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Best Bicycle Tires for Commuting

If you love hitting the road but do not like taking cars or trains to work, you are most likely cycling. The bike tire might need to get repaired more often to ensure you continue enjoying exercising muscles. Picking the right choice of bike tire for commuting could not get easier using the guide below. 

Here are some quality bike tires to start you off.

  • Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348.
  • Schwalbe G-one Speed.
  • Continental Contact Speed
  • WTB ThickSlick Comp tire
  • Continental Grand Prix 4 Season

Review – Top 5 commuter bike tires

#1. Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348

Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348 is the perfect option for you to evade punctures along the way when cycling. It has a layer of smart guard underneath the tire to increase your protection.

The tire has a thick rubber lining that enables you to work on a higher spectrum of the road. It ensures you experience different road textures most effectively as you maintain a good speed on the way. Durable materials make the rubber to enhance your cycling experience. Proper maintenance enables you to use this commuter bike tire for many years and decades too.

It has an efficient tread pattern aligned in the proper order to increase the grip on the road. The center treads are in sizeable chunks to increase the surface area over of grip. The outer tread has short lugs to increase the grip of your bike tire on rougher surfaces. 

It has a tube running through the whole tire, which makes repairing easier for you. It will only take you a short while to maintain it whenever a puncture occurs. You will not have to worry about getting a rim tape for installation purposes. 

Pros

  • It offers quality puncture resistance.
  • Made with thicker rubber lining.

Cons

  • Anti-flat liner not too great but certainly better than others.

#2. Schwalbe G-one Speed

Schwalbe G-one Speed Tire offers your bike high-end resistance to punctures with its amazing features. It will take an impressive effort for you to get a flat with this tire.

A smart guard within the tire enables you to experience a flawless ride in any type of road and adverse weather conditions. This is among the most important components that commuters like you find relief in.

The treads are 30 mm thick, located throughout the surface of the tire right from the outer to the middle part. This gives your bike tire a wider stance ensuring you hit different road surfaces with ease.

It is narrower compared to other commuter bike tire types but still meets your demands. This feature enables you to avoid the drastic congestion of parking because. It allows for even lower tire pressure and an increased contact patch for a more confident grip in corners and a smoother ride.

It lacks tubes making your bike’s tire get less susceptible to pinch flats. The absence of a tube ensures no friction is often experienced in tube bikes between the tube and the tire’s rib. It also has low pressure to increase the speed at which you get to ride in high and low places. 

Pros

  • Very strong build makes it last longer.
  • It is narrower with many treads.
  • Great protection against flats.

Cons

  • Wears out after a couple thousand miles.

#3. Continental Contact Speed

Continental Contact Speed has a unique creation to distinguish your riding experience with other bike tires. It can change its shape depending on your weight and the type of road surface it is in.

A rugged rubber breaker attached to the sidewalls made of reinforced rubber that makes it less capable of getting you a flat. This double puncture protection feature is perfect for you to take a ride daily at any speed on the road. Buying this is the safest puncture belt that your bike could ever get.

It has a lightweight design to enable you to move with a lot of ease and swiftness on the tarmac. It also has low rolling resistance due to its ability to absorb the unevenness of terrain and regain its initial form while still losing heat. This ensures that you do not have to get to the bike store to buy another commuter bike tire in many years.

The surface of the tire has thin slits molded onto treads that enhance grip on the road. The outer treads have smaller lugs compared to those at the center. These lugs increase grip on rougher surfaces making your ride smooth. The center of the tire has many lugs aligned in a systematic order to increase the surface area of covering tarmac.

The tire is durable so you will not have to worry about weight factors that might influence its efficiency. Silicone, rubber, and other materials used to create it ensure your bike tire experiences the perfect grip, puncture resistance, and longevity. This is also made possible by the fact that rubber is hard to increase durability.

Pros

  • Perfect to offer you comfort on the road.
  • It has a rugged rubber beaker reinforced with rubber. 

Cons

  • They mount a bit thin.

