How to Measure Bike Tire Size According to Your Height
Do you frequently struggle to determine tire size in bike shops? How to measure the bike tire size? Numerous bike models and tire sizes are available for you to choose from. You eventually wonder which one will work best for you.
26-inch tires were common on mountain bikes in the beginning. Using huge tires was viewed by many as having several advantages. The 26-inch tire thereafter became the norm. There are more possibilities for off-road bikes in 2016, a year after. These consist of 26-inch tires, plus-size tires, and 27.5-inch tires.
Here, we'll go over the options available and numerous techniques for determining a bike tire's size.
Table of Contents
- Three Effective Ways to Measure Bike Tire Size
- Different Types of Bike Tire
- The Importance of Right Sized Tires
Three Effective Ways to Measure Bike Tire Size
Do you want to purchase a new bike, replace your current model, and make sure the sizing is accurate? If so, you should be aware of how to measure bike tire size. Because the bike wheels must always fit.
The majority of riders simply accept the equipment that comes with their bikes. Or they rely on the bike shop whenever a replacement or upgrade is necessary.
It is necessary to be familiar with the sizes if you intend to shop for new tires online or if you're thinking about changing sizes.
The size is almost always printed on the exterior of the tire, however, after time, these numbers may fade. Therefore, if you don't know how to measure, you could go into difficulty if you don't know your sizes by heart.
You may measure your bike wheels without using a chart of bicycle wheel sizes. Although, it will give you a good starting point. Unfortunately, some people find it daunting to understand how to determine bike wheel size. But in actuality, it's not that complicated. You can do it at home with a few basic tools.
There are numerous techniques for measuring tires, and it's a lot simpler than you may imagine. We'll walk you through three easy methods.
The Standard Method of Tire Measuring
Step 1: Place the Bike in an Upright Position
Ask a friend to hold the bike steady as you stand it up to measure the size of the wheels. To easily measure the bicycle rim size, you'll need the bike upright.
Use durable steel tape when measuring your bike on your own so that you can keep the bike steady with one hand while measuring.
Step 2: Measure the Radius
The wheel radius is the distance between the center of the wheel and the edge of the tire.
To measure it, position the measuring tape's end at the tire's edge and then read the number where the center of the tape meets the edge of the tire.
You can also use a piece of string or paper if you don't have a tape measure. Now multiply the figure by two to determine its diameter.
Step 3: Measure the Width
The breadth is the distance from one side of the wheel to the other between the flat portion of the tire and the tread.
Place one end of the measuring tape at the tread of the bike wheel and measure to the other side to get the wheel's width.
Once more, you can measure the width with a piece of rope or paper. It's only a few inches, though. So you can get away with using a regular ruler.
Step 4: Measure the Diameter
The width of the wheel is its diameter. Measure on the other side of the wheel after positioning the measuring tape's end on one.
To measure this, you can also use a piece of paper or string, but make sure it is long enough to extend from one side of the wheel to the other.
Step 5: Wrap up Your Measurements
Congratulations! You now understand how to measure the size of a bike wheel using the accepted technique. Give the salesperson the results of these computations when ordering or selecting a bike size.
The diameter should be listed first on your list of measurements, then the width, and finally the radius.
For instance, if your bike wheel is 26 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches wide, your size would be 26-1.5.
ISO System of Measuring Bike Tire
Check how your bike tire is measured. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) measures the diameter of a bike tire in millimeters.
The ISO sizing method is the most trustworthy way to measure your tires at home. The ISO standard includes the bead seat diameter (BSD) as well as the tire width in millimeters.
Step 1: Bike Tire Size Using Millimeters
You will need a tape measure with metric units to measure the size of a bike tire using the ISO technique (mm). If you don't have the right measuring tool, simply multiply the number of inches by 25.4 to convert to millimeters.
Step 2: Prop the Bike Up
Similar to the Standard Method, you must either ask a friend to hold the bike or prop it against a wall for support. Use the Standard Method's precise instructions to measure the radius. To find the bike wheel's diameter in millimeters, multiply the number by two.
Step 3: Measure the Width According to The ISO System
The width should be measured using the same method. Measure the width in millimeters instead.
