Here's a little secret about hybrid bikes. Some of them can be slow. A hybrid is simply a cross between a drop-handlebar style road bike and a mountain bike. Your hybrid's mountain bike characteristics--particularly relatively wide tires--can be one of the reasons you keep getting passed on the bike path. Decreasing the width of the tires on a hybrid is a common fix. It won't turn you into Lance Armstrong, but you will finally be able to beat the kid on the tricycle again.
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Determine how much you want to decrease the tire width on your hybrid bike. A narrower tire generally rolls faster than a wider tire, but is less forgiving on bumps and other rough terrain. Common stock tire sizes on hybrids are 700-by-28 (700mm in diameter, 28mm in width), 700-by-32 and 26-by-1.5 (26 inches, 1.5 inches).
Select the type of tread you want on your new set of tires. If dropping down to common race bike sizes--700-by-23 or 700-by-25--you will not have a wide choice. Most selections will be slick or have minimal performance-oriented tread. If you are going with a 26-by-1.25 tire, you will be able to choose from a slick surface and tread designs that are slightly more substantial, but hardly "nobby" like mountain bike tires.
Remove your old tires and install the new tires on your hybrid bike. It is important to realise that while most rims will accept changes in size, some will not accommodate narrower tires. Be careful when seating your new tires. If they will not stay on the rim after a couple of tries, you are likely going too narrow.
Tips and warnings
- Always inflate your tires to the PSI range imprinted on the sidewall. Note that while narrower tires generally provide a rougher ride than wider tires, they will be even more unforgiving at high pressures. Stick to the middle of the range and you should be fine.
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