Tire width question


New Member
Oct 16, 2017
Hi. I live in Kentucky, (barely any snow, at least in town) and I am slowly working on going farther, faster and carrying more on my bicycle rides. At some point, I am planning to work on my ability to travel to other towns and cities on my bike (one or more centuries) and I am going to need to upgrade my bike to handle any weather condition I might find (i.e. the levels of snow in Kentucky/Ohio in mid-winter) while my bike is loaded up with provisions and such for whatever trip I might be on. My bicycle is a road bike of the touring variety, and can handle 700x45c tires without fenders. I have a set of those tires with tread for wet conditions, and I have found that they do quite well in the rain. I am however concerned that I will need something significantly more for a country road with some snow/sludge on it. What is the widest size of tire that I am likely going to need year round?
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Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
There’s snow and there’s snow.
For soft snow you basically have two options:
- cut through to firm footing below
- (try to) float on top
To have a chance to stay on top of soft snow you need to get into ”plus”sized, or Fat Bike tires. Obviously, you can’t get there.

If it was me, I wouldn’t try to go wider. If anything, I’d go narrower. Depending on what studded tires there are in the 32-45 mm range.
Better cut-through ability. And still wide enough to fit a useful number studs.
Studs do nothing in soft snow, but certainly make a difference on ice and hardpack.


Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
NE Indiana
I agree you should be carrying a set of tires with studs, problem is that once you're on hard road you should change those tires to unstudded tires. Most if not all studs on bicycle tires are made of aluminum, once you hit hard pavement those studs will wear out fast.

However this means you would need two sets of tires plus be changing them as conditions change, a bit of a hassle, so instead you could use zip ties placed at every spoke going around the tire, the zip ties would grip the ice and snow, when the conditions change simply remove the ties. Of course this means you would have to be cutting ties all the time, another headache...but they do make reusable zip ties, still a hassle but you're not having to keep replacing with new ties.

There is also something on the market called SlipNot, it's a tire chain, see: http://www.slipnottraction.com/ but these things are $95 for the pair not to mention the added weight, a bunch of zip ties would be a lot cheaper and a lot lighter then those chains which would suit your touring needs better.


New Member
Feb 9, 2018
Some gravel or adventure bicycles are based on cyclocross bicycles which are designed for 33mm tires, the maximum allowed for racing by cycling's governing body. Other manufacturers have involved more inspiration from mountain bikes, with bicycles that can accommodate 2.1 inches tires intended for 29mm mountain bikes. To help you choose the right tyre for your bike, and tyres are made to a common standard, so you can easily find a tire to fit your wheels. If your tyre and rim have the same bead seat diameter, they'll fit together. If not, they won't.