Trekking Bike Tires | Recommendations
Those who ride a trekking bike often have high demands on their tires. On an extended tour with luggage and on changing surfaces, you primarily expect high puncture protection, good driving comfort and safe grip on all surfaces. Fortunately, these diverse requirements can be combined in one tire nowadays and you do not have to accept losses in any of these areas. An important point of good trekking tires is the tread design, which ideally depends on the main area of use and has a significant influence on driving behavior. From almost treadless tires to heavily treaded tires, you have a wide range of manufacturers to choose from, including the ideal tire for your trekking bike. We have summarized what you should pay attention to when choosing your trekking bike tires here.
Which Trekking Bike Tire is right for me?
If you want or need to replace the tires on your trekking bike, the easiest way to read the tire size is from the old tire. On the sidewall of the tire you will usually find the information.
In the field of trekking bikes, it is common to specify the tire size in inches, but it can be specified as a decimal number or fraction. In addition, the tire manufacturers also specify the tire dimensions according to ISO (ETRTO) and French standard (mm).
Trekking bikes for adults usually have 28 “tires, with smaller frame sizes 26” wheels can also be used – the mountain bike standard 27.5 “(650b) is also used in some cases. Tires from trekking bikes are available with different profiles and with different strengths. Which profile is ideal for you depends on the main routes you ride on your bike.
Since there is no aquaplaning known from cars, tires that are only used on asphalt can theoretically do without a profile. In practice, however, completely profile-free tires, so-called slicks, are only installed on road bikes – trekking bikes always have profiled tires.
So that you can choose the tire with the right profile for you, we have compared the advantages and disadvantages of trekking bike tires with different profiles.
Trekking bike tires without tread
These tires have been designed for maximum performance on the road: They create the greatest possible contact between the tire and the road and therefore offer a good grip on flat surfaces. These tires are perfect for fast tours.
Advantages of trekking bike tires without tread
- Greatest possible contact between tire and road surface
- Almost noiseless rolling through the tread without tread
- Good grip on asphalt and fine gravel roads
- Low rolling resistance
Disadvantages of trekking bike tires without tread
- Little grip on muddy and loose floors
- Hardly any grip on snow
A good compromise for cyclists who ride their trekking bikes for the most part on the road, but in any weather and sometimes off paved roads, can be an all-round tire with a medium tread, e.g. the Continental Contact Speed.
These tires have a better grip on wet roads than their treadless counterparts, have a similar amount of contact area, but can better claw in the road surface due to the individual tread blocks and drain small stones or water better. Such profiles show their strength especially on wet, wet gravel or natural paths, offer significantly more grip and thus ensure high driving stability.
Trekking bike tires with tread
The profile on these tires is more pronounced and therefore offers significantly more grip on gravel and natural paths. The continuous tread in the middle of the Contact Cruiser ensures smooth straight-line running and quiet rolling on asphalt, the Speed Ride with its tread blocks is somewhat louder and rougher in rolling behavior. You should be careful with tires that also have individual tread blocks on the left and right of the tread – they offer great grip on loose surfaces, but can feel spongy in fast corners on asphalt.
Advantages of trekking bike tires with tread
- Good grip on loose surfaces and snow
- With a continuous tread in the middle, almost noiseless rolling
- Suitable for asphalt, gravel and nature trails alike
- Larger range of use than treadless trekking tires
Disadvantages of trekking bike tires with tread
- Usually a little heavier than treadless trekking tires
- Spongy driving behavior on asphalt with a rough profile
- Loud rolling noise
A recommendation for cyclists who expect their trekking bike tires to perform well on asphalt as well as on loose surfaces in all weather conditions are these tires from the Schwalbe marathon family.
These tires offer the ideal combination of both worlds thanks to their rough, but still roadworthy tread.
The same principles apply to driving on snow as on muddy surfaces: only a rough profile helps here. Those who travel a lot with snow and ice can also put on a special “winter tire”. These tires have aluminum spikes and therefore offer the necessary grip even on icy roads. Disadvantages are the higher weight, the poorer running properties on asphalt and the significantly louder rolling noise.
What is the proper tire pressure for a Trekking bike?
The right tire pressure ensures good grip, a safe driving experience and pleasant driving comfort, so you should check the air pressure regularly and adjust it if necessary.
The decisive factors for the selection of the correct tire pressure are the tire width and the driver’s weight. Based on our table, you can set the tire pressure and vary it according to your preference in the specified range. Under no circumstances should you fall below or exceed the minimum pressure or the maximum pressure, these two pressures are also indicated on the tire sidewall.
When you change the tires on your trekking bike, in addition to the question of the model and the profile, there is also the question of the tire width. Our clear recommendation here is: As wide as possible!
In addition to a larger contact area, wide tires also have the advantage that they can be driven with less pressure. A low air pressure ensures increased driving comfort and more relaxed driving over bumps or poor distances. Especially on unsprung trekking bikes, a wide tire with the right air pressure can provide a significant comfort plus.
As you can see in the table above, in all weight classes e.g. the change from a 35 mm wide tire to a 42 mm wide tire reduces the pressure by as much as 2 bar. The difference is clearly noticeable, especially since it affects the front and rear equally – so a wider tire can be a cheap and easy tuning measure for comfort-seeking trekking cyclists.
When choosing a new tire width, pay attention to the space available on your trekking bike, not all bikes can accommodate tires of all widths. Limiting elements are often the rim brakes, the existing fenders, but also the continuity of the fork, seat and chain stays.
Safe trekking bike tires
A flat tire is annoying and takes time and nerves to fix. In the imaginary unpopularity scale, the puncture even beats the headwind and the rain by a mile. When fitting a new tire, you can ensure that you are spared from a flat tire. A puncture-proof tire is always the interaction of several components:
A rim tape should be put on the inside of the rim. Make sure that it is properly seated and undamaged. The rim tape sits correctly if it completely covers all spoke nipples or spoke holes – if it is incorrect, the tube can be damaged by friction.
The selection of the tube can have a significant impact on the susceptibility to breakdowns: Since the weight plays a minor role on the trekking bike, it is better not to use so-called “light” tubes. They weigh a little less, but they get the weight advantage through thin-walled, and therefore unfortunately more prone to breakdown. The first choice for trekking bikes are standard butyl tubes.
A tube is relatively cheap, so you should also pull in a new tube when changing tires. Tubes lose their elasticity over time, which is exacerbated by permanent friction and temperature differences.
Whether DuraSkin and SafetyPlus from Continental, or PunctureGuard and Greenguard from Schwalbe – the manufacturers are very creative in naming their puncture protection solutions. The principle of action is similar for all models: A rubber, rubber, fabric or a combination of these materials incorporated into the tires is intended to prevent foreign bodies from penetrating. This insert is usually 3 to 5 mm thick and reliably prevents punctures or cuts – if the tire pressure is correct!
The tire can only work optimally if the tire pressure is set correctly. Excessive pressures make the tire more sensitive to punctures and can cause tube bursts. Pressures that are too low allow the tire and inner tube to flex more, which creates more friction. You also run the risk of punctures when driving over milling edges, potholes or curbs, also known as snake bites.
Those who are a little bit technically savvy and are not afraid of the higher assembly costs can additionally increase the puncture resistance with sealing milk or a tubeless system. This requires tubeless-ready rims and tires. The sealing milk in the tire seals small punctures and cuts while driving and thus prevents the air from escaping completely from the tire.