Changing Bicycle Tire Size and Thickness: 3 Key Points

Posted at: Aug 27, 2021

Tire customization is a fun way to change the riding experience for a cost of about $100. When replacing tires, there are three points to keep in mind when changing the size and thickness of your bicycle tires.

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Check the clearance of the frame and fork!

The most important thing to consider when changing tire size and thickness is clearance.

Clearance is the space between the frame or fork and the wheel, and if this space does not match the tire size, the tire will hit the brakes or interfere with the fork.

With rim brakes, tire clearance is small.

Be especially careful with rim brake type bicycles, because in many cases, tire clearance is taken to be small due to caliper brake standards. On the other hand, disc brake type bicycles, which are becoming more common in road bikes and MTBs, may have wider tire clearance, so you have a wider choice of tires.

Also, if you have a mudguard on your bike, you need to take into account that the larger tire may interfere with the mudguard in some cases.

If the tire interferes with the frame or other parts of the bike, you will not be able to ride on the bike, and the tire will not be usable. Check the tire clearance of the frame and fork beforehand to avoid buying the wrong tire and wasting it.

Let’s check the compatible size of the wheel.

Bicycle wheels have a set of tire sizes that they can fit.

For example, Shimano’s WH-RS010 entry grade wheel for road bikes has a recommended tire size of “23-622 to 32-622”, which means 23C to 32C.

It is unlikely that you will be equipped with tires thinner than 23C, but tires thicker than 32C can be a good option, as the recently popular gravel tires are available in 35C and 38C.

It is only a recommendation, so it may not be completely useless, but keep in mind that it may not work.

Check the compatible size of the tube!

As the tire size changes, the size of the inside of the tire also changes, and so does the compatible tire tube. In the case of tubes for road use, the tube standard often changes around the 28C mark.

In terms of lineup, the following are the standard cases.

  1. 18C-28C
  2. 28C-32C
  3. 28C-40C
  4. 28C-45C

Tubes for 23C and 25C, which are standard for road bikes, are not compatible with larger gravel tires such as 28C and 32C.

When replacing tires, keep in mind that the tube needs to be replaced depending on the tire size.

Here is a list of things to keep in mind when changing the size and thickness of your bicycle tires.

It turns out that there are a lot more things to be careful about than you might think, even just changing the tire size. Tire replacement is an affordable upgrade that can be done about $100, but make sure to check carefully beforehand if the tire is compatible with your bike so that you don’t end up buying the wrong tire for nothing.

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