Clinchers vs. Tubular Tires
Tires that use inner tubes are called clinchers. The term refers to the fact that the rim 'clinches' the tire to hold it in place when inflated. Tubular tires, also known as sew-up tires, have the inner tube built into the tire and use the inflation pressure of the tire as well as glue or tape to hold the tire on the rim. Most of the tires we sell are clinchers- a few specialized road and cyclocross tires are tubular.
Tufo has recently introduced a new kind of tire called a tubular clincher. This is a tubular-type tire (with the tube built into the tire), but fits on a normal clincher rim.
Wire Bead vs. Kevlar Bead Tires
Clincher tires are available in either wire or Kevlar bead. When inflated, the bead of the tire is pressed into a groove or under a lip on the rim and keeps the tire firmly in place. Wire bead tires are generally less expensive, but often considerably heavier than Kevlar bead tires. Kevlar bead tires can fold, making them a bit more convenient to store and less expensive to ship. Aside from the difference in weight, there is no real difference in the performance of the tire from the bead material, although Kevlar beads tend to be used in higher performance tires.
Road, Touring, Hybrid, Cyclocross and Mountain Bike Tires
Road Tires - We consider smooth, narrow tires up to 28mm wide that fit on 700c (also referred to as ISO 622mm) and 650c (or ISO 571mm) wheels to be road tires. Newer, full-size road bike wheels are usually 700c, smaller road bikes and triathlon bikes are often 650c. If you are not sure which size you need, look for either 700xW, W-622, 650xW or Wx571 (where "W" is a number between 18 and 28 indicating the width of the tire in millimeters) on your current tires. Most riders prefer 23mm width, tandem bikes or riders carrying extra pounds often opt for 700x25 or 700x28. Those after every ounce of performance often ride 20mm wide tires.
Some older road bikes use 27" tires (ISO 630mm). These tires are not interchangeable with newer 700c road bike tires and are found in the 27in Road Tires section of our site. For help choosing between brands and models of our road tires, see our Road Tire Selection Guide.
Touring/Hybrid Tires - When smooth 700c tires are wider than 28mm, we think of them as Touring tires or Hybrid tires. These tires sometimes have a tread pattern, but usually the tread is designed to shed water rather than add traction in off-road situations. The rims and wheels on these bikes are usually the same diameter as road bike rims (700c), but they are wider to accommodate a wider tire. Usually, the tires are marked as 700xW or W-622 (where "W" is the tire width is millimeters). Sometimes, these tires are marked or sold as 28 x 1 5/8" x 1 1/4" to further confuse the issue.
Cyclocross - Knobby or semi-slick tires that fit on 700c (ISO 622mm) wheels are considered Cyclocross Tires. These typically vary in width from 28mm (700x28) to 40mm (700x40). We offer both clincher and tubular cyclocross tires, as well as 29" sizes.
Mountain Bike Tires - Most adult mountain bikes use 26in wheels (ISO 559mm). These tires are typically sold and marked as 26xW, where "W" refers to the decimal width of the tire at its widest point. A tire marked 26x1.5 is approximately 1.5" wide. When replacing mountain bike tires, try to find tires that are close to the width to the tires you are replacing to be sure that the rim width can safely accommodate them. If you are buying tires that are considerably wider, you will need to make sure that there is sufficient frame and brake clearance.
For help with tire size selection, see our Tire Sizes and Tread Patterns guide.
We stock over 500 different sizes and colors of bicycle tires, so if you can't find what you are looking for or are not sure exactly what you need, please contact us at !!phone or !!email.