Race bike tire size and width for road and racing bikes

Good tires are important for a pleasant ride. Whether you cycle in good or bad weather and in the wonderful summer heat or winter cold, good equipment is always a requirement. That also applies to your tire choice. Your tires suffer less in the summer than in the autumn and winter. In this page you can find all advice on race bike tire size and choice for the different seasons.

What size do I need?

Bicycle tires come in many different shapes and sizes. It is especially difficult to determine which size is suitable due to the different size indications. That is why we would like to briefly explain the difference between the different tire sizes and show you how you can determine which tires fit your rim.

Tire sizes are indicated in three ways, namely with ETRTO, Inch or the French size. The designation ‘Inch’ is mainly used for mountain bike tires and is less well known in the cycling world.

race bike tire size systems
race bike tire size systems

Road bike tire size chart

For the racing bike, both the ETRTO (European Tire and Rim Technical Organization) and the French size designation are used.
ETRTO indicates the width and inner diameter of the tire. This creates a complete overview of the tire size. An ETRTO size of 23-622 means that the tire is 23 millimeters thick and has an inner diameter of 622 millimeters. A similar tire is denoted in the French size by 700 x 23C. This measurement indicates the outer diameter and width of the tire. The letter at the end refers to the inner diameter of the tire. The C in this case stands for 622 mm. ERTRO The table below shows the most commonly used racing tire sizes in the various size designations:

Tire widthETRTOFrench size
23 mm wide23-622700 x 23c
25 mm wide25-622700 x 25c
28 mm wide28-622700 x 28c

Which racing bike tire fits which rim?

Traditionally, most racing bikes were mainly supplied with 23 millimeter wide tires.
However, the 25 millimeter band is now also commonplace. The wider version has less rolling resistance and offers more comfort.

Today, 28 mm tires are also used for racing bicycles. Even wider tires mean even more grip and comfort, and you can keep the pressure a bit lower for cobblestone rides, for example (so also more comfort!). However, the question is whether a 25 or 28 millimeter tire will also fit your bike.

First of all, you need enough space between the tire and the frame. In addition, the width of the rim is leading. 25 millimeter tires fit 13, 15 and 17c rims. You can find this size on the rim itself. 28mm. tires do not fit on “old” rims and many “old” front forks with rim brakes are not wide enough to handle a 28 mm. band between them. Take a good look at the size indications of your rim and see whether such a wide tire will fit through your front and/or rear fork.

Measure the Wheel Size Yourself for your race bike tire

If you can’t find the size markings on the tyre, then you can measure the wheel yourself. when you measure the diameter of the rim in mm, you can calculate the approximate equivalent of the ETRTO number. Easy.

  1. Place a tape from the centre of the wheel to the tire’s inner edge where it meets with the rim. Note down this measurement in mm, it is the inner radius of the tire (R)
  2. Multiply this number by 2 which make the diameter of your rim
  3. Take 10mm from your measurement
  4. Match the measurement with the nearest wheel size in the below table. Take a ±3mm variation into account
Wheel SizeRim Diameter / ETRTO
28″ 29er 700C622mm
27″ / 27.5″ / 650C584mm
26″ / 650C559mm
24″507mm
20″ 451 (old style)451mm
20″ 406406mm
16″349mm

Racing bike tire sizes explained

Race bike tire size and width explained by GCN Tech

Picture in this post by Rizki Yulian on Unsplash

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