#4. WTB ThickSlick Comp tire

WTB ThickSlick Comp tire can handle anything different surfaces of roads throw at you. This is due to the presence of a smart guard made from thick rubber to provide you with an added advantage of evading punctures.

The tire has two linings of thick rubber underneath the layer of the tread to increase on thickness. This increases the distance over which sharp and intrusive objects can penetrate through to cause a flat on your bike’s tire. The thicker your bike tire is, the harder for it to be susceptible to getting punctures

The material used to create this bike tire is a DNA rubber that is versatile and lasts your tire longer years. Durable materials ensure that your cycling experience is great by keeping on the road for long hours and not incurring any difficulties with punctures. You will have an added advantage if you keep top-notch maintenance of the bike tire.

It has a sleek design that provides traction on rough surfaces. You will be sure to get quality performance from this type of commuter bike tire, depending on the type of road surface riding in. While on rougher surfaces, you have a chance to cycle fast while on smoother surfaces, a slower ride will suit. 

It also ensures you have a smoother ride through the natural absorption of rubber to different surfaces. Rubber gets to return to its initial form once deformation occurs. It instead releases heat energy instead of getting raptured. Always ensure to check on your bike’s tire whenever you go through rough tarmac and sharp objects.

Pros

  • Long-lasting, highly durable
  • Made of a thick layer of rubber lining
  • Sizes are great

Cons

  • Not too great protection from staples, nails or sharp objects.

#5. Continental Grand Prix 4 Season

Continental Grand Prix 4 Season is the best bike tire with unbeatable resistance to cold weather. It will ensure you get through winter and the rains with ease on the skidding road surface. 

Strong rubber material combined with other elements makes it to offer you a quality product worth your money. It can withstand any level of weight without bursting out, leading you to have an injury. Apart from this, it is lightweight, increasing your ease of movement by enabling you to change to different speeds.

With lightness in mind, it also offers your bike resistance to rolling while still maintaining perfect condition. This is because the tire material absorbs different textures of road surfaces and levels of accidents to get back to its original form. It in turn loses heat to counter the effect, this ensures the bike, and you are safe.

It offers your bike tire with sidewall protection coming from the high-quality polyamide fabric that makes up the tire material. This is also enhanced by the sides with many treads that increase the area of contact with the riding surface. You can be sure to cycle through worse road conditions with this tire. 

It has a double Vectran Breaker belt under the tread that raises the puncture and cut protection of your bike tire. This will enable you to experience a flawless ride in various types of road surfaces. You can also use it to ride when it is cold and you will not have to worry about skidding and causing an accident. This is among the many important components to find relief in as a beginner or frequent cyclist.

Pros

  • Can survive through adverse weather conditions.
  • Made from durable material

Cons

  • A few reports on flaky rubber.

What to consider when choosing the best bicycle tires for commuting 

There are various factors to look into to ensure you get the best bike tire. Here are some of the factors to put into consideration.

Material making the bead

This type of bike tires come with two types of materials making used to create the bead. One has a bead made from steel, making it difficult for you to fold it while the other can fold. The latter comes from flexible fiber that ensures you fold it and carry it for emergency purposes. Tires made using steel beads are heavier due to the composition of the metal. 

The presence of tubes

Tires with tubes are standard clinchers that have an inner tube often inflated with Schrader or Presta valves. This enables you to replace them after several punctures with a lot of ease. They can get punctures from sharp objects that penetrate through rubber and pinch flats that cause friction between the tube and rim, resulting in two small holes. 

Tubeless tires lack inner valves but instead have a liquid sealant. This is very beneficial for you because you will not have to worry much about getting down to repair immediately. The liquid sealant immediately covers the hole ensuring you do not get a flat and will not notice the presence of the hole without keen observation.

Protection from punctures

Different types of commuter bike tires offer various puncture protection properties. Some have an added layer of sub treads while others have a puncture-proof belt. Puncture-proof belts are under the bike tire and they offer high resistance to penetration of sharp objects.

