Have you ever looked down at your bike and wondered about the type of tires it uses? As in, what are those tires called? Are all tires the same?
Well, unless you have a specialty bike, then more than likely, your bicycle came outfitted with clincher tires. What is a clincher bike tire?
Clincher tires are the standard for bicycles. They include clincher rims, which may be one of three types: hooked-bead rims (used most often), crochet-type rims, or straight-side rims (not used as much). The tires themselves are made of either Kevlar fiber bead or steel wire that connects with the rim’s flanges. Clinchers have an inner tube surrounding the rim that retains the bead lock. Should you ever have to reach this inner tube, you easily can.
If you want to learn more about the common clincher bike tire, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll talk about these tires in-depth, including their materials, whether they’re more expensive than other tires, and how easy it is to install them on your bike.
We’ll even pick out a few of our favorite clincher tires to give you an idea of what’s available and include some pros and cons.
If you in a hurry though and want to get straight to a few we like on Amazon, then see below;
- Continental Grand Prix Classic Clincher Tire (We love Continental tires!)
- Kenda Kwest Clincher Tire (Reasonably Priced)
- Vittoria Corsa G+ Competition Graphene Clincher Tires (Another great trailer)
What Is a Clincher Bike Tire?
Clincher tires are some of the most common you can find in cycling, as we mentioned in the intro. They earned their name due to the way these tires cling to your wheel’s rim. With their bottom opening, you must clinch the tire to the rim to keep it attached.
The main component of the clincher bike tire is the inner tube. Without this, these tires are all but useless. When you fill the inner tube, the pressure keeps the tire firm and usable.
If you have a bike pump with a valve stem from Presta or Schrader especially, then you should find you have no issue filling up your clincher tube anytime.
In fact, clincher tires are designed in such a way that should the inner tube need replacement or refilling, you can get to it easily. Remember, these tires have an opening for doing just this.
Let’s also talk about the rims of clincher tires, shall we? There are three types of rims used for clincher tires according to the standard ISO 5775-2: hooked-bead, crochet-type, and straight-side rims.
Hooked-bead or hooked-edge rims contain a ridge. You can find this on the rim’s inner edge. This ridge keeps the clincher tire’s bead in one place. Straight-side rims, although not as favorable today, don’t allow for tire inflation to very high pressures. They also don’t hold the tire bead as well as a hooked-bead rim can.
There’s also the crochet-type rim. This is just another nickname for hook-edge rims, though. In Europe, hooked-bead rims are called crochet-type. There’s essentially no difference.
What Are They Made of?
We already talked about one major component of clincher bike tires, their inner tube. This is made of inflatable material, of course. What about the rest of the tire? What materials go into its construction?
Manufacturers use either Kevlar fiber bead or steel wire for clincher tires. The bead or wire has flanges that let it connect to the rim, most often a hooked-bead or hooked-edge one. In most cases, the bead gets covered by nylon or another cloth-like material. Then the tire gets a rubber coating.
What’s the Difference Between a Clincher and a Tubular Tire?
Thus far, we’ve discussed clincher tires exclusively. In this section, we want to compare them against a similar tire type, tubular tires. If you looked at a clincher tire and a tubular tire, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between them. That’s because visually, they’re practically identical.
Internally, tubular tires lack an accessible inner tube, so that’s already one difference. Their tube gets attached to the tire, often through sewing. You can’t take the inner tube out or refill just that like you can with a clincher tire. The tube and the tire itself is all one thing.
You also can’t fit a tubular tire over the rim since they come glued in place. This minimizes unwanted tire movement but may make tire installation more difficult.
Also, you won’t come across tubular tires nearly as often as you do clincher tires. Triathlon and road bicyclists favor these tires more, whereas most bikes use clinchers.
If you need to fix a tire on-the-go, it’s much easier to do so with a clincher than a tubular tire. In fact, it’s so difficult to patch up a tubular tire that it’s better if you have a spare ready so you can get rid of the damaged one.
Tubular tires do weigh more than clinchers because they lack a separate inner tube and a bead. They also tend to have greater durability compared to clinchers, but this depends on the brand you buy.
