Road bike Tires versus Mountain Bike tires

Bike tires are not unlike sneakers – there are so many kinds for different types of exercise, from commuting, to road racing and then to mountain biking. You might see a set of road racing tires on a mountain bike and vice versa – the type of the tire one uses depends more on where one uses the bike, and not necessarily on what kind of bike it is.

Types of Tires

We can find two basic kinds of tires – mountain tires and road tires. Mountain tires are usually wider and they have a knobby tread, while the road tires are narrow with hardly any tread at all. But there are a lot of different nuances among these two types – according to best hybrid bikes under 500 on, there are cyclist out there who use their mountain bikes in the streets and there are special tires designed for this type of individuals called mountain bike road tires. They are narrower than your classic mountain bike tire and they have less tread, like road tires do. There are also examples when bike commuters have to cross some demanding and uneven terrain from point A to point B and this requires a knobbier, wider tire.

Tread Types

This is how knobby tread patterns work: they hook into uneven spots or mud in the terrain and prevent slippage of the tire. This is why tires designed for the city roads have hardly any tread at all . it usually not necessary. However, tire producers usually put a minimum amount of tread even on road tires, just to relax new cycles and improve their feeling of safety. Usually cyclist think that a certain amount of tread will help on wet roads, but according to the late Sheldon Brown’s website, tires with tread will slip as much as the ones without it on wet roads.

Tire Width

According to Brown’s website, wide tires don’t need as much air pressure as the narrower road tires. In order for your tire to give its max, it should, according to Brown, bulge out just a bit when you’re seated on your bike. If this is not the case, then you probably overinflated and need to let out a little air, or it might burst under pressure. Wider tires usually give you a more comfortable ride, because there is a larger rubber surface hitting the road, meaning that it absorbs vibration and bumps on the road. On the other hand, narrow tires are faster, but a bit less comfortable to ride.

Bike tires Size


The size of mountain bike tires is measured in inches and the most common diameter for this type of tires is 26 inches. But its not only the diameter matters – there is also the width of your tire. A tire with a 26 inch diameter is 1.25 inches wide. The most common width for mountain bike tires is between 1.25 inches for the road and 2.5 inches for serious mountain biking. As for the road bike tires, they are measured in millimeters (the metric system). Their standard size is 700×23 mm – this means that the diameter is 700mm, and the width is 23mm. Their sizes go from 700×18 to 700×38.

What the experts say

When asked to choose the size of the tires on your bike, you would normally use the same size on the front and the rear, right? Well, not necessarily. According to Sheldon Brown, if you want to be comfortable, you should have a wider tire at the front, because this is where road bumps hit first. You will be both comfortable and more secure. On the other hand, when riding off-road, you should always have a knobby front tire. If your front tire is without tread, your bike will be prone to skidding on the trail and this might lead to a fall.