Those with two layers of rubber on the tire surface enhance your riding experience by reducing the chances of incurring punctures. The thicker the tire is, the more distance a sharp object has to cover for it to cause a deep hole that leads your tire to be flat. Other tires have this feature extended to their sidewalls for increased durability. 

Tire width

Wider tires provide your bike with more suspension on a surface, ensuring you have a comfortable ride. You can go through bumps and any raised surfaces with a lot of ease. This is because a wider surface area increases the area of contact, reducing you will experience getting through a bump. It also increases traction and maintains both wheels in contact with the road.

Narrower tires will offer you less suspension it is better to ride using them on smooth surfaces. They will offer you an advantage in the parking lot because they fit in small spaces.

The pattern of treads

To choose the right tread pattern, you need to know the type of surface to ride a bike on. This is important to ensure you maintain proper speed and avoid getting into an accident. 

Smooth surfaces go in line with tires that have light treads and those with a sleek design. This is because the contact of the tire and surface will not generate a lot of friction. Rough surfaces like roads need you to get a tire with many treads. This will increase the grip between the bike tire and rough surface that ensures friction rarely occurs whenever you ride.

Conclusion 

It is easy to enjoy riding your bike when having the right bike tire to suit the surface of riding. You can be sure to maintain a pleasant riding experience if you pick the best bike tire to commute with. Always consider the surfaces you will ride on, the quality of the tire, and the purpose of a tire before getting one. Do not stop making your bike from getting that amazing look and offering you the best speed.

Fat Bikes vs Mountain Bikes

Fat bikes or fat-tire bikes have become a big thing lately for use both on the trail and for daily commutes. Their distinct motorcycle-like tire has made people both eager and apprehensive to buy one to replace their mountain bike or to use it as a secondary option.

However, we have a few points that you can look at that will help you decide on whether or not to purchase a fat bike. These points will also help you make an informed decision on whether you can buy a mountain bike instead.

Do fat bikes have better traction?

Fat bike tires outstrip most mountain bike tires by a mile, and that is because these tires grab well to terrain features because their pressure levels are lower. Fat tires are especially better for mountainous terrain because they are better climbers with a tire pressure level that is around 7 psi.

Normally mountain bike tires have pressure levels that range between 22 psi to 35 psi. If you are wondering how a tires psi levels can affect your traction, consider this.

Tires with more air in them will become harder and won’t conform to adjust with whatever they have to roll over like roots and gravel. Contrarily, tires with less air in them will become softer and conform better to whatever they have to move over.

Traction is also affected by the width of your tires and wider tires with less air will conform around objects better and make it easier to move forward.

Are fat bikes faster than mountain bikes?

While wider tires mean that fat bikes can move easier through rough terrain, they also mean that they will hamper bike’s speed. However, fat bikes gain most of what they lose in speed through better traction.

Unfortunately, whatever fat bikes can gain through traction will be lost through larger and heavier frames; this is mostly visible in older fat bikes. Nowadays, some fat bikes have lightweight carbon frames, and while this makes them faster than older models, they still aren’t as fast mountain bikes.

While the speed difference between modern fat bikes and mountain won’t be that bad in off-road conditions, it can become more noticeable when these are ridden on paved roads.

Are fat bikes more stable?

One of the main reasons people buy fat bikes for off-roading is that they are the most stable bike you can ride almost anywhere. No matter how fast a mountain bike can be, some people feel more comfortable with riding fat bikes simply because they are less likely to fall while on them.

Stability is also what makes beginner off-roaders prefer fat bikes, so if you are not familiar with riding on rough terrain, they are your go-to bike. If you are a more experienced rider, mountain bikes are a better option if speed really matters that much.

Can fat bikes navigate rough terrain better than mountain bikes?

Many people who own fat bikes buy them because they don’t want to find themselves trapped indoors because their bike cannot handle a certain type of terrain. Since fat bike tires grip onto objects better, they can travel on almost any type of surface, be it a snowy hill, wet rock, or muddy trails.

