How to Check Wheel Size on Bike: Measure the Tire and Find Out Size Standard!
If you are looking to buy new bike tires soon, you should first measure bike wheel size to get the right tire from the store. Many cyclists don’t consider this important, leaving the choice of tires at the discretion of the seller, after which they can face the problem of wasted money. Therefore, it is important to measure (and it is better to additionally write down) the dimensions before going to the bike store. Therefore, today we will share with you how do tire sizes work, analyze the standard sizes for bicycle tires, and also help you determine the size of your bicycle tires yourself.
Bike Tire Size Meaning
First, let’s clearly understand that the size of a bicycle wheel has two main parameters:
- Diameter, which is the sum of the rim landing diameter and twice the tire height.
- Width, which is determined by the width of the bike tire. The width of the wheel rim, which is always less than the width of the tire, isn’t decisive in this case and is only important when selecting a tire for the existing rim.
In the concept of size, a common understanding of the unit of measurement is important. Quite often, the size of bicycle wheels is given in inches (US-British sizing system). Recently, the new standardized ISO metric system is gaining widespread acceptance. And the old metric (so-called “French”) sizing system is practically not used anymore.
Bicycle Tire Measurements Explained
The geometric parameters of bicycles differ according to a strict pattern – this also applies to frame extension and wheel diameters. Let’s take a look at bicycle tire sizes by bike type:
|Bike type||Tire width in mm and inches||Rim width in mm|
|Road and cyclocross models||18-25 mm (1″)||13|
|23-32 mm (1″-1.25″)||15|
|Lightweight cross-country and hybrid models||25-37 mm (1″-1.5″)||17|
|Heavy cross-country and hybrid models||28-44 mm (1.1″-1.75″)||18|
|MTB (mountain bikes, mountain bikes)||28-60 mm (1.1″-2.35″)||19|
|Cycling and light extreme||28-47 mm (1.1″-2″)||20|
|35-50 mm (1.4″-2″)||21|
|Extreme cycling||40-50 mm (1.5″-2.1″)||23|
|44-57 mm (1.75″-2.25″)||25 and more|
|75 mm (3″) or more||32|
The second column shows the traditional wheel diameters in inches and millimeters. The measuring bike tire size must be included with the wheel. To find out the size of the rim, you need to subtract the height of the tire, multiplied by two. The standard rim sizes are shown in the third column.
Bicycle wheel measurement systems:
- classic, in inches;
- in centimeters;
- ISO standard, in millimeters.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has implemented a universal wheel measurement system to avoid confusion. All bicycle manufacturers adhere to it. The dimensions of the wheels are made up of the diameter of the “clean” rim and the width of the tire profile.
When choosing new tires, you need to know the rim landing diameters. These numbers on the tires must correspond to them. This would come in handy when changing to a different tire profile. In everyday life, a wheel is measured in inches, and it is more convenient to give dimensions in inches.
How to Measure a Bike Wheel Manually?
Let’s move on to how to measure bike tire size by manually measuring all the necessary data. We take a centimeter or tape measure and place the bike upright so that it doesn’t fall. Place a zero straight edge on the hub axle and hold it to the edge of the tire. This would be the radius of the wheel in centimeters. Then we multiply by two, we get the diameter. To get millimeters, multiply by 10 and inches by 2.54.
ISO will measure the diameter and rim and height of the tire profile. This method may be necessary if you need to put a tire of a different profile, several types of tires can be selected for the same rim diameter.
Only measure the distance from the center of the hub to the outer edge of the rim. Knowing the radius, we multiply it by 200 receiving diameters in millimeters. And on it, we select another tire. The third method shows how to determine the diameter in terms of the circumference. For these purposes, you would need a cable and a tape measure. We wrap the tire with a cable, make a mark at the junction with the beginning of the cable. We straighten and use a ruler to measure the distance from the beginning of the cable to the mark. This would be the circumference. You can also:
- Apply a staple mark of paint to the tire.
- Place the wheel so that the mark is in the lowest position.
- Ride one turn.
- At the bottom, the paint would be erased from the tire, but on the sides, it would remain, you can understand that the wheel was rolled exactly the opposite.
- Measure the length of the fill line.
Don’t be alarmed that for large wheels this value would exceed 200 cm (or 78 inches). First, let’s divide it by 3.14, we get the diameter in centimeters. It’s so easy to find out what size the wheel of a bicycle is.
How to Check Wheel Size on the Bike Using Markings?
Now you need to disassemble how to find bike wheel size on the tire itself. Usually, manufacturers always mark the size of the product. According to the classical system, the dimensions are applied in the following order: wheel diameter in inches/tire profile width.
According to the international ISO system, the same parameters are stuffed onto the rubber in the opposite order – first the profile height, then the rim landing diameter. Values are in millimeters. For the same tire or tube 20/1.75 in ISO, it would look like this: 44.4/406.
The bike wheel size chart below shows the range of profile heights of tires for the landing diameters of the rim.
|Standard marking||Rim in mm|
|20/1.5 – 2.125||406|
|24/1.5 – 2.125||507|
|26/1 – 2.35||559|
|27/1 – 1.75||622|
|28/1 – 175||622|
|29/1.75 – 2.35||622|
The listed tires can be selected for one fit size. However, it is better to take into account the recommendations of the bike manufacturer in the passport and adhere to the recommended parameters. Tires that are too narrow would puncture more often, while tires that are too high increase resistance to movement and can damage the sides. Each rim has its tires. Finding the right average bike tire size would allow you to ride longer without punctures or damage. Surely you can now figure out bicycle wheel measurements on your own. We recommend that you use two measurement methods because this way you would be as sure as possible that you have counted everything correctly. In order not to forget, or if you don’t have your bike nearby in the store, write down the dimensions somewhere, because it would be more convenient than constantly carrying tires with you.
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