Do Bike Tyres Help Ride Faster?


Just wanted to know if changing tyres on a road bike can help me go faster. Currently, I have Innova 700x28 tyres which came fitted with the bike. Would changing them be any helpful in increasing the ride speed?


  • +8

    Not enough that you would notice.

  • +1

    yes - but……if you're just a casual rider and not some hardcore you probably wouldnt notice the difference.

    Lighter wheels, lighter bike would be more noticeable.

    • Ok. Thanks for that. Lighter bike or a lighter rider? Which one is more helpful.

      • +14

        Lighter rider is cheaper.

        • Yeah… that's true. Riding the bike to shed some kilos but it becomes really hard even on a slight ascent.

          • +5

            @RSmith: Just keep at it - You will get there.

            At the end of the day, focus on the ride rather than the end goal and you wont even need to pay attention to the weight.

            I went from a 14kg clunker to a 8kg road bike and most definitely noticed a difference going up hills. But then I was off the bike for a while and going up hills when I got back on became hard again.

            A lot of it is really just getting that fitness up. But just enjoy your time out of the house, look around at the world and soon enough you'll be riding up hills without much effort.

            • @Fergy1987:

              A lot of it is really just getting that fitness up. But just enjoy your time out of the house, look around at the world and soon enough you'll be riding up hills without much effort.

              Thanks for the advice. Hope I can reach a stage where I don't have to think about avoiding going up hill on my weekend rides.

          • +3

            @RSmith: If the goal is losing weight then make sure you get on top of the diet, too. Speaking from my personal experience, if the diet isn't right then you'll only get pretty limited benefit from the exercise (as far as weight loss goes, I mean). It can be pretty discouraging if you're putting in all that work at the exercise but not getting results, which in turn can lead to loss of motivation.

            • @AngusD:

              If the goal is losing weight then make sure you get on top of the diet, too

              Thanks. Will keep that in mind.

              • +1

                @RSmith: Don't just keep it in mind, mate; losing weight is basically diet. The exercise is an extra, an amazing one for several different reasons, but still extra. Start keeping track so you don't lose motivation on your cycling.

                • @gorgrond: I have been keeping track of what I eat using an app. Have already managed to cut out a fair of junk food.

          • @RSmith: i think the bicycle's gearing would be more important for hills

            • @mtg: I lost 30kg, went from 90kg to ~60kg by just riding. I still eat whatever I want. That said, I try to ride 200-300km per week.

              Re. tyres, 28mm versus 23mm, wont notice a speed difference. However, some tyres have a greater rolling resistance than others. Check out reviews on the RR of a tyre before buying. I recently went 23 to 28, now running 25s. The only reason was that they didn't have any 28s in stock.

              • @o53djz7qTPY4der: That's quite impressive, losing 30 kgs. How much time did it take for you to lose that much weight?

                • +2

                  @RSmith: About 4-5 months. I should add… I quit drinking too.

                  • @o53djz7qTPY4der:

                    I lost 30kg, went from 90kg to ~60kg by just riding. I still eat whatever I want.

                    I should add… I quit drinking too.

                    Then sorry but it's not "just by riding" and "still eating whatever you want". You stopped consuming alcohol which has crazy amounts of calories and no nutritional value.

                    Saying otherwise is misleading and gives the wrong impression to people who don't know better. Losing weight is essentially 80% diet.

              • +1

                @o53djz7qTPY4der: Additional to tyre size, runnig the correct pressure can mean a larger tyre is more efficient on non-smooth surfaces.

                A lower pressure allows the tyre to absorb the little bumps rather than transmitting the upward motion to the bike and saddle. Too low is slow, to high isn’t faster on non-smooth surfaces.

        • +1

          The best riders are very expensive. Plus he might enjoy riding it himself more than paying someone else to do it.

  • +1

    Maybe more efficient with reduced contact patch with the road, it may not equate to speed.

    The overall results with tyres is you use less energy, rather than gain speed with tyre change only.

