"Don't Slip"- 2020 BMX Tyre Buyers Guide
Author: Tim Date Posted:29 January 2020
BMX Tyre Buyer Guide
Buying tyres for your BMX bike can be tricky with the slew of tyres that are available on the market. Thickness, compound, folding or non-folding are a few points that should be considered before picking the right tyres for your ride.
The thickness of your BMX tyre refers to the distance from one tyre wall to the other. Freestyle Bmx tyres come in a variety of sizes depending on what style of riding you do. Thicker tyres (2.4”) have a greater area that touches the ground when your rolling and therefore give the rider slightly more balance in manuals. Thicker tyres give less grind clearance when grinding ledges because the tyre will rub the edge of the ledge slowing down the grind. The thicker the tyres on your bike the more clearance your bike will need to have in the forks and back end of the frame. This doesn’t change the feel of the bike but does need considering when choosing tyres and fork/frame combinations. Thinner tyres (1.75”) are better suited for holding speed since there is less of the tyre touching the ground, subsequently less friction and more speed. Thinner tyres are better suited for riding dirt or ramps. Where fatter tyres are generally built for the street riders.
Tyre treads have changed over the years but one thing will always remain the same, the tread of your tyre is a majorly personal preference. However, smoother treads seem to work better for wooden ramps or smooth concrete parks and spots. Where larger more protruding treads work better for looser surfaces like dirt or unsealed roads since they have more area on the tread.
Rubber Compound/ Low Pressure
Making a BMX tyre is a complex process of combining a bunch of layers of rubber, wire and nylon together to make a single tire. The rubber compounds used are fairly similar with some companies boasting “low pressure” tyres which are subsequently a slightly different compound. The advantages of low-pressure tyres are that they enable the rider to have lower pressure and therefore increasing the surface area of the tyre on the ground increasing the balance point. Low-pressure tyres have a thicker sidewall to enable the tyre to be more rigid at lower pressures. This does increase weight however most brands will offer both versions.
Folding and Non Folding
Non-Folding or beaded tyres are the traditional styles of a tyre. The “bead” of the tyre refers to the wire that sits on either side and joins to the rim. This style of tyre is generally easier to fit but due to the materials used they weigh more than a folding tyre. Non-folding don’t have this wire and therefore are able to be “folded”. Due to there manufacturing process non-folding tyres won’t stay in shape until fitted to the wheel and inflated. Other then weight, folding tyres are generally thinner as well and better suited for more ramp/park style riding, where non-folding tyres are thicker and better suited for rough terrain or street riding.
Like all parts, Bmx tyres come in a variety of prices ranging from $23.95 for your basic run of the mill entry-level tyre all the way to $84.99 for your pro-level tyres.
The Other Stuff
Aside from all the practical reasons for buying tyres, there are some more aesthetic reasons for choosing your tyres. Firstly colours. BMX tyres come in all sorts of colours, some even with large prints on the treads, this makes no difference to the performance but will turn heads when you show up at the park with those pink camo rubbers on! Another thing to consider is the “squeakiness” of your tyres. Although this sounds trivial BMX riders like to be heard, so keep in mind the high pitch squeal your treads will be making when you’re turning around out of that big 180. BMX tyres can come in all different shapes and sizes and do change the way your bike rides, so be sure to consider all of the above before heading to your local store and picking up your favourite pair.