A Complete Guide on How to Buy Bike Tires


Bicycle tires come in all sizes, disciplines and capabilities, and having the right tires, or not, can make or break your performance on the bike. Not only are there different types of tires (mountain, road, gravel, etc.) that are specific to the type of bike that you have, but there are different sizes and widths, tread patterns, rubber compounds, casing options and more that you will need to take into consideration. This article will teach you about all the different types of bicycle tires for each discipline of cycling, the common tire sizes in each category, signs to look for when considering new rubber, special bike tire features and some frequently asked question regarding new bike tires.

Once you have a better understanding of all the different types of bike tires and the type of tires that are best for you, head back into our website and checkout the vast selection of bike tires JensonUSA offers.

In this article, we’ll teach you about:

Types of Bike Tires

There are many different types of bike tires in each category of cycling, and it can be difficult to know which type of tire is best for your bike. Whether you have a mountain bike, road bike, or gravel bike only limits down your choice of tire by so much. Each of these categories has multiple subcategories that call for slightly different or modified tires.

Mountain Bike Tires

Mountain Bike Tires


The tamest of the mountain biking disciplines, Cross country riding is characterized by flat trails and steep climbs. Cross-country tires put speed and finesse at the top of their priority list, with tires that feature lightweight casings, low rolling resistance, and small to medium-sized tread.


The most popular subcategory in mountain biking, trail, and all-mountain riding can be summed up as a blend of cross country and enduro-style riding. Trail and all-mountain tires become wider, more durable, and often feature more aggressive tread patterns that have a balance between grip and speed.


Mountain riding taken to the next level. Enduro riding can be described as a blend of aggressive all-mountain riding with a touch of some downhill madness. Enduro tires feature aggressive tread patterns, with medium to large tread profiles, more durable casings, and rubber compounds that grip the dirt.


When sending it down is the only way to go. Downhill riding is as intense as mountain biking gets and is reserved for the steepest lines and roughest terrain. Downhill tires feature aggressive tread profiles with ultra-durable casings and rubber compounds that specialize in grip.

Road and Commuter Bike Tires

Road Bike Tires

Racing Road Tires

Designed for riders interested in pure performance and speed. These tires are supple, provide enhanced grip in the corners and have a lower rolling resistance than endurance tires.

Endurance Road Tires

Best for gran fondos, long-distance riding, and training. These tires are often significantly more durable than their racing counterparts but will have a slightly higher rolling resistance.

Urban and Commuter Road Tires

If you're the type of rider that prefers riding a bike to work instead of driving, these are the tires for you. These tires have exceptional durability and are wider for extra comfort.

Gravel and Bikepacking Bike Tires

Gravel Bike Tires

Gravel Bike Tires

Perhaps the most versatile tires out there. Whether you're riding hardpack, pavement, loose, muddy, or sandy conditions, there are gravel tires for you. These are wider than cyclocross tires and can come in either 650b or 700c sizes.

Cyclocross Bike Tires

Cyclocross tires usually come in maximum size of 700 x 33mm. This is the UCI standard. There are various tread patterns that work for different conditions ranging from hardpack, to loose over hard, to sandy conditions. Whatever the race conditions are, you'll find the right tires here.

Bikepacking Bike Tires

Bikepacking is all about exploring new locations and leaving civilization behind. When you're miles from the road, you'll want tires that you can trust. Bikepacking tires are more robust and able to handle heavier weights better than gravel tires.

Bike Tire Sizes

Different cycling disciplines have different sized tires. Frame specifications, weight savings, capability and traction all play a part in what size tires your bike will have. Of course, there are some subcategories that share a boundary with others, and this chart is just a general layout of all the major cycling disciplines.

Bike Tire Size Chart

Size Discipline ISO Designation
700c x 23mm – 32mm Road/Track 622
700c x 35mm – 50mm Gravel and Mixed surface 622
650b x 23mm – 25mm Small road bikes 584
650b x 45mm – 50mm Gravel and Bikepacking 584
26” x 2.1” – 2.3” Cross Country MTB 559
26” x 2.3” – 2.5” Trail 559
26” x 2.4” – 2.6” Enduro/ Downhill 559
27.5” x 2.1” – 2.3” Cross Country MTB/ Gravel 584
27.5” x 2.3” – 2.5” Trail 584
27.5” x 2.4” – 2.6” Enduro and Downhill 584
29” x 2.1” – 2.3” Cross Country MTB 622
29” x 2.3” – 2.5” Trail 622
29” x 2.4” – 2.6” Enduro and Downhill 622

Signs It's Time for New Tires

There are many factors that determine when your tires should be replaced. Worn down tread, a loss of traction, old, cracking rubber, or damage to your tires are all indications that you should start to look for some new tires.

  • Wear Ripped, missing or worn down tread is a common sign your tires are nearing the end of their life. 
  • Traction If you notice your tires are spinning out underneath you when climbing or are not getting good traction when riding, it may be time to get some new rubber.
  • Time Whether you have rode countless miles on your tires or they have been sitting for a while, all tires will start to degrade over time.
  • Damage Exposed carcass, and cuts and tears in your tire are easy indications that it is time for a new tire. Old, cracking rubber means your tires are on their way out.

Special Bike Tire Features

Extra grippy tires, extra wide tires, tubeless tires, snow and ice tires, puncture-resistant tires, you name it there is probably a tire made for your needs. Here are some of the special features found in tires:

  • Tubeless: Tubeless technology is becoming better and more prevalent in more tires every year. Converting your tires to tubeless will save you weight and provide more traction.
  • Puncture resistant: Some specially designed tires are puncture resistant using protective inserts under the tread of the tire and use thicker rubber.
  • Studded: Designed specifically for winter riding on snow or ice.
  • Plus: Larger width tires that provide more traction by contacting a larger patch of the dirt usually 2.8"-3.5"
  • Enhanced: Upgraded rubber compounds and casing options that go above and beyond the typical version of the given tire. An example of this is Maxxis's 3C tires that use three rubber compounds to maximize grip, traction and performance, which offer a significant advantage over single rubber compound tires.

Tires with any of these special features will be more expensive than your average tire. With that being said, all of these special features offer significant performance advantages, and many riders find that going with tires that, for example, are tubeless and have an upgraded rubber compound, have huge benefits that outweigh the costs. No matter what type of tire technologies you are looking for, JensonUSA carries a huge selection of all types of tires and are sure to have something that will fit your needs.

New Tire FAQs

What are the best bike tire brands?

Maxxis, Schwalbe, Continental, Vittoria and Specialized all make top-quaility road, gravel and mountain bike tires.

How much do bike tires usually cost?

Bike tires vary greatly in price, and like most things, you get what you pay for. More advanced rubber compounds and more protective casing options will cost more than a standard tire. Mountain bike tires range from $50 to $100. Gravel bike tires range from $40 to $90. Road bike tires range from $40-$100.  

How many types of bike tires are there?

Mountain bike tires can be divided up into four categories: cross country, trail/all-mountain, enduro and downhill tires. Road tires have three separate categories: performance/racing tires, endurance tires and commuting tires. Gravel bike tires have three categories: gravel tires, cyclocross tires and bikepacking tires.

How long do bicycle tires last?

How long bike tires last depends on multiple factors. How soft or hard the rubber is, how often you ride, how you ride, and the conditions you ride in all play a significant factor in how long your tires will last. In addition, other factors such as riding a dirt tire on pavement for extended amounts of time and skidding your tires through turns can speed up the wear process on your tires. Regardless, you should expect to get a couple thousand miles from your tires.

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