Road Bike Tyre Guide

Road Bike tyres are massively important to every rider hitting the roads, as the only component of the bike that should ever be touching the ground - they are responsible in no small part for how the bike rides and performs. In this post, we run through some of the common features of road bike tyres, as well as some advice and tips for customers looking to replace or upgrade their road bike tyres.

Road Bike Tyre Sizes

Customers looking to replace a road bike tyre will typically fit the same size tyre that is currently on the bike. There is not a huge amount of choice between different road bike tyre sizes, and the sizing of tyres in the industry has typically been led in the past by what professionals have used and adapted as their standard tyre size.

23c, 25c and 28c are the standard tyre choices of road bike tyres, with the numbers referring to the width and height of the tyre - so a 28c tyre will be approximately 28mm tall and 28mm wide.

Racing road bikes are usually fitted with the sizes which provide the lowest rolling resistance figures - 23c or 25c. Sportive and touring road bikes typically use a 28c tyre which provides greater levels of comfort across longer distances. Wider tyres are used across some road bikes, helping deal with rougher road surfaces and 23c-40c tyres are found on Gravel Bikes.

Road Bike Tyre Tread Choices

Road Bike tyre tread does not vary as much as mountain bike tyre tread does, with a more gentle pattern being found on the tread of road bike tyres. There are different tread designs available, all of which perform differently. Slick tyres provide the least rolling resistance, and maximum grip on smoother surfaces. Wet weather and winter tyres feature grooves and patterns to aid water dispersal from the surface of the tyre.

Road Bike Tyre Compounds

The compounds of a road tyre also vary slightly. Softer road bike tyre compounds provide greater levels of grip, but they do wear down sooner and are less durable. Road bike tyres with harder compounds will wear better and last longer, but will provide less grip.

As with most things in life, the secret to success is finding a good halfway house between two extremes. Most road bike tyres combine both soft and hard compounds to provide a durable tyre which handles and performs well across the board. Typically, road bike tyres will have a harder compound running in the middle of the tyre and softer compounds at the sides for improved handling and grip in the corners.

Road Bike Tyre Protection

Flat Tyres and punctures are a common problem for road bike riders, and in recent years the bike tyre industry has placed great importance on increasing protection against punctures across a range of road bike tyres. Many road bike tyres now have an added layer underneath the tread of the tyre which can help prevent punctures, but these features add weight. Road Bike Tyres can also be tubeless, which provides extra protection.

Road Bike Tyre Tubes

Road Bike Tyres which use tubes are the standard type of bike tyre. In these tyres an inner tube is inflated within the tyre, and these tubes are the easiest way of getting air into your tyres. If you get a puncture, inner tubes can also be easily replaced.

Road Bike Tubular Tyres

Tubular tyres are commonly used in road bike racing, they are the fastest type of tyres available to buy - and are fully enclosed around the rim of the bike. They are incredible light, and do require different types of rims to be used with, which tubulars are glued onto.

Road Bike Tubeless Tyres

Originally starting out in mountain bike tyres, tubeless tyres have been growing in popularity in road cycling circles. Tubeless tyres use a sealant which solidifies when it comes into contact with the air, sealing punctures incredibly quickly. Tubeless tyres also allows for lower tyre pressures which can mean a more comfortable, and a better handling ride.

Road Bike Tyre Pressures

Tyre pressures make a massive difference to how your road bike performs and rides, and it can be difficult to understand exactly what tyre pressures to run. A higher tyre pressure will provide lower rolling resistance and greater puncture resistance, but lower tyre pressures will provide greater comfort. Heavier riders will need a higher tyre pressure, and lighter riders will get away with a lower tyre pressure.

Road Bike Tyres Online

At Westbrook Cycles, we stock and supply an excellent range of road bike tyres suitable for all riding requirements and preferences. You can view the full range here, and as always - please get in touch if you have any questions about the right road bike tyre for your needs.