A little bike know-how goes a long way. Learning how to match your tire size to your bike's rim makes the change-out simple and provides a more intimate relationship with your bike. Plus, the knowledge can prove useful during trail or roadside mishaps. Don't waste your money paying the shop guy to resurrect your ride when you get a flat. Instead, take out your tape measure and arm yourself with the figures. Then head to your local retailer for some trusty new rubber.
Pry one side of the old tire off the rim by inserting the tire lever between the rim and the tire bead, or lip, on the outer edge of each side of the tire.
Run the lever around the inside of the bead to release its grip on the rim. Repeat on the other side.
Turn the valve stem o-ring counterclockwise, removing it. Slide the valve stem out of the rim's hole to release the tube and tire.
Measuring and Choosing a Tire
Measure the distance between the wheel's hub, or axle assembly, and the outer edge of the wheel's rim.
Locate your measurement in inches or millimeters on a bicycle tire chart and match it to the corresponding rim size. Mountain bike tires are usually measured in inches, whereas road and hybrid bikes are measured in millimeters.
Find the tire size that corresponds to your rim size on the sidewall of a selected tire. The wheel size will be represented first, followed by an "x" and the tire width.
Choose a tire with a first number that corresponds to your rim size.
Select the tire width based on your use. Most mountain bike tires have a width of 1.95 inches for cross-country riding to 2.35 inches for downhill racing. Road bikes vary between 25 centimeters for high-performance riding to 38 centimeters for recreational cruising.
- Road bike rims cannot accommodate mountain bike tires and vice versa. Before setting out to match a tire to your rim, make sure you know what type of bike you have. A distinguishing feature on road bikes is their large diameter, yet narrow, rims.
- Mountain bike riders should know the difference between slick and knobby tires. Slick tires work well on the road; knobby tires perform best on trails.