As long as the difference isn't too pronounced, you can utilize bicycle tires of various widths on the same wheel.
Step 4: Finalize Your Measurements
The width should be listed first and the diameter second when using the ISO standard. For instance, your size would be represented as 40-622 if your tire's width is 40 millimeters and its diameter is 622 millimeters.
For instance, the most typical wheel width for a road bike is anywhere between 23, 25, and 28 millimeters. Whereas the typical mountain bike wheel width is somewhere between 35, 38, and 40 millimeters.
Measuring Tire with Circumference Method
Measuring tape/ String
Step 1: Calculate The Circumference
The circumference of a bicycle tire is its outer circumference. It extends past the bicycle rims and then comes together once more.
You can use a piece of string or a tape measure to determine the circumference, and then measure the string with a ruler.
Once more, you can use a piece of string to gauge the bike wheel's circumference. Only when you still don't know the wheel's diameter is this alternative practical.
To accomplish this, round the tire's outer border with a string. Mark the location where the string connects to the beginning.
Measure the length of the string from one end to the mark using a tape measure. You will receive the circumference in inches or millimeters after doing this.
The Roll Method
The Roll Method, a time-honored technique, can be used to determine the bike wheel's circumference. The bike wheel is simply rolled in this manner until it completes one full rotation.
Mark the spot where the bike tire initially made contact with the ground using chalk or a piece of tape. Then measure from that point to the next intersection.
Depending on how you measure it, this will give you the bicycle wheel's circumference in either inches or millimeters. Since you are already aware of how far the wheel has moved, you may also measure its diameter at this moment.
Step 2: Multiply the Diameter by Pi
If you already know the diameter, you can quickly calculate the circumference of a bicycle tire or any other circle. You only need to multiply the tire's diameter by pi (3.14)
For instance, if the bike tire is 28 inches in diameter, the circumference is 28 x 3.14, or 88 inches.
Different Types of Bike Tire
Knowing the ideal bike tire size for you is essential whether you're purchasing your first bicycle or replacing the tire on your current one. You must understand how to measure bike tire size. But there are various tire varieties available. Which one is appropriate for you? We'll spare you the gory specifics. But these crucial details could improve your choice even further.
Road Bike Tire
Road tires are smooth and have little tread. So it's easy to maintain a low rolling resistance. The width of modern road bike tires is all 700C, which ranges from 23 mm to 32 mm. Commuter and hybrid bikes typically use 700C tires for paved roads wider than 32 mm wide.
The typical 25 mm width has more grips, rolls quickly, and is much lighter than large mountain bike tires. Due to their low rolling resistance and increased volume to muffle road noise, wider tire sizes like 28 mm and 32 mm are becoming more and more common.
The tire size on earlier road bike models is 27" (ISO size 630). These tires won't fit correctly on contemporary rims, since their inner diameter is slightly larger than 700C.
Gravel Bike Tire
When choosing dirt bike tires, the tread pattern and tire width are two of the most crucial considerations.
Although 650b wheel sets are an option on many models, gravel bikes often come with 700C wheels. Due to the somewhat smaller size of 650b wheels, bigger tires can be fitted in the frame for improved traction and comfort on bumpy routes.
The current standard width, which replaced the previous one of 35 mm, is 40 mm, and most contemporary gravel bikes already have this. Riders that tackle challenging terrain can upgrade 650b wheels to fit wider tires or choose 42 mm or 45 mm sizes.
Since not all gravel is created equal, choosing the right tread pattern can help your tires function well under various circumstances. For riding on fine gravel, dirt roads, and in dry weather, the low-profile tread is appropriate. Although they may resemble road tires, semi-slick gravel tires are substantially broader. The best option is a thick tread with a knobby texture if the going gets rough or there is mud. Compared to mountain bike tires, these high-traction knobs are often smaller and more numerous.
Mountain Bike Tire
Mountain bike tires are available in a variety of distinctive tread patterns with widths ranging from 1.6" to 3" and are measured in inches.
