How to Buy Bicycle Tires

How to Buy Bicycle Tires
Purchasing bike tires can be a daunting task. For one, there are so many different types available--and they're covering in potentially confusing labels and numbers and symbols. The truth is, buying bicycle tires is really a piece of cake--if you know a few simple things. Here's how.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to Buy Bicycle Tires

Step 1
Go to a bicycle shop. If you are reading this how-to, chances are you aren't a bicycle tire expert--and therefore may not be in the best position to purchase tires over the Internet. You'll want to discuss your own situation with an expert. Your local expert: the person running that bicycle shop.
Step 2
Discuss different attachments with the bicycle shop salesman. Tires (the rubber part) attach to a bicycle wheel (the metal part) generally in three ways. First, there are clinchers, the most common type, which "clinch" into place underneath the rim of the wheel, making it easy to gain access to the inflated inner tube beneath. Second, there are sew-ups, tires in which the inner tube is literally sewn into place, and which are then glued firmly to the wheel itself. Unless you are planning on becoming a professional, sew-ups probably aren't for you. Third, there are composite forms of these two, usually with the inner tube sewed up inside the tire but connected to the wheel the way clinchers are. For most people, clinchers are the way to go.
Step 3
In consultation with the salesman, select the appropriate tire size. A standard road bike employs tires sized at 700x23c. The first number provides the circumference of the wheel, while the second provides the width of the wheel. If your bike is a triathlon bike, it may require smaller wheels. Some older models require larger ones.
Step 4
Carefully select the appropriate rim width. This is crucial, since damage to your rim can be both expensive and dangerous. Your tire width will depend on the size of your rims, so be sure to have this information available to discuss with the salesman (or, better yet, bring your whole bike).
Step 5
Select the chosen tire and pay for it at the checkout counter.

Article Written By William Jackson

William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. He holds a master's degree in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.

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