Not all Tires are created equal. Selecting the right tire for your commute will greatly enhance your experience. If you follow some basic guidelines you can be sure you get what is best for you, your bike and your daily commute.
Modern tires can last up to 3000 miles and greatly reduce your chances of getting a flat. Choosing the proper tire for your commute will ensure your ride is enjoyable, comfortable and relatively trouble free. You will usually get what you spend, good tire are not cheap... just like car tires. Making an investment in a nice tire usually will mean less frustration on the side of the road changing flats and equals a more enjoyable ride.
When do I need new tires?
You're getting more flats than you're used too. Shape (flat spots or tears). Texture (dry rot or flaking)
Types of Tires Tires with tubes (Traditional) Tubeless Tires used more off road now, but finding a place in day to day commuting. More puncture resistance, but more up front costs and work to make the conversion. Special tires are needed and usually more expensive.
Dimensions 20" (BMX, Recumbent, Bike Trailer) 26" (Mountain Bike, Cruiser, Hybrid) 700c (Road Bike, Cyclocross, Hybrid) 29" (Mountain Bike)
Width 20" (1.5"2.125") 26" (1.5"2.125) 700c (20c25c Road Racing 25c32c Touring Commuting) 29" (1.5"2.125)
Tread Slicks City Commuters, smooth roads, low rolling resistance Semi Slicks Slick center with knobbies on side to aid in corner on looser terrain Inverted Tread Lower rolling resistance than tires with tread, but roll nicely on road and provide more traction than Slicks on dirt or really rough roads Knobbies Off road, dirt, rocky, muddy terrain
Threads Per Inch (TPI) Higher TPI Best for racing, higher pressure, greater puncture resistance Lower TPI Lower pressure, smoother ride, less puncture resistance
Bead Folding Lighter, more expensive, easier storage, harder to mount Wire Heavier, less expensive, eaters to mount
SubTread Not all tires have subtreads. They're a common feature on tires designed with additional puncture protection. For example, an additional Kevlar or nylon layer will be placed in the tire beneath the tread to stop sharp objects from being able to puncture the tube. Tires equipped with protective subtreads will be labeled as such.
Directional Tires Some Mountain bike tires are directional and front or rear specific.
On your commute to work, what are the surfaces like? Are they easy maintained Bike paths or harden torn apart street roads? A smoother tire will roll easier on a flat surface and a Knobby tire will help you roll over the destroyed street roads.