BMX tire manufacturers are in fierce competition to create different tire designs. The result? Choice overload – where users are unsure of what to get. Therefore, most new or returning riders wonder, “What size BMX tires should I get?”
The standard BMX tire size is size 20 (20-inch diameter), whose width ranges from 1.75 to 2.2 inches and generally suits riders between 4’0” and 6’4” tall. But still, we’ve nonstandard options such as sizes 16, 22, and even 24.
On that note, here’s a summary table showing the various BMX tire sizes and matching rider’s height:
|BMX Tire Size||Rider Height|
Overall, personal preferences and riding style determine the choice of BMX tire size. The best tire width for racing BMX bikes is 1.75 inches wide. Flatland and freestyle riders prefer tires that are 2.125 inches or wider.
Inflated width and inflated diameter are also common terms related to tire size. Inflated width refers to the measurement from sidewall to sidewall. On the other hand, inflated diameter refers to how big the tire is from the outside.
BMX Tire Size Guide
Two things matter in choosing the correct BMX tire size – tire diameter and tire width.
BMX Tire Diameter
Tires with large diameters (24”, 26”, 27.5”, and 29”) roll over obstacles easily, cover more ground on a single pedal, and are more comfortable. However, they weigh and cost more.
BMX Tire Width
Standard BMX tire widths range from 1.75 inches to 2.5 inches, which work for specific BMX disciplines. Narrow tire widths work well for BMX race bikes, while wider tires suit the different fields of Freestyle BMXing such as park, street, trail, and flatland BMX riding.
Having established the available tire sizes and their qualities, let’s focus on what else to look out for when choosing a tire. We’ll also review some of the best tire brands and how to maintain them.
What to Look for in a BMX Tire?
Top buying considerations for BMX tires include:
a) Tire Material
Tire manufacturers produce tires using a mix of natural and synthetic rubber such as SBR (Styrene-Butadiene Rubber). They usually have additives to give different characteristics such as color, grip, wear and roll resistance, and even production cost reduction.
Other manufacturers use dual-compounds on the treads to make the tire tough in the middle and more grip on the sidewalls.
b) Tire Pressure Rating
A tire pressure rating shows how much air a tire or inner tube can take in before bursting. Check your tire sidewalls to find the tire’s indicated pressure rating.
Different BMX riding styles require different pressure ratings. For instance, race BMX bikes generally have a higher pressure rating. Reason?
The higher pressure ensures that the part of the tire that touches the ground doesn’t flex much. Therefore, there is a minor loss of power, and they can move faster.
On the other hand, Freestyle BMX bikes have a lower pressure rating. This low-pressure rating makes the wheel flex more. Increased flex widens the area covered by the tire, hence more grip.
Speed is, however, compromised when running low pressures. Extremely low pressures result in pinch flats.
c) Tire Bead
The bead is the BMX tire’s edge that sits on the rim. Tire beads are made of either steel or Kevlar. Steel beads make the tires heavier but stronger. Tires with Kevlar beads are lighter but more expensive.
d) Tire Casing
The casing is the inner part of the tire from bead to bead. It gives the tire its shape and form. Tire casings are made from a combination of cloth and rubber. The more cloth and less rubber, the lighter the tire.
e) Tire Tread
The tread is the outermost layer of a tire that makes contact with the ground. Different tread designs serve different purposes.
Dirt and race tires generally have knobbier treads to offer more stability. Street, Park, and flatland tires mostly have smoother treads.
Riders that run different tire treads place the knobbier ones on the front for control and stability and the slick ones on the rear.
f) Sidewall Construction
The sidewall is the visible part of the tire casing that sits between the tread and the bead. Sidewalls have knurls to increase the side thickness. The thickness of the sidewall is critical.
A thicker sidewall is better able to handle the pressure from all the extremes of BMXing.
g) Rim Type
Rims play an essential role in the bike’s structural integrity and general aesthetics.
They come as either single-wall or double-wall. The extra material in double-wall rims makes them much stronger.
h) Folding vs. Non-Folding
The difference between folding and non-folding is in the beading present. Generally, folding tires have steel beadings. Meanwhile, non-folding tires have Kevlar beading. Kevlar is the same material they use in bulletproof vests.
