have determined the style of tyre, you have to ensure that you are buying the right size for your wheel. The easiest way to do this is to read the side of the tyres that are currently on your bike which should have their dimensions written on them. Common tyre sizes are;

  • BMX 20 x 1.95"
  • Mountain Bike 26 x 1.95"
  • Road Bike 700 x 23cm The first number indicates the wheel size and the second number represents the width of the tyre.

Why Pay More for Tyres?


More expensive knobby tyres will have advanced tread patterns which will give even greater handling. They will also have a higher thread per inch ratio. The more threads per inch the better the tyre will perform and handle.


Paying more for slick tyres can have a number of advantages such as being light weight, faster and greater tread per inch. Also, the softer rubber will provide greater grip and handling. This dual compound tyre, with harder rubber in the centre and softer rubber on the sides, will give you a bicycle tyre that is fast and durable with good grip.