Tyre Sizes Q&A – What Is The Standard Road Bike Tire Size?

Often overlooked, road bike tyres are one of the most important components to your road bike. However often the standard tyre sizes for your road bike can be a little confusing and unclear, in this article I am going to clear up any issues with regards to road bike tyres. Read below to find out more…

Table Of Contents

  • What Is The Standard Road Bike Tire Size?
  • What Size Of Tyres Should I Use For My Road Bike?
  • How Do I Know What Size Of a Bike Tyre To Get?
  • Why Is Getting The Standard Road Bike Tire Size Important?
  • What Is The ISO (International Organization for Standardization)?
  • How Do I Identify & Use The ISO To Get The Right Size Of Tyres?
  • How To Choose The Right Tire Size For Your Riding Style?

What Is The Standard Road Bike Tire Size?

The standard tyre size for a road bike is between 23c, 25c and 28c. These numbers refer to the actual width of the tyre. A 23c is 23mm at the tyres widest point, 25c is 25mm at the tyres widest point and a 28c is 28mm at the tyres widest point. Typically a 23c has a tyre diameter of 700mm, a 25c has a tyre diameter of 900mm and a 28c has a tyre diameter of 1200mm. 

Today’s standard tyre size for road bikes are larger and wider than older sizes which allow for greater comfort and grip when cycling your road bike. Older standard tyre sizes for road bikes were typically narrower at around 18c, which meant that you would experience less comfort and grip when riding on your road bike than today riders!

What Size Of Tyres Should I Use For My Road Bike?

If you are a little confused on what tyre size is best suited for your road bike, then it really comes down to two factors that will influence your decision. First and foremost, the road tyre that you choose has to fit the wheel size of your road bike.

The second consideration would be the level of comfort and grip that you would like from your tyre choice, typically you would have to experiment with different brands of tyres to find the right one for you. As stated before, you can very easily determine if your road bike needs a 23c, 25c and 28c size of tyre based on if it sits the wheel of your road bike.

How Do I Know What Size Of a Bike Tyre To Get For My Road Bike?

Step 1 – Identify The Size of Your Tire

The simplest and easiest way to identify the size of your road bike tyre if you don’t know already is to read the numbers on the tire’s sidewall. All bike road tyres will have a row of numbers marking indicating the size of the tyre. Usually the size should be printed on the tyre, the numbers will state the size and width of the tyre. 

If in the case the inner wall tyres have become very worn, resulting in the numbers becoming unreadable or worn off the side wall, then you can simply measure the diameter of the tire. The diameter of the tire is the most important size to determine the size of your tire 

Step 2 – Identify The inside Width of your Rim

To do this simple de-air, or let all of the air out of your tyre before removing from the metal spoked rim, next you’ll want to use a metal lever jack to remove the tyre from the rim in an easy manner. Using a measuring tape, or ruler measure inside of the rim to get the width of the rim. 

At this point you should have something that looks like this: 700X28c (Tire Diameter) & 14cm (Rim Width). This is all of the information that you need to get an accurate replacement for your road bike. For the 28c, the c” does not stand for centimeters, it’s a holdover from an old French system that designated tire sizes using the letters a, b and c.

Step 3 – Determine Your Riding Style & Tyre Choice

In some instances you will have a couple of choices of tyres to choose from, the main difference in the choices that are presented to you is the tire tread pattern. Each tire tread pattern is specifically designed for a style of rider or riding your road bike. For each of the tread patterns, there is usually a description giving you a clear explanation of the type of ridier each tyre has been specifically designed for.

Road bike tyres come in a variety of sizes and thread patterns to choose from, over time the sizes of road bike tyres is continued updated on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)(Read more below) can be another straightforward way to  better understand and regulate tire and rim sizing. 

Why Is Getting The Standard Road Bike Tire Size Important? 

So often overlooked, your tyres can affect so much of the riding experience that you will encounter on a regular basis. Getting the right tyre size for your road bike will significantly affect the amount of comfort that you will experience on a regular basis.

Getting the right tyre size for your road bike will significantly affect the level of performance that you can get from your road bike, nowadays the tyre width, tread patterns, materials and overall design of the tyre can give you a superior performance to that of a generic tyre choice. 

