How to check the tyre size of a bicycle

Written by rocco pendola
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How to check the tyre size of a bicycle
Bicycle tire size is printed on the sidewall. (ruota image by fotografiche.eu from Fotolia.com)

Many cyclists could care less what size tires are on their bikes until they need to change them. When a flat strikes or your tread wears thin, tire size is required information. Putting the wrong size tire on your rim can lead to a crash. Determining what size tire you have or require takes anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.

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Things you need

  • Tape measure

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Look at the sidewall of your tire. There are a series of numbers printed on it. Common numbers stating tire size are 26 X 2.0 (on mountain bikes and cruisers), 700 X 23 or 25 (on road bikes), 700 X 28, 32 or 35 (on hybrids) and 27 X 1-1/4 (on older road bikes). The first number is the diameter of the tire. The second number refers to its width.

  2. 2

    Get out a tape measure if you do not have a tire that goes with your rim or if the writing on the sidewall is worn off. As the late bicycling guru Sheldon Brown points out, you can measure your rim's diameter. If you have the tire, measure it from where it touches the ground to the top of the tire through its base.

  3. 3

    Measure the rim's diameter from end to end if you do not have a tire. The rim's diameter, notes Brown, will be about 6 to 8 millimetres less than the diameter of a complete wheel with tire. In practice, this small difference will not impact you when you purchase a new tire. The number you come up with will be the diameter (the first number that would be on the sidewall) of the tire you need.

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