Can You Put Thicker Tires on a Road Bike

Can You Put Thicker Tires on a Road Bike

Understanding Tire Size

Tire size is an important factor to consider when it comes to putting thicker tires on a road bike. It is important to understand the differences between various tire sizes in order to make sure your bike can handle the width of the tires you intend to fit.

In this article, we will take a look at the various factors that come into play when fitting thicker tires to a road bike:

Identify your bike’s wheel size

Once you’ve identified the tire size of your bike, the next step is to determine what type of tires will be appropriate. Generally, it is not advised to use thicker tires than that which your bike is designed for. For example, if your bike has 700 x 25c tires and you want to switch to wider 700 x 32 or 700 x 35c tires, this change may affect shifting performance as well as frame dimensions – among other things.

It’s important to also consider the width of a given tire when planning any upgrade or change. A tire can be too wide for a given wheel; ideally you want a snug fit that gives equal support on both sides of the wheel. Measuring from outside edge of rim on one side across the rim and to outer edge on other side provides an accurate measurement for most rims and wheels sizes. The diameter must also fit within your frame requirements.

When considering a new set of tires for any bike, always make sure you match the same size as stated by original manufacturer. The easiest way to do this is by first measuring either existing or proposed tire size prior to making any upgrades or changes. Desired tire tread level and density can then be chosen based on terrain type; there are various tread depths available depending on your needs (road, mountain biking etc.).

It’s important keep in mind that if you choose a thicker tire there are additional variables such as:

  • minimum amount of space required between strap/rim contact point
  • additional clearance behind bottom fork/bearing area

so be aware before making any decisions!

Measure the current tire width

To select the correct tires for your road bike, you must first measure the current tires. Look for measurements like 700x25c on each side of the tire. The first number (700) is the wheel diameter, and the second number (25) is the amount of air pressure in millimeters. Different wheel diameters require different tire sizes, so identify what size wheel is currently on your bike before ordering replacements. Tire width can also vary greatly; choices range from 23mm all the way up to 47mm+ for commuter bikes.

Riders with racing bikes often opt for narrower tires because their light weight gives more speed, whereas those with commuter bikes may prefer wider sizes for improved grip on wet roads or rough terrain.

Tire Compatibility

When it comes to tire compatibility with a road bike, there is a lot to consider. You want to make sure that your bike can accommodate the size of the tire you choose as well as ensure that the tire and wheel work well together. Additionally, you should look at the tread patterns and tire pressure to ensure you’re choosing the right tires for your bike.

Let’s take a look into these details:

  • Tire size
  • Tire and wheel compatibility
  • Tread patterns
  • Tire pressure

Check your bike’s frame and fork clearance

To ensure that you can fit thicker tires on your bike frame, it’s important to first check that there is sufficient clearance for the tires you would like to ride. The clearance needed will vary depending on the size of the tire and type of bike frame and fork.

For road bikes with rim brakes, clearance should be at least 6mm (1/4 inch) between the tire and the bicycle frame, with 8mm (5/16 inch) of space being ideal. Any smaller than this, and either the brakes or spokes may come into contact with the tire, which could possible damage your bike or even cause an accident. Likewise, for bicycles equipped with disc brakes more room is needed as disc brakes require more space around the wheel. For example, a road bike needs as much as 15mm (5/8 inch) of clearance between its frame /fork and a larger tire size (e.g., 28mm).

Additionally, some bikes are rated to run higher pressures than others so you should always consult your manufacturer’s guide before making any changes to your setup.

Check your wheel’s rim width

When considering installing a thicker tire on your road bike, you need to first check the width of your wheel’s rim. Rim width varies significantly between modern road bike designs, ranging from as little as 14 mm in some lightweight clincher rims to as much as 28 mm in wide-design rims that are commonly used for gravel bikes and touring bikes.

If your wheel’s rim is too narrow for the tire size you want to use, then it won’t be compatible and could cause damage to both wheels and tires over time.

Regardless of the model of tire you choose to install, mountain bike tires are generally too wide for most road bike wheels, even wider rimmed ones. For this reason, it’s not recommended to install thicker mountain bike tires on a road bike even if they fit because they may cause excessive stress on the spokes or other components during use. Generally speaking, a wider tire is better suited for a wider rim since it can provide better support and grip.

