UNDERSTANDING BMX TYRES
Author: Cooper Date Posted:30 October 2023
When it comes to Freestyle BMX tyres there is a huge range of options which can become overwhelming. So we’ve put together this article in hopes to help you make the right decision.
When it comes to the width of your preferred BMX tyre there are plenty of options… (Below is based off 20” sized tyres).
Skinny tyres such as 20” x 1.75” such as the Colony Exon tyres are primarily used for Flatland riding because flatlanders typically like tyres to be on the skinnier side & higher pressure due eliminate any flex for a direct feel as well as faster & smoother rolling.
Simon O'Brien & Nick Watts both run the Colony Exon tyres in 20x1.75" for this exact reason.
But in saying that, Kio Hayakawa runs the Colony Grip Lock tyres in 20x2.35" width which is rather unique for flatland.
Tyres that are around the 2.1” sizing are used for a few different reasons, for example I use a Colony Griplock 2.2” rear because I do a lot of crooked grinds so a slightly slimmer tyre gives you a little more room for the bike to grind easier without grabbing on the wall of the tyre. However I run a fatter tyre on the front because I love the look and feel of a wider front tyre.
Then you have someone like Pat Fallico who runs 20” x 2.2” Colony Griplock tyres because they're lighter but still have strong sidewalls.
Wider BMX tyres such as the Cult Vans 20” x 2.4” tyres are generally used by street riders because they give you a softer impact which suits the rough terrain street riding has, along with better balance when doing moves such as rail rides as it gives you more tyre to sit on a rail.
First thing’s first! If you have a 20” BMX bike then you need a 20” tyre, 18” BMX bike you’ll need an 18” tyre and so on….
With the popularity of smaller quality BMX bikes growing this has given everyone more options when it comes to various sized tyres. For example in this day and age if you needed a tyre for a 12" bike that was of a reasonable quality you'll have some great options like the Cult Vans tyre in a 12" x 2.125" or the Family F2128 20" X 2.25" tyres which is great to have!
You could ask 5 different riders and get 5 different answers when it comes to what tyre pressure is best for Freestyle BMX riding so we’re going to give you some insight into it all.
You’ll find that street riders run quite a low tyre pressure for the same reasons I mentioned earlier where it gives them some extra compression from impact. Another reason can be off front wheel tricks such as nose wheelies as it can also give the rider a fraction of room to move when finding the balance point.
This tyre pressure range would be the most common pressure as it’s the range a regular BMX bike will be setup with as most general tyres are rated for this tyre pressure range. Not only that it suits ramp riding quite well because it gives you a smooth feel but able to still compress enough for tricks you're doing on the coping and deck.
PAT FALLICO RUNS AROUND 65 PSI.
Anyone that rides at high speeds such as bowl riders will run a very high tyre pressure for speed and to minimise the chance of tyre roll. You’ll find riders such as Sam Grace running a tyre pressure around 100.
Another style of rider who’s going to be flatlanders, they tend to run a tyre pressure of above 100 because of the smoothness and for no tyre roll when rotating in a very tight space and quickly.
The tread papttern of a tyre is very important to align with the style of riding you're doing.
A very slick tread pattern such as the Cult Pool tyre is perfect for high speed bowl riding because it can handle a high pressure with minimal roll over so you can trust it for those tight carves in the bowls.
The Colony Griplock tyre is probably the most universal tread pattern you'll find as it's slick enough for high speed bowl riding and ramp riding but with enough pattern variation too provide great grip whilst riding trails.
The Family F603 tyres also give you a good blend of tread pattern for a universal tyre that you can use on most terrain's thrown at it.
The tyre bead may not be the first thing you think of when choosing BMX tyres but it’s something very handy to know about, they vary in two main ways....
- Steel bead is essentially a piece of steel wire inside the tyre bead. This is heavier but cheaper.
- Foldable tyres typically have a kevlar style material inside the bead which saves on weight but is a higher cost.
The tyre bead strength will also determine the recommended tyre pressure as a stronger bead will be able to hold more pressure. You will tend to find cheaper tyres wont have a high tyre pressure rating.
Generally the weight of a foldable tyre is lighter than a regular beaded tyre. For example, the foldable version of the Colony Griplock is 490 grams where as the regular version is 546 grams and those tyres are one of the lighter beaded tyres. So with this in mind you will find riders that are very consious o the weight of their bike will run a foldable tyre.
However.... folding tyres have thinner sidewalls so they'll tend to blow out in the sidewall more often then a regular beaed tyre.
There’s probably never been a time in BMX where there’s been this many options of coloured tyres. Tyres such as the Family F2128 tyres come in a massive range of colours so you can easily change up the look of a bike without breaking the bank. Then you have tyres at the other end of the spectrum such as the Cult x Vans tyres which come in some great Camo looks and the Colony Griplock tyres have almost an endless amount of different colours available.
HOW TO FIT A BMX TUBE
Here's a bonus tip video for anyone needing ahand when it comes to changing a tube in your tyre.