Owning a bike definitely makes life easy, but folding bike tires makes it easier.
Even a not-so-passionate cyclist knows the importance of having a spare tire wherever cycling, especially long distances. Popping a bike tire can happen to anyone and is never a fun experience.
Well, no one likes carrying around heavy spare bike tires, obviously. They can make the whole experience quite uncomfortable. However, due to their folding ability, foldable bicycle tires are the perfect solution to the problem. They are lightweight and take little to no space, among other features.
Keep reading our article to learn more about foldable bicycle tires and why they are an important investment for your cycling experience.
What Is a Folding Bike Tire?
When we think of tires, we usually do not think of them as something you can fold. Well, let us tell you, there are folding bike tires. Their name is self-explanatory. Folding bike tires are tires you can fold until they get a flatter form that does not take much space.
Owning folding bike tires has several advantages. With folding bike tires, you can forget worrying about your tire blowing out. That’s because foldable bike tires are easy and convenient to carry, whether in your bag or wherever you want. Besides, they do not weigh as much and do not take up much space.
But how do folding tires work exactly? Well, they feature strong, fire-resistant, flexible, and durable threads known as Kevlar strands.
Confused? Let’s explain Kevlar strands in more detail.
What are Kevlar strands?
Folding bicycle tires use Kevlar strands, a type of strong fiber that gives folding tires their flexibility, folding abilities, and keeps them from stretching.
You will be surprised to learn that Kevlar is five times stronger than steel and thus is used in a variety of functions ranging from protective clothing products and bulletproof vests to heavy machinery such as aircraft parts and rockets.
But how do Kevlar strands actually work? And what makes Kevlar strands stronger than other materials such as nylon or polyester? Well, Kevlar is an organic fiber created by mixing phenylenediamine with terephthaloyl. Its resistance to factors such as time and heat makes this a strong material.
Further Kevlar thread characteristics include:
- Does not melt
- Does not stretch
- Decomposes at 800 F
- Resistant to acids and bases
- Resistant to abrasion
Since this is the strongest and most durable thread on the market, it is also the most expensive. Considering its quality and resisting power, the price is only a number, nothing else.
Folding Bicycle Tires Vs. Regular Tires
Folding bike tires are becoming increasingly more popular than regular bike tires. However, if you ever went shopping for bike tires, you might have noticed a price difference; more specifically, you might have seen that folding bike tires cost way more than regular tires. But why is that?
Well, folding tires differ from regular tires in several aspects, starting from their materials, flexibility, weight, and rubber composition. To make their differences clearer, we have explained each factor below.
The most apparent difference between folding and regular bike tires you will notice is the material of the tire’s bead. As we discussed, folding bike tires are made of a synthetic fiber called Kevlar strands. On the other hand, regular bike tires use steel wire, making them very stiff.
Both of these materials have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, both are durable. However, Kevlar provides more flexibility, making them a perfect solution for long-distance riding. On the other side, foldable bicycle tires tend to wear off faster than the regular ones.
The most important difference between folding and regular tires is their flexibility. The Kevlar material gives folding bikes high flexibility allowing you to fold and pack them in a bag.
Unlike the flexible Kevlar material of folding tires, regular tires made of steel wire lack flexibility. Since you cannot fold them, regular tires are impractical to carry around, especially if you are on a touring trip.
Another difference between regular and folding bike tires is how much each weighs. More than a difference, it is just another advantage of folding bike tires.
Folding bike tires weigh less than regular tires. These tires typically reduce the weight by 2 ounces per tire. The lightweight feature of these tires makes riding a bike an overall pleasant experience.
This characteristic of folding tires leads to overall improved performance during your ride. Less weight means going faster with no extra energy or strength required.
The rubber composition is yet another difference between regular and folding bike tires.
Folding tires use a soft rubber composition on the tread of the tire. This soft rubber composition provides enhanced traction in most types of terrain. In contrast, regular bike tires with standard treads do not have this feature.
Although a softer rubber composition improves traction, it is also more prone to wearing out sooner. In this regard, regular tires are better if you don’t want to change your tire often.
Last but not least important is the price difference between folding and regular bike tires.
As mentioned above, folding bike tires are much more expensive than regular tires. In general, folding tires cost $6 to $30 more than regular tires.
At first sight, folding tires do not seem budget-friendly. However, considering the differences in features we discussed above between these two tire types, the high price does not seem unreasonable.
Folding Bike Tyres Buying Guide
Now that you know what a folding bike tire is, it is time to learn some tips on what to look for when buying a folding tire. We compiled the essential information you need to know before purchasing a foldable bicycle tire.
Keep reading to learn more.
Best bike types to add foldable bicycle tires
Folding tires are ideal for distance riding and come in all sizes. But can they be used on all bike types?
The great thing about these tires is that they are used in various bike types. It does not matter if you have a road bike, mountain bike, hybrid bike, folding bike, or an electric bike, foldable tires will only improve your bike’s performance no matter the type. All you need to know is your bike’s measurements to pick the right folding tires.
How do I fit a folding bicycle tire?
The process of fitting a folding tire is similar to that of a regular tire. The procedure can be summarized in six very simple steps:
- Step 1: Unfold the tire and wait till it gets a shape
- Step 2: Lay the wheel on the floor
- Step 3:Roll the bead against the rim using tire levers or your hands
- Step 4: After fitting the tire to the rim, inflate the tire
- Step 5: Fit the tire to the bike
- Step 6: Enjoy your ride
How to fold a foldable bicycle tire?
Folding a foldable tire is not a hard thing to do. In fact, you can fold a tire in many ways due to its Kevlar strands.
You can fold the tire in half or half twice and then roll them. You can then use something to keep it folded, such as a simple elastic band. After this, you can put it in your bag or anywhere you want and enjoy a free-of-worry ride.
When should you replace your folding bike tire?
One disadvantage of folding bike tires is the soft rubber composition they are made of. This makes them more prone to wearing out quicker than regular tires. There is no exact time after you should replace your folding bike tires.
Instead, you should check for any signs of damage. If you notice the following signs, then you need to get new folding tires:
- If your tires have cuts
- If your tires look faded
To sum up, having foldable bike tires is a great advantage. If you want to elevate your biking experience, you should purchase these tires. Using our guide, hopefully, you will be able to buy high-quality folding bike tires.