To ensure optimal performance and safety when installing thicker or wider tires on your road bike, stick with recommended models that are designed specifically for your wheel’s rim width. If unsure what size is appropriate for your specific model, consult your local bicycle shop or online retailers who can advise which type of tire will work best with your current set up.

Check your brakes for compatibility

Changing your tire width to a wider tire can affect the performance of your brakes. Disc brakes should include written information in the manufacturer’s manual indicating the maximum tire width they can accept safely. The majority of road bikes with disc brakes are currently limited to tires no wider than 28mm, so if you are considering using thicker tires, you should check with your particular brake manufacturer first to make sure they are compatible before buying.

Rim brakes use a calliper arm that pushes against the rim sidewall and therefore give greater scope for different tire widths as long as enough clearance is available for the arms when squeezing them together. Most road bikes use a calliper arm of 40mm or less and will generally allow most 1 inch (25 mm) and many 1-1/4 inch (32 mm) tires to fit comfortably, however depending on frame clearance some may require modification or replacement of certain components such as shortening some cable housings or changing brake arms to get enough clearance around the wider tire. It is always worth letting us know what type of brakes you have when ordering tires if this is an issue, as we can advise accordingly.

Choosing a Tire

The type of tire you choose for your road bike can have a huge impact on your ride. Tires come in a wide range of widths, which can influence the speed, grip and comfort of your ride. When it comes to road biking, the width of the tire is one of the most important factors to consider.

Let’s look at the different types of tires available and how they can affect your ride:

Consider the type of terrain you’ll be riding on

The type of terrain you’ll be riding on is an important factor to consider when choosing a tire for your road bike. While wider tires deliver more traction and lower rolling resistance, they are not as suitable for higher speed riding. Steep climbs can also be challenging with bigger tires as they require more effort to turn.

Generally speaking, narrower tires provide faster acceleration in dry conditions and better grip on wet surfaces due to their lower contact patch. At the same time, thinner tires will wear out faster than their wider counterparts, making them best suited for longer rides.

If you are looking for a tire that is good for both climbing and descending, then look for a narrower tire with reinforced sidewalls for improved cornering performance. On the other hand, if you plan on riding primarily on roads with loose gravel or sand in them, then opt for a wider tire that has more tread and plenty of stability. If you live in an area that experiences strong crosswinds during winter months, then choose a beefier tire that can handle gusts with greater ease. It’s important to evaluate your local conditions in order to choose the right tire size and profile that best suits your needs.

Consider the type of tire tread you need

The type of tire tread you need for your road bike will depend on the type of terrain you typically ride. If you predominantly ride on hard-surfaced or smooth roads, then a slick tire is the way to go. Slick tires feature little to no tread and are designed for maximum speed and minimal resistance.

On the other hand, if you plan on spending a lot of time off-road in harsher conditions, then a tire with more aggressive tread will provide better grip when cornering or navigating uneven terrain like dirt trails or gravel roads. Tire treads vary greatly in concentrations and configurations; anything from striations in the center of the tire’s outer layer, to bobs and spikes along the edges. Make sure to evaluate how much traction you need before choosing your tires.

Consider the tire’s width and pressure rating

Two of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a tire are the tire’s width and pressure rating. It is important to note that when switching from one tire size to another, you will have to remove your current tires and may have to make adjustments such as changing your brake pads and possibly, your gearing.

When choosing a road bike tire, you will want to pay attention to the width of the tire in millimeters, in addition to its pressure rating, which is usually expressed in PSI (pounds per square inch).

Most road bikes typically come equipped with tires that are 23mm in width, but 25mm or 28mm can also be used; a wider tire than these sizes may not be suitable for many road bikes. Additionally, depending on the quality of your bike or type of riding you plan on doing and whether or not you regular climb hills or ride rough terrain, it will also help determine how wide a tire you should choose.

Finally, always check the maximum pressure rating for each specific tire before purchasing. A good rule of thumb is that if you want a smoother ride over rough terrain then pick lower–pressure rated tires; however if you are looking for more speed then go with higher–pressure rated tires.

