If you’re the latter, should you? Well, just like most things bike related, depending on what type of biking you do, there are different tires that work best with those different scenarios. New tires are one of the best upgrades you can do to your bike. Tires wear out slowly so when you get new ones, it becomes quickly apparent how tired your old ones were. Here are a few things to think about when looking for the perfect tire.
Size – obviously, you need to be sporting the correct size tire on your bike. For mountain bikes, you’ve typically got 27.5, 29, and still the occasional 26 as diameter. You can also get a different width – 1.9” (cross country) up to 2.5” (trail and downhill) or up to a 2.8” or 3.0” which is plus size. Fat bikes will see a 4.0” or even 5.0” width tires. All of these will make your ride feel very different. The larger tires will be able to hold up to more abuse, but will not be as quick. If you’re looking at road tires, you’ll see larger numbers for the diameter and width (700 x 23). Unlike mountain bikes, road and touring bikes measure in metric. The same thought applies to these, smaller width tires will go faster, but not hold as well against unwanted road elements.
Tread – typically the more tread you have on a tire, the more grip your bike will have on the trail or road. However, the flip side of this is you will have more resistance and you won’t roll as fast. When looking at the tread, you need to balance your need for speed and the stability you require on the routes you take. With mountain bikes, there are tires that have a front or rear wheel specific treads. Front tires are created with cornering in mind, while rear wheel traction focuses on control and power. You also need to make sure they are mounted in the correct direction.
Softness (durometer) – tires can be made of one type of rubber, or a variety affecting the softness of the rubber. Soft tires have a much better grip, but they don’t have the same longevity as a harder tire. Hard tires will last you a much longer time, but don’t adapt to different surfaces as well.
Brands – every rider seems to have a preferred brand. Every brand uses different tread patterns, rubber composition (which changes the quality), durability, and performance. Doing research into the variations of each brand will help you determine which brand is the best for your type of riding. Here at CBB, we prefer Vittoria, Maxxis, and Kenda. We’ve had a great experience with these brands over the years, and trust them to suggest to customers.
Other features – many mountain bike riders opt for tubeless setups. This setup allows you to run lower tire pressure and also is more forgiving if you run over a cactus. It is also slightly lighter overall. The downside is that they are messier (and more difficult) to repair a flat on the trail. Similarly, commuters tend to run puncture-resistant tires since they are more likely to hit things in the road that would put a hole in their tires. These are slightly heavier, but with the extra insulation on the tire, there is less of a chance something will get through the tire to puncture the tube.
If you’re looking to change up your tires, come talk to us. We can help you determine which tires would be the best ones for your riding style and we can get you all set up!