It is essential you choose the right tyres for your bike for safety, efficiency and comfort. Tyres don't last forever. They have a hard life, constantly rolling over rough ground, glass and stones, resulting in wear, cuts and dents in the rubber. If you let them wear too much, you will get lots of punctures, so it's important to replace them when needed. The right tyres will make a massive difference to your ride. When you upgrade, think about whether you need grip, puncture resistance, speed, or a combination of these qualities, and choose accordingly.
Choosing tyres Find your size When you choose new tyres, there are two things you need to know - the wheel size and the tyre width for your bike. Look at the sidewall of your tyres. You will find the size of the tyres printed on them. Here, the wheel size is 700c and the tyre width is 28c. You must make sure your new tyres are for the right size wheel, e.g. 700c, 26in, 29in etc. Mountain bike tyres are measured in inches and road tyres use the unit 'c'. With the width, you don't have to replace like-for-like. Bikes will take a range of tyre widths, so even if your road bike currently has 25c tyres, you may be able to replace them with 23c or 28c. Just make sure your new tyres are not too wide to fit your bike frame, especially if you also have mudguards.
Tyre types Folding or rigid bead? The tyre bead is the stiff edge made of steel or Kevlar that hooks onto the rim and holds the wheel in place. You can choose tyres with a rigid or folding bead. Rigid bead tyres tend to be a little cheaper, but a little heavier. Because they can't be folded up, they can be hard to carry and store. Folding tyres fold up into a small package when they're not on the wheel. This makes them easier to transport if you need to carry spares. They are also a bit lighter, but also more expensive than rigid bead tyres. Clincher, tubeless, tubular? Clincher tyres are the standard bicycle tyre type that hooks onto the tyre rim and needs an inner tube full of air within it. Tubeless tyres don't have an inner tube. Instead, the tyre fits to the rim with an airtight seal and is inflated directly. You need a special type of wheel rim on your bike to take these tyres. The tyres usually have a liquid sealant added to give a perfect seal. They are harder to repair, but if you do puncture, the sealant means there is no sudden loss of pressure. With a small puncture, the tyre will sometimes even seal itself enough to keep riding. They can also be repaired temporarily by inserting an inner tube. Tubular tyres have the tube sewn directly into the tyre, which is glued onto the rim. These need a special type of rim and don't fit every bike. They cannot be easily repaired and are fairly uncommon, except for road racing. The main advantage for racers is that the tyre stays on the rim if there is a major puncture at high speed. This helps to avoid crashes.