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Bike Tires: What Kind Do I Need?: Different Bike Tires for Different Kinds of Bike Riding

As you shop for a bike you probably think about the size of the bike first and then the color, or maybe visa versa. Do you think about the tires? If you are a bike racer you do, if you are a mountain biker you do. If you are the average Joe picking out a bike or if you are new to cycling then tires probably haven’t crossed your mind. You probably didn’t even think about buying a tire pump for your new bike.

Believe it or not, tires are a very important part of the bike. What you are going to do with your bike will help you decide what kind of tires you need to buy for your bike. Don’t forget about this important and often neglected part of your bike.

Bike Tires: Wide or Thin?

Bike Tires Wide or Thin

If you are new to cycling you may be wondering why some bike tires are fat and thickly treaded and others are thin and seem to not have any tread at all. Typically you will see that road or racing tires are thin and have little tread while off road or mountain biking tires are thicker and have deep tread.

Why Thin and Smooth?

Road or racing bike tires are not only thin but also inflated to 100-120 psi. Road tires are made this way so the rider can get maximum speed. A thin tire inflated to that pressure means less road contact which also means less friction. Put all that together and you have a tire that will give you maximum speed.

Why Fat and Knobby

Why Fat and Knobby?

If you used a thin road bike tire off road you would find yourself getting stuck in the groves that your tires would cause in the dirt. That’s why mountain bike tires are much fatter and have better tread. They are also not inflated as much as a road tire would be.

What Do I Need?

The tread on the mountain bike tires is very grooved and knobby to give the bike better grip on dirt trails. They are not good on roads though. They create a lot of friction and thus make riding on the road harder and slower. If you are riding on the roads you need to use smooth road tires. They will grip the road better as mountain bike tires will flatten out and make it harder for you to ride.