Most of the places where you would have to get off and trek on foot when using a mountain bike, you can pedal through when riding a fat bike. Fat bikes are also great for commuting or training on rainy days as they won’t slip on wet surfaces.

The fact that you can use a fat bike in bad weather means they can be a great secondary option for mountain bike fans too.

Are fat bikes cheaper?

The fat bike price range is very wide. Factors like the brand, the materials used when making the bike, and any extra features play a role in the final price of an individual bike.

On average though, fat bikes are generally more expensive than mountain bikes but that isn’t a problem if you usually buy mid to high range mountain bikes. Finding a budget fat bike is not that hard, though, as you can get one from a department store for around $500.

When buying a cheap fat bike, do not expect to get a reliable model that you can regularly use as they are far more likely to get damaged.

Are fat bikes easier to ride?

The fact that fat bikes plow their way through obstacles doesn’t mean they are easier to ride because they only have one speed. Unlike mountain bikes, fat bikes rarely have gears and this means they require a lot of muscle power to move forward.

Having a one-speed bike can sound like a drawback to many but this fact has a silver lining, as fat bikes can be great for training.

Carbon vs Aluminum Mountain Bike Wheels

As you might have noticed, carbon wheels are very popular amongst road racers as almost all the pros use them. This has resulted in many people regarding carbon as the best material that can be used to manufacture bicycle wheels.

Carbon wheels are not just a thing for road cyclists, though, as more mountain bikers have started to replace their aluminum wheels with them. Wheels are probably the most important part of a bicycle as they directly after how well your bike will perform and how that riding experience will be.

The aerodynamics of carbon wheels vs aluminum wheels

One of the main reasons people choose carbon wheels over aluminum wheels is that their design performs better in the wind. Some of the best wheel manufacturers have studied how fast bicycles can go at wind tunnels and have found that carbon wheels are better at reducing drag than aluminum wheels.

Aluminum box section rims are not good at cutting through the air as their carbon counterparts and this makes it affect how fast a wheel can turn. An uneven flow of air eddy currents can make it easier for them to collide with other sections of the wheel and their force can slow you down.

Another positive point about the aerodynamics of carbon wheels is that they make your wheels become more stable. Since they have fewer imperfections and are better shaped, they create pressure on their sides when moving straight and this makes it harder for the wheel to make unnecessary turns.

Braking performance

When it comes to braking, carbon fiber wheels have a bad reputation, especially their earlier versions. The carbon wheel’s braking problem is quite common on long descents and trickier trails that require you to brake more often.

Most of the time, carbon wheel tires tend to blow due to heat caused by the friction between the brakes and the rims. This problem worsens when you have to ride in hot conditions as carbon is not that great at absorbing heat compared to aluminum.

This overheating problem is not something that has been reported in carbon wheels only. Some people have admitted that their tires blew due to their aluminum rims overheating but these instances are very rare.

If you are a big fan of carbon wheels, don’t worry, there are now brakes that are made specifically to reduce the risk of overheating rims. There are also techniques that you can read about on cycling forums that will help you brake more effectively and safely on carbon wheels.

How long carbon rims can stay true when compared to aluminum rims?

Unlike aluminum, carbon rims are more likely to stay true for longer because they are built to be appropriately round and solid. Since carbon rims are built to be round from the start, being in a circular formation does not strain them.

What makes aluminum rims strain to stay in position is that they begin as straight long rods in their manufacturing process. To become round, they are bent into circular shapes; most of the time, four of these aluminum pieces are bent at the same time.

Since aluminum rims get bent easily, people who prefer them over carbon rims claim that beating them into shape is relatively easy. 

Durability

When it comes to the durability of aluminum and carbon wheels, it is important to note that both materials can get severely damaged. However, carbon wheels are said to be stronger than their aluminum alternatives because they absorb impact better.

