By Thomas Vetter
If you are thinking about why you shouldn’t use hybrid tires on your road bike, then you are not alone. There is a fine line between conventional and hybrid tires. Both these tires have the same diameter, but road tires are not that broad. Therefore, the contact area of a road tire is much smaller than a hybrid tire.
Hybrid tires focus more on providing the rider with a cushioned ride while road tires are designed for speed because there is less friction. The wheels on both these tires are the same, but hybrid bikes have wheels that can support larger (wider) wheels too.
Both these tires have their own unique merits and demerits, and in this post, we are going to explore them in some detail!
1. Hybrid bike tires vs. Road bike tires
The most prominent of these traits are size, speed, and distance. For starters, hybrid bike tires are thicker in diameter than their road bike counterparts, because they are designed for a range of different terrains.
On the other hand, the road bike tires are meant for flatter surfaces, and they are designed to go at speeds. Therefore, they are thinner and don’t feature much contact area.
The tires for hybrid bikes are usually 700c, which means that they are 35mm to 45mm in their width. These tires have their size printed on them by the manufacturers. And the format might either be 700x35c or 700×35, and it varies from one manufacturer to another. No matter where you see that “C” letter, the measurement and meanings are all the same.
You also need to focus on the pump valve of a tire. There are two types of these valves as well. Schrader is far more popular in the US, and it is flatter and wider. Its skinnier counterpart is called Presta, and its valve is exposed.
Road tires are smaller in diameter, and there won’t be much contact area. It means there will be less friction and resistance, your bike will go faster, and the speed won’t affect the tire. These tires are designed for high-speed cycling.
On the other hand, the hybrid tires are wider, and they focus more on traction because they are designed to go over uneven surfaces. Traction and speed are the crucial features of both these tires, and you will have to compromise on one to get the other. The great thing about a hybrid bike is that you get the best of both worlds.
A hybrid bike tire will be suitable for long-distance riding. The primary reason behind this point isn’t that a hybrid bike is far more comfortable than a road bike. But if you are looking to race for long distances on the road, then a road bike will serve you better than hybrid tires.
For quick speeds, hybrid tires are better because they offer great traction. But they are not that great for long distances because the rubber will have to put in a lot of effort. On the other hand, a road bike tire doesn’t have much contact with the road, so any quick speeds won’t be easy to attain.
Nevertheless, once the rider has gained momentum and inertia, road bike tires start moving forward easily with less amount of effort.
Image: StockSnap/ Pixabay
2. How to install Hybrid Tires on a Road bike?
It is one tough assignment because the tire frames on a road bike don’t have that much space to accommodate hybrid tires. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot do this at all. You need to see how much clearance you have and make your choice accordingly.
2.1 On the Front
2.1.1 Down tube clearance
You need to check how much of the extra room is available before your front tire hits your bike down tube. You have to be sure about this, or your front tire won’t last for very long.
2.1.2 Fork clearance
Another key feature is the fork clearance. You must also closely consider how much width and height clearance is available right under the fork crown.
2.1.3 Front Brake clearance
And it’s not just about the fork; there is a braking system in place too. You need to check whether any larger tires fit inside the frame. If yes, then you can go for different kinds of brakes too.
2.2 On the Rear
2.2.1 Stay width
You should check whether a hybrid tire that you are looking to fit into your road bike rubs any of the stays on the rear of your bike or not.
2.2.2 Stay bridge clearance
Your tire needs to remain clear from the chainstays, and the bridge seat stays as well. Otherwise, your bike will not move, or you will have to put in a lot of effort to make it move or keep it going.
2.2.3 Seat tube clearance
You need to consider whether the geometry of your bike allows larger wheels or not. Some bikes have tighter geometry, and they don’t allow larger wheels to fit in.
2.2.4 Rear Brake clearance
Just like on the front, you will require rear brake clearance as well to keep the ride safe and sound for you. If there is clearance available, then you can go for a different kind of braking system to guarantee safety.
In simple words, you can put hybrid tires on your road bike. But you will have to go through a lot, and it is much easier for you to buy a hybrid bike separately.
But if budget is your concern, then you can always go for this option. Just make sure that you have enough clearance inside the wheel frames to accommodate those wider hybrid tires.
Passionate about cycling since childhood, Thomas seriously started cycling in 2004 at the age of 18. In addition to his love for cycling, he writes for the blog HybridBikeReviewed.com to share his vision with you and test the equipment provided by various brands.