The right bicycle tyres

When it comes to riding characteristics and safety when cycling, tyres play a decisive role.

At the same time, in recent years the range of tyres on the market has become more and more diverse and thus more confusing. Expert Thorsten Braukmann gives tips on how to find the best tyre for your bike or e-bike.

Bicycle tyres are the interface between your bike and the ground. However, their influence on the ergonomics of the bike should also not be underestimated. For example wide, large-volume tyres can increase riding comfort, as they are more effective than narrower models at compensating for bumps and at absorbing shocks. Even on a bike that is already perfectly adjusted, this can further improve your riding experience.

Where do you intend to cycle?

An equally important criterion is that the tyres should be suitable for their intended use. Therefore, before buying a tyre, you should think about the type of surface you will mainly be riding on:

If you ride mainly on dry, firm surfaces such as asphalt, a tyre with a flat profile such as the Schwalbe Big Apple offers the best grip. It's good to know that aquaplaning, which is feared on car tyres, doesn't occur with bicycle tyres.

If, on the other hand, you are riding on softer surfaces such as forest and dirt tracks, treads with coarser lugs such as the Schwalbe Land Cruiser Plus provide the necessary grip.

When touring on varying surfaces, it is best to choose a tyre type that combines a smooth tread for low rolling resistance with side lugs for sufficient grip on soft surfaces - for example the Schwalbe Marathon Allmotion.

The choice of tyres for mountain bikes is a little more complicated: a tour on the trail has completely different requirements than a downhill race. There is therefore a particularly wide range of special MTB tyres for different surfaces and purposes, and these vary significantly not only in terms of tread but also in terms of construction and rubber compound. In case of doubt, your specialist dealer is always the right contact - this also applies if you are planning special uses for your road bike or gravel bike.

Do you ride an e-bike? Then you should also opt for specially developed e-bike tyres. In this case you will often be riding at high speeds, and at the same time the tyres will be subjected to greater stresses due to the higher weight, especially in curves. E-bike tyres such as the Schwalbe Marathon E-Plus are well prepared for all these stresses, and they also offer very good puncture protection - more on that in a moment. You can recognise e-bike tyres by the ECE-R75 test mark. By the way, if you ride a fast e-bike (S-pedelec) with a speed rating of up to 50 km/h, ECE-R75 tyres are required by law.

Don't forget puncture protection

Another important selection criterion is puncture protection. Especially on longer tours or in the case of bikes and e-bikes where removing the rear wheel is particularly time-consuming, choosing puncture-proof bicycle tyres can save a lot of time and stress. The Schwalbe Marathon Plus and the above-mentioned Schwalbe Marathon E-Plus, which are the only tyres in the world that can really be called "puncture-proof", enjoy an almost legendary reputation in this respect.

Alternatively, tubeless tyres are an option if you value puncture protection and riding comfort. In this case the special ("tubeless ready") tyre and the rim form an airtight unit filled with sealing milk, with the liquid automatically sealing any leaks that occur. In this way there are not only fewer punctures, but the tyre can also be ridden with lower air pressure. This in turn improves traction and suspension characteristics. Whereas only a few years ago tubeless tyres were exclusively used in the sporting sector, today they are also commonly used in everyday cycling.

Check the air pressure regularly

Whichever bicycle tyres you choose, if the air pressure is incorrect, riding comfort and durability will suffer. If the air pressure is too low the tyre will ride sluggishly and its service life will be significantly reduced. Over-inflation also puts unnecessary stress on the tyre's structure. Regularly checking the air pressure is therefore a must - ideally once a month with the pressure gauge. You can read the optimum air pressure range on the sidewall of your bicycle tyre in bar or PSI.

Again, mountain biking is a special case here: every MTB discipline and every MTB set-up requires an individual calculation of the air pressure if you want to get the best possible performance. The bicycle manufacturer Schwalbe offers a helpful online tool for this purpose at www.schwalbe.com/pressureprof. This enables the individual MTB tyre pressure to be determined in a time-saving manner.

Conclusion Like car tyres, high-quality bicycle tyres are highly complex products that are developed and tested by experienced manufacturers as part of extensive research to ensure that they are suitable for your specific purposes. Discount bicycle tyres can hardly be compared to branded products in terms of performance and durability. However, whatever the case your specialist bicycle dealer will provide you with expert advice - after all, he knows your bike or e-bike well and will always look at your new tyres as components of the overall system.