The design and manufacture of your road bike tyres are designed for riding on smooth and even road surfaces, the smooth asphalt, which contrasts the rutted trails that mountain bike tyres are optimised for make road tyres very much suited to road surface usage. Additionally the smooth and even road surfaces make road tyres optimised for lower surface rolling resistance and performance, the narrow profile and smooth tread patterns on a road tyres make them perfectly designed for road use.

Getting the right tyre size for your road bike will significantly help you to get a smoother, more comfortable riding experience, also Getting the right tyre size for your road bike will significantly affect the level of performance and overall safety when riding your road bike

What Is The ISO (International Organization for Standardization)?

When getting the right size of tyres for your bike, the ISO, (International Organization for Standardization) is an incredibly helpful and useful informational chart that allows you to identify the right size of tyre that needs replaced. Often cyclists will not know the sie of their bicycle tyres on the top of their head, they will often have to check their tyre rim for typical Standardization marks that then identifies their tyre size.

The Standard Road Bike ISO is an international standard for labeling the size of bicycle tires and rims. The system is designed to make tire sizing consistent and clear with international tyre suppliers 

How Do I Identify & Use The ISO To Get The Right Size Of Tyres?

Every bike tyre is designed with a very specific “bead-seat diameter”, the “bead-seat diameter” is the diameter of the tire at the bead, which is the ridge at the edge of the tire that hooks into the wheel rim.

The bead-seat diameter on your tyre has a very specific ISO (International Organization for Standardization) number that refers to the diameter, in millimeters, of the tire measured bead-to-bead. Once you have identified this number, then you can use the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) chart to identify the correct size of tyre that you need

The ISO number is almost always also indicated on the tire, in parentheses, with the tire’s width indicated first, and then the ISO number. For example, our 700c x 23mm tire would also be labeled with “23-622”. 

For Example: The ISO number for a 700c tire is 622. Each ISO number corresponds to a more general number (like 700c or 26″) that is used to indicate the tire’s size on the packaging, etc

How To Choose The Right Tire Size For Your Riding Style?

Tire sizes can be pretty simple once you have the hang of it, however when it comes to choosing the right tire size for your own specific riding style, it gets a little more complicated as you can imagine. However here is a broad summary that you can follow to best guide you when choosing the right tyre size for your riding style

Endurance Bike Tyre

Typically endurance bike tyres are between 25 to 32mm, endurance bike tyres are built for comfort in mind. Typically riders would buy endurance bike tyres for the comfort level that it offers. Comfort is chosen over straight line speed and the overall weight of the tyre, with endurance bike tyres, they typically have a wider width and are around the 28mm size.

Road & Off Road Adventure/Gravel Bike Tyre

Off road tyres are thinner than endurance bike tyres, so the comfort level is reduced, however that trade off means that Off road tyres are designed for tackling a wider range of road surfaces and off-road tracks. This gives you greater flexibility and peace of mind when out of the blue, the terrain of the cycling route changes all of a sudden. Off road tyres typically can accommodate  up to 45 or 50mm sized tyres, this allows you to have greater grip levels and also allows for reduced chance of puncture than other tyres. 

Touring Bike Tyre

Typically touring bike tires are wider types of tyres, which offers a greater level of comfort over straight line speed capability. Touring cyclists naturally have a greater appreciation for comfort as they tend to cycle greater lengthed distances than any of the other type of cyclists, generally speaking.

While touring bikes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the intended usage, touring bike tyres typically vary from sizes 25mm to 42mm. As mentioned before, when choosing touring bike tyres, they tend to be wider tyres which gives greater labels of comfort and less benefits with speed and acceleration.

Commuting Bike Tyre

Typically biking styles that are accommodated to the city commuting have tyre sizes that are limited by the choice of bike, folding bikes, city based mountain bikes, and electric city bikes are all limited to what the manufacturer of the bike allows. Some of these types of bikes may accept a tyre sizes of around 28mm width all the way up to 44mm sized tyres

I hope you enjoyed this article on “What Is The Standard Road Bike Tire Size?”, All of the information has been thoroughly researched and I have plenty of real world experience on this issue to add as well. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

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