The ability to absorb impact in carbon wheels is what helps them spring back into shape even after being ridden repeatedly in rough terrain. Aluminum is also very durable and stiff but unlike carbon, this material is not adept at absorbing impact and creates microscopic cracks in wheels after every hard hit.

Over time, impact-induced microscopic cracks can create fatigue cracks on your wheel’s weak spots, such as the wades. These fatigue cracks can, in turn, result in a weaker frame and lessen your wheel’s stiffness and cause failure.

However, even though carbon is better at absorbing impact than aluminum wheels made out carbon break completely when they get hit super hard. Contrarily, aluminum wheels get bent after sustaining critical damage and can be banged into shape so you can continue with the trail.

Weight

People looking to shed a little weight from their bikes by switching to carbon wheels must be ready for a higher price tag. The common or cheap carbon wheel doesn’t weigh that much less than a good quality aluminum wheel and sometimes carbon wheels can be more expensive.

The fact that standard carbon wheels are not that light compared to aluminum wheels shouldn’t be a drawback. Lightweight carbon wheels are more likely to break after sustaining heavy impacts.

Centerlock vs. 6 Bolt Disk Brakes

For every biking enthusiast, it is important to know that the structure of the braking system determines the amount of power produced when braking. You must consider what attaches the brake rotor to the tire’s hub. Centerlock and 6 bolt disk brakes are good examples of equipment you can use in carrying out such activities. 

Centerlock disk brakes use rotors that move at high speeds and can stop when you apply a force to the braking handle. You can install them within a short while, even if it is the first time you will be doing so. They are less bulky and you will prefer them if you are a constant cyclist. You need a special key to connect it to the hub and the bike’s brakes to enable it to function.

6 bolt disk brakes use rotors to enhance movement but when they attach to the hub, it will take you less time to stop the bike tire. This is when compared to the centerlock type that is more efficient in speed. It uses a complex method of installation that will make you take a lot of time handling it. You will fall in love with it if you like riding for short distances. 

Conversion of a 6 bolt to a centerlock disk brake

Disk brakes create friction between a compressed pair of pads and a rotor using calipers. This action enables the shaft to stop rotating, bringing a vehicle or bicycle to a stop. This process occurs in a series from slowing down the motion of an axle until it reaches a point where it cannot move.

Installing the centerlock disk brake is a simple process. You will not have to try setting up 6 torques on the surface of the rotor. This is because it has its lock at the center point surrounded by metal made from steel. It has an inner ring that prevents it from bending. You can also replace the rotor when need be because it is easily removable.

The 6 bolt disk brake has a pair of rotors that prevent overheating and warping of your bike. You need to tighten the bolts to avoid uneven torque that leads to unequal brakes. The use of 6 bolts enables it to have many features that enhance how you brake. 

A 6 bolt rotor is compatible with a centerlock disk brake once you combine their features. It can slide to the hubs at the tires, creating an interface for mounting. 

This process needs you to secure it using quality equipment. Ensure you use a six-bolt washer, a circle clip, and a lockring to tighten it. This will keep it locked for long and you will not have the feel of using a ring with six bolts. 

How to fit centerlock and Shimano disk brakes

Fitting disk rotors in the right manner helps in preventing the malfunctioning of your bike’s brakes. You need to carry this out in order and with precision to avoid getting in danger. Here are ways to help you fit and remove disk rotors.

Begin by checking the condition of other components affecting the functioning of your bike’s brake. Look out for the seating of the wheels, the rotor, and the barrel change, and tighten the cable. When all is clear and in place, you can start the process of fitting.

You start by making the caliper mounting bolts loose to allow it to float. Adjust the outer pad counterclockwise and back to a single revolution to give a chance for future repairs. Then begin turning the pad adjuster within clockwise to enable the pads to lock against the rotors.

Continue to snug the bolts meant for caliper mounting against the rotor to ensure it aligns with the caliper body. Do not tighten it too much but wait till the pad gets aligned. Complete by loosening the pad adjusters on the inside and outside in even proportions. 