Kevlar beading makes the tire lighter and flexible. So, if your BMX discipline requires as little weight as possible, the folding tires are a good bet.
For BMX disciplines that are more brutal, go for the steel wire or carbon bead tire. They’re generally stronger.
What Are the Best BMX Tires?
The best BMX tire offers better grip, control, and comfort while riding.
Below are some of the best BMX tires on Amazon.
1. Maxxis Hookworm BMX Tire (Best for 20-inch, 24-inch, 26-inch, and 29-inch BMX bikes)
The stylish Maxxis Hookworm slick tire is worth trying for all you Street, Vert, Park, and Flatland riders. It features wall-to-wall treads that provide durability and protection against abuse from the tons of drops and grinds that you’ll undertake.
2. Odyssey Pro Slick (Best for 20-Inch BMX Bike)
Odyssey has a history full of brilliant product lines since its formation in 1985. The Odyssey Pro slick is a redesign of one of their popular tire brands. It features a proprietary rubber compound that offers extra grip and wear resistance.
3. Bell BMX Tire (Best for 20-inch BMX Bike)
Are you tired of constant flats limiting your ride? The Bell BMX tire has a solution. It features a flat defense technology that is puncture resistant and packs 25% extra strength.
It’s best suited for dirt, street, and pavements because its knobby treads provide excellent traction. Moreover, it’s foldable, thus easy to store.
It has carbon steel beads that allow easy storage without damage.
How to Maintain BMX Wheels
Wheels generally don’t come cheap. So, maintenance is vital to help keep your current wheels in top condition. Here are a few tips to follow.
Spin the wheels on your bike. Check whether the wheels roll smoothly, that they’re not catching on the sides and that there is no sideways weaving.
Check that the axles and bearings in the hub are neither too loose nor too tight. A loose axle will break easily. If the bearings are too tight, they will also break.
Check the rim and tire sidewalls. The brakes tend to wear down the rim sidewall. That is true for bikes with V-brakes or U-Brakes.
Some rim makes have indicator lines to show when it’s time for a replacement. If your rims don’t have such a line, run your fingers on the rim sidewall. If a dip or depression is present, it’s time to change your rims.
Make sure to “true” your wheels now and then. The rim of a wheel that is not true can bend easily after hitting an obstacle or a pothole. You can also damage your tires and brakes.
People Also Ask
What Size Are BMX Tires?
The diameter and width determine a BMX bike tire size. Tire diameters range from 12 inches for kids to 29 inches for tall adults. The most common tire diameter is 20 inches. BMX tire width range from 1.75 inches to 2.5 inches.
What Size Tire Is On A 20 Inch BMX Bike?
BMX tires size dimensions tend to confuse. It’s important to clarify whether the reference is the bike geometry or the wheel diameter. For instance, a 20-inch bike might mean one of two things: Either the wheel is 20-inches in diameter, or the top tube length is 20-inches long!
A BMX bike with a top tube length of 20-inches generally caters to riders whose height is between 5’3” and 5’6”. The wheel size in such a case is usually 24-inches or 26-inches.
A wheel that is 20-inches in diameter is just that – a 20-inch wheel. This wheel size can serve riders with junior size frames to the pros with full-sized frames.
Can I Put Bigger Tires On My BMX?
BMX bikes come with wheels whose diameter and width best fit the frame. That makes it challenging to upgrade to bigger or wider tires on your BMX. Larger and broader wheels will hit the frame.
And if you use smaller wheels, the pedals will most likely hit the ground. Also, your brakes will probably not work.
For everything to work in such a case, you will have to change the frame size, cranks, bottom brackets, and many other components. That would be a costly exercise.
In Conclusion – What Size BMX Tires Should I Get?
Ideally, settling for the standard 20-inch BMX tires size makes sense as it accommodates all types of BMX and riders of all heights. So, the biggest consideration will be the tire width, where you can settle for anything between 1.75 inches and 2.2 inches, depending on your riding style.