Many mountain bike tires can hold air without an inner tube and are therefore less likely to puncture. Because trail debris won't poke a hole in the tire and result in a flat, riders can use lower bike tire pressure for increased traction with this tire option. Another alternative is studded tires, which have tiny metal spikes built into each knob to dig into snow or ice. Studded tires should only be used in ice circumstances when traction is at its lowest, since they can harm dry pavement.
Fat Bike Tires
With widths ranging from 3.7" to 5.2", fat bike tires are the largest bike tires currently on the market. The most typical tire width is 4" across, which is enough for challenging surfaces including sand, snow, and dirt. Wider alternatives will be heavier and slower, but they will have better traction in muddy areas.
Two sizes of fat bike tires may be used with either 26" or 27.5" rims. Large, widely spaced knobs on heavy tread patterns increase friction with the ground while providing extra grip.
Although the majority of fat tires are made for traction, some feature less aggressive tread that's ideal for easy trails or smooth mud. Technically speaking, fat tires are a sort of mountain bike tire. They also exist in tubeless and studded varieties.
Winter Bike Tire
You will need to purchase winter tires for your bicycle, just like you would for a car or truck. These tires are specifically designed to offer more traction and grip on icy or drizzly surfaces. Riders can get traction in challenging, low-friction situations on ice or snow with the aid of winter bike tires. Due to their larger surface area for traction, fat tires or wide mountain bike tires are suitable in the winter. The toughest winter tires are studded, which refers to their heavy tread pattern and the addition of tiny metal spikes in each knob for ice-cracking purposes.
Measuring Road Bike Tire Size
Modern road bikes almost universally use 700c wheels and tires. In the past, 23 mm tires were the norm, and it was widely believed that narrower tires were faster. Wider tires, however, are faster and more comfortable in most circumstances, according to current studies. The most popular road tire sizes now are 700c x 25 mm and 700c x 28 mm as a result; many riders, however, prefer even wider widths of 30 mm or 32 mm. Often, the bike itself is the limiting element because some frames won't take tires wider than a specific width. Most brand-new road frames can accommodate tires up to 28 mm in diameter, but before sizing up, double-check your frame's tolerances.
For road bikes, there are a few other less typical wheel and tire sizes. Examples include 650b (ISO 584) and the more uncommon 650c (ISO 571), both of which are used on bikes for smaller riders. The letter that comes after the diameter measurement in French tire sizes is used to state width. It is now only relevant to distinguish between sizes with the same names but different dimensions. For example, a 650c rim cannot accommodate a 650b tire.
Types of Ride Bike Tire
Three different types of road bike tires are frequently utilized.
Clincher: Currently, practically every new bike is sold with these tires, which are the most prevalent type. To inflate and store air in clincher tires, a tube that fits between the wheel rim and the tire is necessary. You can replace or patch this inner tube if it becomes punctured.
Tubular: These are popular among expert riders due to the performance advantages they bring. Inner tubes are sewn into the tire, as opposed to sitting apart from it like they would in a clincher. Tubular tires must thus be attached to the wheel using glue or specialized tape. The main advantage is that the tire will stay on the rim in the event of a flat. This will allow the rider to keep rolling without losing control.Tubeless: As the name implies, these tires have no inner tube. Instead, they latch onto the wheel like a standard clincher tire, but with significantly tighter tolerances. It produces a harder, airtight seal. The tire is subsequently treated with sealant to help prevent flats by helping to fill in minor holes and breaks.
Mountain Bike Tire Size
Tires for mountain bikes have an inch measurement. There are three non-interchangeable diameters available that match popular mountain bike wheel sizes. The wheels and tires that are most common for high-end mountain bikes are 29". Next are 27.5" setups, which some riders prefer because they like smaller, marginally more agile wheels. Last but not least, 26" wheels and tires were formerly the norm, but are now largely seen on entry-level and children's bikes.
Surprisingly, road wheels and mountain bike wheels have the same diameter. Wheels of 29" are equivalent to 700c, while those of 27.5" are equivalent to 650b. However, you shouldn't use tires made for one on a wheel made for the other. The width of the rim varies significantly between road and mountain bikes. This will affect the performance.
