While most road bike tires look virtually identical, save for the occasional splash of color, mountain bike tires are far more distinctive. More importantly, fat tires perform a myriad of functions, depending on size, weight and tread pattern. There are skinny, ultra-light models designed specifically for high-speed cross country racing. And there are wide tires with massive tread designed for ultimate traction in burly rock garden
For most riders, whether you race or not, wheels are the most overlooked and important upgrade.
At first glance, you may think a bike tire is a bike tire. They are round. They are rubber. They help get you down the road. But the reality is that tires utilize some of the most advanced technology in the cycling industry. Unique rubber compounds, strategic tread patterns and the recent push toward tubeless technology are just part of the diverse and complex tire story. But before we dive into the complex details, it helps to understand some of the basics.