Installing the Tire

Installing thicker tires on a road bike is an easy process. All you need to do is remove the existing tire from the wheel and slide the new thicker tire onto the wheel. Make sure to position the tire with the correct direction of rotation. Once the tire is in the correct position, use a tire lever to help push the tire over the wheel rim.

Remove the old tire

To begin installing a new tire on a road bike, you must first remove the old tire. To do this, start by deflating the tube which makes removing the tire easier. If your bike has rim brakes, make sure to use caution so that you do not damage the brake pads.

Now we will remove the wheel from the frame: Start by loosening both quick-release levers simultaneously and then slide the axle out of its dropouts. Once removed, flip your wheel and begin breaking loose one side of the tire bead from its rim with your fingers or a flat head screwdriver. Once this side is broken loose, use a tire lever to completely remove it from its rim by hooking it onto one spoke and pulling it around until it’s off all around.

Repeat these steps for both sides of each wheel in order to remove both tires complete and have ready for installation of their replacements.

Install the new tire

Installing a new tire can be fairly straightforward, but you’ll want to work carefully and slowly. Choose the right size tire that fits your rim size and use the correct tools if necessary.

  1. Remove the old tire: Use a lever to remove the old tire from the rim by prying one side at a time. Be careful not to scratch your rim or pinch any tubes or spokes, as those can both cause damage to your bike or flat tires.
  2. Inspect the lip: Check for any obstructions on the inside of the rim lip and remove any burrs, glass shards, sharp metal edges or sharp spokes by filing them down with sandpaper or an emery board. Make sure you check both sides of the lip for these items!
  3. Put on lever: Place a single plastic tire lever at one side of your wheel and rotate it until it is halfway between two adjacent spokes where it will have some leverage in pushing up against. Pick up more levers if needed to make sure that each one has enough space between two adjacent spokes (they should not be pressed together).
  4. Insert first half: Start at one end of your wheel, insert one edge of your tire into the center hole on your rim and begin working that edge under evenly around in one continuous motion until it is completely on inbetween each spoke nipple and valve stem hole area- try for about a 1/4 inch gap between each spoke nipple – this will allow for easy installation from going all way around then get enough tension when pressing – press towards each other instead of pressing away since this can cause easier damage onto wheels.. This may take some time as you work around so be cautious when pressing down with either body weight or pliers; start with light pressure then gradually increase pressure but stop when you feel resistance set-in otherwise too much pressure will risk deforming rims/rim strips as well as damaging tube valves etc.. If necessary get extra help using multiple levers working together pushing placements onto opposite directions across each other will make setup easier; take care not to pinch inner tubes while pressing downwards if they are present otherwise air leaks could occur later…
  5. Insert second half: Once the first half has been installed properly, repeat the process on its opposite side typically going around in opposite direction like clockwise instead of counterclockwise (start near valve stem area working outwards). Make sure that its edges are tucked directly over top of inside beads before proceeding…
  6. Securely close edges together: Once both edges have been placed properly onto their respective sections gently press down pressure equally across both halves making sure nothing gets pinched that could result air leakages later… Now its ready for setting-up – tighten off ends securely using either hands/pliers presses flick back/surroundings areas where they are held in place firmly; they should also show slight indented areas due to compression that shows signs indicating tightness…
  7. Inflate tube slightly: Its best practice use hand pump slightly inflating inner tube right before mounting so no additional movements occur making them even more harder forms…
  8. Add sealant liquid (optional): There are several liquid sealants available which are meant to increase longevity from wet elements such materials hide minor punctures might occur due soil hardness particles etc providing few mils safety measurements.. It’s recommended add them within last few moments scheduling prior usage otherwise water could settle creating impractical protective layers underneath opaque substances eventually evaporating leaving undesired consequences further creating harder setting environment…

Check the tire pressure

Before mounting the tire, it’s important to check the pressure. The pressure should be within the range of limits indicated in the bike’s user manual. Make sure that you avoid over-inflating as this can damage both your bike and the tire itself.

