November 27, 2005

    I recently purchased a hybrid bike with 700 X 38C (40-622) tires. The problem is that they are basically a smooth road tread. They have worked adequately on dry ground, but now the rains have come, and I need more aggressive tires.
    I want the most aggressive tread, and as wide a tire as I can put on my stock rim (X Rim 202, 622-19). What is your recommendation as to widths and brands? My riding is primarily paved and dirt trails. Thanks.

Ron A.

    While you might fit a 50 mm-wide tire on your bike’s rims, I don’t advise anything wider than 44 mm. A wider tire will, at best, give you sloppy handling and, at worst, get very stressed on the sidewalls and cause a spectacular blow-out. (Generally, 19 mm rims can safely accommodate tires of widths from 28 to 44 mm.)
    If you rode exclusively on pavement I’d warn you away from deep tread or knobs; tires use those features to sink into a surface, and a tire won’t sink into concrete or asphalt unless someone just poured it (if you ride on that surface I want photos). Knobby tires on solid surfaces just give you less tire contact with the pavement, resulting in less grip.
    If you ride both pavement and dirt, look into what some call “semi-slicks.” A semi-slick tire has light tread in the middle for hard surfaces. On each side the tire has deep treads or knobs that sink into (and therefore grip) a softer surface, but won’t compromise the tire’s grip on pavement.
    As far as brands, you’ll often get what you pay for in terms of flat resistance and wear. So figure out your budget and find the brand of tires that equals it.

Mr Bike

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