    Train your legs to peddle faster or peddle on a gearing that gives you more speed.

    • +1

      What is the op peddling? Might be interested.

      • +2


        🤣 yes that too.

        Damn, homophones :D

        pedaling to peddle.

        • I'm more concerned that your auto checker defaults to peddle based on historical typing.

  • Do bike tyres help ride faster?

    Depends. If your tyres are of a cheaper/economical variety running at a lower pressure ( say >80 psi) and you change to a better quality tyre running at a higher pressure (say >100 psi), you will notice they are quicker for a similar effort, but there is a slight comfort cost.
    I've always run high end tyres on my good road bikes, but recently changed from a very average commuter tyre on my flat bar bike, to a much better, dearer tyre. It runs 30psi harder, and I now finder it easier to sustain a higher pace with no more effort. Trade off is definitely a much firmer ride. YMMV

    • My bike is an el cheapo flat bar road bike and I have been thinking about getting a new bike. However, the bike that I am looking for is not in stock anywhere and is expected to be available in end of April (best case scenario).

      So was thinking whether I should upgrade the tyres on my current bike for the time being.

      • el cheapo

        Skim read that as El Chapo and now convinced OP is definitely a peddler

      • heaps of decent spec road bikes available second-hand. I haven't bought a new bike since 2003.

    • The latest tech is to run wider tyres at a lower pressure. I'm now running the new Zipp 303's with 28 tubeless at 75 - 80 psi. Fast and comfortable. I havent run any tyres anywhere near 100 psi in years.

      • Yes, I noticed that a number of riders from my group have done this, including some whom regularly race.
        As I said above, on my flat bar I noticed a fair difference changing from some mediocre tyres at 80 psi, to a set of Conti Gatorskins at 110. Same width. Conti's were definitely better, but my starting tyres were pretty basic.

  • too many factors

    • road quality (fine smooth vs rough bitumen makes a big deal and this is going to vary greatly on your ride so assume the worst)
    • pressure appropriately set to your weight and riding position (usually rear is higher inflated than front)
    • TPI (threads per inch) for flex in the tyre
    • rotational weight (heavier tyres are slower). this is kind of disputed but i think at least initial speed-up it helps to have lighter tyres and rims.

    basically, don't waste your money trying to get marginal gains unless you're that obsessive that every insignificant strava KOM means the world to you.

    just get something with reasonable grip and puncture protection, or good tubeless tyres with good quality sealant (i used to use stan's but orange seal is better) if your rims can handle them and you can handle swearing for a few hours trying to install them.

    i avoid continental tyres now because of issues with the 4000s, i like schwalbe but also vredestein and maxxis refuse. for ultimate puncture protection schwalbe marathon plus or similar range (i use this for touring and commuting) - but they aren't that grippy so no fast cornering with those + they are slow.

  • +4

    Do bike tyres help ride faster?

    I tried riding once without tyres, and it was definitely slower…

    • Unless it is a train or tram.

      • +1

        OP asked about bike tyres.

  • There is a small difference, initially you will notice but after a while it becomes the new normal.

    I changed from 700x32 to 700x25 and the change was noticeable, not by a lot though.

    I also changed from tyres with grip to slicks, that was also a small difference in resistance but a decent reduction in grip, I found I could not take corners the same way the hard way.

  • +1

    Yes tyres make a big difference. If you are racing you care, but for training it's not that important.

  • The question is to what end? Let's say the new tyres will give you 2km/h better average speed. What does that actually do for you in your use case?

    If it simply means getting to the end of a ride a few minutes quicker, then does it make any actual difference? It might make you "feel better" and if that's what you're looking for then go right ahead.

    If your goal of bike riding (at least currently) is simply to lose weight/general exercise, a "faster bike" isn't going to make that any better other than through the "confidence" matter above that make make you ride a bit longer/harder.

    If you really want a faster bike, you'll be looking at a full upgrade to cover bike weight and gearing primarily. Tyres are part of the solution, but you need to consider the cost/benefit for your specific use case.