Set up a track pump with a gauge or use an analog or digital hand pump to test the pressure. Check both sides of the tire and make sure they are equally inflated. You will most likely need to adjust the air pressure after installing your tires, so make sure to check it before riding.

Also inspect for any foreign objects that may be embedded in the sidewall of your tires such as glass shards, nails, or cuts. If you find any defects, replace it before installing a new tire on your bike as these can cause serious problems when riding at high speeds or on technical terrain.


If you’re looking for an easy way to improve the performance of your road bike, switching to thicker tires may be just what you need. Heavier tires can provide increased grip and comfort, but there are a few maintenance-related factors you should consider before making the switch. Let’s examine the different maintenance points to consider when upgrading to thicker tires on your road bike:

  • Tire Pressure
  • Tire Wear
  • Tire Compound
  • Wheel Spacing

Check tire pressure regularly

Tire pressure is important for the performance of your road bike. Regularly check the pressure of your tires, especially before every ride. Too little pressure makes for an uncomfortable, slow ride as the tire flexes more on the rim. Too much air pressure can result in a jerky and rough ride that accelerates wear on the tires and can cause problems if you hit a pothole or uneven surface.

Check your tires using a tire gauge once a week to ensure they are properly inflated, particularly on warm days. You’ll need to refer to your bike manufacturer’s specification chart to determine the proper tire pressure levels for various terrain types. You should also adjust your tire pressures if you switch from packed dirt or pavement trails to single-track trails or roads with many potholes, loose gravel, and other obstacles that require tire flexibility to absorb shocks without damaging the rim or treads.

Additionally, make sure any new (thicker) tires have adequate clearance between components such as brakes and/or cranksets because a thicker tire may cause interference with some parts of your bike frame and components.

Check for signs of wear and tear

Before you put thicker tires on a road bike, it’s important to check for signs of wear and tear on the existing components of the bike. Inspect the frame and forks for any cracks or breaks that might indicate a safety issue before proceeding.

Check your wheels and tires for any abnormal wear or damage such as cracking, splitting, or excessive bulging of the tire sidewalls. Inspect your brakes, brake pads, and cables for any signs of damage or wear and tear that may cause problems in operation. If there are any signs of major damage or wear from regular use then it would be best to replace those components before continuing.

Replace the tire when necessary

When it comes to maintaining a road bike, the tires are one of the most important components. As time goes by, they will eventually wear down and need replacing. However, if you decide to replace your original tires with thicker ones – as many competitive cyclists do – you need to be extra vigilant about keeping an eye on the wear.

Though thicker tires may provide great grip and improved traction on tricky surfaces, if not properly maintained they can quickly become worn or punctured easily. You should check your tires on a regular basis for any signs of wear, tears or cracking and adjust the pressure accordingly depending on how hard the surface is that you’re cycling on.

If you notice any unusual bumps or dents in your tire’s surface then it’s important to replace it straight away as even minor damage can cause a puncture if left unchecked. For races and more serious events, tire choice is essential and it’s worth spending a bit more money buying quality rubber made specifically for competition use – but remember that even these specialty items have their limits!

You should also bear in mind that though thicker tires may improve handling and performance, they will naturally be heavier than conventional road bike rubber due to their increased width. This could affect your overall speed so ensure that the new rubber doesn’t drastically hinder your performance! Finally, when replacing any tire make sure that the wheels are balanced properly before you hit the road for maximum control and safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Can I put thicker tires on my road bike?

Answer 1: Yes, you can put thicker tires on your road bike. However, you will want to ensure that the tires you choose are appropriate for the type of riding you plan to do. Some thicker tires are better suited to off-road riding while others are better suited to on-road riding.

Question 2: Will thicker tires slow me down on the road?

Answer 2: Thicker tires will generally cause you to have more rolling resistance, which can slow you down. However, if you are riding in an area with rough roads or off-road terrain, the thicker tires will provide more cushioning and may actually make you faster.

Question 3: Are thicker tires more puncture resistant?

Answer 3: Yes, thicker tires are usually more puncture resistant than thinner tires. This is because thicker tires have more rubber, which makes them more difficult to puncture. However, thicker tires also have more rolling resistance, which can make them slower.

The Bicycle Doctor