You should always aim at ensuring the caliper is parallel to the rotor and has equal openings on either side. Check for adequate lever grip by pulling, then releasing the brake lever a few times. A slow and adequate feel will confirm that everything is fine and you can stop the bike. Never forget to tighten the pinch and mounting bolts before trying out your ride.

Conclusion

The only difference between a centerlock and a 6 bolt disk brake is the method used to fit the rotors. They generally function in the same way, having to provide support to braking your bike. It is also easy for you to recreate the 6 block disk brake to a centerlock by following a set of guidelines. Ensure you pick on either of these sets, depending on the activities done with your bike. 

Can You Use a Presta Tube on a Schrader Rim?

Bicycle tires and valves play a significant part in ensuring you have a successful ride. But when encountered by an emergency, you can mismatch bicycle tubes and valves. Bicycle tires have different valves which include the Schrader and Presta valves.

Presta tubes are sometimes used in Schrader rims for such instances. Here’s how the two can be compatible to ensure you keep riding that bicycle.

What are Presta tubes and Schrader rims?

The Schrader valve is like those used in car tires and expansive bicycle models. They have a wider diameter and you need to wrap them in rubber before attaching them to wheels. It has a threadlike outer wall to accommodate a pump head or a cap. A pin located at the center that has a spring-loaded check valve controls the flow of air.

The Presta tubes are slender and used by inexpensive bicycle brands. Their width is half that of Schrader rims and it’s made from metal. A few of them have threads towards the bottom while the rest have tapering towards the top. This ensures the easy opening of the textured nut at the top by unscrewing.

It seals when the pressure in the tube and tire balances. They have a removable core even for the tubeless bikes.

Can you use a Presta tube in a Schrader rim?

You can use a Presta tube in a Schrader rim when encountered by an emergency fixation. A Presta tube can move in the wider Schrader rims to reach the bottom. The threads at the bottom speed up its move to the base of the valve. Ensure that you use a valve nut to secure the tube to the rim.

Ensure that the rims of the Schrader are wider than the Presta tube for the valve hole to widen. Take note that when you try this out, ensure your bicycle tires sit at low pressure. To ensure this get a valve adapter made from rubber or metal meant to reduce the size of the valve hole.

But, this isn’t advisable since the tubes and tires move on the rim. They are prone to get pinched between the tire and rims. But having a smaller tube will be compatible with a larger valve.

How do I use a Presta tube in a Schrader rim?

It’s an essential skill for every cyclist to know how to pump their bicycle. They need to know the type of pumps, the pressure to use, and the type of valves they are using. In a case where you use a Presta tube in a Schrader rim, you need to take precautions. As a cyclist, it’s amazing to have your tires gripped to the ground when pumping it to avoid punctures.

Use a nut valve to convert the rotating motion to a downward movement needed to screw in the Presta tube. This ensures the security of the tube to the Schrader rim. It also helps in avoiding the loss of inner pressure to the surrounding. Don’t worry when you own a tubeless tire because it uses a special rim and tire that seals air inside.

Always ensure to pump in the accurate pressure meant for your bicycle tires. Do this before attaching the different tubes and rim.

What are the consequences of using Presta tubes in Schrader rims?

Schrader rims are like Presta tubes in having an equal circumference at the top and bottom. You need to be keen when unscrewing the stem nut to prevent the removal of the entire core in the system. It ensures air isn’t let out of the tire.

They have a few differences which are due to their usage in different bicycle types. The application of pressure in the inner pin allows airflow in one direction. The Presta tube lacks a check valve and depends on the pressure difference applied to the tube and tire.

Conclusion

Every bike rider is prone to get caught up in an entanglement where they have to use dissimilar tubes and rims. In this situation, you need to be careful about how you install the Presta tubes in Schrader rims. You also have to be knowledgeable enough to know the terrains in which you’ll ride your bicycle. It helps you avoid accidents arising from pressure differences within the bike tire.