    • The question is to what end?

      The back end makes the biggest difference.

    • Tyres probably won’t make 2km/h difference to an average - possibly unless you are going from an extreme like fat gravel to skinny slicks.

      • Agree … being very generous in my assessment. The point is, over a 40km ride, the faster tyres might get you there a couple of minutes faster, but that's about it.

        So will training harder.

        As always, meditate on Rule #5 and adjust accordingly.

        • Being general in an assessment is fine but when you overstate the benefits of upgrades it leads to disappointed riders.

          It’s a while since I’ve checked the numbers, but when I was commuting daily I found about 2km/h average difference was the difference between a mountain bike on knobblies and a drop bar road bike.

          • @Euphemistic: Soz. Will stick to purely empirical based comments in the future.

  • Skinny slicks pumped to the max will give you the least resistance and therefore the greatest speed. But gearing is more important. You need a granny gear if hills are the problem.

  • What you need to go faster 101.

    Drop bars
    Carbon fibre
    Lose weight

    • Also preferably a team in a station wagon with spare bikes / food so you can swap and take in calories with minimal stopping.

    • or a big dog chasing you

    • +1

      Casually Explained: Cycling

      To summarise: aero is everything. 😝

      • I cant remember the maths but below a certain speed rolling resistance (aka tyres) is more important than aerodynamics in terms of drag. Above a certain speed aero becomes more important.

  • +1

    From the most efficient rolling tyre to the least efficient (in their tests) it's a difference of 200%
    (the lowest rolling resistance was 7.0 watts and the most was 22)

    So if you look at it in laymans terms.

    Will you notice it?
    Most likely - equivalent resistance of 3 tyres vs 1 would be noticeable.
    Would it make you significantly faster - not really, unless you average 35-40+km/h

  • Innova 700x28 tyres are pretty heavy at 495g per tyre. Your most basic continentals can shave off 300g per tyre. It all adds up but the difference is not significant

    Riding faster would require lighter bike/components/cyclist.

    Could also be you're not maximising your bike and the gears you're in.. Going up a slight ascent and struggling could mean you're riding in higher gears. Riding in lower gears and in smaller chain rings will assist on a smoother riding experience whilst going uphill. I realised this when first starting out when riding in the lowest gear but in the big chain ring on inclines. Changing it to the smaller chain ring but some gears higher made hill climbs much more easier. Plenty of indepth videos about this on YouTube.

  • Keep the current tyres and save your money.

    If you really think changing the tyres will make you go faster (i.e. placebo effect), then you can look at it this way: the current tyres will help with your training by making it harder.

    I have found that carrying a backpack during my commute has really improved my fitness (I sometimes pick a longer detour route too, which has helped my endurance). I've even read stories about pros in the past doing similar things like carrying a backpack filled with rocks, applying their brakes whilst cycling uphill to add more resistance, etc!

    I'm not suggesting that you should go and do those things - my point is that you should look at the situation from a different perspective: rather than seeing your bike as an 'el cheapo', see it as a piece of exercise equipment (e.g. when you go to the gym, it doesn't matter how expensive the dumbbells are, because that isn't the point).

    Also, in response to your hesitations about hills, I've said this in other posts before: Cycling uphill is THE best way to become a stronger and fitter cyclist. So don't be afraid of hills. It's all in your mindset.

    • It's all in your mindset.

      That's right. I will see how I go in a few months time, considering I only ride a maximum of twice a week.

  • You have the wrong bike… buy a racing bike.

  • Don’t buy fancy stuff, ride hills.

    Getting more fit will have much better improvement than lighter tyres except changing to drop bars to be more aero.

  • If you want to build up endurance and stamina, try mixing up your cycling with some jogging/running. Build up to 5 km runs, twice a week. This will improve your cardiovascular and make hill climbing easier over time. I still hate hills, but it’s less of a chore. That said, jogging gave me plantar fascia, so not sure what’s worse! Good luck.

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