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How to choose your tyres

Your tyres are the first and only thing that connects you to the ground. They also act as a shock absorber.
Alas too often neglected by novices, tyres are essential parts of your bike. Not only do your comfort, traction and performance depend on them, but also your safety! It's necessary to know them well in order to make the most of their possibilities.

The dimensions of a road tyre

Dimensions are shown based on this model; 700x23mm.
"700" corresponds to the diameter of your wheel in mm and the 23 corresponds to the width of your tyre in mm.
The most common widths are between 23 mm and 25 mm.


It's made of nylon or more-or-less thick woven cotton threads. Some are thick and stiff, others thinner, tighter, more supple and more expensive. On the road, flexible casing provides more comfort but, above all, better handling in turns.
The figure that determines casing flexibility is indicated by the number of TPIs, meaning the number of yarns per inch (1 inch = 2.5 cm). Above 100 TPI, the carcass is very flexible and the tyre considered as high-end.


The tread covering the carcass of a road tyre is composed of a mixture of rubber and other chemical ingredients (such as silica) that affect density, rolling resistance, grip, wear and physical aspect.
Today, some treads are more or less hard depending on the area of ​​the tyre. For example, there may be a difference between the tread and the sidewalls (bi-density, triple compound, etc.) so as to optimize the puncture resistance, grip and performance without adversely affecting yield.

The beads: these are the two hoops that press the tyre against the rim. Rigid beads are made of steel wire. They are intended for heavier entry-level tyres or tyres that need to be perfectly maintained on the rim. Foldable beads are made of aramid or para-amid (including kevlar) and are intended for high-end tyres. Noticeably lighter, they have the advantages of being easy to assemble and store thanks to the possibility of bending the tyre. The Tubeless tyre rods, which have appeared for a few years on the road, are specific to guarantee the sealing of the rim / tyre torque.

The tyre beads on the Tubeless and Tubeless Ready tyre models are specific to guarantee the water tightness of both rim and tyre.

Road tyre technology

All brands offer innovative solutions that continuously integrate new technologies.
It's sometimes difficult for the average customer to make sense of so many rapid changes.
In order to facilitate your choice, we have listed all the technologies for each brand.


In the vast majority of cases, the chosen section is 23mm. This is very often the first section model put on bicycles sold on the market. It's the best compromise between comfort and efficiency.
However, the choice of 25 mm has very interesting attributes to offer.
For a cyclist sensitive to road vibrations, comfort is the prime condition motivating this choice. This, discomfort can be caused by physical limitations or because of a too rigid bike that doesn't cushion the feeling of road debris, but also increased handling in turns.
It isn't uncommon for some professionals to choose this type of section for long and arduous trials, which can even go up to 27 or 28 mm in road trials.
Naturally, the narrower the section, the greater the comfort will be. In relatively short and itnense time trials, for example, where performance, rolling resistance and aerodynamics represent essential selection criteria, the choice of section lies between 20 and 22 mm.

Tubular tyre

A tubular is made of the assembly of a tread and a casing made of cotton, silk or corespun, sometimes lined with Kevlar, stitched around a Latex or butyl tube, and finally glued onto a specially designed rim. The gluing requires a specific glue or a specific double-sided tape.
The tubular is considered more comfortable and has a higher efficiency compared to tyres with inner tubes.
The tubular tyre is less sensitive to pinching, a little less fragile than a conventional tyre, but also more difficult to repair.
The tubular is mostly used on carbon wheels for weight gain.
The gain doesn't stop there, since it offers a much wider range of pressures, including 6 to11 bars for 23 mm for example.
There are several types of tubular tyres, for road, cyclo-cross and track. Each of these practices corresponds to a different manufacture and a different material depending on the specificities desired.


All motorized sports praise the Tubeless pneumatic technology which has swept over the MTB industry. Hutchinson and Michelin worked with Mavic to popularize the system in 1998-99. The Tubeless tyre has no inner tube.
In recent years, it has been seen on the road, thanks to brands like Fulcrum which are among the firsts to have developed it in collaboration with the manufacturer Hutchinson in particular.

The pneumatic envelope and the rim form a watertight ensemble thanks to specific tyre treads whose continuous ribs are integrally molded into the rim of the tyre.
The rim itself must be completely watertight and specifically designed for this Tubeless use. Of course, this type of wheel can be put on like a conventional tyre with inner tube.
Tubeless tyres reduce the risk of puncture by pinching (cutting the inner tube between the obstacle and the rim) and make it possible to ride with lower pressures to further optimize the comfort of the cyclist. Handling is improved with greater deformation tolerance without risking the tubular to come off its rim.


The air pressure in the tyre affects its dynamic characteristics.
Smaller cross-section tyres should be more inflated than large cross-sections, such as MTBs, to avoid puncture on damaged roads. Keep in mind that over-inflation reduces comfort by favouring performance, but it can also cause falls in slip angles on wet or dry road.
On the contrary, by deflating, comfort as well as grimp improve because the surface in contact with the ground is superior. On the other hand, this induces a higher rolling resistance, and therefore a reduced yield. You have several solutions to inflate your tyres: the foot pump, the hand pump, the CO2 inflator...


Puncture is often synonymous with repair. To repair inner tubes, you need to glue rubber patches: they hold the pressure much better than self-adhesive patches, and are much more effective for safe repair.
It gets a little more complicated with tubular tyres. If you have a flat tyre during an excursion, you have some solutions. The use of a Pitstop repair bomb will allow you to complete your training by applying constant pressure on the tyre so as to return serenely home. The second solution involves carrying a spare tubular, but be careful: you'll only be able to rely on your last glue application to hold everything together..
The repair of a tubular tyre is quite complex. You need to unbuckle the place where the inner tube is pierced to repair it, then stitch it and glue it all over again. This operation requires a certain know-how and it's strongly encouraged to contact a professional for a perfect repair.

Pneumatic tips

Use for a versatile practice, the reference for versatile practice is without a doubt the Continental GP4000S or GP4000S 2 tyre. The rubber gives it excellent handling and a very good puncture resistance thanks to its Kevlar reinforcement, but only for a moderate rolling resistance. In this range, you can also find tyres such as the Michelin Pro 4 or the Maxxis Courchevel which offer the same characteristics.

  • For a competition-oriented practice, it will be necessary to choose tyres with the lesser rolling resistance. These will inevitably offer less puncture protection but perfect handling. The 'Open Tubular' tyres made of cotton or corespun, such as Vittoria Open Corsa CX or SC, Veloflex Master or Corsa, are the perfect tyres for competition.
  • For a solid tyre in all weather and all year, opt for a Continental GP 4 seasons or Michelin Endurance. These aren't the most efficient for yield but they're almost indestructible.
  • Continental has a very wide range of solid and versatile tubulars..
  • The Competition is the brand's flagship product and is as comfortable for training as it is for competitions.
  • For competition tubular tyres, Vittoria with the Corsa CX or SC, or Veloflex and its Carbon model, offer exceptional performance and comfort but lower wear resistance.


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