Here is a size chart for you to understand the tire size according to your height
Leg inseam (inches)
Suggested Wheel Size
4’10 – 5’3″
25 – 28″
5’4 “- 5’7”
25 – 30″
5’5″ – 5’9″
26 – 31″
5’9″ – 6’0″
27 – 32″
6’0″ – 6’3″
28 – 33″
6’1″ – 6’6″
29 – 34″
The Most Accurate Way to Measure Kids Bike Tire Size
Kid's bike tires are measured in inches and are, as one might expect, smaller than those on an adult bicycle. Your child's height and inseam can be used to measure the tire. There are additional methods, such as using their age, to determine the tire size. However, in my opinion, the most precise measurements are based on height and inseam.
Measure Your Kid's Inseam
Inseam, the length of a child's inside leg, is measured from the top of the crotch to the ground. Use the simple instructions below to determine a child's inseam for a bike.
Tell your kid to stand with their feet shoulder-width apart, back to a wall, and their shoes on.
The spine of a robust book should be pressed firmly against the wall, and the book should be placed as high between their legs as is comfortable.
Ask the child to move away from the wall while maintaining firm control of the book.
Calculate the distance from the book's top to the ground. You can use a measuring tape.
This is the inseam that you'll need afterward. Note it down for further use.
How to Calculate Their Height
The following are the simplest steps for measuring a child's height to determine the best tire size for them:
Ask your child to put on their bike shoes.
Tell them to take a straight stance with their feet shoulder-width apart and back against a wall.
Put the spine of the book on top of their head and lean it up against the wall.
Measure from the book's bottom up using a measuring tape.
This value represents the height of your child. So that you won't have to measure again soon, make a note of it.
The table below will assist you in determining the perfect tire size once you have measured the height and inseam of your child.
Suggested Kids Bike Tire Size
2'10" - 3'4"
14" - 17"
3'1" - 3'7"
16" - 20"
3'7" - 4'0"
18" - 22"
3'9" - 4'3"
20" - 24"
4'3" - 4'5"
22" - 25"
4'5" - 4'9"
24" - 28"
26", 27.5" & 700c Wheels (adult bikes)
The Importance of Right Sized Tires
Is it necessary to know how to measure bike tire size? Unsuitable tire sizing, as we all know, can harm the rim and endanger the riders. You run the danger of more blowouts and pinch flats if the tire is not broad enough. It may cause tire burping and have poor stability if it is overly wide. Therefore, choosing the right bike tire size is crucial. Simply stated, the bigger the tire, the better the traction of your bike. A tire's width affects how much surface area it covers on the road.
Does tire size thus actually matter? Yes, to answer briefly. But is wheel size important? It varies.
Tires and wheels are two different concepts. The wheel arrangement includes tires. For instance, even though the rims on your bike are a specific size, you can buy alternative tire sizes to fit them as long as the middle of the tire is the right size. A bike with larger rims will frequently be able to accommodate bigger tires than others.
When Should You Replace Your Tire
When the time comes, you must change your bike tires in the same way that you would replace worn-out running shoes. It's time for new bike tires if any of the following apply:
You're getting a lot of flats and your tread edges are worn down.
Your bike's handling has significantly deteriorated.
The tread on your tires is rounded or irregular.
You observe a hashtag-like pattern on the tire's sidewall.
The rubber on the sides and knobs is starting to flake or fracture.
You observe a tire deformation (caused by a damaged casing underneath the outer wall)
Observe the spinning, which are microscopic slits in tires. It improves traction in slippery conditions. If it is vanishing, then it's time.
Several tiny incisions may or may not include glass slivers; they can get inside the tire and result in flats.
Wear signs, which are usually one or two little dimples, are vanishing (not all tires have wear indicators)
Finding the appropriate bike or tire for your needs will be simpler now that you understand how to estimate bike wheel size. You won't run out of possibilities because there are three trustworthy techniques for determining the size of a bike tire.
Just keep in mind to take thorough measurements that are accurate to prevent any mistakes. When measuring an MTB wheel or a child bike wheel, accuracy is crucial.
You can enjoy your bike journeys even more if the size is correct! So go ahead and choose your preferred technique to calculate the size of your bicycle tires!