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Choosing The Right Bicycle Tires

Hey, guys. Dustin here, CEO of sixthreezero. Want to talk to you today about how to choose the right bicycle tire.

We get a lot of questions, people customizing bikes on our website looking at the tires, wanting to change their tires, change colors, things like that, and there's a lot of questions around, "Well, what do these different tires mean, what's good for me, what's good for my riding?" Let's jump right in.

Bicycle tires are obviously a very, very important element to any bike. There are only two contact points with the ground on a bicycle, obviously, the two wheels, which is both tires that are contacting the ground directly. Your tire, just like a car, it's going to dictate a lot. It's going to dictate the smoothness of the ride, the type of terrain you can go on if you get flat tires or don't get flat tires.

Also, tires are a really big design element of a bike in terms of the color and how you use that color to match the frame and the rims and all the other components. Let's just do a brief summary.

You've got a lot of different tires. I'll try to keep it more in layman's terms as opposed to real technical. You've got, let's just say thinner tires, which are going to be road bike tires. Typically, you're looking at something that's, be like a 700c. When we refer to 700c, we are talking about the diameter of the actual tire.

Then you're going to have different thicknesses, or widths of tread, which is going to be how thin the tire is. When you talk about thinness, you're talking about 32, or 30, 32, 28, 34, things like that. Then when you get into mountain bikes, you're looking at like 26 inch, you're looking at different widths. You could even get bigger tires like 29 inch.

There's advantages and disadvantages to all those.

Simply put, let's talk about actual tread, so not necessarily size, but let's just talk about the tread of the tires. If you're going to be riding strictly on the pavement, my best advice would be to find a slick tread, or if you're riding a cruiser bike, generally, cruisers don't have slick tread tires because their tires are designed more for shock absorption than they are for actual speed. That's another element to this whole thing is depends on the riding you're going to be doing.

If you're going to be doing very leisurely slow riding and you're looking for comfort, a wider tire with whatever tread you really like is up to you. Now obviously, thicker tire, harder to pedal. It's going to have more contact with the ground, which means more resistance on the peddler. Thinner tires, less contact with the ground, less resistance on the roll, less resistance for pedaling, so much easier to get moving, things like that.

On the comfort size, thicker tire. On the speed side, thinner tire. This is why a lot of people refer to hybrid bikes because a lot of hybrid bikes use something in between because people riding hybrid bikes are looking for a balance of performance and comfort. Let's say, on a cruiser bike, you'd have a 26 inch 2.125 inch tire, which would be something like that width wise, and on a road bike, you're going to have something a lot thinner, might be like, for everyone to get an idea of what I'm talking about, we'll just use my finger. It's going to be somewhere around that thinness, so you're looking at a differential like that between road and cruiser.

A hybrid bike is going to be something in this range. I know it's kind of funny using my fingers, but it'll give you some perspective. It's basically a mesh between performance and cruiser. It's going to be good for going over curbs. It's still going to ride smoothly on pavement, but it's going to provide enough comfort to absorb shock, bounces, bumps, things like.

If you're more on the comfort side, thicker tire, slower pace. If you really want to go fast, very thin tire. If you're looking for somewhere in between, an in-between tire that can endure the bumps but also roll smoothly on pavement.

If you're looking at sixthreezero bikes, you'll see on all of our cruisers like In The Barrel, women's cruiser, Around the Block, very thick tires, traditional cruiser, totally comfort geared. Then as you move towards the right, you've got something like the EVRYjourney, a little smaller tire, little slicker tread. Still comfortable. Still rolls nice. Then you keep moving to the right, you move into our Body Ease and our The Pave n' Trails, which have a traditional hybrid thickness. Then you get into Ride in the Park, which has an even thinner tire, exclusively geared for pavement. Going to roll real smooth.

Now, in particular, if you're looking on our customizer, there's going to be different treads for the cruiser bikes available, so different treads. Now, if you're looking at a thicker tire, and that's what you like, 2.125-inch tire, it's really, I would say, up to you depending on what you like. The tread won't matter that much in terms of the selection we have on sixthreezero. If you're searching out on the marketplace, it's pretty easy to identify. I mean, if you're going to be doing a lot of pavement riding, you don't need a very intense tread. What I mean by intense tread is you don't need a ton of waffling, you don't need a ton of indentation.

A lot of times, for mountain bikes, you're going to see very rugged treads with big elevations to ride through dirt, to catch the water, to keep the traction on a trial coming downhill, things like that. If you're going to buy a wider tire for the street, the waffling in the tread and the thickness in the grooves in the tread, not that important. Now, if you like the look of that sort of tread, again, totally up to you. You can go ahead and purchase that. Just know that it might be a little more difficult to pedal depending on the waffling in the tread if it's less slick. If there are more grooves up and down, it's going to be a little more resistance on the pedaling on the pavement.

Again, it's personal preference. I mean, that's what the treads mean. In terms of what we have available, the color, things like that, it's really up to you. Lastly, I'll say, so anything in the 2.125-inch range, it's really up to the rider if you're going to do something of that thickness. Now, if you wanted to switch to another tire, unfortunately, if you're going to put a thinner tire on a cruiser, a lot of times, it's not possible. You'd have to switch the rim too. That would require changing out everything. You do need to stuck with a tire that was already on that rim that the bike is coming with. On our customizer, we only give you the tires that fit those bikes so you can't add a too small of a tire to the wrong-size rim or something like that, but if you're looking for a slicker tread or a smaller tire, you'd have to change models completely.

Just to summarize lastly, if you're a recreational rider, very casual, I would say you want to go with a hybrid tire or thicker. If you're someone looking for speed, you're going to be more on the road, thinner tire, going places, commuting, things like that.

If you have any specific questions about your tire and if you're confused if it's the right tire for the type of riding you're doing, please, you can comment below, and we can answer that question for you, or reach out to us directly at the team at or reach us by phone, 310-982-2877. Please, check out our bikes up top here in our top navigation and enter your height and weight in our BodyFit tool. It's on the product page. Once you do that, you're going to be able to see which bikes will fit your body, thumbs up, thumbs down. If you get a thumbs down, please reach out. We can try to customize a bike for you. Don't forget, we have a 365-day test-drive-your-bike policy. If the bike doesn't fit, you don't love it, it's not what you expected, you have 365 days to ride it and send it back because our goal at sixthreezero's to make sure that we find a bike that's right for your body.

DISCLAIMER: The 365-day return policy mentioned in the video above is no longer valid. Please refer to for the updated policy.


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