Most cyclists would probably agree that riding with zero distractions or issues is ideal. And the details are important.
Just like a bike helmet or bike bell, tires matter and it's crucial to find a set that's most compatible with your body size. So, we chatted with an expert to narrow down all the best bike tires for riders with larger bodies.
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How We Chose
We spoke with Garret Seacat, CSCS, a triathlon and cycling coach at Absolute Endurance about his suggestions and what to look for in the best bike tires for riders with bigger bodies. The following products are based on criteria including:
- Tire build
- Tire type
- Tire width
1. Best Foldable: Continental Gator Hardshell Foldable Tire
Frame type: Road bike
Compared to Continental's other bike tires, this version is made with thicker, more protective rubber, making it a good choice for riders who need a little extra support on their tires.
The Gator Hardshell tire is also covered with a puncture protection material across the tread, which is a must for riders who have bigger bodies, according to Seacat (more on that below). Plus, these also have protective layers on the side walls of the tires to guard against any glass or thorns you may come across — a flat tire mid-ride is no fun.
Buy it: REI.com; Price: $74.95
2. Best for Commuting: Panaracer TourGuardPlus Urban/Commuter Tire
Frame type: City or Hybrid bike
Seacat is also a fan of Panaracer's tires, especially for heavier riders. This set is ideal for a city or hybrid bike and is made with a puncture-fighting beaded nylon that offers more damage resistance than most other bike tires.
These tires even have reflective sides to offer a little extra safety for those who like to bike at night. And the tread fares well against rainy conditions.
Buy it: Panaracerusa.com; Price: $29.99
3. Best for Long Rides: Continental Gatorskin Clincher Tire
Frame type: Road bike
"For those who stick mainly to paved roads the go-to tire for all types of riders is the Continental Gatorskins," Seacat says.
This tire has a full layer of puncture-resistant casing and sidewall protection to prevent any damage to your tires, according to Seacat. And the tread on these is built for high mileage, making them ideal for those who love long bike rides.
Buy it: Backcountry.com; Price: $39.99 to $49.99
4. Best for Mountain Biking: Maxxis Ardent DC EXO TR 29er Tire
Frame type: Mountain bike
For cyclists with bigger bodies, good traction is a priority when mountain biking because it prevents sliding forward as you go downhill. And the large knobs on these tires do just the trick.
As Seacat mentions, tire protection is a must but especially for off-road biking where you may come across all kinds of debris on the trail. This Maxxis tire has a large protective casing that covers the tread and sides to combat any rocks or branches.
Buy it: REI.com; Price: $74
3 Factors to Consider When Buying Bike Tires
1. The Type of Bike You Have
When you look at a road and mountain bike side-by-side, their frames look pretty different. But the differences don't stop there. They have unique sets of tires, too.
So, before you start looking at the nitty gritty details of different bike tires, make sure you're looking at tires that fit your bicycle, according to Seacat. Look at the product details for any tires you consider to make sure they match your bike type.
2. Tire Protection
Riders with bigger bodies want to look for a set of tires that has a layer of added protection, Seacat says. By adding a layer of support, tire coats or casings reduce the chance of getting cuts in your tires — no one wants to get stuck with a flat.
Different tires use different kinds of materials in their protection. Generally, though, companies cover their tires in a layer of rubber-coated fabric to prevent unwanted punctures. Take a close look at the product info to ensure the tire you choose has a layer of abrasion-resistant material.
3. Proper Sizing
As you may have noticed in our picks above, bike tires have different sizes, and you need to find the right one for your bike. The easiest way to find the right size is by looking at the side of your current tires. The numbers there show your tire diameter and width.
Or, you can hit the web. Seacat recommends searching your bike name and model to find the right tire size. "Chances are, you are not the first one trying to find this information."
Although there's no hard and fast rule (all bikes are unique), you can use the chart below to find the general tire sizes for different bike frames.
Bike Frames and Tire Sizes
Your ideal tire size depends on your bike frame size, so there's not too much leeway there. But the bigger the tire, the more support, which is why Seacat suggests a 43 mm tire or larger for adults with bigger bodies.