Choosing the right tires for a rainy road bike ride

Posted at: Feb 13, 2022

Road bikes are often used for riding in the rain. In this article, we summarize tire selection for riding in the rain on a road bike.

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Slick tires are fine

Slick tires for road bikes without grooves

Wearing slick tires without grooves on a rainy day gives the image of slipping, but this is because it is associated with a phenomenon called “hydroplane” that can cause loss of control.

However, hydroplaning is a phenomenon that tends to occur when cars are riding at high speeds on highways, so if you are riding a bicycle at normal speeds, you should have no problem wearing slick tires on a rainy day.

Keep the tire pressure low

On the other hand, the road surface is still slippery on a rainy day.

Therefore, it is a good idea to keep the tire pressure lower than usual so that the tires can grip the road. Lower tire pressure increases the grip and prevents you from falling due to driving errors.

Even professional road teams lower the air pressure of their entire team’s road bikes when the road surface is wet, and this wisdom should be used by hobby riders as well.

If you’re going to use it for commuting, etc., you’d better get bigger tires like 28C

Since road bikes are designed for high-speed cruising, they are usually equipped with narrow tires such as 25C or 23C. If you are cycling or training, you can choose not to go if it is raining, which is fine, but if you are commuting to work or school, it is hard to choose not to go.

If it should rain on the way to work or school, or if you need to ride your road bike to work or school even on a rainy day, you should wear larger tires (28C or larger) so that you have more grip even when it rains.

In the past, thicker tires were thought to be heavier and slower, but today’s tires for road bikes weigh only about 50g between 23C and 28C for the higher grades. For example, for Panaracer’s Race A Evo4, there is only a 40g difference between the 23C tire (200g) and the 28C tire (240g).

It is said that even a 100g weight reduction is important for a road bike, but for commuting purposes, a 100g difference between the front and rear tires is hardly noticeable.

Driving skill is more important than tires

Of course it is important to choose the right tires for a rainy day, but it is said that driving skill is even more important.

The following four points are important to keep in mind on rainy days. 1.

Do not brake at manholes or white lines. Always anticipate danger. Don’t drive too fast. Always follow the traffic rules more strictly than usual.

If you are late, you can always start over, but if you are in a traffic accident, you may not be able to start over.

Tires and other equipment are important, but the most important thing is to remember to drive safely.

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