When it comes to cycling, not only is riding challenging sometimes, but you might also find yourself struggling when it comes to getting the correct equipment for your bike. Bikes come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s not always clear what parts are compatible together.
One maintenance task you will often find yourself doing is changing your tires. There are a lot of different tires on the market, which come in all sizes and depending on what tires you choose to go to, you can get extra speed or even extra comfort. Cyclists in modern days are generally using bigger tires, especially when it comes to road bikes.
Now we generally see cyclists at a minimum of 23c, when a decade ago it was 18c. When tires were smaller, we saw rim internals to be smaller too, and one of the most popular sizes was 13mm.
Why is everyone going to 25mm Tires?
Many people are moving forward to 25mm tires for many reasons. It’s not just the professionals using them, recreational cyclists are also upgrading. Here’s why you might want to consider going to 25mm or higher.
Larger tires, even by a small amount, offer a higher level of comfort. The more air volume inside and the lower pressures you run, the more flexibility and cushioning they offer.
They can be faster
Yes, you read that correctly. In recent studies, it has been shown that larger tires are much better on certain surfaces. When it comes to rougher surfaces, professional teams are going to 28c and going just as fast for the same wattage.
A wider tire will typically offer more of the tire being on the tarmac. This means that you get more control and more grip. If you’re planning on going round corners very quickly, this can make a big difference.
What is the ideal tire size for what rim?
What a lot of cyclists don’t know is most tires from 18c to 32c fit most rims when it comes to road bikes, but they don’t always work well in harmony.
Bigger tires generally work better with bigger internal rims as they properly shape the tire, giving you the best performance. This chart is incredibly strict and extremely particular.
X = Works Great
O = Works but not perfectly
|Rim + Tire||20c||23c||25c||28c||32c|
Can you put 25mm tires on 19mm rims?
As you can see above, 19mm will typically fit 25c tires, but they are not going to work as well as if they were on a 13mm, 15mm, or 17mm rim. The difference is incredibly minimal though, and unless you are a professional ongoing rigorous tire testing, then you probably won’t notice a huge amount of difference.
What 25mm tires are worth buying?
Finding the right 25mm tires can be challenging, and you don’t want to end up wasting your money on some that just won’t last or perform. Here are some recommendations from us;
If you’re looking for a fast, slick road tire with great puncture protection, look no further than the WTB Thickslick. They are incredible value coming in at around $30 each, and typically last thousands of miles. One thing that really sealed the deal for us though was the unique look with American muscle tire style branding.
Best Performance: Vittoria Corsa Control G2.0
The unique minimal tread pattern offers incredible grip in lots of conditions, and the high 320 TPI rating gives it excellent flexibility. They come in about $80 each, but they will buy you some performance for sure.
To answer your question, 25mm tires can be used in 19mm rims, provided the manufacturer recommends and allows it. It won’t work as efficiently as it would on 13mm, 15mm, or 17mm rims though.
The difference is minimal. We would leave marginal gains like this to the professionals to worry about, in our opinion, and enjoy riding your bikes.
Before buying any tires, we highly recommend that the size you’re buying is compatible with the rim you’re using. It’s important to follow the manufacturers’ guidelines and ensure safety is your number one concern.
Robbie Ferri has spent years working in a bike shop, has worked with industry leading brands on product creation, has been a semi pro athlete, and is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach. He has broken World Records, bikepacked all over the World and raced ultra distance at a top-level.