Are Clincher Tires Easier to Fit on Your Bike Than Other Tires?
In one of our last articles, we talked about folding bike tires, a means of portability that doesn’t install very easily. Luckily, you won’t have nearly as hard a time with a clincher tire.
Here are the steps you should follow to get your clincher on your bike and ready to ride.
The inner tube of the clincher goes inside the tire itself. Then, you put the tire on the bike’s rim by moving the beads or hoops towards the rim’s edge.
Most hooked-bead rims should have a well or valley in the middle. This valley lets the bead fit perfectly. If not, then you might want to try reinstalling your clincher tire until you get this fit.
You need that valley holding the bead just right. Otherwise, you can’t move the bead over your rim’s edge, which you need to do. Once you get that done, then congrats, you’ve installed your clincher tire.
That’s certainly a lot less pulling, tugging, and straining than what you’d have to do with a folding bike tire. It’s no wonder so many people use clinchers.
Are Clincher Tires More Expensive Than Other Tires?
Sticking to our comparison of tubular tires, clincher tires are the more inexpensive of the two. We’ll share some loose price points of real clincher tires in the next section so you can see what we mean.
Another part of the clincher tire’s design that makes it so cost-effective is that you don’t need to replace the whole tire if it deflates or sustains damage, just the tube. Since a tubular tire’s inner tube doesn’t come out, you’d have to buy a new tire.
With a clincher, you can get your hands on a fresh inner tube for about $5. How’s that for savings? (Like anything there are cheap and expensive options)
The Best Clincher Tires
If you’re interested in looking more into clincher tires or seeing which brands make these, then this is the section for you. We’ll now share some of our favorite clinchers on the market.
Continental Grand Prix Classic Road Bike Clincher Tire
They call it a classic for a reason. These Grand Prix Classic clinchers from Continental come in one size: 700 centimeters by 25. Their three-ply carcass, made of nylon, has a good thread per inch or TPI count as well. It’s 180 TPI.
Produced in Germany, the Continental headquarters, the clincher tires are equipped with PolyxBreaker technology. Their polyester fibers were designed to move over one another so there’s less thread spacing. Also, you get much better fabric density with such a design. That means less rolling resistance as you ride.
The Grand Prix Classic tires also have the Black Chili Compound, another Continental staple. This lessens unwanted rolling resistance at a rate of 26 percent. Even better, you get more tire mileage (up to five percent) and a better grip (by 30 percent). You can get these clinchers for a great price on Amazon normally – see below.
Kenda Kwest Clincher Tire
The Kenda Kwest clinchers measure 700 by 32 centimeters. They don’t have as high of a thread per inch or TPI count compared to the Continental Grand Prix Classic, only 30 TPI. However, these tires are also much cheaper and very affordable.
With K-Shield technology and wire beading, you get a dependable tire you can trust. Each Kwest tire also includes specially-designed grooves. These can pass dirt and water from the tire exceptionally well.
Vittoria Corsa G+ Competition Graphene Clincher Tires
Our last pick comes from Vittoria, and it’s the brand’s Corsa G+ Competition Graphene clincher tires. You get two tires in your order. Each measures 700 by 25 millimeters. They both have a Corespun casing that boasts a TPI count of 320. That’s the highest yet.
The clinchers fold so you can bring them with you anywhere and always have a spare tire at the ready. Vittoria designed these tires with four compounds that improve protection from punctures as well as offer superior durability, grip, and speed.
The tires in the Corsa line also lead to less rolling resistance (a 19-percent decrease). Not only that, but the Graphene material can span 2,500 spare meters in just a gram, promising 6x the flexibility and 200x the strength of other similar materials. They are pricy, as you’re paying a premium for them, but remember, it’s for two tires.
Clincher tires contain an inner tube within them that’s easily accessible. Should the tube deflate or pop, you can replace the tube and not the whole tire itself. Although they look a lot like tubular tires, that’s one of the key differences between them and clinchers.
While most bikes come equipped with clincher tires, if yours doesn’t, we hope this article convinced you to give these tires a try. Good luck!